PARKS AND RESERVES
Parks and reserves managed by KWS
Select a park or reserve to view a list of hotels, lodges, guesthouses and camps managed by KWS
What is a Safari Card
Safari Card is a smart card based Electronic Ticketing System (ETS). It is used for paying park-entry fees for persons and vehicles visiting Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) selected Parks, and for services like camping offered inside these parks.
Payments or deposits are accepted in cash or as cheques. Equivalent value is then recorded into the electronic microchip on the card. This process is referred to as topping up the card or loading money into the card.
In a nutshell the system: controls and debits (deducts) the different fee rates according to the service provided; records information on each visitor based on the type, place, date, and time of top-up, entry and exit; detects overstays and mis-payments; transfers data automatically to a central database; generates statistics and reports; enables reconciliation of money collected from tills with that deposited in bank accounts; tracks anomalies detected in the field; and allows hot-listing of cards held by individuals and tour operators who/which do not comply with KWS rules and regulations.
- Enhance revenue collection.
- Enhance customer service delivery
- Improve CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
- Provide improved management and financial information
- Enhance the organization’s reputation and public confidence in its ability to manage revenues and minimize fraud.
Types of Cards
Generally, two types of Safari Cards are issued: Personalised and Temporary.
Personalised cards are issued to customers who want to enjoy the convenience of owning a card permanently. Such ownership enables them to plan their tours to the parks in advance by loading value prior to the visiting day, thereby avoid long queues experienced during peak times.
On the other hand, temporary cards are recyclable and are issued to one-off park visitors. This implies that the visitor has to visit the respective park head quarter offices on the day of visiting to be issued a card(s) and value topped up for the visit and, the card is surrendered at the gate when exiting the park.
There are eight types of cards:
- Staff Card: This is issued to Service staff who operate the safari card system.
- Tour Operator Card: These are personalized cards issued to Tour Operator companies who have applied, and have been certified and registered at the SMBO in KWS Nairobi headquarters. To be cleared for registration, a tour company should put in an application and must attach a copy of the company PIN number & Certificate of Incorporation and introductory letter. For additional future advantages, other certificates like KATO membership can be attached.
- Citizen Card: Issued to East Africans. East Africans are citizens of Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and Kenya. To be granted citizenship park fee privileges, such customers must at each visit produce citizenship identification documents like a National Identity card or valid Passport. A driving license is not enough evidence of citizenship.
Note: Children from the age of 3 to 17 years accompanying such visitors are served using the adult cards. These can be personalized or temporal cards.
- Resident Cards: Issued to validly identified East African residents. These cards are Personalized or Temporal. Personalized cards are valid for residency period permitted by the Immigration department (GOK) and are renewable.
- Non Resident Cards: These are temporal cards issued to Self Driven Non Residents at POIPOS. Non residents visitors whose park visit is planned by a Tour operator or is accompanied by citizens or residents card can load their park entry fee on the tour company’s, citizen or resident cards.
Note: Any citizen or resident visiting the park without valid identification documents will be served as a Non Resident.
- Annual Personal Card: Issued to citizens & Residents, who prefer paying their park entry fees once for a whole year (12 months). The Annual card fees enables the cardholder to visit any KWS managed Park throughout the year. These cards are available for both adults and children. They are personalized cards.
Note: The annual card caters for park entry fee only; and for self and a vehicle of less than six seats. For other services, the holder has to top up appropriate fee value.
- Annual Vehicle Card: This is issued to Vehicles Stationed in a Park e.g. vehicles belonging to hotels & lodges situated inside a Park. The annual fee varies depending on the vehicle seating capacity. They are personalized cards and park specific.
- Concession Card: Issued to organized groups of people/schools. Such visitors must obtain a letter from an officer in the Parks and Reserves office at KWS headquarters two weeks in advance. They are temporal cards and park-specific. However, a group can be issued with this card at any POIPOS.
In the year 2000, Smartcard was introduced and Park entry fee collection was centralized at specific points around the country called POS (Point of Sale). Meaning that for a visitor to enter a park, he had to get a smartcard at a specific point – POI (Point of Issue), load money into the card at POS, and then proceed to a Park gate – POA (Point of Access) where service fees is deducted from the card.
