Lying on Africa’s east coast, bordering the Indian sea, Kenya is a fascinating country. Nairobi, its current capital is the largest city in Africa between Cairo in the north and Johannesburg at the south of the continent. A modern city ablaze with colour from tropical bushes and vines, it was only founded in in 1899 by the colonial authorities in British East Africa! But Kenya is more commonly known as being the ultimate safari destination! The country is filled with fantastic reserves and national parks, not least the legendary Masai Mara. The jewel in Africa’s crown, the Masai Mara’s 1,510km² of open savannah, woodlands and tree-lined rivers are host to the most spectacular array of wildlife. By day, see a host of wildlife whilst keeping a look out for the "Big 5" - lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo and rhinos. By night, enjoy spectacular African sunsets, big skies accompanied by the sounds of nocturnal wildlife. The word safari means “journey” in Swahili and this journey is a truly magical journey that will alter you soul forever.
Please ensure that you visit your doctor to enquire about any vaccination requirements you may need for your visit to Kenya. It may be worthwhile taking a copy of your itinerary with you to show the exact areas you will be travelling to within Kenya. Please check on the requirement specifically for the yellow fever vaccine as the certificate requirements are relevant to certain travellers only.
If you are a British or Irish citizen (including children and infants), you must have your own full 10 year passport (5 year for children) which is valid for at least 6 months after your expected return date. If you are a US or Canadian Citizen you must have a passport which is valid for at least 6 months after your expected return date. There must be at least two facing blank visa pages available, one for the Kenya visa sticker and one facing for the stamps.
As of the 1st September 2015 all travellers to Kenya that require an entry visa to Kenya must apply in advance via the e-visa portal, www.ecitizen.go.ke All non-Kenyan citizens are required to have a visa to enter Kenya at a cost of US $50 per person. This online application can take up to 7 working days to process.
For instructions on how to use ecitizen please click here.
Once issued, an E-visa for Kenya is valid for 3 months - so don't apply for your visa more than 3 months before your arrival date in Kenya. Once you present yourself to immigration control at the port of entry, you may be issued with a stay period not exceeding 90 days, which may be renewed for a further 90 days at the immigration headquarters.
Please see your itinerary for hotel details required for your visa applications.
N.B. Please note, visa and entry requirements, regulations and restrictions can vary on a regular basis. Please ensure you check in good time prior to travel the current requirements applicable to you.
Please see the US Embassy https://ke.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/ or
UK FCDO website; https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/kenya/entry-requirements
or your country of residence Government website for up to date entry requirements .
What to pack
The weather is likely to be anywhere from 20C to 32C. As you would expect going on safari is dry and dusty so make sure to pack light comfortable clothing e.g. Vests/T-shirts, shorts/light trousers for the daytime and perhaps some longer trousers and long sleeves in the evenings. Comfortable footwear is also recommended. You won’t be doing a lot of walking so a pair of sandals with a thick sole should be sufficient. As some of the game drives are early morning, the temperature is slightly cooler so please bring a jumper/fleece or jacket. There are pools at the lodges whilst on safari so make sure you pack your swimwear. One medium, soft-sided suitcase each plus hand luggage.
There is no dress code – but in the evenings it is a good idea to wear long tops and trousers to reduce insect bites. On previous trips, guests have enjoyed wearing something smarter for some dinners so you may wish to pack a summer dress/smarter shirt.
Obviously we can’t give advice on any medication but please ensure you are prepared for any minor ailments that may occur whilst you are away as pharmacies are few and far between. If you need any assistance with storage conditions for medication, do let us know. Don’t forget your sun tan lotion.
A strict baggage allowance of 15 kilos per person, including hand luggage, is applicable on all small aircraft. The carriage of excess baggage is not guaranteed. These flights may not be direct and involve a number of stops en route to the destination.
Mosquito / Insect Bites
Insect bites have been very minimal within previous groups, however please come prepared with your insect repellent spray/plug-in just in case. Mosquito Nets are available upon request. Whilst on safari, the lodges are sprayed nightly with insect repellent.
Kenya has a 240 volt power which is the same as in the UK so no travel adaptors are necessary for UK travellers – but travellers from the USA will need to bring travel adaptors. Hairdryers are available at reception at some of the Safari lodges but availability can be sporadic in places.
Don’t forget to pack your Cameras, Video Camera, extra memory cards, batteries and chargers.
The phone signal is very good as the country is very flat. Please check with your mobile phone provider about your roaming charges before you go as both calls and texts/sms messages can be very expensive from abroad.
As you may be aware, the currency for Kenya is the Kenyan shilling although US dollars are widely accepted in most areas. It is advised that you bring some Kenyan shillings and US dollars with you. US dollar notes must be in good condition & printd after the year 2000. Credit cards will be accepted at the lodges but please take note that you will be charged on the day’s exchange rate. There are a few ATMs/cash machines en route; please let your tour escorts know if you require one. Please make sure that you contact your bank to inform them that you will be travelling to Kenya if you intend to use any of your debit or credit cards whilst you are away.
The majority of things are already included in the holiday price. Things you may need / wish to purchase daily are drinks at the lodges and bottles of water. There are also a few excursions organised by your local escorts during the trip. These will include a Masai Mara village visit; A boat ride at Niavasha; & A walk along the Mara river. The cost of these varies slightly each year and your escort will brief you once in Kenya but a guideline would be no more than £135/$180 per person should you include all trips. These are arranged and payable locally only. Souvenirs are available throughout your trip and will be a chance for you to practise your bartering skills. If you need any help please talk to your escort. There are also beauty spas at some of the safari lodges, and you may wish to purchase duty free goods on your return journey.
Tipping is customary in Kenya, and while it is certainly up to the discretion of each person, to a certain extent it is recommended inorder to guarantee the best level of service. Tipping We can provide you with a list of recommended tipping scales if you wish, or we suggest you budget around $18-23 per person per day for tipping your driver guides, porters, rangers, and service staff.
Hot Air Balloon Rides over the Masai Mara
There is an option for you to take an exciting early morning Hot Air Balloon flight over the Masai Mara giving you the opportunity to see the animals from above followed by a bubbly bush champagne breakfast. Prices for the Hot Air Balloon Ride are US$495– please let us know if you would like additional information on this as these need to be arranged prior to departure to ensure your place is reserved.
Arrival in Kenya
If you are arriving by air, upon arrival at the airport, follow the signs to passport control, clear customs and collect your luggage. Once you have cleared this point, you enter into the arrivals hall and turn left, down a ramp you will see a number of representatives - one of whom will be holding a sign with The Big Safari Company logo and/or your name written on it.
Do not leave the airport with anyone until you have met up with our representative. If in doubt stay in one place and we will find you - it is not a large area and we will be waiting for you. You will then be taken to your first hotel.
You will receive a call from your tour leader a few weeks before departure to ensure you are all ready for your trip. If you have any other questions in the interim, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will gladly assist with your query.