Last updated: 28th March 2023
Taking the shuttle bus is the most budget-friendly way to travel from Arusha, Tanzania to Nairobi, Kenya. As a result of the Namanga immigration border stop, it can take about 4 hours with a private car and about 6 hours with the shuttle bus. The journey didn’t feel as long as I expected probably because I slept through most of the journey. While I was still awake, I saw some lovely scenic views along the way.
How to purchase your bus ticket?
You can purchase your bus ticket at Riverside bus station in Kijenge near the impala hotel. You will see a couple of bus companies. Riverside shuttle and Marangu are the most popular shuttle bus companies you will see here. I purchased my ticket with the Marangu shuttle bus as I was told by locals that they were very reliable and have comfortable seats. Both bus companies provide private hire and shared shuttle bus services. The shuttle bus companies can provide hotel drop-off as well.
Cost of bus ticket: 50000 Tsh (£15)
Travel Smart Tip: It’s a good idea to buy your ticket at least a day before you travel.
The bus leaves at 8:00 am from Riverside bus station which is the meeting point. It’s important to note that the reporting time to arrive at the meeting point is 7:30 am. The estimated arrival time in Nairobi is 2:00 pm at the Parkside hotel in Jevanjee. The shuttle bus companies can provide hotel drop-off as well.
What do you need to do before travelling to Kenya?
It’s important to check your country’s travel advisory for Kenya as entry requirements into Kenya will differ from country to country.
- All travellers aged 12 and above visiting Kenya are required to provide proof of either COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to departure at all entry points. Travellers aged 11 or under are exempt from needing a vaccination certificate or Pre-departure PCR test.
- Fully vaccinated travellers must present proof of full vaccination, which means having received the required doses of a specific vaccine with the latest shot administered at least 14 days before arrival (excluding the day of vaccination).
- Those who are not vaccinated must show a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours before departure. Travellers who do not have proof of vaccination or a PCR test, or who exhibit flu-like symptoms, will need to undergo a rapid antigen test at their own expense, which costs USD 30.
- If you travel to Kenya with flu-like symptoms, you will be required to fill out the passenger locator form on the ‘jitenge’ platform: https://ears.health.go.ke/airline_registration/ and to undergo a rapid antigen test at their own cost regardless of age or vaccination status. If the antigen test is positive, they will be required to undergo a COVID-19 PCR test at their own cost.
- British, USA and Nigerian passport holders all require a visa to enter Kenya. You can get a single entry visa on arrival or apply for an e-visa online before your departure.
- You may need a yellow fever certificate when entering Kenya from certain destinations.
What happens at the Namanga border?
Travelling during the pandemic times has made some changes in the way the officials at the Namanga border operate. Face masks must be worn at all times and your temperature will be checked. You will go through security checks and bags are checked and sniffed by dogs. You will then need to fill in a departure form and health forms with the correct information. Your negative covid test results should be printed out and will need to be given to the health officials to be, stamped, and signed off and a copy will be kept. There is a printer available to print your test at an extra cost.
You need to have a yellow fever vaccination certificate and they ask to see this.
The Tanzanian immigration officer will stamp your passport. Then you will need to take a printout of your visa and COVID test certificate to Kenyan immigration. If you have not got an e-visa, you can get a visa on arrival depending on which country you’re a passport holder. Kenyan immigration officers will ask you a few questions, such as why you are in the country. Kenyan immigration will also require proof of return ticket. When you have cleared Kenyan immigration, your luggage will go through security checks again, and you will be free to leave and enter Kenya.
Looking for some more interesting things to do in Nairobi? Check out my blog post on 8 Fun Things To Do In Nairobi On A Budget
Would you do a road trip to cross the border to another country?
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Glad to hear! Thanks for reading xx