An African safari in Kenya is a time to relax and enjoy the country’s numerous attractions from diverse wildlife to spectacular landscapes, beautiful marine life to gorgeous beaches, tribal culture to snow-capped peaks. To make sure your African safari in Kenya runs smoothly here is a preparation checklist.
You will need a passport and a visa prior to your arrival. The passport should be valid for at least 6 months and must have a minimum of 2 blank pages for stamps. Citizens from most countries, including children require a Kenya visa. As of September 1, 2015 all applications for a Kenya visa is done electronically on evisa.go.ke. The application process is quite simple and payment is made using visa or mastercard.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires you to get a yellow fever shot before arriving in Kenya if your travels take you through endemic zones. Other than that there are no mandatory vaccinations for travel to Kenya. CDC also recommends being up to date on immunisations for Hepatitis A and B, typhoid, rabies and meningitis. If your travels take you outside Nairobi (the capital of Kenya), you might want to consider pills for malaria. Also ensure to speak to your physician to determine what you need.
Clothing and Packing
Kenya weather is generally sunny throughout the year. It is hot in the afternoon though morning and evening can be cold so it’s best to dress in layers. When out on an African safari neutral colours work best – grey, brown and khaki. White is the worst colour to wear when you’re in the bush, because it stands out the most to animals – essentially, you want to remain unseen to increase the chance of viewing animals’ natural behaviour. Black attracts insects and absorbed heat therefore it is not ideal.
Sunscreen is recommended, a wide brim hat, bug repellant such as DEET, polarised sunglasses, a pair of binoculars and a good guide book. Slippers are fine for the safari vehicle, but also pack a pair of comfortable sneakers. If you are planning on embarking on a walking safari, bring shoes with hard rubber soles, as thorns penetrate soft rubber easily.
For those embarking on a horseback safari, bring the riding gear you are most comfortable in as you will be spending more time in the saddle than you may be used to. Be sure to talk to your tour operator to determine what you need. If your holiday includes a trek up Mt. Kenya or Mt. Kilimanjaro, it’s usually possible to hire climbing gear.
Unless your entire African safari in Kenya is overland, you will fly to your destination using domestic carriers. Flights usually last for roughy an hours to destinations such as Masai Mara, Amboseli, Samburu, Kitale, Mombasa and Lamu. The flights are very strict about luggage restriction. Bags must be soft, no longer than 26 inches and without wheels. The total luggage weight per person should not exceed 15 kgs (33 lbs), including your carry-on. If you go over the weight limit, best-case scenario would be paying a fee, worst-case scenario would be purchasing a separate air-ticket for your luggage or waiting until there’s a flight with space available.
When on an African safari in Kenya, you are not allowed to leave your vehicle except for a couple of wildlife parks were walking is permitted. Feeding the animals is also not allowed. Upon arrival at your safari lodge, you will be given all the do’s and don’t and it is important to follow them.
Photography presents a great opportunity to capture all the magic you’ll encounter during your African Safari in Kenya, or even in East Africa – Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda. From wildlife on the prowl, birds, stunning landscapes to classic sunsets. A DSLR camera and longer lenses are best for wildlife photography, however, if that’s not your objective, a point-and-shoot with the maximum optical zoom will do. It is also a good idea to bring plenty of memory cards. There’s nothing worse than having to delete photos from your camera on the fly to try and create room for your next shot.
Kenya shillings (KSh or KES) is Kenya’s national currency. Exchange rates are currently around 100 shillings to 1 US dollar. Click here, to get today’s exchange rates. It is a good idea to bring US dollars, preferably 100 US dollar notes and smaller. You can pick up KSh at the airport upon arrival or at Forex bureaus – those in the city centre offer the best exchange rates. Accommodations will accept major credit cards like visa and mastercard (American Express is not as widely accepted).
Gratuity/tips are not mandatory, but they are customary. Your tour guide should be at the top of your list. Plan to pay USD $15 to 25 per person per day. If you have a large family, less per person is acceptable.
Other Pages That May Interest You
Flights to Kenya
Nairobi Car Hire
Hotels in Kenya – Luxury and Budget Hotels
The Best 5-star Hotels in Nairobi
The Best 4-star Hotels in Nairobi
The Best 3-star Hotels in Nairobi
The Best 2-star Hotels in Nairobi
Kenya Safari Lodges
Kenya Vacation Rentals
Top Things To Do in Kenya – Tourist Attractions and Activities
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