Hey there good people,
I had traveled to Amboseli last month and I had prepared some content to share with you guys, but I unfortunately lost my memory card 🙁 and no I had not backed it up…. Luckily I will have an opportunity to redo the work this time at the Mara; So I thought why not to share with you on some quick tips on preparing for a Kenyan Safari.
- Start planning early.
I recommend a year in advance when planning for any type of vacation, let alone a safari. Thereafter 6 months to the date start committing in payment and make any alterations necessary. Also take note that most tour operators and hotels alike will charge a penalty fee on cancellation / changes in bookings after a certain period has lapsed therefore ensure that your service provider makes available all the important details such as penalties.
- When to travel.
Determine when the best time to head out for the safari is, whether you are traveling for adventure or photography, it is wise to know when is the best time to head out to get the most out of your trip. I will be sharing more on this in a separate post.
- Mode of transport.
Decide beforehand which mode of transport you shall be using depending on your needs. Most people prefer to fly to the Mara due to the prevailing conditions of the road. If your budget can allow it consider taking a flight and organize with the Lodge to arrange for airstrip transfers. Despite the bad situation of the road I still prefer doing the road trip especially when it’s a group tour, not only is it affordable but it’s a great way to discover new places, connect with friends and make new ones.
- Where to stay.
In my opinion accommodation is usually the most expensive aspect in travelling. If you’re planning on a budget safari you could consider camping, if you have extra cash on you there are amazing lodges within and outside the park ranging from $200 per night per person; however the rate becomes higher during peak periods.
- What to wear.
I see most people carrying very fancy outfits and shoes when heading out for safaris; these same outfits tend to give people a hard time making the trip less enjoyable. Safaris are usually characterized by thorny bushes, dusty and weathered terrain not to mention the hot sun.
Carry a pair of comfortable flat shoes with a hard sole that would be impenetrable by an acacia tree thorn and light enough to enable you to slip them on and off during the long drives.
As for the dressing, you don’t have to do the traditional khaki trousers; I believe there are modernized versions of this in today’s markets. A vest or short sleeved top would also be ideal. Remember to carry your sunscreen and a hat to shield you from the sun.
- Carry a backpack.
During the game drive you will probably be juggling between your camera, phone, purse, wipes etc. while you can’t have all these items seating pretty on your lap, consider carrying a backpack with you. You could place this comfortably on the vehicle floor and easily reach out for whatever you need.
- The best time to do a game drive.
Due to the hot weather most animals will be sleeping or hiding from the hot sun during the day. You therefore need to head out when they are most active. The best time is usually in the morning hours before noon and in the evening from 5pm. Schedule your game drives to be in line with the animals’ most active hours.
Also note that these are the best times to take amazing pictures, the lighting is simply perfect.
- Carry extra cash.
Always have some extra cash on you. You will mostly come across locals selling locally made jewelry and other collectibles that might tickle your fancy.Always have some extra cash on you.
- Relevant travel documents.
For one to enter any park in Kenya, you will be required to show some form of identification. Always ensure you have your identity card or passport with you when heading out.
- Take note of park fees.
Entry fees are charged in every gazetted park in Kenya. Research beforehand or ask your tour operator to inform you whether the package cost is inclusive of park fees, if not inquire on the charges. Also to note is that the charges are valid for 24 hrs, in the event you surpass the 24 hrs you will be required to pay again.
The Kenya Wildlife Society has a list of the chargeable parks listed on their website with the relevant amounts to be paid for both residents and non-residents.
What are your go to tips on planning for a safari?