Perhaps the main reason to visit Kenya? Because it is one of the most – if not the most – popular safari destinations in the entire world.
Rich in wildlife and preserves that are well-protected by the government, you won’t find a better place for viewing and interacting with the flora and fauna of the savanna.
Although some aspects of travel are quite high – such as the plane tickets and safari trips – most are low. That means Kenya is a great destination for budget travelers, especially if you’re unfussy about where you stay and eat.
If you’re not a budget traveler and want the 5-star experience, no problem! Kenya can accommodate that as well, with beautiful resorts, lovely tours, and amazing restaurants.
In this guide, we’ll assume a moderate budget and break down the costs accordingly. Read on to learn everything you need to know about a Kenya trip today.
Average Trip to Kenya Cost in 2024
An average one-week trip to Kenya for two people will cost around $4,500:
- Average Accommodation Cost: $100 per night
- Average Total Flight Cost: $1,250 per person
- Food, Drink & Activities: $50 per person, per day
- Transportation: $200 total
- Total Cost: $4,500
Luckily, the exchange rate between the US dollar and the Kenyan shilling is extremely favorable, so you can save money by paying for food, lodging, gifts, and so forth in the local currency.
However, some big tours and experiences will require dollars, so keep those on hand as well. In the next section, we’ll break down the cost of traveling to Kenya by each of the above items: accommodations, food and drink, activities, flights, and transportation.
Once you finish reading, you’ll have a much better idea of where you can save money and where to spend big.
Kenya Trip Cost: Average by Item
It’s very affordable to take a trip to Kenya. Although you must exercise increased caution due to the poverty of many of its citizens and the crime rates, you can find plenty of safe and affordable places to stay during your trip. Let’s take a look at the breakdown.
Many travelers are delighted to discover how inexpensive Kenya’s accommodations are. You can book a nice stay at a 3-star hotel for only $40 a night for two, including spas and pools. If a resort is more your thing, you’ll pay between $200 and $300 a night.
Middle-of-the-road to higher-end fan favorites include the Crowne Plaza Nairobi Airport, perfect if you’re just staying for a night or two in the city; the PrideInn Paradise Beach Resort & Spa; the Voyager Beach Resort; and the Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa.
Before you book a place in Kenya, make sure to check several review blogs or travel sites to verify its authenticity before giving out credit card information.
You can also book places to stay on Airbnb, which verifies its hosts well. Overall, plan to spend about $100 a night on average, not including the nights you’re in the bush for safari (see below).
This will give you enough to go budget for a few nights and spend a few more nights at a nice hotel. Assuming you’ll take a two-night safari and won’t need accommodations those nights, plan to spend about $500 total on lodging.
We’ll say this upfront: getting to Kenya from the United States is a loooooong travel day and is easily the most expensive part of any Kenya trip.
You should plan to spend about 24 hours in transit, but you will pay more for the privilege of only traveling for a day – around $1,200 per person. If you’re willing to spend more time in transit (around 30 hours), you can fly for less, perhaps $800 to $1,000 per person.
Flights inside the country are much more affordable. You can fly from Nairobi to Mombasa for only $120, and as it’s a safer way to travel than by road, you should definitely take a plane between big cities.
Assuming two people flying to Kenya and hopping a flight inside the country twice, plan to pay a total of $2,500 or $1,250 total for one. The good news? These steep costs are offset by the cheap prices of almost every other aspect of your trip.
Food, Drink & Activity Costs
Kenya is a cheap date when it comes to food and beverages. You can get a fun meal at an inexpensive restaurant for less than $5 American per person.
Calculating that out over a week for two people, you should expect to pay about $150 for the bulk of your food. Add in another couple hundred for nice meals and snacks, and you will pay around $50 per day, per person.
This food calculator can help you get more specific. One of the most expensive – but most unmissable – activities in Kenya is safari. You can choose to go for a day trip, or you can stay out in the bush with qualified guides who will protect you and help you get to the best viewing spots.
If you want to see some of the world’s most impressive creatures up close – from cheetahs and leopards to lions and giraffes, elephants, and beyond – then you absolutely must book a safari.
The price for a safari varies wildly, so it’s hard to pinpoint an exact number you can expect to pay. You can book day trips for as little as $125 per person per day.
It will likely cost more for a good overnight trip, say around $200. If you want to go on a more extensive trip, prepare to shell out around $600 per person for a three-nighter.
As an average, you should set aside about $1,000 for two people to have an out-in-the-bush experience with qualified guides, transportation, meals, and lodging provided.
if you’re looking for a wildlife experience that’s a little less time-consuming and expensive, consider a Nairobi National Park layover tour.
