16 Top Kenya Packing List Items + What to Wear & NOT to Bring (2019)

Updated on April 24, 2019 by Asher Fergusson

What should I bring on my Kenya trip?

Kenya is a spectacular country wear wild animals like elephants, lions, and giraffes roam free. Whether you are looking to go on a safari, hike Mount Kenya, learn about the culture from local tribes, or relax on a beach, Kenya has a lot to offer.

Keep on reading, to find out what you need to pack for your adventure! We have a section on what to wear in Kenya, what NOT to bring and answer many FAQs. Have a great trip!

1) Hat – With the sun’s strong rays, it’s important to bring a hat to help get some shade and stay cool.

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2) Shoes – Roads in Kenya are often unpaved so you may find it easier to walk in shoes. Women and Men

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3) Binoculars – An essential item if you plan on going on safari. Many animals like leopards or lions are at a distance or in the trees which makes them difficult to spot so you will need a pair of binoculars.

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4) Flashlight – In Kenya, the power often goes out and unless your place has a generator, it is a good idea to bring a flashlight.

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5) Camera – Having a camera which allows you to take good quality zoomed in pictures is another essential to a safari.

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6) Video Camera – Kenya is a trip of a lifetime and you will want to keep those memories. The best way is by capturing your trip on video. This one can shoot wide angles and is waterproof up to 98 feet.

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7) Mosquito Spray – Malaria is prevalent in Kenya so it is very important that you always wear mosquito spray. Sprays are non existent in Kenya and instead they have a cream you can put on but none have deet.

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8) Water Bottle – Stay hydrated by always carrying a water bottle with you. This one is great since it is collapsible for easy storage, is shatterproof and BPA free.

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9) Sunscreen – Another essential to Kenya which has a hot climate. Make sure to buy some sunscreen with at least 35 SPF.

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10) Travel Guide – If you are looking for ideas of where to go, things to do, where to eat and stay, Lonely Planet is a great source of information for your Kenya trip.

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11) Travel Insurance – Give yourself peace of mind by getting travel insurance before your trip. World Nomads is a popular provider amongst travelers which covers emergency medical, trip cancellation, and even your tech gear like laptops and cameras.

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12) Power Adaptor – In Kenya, the standard voltage is 240 volts. Countries like the US and Canada will need a power adaptor if you plan on plugging anything in.

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13) VPN – There are many countries which have restricted access to websites. To ensure you can view any site around the world, get a VPN.

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14) RFID Wallet – Pickpocketing is a common crime in major cities like Nairobi and Mombassa. Protect your cash and cards with an RFID wallet.

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15) Day Bag – For all your safaris and excursions, it’s good to have a day bag. This one is great because it’s compact for easy storage and is also waterproof.

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16) Packing Cubes – To help yourself from overpacking get packing cubes. These can fit in hand luggage and helps keep your clothing wrinkle free and organized.

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Other packing list items to consider bringing to Kenya

For more ideas of useful items during any season, pack these along!

What Should I Wear in the Kenya?

In Kenya, choose clothing in neutral colors that are light and comfortable.

Locals have a casual, easy-going style. Men will fit in well with flip-flops, shorts, and a teeshirt. Women can also wear shorts and a teeshirt or summer dresses. Just avoid wearing anything too revealing such as crop tops and shirts with plunging necklines especially on the Kenyan coast where there is a large Muslim population.

You will not need to bring more than two pairs of footwear. Trainers and a pair of comfortable sandals are all you need.

On the beaches, a good choice for men is board-shorts. Women can wear bikinis or a one-piece. A sarong and beach towel should also be packed with plenty of sunscreen and a hat.

If you are going on safari, dress in layers because it can be quite cool in the morning. Pants which can convert into shorts are very useful. On top wear a teeshirt and sweater. A hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen should be worn to protect against the sun.

Theft and pickpocketing are common crimes so make sure to keep cash credit cards and any other valuables protected with an RFID wallet, crossbody bag or money belt.

What NOT to take to Kenya

1) 🚫 DON’T BRING valuables – There is a lot of poverty in Kenya and theft crimes are common. Be smart by keeping your valuables at home.
2) 🚫 DON’T CARRY a lot of cash – Cities like Nairobi and Mombasa will have ATMs available and hotels and restaurants will take visa or master card. Remember to protect your cash in a money belt.
3) 🚫 DON’T TAKE an expensive cellphone – Tourists are strongly recommended to bring a simple burner phone.
4) 🚫 DON’T PACK bright colored clothing – if you are going on safari. Bright colors will attract insects and wild animals. Stick with neutrals.
5) 🚫 DON’T WEAR camouflage – It is illegal to wear.
6) 🚫 DONT’T BRING heels – Many roads are unpaved and there are few places where you would ever need to wear them while visiting.

Kenya has two seasons: dry and wet.

Dry season includes June, July, August, September, and October. These months are much cooler where the temperature is around 73°F. There is very little rain and humidity during these months which makes it a great time to visit the beaches. Things to pack while visiting during the dry season include sandals, shorts, capris, teeshirts, and tanks. Don’t pack too much warm clothing, you will be fine with just 1-2 pairs of pants and long-sleeved shirts or light sweaters. Also, don’t forget a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.

The wet season includes November, December, January, February, March, April, and May. During these months the rain will vary. November and December will receive short periods of rainfall and usually occurs in the late afternoon or evening. January and February will actually receive less rain but March-May are the rainiest months and downpours can be expected. During these months the average temperature ranges between 75°F-86°F. Make sure to pack light, breathable clothing. Shorts and dry fit teeshirts work best. Also, bring a travel-sized umbrella and a light rain jacket or a rain poncho. Waterproof shoes or plastic sandals work well for footwear.

10 Frequently Asked Questions about travel in Kenya

1) Is it safe to visit Kenya?

Compared to other African countries, Kenya is relatively safe. However, you should check with your government’s national travel advisory before planning a trip. Exercise street smarts in the day and avoid going out at night.

2) Do I need a visa?

While there are some countries whose nationals don’t require a visa to enter Kenya, if you are coming from the US, Canada, Europe, Australia and many non-African countries, you will need a visa. Check with the Kenya High Commission for the complete list of countries that are visa exempt.

3) Do I need vaccinations?

Common vaccinations required for a trip to Kenya are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rabies and typhoid, diphtheria, polio, measles, and yellow fever. It is best to consult with a doctor for vaccinations that you will need specific to your trip.

4) Can I drink tap water?

No, you can only drink boiled or bottled water.

5) Is English spoken in Kenya?

Yes, Kenya’s two official languages are English and Swahili.

6) What currency is used in Kenya?

The Kenyan shilling is used as currency although, on safari, many national parks will also take USD.

7) How much money should I bring?

Kenya is a fairly expensive country. On a low budget, expect to pay around $100/day. For Midrange to high budgets, $100-$250 a day is the norm.

8) Where are the best places to see wildlife?

In Kenya, there is an abundance of wildlife. Some of the best places include Amboseli, Lake Nakuru, Tsavo west, Maasai Mara, and Nairobi National Park.

9) What is the Big Five?

The Big Five refers to the most popular as well as some of the most challenging animals to spot on safari. These animals include elephant, lion, buffalo, rhino, and leopard.

10) What else is there to do in Kenya besides safari?

Hike Mount Kenya, have breakfast with giraffes at Giraffe Manor, relax on Kenya’s beautiful coastal sandy beaches, scuba dive or snorkel with abundant sea life, visit coffee and tea plantations, and try out the local cuisine!

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