SAFARI TRAVEL GUIDELINES FOR KENYA

Frequently Asked Questions

For visitors coming to Africa for the first time, there are many unanswered questions — what do we pack, what are the entry requirements and so on. To make your visit a truly relaxing and well-prepared one, here are some of the answers to all those questions. All the information contained herein is given in good faith and has been carefully compiled. It must be accepted that details will change from time to time! Please read this information thoroughly now, as there are certain things which must be checked and attended to in advance of departure. And of course, please feel free to call us with any questions you may still have."


1:Information on Kenya

Kenya is 580,367 square Kms in area and borders on (clockwise from the south): Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia and the Indian Ocean. The country's population of 28.3 million people is growing at 1.7 percent annually and concentrated in the southern two-thirds of the country with the majority residing in rural towns and villages. Less than 25 percent of all Kenyans live in large urban areas. Kenya has been a major migratory pathway over the centuries, which has led to a diversity of people from almost every part of the continent. Kenya's national parks and game reserves have long been famous for their variety and wealth of flora and fauna. One tenth of all land in Kenya is designated as national preserved parkland.

2:Passports and Visas

All visitors require valid passports and return air tickets. You must have a valid passport that does not expire for at least six months after your return home. Please ensure your passport has sufficient blank pages for any visas required and for entry/departure stamps. Entry visas, for all countries to be visited, should be obtained in plenty of time (two months) before your safari. Contact the Kenya Embassy for your Kenya visa application form. If the safari is not entirely in Kenya, a visa is required for each of the other countries in East Africa to be visited. If necessary, Kenya visas can be obtained on arrival at Jomo Kenyatta Airport at a fee of $50, Visas are valid for a period of three months from the date of issue. It is the responsibility of all visitors to Kenya to obtain all necessary visas in advance of travel. With a valid Single Entry Kenya visa you can visit Tanzania or Uganda and return without having to apply for another visa as long as you have a valid visa for entry into Tanzania or Uganda. For those traveling to Tanzania or Uganda, please contact the respective Embassies. Upon arrival in Kenya, indicate on the "Arrival Declaration Card" your FINAL date of departure, irrespective of excursions to other countries.


3:Entry Requirements

Visas are required for certain visitors to Kenya dependent on Nationality. Yellow fever and cholera vaccinations are not mandatory. However, we strongly advise that you check with your local health organization or personal physician to find out what inoculations are recommended for travel to Kenya. Anyone entering Kenya from or via a yellow fever infected area must be in possession of a valid International Certificate of Vaccination against yellow fever.


4:Departure Tax

This should be included in the cost of your International Airline Tickets. In the event that taxes are not included, Local departure taxes are payable at all airports and must be paid by means of foreign currency in cash (US$ are preferred).


5:Customs Concessions

Personal effects including cameras and film may be imported temporarily without a permit. A customs bond may be requested from visitors bringing in excessive video, film equipment, radios, tape recorders and musical instruments in order to ensure that these goods are re-exported, but generally the customs officials are very welcoming. Firearms are forbidden except under special circumstances.


6:Insurance

Minimum travel insurance is mandatory. It is recommended that all guests take out comprehensive Travel Insurance before Travel for cancellation and curtailment, emergency evacuation back to your home town, medical expenses, default, personal baggage and money.. Other countries not requiring visas are those who have concluded abolition agreement with Kenya, such as Denmark, Finland, Spain, Turkey, Uruguay, Ethiopia, San Marino, Norway and Eritrea. Other who do not require visas for not periods exceeding 30 days are citizens from UK, France, Luxembourg, Germany, Italy, Australia, Japan, USA and Canada.


7:Medical Care/Insurance

All guests should cover themselves for medical and other traveling insurances, including cancellation coverage.


8:Health Issues

Currently, no vaccinations are required for entry into Kenya. However, if you are arriving from a place where there is cholera you should provide evidence of recent inoculation in addition to a yellow fever vaccination certificate. Certain immunization shots are recommended by the respective country’s Health Department for international travel so be sure to check with your own physician as to what he/she recommends. You will need to make an appointment with your personal physician or travel clinic at least one month prior to departure to review pertinent health precautions including necessary vaccinations and medications. Please discuss any other health-related questions with your health practitioner at this time.

