Travel Preparation Tips
Heart of Ruth volunteer coordinator will guide you through all these processes..
Updated immunizations are required for travel in Kenya. These immunizations include: MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, polio, hepatitis B, hepatitis A and typhoid, yellow fever.
Kenyan officials at the airport can check your immunization records upon entering the country, and they will be looking for specifically a yellow fever vaccination. It is a good idea to carry a copy of your full immunization record while in Kenya.
Malaria is quite common in Kenya and other African countries. It is important to talk to a health care provider about which medication would best suit you, and which is covered until your health plan. Medications previous volunteers have taken are Malarone and Doxycycline (these are the most commonly used). If your health plan does not cover malaria medications, then speak to your health care provider or travel clinic about obtaining samples.
These medications are antibiotics, and have different rules depending on the specific drugs. For doxycycline for example, one pill each day must be taken two days before your scheduled trip, each day during your trip, and for 4 weeks when you’ve returned home. Malarone has slightly different rules.
This is an optional medication that helps the prevention of traveler’s diarrhea. In the western world, a variety of chemicals and preservatives are used in all foods. In Kenya, these same chemicals and preservatives are not used. Everything in Kenya is natural, and mostly not chemically treated. This can create some mild stomach upset as our bodies are not used to eating this type of food. Many volunteers have went to Kenya, not taken this, and have been fine.
If you decide to take Dukoral, then two doses (at least one week apart) must be given before the journey begins and it will work in your digestive track for a total of three months.
Kenyan visa restrictions have changed and all travelers must obtain their visa prior to arriving at the airport in Kenya. This visa is found online at the Kenyan High Commission in Canada (or whichever country you are from).
To get a visa you must have:
- All paperwork filled out (found online)
- A valid national passport which does not expire for at least 6 months upon returning back to your home country
- One passport sized photo taken within 6 months
- $52.00 money order, cheque, or bankers draft made out to Kenya High Commission
- Your flight itinerary
- Enclose a pre-paid self-addressed return Xpresspost courier envelope from Canada Post (it should have a tracking number). Other courier services should have a “computer-generated label“
Send all of this in an Xpresspost courier envelope to the Kenya High Commission, and upon approval your passport with your Kenyan visa will be sent back to you within two weeks. HoR volunteer coordinator will assist you in this process.
Your passport must be valid for 6 months from the date of you returning to your home country. Always keep a copy of your passport with you.
Criminal Record Check
This is not mandatory to enter Kenya, but this is a Heart of Ruth requirement. To volunteer with our organization, we ask that you go to your local police department and obtain a criminal record check with the vulnerable sectors check complete. This is to ensure that our children and the children of the community remain safe and protected. This check could take up to 8 weeks to be complete, depending on police department, and requires $25.00 cash.
This is very important. When booking your trip to Kenya it is a must have to get travel insurance. You can receive insurance from a third party, or simply call your bank and they will set you up with the appropriate travel insurance. This is to get you the best help in Kenya if an accident occurs. Keep a copy of your travel insurance with you, and know the restrictions of the travel insurance.
* Heart of Ruth Mission will not be held liable for anything a volunteer does in Kenya. This is why travel insurance is important in case an accident happens. Heart of Ruth volunteer coordinators will set volunteers up with accommodations, volunteer opportunities and advice on travel but will not be held responsible for anything. Volunteers are responsible for their own travel insurance and personal decisions.
Before you travel it is important to inform your bank of your departure and which countries you will be visiting. Often if you have not informed your bank that you will be leaving, once you take out money in Kenya using your card, your bank will lock your account. To prevent this just give your bank the dates you will be out of country.
It is possible to use an unlocked phone in Kenya as you can buy a cheap SIM card to insert and use, but it is also very cheap to buy a little local phone for less than $20.00CAN and use it to call home. Safaricom and Airtel are frequently used in Kenya and HoR will assist you in this.
Wifi is available at all resorts and many local establishments.
The power outlet needed in Kenya is the Great Britain Grounded BS-1363 and can be found at many local stores before departure: