How to Call Kenya

If you’re looking to talk to a friend, relative, or colleague in Kenya, don’t be intimidated: it’s an easy process when you have the information you need. You need to dial the exit code of the country you’re calling from, followed by Kenya’s country code (254) and a 7 if you’re calling a mobile phone. Then enter the 2-digit area code followed by the 5-to-7-digit phone number. If you’re worried about the cost, there are several options for making affordable international calls.

Dialing the Number

Start with the proper exit code.

The exit code, or international dialing prefix, is necessary to enter when you are making an international call. This code is between two and five digits, and will vary depending on where you are calling from. Exit codes are not unique to individual countries.

  • If you are calling from the United States, the exit code is 011.
  • If you are calling from Australia, the exit code is 0011.
  • If you are calling from most places in western Europe or Africa, the exit code is 00.
  • For other countries’ exit codes, search the internet or ask your phone carrier.

Dial Kenya’s country code (254).

While the exit code signals that you are dialing a number outside of your own country, the country code specifies the destination of your call. Unlike the exit code, the country code is unique to each country.

Dial a 7 if you are calling a mobile phone number.

In Kenya, mobile phone numbers require this additional digit before the area code and phone number. Know whether you are calling a mobile phone and will need to add this 7.

Enter the 2-digit area code.

Kenyan phone numbers are preceded by a 2-digit area code. Here are the area codes for some of the most prominent regions of the country:

  • Nairobi: 20
  • Mombasa: 41
  • Nakuru: 51
  • Kisumu: 57
  • Eldoret: 53

Dial the 5-to-7-digit phone number.

Make sure you know the number of the person you’re calling, and enter their number after you have entered all of the preceding codes.

  • If you are calling from the United States to a mobile phone in Nairobi, the full number should look something like this: 011-254-7-20-123-456.
  • You may hear a different dial tone than you’re used to. Don’t be alarmed: different countries vary in the type of dial tone they use.

Utilizing Your Call

Keep track of the time difference.

Kenya is located in Eastern Africa Time Zone (GMT+3). Be sure to calculate the time difference before you call, so you don’t wake someone up in the middle of the night!

  • An online time zone converter can help you determine the time difference between Kenya and wherever you’re calling from.

Know how much the call will cost.

International calls cost more than local ones do. Most phone carriers have information on their websites specifying how much it costs to call different countries/regions, but they won’t always tell you up front that you are making a more expensive call. Don’t forget to check with your carrier to avoid getting an unexpectedly high phone bill.

  • Some phone carriers offer special plans to make international calls. If you’re going to be making a lot of calls to Kenya, ask your carrier if there are any such options.
  • Several people benefit from buying prepaid cards for international calls. These cards come with a set amount of money loaded on them, so you know how much you’re paying, and how long you have to call. Per-minute rates are often considerably cheaper on prepaid cards.

Save money by calling over a broadband internet connection.

With today’s technology, several people opt to ditch the phone company altogether and make international calls on the internet, using voice-over internet protocol (VOIP). With apps like Skype and Google Voice, you can call numbers from your computer without signing up for a phone plan.

  • You will need to purchase credit on your account in order to use VOIP. Check your app for rates.
  • If you don’t have access to reliable internet at home, you can try a local library, restaurant, or cafe that offers public wireless. Just be careful not to share sensitive information on a public network.

Try a video messaging app.

WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, FaceTime, Skype, and Google Voice all allow account users to video chat with each other for free, as long as they have signed up for the app and are connected to the internet. Download the app onto your device, set up a new account, and add the person you’re calling to your contact list. You’re ready to video chat with someone in Kenya!

  • Before calling, make sure that your microphone, camera, and speakers are working. Most video chatting apps have places to test your hardware in their settings section.

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