16 Things To Know Before Your First Visit To Kenya

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Kenya is an East African nation that straddles the equator and is roughly the scale of France. The land has a number of distinct zones, together with semi-desert, savannah, moorland, wetlands, and rainforests. In these habitats stay over 25,000 species of animals, 1,000 species of birds, and seven,000 species of vegetation and bushes. As such, Kenya is a well-liked vacation spot for an African Safari in the hunt for the “Large 5”: Cape buffalo, black rhinos, leopards, lions, and elephants.

Lately, I spent two weeks in Kenya. The primary week, I lived with a household in Nairobi, and the second week, I went on a six-day safari.

In your first journey to Kenya, there are some “essential issues to know” and a few “good issues to know.” From a ban on single-use plastics to the place not to take images, listed here are the 11 essential issues to know earlier than your first journey to Kenya adopted by the 5 which might be good to know.

1. Kenya Requires A Visa

Apply in your visa at the least 30 days prematurely of your journey. The applying is obtainable on-line and is sort of detailed. For instance, you want addresses, telephone numbers, and web sites for all of your lodging. You additionally want to supply a journey itinerary, proof of a return air ticket, and a latest shade {photograph}. Kenya’s visa is legitimate for 3 months from the date of difficulty.

Verify your passport to make sure it’s legitimate for at the least 6 months after your journey. Kenya requires at the least one clear web page in your passport.

I additionally registered with the U.S. State Division journey website. Whereas in Kenya, I acquired a notification of a deliberate demonstration the following day. We selected to keep away from that space.

2. Kenya Has A Ban On Single-Use Plastics

Kenya has been a frontrunner on the environmental difficulty of banning single-use plastics. Prohibited objects embody plastic baggage, water bottles, and straws. Arriving on the Jomo Kenyatta Worldwide Airport, your baggage is x-rayed and presumably hand-searched. You might be fined when you have any single-use plastics. I like to recommend you buy handy reusable mesh baggage for packing.

Two giraffes within the wild (Picture Credit score: Jo-Anne Bowen)

2. Rigorously Verify Your Safari Itinerary

Our 6-day safari included 4 parks: Amboseli, Aberdare, Lake Nakuru, and Masai Mara. That’s far an excessive amount of driving — there have been a number of days after we have been within the car for six to eight hours simply to achieve one of many parks. I like to recommend on a 6-day safari to go to two parks and keep at every for two to three days. Of the 4 that we visited, I like to recommend two. These are the locations we noticed essentially the most animals. My first advice is Sarova Mara Sport Camp at Masai Mara Sport Reserve. The positioning has 73 tents, a restaurant, a spacious bar and lounge, a swimming pool, and a fantastic reward store. The meals is fabulous! My second advice is The Ark at Aberdare Nationwide Park, which overlooks a waterhole and salt lick. This location, after all, attracts a lot wildlife to the world. The Ark has 4 viewing areas and a number of other lounges for supreme viewing alternatives. If you want, the night time guard will announce sightings of surprising animals. 

Professional Tip: Elements of the highway from Lake Nakuru to Masai Mara Nationwide Reserve are brutal! I might by no means journey that highway once more. In locations, the highway was non-existent, accessible solely by four-wheel drive. We have been stopped thrice by a makeshift roadblock and paid a charge to proceed. In different elements, the roadway was beneath development, and we traveled on grime roads alongside. Though the temperature was sweltering within the car, we couldn’t open any home windows due to the mud. It was not a nice journey! I like to recommend flying from Nairobi to Masai Mara. 

4. Plan For Your Vaccinations And Anti-Malaria Drugs

8 weeks prematurely of your departure, examine together with your well being care supplier for suggestions for vaccines. My supplier really useful six vaccinations based mostly on my age and vacation spot. Three vaccinations have been particular to Kenya: typhoid fever, yellow fever, and meningitis.

I used to be additionally given a prescription for anti-malaria tablets to start taking a day earlier than getting into the nation and proceed for two weeks after leaving.

An indication the Nice Rift Valley (Picture Credit score: Jo-Anne Bowen)

5. Finest Occasions To Go to Kenya On Safari

Kenya has such a variety of vegetation and wildlife partly on account of the truth that there are two wet seasons yearly. Though safaris are provided year-round, sport viewing is greatest within the dry winter months from June by way of August and within the heat months of September by way of mid-November. “Brief rains” start on the finish of November. Throughout the “Lengthy Rains” of March to Could, some roads could also be impassable.

