Your options for traveling to and around Nairobi
There's more than one way to travel to Nairobi, depending on where you are departing from. If you are adventurous, you could travel over land, across the length of the African continent, to get to Nairobi.
You could drive your own car or hop on a public transportation vehicle coming from any town or city in Kenya. You could also catch the train from Mombasa or Kisumu to Nairobi, but flying to Nairobi, of course, remains the most practical choice if you are coming to Nairobi from another country.
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
The Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, abbreviated JKIA (Code: NBO), is only 18 kilometers (roughly 10 miles) from the Nairobi city center. It's the largest airport in the country and serves as the main entry point for visitors flying to Kenya. JKIA offers domestic, regional and international flights and connections to and from major European cities, the United States, the Middle East, the Far East and the African continent.
Flights to Nairobi from the United States
There are currently no direct flights from North America to Nairobi. If you are flying from the United States, you have to connect your flight to Nairobi via hubs in Europe, such as Amsterdam, London and Zurich. However, starting sometime in 2009, Delta Airlines is scheduled to offer a one-stop flight between Atlanta and Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport four times a week, with a stopover in Dakar-Senegal. Some of the airlines that fly to Nairobi through Europe include Kenya Airways, British Airways, KLM, Emirates Airline and Qatar Airways.
Major Carriers from Europe
Most flights to Nairobi from Europe are direct and non-stop. The major carriers include: Kenya Airways, KLM, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Swiss International Air Lines and Brussels Airlines.
Flights to Nairobi from China, Australia, the Middle East and Asia
It's not always an easy travel from "down under" to Nairobi due to a lack of direct flights from Australia to Kenya. One has to connect through South Africa, Asia or the Middle East. As for China, the Middle East and Asia, cities in these areas are very popular for business and tourist travel and Kenya's local carrier, Kenya Airways, provides frequent flights to cities in these regions. Other major carriers include Qatar Airways, Emirates, and Qantas.
Flights to Nairobi from the Rest of Africa
Major carriers providing flights to Nairobi from other cities and countries in Africa include South African Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, and Egypt Air.
Do you need a Visa to enter Kenya?
Although it's advisable to get a Kenya visa from your country of origin before you travel to Nairobi, you can always get one at the Kenya immigration office based at the international airports upon your arrival. Not everyone needs a visa to enter Kenya. In order to get your Kenya visa at the JKIA passport control in Nairobi, ensure that you have the following items at hand:
- Supporting documents showing the purpose of your visit to Kenya
- A passport that is valid for no less than six months
- Visa fees as specified by passport control, currently US$ 50, Euros 40 or Sterling Pounds 30
Taxi and car rental services at JKIA Nairobi, Kenya
The Nairobi JKIA airport has plenty of taxis and car rental services that operate 24 hours to provide airport transfers to your destination within the city. Popular and reputable car hire services at the JKIA include Avis Car Hire, Budget Car Rental, JKIA Taxis Services Ltd, Jatco Taxi, Kenatco Taxis, Naz Car Hire, New Jambo Taxi and Payless Car Hire among others. A taxi ride to the city center may cost you between $25 and $40. Car hire rates start at $35 per day whereas four-wheel-drive SUVs may start at $60 depending on the model.
Travel to Nairobi from other Kenyan cities
Domestic Flights to Nairobi
Traveling to Nairobi from other Kenyan cities is done by air, rail or road transportation. Flights to Nairobi from other Kenya cities and towns arrive at the JKIA or the smaller Wilson Airport in Nairobi.
You can book your scheduled domestic flight to Nairobi with services provided by a number of local airlines, including Kenya Airways, Precision Air, African Safari Airway, Air Kenya Express, Fly540, African Express Airways, Mombasa Air Safaris, SafariLink and JetLink Express. Kenya Airways also offers online ticket booking while the rest of the airlines can be booked through travel agents in Kenya or abroad.
Public transport, Matatus and trains to Nairobi
You can also travel to Nairobi by public transportation, such as buses destined for country and long distance travel, minibuses, and the Rift Valley Railways train service. Minibuses (also known as matatus) are the most common mode of transport used by Kenyans coming to Nairobi.
Banks, forex bureaus and emergency services
You can use your VISA, MasterCard, Cirrus, PLUS and Maestro cards to draw money from the numerous ATM machines available at the airport. The 24-hour banking services and forex bureaus at JKIA will change your home currency to the local Kenya shilling. Emergency health services provided by AMREF Flying Doctor, Avenue Rescue Ambulance Services, Intensive Care Air Ambulance Ltd, and Provide International Ambulance Services are on hand should you require medical help.
Related Kenya Information
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