Sending and receiving packages in Kenya


As an expat, there are inevitably certain items you might want or need from back home, and around the holiday period, many people like to send gift packages.

How easy is it to send and receive packages in Kenya?

Is the public postal system efficient?

Do people tend to prefer using private shipping services? Which ones?

How do the costs of the private shipping services compare?

How long does it take generally to receive packages from abroad in Kenya?

Do you have to pay taxes on items received by mail from abroad?

Are packages delivered right to your doorstep, or do you usually have to go collect them somewhere?

Thank you for sharing your experience,


I ordered a few things online from the UK and received it just fine via DHL , although the import duty fees are quite outrageous.

The postal system is OK, but it isnt a house to house service in the way that it is in some other countries and you must apply for a PO Box at your local post office.  There is often a waiting list for these.  The postal service can be slow and items can frequently not turn up at all.  Any parcels are opened by customs and if dutiable, you are advised of this and have to go, in person and pay the duty. 

Locally, many of the matatu sacco's (public transport co-operatives) also offer a courier service, which is low cost and usually reliable.

The international couriers such as DHL and UPS operate in Kenya.  It takes about 3 days or so from the UK to Kenya, but as mentioned above, duty charges are significant on many items posted from outside the country.  Parcels are held until duty is paid.  Duty is worked out on the cost of the item, plus insurance plus freight, which is amongst the reasons why it is so significant.  Unfortunately the freight charges do not include duty.  Couriers will deliver to your house.

There is also the option of shopping online in the UK or USA and using freight companies that support this, such as Kesom.  The shopping is delivered to the company depot.  There is a flat charge per Kg, plus a fixed handling charge per shipment - its cheap, efficient and taxation charges seem to be lower - what you are quoted for is what you pay.  Items can be collected from their place in Nairobi, or delivered (an extra charge for this).

I used POSTA to send some packages to the US, which took about 15 days, and tracking was semi reliable.  To get stuff shipped to Nairobi from the U.S. , I recommend [link moderated].  This is a company in Texas that fills containers once a week and this saves a lot on duty and taxes.  For everything I have shipped through them for the past three years, the price is about $15/kg.  You can order from best buy or amazon to ship to them and they will get it to their Nairobi pick up in westlands within 15 days usually, although there have been some longer delays over the years.    Way cheaper than anything I have seen, unless you want to go through a freight service that takes around 30-60 days.  Typically they fill the container on a Tuesday, and then you get a notice to go pick up your package in around ten days from that Tuesday.  Tracking is terrible, nobody seems to know where your stuff is at any given time, although they can usually tell you if its in transit, and after maybe 30 shipments since 2016 I have personally not lost anything.

Shipping is prohibitively costly in most cases. I tried to have a small mail item sent from the U.S.. It would have cost $140 for DHL. I am not against trying a service such as the one in Texas that the other gentleman mentioned but mail is a difficult proposition in Nairobi.

My cousin sent a night light as a present for our 1 year old.  She put our physical address on the package, despite having our PO box number.  My complete chance it ended up at the Post Offiice where our PO box is and I was there at just the time they were wondering what to do with it.  The connection was made by the name!

Customs had ripped open the packaging and the birthday present wrapping and I had to pay nearly 2000 shillings - about the value of the item, which I believe was duty.

Is the shipping company in Texas you are referring to KenTex? I have several things I want to ship to Kenya in the next month before leaving TX and I am thinking of going with this company.

If all of the items that I will be shipping to Kenya in a drum from Dallas, Texas are used items will I still be required to pay customs and is it just a matter of my husband collecting the items for me once they arrive in Nairobi?

What is the name of the company in Texas please?

The only one I'm familiar with is here in the DFW area called KenTex. I think they're in Plano.


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