Budget tips: What did we spend travelling in Kenya

Last Updated on by Charlotte van de Sande

How much costs a trip through Kenya? The answer to this question is quite dependent on the type of traveller you are, the activities you do and how long you are about to travel the country. But of course, I can say something about what we have spent in Kenya. So in this blog: how expensive was our trip through Kenya and what how much money would we advise you to budget for Kenya?


Is Kenya a budget destination?

No, Kenya is certainly not a budget destination. The country has traditionally been visited by wealthy, elderly tourists. You will notice this in many things such as accommodation and safari prices. The entrance fee to national parks is higher than in neighbouring countries such as Uganda and Tanzania.

Yet, it is certainly possible to travel through Kenya on a small/backpacker’s budget. Public transport is cheap, food and especially fresh fruit are affordable and accommodations do not have to be expensive. And if you are a little creative, you can also do safaris without breaking the bank. We did a very cool safari in Maasai Mara for a very nice price. Read the blog I wrote about this here.Maasai Mara Game Drive Budget


How much money did we spend in Kenya?

First a disclaimer: Everyone travels in his or her way and has different priorities. That is completely fine, but keep this in mind when you read through our budget. It can always be more expensive or cheaper.

We made a budget trip through Kenya, mainly staying in hostels and traveled by public transport. Our trip through Kenya is part of our world trip where we also travel through Madagascar, Uganda and Rwanda.

During this trip we have had collaborations, resulting in discounts on accommodations. I did not include these discounts in the calculation below to give a representative picture of the actual prices in Kenya.

What we spend in Kenya in total:

Number of days: 26

Total spent: 351,139 Sh / € 3066.45 / $ 3411.41
Expenditure per person: 175,570 Sh / € 1533.23 / $ 1705.71
Avg expenditure per day: 13,505 Sh / € 117.94 / $ 131.21

Our budget: 18,207 Sh / € 159 / $ 176.88
Days on or under budget: 4
Days above budget: 21

All expenses are for two people and are calculated based on exchange rates during the trip. This budget does not include our airline tickets. The currencies displayed are: Kenyan Shilling (Sh), Euro (€) and USA Dollar ($).Maasai Mara Migration Wildebeest Kenya Safari Cheetah


How much money to budget for accommodations in Kenya: 41% of total

Total spent: 143,828Sh / € 1256.03 / $ 1397.32
Number of nights: 25
Average overnight stay for 2 people: 5752.99 Sh / € 50.24 / $ 55.89

Luxury hotels, beautiful lodges and beautiful safari tents are abundant in Kenya. However, these are generally not cheap! In some safari parks, a price of €1500 per night is not at all crazy. With our average spending of €50.24 per night for two people, we were a lot below that amount.

We often stayed in hostels or budget campsites where we slept in a rented tent. However, our last seven days were spend in luxury on the beautiful island of Lamu. Here we stayed in the beautiful Jua House. Totally worth it! Wonder what that was like? Then read this blog.

Below you will find all the hotels we stayed in Kenya:

Maasai Mara Game drive budgetLamu Jua House


How much money to budget for transport in Kenya: 16.5% of total

Total spent: 58,450 Sh / € 506.46 / $ 563.43
Taxi: 9,051 Sh / € 79.04 / $ 87.93
Flights: 30,186Sh / € 263.61 / $ 293.26
Buses: 7,500 Sh / € 65.49 / $ 72.86

In Nairobi, we used Uber, very easy and really needed with the large distances that you sometimes have to cover in the city. We, therefore, incurred most of the above taxi costs in the seven days we spend in Nairobi.

Furthermore, we mainly travelled by public transport: Ries will definitly never forget the Matatus in Kenya. With his 1.93m he became didn’t really like the tiny vans. The Kenyans manage to put at least 22 passengers in one Matatu with 14 seats. Oh well, it’s definitely an adventure. In addition, the Matatu drivers are often so flexible to drop you off wherever you want to be dropped off, and that is very handy.

We booked our flight to Lamu a few weeks in advance, making it slightly more expensive than normal. Booking a bit more in advance, you will be able to fly for less than €100 per person.Flight 540 Lamu Kenya


How much money to budget for food in Kenya: 21.9% of total

Total spent: 77,025 Sh / € 672.65 / $ 748.32
Of which food and drinks: 55,995 Sh / € 489 / $ 544.01
Of which groceries: 21,029 Sh / € 183.65 / $ 204.31
Expenditure per day (2 people): 2,962 Sh / € 25.87 / $ 28.78

The costs of eating in Kenya were somewhat higher for us than in neighbouring country Uganda. This was mainly because we could not cook much ourselves here. In Uganda we travelled with camping gear, making it very easy to cook. In Kenya, we were often dependent on restaurants, which were not always cheap.