  • Yellow Fever No vaccinations or health certificates are required unless you are arriving within 6 days after leaving a Yellow Fever infected area. Note: A Yellow Fever Vaccination Card is required for entry into Uganda and Tanzania.
  • Malaria A course of malaria prophylactics is advisable for all non-African visitors. Most brands need to be taken a few days/weeks before entering into a malaria area (depending on the brand), and for 4 weeks after you return home. Consult your doctor, nearest vaccination center or pharmacist for the most up-to-date requirements and brand recommended for the area to which you are traveling. Take your tablets regularly and ensure that you have a sufficient supply for the duration of your holiday and for the additional time once you return home. We recommend that you take your tablets in the evenings in order to avoid experiencing any potential side effects during the day. Mosquitoes usually bite between dusk and dawn. The best prevention is avoidance so we strongly advise that you cover up by wearing long sleeves and long pants and use mosquito repellent. We have noticed unpleasant side effects occasionally occurring to people who have been taking Larium.
  • Bilharzia Bilharzia is a disease caused by tiny parasites (small snails) present in some lakes, rivers and dams. There is no prophylactic available against Bilharzia, which is treated by drugs or an injection. The condition can be unpleasant so it's better not to swim in rivers or streams, particularly where the water is stagnant.
  • AIDS The HIV virus and AIDS are serious health issues in many African countries. However, the risk to travelers is negligible assuming proper precautions are taken. Transmission of HIV is by bodily fluids only. Use the same precautions while in Africa as in your home country to protect against contracting this virus.
  • General recommendations Always take precautions against the persistent overhead sun. Proximity to the equator makes the African sun particularly strong so ensure you use the proper level of protection. In the winter months, the big game areas can be dusty. Contact lens wearers would be advised to bring eye drops and eyewash. Wrap-around sunglasses provide the best protection from dust and other eye irritants. Sun protective Chap Stick, sunscreens, moisturizing creams and insect repellents are recommended. Personal Health History: Please make us aware of any specific health restrictions that may affect your choice of accommodation, cuisine or style of travel.


9:Language

The official national language is Swahili, although English is spoken throughout. In total there are 42 ethnic languages in Kenya.


11:Currency

The unit of currency is the Kenya shilling (Ksh). Each shilling is divided into 100 cents. Notes come in denominations of 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 Ksh. Coins are 1, 5, 10, 20 Ksh and 50 cents. Foreign currency can be exchanged at commercial banks and many hotels and safari lodges. Banking hours are Monday to Friday from 09h00 to 14h00 and on the first and last Saturday of the month from 09h00 to 11h00. Some banks in Mombasa and Nairobi stay open later on weekdays. The bank at Nairobi airport is open 24 hours. Credit cards are accepted at many hotels and safari lodges. American Express, Visa and Mastercard all have local agents in Nairobi and Mombasa. We recommend taking sufficient travelers checks in small denominations and some cash. Typically, you should budget $500 per person Approximately. Many establishments accept international credit cards and we recommend using credit cards as a method of payment wherever possible as the exchange rate is often favorable; however, do not rely on this method of payment outside of the cities. Some banks have ATM machines where visitors can use their International Credit Cards to obtain local currency. Reserve a small amount of cash for rural traders, US$ 10 and US$ 20 bills are recommended for this purpose. Changing bills of higher denominations may not be possible.


12:Tipping

Our general recommendation is to tip in accordance with the level and quality of service provided. The following guidelines are generally accepted practice (per person): Professional Safari Guide(s) $10 per day; Camp staff - US $5 per day, as a pooled tip to be shared among the housekeepers, waiters, bartender, etc; For porters and waiters at hotels and for taxi drivers in cities, the customary tip is approximately 10%. (Tipping in US$ 1.00 bills for porters and waiters is greatly appreciated). The traditional gratuity to safari guides or camp staff is not included in the price of your tour but is completely discretionary.


13:Electric Current

Electricity in Kenya and voltage is 220/240 AC, 50 Hz., therefore, for most 110 appliances you will need both an adapter for the proper plug configuration and a converter for the correct current. Rectangular three pronged plug sockets are in use. Most safari camps do not have individual electrical outlets in the tents, but have a common charging area in the reception. Remote lodges and camps get their electricity from generators. Often these generators are only operated at specific times of day. Electrical currency adapter kits are not readily available, so it is best to bring your own if one is needed. (English system) Safari vehicles operate on the 12 Volt system.


14:Communications

Communication in Kenya to the rest of the world is relatively advanced, Within the major cities and towns, both mobiles and national lines are mostly available. Two mobile operators exist within Kenya; Safaricom and Celtel. Their charges are relatively fair when called to any local number. For international calls, Kenya has recently introduced the VOIP (voice over internet protocol) which is relatively cheap to connect you to the world. However communication while on safari Generally speaking, communications in Africa are not what you are accustomed to at home. Communications while on safari may generally depend on the network coverage of the respective mobile operator. Where network does not exist, communication is generally through the Camp Radio via a message to our Nairobi Office. You can make direct dial international telephone calls from most hotels, but please be aware that hotels are likely to charge a sizable surcharge to make calls from your room. Most Lodges have central phones in their reception, but not individual ones in the rooms. We generally ask all clients to bring their mobile phones and as a special service, Glory Safaris normally provides a SIM card free of charge for any emergencies as part of our quality policy.


