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Travel Tips

Kenya and Tanzania is a world-renowned African travel destination famous for its rich wildlife and stunning natural wonders. East Africa luxury and budget travel offers a chance to experience a wealth of cultural and natural wonders in this beautiful country.

Airport - Airports include a range of international airports plus domestic airports for regional travel. Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is located 15 km south of Nairobi; this airport is the largest in East Africa. Facilities include restaurants, bars, tax-free shops, currency exchange desk and an ATM which accepts foreign cards. 

Airport Departure Tax - This is included in the airfare and you need not worry about it unless specified.

Visa Requirements - Visa requirements includes; Passport which is valid for six months at least. ID or green card, 2 Visa Application Forms, 2 Passport photographs and Copy of return airline tickets or itinerary. It is not too much hassle arranging visas for East Africa – visa requirements are fairly straight forward in fact. All foreign nationals will require a visa to visit East Africa, and visas are generally best Organized before leaving for the country. Visa costs vary depending on the type of visa required. The maximum length of stay in East Africa is three months, and extensions or renewals can be made at Immigration.

 

Birdlife - Birdlife is abundant, with well over a thousand species to be seen across the country’s rich and varied ecosystems. From coastal birds and huge flocks of flamingos, to vast and colorful forest species, the range of species is extremely diverse. Bird watchers are sure to have the travel experience of a lifetime in East Africa bird-rich regions, and binoculars are highly recommended when traveling through the country’s parks and reserves to spot birds along the way.

Conservation - Conservation is fairly progressive, with many government and non-profit group efforts to try and control and protect wildlife species in the country. Despite this, East Africa faces a huge threat from the illegal poaching and hunting industries, and many species of wildlife and birdlife are threatened or endangered. 

Climate - Considerably good with generally warm sunny days, minimal humidity and cool evenings except at the coast. Close to the equator, there are no real seasons and every time has its special attractions. There are two rainy seasons; April- June and Mid September- November. It is normally pouring early morning or late evening giving some space during the day for some activities. Temperature and humidity vary a great deal with altitude and it can get really chilly in the mornings or evenings.

Clothing - Evenings and mornings can be cool in higher altitudes. It is therefore recommended to have sweaters, jackets and long-sleeved shirts. Some clubs require official dressing code and gentlemen must where jackets and ties while ladies equivalent evening wears. In campsites, as in lodges, generally evening wear is casual. Local customs and morals should be held with esteem. Most hotels, camps and lodges offer laundry services.

Culture - On your travels you will come across a wide diversity of East Africa culture. Her culture is also rich and diverse with such a large number of tribal groups, and a mixture of traditions and influences. East Africa  has a wide range of cuisine, from western dishes to local specialties. Seafood, East African sauces, ground nut soup and a range of porridge-like bases are all popular dishes. Each tribe has very distinct dress and markings, notably the Masai tribes who have heavy jewellery and adorning on their upper bodies, and dark red robes worn with sandals.Music ranges from imported popular music, Afro-fusion and benga music to traditional folk songs.

 

Food and Drinks - On Safaris food is provided on full-board basis. In Kenya and Tanzania standard of cuisine is high, whilst in Uganda, it is generally simple but palatable. Drink selections are good including premium brands and imported wines. Tap water is generally clean in the urban but tourists are advised to drink only treated water or mineral water bottled and widely available in many shops.

 

Health - Kenya is more developed than some East Africa countries. Malaria is endemic in certain areas of East Africa and all visitors should take precautions against Malaria. Health care facilities are not always up to western standards; Nairobi has a number of fairly good hospitals. There are chemists in major centers but visitors on special medication should stalk well for their stay.

Vaccinations - It is essential to have vaccinations. Vaccination requirements ensure that you are not bringing any diseases into the country, and that you stay healthy and safe while on your travels. Yellow fever inoculations are essential for travelers over 1 year of age to enter the country, and travelers may be forced to have this shot at the airport at a charge or refused entry if they do not have their certificate. Hepatitis A and B and typhoid shots are vital, while rabies shots are also recommended. Travelers coming in to contact with domestic or wild animals should take this shot as a precaution. A one-time polio booster is a must for any adult traveler who completed the childhood series but did not have a polio vaccine as an adult. Two measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) shots are recommended for travelers born after 1956 who haven't had MMR shots. A tetanus-diphtheria re vaccination is also recommended every 10 years.

24 Hour Assistance - Our guest relation staff is in attendance 24 hours a day, seven days a week to handle any eventuality that might crop up any odd hour. Telephones at our head office in Nairobi are manned 24 hours daily.

Luggage - Should be kept to a minimum during tours and just a piece plus a small overnight bag is as ideal as adequate. 

Languages - There are a large number of East Africa languages. English, as one of the official languages, is widely spoken however, especially in urban and tourist orientated areas. Many locals will be able to easily converse in English, and are happy to have someone to practice on, and in return may even teach you their native language. Swahili is also spoken widely, even by non-native Swahili speakers. This language has become the common language of East Africa, and is very easy to speak and understand. Other languages include Kikuyu, who despite being the largest tribe in Kenya, also mostly speak Swahili as well as Kikuyu.  Some Arabic languages are spoken by a small percentage of the population, and there is also a Kenyan sign language which is used by the small deaf population in Kenya.

