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Are you heading to the upcountry? Masaai Mara? Nairobi? The coast? The different parts of the country can wildly vary in a climate, so it’s important to note the exact place you’ll be staying before you start packing. Our Kenya packing list will give you everything you need to know for a trip to Kenya.
Kenya is an incredible country with breath-taking scenery, sunny beaches, and lush mountains. Being one of the best safari destinations in Africa is an added reason to visit Kenya.
The country is considerably diverse, so your Kenya packing list will depend on which part of the country you intend to visit and the type of activities you will take part in.
Before we dive into what to pack for your Kenya trip, let us talk briefly about the weather.
Weather in Kenya
One of the most critical factors you will want to consider when crafting the perfect Kenya packing list is the weather and the season at the time of your visit.
Kenya typically has a dry and rainy season. The dry season runs from mid-December to March, and the rainy season usually starts from late April through to July and early August.
The country also experiences short rains from time to time. However, since the equator runs through the country, the climate is temperate, so even on the rainy season, it never gets too cold.
Assuming you’ll take part in different top excursions and adventures if you visit Kenya, here is a list of recommended items plus tons of good ideas.
21 Top Kenya Packing List Items
The coastal part of the country offers fantastic pearly beaches, so make sure you pack smart-casual in case an opportunity for a romantic dinner date arises.
For safari trips, you’ll need to wear loose and comfortable clothing.
Remember, avoid wearing brightly-colored clothes on a safari – one reason being you need to camouflage with the surroundings as much as possible lest you miss a chance to spot lions.
The second reason is a safari in Africa can be pretty dusty since the roads in Animal National Parks are not tarmacked.
For beach and other activities; however, your preference should guide you best.
Shirt or Blouse
If you’re headed to the Kenyan coast lightweight button-up shirt/blouse are great whether you’re strolling along the white sandy beaches or you’re out for nightlife.
A pair or two of comfortable pants would be great for early morning excursions like morning or dusk safari walk.
Even in the dry season, the bushes will be full of morning dew enough to make your legs wet, so shorts may not be the best option.
Cargo pants, for instance, are a great alternative as they’re comfortable and can be used for adventurous activities like hiking or rock-climbing.
Pack footwear best suited for the purpose of your trip. If you plan to have an adventure in the mountains, be sure to get a good pair of grip boots.
A smart traveler travels light, so it’s vital to pack multi-purpose clothing and footwear is no exception. Make sure your hiking boots can serve you well if you decide to go on walking safaris.
Ideally, they should be lightweight with at least ankle support, which will perfect for the bush since the terrain can be uneven and rocky. They should also be comfortable to avoid blisters.
Make sure you wear the boots a couple of times before you travel to break them in. You can get some from here.
Most high-end accommodations usually provide their guests with room slippers, but it’s always a good idea to carry flip flops just in case.
A rain jacket will be necessary if you’re visiting towards the end of the rainy season. One minute could be all bright and shiny, but the next could be gloomy and raining. You can get one from here.
Kenya is blessed with a lot of sunshine, but too much of anything will definitely make you uncomfortable.
Whether you’ll be going on a safari, a hiking tour, or lying lazily on the beach, a hat is a must-pack item when visiting Kenya. You can get one here.
If you wear contact lenses and you intend to go on a safari, you may want to wear some sunglasses to prevent your eyes from drying out in the heat.
But if you do not wear contact lenses, you should plan on having sunglasses, so you do not have to squint on those sunny days.
Tech and Gear
This is an obvious item for any avid traveler, but there is a need to remind you that Kenya is full of picturesque locations. Make sure you invest in a good camera to capture those unforgettable memories.
If you’re traveling from anywhere else apart from the UK, make sure you pack a plug adapter. A universal plug adaptor would be great, especially if you have any layovers in destinations that use a different type of plug.
Also, invest in proper power converters as Kenyan electric switches supply between 220 and 240 volts.
This is one of the most essential gadgets as you’ll need to recharge your camera or phone if they run low on battery. Seriously, you can’t afford to miss a moment in Kenya. You can buy one here.