15:security

In keeping with many tourist centers worldwide, visitors are advised not to leave any valuables in their hotel room when they go out, but to make use of the safe deposit boxes which are available at most hotels and lodges (some rooms are equipped with a safe). Prices The prices quoted in the price list are based on costs prevailing at the time of publication and are subject to change without notice.


16:Climate

Kenya is divided by the equator and enjoys a tropical climate. It is hot and humid at the coast, temperate inland and very dry in the arid north and northeastern parts of the country. The hottest periods are February, March and October with the coldest in June, July. The average annual temperatures in the main areas are Mombasa (30 C - 22 C); Nairobi (25 C - 13 C); and North Plainlands (34 C - 23 C). The long rains are from early April through late May, and the short rains from November through into December. Rainfall is sometimes heavy and mostly occurs during the afternoon or early evening hours. The two Dry seasons offer excellent visibility and more reliable road conditions, and game tends to congregate around the limited water sources, making the animals easier to find. December, July and August are generally extremely busy in East Africa, offering comfortable temperatures in addition to being a popular time for travel world-wide due to Vacations.


Although these are general guidelines regarding seasonal patterns, please be advised that the weather can vary dramatically as we deal with effects of global warming. A light warm jacket, hat and raincoat/windbreaker are essential for those early morning game-viewing drives. We strongly recommend dressing in layers, as this is an effective method of compensating for the wide variations in temperatures.


17:Public Holidays

1st January – New Years Day March/April – Good Friday /Easter Monday 1st May – Labour Day 1st June – Madaraka Day (anniversary of self government) 10th October – Moi day 20th October – Kenyatta day (anniversary of President Kenyatta's arrest) 25th December – Christmas day 26th December – Boxing Day Idd-ul-Fitr, the Muslim celebration marking the end of Ramadan is variable from year to year, but generally is earlier in the year.


18:Water

Your Guide will advise you of the specific water situation pertaining to your accommodation. Rather stick to sealed bottled water, which is available from most hotels and lodges, and which is highly recommended for the first few weeks of your stay.


19:Photography

Our safari vehicles are fitted with roof hatches for unobstructed viewing of wildlife, but often a better photographic angle is obtained from a lower viewpoint. We provide sand or bean bags for use as camera rests. For game and bird photography, a telephoto lens of between 200 and 400 mm is strongly recommended. Larger lenses, which require a tripod, are generally impractical for photography from vehicles, as are double lens reflex cameras. Our safari guides are familiar with many camera systems and can often assist with their operation or with advice on how to get the best pictures. Make sure that you are thoroughly conversant with all your equipment before coming on safari and that you have an ample supply of film (2/3 rolls per day) or video cassettes and spare batteries and lens papers with you. Out of respect for the local cultures, please seek the advice of your Guide before photographing people. Note that certain Government, military and police buildings may not be photographed. Video cameras can be recharged at many Lodges and in our Camps via the camp generator and inverter Still SLR CAMERA. One or two camera bodies (one for high speed film or black and white is useful) with 28mm, 80-200/300mm zoom and, for close-ups and birds, 400mm lenses. Wide angle and macro lenses are also useful for the enthusiast. An ultra violet (UV) filter should be fitted to each lens. A polarizing circular filter is advisable on a wide angle (This makes the sky blue and clouds white on those typical clear days). There are some good 14 teleconvertors, which are suitable for zoom lenses that work very well - better than the x2 converters. Bring a flash for campfire and tent scenes. Allow for at least two to three rolls of 36 exposure film per day, some of which should be high-speed film for early morning and late afternoon shots, ASA 100 & 200 should be the bulk with some 400 for poor light (evening) conditions. Remember to bring spare camera batteries. Video Please make sure you bring the power adaptor for charging batteries. Vehicles are negative-ground 12-volt systems and the local mains supply is 220/240 volt, 50 Hz, so bring a good quality transformer if you have a 110-volt (US) system. We can provide a 220/240 v charging generator if requested. Allow for a minimum of three spare batteries for operation away from the vehicle, plus at least four to six hours of videocassettes. Some Safari Vehicles have a 12 VDC to 115 VAC portable power inverter, which is ideal for charging batteries. You may wish to purchase one. (Try Radio Shack) A flash unit powered off the video battery is recommended for interior scenes or around the campfire. Binoculars are essential. Each person should have his or her own pair to avoid the annoyance of passing them around when something exciting happens. The best field binoculars are lightweight with central focusing and with good light-gathering capability. Do not get them too powerful, as these are hard to hold steady: 7 x 50, 8 x 32 or 10 x 32 are excellent sizes. Avoid the zoom variety, as clarity is often poor.