Money - East Africa money and banking information includes; American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are all widely accepted. Currency and travelers cheques can be exchanged at all major hotels, airports or banks. Dollars, Pounds and Euros are easier to exchange than other currencies ATMs or cash points can be found across nearly all cities and towns. Banks operate from Monday to Friday from 09h00-16h00 and Saturday from 0900hrs - 1200hrs.

Security - Common sense should prevail and precaution taken just like in any holiday destination. Keep valuables in safe deposit boxes in hotels and lodges. Carry money only enough for your daily expenditure. Keep close eye on your handbag or wallet. Avoid waking at night and use a taxi if you must go from place to place. Taking photographs at airports, near military installations or policemen and big hotels etc is prohibited. Seek assistance of your driver guide in this matter.

Phrase - It is a good idea to learn a few East African local phrases. We have few tips to help you learn how to talk to locals you may meet on your travels. As one of the official languages, Swahili is widely spoken by many East Africans. Knowing a few easy to learn Swahili phrases will see you in good stead on your travels. Greetings are very simple, and usually start with ‘Jambo!’ which means ‘hello’. Handshakes are then given, and your new friend will ask after your health, work, travels and family – you will then ask after his family and health. Other useful phrases include ‘Tafadhali nipatie...’ which means ‘Can I please have. ‘, and ‘Tafadhali’ which means ‘please’, ‘Unajua kizungu?’ which means ‘Do you speak English’ and ‘Pole’, which is pronounced ‘polly’ and means ‘sorry’. Some other phrases to learn include the Maa (Masai) phrases such as ‘Ashe!’ which means ‘Thank you!’, ‘Lo murrani! Supa!’ when greeting a man, and ‘Na kitok! Takuengya!’ when greeting a woman. ‘Sere!’ is also important, and means ‘goodbye’.

Plants - East Africa plant life varies depending on the region in which plants grow. Eco-regions range from coastal regions, to mangroves, tropical forest, woodlands, savannas and mountain areas, and Kenya’s abundant and beautiful plant life reflects these diverse areas, with a range of beautiful plants to be seen across the country’s diverse habitats.

Safety Tips - Avoid all travel within 30km of the Somalia border, where fighting is frequent. Avoid the low-income areas and slums which has a high crime rate. Avoid traveling alone, and in remote areas travel in convoy during daylight.

Religion - We will give you a chance to experience East Africa's religious groups and customs first-hand. Like many colonized countries, East Africa primary religion is Christianity. The largest following is Protestant, which includes a number of different denominations including the Anglican Church of Kenya, and the Presbyterian, Reformed, Baptist, and Pentecostal churches. There is also a strong Catholic following in East Africa, with a number of churches to be found across the country. Islamic faiths account for about 10% of the population, with the most common faith being Sunni Muslims. The north-eastern parts have the largest Muslim inhabitants. Traditional religions include ancestral beliefs and animism, and many of the population follow these beliefs alongside other religions like Christianity or Islam.  Other religious groups include a small Baha'í population, which is very involved in community projects and is growing in number in recent years.

Transport - East Africa transport options offer a range of options varying in affordability and reliability. Some options are better for short distances, while other options are better for traveling to further distances. Taxis or Matutus are the cheapest and quickest ways to get around the country – especially for city travel or shorter distances. Comfort is not part of the deal though, and many are over-crowded and dangerous. Self-drive should only be done by experienced drivers, as roads can be bad – especially in the rainy season. Never drive alone at night however, and try to have a backup car in case something goes wrong.

Wildlife - East Africa wildlife is as diverse and abundant as its diverse habitats, and a large number of game, including Africa’s famous Big 5 (lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard) can be found among other game. From the low-lying plains and savannas to the coastal areas and mountains, game can be found throughout the country.

Mountain Climbing - Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya do not require any special mountaineering skills but due to high altitude, acclimatization and fitness are handy. Recommended kit [climbing gear] can be hired from most operators.

When to Go - Many nature lovers and outdoor fans debate about the best to visit East Africa – which seasons offer the best travel opportunities? Due to its equatorial climate, with consistent seasons, East Africa is ideal to visit most of the year – each season offers its own beauty and benefits. The main tourist seasons run from December to February, during the hot dry season, and from July to August, just after the rains. The hot dry season offers some of the best wildlife viewing, as game is much easier to spot and wildlife tends to gather near waterholes. The Annual Wildebeest Migration runs from June to September, and the weather during this time is a bit cooler, but still dry. The Masai Mara is flooded with wildebeest during this time, as they make their way across from the Serengeti in Tanzania. Rainy season runs from March to June, with a lighter rainy season from October to December. Roads can be bad during these times, but the scenery is spectacular – especially from March to October.