BELOW IS ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO ON A SAFARI TO KENYA.
We aim to give travellers a reason to be excited about travel. One of the most commonly overlooked joys of travelling is preparing for the trip. From useful links to luggage information, we’ve got you covered.
Below are some Travel Info for our travellers.
Passports and Visa
Travelers arriving in Africa are required to have permanent passports that will be valid for at least six months from the date of arrival and contain at least three pages for affixing visas and arrival stamps. For most travelers’ visas may be purchased on arrival in Kenya. Visas may also be purchased in advance which will save time on arrival. This can be purchased by the Kenya e-visa system. Travelers visiting Kenya (and other African countries) will need to purchase a visa for each country. Travelers staying less than 2 days in a country may qualify for a transit visa. Generally, travelers arriving in one country, proceeding to another country, and returning to the first country may re-enter on the original single-entry visa unless they have returned to their home country.
Safari & Roads in Kenya
All major Kenyan roads are tarred. However, road surfaces vary depending on remoteness from Nairobi city and sometimes due to regular maintenance. Rain may also affect the state of roads. Many roads within the National Parks and game reserves are quite navigable. Driving times on Kenyan roads vary from one safari point to another and are approximate. They vary depending on traffic and road conditions.
Private Conservancies v National Parks
Private Conservancies tend to be situated either inside a National Park or bordering it – though not necessarily meaning they are fenced off. A National Park is government-owned and managed, whereas a private concession is usually privately owned or has been tendered by the government to a private safari operator to manage. Both areas have rules and regulations to follow about conservation and wildlife protection, but there are differences in the safari experience. Private Concessions have strict limitations on the number of tourists allowed into their reserve. As a result, the safari experience is less crowded and arguably more authentic: there will certainly be a lot fewer vehicles around which is likely to result in a better all-around game-viewing experience. Private Concessions are only accessible to guests staying at a lodge within the concession. Further, off-roading is only allowed on Private Concessions: so, if a lion is hiding behind a tree, or in the distance, in a Private Concession, the game vehicle can take a closer look. Inside the National Parks, vehicles must stick to the marked roads. Lodges and Camps within Private Concessions tend to be small, offering an intimate experience, with an emphasis on luxury, cuisine and a high staff-to-guest ratio. Private Concession areas also have more flexibility in the activities that they can offer: whereas National Parks have designated opening and closing times, requiring vehicles to be back by sunset, Private Conservancies are allowed to undertake night game drives. Depending on the area, Private Conservancies may also offer a range of other activities, including walking safaris, horse riding, mountain biking, etc.
It is advisable to spread packing between you and your partner’s suitcases. This is in case of loss of luggage – (in case you are traveling together) All the important items and information should be carried in your hand luggage: passport, visa, airfare, insurance, credit cards, money, and prescriptions if necessary. You should carry information about your specific health condition plus malaria pills, any life saving medication (diabetics), anything used to treat allergies or a sudden stomach upset (maybe Imodium), and analgesic aspirin should all be kept accessible to you. Any expensive electrical equipment, such as a camera or computer should be well looked after. Please note that all use, import, and production of plastic bags, such as those we know from supermarkets, etc., is prohibited in Kenya. We, therefore, recommend that you avoid using plastic bags when packing your luggage. Use fabric bags instead, or bags made of a waterproof material other than plastic. If, for example, you are visibly carrying hand luggage in plastic bags upon your arrival in Kenya, you will be asked to hand them in. This also includes plastic bags from “Duty-Free”, etc. On light aircraft flights in Kenya, the baggage allowance is limited to a maximum of 15 Kilograms, including camera and video equipment. Any additional luggage can be stored at the hotel in Nairobi until the end of the safari. Extra luggage is charged at $ 5 per kilogram and depends on space availability and weight Luggage and personal effects are at the owner’s risk throughout the tour. For your peace of mind, baggage insurance is recommended.
Each tour member is allowed one soft-sided bag (as pictured on page six) and one day pack (with cameras, suntan lotion, etc.) while on safari. The bag should not exceed 15 kgs. Should internal flights be part of the itinerary, bag weights are strictly enforced.
When packing, think about the possibility that your international airline might delay your luggage and consider what you need in the event this happens. Carry those items in your carry-on bag.
Travelers arriving in Nairobi, Mombasa, Arusha, Dar es Salaam or Zanzibar can arrange to store extra bags if arriving and departing from the same location. It is important that travelers check with their international airline for up to date information on what is allowed in carry-on luggage.
Airports in Africa enforce the same regulations including limits to liquids and gels and prohibition of sharp items.
Many countries in Africa now require proof of yellow fever vaccination for travelers arriving from or having visited countries listed as endemic for yellow fever. Though this should not pose a problem for travelers arriving from North America or Europe, as Tanzania is considered endemic, you are required to provide the proof of vaccination when traveling between these countries – both by air and road.
Travelers transiting in airports who at in a country for less than 6 hours and do not leave the airport are not required to provide the vaccination certificate. However, as travel plans may change (such as flight cancellations) it is a good idea to have this vaccination and carry the certificate when you travel. If you have been advised by your doctor that you should not have the vaccination, a letter from your doctor confirming this is generally accepted in lieu of the certificate.
Nairobi has excellent international medical facilities. Most camps and lodges have a doctor on call who is experienced with common travel-related ailments. We suggest that you make certain your health insurance has adequate coverage, as once you are returned to Nairobi any further medical expenses will need to be covered by you.
We also advise you to contact a medical specialist or family doctor or even a licensed vaccination clinic well before travelling to Kenya.
You can make a safari in Kenya throughout the year. January, February, and March (High Season) The three months are good for safari, the period is just after the short rain season, you may catch some bird species that are winter visitors from Europe. The grass is not so high enough to hinders your view of the animals. There shall be great opportunities to encounter large elephant herds. April and May (low season) This is the long rainy season; you can still enjoy your safari during this period. Tropical rain comes in bursts and lasts a few hours, mostly in the mornings and afternoons. The rains freshen up nature and often enhance the safari experience. June The month of June is a good time to experience safari after the long rainy season. The large zebra herds cross from Tanzania to the Masai Mara game reserve ahead of the migration which happens from mid-July. July to October (peak season) Huge herds of wildebeest enters the Maasai Mara from the Serengeti in Tanzania. Due to evolving climatic situations, it may be a little difficult to give a specific time for the start of migration. It is, however, safe to state that the great wildebeest migration is active at the Masai Mara by the middle of July. Wildebeest start their return journey to Tanzania around September / October. The return process is devoid of drama. November and December (shoulder season) This is the short rainy season in Kenya. The short rain freshens the pastures and grass start to grow. The national parks and game reserves regain their vegetation.
It is important that tour members understand the climates of the places they will visit. Some people expect that all of Africa is always hot and are quite surprised at the cold temperatures on the rim of Ngorongoro Crater. Nairobi (at 1661 m) and Arusha (at 1403 m) are both at fairly high elevations and can be cooler than people expect.
The coasts of Kenya and Tanzania including the islands of Zanzibar and Mafia Island have much warmer climates.
It can rain at any time during the year. Rain is more common in April, May, and November. The April/May rains are generally heavier at night with some showers during the day. Around November, showers are frequent but often short.
Travelers should have medical insurance, as they will be responsible for all medical expenses they may incur. We provide as part of our service an offer of a temporary evacuation cover on the flying doctor’s service