Please see the student Field Preparation Guide for more detailed information about the Center and its field stations.
Passports and Visa
Students must have a passport to enter all of the countries where our programs take place. Students must make certain that their passports are valid until six months after the program ends. If necessary, please renew it as soon as possible.
U.S. citizens do not need to obtain a visa in advance of entering Kenya or Tanzania. They will be issued a Pupil’s Pass and a visa upon arrival. The Pupil’s Pass will grant you resident student status during your time with SFS, including reduced rates at game parks and for camping. Non-U.S. citizens should inquire with the Kenyan and Tanzanian embassies, as these students may be advised to obtain a tourist visa in advance.
It currently costs about $50 to obtain a Pupil’s Pass for Kenya, and $550 to obtain a Pupil’s Pass for Tanzania; SFS will notify you if this changes significantly. There is an additional charge of $125 for Kenya and $100 for Tanzania to obtain the tourist visa on arrival. You should plan to bring $825 with you for use at the airport in obtaining the necessary documentation. It is possible that our staff will be able to negotiate more reasonable fees, but it is best to budget for their full expense at this time. The cash brought to East Africa has to be "new money." Bills from 2004 are usually the oldest ones accepted and it’s best to get ones from 2006 onward to be on the safe side.
Pupil’s Pass Instructions:
Within 10 business days of acceptance to the program, students are required to email the following info to their Admissions Counselor:
• Electronic, scanned, color copy of passport (no Xerox, no black and white)
• Electronic copies of five official passport photos. Create this photo sheet at the following link: http://www.epassportphoto.com/.
- First, upload a headshot of yourself to the website. This can be a scan of a passport photo that you already had taken, or just a picture of yourself against a blank white wall. (The website will give basic instructions about this.)
- Next, you will be asked to crop the photo. Use the tool to frame your face in the picture. The next page will offer you a few different shipping and payment options, but we do not want you to order and pay for hard copies of your photos! You can bypass this by clicking a small link in the bottom right hand corner of the page that says, “No thanks.”
- After clicking this link, you will be able to download your array of five regulation size passport photos as .ipeg (picture) files, save them to your computer, and email them to the Admissions Counselor as an attachment.
Please contact the Admissions Counselor if you have any questions about this process.
Mail should be addressed as follows:Student Name
Center for Wildlife Management Studies
P.O. Box 27743 (Nyayo Stadium)
00506 – NAIROBI, KENYA
SFS Center for Wildlife Management Studies
P.O. Box 304
Do not to send packages of any kind (including care packages) to the Center. There is a tax for all packages, and it can be quite expensive. Often, the items in the package are not worth the tax required to get the package. The post office releases packages after delays for customs inspection—a process that may take the recipient hours to complete. Depending largely on luck, and how valuable the package looks, the customs officer may charge the recipient a tariff greater than the value of the contents. Packages that are not successfully claimed are not returned to the sender. The only mail that is easily accepted by the post office is regular letter envelopes; 5 inches by 7 inches is the largest size envelope the SFS post office box can receive. Also, please do not send money, credit cards, or valuable documents, as they can easily get lost.
Airmail from the U.S. usually takes 10 to 14 days. Mail is collected from our mailbox in Nairobi or Karatu and transported to the Centers once per week unless the program is on expedition. Outgoing mail is deposited in a mailbox at the Center and deposited at the central post office one to two times per week.
Students will not be able call home upon arrival in East Africa, but SFS staff members will notify parents via email, if students have released SFS to do so and provided email addresses. Because the Centers have only one phone line, it is not available for student use. Phones at the Centers will only be made available for student use during emergencies. It may be a few weeks or more before students have a chance to go into a town where they can make a phone call, but even in nearby towns, the phones are not always reliable. The ability to call home will be severely limited. Mail and email are primary modes of communication during a stay in East Africa with SFS.
Cell phone use has become increasingly prevalent in East Africa, and it is common for student groups to purchase a couple of cell phones (approximately $50 each) locally and the necessary SIM cards (approximately $1 each) for shared use by the group. Due to high calling costs, cell phones are still not a practical option for staying in regular contact with people at home. Students can add calling time to the phones, which will cost about $3/hour in Kenya and $14/hour in Tanzania. Calling cards are no longer operating or accepted in East Africa. Collect and 800 calls cannot be made.
Internet access and email are available for students to support research and educational work at the KBC site and the Moyo Hills Camp site, but are subject to service interruptions and slow service at times.