Kenya Visa Info For South African Travellers

Kenya Visa



UPDATE 18 August 2014: Kenya Airways informed us today “that the visa to Kenya for South Africans has been postponed indefinitely.” An official notice is expected to follow shortly.


Kenya and SA have always enjoyed a good relationship, though South Africa has required that Kenyan travellers have a visa to visit South Africa. In a fit of tit-for-tat frustration, Kenya has decided (albeit stupidly) that South Africans will now need a visa to visit Kenya.

I’m not sure how this benefits Kenya, since, with the dramatic increase in terrorist activity in Kenya, South Africa clearly needs to vet all travellers coming to the country from Kenya. Though whether visas achieve this at all is another debate entirely.

Okay, so let’s look at how it all works …

From when do I need to apply for a Kenya visa?

For any trips departing from 1 September 2014 onwards.

How much does a visa for Kenya cost?

According to Kenya Airways it’s free with a R750 admin fee. According to the Kenyan Embassy’s website it’s $50. We’ve been assured by Kenya Airways that their information is correct.

Where do I apply and what documents do I need?

You can apply directly with the Kenyan Embassy; they have a list of documents on their website such as application form, employers letter and passport photos. You can also enquire with Visa Express or ROSE visas. The embassy says the process takes up to 6 weeks. Kenya is trying to make South Africans apply in person for visas, though this may change.

What about transiting in Nairobi?

Kenya Airways informs us that you will still need a R750 visa in order to transit Nairobi – so this will affect all Kenya Airways flights to all other destinations, even if that destination is not in Kenya.

What other airlines should I use to avoid the transit visa?

For African destinations, Ethiopian Airlines doesn’t require you to have a transit visa for Addis Ababa, nor does SAA, or Fastjet for Tanzanian destinations. For destinations in Europe or Asia, pretty much all other airline routes (except those via the UK) won’t require you to have a transit visa to travel on them.

What destinations are similar to Kenya, but don’t require a visa?

Tanzania is a wonderful destination which doesn’t require a visa to visit, this includes the popular island of Zanzibar. Nearby Seychelles, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mauritius and Reunion are also visa-free countries, while Madagascar offers a free visa upon arrival in the country.


Our Readers Comments

  1. This does nothing except shoot themselves in the foot. South Africans will stop flying Kenyan airways. Who wants to pay R750 to transit a country and no doubt this will affect their tourism at a time when they need to be attracting and reassuring tourists.

  2. Understandably this will affect their tourism. I think paying for transiting is not wise. However, every country has the right to do what they like. South Africa also requires visa, why cant others?

  3. I don’t think they ar doing good

  4. As much as I can sympathize with the tit for tat mentality, and also have no problem with paying for a visa, the concept of applying for a visa in person- in Pretoria!!! Makes absolutely no sense. Also – I, for one, as a frequent traveller to Kenya and a staunch KQ supporter will now boycott Kenya airways. As a business owner in the tourism industry in Kenya, I am sad to see the kenya government further destroy the industry.

  5. I travel to Mali twice a year with kenya airways via Nairobi – to pay R750 to transit a country – not wise – there are always hundreds of travellers in the airport building – I’m looking at other options – I’m a South African

    • I am in Richardsbay and would like to go to Kenya Nairobi,how much could it cost me? The Administration fees and the rest in total?Please,could somebody help me with such details?

    • Hi Mike,

      Thanks for contacting us. You welcome to search on our website: where you are able to view all the different airlines that operate a specific route to ensure that you choose the cheapest possible option.

      Should you wish to get assistance in making this reservation, we have a team of Travel Experts that would love to help. You can contact Travelbar by calling 021 468 4300 (Monday – Friday) or by sending an email to with all your details (including exact dates of travel) and they will get back to you with 2 working days!

  6. To pay R750 for just passing through(2 to 3 hours sometimes) is really ridiculous, since you already pay so much for a airline ticket, I will be looking at other options to fly to Mali from South Africa.

  7. clearly they don’t want us to visit their country…

  8. Hi

    in December 2015 we are flying to London via Nairobi. we will be in transit for just 2 hours.
    Do we need a visa?

    Thank You

    • Hi Fatima, thanks for reaching out to us. If you’re on a South African passport, you will not need a transit visa for Nairobi for a trip like that.

  9. Hi Nick,

    We’re flying to Tanzania from SA (we’re SA citizens). We go from JHB to Nairobi, and after a 2 hour stopover, we fly to Kilimanjaro. Both flights are Kenya Airways. Will we need a transit visa for Kenya?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Sasha,

      Thanks for contacting us.

      I have found the following information:

      South Africans visiting Kenya for 30 days or less do NOT require a visa.
      Those with intention of staying in Kenya for more than 30 days are required to apply for a e-Visa. e-Visa can be applied for via:
      Transiting passengers DO NOT need an invitation letter.
      Tourists (not employed) do not need a letter from employer but need to have hotel bookings.
      Students and college students need admission letters.

      Note: visa information is not guaranteed. Kindly confirm details with the relevant authorities.

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