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Kenya Travel Tips

Kenya travel tips on money saving, personal safety, sightseeing, and enjoying your trip to the fullest from InfoHub suppliers and community members.
What are the best destinations in Africa?
Submitted by M05203 on 2007-11-13
Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania are the most popular destinations, but deciding what you want to do is just as important as looking at where you want to go.
There are many types of safari available these days, from ... view more family safaris, night and walking safaris, to horse-riding and canoeing.

Kenya is considered by many to be the home of safari, with 59 wildlife parks and reserves, the Masai Mara being the best known and most visited. It's affordable, especially if you join a package tour, or camp.

South Africa. The Kruger National Park is probably the best-known game park in South Africa, which is generally thought to be a good value destination. You can expect to find the big five here, as well as small animals like the bushbaby and meerkat.

Botswana and Tanzania. If you're after an individually tailored trip, Botswana or Tanzania could be for you. The trips here tend to be more exclusive, and, as you often have to fly to remote, inaccessible destinations, the price can really hike up. You can do safari DIY-style, but beware - wildlife tends to live away from the beaten track, so you'll more than likely need a guide, transport and accommodation.

Namibia has quickly become a good value destination, with safaris taking place in stunning desert landscapes. Camping here is also an excellent option for those on a shoestring.

Zambia is often described as Africa's big secret because of it’s wonderful wildlife, and very few visitors. A good option if you want to avoid the tourist crowds.

Mozambique is also becoming very popular. After your safari, you can choose to relax on the stunning coast, or one of the beautiful offshore islands.

Uganda is a must if you are interested in seeing gorillas and chimps, and it offers one of the best water rafting experience in the world.

Tips for Travellers to Tanzania
Submitted by M18789 on 2009-04-20
Immunization and Health:

Visitors from countries infected with Cholera and Yellow fever must produce international certificates of vaccination; this is particularly relevant for those traveling from neighboring ... view more African countries.

The UK Department of Health recommends vaccinations against Hepatitis A, polio and typhoid. It is essential for visitors to take a course of anti-malaria tablets commencing two weeks before travel.

Modern medical services are available in Dar es Salaam and other major Centres. There are only a limited number of chemists in the country, so visitors are advised to bring their own medicines with them.

What to Take:
- Don’t forget the camera, camcorder and binoculars and take a torch for finding your way around your camp at night.
- Stock up with replacement batteries for all these goods.
- Take sunglasses, hat, sun lotion, lip balm and some insect repellent.
- It is better not to get stung even if you are taking ant- malaria tablets.
- It’s best to take any medicines required for the duration of the visit.
- A spare pair of glasses or contact lenses is also a good idea.
- Take plenty of films; it is difficult to obtain outside the main centers.
- Traveler's cheques can be exchanged in cities and towns. Banking facilities in remote areas are restricted, so take plenty of cash.

Travel Light:
Some safari/air charters limit baggage to a 10 - 15 kilo maximum.

Language:
English is widely spoken but a few words of Swahili are appreciated.

Currency:
- The unit of currency is the Tanzanian Shilling, which is divided into 100 cents. Visitors can take in any amount of foreign currency.
- Credit cards are not widely accepted and carry poor exchange rates.

On Safari:
Distances in Tanzania are vast, and travel by road can be tiring, It is wise to spend more time in few parks. You will see more and won’t return home exhausted. Keep your distance from animals and be quiet to avoid distressing them.

Tipping?
Submitted by M16637 on 2009-05-31
Tipping is very subjective, but the standard scenario is to leave a tip for staff at a Lodge or Camp. You might want to tip separately a guide assigned to you whilst on safari, but we suggest between $5 and $10 per day ... view more of your stay for the combined staff tip.

If you are on an escorted tour with just one guide you would normally divide this between the local places you are staying and your personal guide/tour leader. Again your feelings are what count. If you are not happy - pay nothing - This is after all a tip to say you have done a good job.

I have yet to come across a situation with guests where they have not wished to leave a tip. While visiting and researching new locations I establish then if this is a place I would want to stay myself or take my friends or family. In many of our escorted tours I have chosen to include tips so guests don't need to worry. The reason been that I know the caliber of work my guides do and I wish to ensure they are paid well.

Do ensure wherever you go that the tip does get shared with all staff who work behind the scenes and not just the guide working with you personally.

