Backpacking Kenya. Visa and borders.

Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda, these 4 countries, have special border agreements, as they are part of the East Africa Community. You can travel between these countries with a “single” visa of each country, crossing several times.
For example, from Nairobi (Kenya) you can go to Arusha (Tanzania) and back to Kenya and it´s OK with a single visa of Kenya and a single visa of  Tanzania.


For Kenya, you could get visa on arrival, at the airport, with Spanish passports, and most UE passports.
Now, since april-august 2015, you have to apply in advance ONLINE, (you pay with bank card and get a pdf, 2 days).
Complete information:

  • Single Visa: 50 $ for 90 days  (now 51$ with online fee).
  • Multiple Visa: 100$ for 6 months. 
  • East Africa Visa: 100$ for 90 days, 3 countries. 
We entered Kenya with East Africa Visa already on the passport (obtained in Rwanda, online). No problems.
Cause immigration procedures are changing in Kenya, during 2015, better check well, update.


Since January 2014, there´s an East Africa Visa, for Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda.
Price: 100 $, 3 months visa for 3 countries.

In Kenya (and Uganda), you could get East Africa Visa directly on arrival (european passports) at the beginning of 2015. 
Cause immigration procedures are changing in Kenya, during 2015, better check well, update. 
Not sure if you can get East Africa visa online with Kenya or how it will be now...

NOTE: Tanzania signed the East Africa visa too, in November 2014 but in February 2015 it was still not avalaible… but check latter, maybe it´s coming soon.


Malaba border from Uganda

We entered Kenya crossing from Uganda, using public transport from each side (many matatus) and walking across the immigration posts.
Thousand of trucks cross the Malaba border, dusty, desorganised (it seems to be worse in the afternoons). 

Crossing Malaba border, Uganda-Kenya
If you are crossing on an international bus, it would take you a while at the border.

If travelling by vans (as we did) on both sides and crossing by foot, it´s quite quick. Just ask people where the immigation posts are, as you don´t see them around so many trucks specially around Uganda side. Just a few minutes walk between the posts, crossing a small river.

They are building a new immigration post, bridge and road on the Kenya side, so it looks terrible now.
Money changer guys, on both sides. Correct rate (Uganda).

On both sides, Malaba-Uganda and Malaba-Kenya, border towns, quite big on the Uganda side, where you find many lodges, banks, food, etc. but these towns are really dusty, noisy, so it´s better to procede further if possible.

Public transport around Malaba, Uganda-Kenya border:

  • Malaba - Tororo (Uganda):   just 10 km away, connected by vans and shared taxis, 2.000 USh, 30 min.
  • Malaba - Eldoret (Kenya): the biggest town on the Kenya side, matatus-vans, 350 KSh, 2h30.

Busia Border from Uganda

There´s another border between Uganda and Kenya at Busia, around 50 km south of Malaba. Less crowded.


According to other travellers, you will not get a Ethiopia visa if applying in Nairobi. You have to be a resident in Kenya. Same in Kampala-Uganda.
So you will have to try in your home country in advance, or in a southern Africa country (it seems that it´s easy to get Ethiopia visa in Pretoria-South Africa), as you need an Ethiopia visa on your passport to travel by land. Or take a flight and this way there are visa on arrival at the airport.
Always check and update, cause immigration rules change quick in Africa.


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