This will cost closer to $200 per person, and you can do it in the time it takes to wait for your next flight, since it’s the only national park in the world set within city limits!
Kenya also offers plenty of free and low-cost activities, such as the beach, hiking in its many beautiful parks, and walking the streets of its cities – but make sure to do so during the day.
Taxi costs are extremely low in Kenya at only around $1.50 per kilometer when converted from Kenyan shillings.
Private cars are also affordable, though you should expect to pay more and the price will vary depending on many factors: whether you’re going to and from the airport, how far you’re traveling, whether you’re on a tour, and whether you’re going between cities.
Driving in Kenya can be a harrowing experience, so we typically don’t recommend that foreigners do so. With unkempt roads and unsafe drivers abounding, it’s better to hire a taxi or local guide. Just make sure to negotiate the fare ahead of time.
Overall, not including the cost of safaris, you should expect to pay around $200 for a couple for a week for taxi use. If you rent a private car, expect to pay a bit more.
Things to Consider
Now that we’ve discussed basics, here are a few more things to keep in mind:
- Be sure to go on safari, as Kenya offers the absolute pinnacle experience when it comes to savanna wildlife viewing. If you’re a budget traveler who simply can’t afford to do so, however, be sure to read the next tip!
- Consider the Nairobi stopover, where a tour company will pick you up for a few hours and take you on a wildlife adventure to Nairobi National Park before your next flight. It’s a great way to see a bit more of the spectacular Kenyan park scene without having to book accommodations in the big city.
- Kenya is an impoverished nation, so avoid flashing any wealth around. Do not go out at night in the city, where terrorism and mugging are common. Keep your money close to you, leave jewelry at home, and remain vigilant in public areas.
- Get vaccinated before you go. Make sure you’re current on malaria, cholera, yellow fever, diphtheria, typhoid, and tetanus, as well as your routine vaccinations.
- Kenya is cracking down on LGBTQ+ relationships, so although the country does not legally have the right to condemn foreigners, same-sex couples and trans individuals may face serious persecution in the country. Although it is offensive to have to quell your identity, you will be safer if you appear to be a heterosexual, cis-gendered person. Do your research about this and decide what feels most comfortable and true for you, but be aware of the dangers.
- The US dollar is widely accepted and sometimes even required, so keep a mix of dollars and Kenyan shillings on hand.
Frequently Asked Questions
When is the best time to visit Kenya?
As the famous Maasai Mara National Park points out, there are two rainy seasons in Kenya: a long one from March to May (the masika) and a short one in November and December (the vuli). There are pros and cons of visiting during versus avoiding the rainy season.
On the downside, roads may become swampy or impassable, which can ruin your chances of a good safari. If that’s the only reason you’re coming to Kenya, you should book your trip outside of it.
On the upside, costs are much lower this time of year, so budget travelers will rejoice. Also, the rain brings out lots of wildlife that isn’t ordinarily as visible, especially the birds. If you’re a birdwatching aficionado, this is the time to go.
Is Kenya safe?
Generally speaking, Kenya is safe for tourists if you take the proper precautions. The US Department of State advises that “Violent crime, such as armed carjacking, mugging, home invasion, and kidnapping, can occur at any time.
Local police often lack the capability to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents and terrorist attacks.”
Remaining aware of your surroundings is the best way to stay safe. However, there are places to which you should not travel, so check the above link before planning your lodging.
Do you need a tourist visa?
American citizens wishing to travel to Kenya will need a visa. That is not the same as a passport, but is rather an additional document giving you permission to be in the country, and is required for you to be there any length of time. Fortunately, it only takes a few minutes to get it online.
Is Kenya expensive?
No, most of Kenya is quite affordable. That makes it easy to save your money to stay in nice hotels in safe parts of the country or to go on safari.
Should I plan to drive in Kenya?
You probably shouldn’t plan to drive in Kenya. Its dubious road conditions, unsafe vehicles, untrustworthy drivers, and the frequency of carjackings all combine to make it a bad idea. You’re much better off in the company of a reputable driver.
So, What Is the Average Cost for a Kenya Trip?
|🛎️ Average Accommodation Cost
|$100 per night
|✈️ Average Flight Cost
|$1,250 per person
|🍽️ Food, Drink & Activities
|$50 per person, per day
|💲 Total Cost
The average cost of a one-week trip to Kenya is around $4,500 for two people. You can save money by spending some nights in more affordable hotels and eating street food or in inexpensive restaurants, as well as getting around by taxi.
You should plan to spend big on flights there and a safari experience if you can afford it.
No matter what you do, Kenya is the wildlife experience of a lifetime, and everyone should go at least once in their lives if they can. We look forward to hearing all about your travels!