Packing
Submitted by M19171 on 2009-07-23
- You should always travel with soft bags, not hard suitcases (not only for the smaller aircraft but also to fit into vehicles).
- If you are using a small plane at any point of the safari then do not exceed 20kg (this ... view more is relevant for all internal flights other than Nairobi/Wilson/Kilimanjaro, where the limit is 15kg).
- Packing list: A hat, sunglasses, high strength sun screen, moisturizer, lip salve, strong insect repellent, anti-histamine cream and tablets should always be carried. Nearly all hotels and camps now have shampoo and body lotion.
- If you wear prescription glasses bring a spare pair. If you wear contact lenses bring a pair of glasses as well since dust can be a problem.

Basic Safety Rules for Travelers to Kenya
Submitted by M17881 on 2009-07-24
Safety:
- Remove your watch and jewelry in big cities to avoid being a target.
- Never wear an external money pouch or use a wallet in your pocket or have a loose backpack.
- Keep things inside your clothing and ... view more out of sight. Nairobi is like any major city in the world be it New York, London or Paris.
- Take care of your valuables concealing jewelry and watches and hold handbags tightly when walking on streets.
- Gold neck chains can be snatched with ease and it’s not advisable to wear them. Keep valuables in the hotels safe.
- Do not leave money, passport, jewelry or watches in the rooms or tent; you carry them with you at all times.
- Be careful late at night in town or whilst on a lonely beach. Africa is a wonderful place, but as in any poor economy, there are those hungry enough to steal for their dinner.

Currency and banking:
- The amount of money in any currency brought into the country is not limited. Only change your money at the hotels, in official banks and bureau de change.
- Travelers’ checks, US Dollars, and major credit cards are widely acceptable. However, you should change some small amount into local currency to use for tipping and buying curios.
- The currency in Kenya is the Kenya shillings and is divided into 100 cents.

Kenya Tipping guidelines
Submitted by M17881 on 2009-07-24
Tipping guidelines:

It is a common courtesy to tip your driver, guide, and porter when on safari. The following list is a guide - as always you should tip based on your satisfaction with service. All amounts per ... view more person, per day (per event):
- Trip Valet: US$5 per day
- Individual driver/guide: US$5-10 per day
- Porters/waiters: US$1-2.

Mount Climbing rates: When climbing Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro there is at least one senior guide, a cook/junior guide, and an average of two porters per client. In a group of 8 it will be typical to have one senior guide, one cook, and 16 porters. Therefore, on a six-day ascent expect to pay $90 in tips per person - or more if you feel a particular person went above and beyond the call of duty. All amounts shared by group, per day:
- Senior guide: US$20-30 per day
- Junior guide/Cook: US$10 per day
- Porter: US$5 per day.

Other important points:
- Please be punctual for all departures, game drive and schedules so as to make maximum use of your holiday time.
- Departure transfers for international flights are usually two and half-hours prior to flight times.
- Day rooms are reserved till 6.00 pm.

Kenya Travel Health and Vaccinations Safety
Submitted by M17881 on 2009-07-24
All visitors to East Africa are required to produce health records. Its therefore very important for you to get health advice before you depart. Malaria is endemic to certain areas of Kenya, notably by the coastal region ... view more and western Kenya. However, visitors to Nairobi and the higher altitudes should also be taking prophylactic treatment. Treatment should start one week before entering the country and continue throughout the duration of the visit and for six weeks thereafter.

Anti malaria tablets and any over the counter drugs can be purchased in chemists and pharmacies in major centers. Other medication should include panadol (or any other effective pain reliever as headaches can be caused by the glare of the sun and tiredness). Anti-diarrhea medication such as Imodium (loperamide), throat lozenges, band-aid, insect repellent and antibiotic cream for cuts and scratches. The appropriate tanning or sun-blocking lotion is also essential. Main towns have good hospital care and Nairobi has excellent medical facilities

