Internet access is an important part of 21st century travel. Visitors to African nations like Kenya often wonder how easy it will be to connect and if Wi-Fi is readily available.
Accessing the internet in Kenya is reasonably easy. Broadband is widely used, particularly in the main cities, and Kenya boasts one of the fastest connection speeds in Africa.
Discover how international visitors can stay connected during their stay with this guide to the internet in Kenya.
Can I Use My Cell Phone for the Internet in Kenya?
With coverage of 3G and 4G networks available in Kenya, smartphones are useful ways to access the internet.
Some international network providers include Kenya in their plans and their customers are able to use their phones as normal while visiting the country. However, roaming charges for internet use tend to be quite high and calls are often relatively expensive.
A good option for saving money is to purchase a local SIM card in Kenya and/or a GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) mobile device. Both internet data and calls from a Kenyan SIM tend to be much more affordable.
Internet service providers in Kenya that offer reasonably priced data and decent speeds include the following mobile networks:
For internet access on their cell phone, travelers can dial *544# and select a data pack that suits their needs.
Visitors going on safari in Kenya should be aware that network coverage is unreliable in the bush, including the country’s nature reserves and national parks.
Is There Wi-Fi in Kenya?
The option that provides the cheapest internet in Kenya is taking advantage of free Wi-Fi and leaving your cell phone on airplane mode when not connected to a wireless network.
Wi-Fi is available at most tourist resorts and at most hotels in major cities like Nairobi, especially at those that cater for international visitors. Aside from the traveler’s accommodation in Kenya, free Wi-Fi may also be available in cafés, shopping centers, and other establishments.
Smaller, budget accommodation and hotels in more rural areas may be lacking in Wi-Fi. However, most options available for travelers in Kenya will have a secure wireless network.
Wi-Fi speeds tend to be reasonably quick in the main cities, but can vary in other regions and may be unreliable in tourist lodges and accommodation in remote areas.
Cyber Café Services in Kenya
Cyber cafés can be found in many towns and cities in Kenya, which provide a variety of services in addition to simply providing an internet connection. Among other things, customers can:
- Use a printer
- Burn CDs and DVDs
- Scan documents
Kenyan cyber cafés may be a good option for visitors who need to use the internet for an extended period, print a boarding pass, or use a computer rather than a phone.
Communicating in Kenya When the Internet Is Not an Option
If the internet is not available, the traveler would rather not spend more on roaming data, or simply prefers to make a phone call rather than go online, telephone coverage is usually possible.
Kenya’s communications network is accessible from most parts of the country and provides the necessary services for domestic and international phone calls and fax.
Making International Calls From Kenya
Most cities and towns in Kenya have coverage that allows for international direct dial.
This means that foreign nationals visiting the country can call home using the international prefix (000) to dial another country from Kenya and the international code of the country they are calling before the number.
For example, if an individual wanted to call a US number, they would first dial “0001”, followed by the number.
How to Communicate Without a Phone in Kenya
If the traveler is visiting a particularly remote destination, with no access to phone networks, radio links may be available to relay messages as necessary.
Kenya’s postal mail service is another communication option for international visitors who are staying in the country for more than 2 weeks. Mail will reach its destination in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, or Australia within a period of 5 to 14 days.
How to Prepare for A Trip to Kenya
Before traveling to Kenya, it is a good idea to check if your mobile network provider covers the country and what the roaming data rates would be.
Some travelers may prefer to use their usual cell phone and either pay roaming fees or stick to using free wifi. Others may prefer to purchase a Kenyan SIM card and data package to save money and use their phone wherever they go in the country.
Aside from preparing for internet access in Kenya, travelers can prepare for their visit by doing the following:
It is also important to have the correct documentation to enter the country. For many nationalities, this will be the Kenya tourist eVisa.
This electronic travel document can be obtained by completing the Kenya eVisa application form online. This is quick and straightforward and eliminates the need to travel to an embassy.