20:Before you Leave

If you can, make your last day at home a relaxed one, with a good night’s rest instead of frantic last-minute packing. A little light exercise, such as going for a walk, can help you relax and feel fit the next day. Try going to bed a little earlier or getting up a little later to start compensating for any difference in time zones. The less tired you are when you leave home, the less trouble you will have with jet lag when you arrive. Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. Natural fibres are best, to allow your skin to breath. A good moisturizer will also help protect your skin from dry air on the plane. To help your body cope with high-altitude pressure changes, don’t eat too heavily the night before you leave. Drink plenty of water and not too much alcohol, coffee or tea.


21:When you Arrive

Even a time change of a couple of hours can throw your body off track. Morning people, who tend to follow a regular schedule, may have more problems adjusting, and eastward flights have stronger effects than westwards ones. To fight jet lag, take day flights whenever you can, and try to bring your body in rhythm with the time at your destination. Eat at times that are normal for your new time zone. A protein rich breakfast and lunch, with cheese, eggs, milk, meat or fish, and a dinner high in carbohydrates such as rice or pasta may help reset your body’s clock. Use the sun. Do your best to spend at least 30 minutes of your day outdoors, in full sunlight. Staying active during the day should also help, especially if you can get in a light workout or go for a walk.


22:Packing For your Trip

The most important thing is to dress comfortably whilst on your safari. Lightweight clothing in neutral colors is suitable for the bush (including a long-sleeved shirt for protection from the sun and long pants for protection from mosquitoes in the evenings). Since laundry is done daily in almost every camp, lodge or hotel you will visit, it is not necessary to bring more than 3 to 4 sets of clothing. Please avoid clothing resembling army uniforms e.g., army jackets, caps, trousers, as it is illegal.


23:What to Bring – Clothing

On safari, the dress is casual with outdoor comfort the standard. Loose fitting, tan, neutral or Khaki cotton clothes are the best for game viewing. You will need a warm sweater for the early mornings and evenings when it can get surprisingly cold. The concept of "layering" is a good system to employ. A waterproof rain jacket can double as a windbreaker. Please don't bring too much clothing.

  • 4 Lightweight cotton shirts
  • 3-4 Pairs of socks
  • 3 - 4 Shorts/skirts
  • 2 Slacks/jeans
  • 1 Fleece jacket or lined windbreaker
  • 1 Sweatshirt, warm wool sweater
  • 1 Hat with brim for sun protection; cotton scarf for neck
  • 2 Pairs Comfortable shoes (sneakers/topsiders) (Heavy Hiking boots are not necessary.)
  • 1 Flip Flops or Tevas for showering
  • 1 Bathing suit for lodges

24:First Aid

  • Sunscreen/ Suntan Lotion Cold Tablets/ Tylenol
  • Insect Repellent Band Aids
  • Anti dehydration medication Neosporin
  • Cortisone cream
  • All purpose prescription antibiotic moisturizer
  • Contact lens solution
  • Spare prescription spectacles
  • Anti malarial tablets Safari Essentials
  • Dust mask or large handkerchief
  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Sunglasses Tissues
  • Wet ones
  • Eye Glasses (if worn) - Note: some people have trouble with contact lenses & dust Flashlight Penknife/ Pocketknife Zip lock/ Plastic bags Film
  • Camera Bag Batteries – flash light
  • Batteries – camera
  • Lock for Baggage Razor/ Shaving Cream Sewing Kit
  • Diary/ Books/ Pens
  • Personal toiletries

NOTE: White and bright colours (Red, Yellow) are discouraged as they tend to alert the animals, but they are fine within camp. Please leave all your good jewelry and watches at home. Duffel bags are ideal as they store easily, especially in the charter aircraft, and can take a few knocks.


25:Luggage

We strongly recommend that luggage be kept to a minimum. Most city hotels have facilities for storing luggage not required whilst on safari. When light aircraft are utilized the maximum baggage per person is restricted to 15 Kgs (approx. 30 lbs.) per person. One soft duffel and one carry-on bag per person is recommended.

NOTE: White and bright colours (Red, Yellow) are discouraged as they tend to alert the animals, but they are fine within camp. Please leave all your good jewelry and watches at home. Duffel bags are ideal as they store easily, especially in the charter aircraft, and can take a few knocks.


26:Security - Utmost Importance

Safety and security is a matter of common sense. Therefore, take the same precautions while traveling, that you would in any major city at home. Do not carry large sums of cash with you, keep a close watch on handbags, purses, wallets etc. when walking in crowded areas, avoid walking alone at night, lock up valuables in hotel safe deposit boxes and never leave valuables in view in an unattended car. In safari camps that do not have safes or locked doors, please keep tempting valuables out of sight. Word of advice: please make copies of passports, credit cards and other pertinent identification and documents. Keep one copy with you, and leave one copy with your emergency contact at home. Taking photographs at airports, near military installations, of policemen etc. is prohibited. Before taking photographs of people obtain their permission and possibly agree on a price.