Which safari areas are recommended to travellers visiting Kenya for the first time?
We recommend the areas around Mount Kenya (Laikipia), the large Maasai Mara, the Amboseli National Park and the two parks of Tsavo (East and West). Of course, a stay by the sea is also highly recommended.
What are the temperatures like?
At the coast it is tropically warm and humid almost the whole year round: +/- 30 degrees.
It is also very warm in the southern national parks such as Tsavo East and West. The warmest months are January to March. It is a little cooler in the months of June to August.
In the higher regions, from 1500 - 2000 meters above sea level, it is very warm between January and March. During the nights, however, it can be very cool (12 -15 degrees).
It is cooler in the months of June to August. During the day it is often between 23 - 26 degrees; at night around 10 degrees.
Is there an age restriction or age recommendation?
No. However, it should be noted that longer car journeys on natural roads are demanding. Our trips and stays are arranged to include longer breaks.
How do we prepare ourselves for the trip?
We recommend that you inform yourself with the help of generally available travel books and/or talk to us. We will be happy to advise you.
Which vaccinations are recommended?
Malaria prophylaxis is strongly recommended and is available through your doctor.
Let your doctor advise you. Anyone travelling from Kenya to South Africa or another country must also be vaccinated against yellow fever.
What clothes do we need to take with us?
Light clothing and a warm jacket / wind protection and a sweater are sufficient. We recommend good footwear on safaris. Acacia thorns can pierce shoe soles. Flip-flops are only recommended in lodges or on the beach.
Should we take mosquito nets with us from home?
No, that is not necessary.
How much travel money do we have to take with us and in what form?
On our trips, there are generally very few additional costs. Most of them are visa fees, drinks, activities and tips. The simplest means of payment are Kenya Schillings and US Dollars. In addition, you can take your credit card (Visa, Mastercard) with you. More and more lodges and camps accept plastic money.
Are tips expected? If so, how much?
A larger tip to a driver/guide at the end of a trip is common. Remember, good drivers are also responsible for your safety. Often the travelers pool the money. For one week a total of 80 - 100 US dollars is usual.
Local guides (e.g. boat tours, foot safaris etc.) are happy to receive a tip. Usually a few Kenyan shillings are enough, unless there is a fixed price per person. If individual employees provide exceptional service, a personal tip is recommended here as well.
For luggage transport, a maximum of one US dollar is appropriate.
Is it advisable to bring small gifts to hand out?
We understand the desire and the need to bring something along. However, we do not recommend gifts and souvenirs to unknown people and groups, as this can even lead to conflicts. Let Eco Safari advise you. If a social project supported by Eco Safari is visited, useful gifts can be very welcome.
Are we completely cut off from our relatives or work environment during the trip?
No. The communication possibilities in Kenya are very good. In hotels/lodges you usually have WLAN and good mobile phone networks. Even in very remote areas.
Which poisonous animals (snakes, spiders and scorpions) are there? What do I have to consider?
In Kenya there are several poisonous animals, but so far, we have never experienced an incident. Our guides know about travellers who are afraid of these animals and avoid any risks. Snakes are rarely sighted and they avoid contact with humans, as other animals do. More dangerous than snakes, scorpions and spiders are malaria and other infectious diseases. But it is easy to protect yourself against them.
What is the best way to protect yourself if you do not want to take malaria prophylaxis?
It is best to use insect repellents and to wear long clothes that cover your arms and legs.
In drugstores and pharmacies there are also products that you can apply to clothes. Find out more at a specialist shop.
What are the health risks that need to be considered?
Gastrointestinal problems and diarrhoea are unfortunately always possible. Basically, everything that can be peeled or cooked can be eaten - "peel it, cook it or leave it" is therefore the motto. We also recommend that you always carry a disinfectant with you, to clean your hands regularly.
What if there is a medical emergency?
East Africa has a reliable air rescue system ("Flying doctors" based in Nairobi). The planes with medical personnel fly to all parts of Kenya. The medical care in Nairobi is impeccable. All travellers are insured with AMREF "Flying Doctors".
Can we rent a vehicle without a driver and set off on our own?
This can be done. However, we strongly advise against a self-drive. The sign posting is bad and there is partly a lack of infrastructure in case of breakdowns on the way.
We do not want to fly within the country, but use the other means of public transport. Can you recommend anything to us?
No. Unfortunately, this large country still lacks reliable and inexpensive means of mass transportation. The quite common overland buses are considered dangerous.
The new train connection between Mombasa and Nairobi is a possibility.
We don't just want to see animals, we also want to get to know "the country and its people". What are the possibilities?
