Kenya & Tanzania Classic Safari
Where is Kenya?
Kenya is located on the Eastern side of the African continent. It is bordered by Uganda on the west, the Sudan and Ethiopia to the north and the Indian Ocean to the east. It straddles the Equator and is roughly a nine hour flight from London.
Where is the best place to go on safari in Kenya?
Kenya as a country is a tourist's paradise endowed with numerous parks, reserves and culture that together form the base for exploration while on a Kenyan Safari. To begin with Masai Mara is the best one of the best in this region. All the big five are residents here. And the sheer volume of wildlife sweeping across the Mara plains is a sight one cannot afford to miss. Amboseli on the southern circuit is commonly referred as the home of elephants. Seeing Elephants in a group of herds is very common here, coming close to the local Masai culture and walking right into the middle of their homestead is very real here as the elders take you through the set up. This park also gives one a perfect chance to see snow capped Mount Kilimanjaro in the back drop on a clear sky without having to cross over to Tanzania. Samburu game reserve is another place to be visited. Samburu is unique in that it hosts some of the unique game and flora that are only available in the northern part of the country and can only be seen here plus the Samburu culture. To the south again Tsavo East and West national parks are the biggest of them all with a combined total of 21,000 km square that like a host to a larger population of wildlife and has some very interesting features like the Mudanda rock ,Yatta Plateau that stretches about 6000 Km across the horizon.
When is the best time of year to go on safari in Kenya?
There are two rainy seasons that you should probably avoid. The short rains are in November and the long rains start at the end of March and go through to the end of May. Although, having said that, we will add that it is not really a big deal, people are used to it and manage to carry on with rain or not, and skidding on the muddy roads in a 4x4 wheel drive can actually be a lot of fun. August and October are just about the best times but to see the wildebeest migration in the Maasai Mara. It's advisable to come around July through September.
What is the Migration?
This is an annual event that has repeated itself time and again every year as thousands of wildlife embarks on their long trek from Serengeti national park into Masai Mara which is its extension to the south. Hundreds of thousands of wildebeests and antelopes cross over Mara as they escape from the dry areas of Serengeti in search of green pastures on the Kenyan side. This is a very spectacular and unique event that is a must see. From the treks to ambush by the predators like the cats, crocodiles lying in wait for gnus in Mara river, thousands succumbing to nature by drowning in their attempt to cross Mara river, young one's born on the move and the sheer numbers that sweep across the Mara plains is a site to behold and one cannot afford to miss this annual occurrence.
Will I have a chance to interact with the local people of Kenya?
Interaction with local people is inevitable from very point of entry in to the country and to the hotels and the lodges. Better still for those interested in raw and undiluted culture of the local people. These can be arranged if mentioned or requested in advance to visit the local village manyattas of the local people and learn more about their lifestyles.
What if I want a custom safari?
Yes we do custom safari and this works best when done in advance especially during the high season period. Turn around time is 48 hours and we will try very much to stay with proposed itinerary. Though we reserve right to offer an alternative accommodation in a case where the offered accommodation is overbooked. For low season there isn't much of a problem with accommodation therefore chances are always open and good in securing the offered accommodation.
How far in advance should I book my safari?
It is better to book as far in advance as possible to ensure availability at the time you wish to travel (4-6 months), especially during the peak seasons (July & August and Christmas/New Years). This is especially important for those wishing to travel on private custom made safaris and those adding extensions to scheduled trips.
Can I take my children on safari?
Children are very welcomed to accompany their parents on safari as most lodges do not have a problem with that. However there are some restrictions with some high class properties that do not take children again these you'll have to confirm with us before booking your safari.
Will I stay in tents or lodges?
We offer accommodation in both tents and lodges. But in a case where clients prefer tents to lodges or vice verse; this is taken in account and given priority. We can also tailor make safaris with a combination of both tents and lodges. All you have to do is give us your preference.
How big are your safari groups?
Our safari groups can be as big as fifty to a hundred plus. Or can be as small as two people on safari. Groups normally are a preference for regular prebooked safaris. But we still cater for any number of clientele that our esteemed clients would prefer to travel in. So you don't have to worry whether you're in hundreds or single we have safaris for everybody just get in touch and find out what we have in store for you.
What clothes should I bring on safari?
It is a good idea to bring mosquito repellent, sunburn cream, a hat, sunglasses, and malaria medication. Kenyan supermarkets are quite well stocked, but it never hurts to come prepared with these essentials. However, if you are going on Safari, as you get into the highlands, it gets cooler, and during the early morning and late evenings you may need a sweater and trousers/jeans. If you are in Mombasa, it is always warm so bring shorts, short sleeves, and your swimming gear. It is also advisable to have some smart clothes. Generally in Mombasa, you will not be expected to wear a tie, but some restaurants still require long trousers and shirt sleeves. Nairobi also gets quite cold in the evenings during the rainy season, making a sweater a welcome garment. Once again, it is advisable to bring some smart clothes for the evening.
