Traveling to Kenya and flying into Nairobi Airport? This is your guide for buying a prepaid sim card for Kenya on arrival at Nairobi Airport. Don’t waste money on high roaming costs or rely on slow overseas data roaming plans. Getting a prepaid sim card at Nairobi Airport is easy, done fast and cheap. I will tell you where to buy a sim card, up to date prices as per July 2022, my recommendation, a vlog about my arrival and information about international and e-sim cards for Kenya.
The first thing I do when arriving to a new country is buying a prepaid sim card. Combined with my passion for giving valuable travel tips for travelers it resulted in writing more than 200 prepaid sim card guides for countries and airports all around the world: Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, Cameroon, Douala, Gabon, Congo Brazzaville, Ethiopia, Egypt, Cairo, South Africa, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Istanbul, London, UK, New York, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and many more. As I am on a journey to visit every country in the world, I get to a lot of new places every year!
Of course I also wrote a complete guide for buying a sim card in Kenya in 2022.
So whenever you are planning your next adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid sim card advice. Bookmark this website!
Traveltomtom recommends a Safaricom sim card for Kenya. Although more expensive than the other operators it has by far the best network. For $10 you get 5 GB data for 1 week.
There are also travel sim cards with worldwide coverage and some of them are great for traveling in Kenya. Check out my comparison of the best international sim card for traveling in 2022 and pick the one that suits your trip the best. However, the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Kenya is an e-sim card.
E-sim card for Kenya
Getting an electronic sim card is very simple and you arrange everything online. It is the easiest way to stay connected when traveling in 2022. Order online, receive a code, apply some settings and you are all set. Check out the following e-sim card deal for Kenya:
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $9.50 USD
Click here to directly order the above e-sim card deal for Kenya or get more info.
You can also still order a physical sim card for Kenya with 10 GB data for $49.90 USD. This pre-activated sim card will be shipped to your home address before your trip. Click here to order this sim card for traveling in Kenya.
Why buying a sim card for Kenya
There is Uber in Kenya, but you won’t be able to order an Uber without a working data connection on your phone. A very simple example right? But what about getting directions from Google Maps, finding a nearby restaurant with good reviews. Simple things that won’t be able without an internet connection.
WiFi in Kenya? Well, this is Africa. Don’t expect things to be working like back home. Simply do NOT rely on public WiFi, it is not everywhere available and often it is very slow. Also keep in mind that public WiFi is through an UNSECURED network.
Getting a local sim card is easy in Kenya and it makes traveling so much more convenient.
If you do not prefer to swap your sim card and change to a new phone number then a pocket WiFi could be a solution to stay online when traveling. Personally, a portable WiFi does not have my preference, read my HONEST review in my article how to get WiFi when traveling.
Nairobi International Airport Jomo Kenyatta
The main international airport for traveling to Kenya is the Jomo Kenyatta Nairobi International Airport. I expected a much bigger and more modern airport to be honest but it is rather small. That means good news for you as it is very easy to navigate. There is only one arrival terminal and one arrival hall.
Where to buy a sim card at Nairobi Airport
It is very easy and impossible to miss. As soon as you go through the customs bag check and you exit through the sliding door you are outside. Right in front of you there are 3 little shops next to each other: Safaricom, Telkom and Airtel. See in the vlog how easy it is.
Buying a local sim card for Kenya at the airport is the easiest way to get connected on arrival. For this convenience you pay a little extra but not much. The prices for sim cards at Nairobi Airport are very ok compared to what you get in the city. You can find good prepaid sim card deals here.
The Airtel and Telkom shop are open 24 hours, the Safaricom shop is not open 24 hours and closes around 9.00 pm.
All 3 mobile provider shops accept credit cards so there is no need to change money or go to an ATM first. However, there is an Absa Bank ATM opposite as well in case you want to get cash.
To make it even easier for you, here is a short vlog about my arrival at Nairobi Airport.
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Prices sim cards Nairobi Airport
All 3 shops will charge you 200 KES ($2) for a prepaid sim card, and they come with 150 KES credit ($1.5) or so called Airtime which you can use to top up if you want or to make local phone calls.
