Travel information you may find useful when planning your safari holiday tour to Africa. If you require any further details or have questions on something not covered by this list, please get in touch with Safaris team.
Tourists must have a valid visa to visit Kenya. Your passport must also be valid for at least six months after the date of your arrival in the country. In 2017 Kenya introduced ‘eVisa’, the electronic tourist visa, although you can still apply for a visa manually on arrival at the Nairobi or Mombasa airport in Kenya. The new eVisa will replace the manual application process on arrival at the airport.
The transition to the new scheme has taken longer than expected. This means that you can still choose to apply for a visa on arrival at the Nairobi or Mombasa airport, or online before flying into Kenya.
Manual application for a visa on arrival in Kenya:
On arrival at the airport in Kenya, you will need to complete an application form and pay a fee of USD 50. The process is relatively smooth and fast. It’s handy to carry your own pen! In the field where you are requested to state your Kenyan address, please enter the name of the hotel/lodge where you are proceeding to spend your first night.
Electronic visa application for Kenya:
Please use the website www.evisa.go.ke to apply for an electronic eVisa. You may pay by credit card. The visa processing fee is USD 50, and there is a service charge of USD 1. The minimum period you can apply for a Kenyan visa is three months before your travel date.
The visa application process involves uploading your passport picture along with your passport photograph. Your visa shall be issued approximately five days after you register. You shall be required to print a copy of your electronic visa, bring it with you for presentation along with your passport on arrival in Kenya. If you have any problems or inquiries related to applying for an electronic visa, please contact the Kenyan Embassy in your country / region.
Other things you need to bear in mind with regard to your visa:
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. Weather vulgarize May also affect the state of roads.
Many roads within the National Parks and game reserves are quite navigable and are not tarmacked.
Driving time on Kenyan roads vary from one safari point to another and are approximate. They may vary depending on traffic and road conditions.
Credit cards Kenya: Most major credit cards (MasterCard, Visa and American Express) are widely accepted. In addition to credit cards, it is advisable to carry easily convertible currency in cash.
We advise you to contact a medical specialist or family doctor or even a licensed vaccination clinic well before traveling to Kenya.
ACCOMMODATION ON SAFARI:
Safari hotels/ lodges/ tented camps are carefully chosen and are named on the safari itinerary/program. Most are unique and add flavor/ romance to your safari tour. They are comfortable and sufficiently luxurious.
They vary from economy, comfort, superior comfort (applies for Masai Mara accommodation) and luxury options.
Luxury lodges blend nicely with the landscape and have rooms with all amenities you would expect from a good hotel. Tented camps are on permanent foundations and have en-suite bathrooms.
The amenities can include hot water bottles to warm your bed before you turn in coffee, tea and hot chocolate served in your tent as part of your early morning wake up call.
Except the tree lodges, most other lodges and camps have swimming pools.
DRINKING WATER & BOTTLED DRINKS:
Avoid drinking water straight from the tap.
Complimentary bottled drinking water will be provided in the safari vehicle.
Soft drinks, beer and other bottled beverages can be purchased at the lodges and camps throughout the safari as they have bars and comfortable lounges with fire places for those cool evenings. Tea or coffee is served after meals.
PACKING ON A SAFARI:
It is advisable to spread packing between you and your partner’s suitcases. This is in case of loss of luggage. 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 lifesaving 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., are 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 end of safari. Luggage and personal effects are at owner’s risk throughout the tour. Baggage insurance is recommended.
PHOTOGRAPHY / CAMERA ON SAFARI:
The recommended camera for a safari is a 35mm camera with automatic exposure and interchangeable lenses. For the best results in photographing wildlife (including birds), you should have a zoom lens. Remember to bring extra batteries for every camera and flash unit.
Also recommended are a few plastic bags that come in handy in protecting your camera if it gets especially dusty in some of the parks. Try to find a size that the entire camera will fit into. Most travelers average approximately 2-3 rolls of film for each day of the safari.
As film in East Africa will most likely be costly and hard to find, it is suggested that film be purchased before departure. During the day, almost any film speed will be fine. If you are using telephoto equipment, you will need more sensitive film for early morning and evening.
