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Solo traveler - overnight in NBO?

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New York
posts: 7
reviews: 5
Solo traveler - overnight in NBO?

Hi all,

I am an American female and will be traveling alone to Nairobi in December, landing at 23:15.

My flight the next morning to Kilimanjaro leaves at 9 a.m. In light of last month's fire, I am wondering if it is possible and if it is SAFE to stay overnight in the Nairobi airport? Is there actually a place to sit and wait?

Also, if I do stay in the airport, will I always be in the secure area or do I need a transit visa? If my understanding is correct, I don't need any visa for my return from Zanzibar to the U.S. because I'll just be connecting through NBO, yes?

Any advice based on the current situation at the airport would be much appreciated.

Thanks!

Kim

8 replies to this topic
nyc
posts: 13,183
1. Re: Solo traveler - overnight in NBO?

Wish I had answer to first part of your query, but I haven't been since the fire... besides things are changing by the week even day. However, do know they advised that the 'new' terminal is scheduled to open in Nov, so assume there will be a secure area for those onward connecting and wanting to overnight in airport. Maybe call Kenya Air (even if not flying with them) for more details.

Regarding the second part, NO you will not require a Visa on return from TNZ/ZNZ... just a normal 'in-transit' pax, as long as you remain airside/transfer pax area. No need to have to pass thru Immigration.

Nairobi, Kenya
Destination Expert
for Kenya
posts: 2,018
reviews: 145
2. Re: Solo traveler - overnight in NBO?

Nairobi airport is not a great airport, even at best of times to wait at. If you have a light shawl, pillow, etc., you may be able to get some rest on a concrete floor somewhere. It is really sad what a crap airport Nairobi is, considering it is a regional hub.

Brisbane, Australia
posts: 26
reviews: 23
3. Re: Solo traveler - overnight in NBO?

They currently have a tent on the tarmac where transit passengers wait. Some transit passengers were allowed inside the domestic terminal, but others had to wait in the tent. I don't think I would recommend waiting overnight in the tent and I am not sure it would still be open in the early hours if there are no flights.

It will depend on whether the new terminal opens on time or not (nothing ever happens on time in Africa, but you never know). You won't need a transit visa unless you actually exit the terminal.

It's probably best to wait and see if the new terminal opens or consider getting a transit visa and staying overnight in a hotel.

Kampala
posts: 84
4. Re: Solo traveler - overnight in NBO?

You don't need a visa if you are just staying in the airport. You can also get a transit one if you intend to leave the airport.

Mtwapa, Kenya
Destination Expert
for Barcelona, Newcastle upon Tyne, Bamburi, Mtwapa
posts: 13,449
reviews: 50
5. Re: Solo traveler - overnight in NBO?

A slightly edited version of my answer to your same question on another website's forum

From the start of October International Departures reverted to their old locations, this means that there are seating areas, and a couple of small cafes and the Java House (coffee shop and food by Gate 14) are available. The seating areas will be available, but not very comfortable and probably boring.

You can keep an eye on future developments in the news section of the KAA website

https://www.kaa.go.ke/

Before the fire, International Arrivals and Departures shared the same space which if you and your bags were checked through you would not leave. They have recently moved all International Arrivals into a temporary terminal in the multi-storey car park across from the Departure Terminal. When I came through a few weeks ago the Arrivals were in a couple of different tented areas on the tarmac, but they had a special facility set up for Transfers, meaning that, as normal you stayed 'airside'. these tents have now gone, so I would imagine that they have something similar in the new temporary terminal, if you are in transit you don't technically enter the country so don't need a visa, I'm sure the amended temporary procedure won't change this.

All this may be irrelevant depending on when in December you are travelling, as KAA are saying they are advancing the introduction of the new Terminal 4 and it will be in use before the end of the year, in which case you may be in a different terminal altogether. In the past I wouldn't hold much hope of this as redevelopment of the airport has been dragging on for years with little happening, but they have responded so well and so quickly to events after the terminal fire, and hit the interim dates they announced for each of these developments so they might well do it

New York
posts: 7
reviews: 5
6. Re: Solo traveler - overnight in NBO?

Just wanted to update with the answer to my own question in case it's helpful to others. I flew through NBO and stayed overnight in the Departures terminal (from about midnight until my 9 a.m. flight). Though it was confusing to get to Departures (there was no one directing us and the bus from my arriving plane just dropped passengers off at Arrivals where most people were going through immigration, but after asking I was able to get back on a bus to get to Departures), once I got there, it was totally fine. It felt safe, there were several other travelers doing the same - many were sleeping on the floor all around - and tons of chairs and even charging stations. The Java Coffee House at Gate 14 was open. The higher numbered gates were in the cooler, more well lit area of the terminal, but the other end of the terminal had stronger (free) wifi. I'm glad I made the choice to just stay there rather than trying to get to a hotel.

Ostend, Belgium
posts: 31
reviews: 32
7. Re: Solo traveler - overnight in NBO?

Dear,

If you want to be away from hustle and bustle into nature where you can immediatly enjoy walking or cycling in pure nature, I can advise you to go to Amazing Kenya Retreat. It's just 30 - 45 minutes away from the International airport. They are reviewed here on tripadvisor. Please read.

Amazing Kenya Retreat is located in the beautiful Savannah Grassland estate, Maanzoni. Sitting on your verandah you can enjoy the spectacular view offered by the Savanna plains

Minneapolis...
posts: 4,131
reviews: 97
8. Re: Solo traveler - overnight in NBO?

I'd just like to point out that Mama494 has written the same post on three different forum topics... one that is over 3 months old. This kind of enthusiastic response often reflects an attempt to advertise a particular facility and is often produced by an owner or employee.

Though it is impossible to be sure in cases like this, as a matter of personal choice, I automatically avoid businesses with this kind of forum comments.

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