Frequent questions

 

1) WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT KENYA/OR TANZANIA?

Kenya and Tanzania are known as "year round destinations" and it is possible to see wildlife at all times of the year. They are the only countries in which we specialize. Depending on your interests, certain times may be better than others. For instance January to March: usually hot and dry and great for wildlife viewing and best for the wildbeest migration in Serengeti, Jul-August: cooler but good for the great migration in Masai Mara. Here are diverse modern and ancient lands, which can encompass game viewing, beautiful lakes, magnificent mountains and tropical coastlines. There are also strong ethnic groups and traditions which will offer you warm and welcoming hospitality.

 

2) WHAT IS THE SECURITY SITUATION IN KENYA/TANZANIA?

Safety and security should be a concern regardless where one chooses to travel these days and travel to Africa is no different. Yet the media does have a morbid fascination with bad news from or warnings posted about travel to Africa. As a continent, Africa is quite large and an incident in one country doesn’t necessarily impact the entire continent, anymore then such an occurrence in your home city would. While it is true that some cities in East Africa might be more prone to crime then others, the vast majority of any incidents are targeted at people who live and work in the specific country
Kenya tends to be quite secure for tourists especially within the tourist circuits. You do however need to observe the basic safety precautions i.e. avoid walking in dark/isolated areas at night, do not wear flashy jewelry, don’t leave your luggage unattended, avoid carrying valuables around, etc. 

 

3) DO I NEED A VISA TO TRAVEL TO KENYA AND/OR TANZANIA?

All visitors require a valid passport with at minimum 6-months remaining before expiration, sufficient blank pages for Visa/s and entry/departure stamps, and a return air ticket.
Visas – Visas are required for many passport holders. Please check with the respective embassies, well in advance, as processing can take from a few days to a few weeks. You can aslo obtain the visas upon arrival at the respective international airport.  However, it is recommended that visitors obtain their visas prior to arrival to avoid the possibility of long queues at the airport. Visas are usually valid from three months to six months, depending on the country. For US passport holders, the current price for a Tanzanian Visa is USD $100 and USD $50 for a Kenyan Visa. For most other countries, the current Visa fee for both Kenya and Tanzania is USD $50 each, but these amounts can change without notice.

 

4) IS KENYA/TANZANIA A GOOD DESTINATION FOR A BEACH HOLIDAY?

If you're looking for sun-kissed Africa beach holidays beneath a cloudless sky, then head to the east coast of Africa: to the Indian Ocean coast of Kenya & Tanzania. The coasts of Kenya and Tanzania have small islands scattered across the Indian Ocean where you can drift away in a tropical dream. End off a classic safari with a stay on the Indian Ocean coast for the best of both world. The Coasts are beautiful and idyllic regions that are extremely popular for their white sandy beaches, palm trees and relaxed holiday feel. The beaches are lined with protective coral reefs creating the ideal waters perfect for swimming, snorkelling, diving, fishing and other water sports.

 

5) CAN I USE MY CREDIT CARD IN KENYA AND/OR TANZANIA?

All major credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, Diners Club and American Express) are widely accepted. If you can use a credit card make sure you ask about the exchange rate and fees charged. Visa and MasterCard are generally more widely accepted than any other credit card.

 

6) ARE BANKING SERVICES EASILY AVAILABLE IN KENYA AND TANZANIA?

National and international banks have branches in the main cities as well as most other major towns. Banks and bureaux de change at international airports are open 24 hours a day.

 

7) CAN I TAKE MY CHILDREN ON SAFARI?

Children are welcome on most East African safari tours.We design each safari to suit your particular requirements, we will recommend fun and exciting properties and safaris if you are traveling with children. Visiting Africa with your children could be one of the most interesting, fun and educational holidays you ever take as a family. There are obviously many factors, including certain restrictions, to take into account when considering family safari holidays, but in general we are very enthusiastic about family safaris.

 

8) HOW FAR IN ADVANCE SHOULD I BOOK MY SAFARI?

It is highly recommended to make arrangements for your safari in advance as far as possible. 4-6 months is most convenient and assures you availability especially during the months of the high season, July-mid September, Christmas - New Year. This saves last minute searches which often find you compromising standards and with no guarantee of availability. Some safaris sell out months ahead of their departure dates. This is especially important for those planning to travel during peak seasons and for those adding extensions to scheduled trips.

 

9) WHAT TYPE OF VEHICLES ARE USED ON SAFARI?

Your journey in the bush involves exhilarating days on the trail of African wildlife, making the quality of your ground transportation of the utmost importance. If you are booking a fly-in (air) safari your safari game drives will be operated by your chosen camp / lodge. Various types of vehicles are used for game drives, so do check with your sales consultant which type your chosen accommodation uses. These drives may be shared with other guests – typically maximum 6 per vehicle – and there may be the option to upgrade to a private vehicle.