However, I still think that €12.90 expenditure per person per day on food is better than expected. For this, we ate tasty and relatively healthy. Especially the food on the island of Lamu was delicious: tuna, fresh fruit and local vegetables!Lamu Jua House


How much money to budget for activities in Kenya: 15.1% of total

Total spent: 53,434 Sh / € 463 / $ 515.08
Safaris: 120,000 Sh / € 104 / $ 115.69
Access to national parks: 27,134 Sh / € 235.11 / $ 261.56
Lamu boat trip: 5,186Sh / € 44.94 / $ 50

The costs for activities were not too bad for us and that is mainly because we did most safaris in neighbouring country Uganda. We only did two safaris in Kenya: the Maasai Mara (so cool) and a bike safari in Hells Gate. If we had only visited Kenya, these prices would have been absolutely higher because we would have done more safaris

Activities in Kenya are generally very expensive. You pay high entrance fees to enter national parks or reserves and game drives are also not cheap.Lamu Dowh

Hell's gate National Park on a bike


Other expenses: 0.5% of total

Total spent: 19,424 Sh / € 168.31 / $ 187.24
SIM card: 2,505 Sh / € 21.71 / $ 24.15
Beauty products: 2,117 Sh / € 18.35 / $ 20.41
Tip: 7,573 Sh / € 65.62 / $ 73.00
Souvenirs: 7,228 Sh / € 62.63 / $ 69.68

Kenya was our last country and so we also bought the necessary souvenirs here.

We bought a prepaid SIM card from Africell with 8GB of internet and 400 calling minutes. We paid 1000 sh for this (around 10 dollars). The corresponding SIM card cost 550 sh. We had good coverage almost everywhere with Aricell.


What does food cost in Kenya?

  • 1 kilo of apples: 299 Sh / € 2.59 / $ 2.88
  • 250 ml olive oil: 525 Sh / € 4.54 / $ 5.05
  • 1 bag of chips: 150 Sh / € 1.29 / $ 1.43
  • 1 kilo of bananas: 84 Sh / € 0.72 / $ 0.80
  • Yoghurt (0.5 L): 92 Sh / € 0.80 / $ 0.89
  • 1 bread: 120 Sh / € 1.04 / $ 1.15
  • 1 avocado: 30 Sh / € 0.26 / $ 0.29
  • Pack of milk (1L): 129Sh / € 1.09 / $ 1.21
  • Bottle of cola (2L): 149 Sh / € 1.29 / $ 1.44
  • Pot of Nutella (350 ml): 600 Sh / € 5.19 / $ 5.77
  • Bottle of water (1.5 L): 70 Sh / € 0.61 / $ 0.67

  • Bottle of wine in supermarket (750 ml): 1200 Sh / € 10.39 / $ 11.56
  • Bottle of beer in the supermarket: 176Sh / € 1.53 / $ 1.70
  • Bottle of shampoo: 300 Sh / € 2.59 / $ 2.88
  • Cappuccino: 250 Sh / € 2.16 / $ 2.40
  • Glass of wine in restaurant: 450 Sh / € 3.89 / $ 4.32
  • Local beer in a restaurant: 234 Sh / € 2.02 / $ 2.25
  • Simple lunch/evening meal (1 person): 1000 Sh / € 8.66 / $ 9.63
  • 1 liter of diesel: 100Sh / € 0.88 / $ 0.97

Lamu


Conclusion: is Kenya expensive?

Yes, Kenya is an expensive country to visit as a tourist. The gap between what locals earn and what you spend as a tourist is also very large…  The minimum salary in Kenya is only 20038 sh, which amounts to €173, while as a tourist we already spend €117.94 per day. This makes Kenya even for Kenyans themselves very expensive!

What is a realistic daily budget for Kenya?

A realistic daily budget for Kenya as a backpacker is around 75 euros per person per day. You will travel by public transport, sleep in hostels, eat simple meals with the occasional outlier, do about three budget safaris and visit several national parks. This is roughly in line with what Lonely Planet has as spending indication for a budget backpacker (100 usd)


Travel blogs on KenyaClick here for all my blogs about Kenya.


Like this post? Pin it!

Budget and money for traveling through Kenya. Backpackers budget + what did we spend?


Other travel blogs on Kenya

Packing list: What do you pack for a multi-day trek in the Himalayas?
Diary: the Annapurna Circuit, our highest hike ever (5416 meters!)

Leave a comment

Theme developed by TouchSize - Premium WordPress Themes and Websites
Volg Charlotte via e-mail

Voer je e-mailadres in om Charlotte Plans a Trip te volgen en om per e-mail meldingen over nieuwe artikelen te ontvangen.