Safaricom prepaid sim card
As said in the beginning of the article I recommend Safaricom for traveling in Kenya, However, they are much more expensive and their data packages give you much less Gigabytes.
Although the paper above suggests differently, they only offer 5 packages at Safaricom Nairobi Airport. They are valid for 30 days and they all include free Whatsapp:
- 1,000 KES = 5 GB data + 400 minutes - $10
- 2,000 KES = 15 GB data + 1000 minutes - $20
- 3,000 KES = 25 GB data + 1500 minutes - $30
- 5,000 KES = 35 GB data + 400 minutes - $50
- 10,000 KES = 50 GB data + 400 minutes - $100
Telkom prepaid sim card
Prices for data packages at Telkom are significantly cheaper than Safaricom. Packages are also valid for 30 days:
- 1,500 KES = 12 GB data + 100 minutes - $15
- 2,500 KES = 30 GB data + 100 minutes - $25
- 3,500 KES = 50 GB data + 100 minutes - $35
- 4,500 KES = UNLIMITED data + 100 minutes - $45
They also have data only packages, see the photo above:
- 1,000 KES = 12 GB data - $10
- 2,000 KES = 30 GB data - $20
Remember that the prepaid sim card already comes with 150 KES credit which you can use for calling, so a data-only package would actually be my recommendation.
Telkom also offers weekly data packages:
- 1,000 KES = 10 GB data + 150 minutes - $10
- 2,000 KES = 25 GB data + 400 minutes - $20
Airtel prepaid sim card
The Airtel prices for prepaid sim cards at Nairobi Airport are pretty much equal to Telkom.
- 1,000 KES = 10 GB data + 400 minutes - $10
- 2,000 KES = 24 GB data + 1200 minutes - $20
They also have a bunch of data-only packages and a weekly package, see the photo above.
Best sim card at Nairobi Airport
When looking at the prices only, Safaricom is a no-go! They are so much more expensive compared to Airtel and Telkom. However, I still recommend a Safaricom sim card for traveling in Kenya and that is because of their extensive mobile network. The Safaricom 4G/5G network is by far the best in Kenya. For more info check out my article about the best prepaid sim card in Kenya in 2022.
Therefore, if you visit different tourist destinations in Kenya and will be on the road a lot during your Kenya trip then definitely get yourself a Safaricom sim card.
If not, and you will be visiting Nairobi or one or two other cities then there is no need to buy an expensive Safaricom prepaid sim card.
Airtel and Telkom have very similar prices but offer literally 100% more value for money than Safaricom. So for 1,000 KES ($10), Airtel and Telkom give you 10 GB where Safaricom gives you just 5 GB.
An Airtel or Telkom sim card can be recommended for city trips in Kenya.
If this all sounds like way too much hassle than another reminder that you can also order sim cards for Kenya online. Click here to directly order a Kenya e-sim card for Kenya or get more info and check out all the Kenya sim card deals online in this link.
How to get from Nairobi Airport to the city
Actually I already gave you the best option: Uber. An Uber ride from Nairobi Airport to the city center is a little over $10 and takes around 30 minutes. There is public transport, but I would not recommend it. Not that it is not safe, but come on… $10 for a 30 minute taxi ride is CHEAP!
Ordering an Uber to get from Nairobi Airport to the city is by far the easiest, fastest and most convenient way to travel. However, you need a local sim card! :)
I hope the above tips for buying a local sim card for Kenya at Nairobi Airport were helpful for your upcoming Kenya trip.
Need some more Kenya travel tips then have a look at my 10-day Kenya itinerary or my list of the best things to do in Kenya. My biggest travel tip for Kenya? Visit the last two northern white rhinos in the world in Ol Pejeta! Yes, that is right… THE LAST TWO. :(
Curious what it looks like trying to visit every country in the world? Go check out my Instagram account @traveltomtom and follow along. As of July 2022 I have visited more than 135 countries, so still a long way to go.
Enjoy your trip to Kenya!