If you are booking a road safari in Kenya you can choose between a 6 seats safari minivan or a closed-sided 4x4 vehicle – both have pop-up roofs giving passengers great photo opportunities in Tanzania we use land cruisers only.

 

10) WHAT IS THE TIME ZONE OF KENYA AND TANZANIA?

The standard time zone in Kenya and Tanzania is 3 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and they do not utilize daylight saving time.

 

11) WHY SHOULD I CONSIDER A TRIP TO KENYA AND/OR TANZANIA?

Kenya and Tanzania are known for prolific wildlife and open plains as far as the eye can see. Here are diverse modern and ancient lands, which can encompass game viewing, beautiful lakes, magnificent mountains and tropical coastlines. There are also strong ethnic groups and traditions which will offer you warm and welcoming hospitality. Kenya and Tanzania are doing their utmost to maintain the relationship between man and wildlife and tourism is one of the best ways to help these countries accomplish just that.

 

12) CAN I DRINK WATER AND WHAT ABOUT ICE CUBES?

Water is generally safe in urban areas and established hotels/resorts, but for first-time African travelers this may cause abdominal upsets. So it is best to drink sealed bottled water, which is available throughout Kenya and Tanzania – hotels, lodges and camps. This same sealed bottled or purified water is what is used by hotels, lodges and camps to make ice cubes, so they are safe; but if you are not comfortable doing so, avoid the ice cubes. Bottled water should also be used for brushing your teeth.

 

13) WHAT TYPE OF ELECTRICAL POWER WILL I FIND IN EAST AFRICA?

In Kenya and Tanzania, the electricity supply is 220 / 240V AC, 50 Hz. and can be round 2-pin or flat 3-pin plugs. If you use electrical appliances (shaver, hair dryer, curling iron, etc.) that are not compatible or at least dual-voltage, it is suggested you bring a converter and appropriate adapter plugs. If for some reason your appliances do not work properly, do not hesitate to contact Reception, who will likely have an appliance for your use. Be aware that generators at remote locations may only operate during specific hours… do not operate after midnight. There are some camps that do not have electricity, except that which is used in food preparation. Here guest tents are lit by hurricane lamps, and flashlights are provided, but it is a good idea to bring one of your own. Important – With strict Security measures worldwide, it is not recommended to even consider bringing appliances that use “butane” canisters… these will undoubtedly be removed from your checked or carry-on bags.

 

14) WILL I REQUIRE ANY IMMUNIZATIONS AND/OR MEDICATIONS?

We recommend that you contact the Centers for Disease Control to learn current information regarding travel to Kenya and Tanzania. You can contact the CDC through their website at www.cdc.gov/travel. Before getting any inoculation/s or taking medicines, you should discuss this with your personal physician or a tropical disease specialist who knows your medical history. Presently, Yellow Fever vaccinations are NOT required for travel to KENYA only, for visitors arriving direct from Western Countries - USA, Canada, Western Europe. For visitors to TANZANIA, who have FIRST LANDED IN OR VISITED KENYA, regardless country of origin, you WILL REQUIRE a Yellow Fever inoculation. Likewise, if visiting the Tanzania mainland for safari and then plan to visit Zanzibar Island, YOU WILL require a Yellow Fever inoculation. The CDC might also recommend additional inoculations. A course of anti-malarial medication will also be recommended for individuals traveling to these countries. Check whether your insurance company will reimburse for travel related immunizations and/or medicines, but don’t be surprised if they won’t. 

 

15) WHICH LANGUAGE IS SPOKEN IN KENYA AND TANZANIA? 

In Kenya, with over 40 ethnic languages, the official national language is Swahili, though English is spoken throughout the country. And in Tanzania, with 120 different tribes with as many languages, both Kiswahili and English are the official languages. An English speaker should not encounter any problems in being able to communicate.

 

16) WHAT TYPE/S OF CURRENCY DO I NEED TO HAVE IN KENYA AND TANZANIA?

In Kenya – The currency is the Kenya Shilling (Ksh). The currency exchange at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is open 24-hours. You will find ATMs in/around Nairobi, or an exchange can be made at your hotel, but the rates here will be less favorable.
In Tanzania – The currency is the Tanzania Shilling (TSh). Currency can be exchanged at authorized dealers, commercial banks, exchange booths, international airports and at many of the safari lodges/camps.
Credit Cards – Visa and American Express are the most widely accepted credit cards. But it is not unusual that remote lodges/camps will not accept these without assessing a Transaction Fee; we recommend you bring cash in $1s, $5s, $10s & $20s, as USD are widely accepted, as are Amex Travelers Checks.
Cash – US Dollars are widely accepted. We recommend you bring cash in $1s, $5s, $10s & $20s (no older than 4/years) in good condition – not torn, folded or taped. 