Smartcard has been overhauled and Safari Card introduced. The concept is still the same but, with the Safari Card system, the functions of POI & POS have been merged into POIPOS (Point of Issue Point of Sale) – one-stop-shop. And there is a POIPOS at all the main Gates of all the selected parks and other outlets. Therefore one can be issued with a safari card and do top up at:
- Nairobi National Park, Main Gate
- Lake Nakuru National Park, Main Gate
- Aberdare National Park, headquarters (Mweiga - Nyeri)
- Tsavo East National Park, Voi – Main gate
- Tsavo West National Park, Mtito Andei gate
- Amboseli National Park, Meshanani gate
- Mombasa marine Park headquarters (Next to Coast Provincial headquarters offices)
- Malindi Marine Park, headquarters
Note: Safari Card is not compatible with Smartcard. Therefore monies held in smartcards are not transferable to Safari Cards!
How Safari Card Operates:
- All adult citizens and adult residents must each have either a personalised or temporal card to enter any of the six parks. The cards are the basis used to calculate the fee charged to citizens and residents. These cards are available only in our POIPOS offices.
- For citizens and residents, to be issued with a personalised card, the customer needs to produce the original identification document and a photocopy of the same for the POIPOS office file. The identification documents for citizens are; ID, & Kenyan Passport; for Residents, Passport - stamped with valid work Permit Number, Alien Certificate, Alien Card, Diplomatic Card – stamped by Ministry of Immigration or Finance.
- Each card has a serial number which is used for tracking the usage of the card. The number can also be used to hotlist the card incase it gets lost or misused.
- When acquiring a personalised card, the cardholder will be required to type a four-digit PIN number, which will be used for all the transactions of the card at POIPOS and POA. This PIN can be changed at any POIPOS with a written authority from the cardholder.
The visitor will be required to enter the PIN number during top up, at entry, and while settling overstays/underpayments/overpayments. If one tries an incorrect PIN number three times, the card will be blocked.
- Each card accepts only one currency. The current official currencies in use are Kenya shillings (KES) and US Dollars (USD). If one tops up USD into a KES card, the USDs will be converted into KES at the KWS exchange rate of the month in question.
- Each vehicle must have its own paying card. Such a card pays fee for the visitors and the vehicle.
- For registered tour operators, the ideal situation will be to have two cards per visiting vehicle: the driver’s card (citizen) and a Tour Card. The driver’s card should be a KES card and holds the drivers’ & vehicle fees, while the Tour Card should be a USD card and pays for the visitors only.
However, the Tour Card can still pay for the Driver, Vehicle and Visitors. But because the Tour card is a USD card and the driver and vehicle are charged in KES, the POA Terminal will convert the USD fees of the driver and vehicle into KES at the KWS exchange rate of the month.
Whatever the situation, the driver will be issued with a Non Resident card at POA which captures details of the visitors e.g. How many, Nationality, Camping, Hotel, Number of children & their category.
One paying card cannot pay for more than one vehicle or group at the same visit nor can payments be deducted from more than one card for one group in a vehicle.
- The entry receipt at POA is valid for 24 hours of continuous stay i.e. 24 hours of staying inside the park. If one enters and exits after, say an hour, the entry is deemed to have expired.
- Overstay – If at exit a visitor is found to have exceeded the 24 hours by, say a second, it will be treated as Overstay. This is written in the microchip of the card and such a card cannot be used until overstay is settled.
Overstay is settled by paying a full days’ fee at either the POA (if there is value in the card) or at POIPOS.
- All transactions are uploaded to KWS headquarters automatically and integration of data done so that transactions done in one POIPOS are available in all other POIPOSes around the country.
- Each Personalised card is issued at a one-off administrative fee of KES 1000.00 only. And replacement of a lost or spoilt card will be treated similarly.
Safari Card, the ticket to explore KWS Premier, Wilderness and Urban Parks.
Join the Wild but Nurtured in Nature and Acquire one now!