When traveling on safari, baggage should be kept to a minimum as charter flights and vehicle transfers do not allow a large amount of baggage. Soft duffle bags should be used rather than suitcases, as frequently the airplane baggage lockers cannot fit a large suitcase inside. Please note that most domestic flights have a strict weight allowance of 15 kg (33 lb) per person.
Towels are supplied and laundry service (excluding underwear) is available in all of the properties; therefore you do not need to pack large amounts of clothing.
Large hotels provide electricity to use items such as shavers and hair-dryers. Some bush lodges also run generator electricity in the evenings, which may allow you to use appliances. However, most camps do not have electricity so items such as hair-dryers and electric shavers are not useable.
Both Kenya and Tanzania have climates based upon altitude. Inland, the days are warm to hot and the evenings cool to cold. Only at the Coast are the temperatures less varied, remaining warm to hot throughout the day and night as Galana is situated in the coastal province it is generally warm but long trousers and long shirt/blouse is advisable for evenings due to mosquitos.
The coldest months are June, July and August; the hottest months are January, February and March.
June, July, August and November may provide some rain showers and misty weather, as these are the times of the long and short rains.
Please see our Safari Traveler Checklist for a complete list. However, in general, long-sleeved, lightweight shirts and trousers, with a sweater and/or light jacket are appropriate for the evenings. Shorts and t-shirts are suitable for the hotter days, as dress is casual.
A good pair of walking shoes or boots is advisable when out on walks. However, within the camps, lodges, light footwear may be worn.
Neutral colors, such as grey, khaki, browns or greens, are best; bright colors and patterns, including white, can spook animals and birds. Try to avoid black or navy blue as these can attract tsetse fly.
Some lodges and hotels have swimming pools and thus a swimming costume may be required. A lightweight rain jacket is useful; a wide-brimmed hat is vital.
In Kenya the currency is the Kenyan Shilling (Kes). UK Sterling, the Euro and the US Dollar are freely exchangeable at most major banks and hotels. MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted in large hotels; American Express has limited acceptance. Many of the smaller hotels and most camps and lodges do not accept credit cards. Traveler’s checks are also accepted. We would suggest changing some money at the airport upon arrival as ready access to banks is difficult when on safari.
A passport valid for at least six months beyond your planned departure is required for foreign citizens to enter Kenya. Visa requirements should be checked with your consulate or embassy. You should keep your passport, cash and travelers checks with you at all times. Visas are easily and quickly obtained upon arrival at the airport and do not need to be obtained in advance.
If possible, bring your own pair of binoculars along with a daypack (to carry sunscreen, extra film, cameras, medicines etc.)
Bring all camera equipment, including spare batteries and storage cards as well as cleansing fluid, tissues and dust spray, as they are difficult to obtain and extremely expensive in East Africa. Please ensure that you bring dust covers of some kind for your camera equipment. A small beanbag to use as a tripod when in a vehicle is useful. If using a 35mm camera, we suggest a wide-angle lens of 25mm to 35mm and two additional lenses that allow a range of 35mm to 300mm. Please note that when staying in small mobile camps, it is unlikely to be able to re-charge video cameras.
Please see our Safari Traveler Checklist for other items to bring.
If you are taking any prescribed medicines, please ensure you have an adequate supply for the duration of your trip.
If wearing contact lenses, please remember that it will be dusty and you will need extra cleaning fluid. Sunglasses are essential!
Yellow Fever, hepatitis and tetanus vaccinations should be valid. (Yellow fever is required for Zanzibar and Tanzania; the others are strongly recommended for all of East Africa.) Please bring your vaccination cards with you.
You should take precautions against malaria. There are a number of prophylaxes available. Some have mild side effects so you should check with your doctor for advice. We recommend starting your course of tablets early, in order to determine if you have any side effects before your safari begins. Malarone has the fewest side effects with the best protection.
Whilst in East Africa, only drink bottled water. It is recommended that you drink at least 4 liters of non-alcoholic fluid each day to prevent dehydration. The most common cause of stomach upsets and diarrhea is dehydration; increasing your fluid intake should prevent this illness.
All countries have their own ‘bugs’ to which residents develop immunity. The African gastro-enteritis ‘bugs’ are the next most common cause of ‘traveler’s tummy.’ This mild form of stomach upset is most commonly caught from hand to mouth contact with people. If you have shaken hands (harmless) with children or people in the bush, please wash your hands afterwards before you accidentally brush your mouth and transfer the germs. Generally, antibiotics will cure this illness within 24 hours.
Hotels, camps and lodges use clean water for their food preparation. East Africans take great pride in their fresh, good quality food; you do not need to go hungry! If you are not sure about the preparation of any type of food, simply ask. You will not offend!
Perfume, cologne and scented body lotions can attract mosquitoes and other flying insects. Therefore, it is recommended that you do not wear perfumes or colognes during your safari.
Electricity – 240 volts, 50 cycles.
KiSwahili is the National language and English the official language.
It has been customary since safaris began to consider tips for your driver/guide and support staff. However, tipping is a very personal subject and the decision to tip and how much to give is entirely yours. Unlike in the USA or most of Europe, tips in Kenya are considered a gift; they are not a part of wages or payment. They are considered a bonus and are not expected or required.
An average daily wage in East Africa is just over US$ 3.00 As such, giving a porter a tip of a dollar is very generous. Room or tent stewards would be delighted with a tip of US$ 1.00 per day.Most camps have a general staff tip box and US$ 10 per day is a good guideline amount.
In a restaurant, if service has not been added to the bill, then a tip of 10% is suitable, if you are satisfied with the service. In most safari camps and lodges, a service charge has been included in your accommodation rate, which is paid to the staff by the establishment.
In general, the only person who will expect a tip from you is your driver/guide, who would be very happy with a tip of approximately US$ 10 - 15 per person, per day. If you are camping rather than staying in a lodge, your camp cook would appreciate approximately US$ 15 per person for the entire trip. If you also have a camp assistant, then a tip of US$ 10 per person for the entire trip would be suitable.
Whilst all of the camps and lodges you will visit have their own insurance policies, it is STRONGLY recommended that you obtain your own personal travel insurance to allow for emergency medical care in Nairobi, holiday cancellations due to ill health or other circumstances.
Tourist entry visas to Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda are required for most tourists. These visas may easily be obtained from the airport immigration officers upon arrival. At present the fees are US$ 25 per person for Kenya and US$ 50 for Tanzania, and US$ 30 per person for Uganda. If you prefer to obtain your visa before your arrival, you will need to send a banker’s cheque, your passport, two passport photos and proof of travel to the appropriate Embassy or High Commission in your country.