What's the food like on safari?
Most of the hotels and lodges serve a buffet menu served with a desert to complete your meal. Though there are a few lodges and hotels that serve a set menu. Food in all the facilities are up to an international standard prepared by world class qualified chefs.
Can special dietary requirements be accommodated?
Are foods for special dietary needs available? Yes. Special dietary requirements are catered for throughout Africa. Please give us advanced notice so that we can make arrangements with the lodges and camps you are scheduled to stay at. Most restaurants offer selections for vegetarians, depending on their forte. Local specialties can be surprisingly good! With the exception of a few lodges, halaal and kosher food is not available at most camps/lodges.
Are safaris in Kenya safe?
The continent of Africa is larger than all of Europe, China, India, Argentina, New Zealand and the United States put together. It consists of fifty-four countries with totally unrelated political systems over 11,700,000 square miles. What happens in one country, even a bordering country does not necessarily affect the other. Think of it this way - if something happened in Canada, would that affect your travel plans to Florida or Mexico? There are certain inherent risks whenever one travels, but chances of being involved in an incident are very small. It is just not wise for Private Safaris to send you to an area where we know there are problems. We are in constant contact with our government security urgencies and Kenya Wildlife services and continually monitor any situations that might occur or arise and advice our travel agents and clients accordingly. Many of our vehicles are equipped with emergency long range radio calls. We have the ability to change your itinerary at last minute and would certainly cancel a trip if you would be in harms way. If you have any questions at anytime regarding destinations, do not hesitate to call. Your safety and comfort in traveling to an area is our foremost concern.
Roads in wildlife area are bumpy and dusty. Many of our trips feature comfortable flights. This does add to the cost of the safari but it converts wasted time on the road to quality time viewing the wildlife. In East Africa, internal flights are included in the land price.
Is it OK to drink the water?
Kenya: While water in major towns is chlorinated and relatively safe to drink, it is safer to drink sealed bottled water, available from most hotels and lodges. And also sold in the locally supermarkets. Private Safaris EA limited also provides water to its clients while on safari with a particular regard to Road safari clients. Though on request we do offer the same to other safaris as well.
What can be expected on a Safari?
A warm and friendly welcome by the local people, no humidity, comfortable temperatures, a high degree of comfort, a variety of delicious food and exhausting but exhilarating days. An average day begins at dawn with tea and a sunrise game drive. Back to the lodge for a wonderful breakfast with fresh baked breads, local coffee, and your choice of entree. During the heat of the day when the wildlife is at rest you too may wish to relax around the pool. In the afternoon when the wildlife again comes alive go out on an afternoon game drive. In certain areas full day game drives, a bush walk, night drive or other activity may be planned. In the evening, everyone gathers to exchange stories of the bush while enjoying beverages. Retire early, as tomorrow will bring...well we just don't know but we can assure you it will be exciting!
What is the landscape like?
Kenya: Lies on Indian Ocean and on the equator. Four geographical regions: arid desert, savannah grassland, fertile lowlands (coast) and the highlands. There are extinct volcanoes as well as lakes and rivers.
What photography advice can you give?
A good camera will make the difference between having photos of spectacular wildlife and having vague, little dots of animals to show family and friends. The more common "point-and-shoot" cameras are too small. On safari, you won't always be able to get up close to wildlife. A SLR (single lens reflex) camera with a 200-300mm lens is recommended. More serious photographers may choose telephoto lenses of 400 or 500mm. Larger lenses often require a tripod, which cannot be used on a moving vehicle. A 2x teleconverter is useful for doubling the focal length of your lens. A zoom lens, such as a 70 to 210 mm lens, is probably the best option for shooting a moving subject. The harsh African sun provides excellent lighting, but using larger lenses will require faster film, especially in early morning or late afternoon when the light is softer. In this case, 200-400 ASA film is recommended. Film and batteries are usually available along major tourist routes and from lodges, but it is wise to bring your own. A lens hood and ultra violet filter are advisable. A good bag for your equipment including a dust cover (plastic bag) is essential. Important Note: Not all African cultures are familiar with cameras. Rural folk will often shy away from having their picture taken. Please be sensitive. Some locals may ask a fee for having their photograph taken. It is recommended you avoid photographing anything relating to government and military installations, including personnel (soldiers and police) and buildings (post offices, banks, airports, border posts, railway stations and bridges).
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