6. Plan For Safety Towards Bugs

It could be greatest for those who deliberate to cope with bugs and bugs. Carry insect repellant and use it typically. At night time, all the time use the netting round your mattress. A number of of my mates additionally bought mosquito jackets.  

It is usually really useful that you just put on lengthy sleeves and lengthy pants for defense towards mosquitoes.

7. Security Tip On Safari

One vital tip isn’t to depart the safari car except you’ve armed guards. In case your hat flies away within the open car, kiss the hat goodbye. For that motive, ensure that your sunhat has an adjustable drawstring to maintain it in your head.

8. The place Not To Take Images

Do not take any images of presidency or navy buildings. In any case, you might have your digicam confiscated, and you can be detained and questioned.

9. You May Want Transportable Energy Supply For Medical Tools

One of many safari camps we stayed at shut off all energy for 4-6 hours each night time. Every tent had a conveyable flashlight, however energy might be essential for medical tools resembling a CPAP machine. You may contemplate bringing a conveyable battery.

10. Pack Mild & Plan Your Clothes

The safari automobiles have little or no house for baggage, and there’ll most likely be six to eight different passengers within the car. Carry a weekend bag or carry-on for the safari. In case you are extending your journey, examine with the safari firm to safe your bigger baggage for you.

It’s best to decide on clothes constructed from pure fibers resembling cotton or linen. Keep away from clothes constructed from artificial cloth as they don’t “breathe,” and you may be uncomfortably sizzling and sticky. It is usually instructed that you just put on muted colours or khaki colours as they’re much less disturbing to the animals. Carry a collapsable massive brim hat, sunscreen, and collapsable water bottles. Plan for day-time clothes and night-time clothes. After a protracted day on safari, as soon as you come back to the lodge or camp, it’s refreshing to have recent clothes to vary into. Early morning safaris might be chilly, so it’s best to decorate in layers.

A dusty highway in Kenya (Picture Credit score: Jo-Anne Bowen)

11. Carry Face Masks For Mud

Carry a provide of face masks. The dusty roads and trails will make a face masks a necessity at occasions. The mud is likely to be tough for contact lens wearers, so contemplate bringing alongside glasses.

Listed below are 5 extra options for “good issues to know” earlier than your first journey to Kenya.

12. Carry A Good Pair Of Binoculars

Some safari firms present a number of binoculars for people to share. There have been none on my safari. I additionally choose to have my very own tools.

13. Carry An Animal Guidebook For Reference

I like to recommend Wildlife Of East Africa by M.B. Withers and D. Hosking. It was nice enjoyable every night to trace all of the animals and birds that we had seen.

14. Arriving By Air

I flew by way of London and spent 3 days there to interrupt up the lengthy flight. I selected to fly the nationwide service Kenya Airways. Though the worldwide airport, Jomo Kenyatta Worldwide, is a mere 9 miles from Nairobi, site visitors within the metropolis might be backed up for miles. You should definitely depart loads of time to achieve your vacation spot.

Additionally, word that there is no such thing as a ready contained in the airport in your arrival. All “paths” result in one route, which places you instantly outdoors. Slightly than inconvenience my hosts with my early 5 a.m. arrival, I had deliberate to go to a restaurant for breakfast. I ended up ready outdoors for two hours. Fortunately, it was not raining!

15. Foreign money

The forex in Kenya is the Kenyan shilling. One shilling equals 100 Kenyan cents. Banks and bureaux de change are plentiful and simple to find. Your resort, lodge, or camp might change cash; nevertheless, the speed might not be one of the best. 

A cheetah noticed on safari (Picture Credit score: Jo-Anne Bowen)

16. Journey Insurance coverage

I all the time have insurance coverage every time I journey. I buy a yearly plan which is more cost effective than separate insurance policies for every journey. I search for a coverage that covers well being necessities and, in case of emergency, medical transportation again residence. 

The medical system in Kenya is great! I needed to see a physician in Nairobi and was shocked to be taught that each pharmacy has a physician on employees. The price of my physician session and two prescriptions was 650 shillings (roughly $7)!

A wildlife safari in Kenya is an unbelievable expertise. We did see the “Large 5” in addition to baboons, monkeys, cheetahs, zebras, giraffes, ostriches, hippos, blue monkeys, hyenas, and gazelles. It was a unbelievable expertise! I hope these options will assist to make your expertise an exquisite reminiscence.

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