General Information About KenyaKenya Safaris can range enormously enormously in terms of both content and quality. This is an extremely diverse country which straddles a number of different climate zones, contains a vast range of different landscapes and is home to an unusually broad range of cultures.
We subdivide Kenya into six regions, each of which has its own very distinctive character and set of attractions. The majority of visitors combine two or more of these regions in their trip.
Kenya Southwest ...is the best known and most visited part of the country, dominated by the Masai Mara, which continues to deliver top quality safari experiences so long as you plan carefully. The well known Rift Valley lakes of Naivasha and Nakuru now suffer terribly from traffic and urban expansion, but the Lake Magadi and Loita Hills area remains wonderfully pure and virtually unvisited.
Kenya Central ...is a very diverse region containing some wonderful safari areas, home to some unique species which you most likely won't see elsewhere, including reticulated giraffes, imperial zebras and gerenuks . Laikipia North is particularly well known for its superb Colonial Era ranches and family-run safari lodges. Even the relatively busy Samburu area has some superb camp options.
Kenya Southeast ...also contains a number of safari areas, set against the scenic backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro. The most famous area is Amboseli, but it can get rather busy and in many ways the adjacent Chyulu Hills is much more appealing, especially for high-end safari.
Kenya Coast ...is a 425km frontage onto the tropical Indian Ocean. Sections of this shoreline is now heavily developed with mass-market resorts and holiday homes, but there are still some wonderfully remote areas. To the south Msambweni is probably our favourite, whilst to the north there is the choice of the extraordinary Tana Delta or the islands of Lamu, Manda and Kiwayu.
Kenya North ...is an extremely remote and little-visited region with some truly spectacular desert scenery. But a combination of a lack of infrastructure and significant security concerns make travel here rather difficult, although we are able to operate some superb flying safari expeditions for more intrepid travellers.
Nairobi ...is the capital city and the main transport hub for the region.
Here are a few tips on issues relating to safari travel in Kenya ...
Passports and visasMost nationalities require a visa to enter Kenya. Visas can be obtained either on arrival at your port of entry or in advance online. The online process takes around 48hrs and you need to register as a visitor on the website below and follow the instructions. You will be asked to upload a passport photo and a scan copy of your passport and then pay the applicable fee. All types of visa can be applied for including single journey, transit and an East Africa visa that covers Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. Once processed you will receive email confirmation and your visa can be downloaded. Refer to ... evisa.go.ke If you are asked on your Visa Application or Entry Certificate for 'local contact details', you can simply put the details of your first lodge and the phone number provided on your confirmation paperwork. Be sure that you passport is stamped with the correct departure date or you could encounter serious problems. We cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of this information. Please be sure to check for updates from the relevant authorities. Please note that getting a visa on arrival can involve waiting in line for a period, which can be quite tedious after a long flight. You may therefore consider using a specialist agency to help you get your visa in advance, although there is an additional cost involved. Our customers from the US particularly recommend ... www.travisa.com
HealthWe are not health professionals, all of the health information provided here is for guidance only. For definitive advice you need to speak to your doctor. Travellers to Africa generally need to be aware of four main health issues in advance of making a reservation ... Insurance Malaria Medical kits Vaccinations Please also refer to other sections in the resources area which relate to health issues which may be encountered whilst travelling ... Whilst it may be useful to read through all of these, you do need to be careful not to put yourself off going ... so long as you take the necessary precautions, serious health issues as a result of travel are very rare.
