Business Jet Ops to Kenya: Hotels & Local Area
This is a post by author Victoria Swai. Victoria is a permits officer for Kilimanjaro Aviation Logistics Centre (KALC), a subsidiary of Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc. which is headquartered in Mwanza, Tanzania. Victoria is an expert on permits for the African region and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This business aviation blog post is part of a series on operating in Kenya and continues from our last article: “Business Jet Ops to Kenya: Flight Planning, Weather & NOTAMs.”
When conducting business aircraft ops to Kenya, keep in mind that summer is high season for tourism, and options for preferred hotel accommodations may be more limited during this period. First-time visitors need to also be aware of hotel and ground transport conditions, as well as requirements for documentation, vacations, agriculture, and security – all of which we will cover below:
1. Hotel options
A good selection of hotel accommodations, including large international chains, is available in Kenya’s larger cities. While most major hotels are close to the city centers, Nairobi (HKJK) also offers hotel options close to the airport. Limited hotel options are available in smaller Kenyan cities. Hotels sell out occasionally in rare cases of large conferences.
2. Hotel quality
It’s recommended that crew members not stay in anything less than 4-star hotels. These hotels offer the best security, transportation options, and amenities. Four-star hotel accommodations in larger cities typically cost 200-300 USD per night.
3. Hotel credit and services
Short-notice hotel booking requests are seldom an issue in Kenya; however, some hotels may accept only credit cards or cash. In many cases hotels will want payment for room reservations in advance. For hotels that only accept cash, your ground handler can organize payment arrangements with prior notice.
4. Local transport options
Prepaid transport (car with driver) is the recommended option for crews staying in Kenya. It’s best to make arrangements with your ground handler in advance for these services. Public transport in Kenya is usually reliable, and public taxis are generally considered safe, although best avoided at night. Your hotel may also be able to arrange local transport between the airport and hotel and within the area around the hotel. Airport and city center hotels often pick you up or drop you off at the terminal. Be advised that, depending on the hotel, there may be an additional charge for hotel transportation.
5. Rental car options
Rental cars are available at all major and domestic airports in Kenya. Your ground handler can make arrangements with reputable rental car agencies and have the vehicle waiting for you. Most of the time, it’s not an issue getting around with a rental car in Kenyan cities as road signage is usually adequate and clear. Getting around outside the cities can be more difficult if you are not familiar with the area. Note that vehicle types vary, so it’s important to specify if you want an automatic or manual transmission.
6. Rental cars with drivers
In Kenya – and this is fairly unique in the rental car world – you can request a driver for your rental car for the duration of your stay. You may select a “driver option” when requesting other options such as “GPS” or “return with tank full.” Your ground handler can provide you a quote for this service.
7. Documentation considerations
For entry into Kenya, you’ll need passports with minimum six months’ remaining validity. If passenger visas are required, based on nationality, these must be obtained prior to arrival. Note that certain African nationalities are exempt from visa requirements. For more information on visas, see the immigration website for Kenya. Visas are never needed for crew members, regardless of nationality, as long as crew members are listed on the gen dec. Be aware that, when you arrive in Kenya, both a gen dec and a passenger manifest need to be presented. Arrival/departure cards also need to be completed by passengers/crew members. Note that ground handlers are not permitted to fill out these cards for you unless there’s a language barrier.
All visitors to Kenya must provide evidence of yellow fever vaccination. Inoculations must be obtained a minimum of 10 days prior to entering Kenya. You’ll need to have the vaccination certificate with you; otherwise, you’ll not be permitted entry into the country. Malaria is also a concern in Kenya. We recommend that all visitors take anti-malaria medications to avoid contacting malaria while in the country. It’s also best to be up to date on hepatitis A and typhoid vaccinations and be sure to drink only bottled or sterilized water while in Kenya. For more information on health precautions for Kenya, see the CDC website.
9. Agricultural restrictions
There are currently no restrictions on food and agricultural products that you may bring into Kenya so long as these items are declared. So, it’s possible to offload onboard catering and keep it with you or leave it at the airport for the duration of your stay in Kenya. Note, however, that there are plant material restrictions, about which you should consult your 3rd-party provider.
10. Security issues
Kenya, for the most part, is a relatively safe country. General security precautions, as with any international region, are recommended. Obtain security briefs in advance of each trip to Kenya, avoid walking alone at night, and be aware of your surroundings. Also, avoid travel close to the border with Somalia, due to the security and unrest issues that country is experiencing.
11. Additional reading: Business Aircraft Ops to Kenya – Series Index
Note: Links will be updated as articles are published.
- Part 1 – Airport operations
- Part 2 – Ground handling
- Part 3 – Fuel, security, and additional services
- Part 4 – CIQ
- Part 5 – CIQ, documentation, and tech stops
- Part 6 – Permits and slots
- Part 7 – Flight planning, weather, and NOTAMs
- Part 8 – Hotels and local area
Operators are advised to be diligent in complying with Kenyan yellow fever vaccination requirements. If a passenger does not have a valid immunization certificate, he or she will be refused entry to the country. There are international hotel chains in large cities, but fewer options at smaller destinations. In any case it’s always recommended that operators only consider 4-star hotels or above due to amenities and services at such hotels.