WEATHER & SAFARI IN 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 hinder 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 the nature and often enhance the safari experience.
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 enter the Masai Mara from the Serengeti in Tanzania. Due to evolving climatic situations it may be a little difficult to give 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 mid-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 freshen the pastures and grass start to grow. The national parks and game reserves regain their vegetation.
We recommend that you bring casual summer clothes that are easy to launder and quick to dry. Go for neutral colors that do not reflect the heat and do not show the inevitable safari dust. With cool morning and evening, layering is suggested. Laundry service is available in most safari lodges and tented camps which can help you replenish your supply of clean clothing, as you need it. Much of the time on safari is spent in the vehicle so lightweight and comfortable walking shoes are appropriate. The style is casual – even in the evening. For Dinner in Nairobi and at the Mount Kenya Safari Club, dress is smart casual. You will be in the sun a great deal and at these altitudes it is easy to sunburn very quickly. Pack a swimsuit and cover-up, as most of the safari accommodations have swimming pools.
Kenya’s currency is the Kenyan shilling (KSH). Check online for the current rate. You can exchange your convertible foreign currency in to shillings in a forex bureau and shall find the best rates at the airport. Small cash denominations are handy for tipping and minor expenses. You can also withdraw Kenya shillings at the ATM (VISA & MasterCard). Cash USD, Euro, British pounds are readily accepted in many outlets.
In Kenya, the unit of currency is Kenya Shilling. We recommend that you exchange money only as needed. You will find it easiest to make small purchases in local currencies, and will usually receive a better price. You may conveniently exchange money at all lodges and hotels at close to the bank rate, but the best exchange rates you get from the Forex Bureaus at the airport or Nairobi city.
CUSTOM DUTY KENYA:
Customs regulations are quite straightforward. The usual one bottle of spirits, 200 cigarettes, a reasonable amount of camera equipment, film and one tape recorder are allowed to enter Kenya duty free.
DRIVER / GUIDE:
Your safari Guide / Driver will be an integral part of your safari tour experience. You will spend many days together as he narrates the wonders of Kenya’s geography, history and of course the wildlife. Each safari guide is a local Kenyan, steeped in the traditions and folklore of his country as well as exceptionally knowledgeable in areas such as local flora and fauna, tribal lore and regional geography.
The voltage is 220; however, the plugs are different from those in North America or even of Europe. Due to the variations of the outlets, we suggest you travel with a variety of international adapter plugs as well as a voltage converter, which may be purchased as a set. The most commonly used adapter plug has 3 square prongs.
Important: note that lodges in the game parks may turn off their generators during the day and late at night (11pm – 10am), this means there will be no electricity at this time. Please recharge your video camera batteries at applicable times of the day, or carry extra batteries.
FEES & TAXES:
The safari tour price includes government taxes and service charges relating to accommodations and meals provided entrance fees to national parks and game reserves, and game ranger services (where obligatory).
In Kenya, it is illegal to sell any product made from wild animals, including hides and skins, rhinoceros horn, elephant-hair bracelets, crocodile handbags, etc. Please note also that ivory is not legally sold in Kenya. Please note that it is illegal to bring into the U.S. anything made from elephant, rhino or crocodile products.
All hotel, lodges and Porterage gratuities are included on your safari price – these are referred to as service charge. It is however customary to tip the driver / guide at the end of the safari tour. The amount is dependent on your evaluation of the quality of the service rendered. The amount is also at your discretion, you are welcome to provide additional compensation to any staff that has provided special services. A bar gratuity of $ 5 is acceptable.
Travelers should have medical insurance, as they will be responsible for all medical expenses they may incur while on safari.
Kenya has many different dialects and local languages. English is the official language while Kiswahili is the national language, these provides a common identity in the vast country. English is the instructional language in all schools. A few Swahili phrases learnt in advance shall enhance your local interactions.
Laundry services are available at safari lodges and camps where more that one night is being spent. Dry cleaning is only available in Nairobi and Mombasa.
