Excitement as Kenyans prepare for Pope's visit

It’s taken five months to complete the altar where Pope Francis will celebrate just one mass.

FILE: Pope Francis leads a mass for the opening of the synod on the family on 4 October 2015 at St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican. Picture: AFP.

NAIROBI - Thousands of Kenyans are expected to line-up and welcome Pope Francis to the country when he lands tomorrow.

Excitement is sweeping through the capital Nairobi, where churches are being painted and the streets are being cleaned.

In the first leg of the three-country tour, the pontiff will hold an open air mass.

It's taken five months for thousands of construction workers to complete the altar where Pope Francis will celebrate just one mass.

Expecting a crowd of over a million Catholic faithful, the church and government believe it was worth the time and expense.

While the pontiff will focus on religious tolerance and social inequality, organisers say his safety is their top priority.

Presidential spokesperson Manoah Esipisu says over 10,000 security officials will be on duty for the three-day visit.

"We do expect over 200,000 people at this venue alone on the day of the mass. Managing people is always going to be a concern. We face threats all the time, terror-type threats and we have taken that into cognisance while planning"

Thursday has been declared a public holiday or as the government describes it, a 'holy day', with calls for Kenyans to pray for their country and the Pope.