MoneyThe currency in Kenya is the Kenyan Shilling. Approximate exchange rate : USD 1 = KES 85 This cannot usually be exchanged back into hard currency, so whatever you change you will have to either spend, give away or take home. It is worth noting that your on-the-ground expenditure in most parts of Africa should not be as high as you might be used on other trips since all of your accommodation is pre-paid, with many of your meals and activities also being included. We recommend taking a modest amount of cash US$, a small proportion of which you can change into local currency. Then back this up with debit and credit cards. Virtually all major cash payments can be settled in US$. Note that some US$ banknotes may not be accepted due to the high levels of counterfeit currency in circulation in Africa. We recommend that you only travel with US$ bills dated 2006 or later. A small amount of KSh can come in handy for small purchases at roadside stalls and stores. Exchanging US$ for KSh is possible in most locations, although exchange rates will vary. Larger, newer and better condition US$ bills generally attract a better exchange rate. Other hard currencies can be used, notably Euro, although may be subject to more unfavourable rates of exchange. Credit and debit cards are now accepted at most major stores and lodges and can be used to make payments. Virtually all locations charge a significant premium for using a card, 5% to 10% is common, higher rates in excess of 25% can be encountered. Travellers checks are no longer widely accepted. It may be significantly easier and cheaper to carry cash, but this does obviously heighten the risk of loss or theft. Refer to the section on crime for more information. There are very few cash machines or ATM's, except in the major urban centres, where banks can also be found. If you ever run out of money, then your safari operator or lodge owner should be able to bail you out, with our assistance where necessary. When trying to assess exactly how much cash to take, most people seem to settle on somewhere between US$50 and US$200 per person per day. The more you take, the more you are likely to bring back home with you. It is more a case of how much you feel comfortable carrying. Note that your largest expenditure is likely to be tips, which could exceed US$25 per person per day.
SecurityGenerally speaking Kenya is a safe place to visit, although travellers should make themselves aware of any issues.
ElectricitySocket outlets are almost universally the British three rectangular pin variety 230V/50Hz. Most good lodges provide universal adaptors, although we always recommend bringing your own.
Safety when travelling in Africa ...
SicknessInternational travellers to Africa who take suitable precautions rarely encounter serious health issues, but you really do need to take care and be aware. There are some very serious issues covered in our health section, most notably the need to have adequate vaccinations and to take prophylaxis pills against malaria.
Altitude SicknessThis issues is specific to trekkers on Kilimanjaro, but is so serious that it features highly in this list. Of the 30,000 who trek Kilimanjaro each year, we estimate that between 5 to 10 people die each year from altitude sickness, which means that the chances of death are around 1 in 4500. Please refer to the Mount Kilimanjaro page for details.
Road AccidentsWe usually hear of around one fatal road crash every two years. We therefore estimate that the chances of being involved in such an incident are around 1 in 60,000. Read more in our section on road safety.
Large AnimalsWe usually hear of around one fatal animal attack every two years. We therefore estimate that the chances of being involved in such an incident are around 1 in 70,000. Read more in our section on animal attacks.
Air accidentsWe usually hear of around one fatal air crash every two years. We therefore estimate that the chances of being involved in such an incident are around 1 in 20,000. Read more in our section on air safety.
Snakes and insectsWe are commonly asked what are the chances of being bitten by a venomous snake in Africa? The answer is extremely low. We usually hear of around one fatal snake bite every three to five years. We therefore estimate that the chances of being involved in such an incident are around 1 in 100,000. Read more in our section on snake bites. On the other hand, the chances of getting bitten by insects is much higher and, if you do not take suitable precautions, the consequences can be just as serious.
CrimeContrary to commonly held pre-conceptions, crime is no more of a problem in most of Africa than it is in many other parts of the world. But it is something of which you need to be aware and act accordingly. Read more in our crime section. On the other hand, hustle is something you are likely to be exposed to at regular intervals on your trip, although this tends to be of such an non threatening and even positive and rather charming nature.
Getting LostThis risk is specific to desert areas, notably in Namibia, where self-drive travellers turn off the main routes, get lost or break down and end up dying of thirst. It sounds like a pretty extraordinary way to go, but we hear of such incidents about once every five years, which means that the risk of dying in this way is probably around 1 in 50,000. The ways to reduce this risk are pretty obvious ... don't wander off the main roads without advising people exactly where you are going and when to expect you, only travel on the most remote routes in convoy and hire a satellite phone for emergency communication.
11 Days Samburu/Maasai Mara /L.Naivasha /Amboseli/Tsavo 01 Jan 2017 - 15 Dec 2017
- short brief drive to ,Samburu Game Reserve
- Transfer to the airport
- Full-Day game drives