All meals are included on safari. This is from lunch on day 1 until lunch on last day of safari tour. During your safari all meals shall be provided by your respective lodge or tented camps or at restaurant on safari route. Packed / picnic lunches are provided during full day game viewing drives and on long day drives. The quality of the cuisine in East Africa game lodges and camps is superb, with all meats, vegetables and fruits arriving fresh daily from the surrounding farmland areas.
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.
Visitors should exercise the same common sense as one would in any other part of the world. Normal care and sensible precautions should be taken. Please do not leave cash, jewelry or traveler cash unattended in hotel rooms. Every lodge or hotel has a safe deposit facility for your valuables safe keeping. Do not wear flashy jewelry, or leave handbags and photographic equipment unattended in public places.
SAFARI SOUVENIR SHOPPING:
Affordable and attractive baskets, copper jewelry, batik cloth, beads, carvings, Kenya coffee and tea are all for sale in the shops and markets of Nairobi. Boutiques sell fine art and handicrafts, gemstones and jewelry, including a locally mined semiprecious stone called tanzanite.
Most popular are items carved from wood, which range from small trinkets such as animal head salad spoons and letter openers, to world-class ebony sculpture. Carved soapstone from napkin rings and candlesticks to complete chess sets, are also attractive.
Bags woven from sisal and baobab are available in myriad colors, sizes, styles and shapes much more artistic and unique than those reaching the US Market. East African artisans have responded to the increasing appreciation of tribal artifacts with a variety of stunning original pieces and faithful reproductions: drums, headrests, stools, shields, and beaded necklaces and belts from various parts of the region. Some of the most prized pieces feature elaborately worked silver, malachite and amber beads. We suggest that you take all goods you purchase with you as shipping and duty cost may easily exceed the cost of the item.
TRANSFERS TO AND FROM THE AIRPORT
We provide complimentary airport hotel transfers on arrival. At your time of departure, we shall again transfer you to the Nairobi airport.
Our experienced and knowledgeable safari Guide / Driver shall collect you up at Nairobi Airport, Nairobi local hotel or local residence. He will take you on safari and other sightseeing adventures and return you back to the hotel or airport on your last day.
Because most of the safari journey includes most hours of safari trip, the quality of the safari vehicle is of high importance. As much of the journey is long hours on the trail on wildlife, the quality of the ground vehicle is of the utmost importance.
Each comfortable safari vehicle carries a maximum of 6/7 guests, thus providing a guaranteed window seat and access to the roof hatch. Our safari Guide / Driver have a mechanical background and will fix any break any simple breakdown or if there is a major breakdown another van will be provided as soon as possible.
DRIVING DISTANCE & TIME ON SAFARI
Note that all driving times are approximate and may vary depending on weather, state of road and traffic.
MASAI VILLAGE VISIT AT MASAI MARA
If your dream is to visit a Masai village (manyatta), please discuss this with your safari guide. A donation of 20 USD per person payable directly to the village chief is suggested.
LUNCH AND DRINKS DURING SAFARI
All meals including picnic lunches are included in the tour price. Bottled drinks you pay for yourself.
Kenya is 2 hours ahead of GMT.
Mosquitoes appear when the sunsets, temperatures drop and the evening night sets in. This is when most bites happen. We advise that you wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt just to protect you from mosquito bites. It is also important to make sure any exposed parts of the body are protected with insects repellent. All safari lodges and camps are fitted with mosquito nets over the bed.
CHARGING OF MOBILE PHONES AND OTHER ELECTRICAL ITEMS
Most hotels and lodges generally have their electricity from generators switched off after 11pm. You are reminded to take a small flashlight with you. The sockets are 240 volts and use 3 pin plugs as in the UK.
CHECK IN / OUT OF THE HOTELS
At hotel / lodge check in always fill out one of registration cards at the front desk before key collection. Check in after 11am and check out before 10am. When checking out you pay the extra bills for drinks from the restaurant and bar.
LUGGAGE WHICH IS IMPORTANT TO BRING
IMPORTANT ITEMS TO HAVE IN YOUR HAND LUGGAGE
SAFARI BOOKING TERMS & CONDITIONS
Please read our booking terms and conditions carefully. These terms and conditions constitute the basis of your package purchased from Natural World Kenya Safaris. Click here to read our terms and conditions.