School Trek - Mount Kenya & the Samburu
By African standards, Kenya is a medium-size country of some 560,000sq km. It is situated on Africa's east coast and has borders with Tanzania to the south, Uganda to the west, Ethiopia to the north, Somalia to the east and Sudan to the northwest. Located on the equator, Kenya has an Indian Ocean coastline and also has approximately 160km (100 miles) of coastline on the eastern shores of the vast Lake Victoria. The biggest peak in Kenya is Mount Kenya at 5199 metres (17057ft.), which is centrally located within the country, to the northeast of the capital, Nairobi. Kenya's other major geographical features are the impressive Rift Valley and the Central Highlands (of which Mount Kenya is a part). North of Mount Kenya, the terrain becomes increasingly arid and this part of the country is rarely visited.
The time in Kenya is GMT + 3 hours.
The official languages of Kenya are English and Swahili though most people speak Kiswahili. You will find that a lot of people speak English in Kenya so you will not have any problems buying souvenirs or ordering in restaurants etc. We do recommend that you get a phrase book (Kiswahili) and learn a few phrases such as common greetings as this will enhance your experience.
The highland areas of East Africa, including the part of Kenya which we will be visiting have a pleasant, temperate climate throughout the year with a long rainy season from mid March to June and a second, shorter rainy period from October to late December. The maximum daytime temperatures that we will encounter at the foot of Kenya at the time of any of our scheduled departures will be around 25 to 28°C/77 to 82°F, dropping to 15°C/59°F at night. Once we are climbing, we can expect the temperatures to be rather lower, with daytime temperatures at 3000 metres or 10000 feet being around 15°C/59°F. Higher up (above 4000 metres or 13,000 feet) the night-time temperatures will fall below freezing and it will also be no more than 10°C/50°F during the day, although in the heat of the sun it will feel warmer than this.
The unit of currency in Kenya is the Kenyan shilling. For up to date exchange rates visit: www.xe.com
It is not necessary to obtain local currency prior to your departure. We recommend that you carry your travel money in the form of cash. Sterling, Euros and US dollars are readily exchanged. If for security reasons you prefer to use travellers cheques this is OK but please be aware that you are likely to get a poorer rate of exchange and you may be more limited as to where you can change money. Credit cards can be used to purchase goods and services and it is a good idea to carry one in case of emergencies.
A valid passport is required with 6 months remaining validity at the time of travelling. All nationalities need visas for entry into Kenya. The easiest way for you to do this is on arrival. If you prefer to arrange your visa in advance this is possible and in this case you will need to contact the Kenya embassy in your home country. We will provide you with up to date information on visa fees and the application process with your booking confirmation.
You should attend your own doctor and dentist for a check-up. Your doctor will have access to the most up to date information on the required vaccinations for the country you are visiting. In general we recommend vaccinations against the following: Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid, & Hepatitis ‘A'. Malaria prophylaxis is also recommended. A very good online resource is the NHS travel website at www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk
Additional Sources of Information
East Africa. Lonely Planet.
Trekking in East Africa. Else.
Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro. Climbing Guide.
Trekking Guide to East Africa - David Else
Guide to Mt Kenya & Kilimanjaro - Mountain Club of Kenya
Kenya - Travel Survival Kit - Geoff Crowther Lonely Planet
The Mountains of Kenya - A Walkers Guide - Paul Clarke
Mountain Walking in Kenya - David Else Robertson McCarta 1990
East Africa Handbook - Michael Hodd - Footprint Handbooks 1996
Mt Kenya - Reader
Mt Kenya - Willetts & Amin
Snowcaps on the Equator - Iain Allan & Clive Ward
East African Wildlife. Insight Guides
Birds of Kenya & Northern Tanzania. Christopher Helm
Mount Kenya - Map and Guide, West Col productions 1: 50,000