You will get to see a lot of the country and the way of life of the population. Actual meetings with the local inhabitants are not planned - out of respect for the people. Spontaneous and interesting contacts can occur at any time outside the "tourist traps", for example at a market. But there are hardly any limits to your own initiative. Tell your guide if you want to make a stop at a market or in a village. Remember that in the countryside and in remote areas not everyone speaks English well.
Do you offer just partial arrangements?
Yes, participants often want to book the flights themselves. We therefore, almost only offer land arrangements from an airport. Usually from the international airport Jomo Kenyatta, Nairobi.
What is important with regard to health on a safari?
In order to prevent malaria infection, there is drug treatment and exposure prophylaxis (protection against stings with suitable clothing and repellents). Depending on the season, tsetse flies can occur in some national parks. Some travellers react to stings with swelling. We also recommend good footwear with strong soles because of the acacia thorns. Flip-flops and open shoes are not recommended, except on the beach.
We are happy to go on hikes. Can we also travel on foot during this trip?
Trekking takes place only outside the national parks and is not offered by us.
Guided walking safaris, which last 2 to 4 hours, are generally possible. Unfortunately this is not allowed everywhere. If you would like one or more walking safaris, we will try to plan the trip accordingly.
Can the batteries for our equipment be recharged?
Often the lodges/camps do not supply electricity until the evening hours (usually not during the day and at night). In some camps, the batteries/devices can be handed in for charging. Take the appropriate charger with you. Also ask your driver if you can charge your batteries/device in the vehicle. However, we recommend that you also carry sufficient batteries with you.
We are used to vegetarian meals. What will we find on safari?
For many lodges vegetarian menus are a matter of course. Small places such as the Tented Camps are flexible enough to accommodate individual wishes. Very often we offer a self-service buffet with a variety of options. It is helpful for us to find out about special wishes at an early stage so that we can take them into account.
When and where can we buy souvenirs?
There are numerous shopping possibilities. All larger lodges have their own shops. If you want to look around in a street shop or are looking for something in particular, you should point this out to your driver/guide.
Is traveling with children in Kenya recommended?
Absolutely. Our trips can be tailored to the needs of families with children. Africa offers many impressions and great experiences especially for children.
We do not recommend bush walks for children under the age of 12.
I don't speak much English. Is a trip still possible?
Yes, of course. Our guides are aware of this and have experience with participants who speak or understand little English. On request we try to organise a German speaking driver. However, we cannot guarantee this.
Are the driver/guides sufficiently qualified to guide us safely through the chosen parks?
Yes, our driver/guides are highly qualified and know the areas very well. We only work with drivers who have the appropriate training and are certified by the Kenyan Association of Professional Guides.
What can be expected on very long car journeys? How long does the longest journey take?
In principle, the duration depends on the chosen route. The longest stages can take 5 to 6 hours. Even if the trips are exhausting, many participants have experienced them as important and interesting. This way you get to know the country better.
How many people travel in an off-road vehicle?
Ideally 4 to 5 people per vehicle, so that everyone sits comfortably and has a window seat and access to the roof hatch for animal observations. If children travel with you, a car can accommodate up to 6 people. For 6 adults and more we recommend a second vehicle.
What is the minimum number of days for a safari?
We recommend at least 7 days so that you don't have time pressure and can get a good impression of the natural beauty.
What rules of conduct have to be observed?
Kenyans are tolerant people and are used to tourists. But keep in mind that there are predominantly Muslims on the coast and Christians in the interior. You should not wear overly revealing clothing - especially in restaurants and towns.
Always be friendly and correct in your dealings, this helps with contact.
Can I wear my jewellery? Is that a risk?
The population is predominantly poor. Theft or robberies are therefore to be expected in larger cities. It is advisable here to refrain from wearing expensive jewellery and/or eye-catching watches. Cameras should also be used discreetly in cities.
Tip from Richard Schmid: "As a white person, I often have a large amount of money with me in cities (about 200 USD) so that I can give money in an emergency. I wear a cheap watch or none. I carry my camera in an inconspicuous plastic bag."
What about smoking? Can I do that in public?
Smoking should be avoided in public places, especially in cities. If you want to smoke, it is best to ask on the spot whether it is allowed or not.
The use of plastic bags in Kenya has recently been banned. Whoever sells, trades or throws away plastic bags risks a heavy fine.
Do I need a visa for Kenya?
Yes, all European citizens need a visa to enter Kenya. It is recommended to order the electronic visa early (at the latest one and a half months before entry): www.ecitizen.go.ke.
Is it possible to import money?
Yes, it is possible to import foreign currency. However, the amount of imported Kenyan Shillings may not exceed the equivalent of USD 6000.
What should be considered when exporting equipment?
It is advisable to carry purchase receipts for equipment you have brought with you (cameras, etc.). This will allow you to prove on departure that you did not purchase the devices in Kenya.