Binoculars are especially crucial for hiking and safaris, where you’ll have the Big Five to spot plus lots of birdwatching opportunities. If you’ll take part in nocturnal game drives, be sure to park night vision equipment.
Power isn’t exactly reliable in Kenya or the capital. Although many high-end hotels have a back-up in case of a blackout, you may want to have a small flashlight just in case. It also helps a lot if you’re camping.
Wet Wipes and Hand Sanitizer
Trust me, wet wipes and sanitizers are not among the most common items in Africa. Kenya is not any different, especially if you are traveling to rural areas.
These items are widely available in Nairobi and other major cities, but you may not have the extra time to run to the store.
Plan to pack a few hand sanitizer bottles/ wet pipes or both. Some parts of the country are short of running water and hand wash so you’ll need a lot of hand wipes so you can stay healthy.
Bug and Insect Repellent
The coast and the western part of the country are famous for having bugs and malaria-causing mosquitos.
Be sure to pack an ample amount of bug and mosquito repellent spray. If you are going on a safari, beware of the tsetse flies, blood-sucking insects that transmit sleeping sickness in humans. A good bug repellent should keep them away.
This is yet another safari essential and, obviously, a must-pack for a beach getaway in Kenya. You can get one here.
Documents and Details
Have your passport plus your stamped visa ready for inspection at the customs offices. You might also need to provide your itinerary as well as travel insurance papers.
You should also have a list of contacts that can be used in case of an emergency.
It is essential to get travel insurance no matter where you are traveling to.
It’s mainly a requirement that is helpful when traveling to Kenya and East Africa in general, where treatment in an excellent health facility can be costly.
You’ll need a passport holder that can withstand both dusty and wet environments.
A Swahili Phrasebook
This is not a necessity. Swahili is a fun language to learn, and locals appreciate any tourist that attempts to communicate in their native language. Even a simple ‘Hi’ or a ‘Thank you’ will earn you brownie points.
Medications and Vaccination
Before you travel, be sure to pay your doctor a visit so that they can advise on the recommended vaccines.
Most African countries require proof of Yellow Fever vaccination prior to entry. Check the CDC website to confirm if up to date information on whether or not you will need a yellow fever vaccination.
Anti-malaria drugs are essentials, especially if you’re traveling to the western or coastal parts of the country.
You will find all over-the-counter medications in the larger cities, especially in the capital but not in rural areas or in the game reserves. For this reason, it’s advisable to shop in major cities for prescribed or other drugs you might need.
A first-aid kit is essential, particularly if you are planning to take part in adventurous excursions.
What Do People Wear in Kenya?
Women in Kenya
Kenya is one of the most modernized countries in Africa, according to the World Population Review. So as long as you dress appropriately, you should not encounter any problems. Wearing clothes that are at least knee-length is the standard dress code.
You might be barred from entering spiritual places like temples, mosques, and churches if you are dressed inappropriately.
Ideally, if you will be visiting any religious institution, maxi dresses will be perfect. When you’re visiting malls or other public places, knee-length skirts or shorts will do.
Men in Kenya
There is no particular dress cord, although if you visit rural areas like the Maasai villages, you might see some men dressed in traditional sheets.
Feel free to dress in traditional sheets if you like, but it is not a requirement. When you’re visiting religious institutions, wear trousers and long-sleeved shirts.
Other Commonly-forgotten Items for a Trip to Kenya
Contact lens solution
Jacket: Women’s & Men’s
Drivers License/Photo ID
Credit Card and Cash
Packing List for Kenya: What Not to Bring
It’s important to note that plastic bags are not allowed in Kenya. This includes:
- Ziploc bags
- Grocery bags
- Garbage bags
- Duty-free bags
When traveling in Kenya, it’s advisable to use woven reusable bags instead.
Concluding the Kenya Packing List
The above list contains all the essential items that you’ll need on your Kenyan visit. Most of the items listed are lightweight to help you travel as light as possible.
This post helps you pack everything you need to be comfortable when you are away. But at the same time, not pack too much where it becomes a burden; this Kenya packing list provides precisely that.
You should use this packing list as a checklist to make sure you don’t leave anything behind on your getaway to Kenya.
21 Kenya Packing List Items
Tech and Gear
Shirt or Blouse
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