Leisure and Business Travel Packing List
Submitted by M17881 on 2009-07-24
Carry on before you leave home:
- Get vaccinations six weeks in advance if possible.
- Some clinics prescribe malaria prophylactic pills (e.g., Lariam) however, you will have less risk of side effects if you simply ... view more wear long sleeve shirts and pants at dusk - and use an insect repellent containing DEET (e.g., Off, Deep Woods).
- Fill personal prescriptions if necessary.
- Buy trip insurance (for international medical/dental) from an independent trip insurance agency; be sure to get trip cancellation and medical evacuation coverage.
- Make sure you have flight insurance coverage (for lost luggage, delay, or cancellation) many credit card companies offer flight insurance if you purchase your ticket with the card.
- Personal effects (clothes, camera, etc) are normally covered on your renter's or home insurance - they will not be covered by trip or flight insurance - be sure to verify that you have coverage.
- Get entry Visas at least one month in advance, ensure passport is updated and will not expire while you are overseas. US/UK/EU/Canadian citizens can purchase visas at the border or airport of most African countries, other nationalities should make sure they have their visas in advance.
- Make 2 copies of passports, visas, tickets & immunization records (hide one copy in suitcase somewhere and leave other copy with friend or relative to hold in case of emergency).
- Take about one hundred dollars in cash ($20 bills or smaller) for driver, guide, and porter tips, visa fees, airport tax, and mad money.
- You may want to rent a powerful zoom lens for safari photos, 300-500mm lens is standard when taking game viewing photographs (1000mm and tripod needed for good bird pictures), also a good pair of binoculars and/or good zoom digital video camera if you wish.

Best time to visit Kenya
Submitted by M05010 on 2009-09-01
The main tourist seasons are December-January and July-August responding to the international vacation schedules. The Great migration of wildebeest and Zebra usually reaches Kenya's Maasai Mara during July-August. ... view more October-January is the best time for a beach holiday, as there is sea weed. The rain seasons are usually in April-May and November.
Kenya's climate
Submitted by M05010 on 2009-09-01
The Coast is always hot with an average daytime temperatures of 27-31 degrees centigrade whilst the daytime temperatures in Nairobi is 21-26 degrees centigrade. July to August marks the Kenya winter. January to February ... view more is dry. March to May is wet. June to September is dry. October to December is dry.
Stay health and safe
Submitted by M05010 on 2009-09-01
The only requirement for visitors is a Certificate of inoculation against Yellow fever which is required from travellers older than one year and coming from infected areas (i.e. along the tropics 20 N and 10 S. Visitors ... view more from the rest of the world are not affected.

Taking malarial drugs before, during and after the trip can reduce the possibility of infection with malaria. You are however advised to try and avoid mosquito bites by using repellent and by wearing suitable cover-up clothes in the evening.

Hotels and lodges supply clean drinking water but whenever in doubt, please drink only bottled mineral water which is available in most hotels and stores. Outside Nairobi and Mombasa, drinking water from the tap is not encouraged.

There are very good hospitals in the main towns of Kenya and the rural areas have small health centres where one can get first aid. It is highly recommended that all visitors carry some form of medical insurance to cater for any eventualities. Please ask your Tour Operator for more details on the Flying Doctor Service.

Driving in Kenya
Submitted by M05010 on 2009-09-01
Driving is on the left-hand side of the road and many of the road signs will be familiar to European drivers. Major cities are connected by roads, which for the most part are well metalled with long straight stretches. ... view more Self-hire is arranged locally but not recommended, you will need an International Driving Licence. A maximum speed limit is 100 kph.
Health Tip: Malarial
Submitted by M19643 on 2009-09-29
Malarial: Protect yourself from mosquito bites which could lead to malaria. Some protective measures against mosquito bites include wearing long sleeved shirts/blouses, long pants, use of mosquito repellent with a ... view more minimum of 30% DEET, and use of mosquito nets. If you will be travelling to the Kenyan coast or western Kenya, it is advisable to take anti-malaria pills. Most of the Hotels and Lodges have nets fitted around the beds
Health Tips: Water
Submitted by M19643 on 2009-09-29
Water: It is highly recommended to use bottled water and do not to drink tap water - or even brush one's teeth using tap-water - in hotels (lodges). Bottled water (boiled water) is provided in most hotels and lodges ... view more and it is also possibly to buy extra bottled water from the hotels and shops.
Banking
Submitted by M19643 on 2009-10-05
Travelers checks and most major credit cards are widely accepted. Banking hours are generally from 9:00 am - 3:00 pm, Monday through Friday and some on Saturday mornings. Banks at some airports open for longer hours.
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