 

17) WHAT ABOUT GRATUITIES/TIPPING?

Gratuities/tipping should always be at your discretion, based on the level of service received from your guide/driver, lodge/camp staff and hotel staff in cities. For your guide/driver consider $5-$10/per person/per day; trackers at $5/per person/per day; camp staff (porters, housekeeping, chefs, waiters) is shared and placed in a “tip box” found at Reception at $3-$5/per person/per day. And remember the porters at city hotels at $1/bag, housekeeping at $2/nt/rm and restaurants at 10% of the bill.

 

18) DO CAMPS AND LODGES HAVE WI-FI OR INTERNET ACCESS?

Very few safari camps have Wi-Fi / internet available for guests. Some may have a mobile / cell phone signal through which you could access the internet (depending on your phone plan / provider) though this may be expensive. Most major hotels in the cities and on the coast have internet (fees may apply).

 

19) WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE IS MEDICAL EMERGENCY ON SAFARI?

In the unlikely event of illness or injury our driver-guides and most camp / lodge staff are trained in first aid procedures. Medical travel insurance is a necessity and we recommend that you purchase a policy with a supplemental benefit for emergency medical evacuation. In the event of a medical emergency an aircraft can be dispatched to lodges or camps. There are good quality medical facilities in the larger towns and cities should you require medical attention while on your trip.

 

20) HOW SECURE IS OUR PAYMENT TO EYES ON AFRICA SAFARIS?

Your arrangements are financially protected as we are a member of the Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO) bonding scheme. This is backed by a leading insurance company and ensures that payments are fully protected if a bonded KATO member ceases trading. Most credit cards also offer a certain amount of consumer protection and we can accept these via our secure online payment system.

 

21) WHAT TYPE OF BAGGAGE/LUGGAGE SHOULD WE TAKE?

Luggage should be kept to a minimum, especially if you will be travelling via light aircraft. In East Africa the limit is typically 15 kg per person. This should be in soft bags as opposed to hard suit cases in order to fit in the baggage compartment on small aircraft. On road safaris the weight and size allowance is not as important but you should still try to bring as little as possible. A complimentary laundry service is offered at many camps and lodges. For game viewing it is best to wear grey, brown, khaki or green coloured clothing so the wildlife is not alerted to your presence. Camouflage clothing is not permitted in some countries. 

 

22) WHAT KIND OF CLOTHES SHOULD I PACK FOR MY TRIP TO KENYA AND TANZANIA?

Most East African countries are quite a conservative. In many parts of the countries, shorts and short skirts are frowned upon, so always make sure that you do not flash too much skin. Due to the climate, cotton shirts, sweaters, t-shirts and slacks are great clothing items that should be brought along.

Nights are often chilly, so bring along fleece tops, a windbreaker and jacket. Socks and good walking shoes are essential. Pale colours such as tan or olive are best, but camouflage clothes are illegal in many parts of Africa, so steer clear. A sun hat with a large brim, sunglasses and a sunscreen are important. Travel light and bring along clothes that do not take hours to dry and fits easily into your bags.

 

23) HOW CAN I CONTRIBUTE TO THE LOCAL ECONOMY AND CONSERVATION PROGRAMS?

If you stay at some camp that borders the most celebrated parks you will be paying a conservation fee that goes to the local people. Both in Kenya and Tanzania many lodges are closely involved with the local community and you can choose a lodge that not only employs its staff from the immediate locality but is also owned by the community. Whilst staying at many of the camps you can visit a local village or school and they are always delighted to receive books, pens and footballs. Ask us during the planning stage of your holiday and we can give you more specific advice.

 

24) WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE?

East Africa's climate is 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.
The coldest months are June, July and August; the hottest months are January, February and March. June, July, August and November may provide some showers and misty weather as these are the times of the Long and Short rains.

 

25) CAN WE CROSS FROM THE SERENGETI TO THE MAASAI MARA AND FURTHER INTO KENYA?

Unfortunately it is not possible at present to cross the border into the Maasai Mara (or vice versa). There is talk of a greater economic union between Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania that may change this situation in the years to come. But at present Tanzania is concerned that if the border is opened, then the larger Kenyan tour companies will include Serengeti on their itineraries and Tanzanian operators would lose a lot of business. Don't believe anyone who says you can cross here, as you'll have an expensive and time-consuming problem when you get there or if your driver is caught trying to sneak you past.

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