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Money

The currency in Kenya is the Kenyan Shilling and the exchange rate is roughly £1=125 KES, €1=100 KES, or US$1=100 KES. It is possible to get Kenyan Shillings before you travel and we suggest that you do this so you have some local currency as soon as you arrive in Kenya.

ATMs are common in most towns and can be used to get shillings and the exchange rate tends to be better in Kenya, which normally offsets the charges your card issuer makes on the transaction. Most shops in Nairobi accept credit cards such as Visa. This is rarely the case in other places. It is also possible to change travellers’ cheques, but does mean a marginally lower exchange rate, and normally queuing for a long time in a bank and we recommend you use ATMs instead.

Cash, both sterling and dollars, can be exchanged in most major towns but remember to get a receipt for everything. Do not try and change money on the street or anywhere outside of a recognised exchange bureau, you will get ripped off! This even includes some banks where changing money will normally take a long time.

Keep all money, and any other valuables, with you at all times or in the hotel safe if available. Do not leave it in your room!

Charity
If you want to give money to a charitable cause be very careful that you are not being conned. The country is full of people out to scam money from visitors to support what appear to be very worthwhile causes. If you want to support projects in East Africa then you are far better off channelling your donations through a registered UK charity. We work closely with a number of charities, in particular DEVELOPMENT DIRECT http://www.developmentdirect.org.uk/ who support a number of projects in the region, so you can be satisfied that any donations you make are being used wisely and are accountable.

Costs
Normally all of your travel and accommodation costs will have been paid for prior to the trip. In some cases accommodation is on a half board basis so you may need money for lunch. The only other additional expenditure will be for staff tips and any personal items or souvenirs you might choose to buy. The opportunity to go shopping can be limited but there is normally the chance to buy beadwork, material, carvings and other local artefacts. In places like Naivasha there are often a range of additional activities available including boat trips and bike rides.

Remember you may need US dollars for Visas and also for Park entry fees, if you are going on safari and haven't already paid these to us in advance.

Tipping
Tipping is expected for almost any service from carrying your bags, to service in restaurants, to taxi drivers. However, don’t tip too much. Although the tip may look embarrassingly small to you, it would be wrong to tip the hotel porter the equivalent of a daily rate for a teacher! Try to keep small denomination notes for tipping. At hotels and safari lodges it is normal to leave a group tip at the end of your stay that will be distributed amongst all the staff. On most of our safaris you will be expected to tip your guide, chef and camp staff. We can provide further advice on this before you travel.