Budget Camping Safaris
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Africa Budget Tour | Travel Tips | Budget Safaris Africa |
US passport holders need a visa to enter Kenya, but they can get it at the airport or border crossing when they arrive in Kenya. If you want to plan ahead then you can apply for a visa in the US. Details and forms can be found on the Kenyan Embassy web site. Nationals from Commonwealth countries (including Canada and the UK) do not need a visa. Tourist visas are valid for 30 days. For up to date information see the Kenya Embassy web site.
A single-entry visa costs USD50 and a multiple entry visa USD100. If you are planning on visiting just Kenya, then a single-entry is all you need. If your plans include crossing over to Tanzania to climb mount Kilimanjaro or visit the Serengeti, then you'll need a multiple-entry visa if you wish to re-enter Kenya again.
WILDLIFE VIEWING TIPS
Some of the best game viewing in all of Africa, can be found in the East African savannah of Kenya and Tanzania. In order to view the greatest amount and variety of wildlife, we provide you with highly skilled and knowledgeable guides with indepth experience about these countries, tribal cultures and wildlife behavior. They will also amaze you with their ability to spot animals that you will have trouble seeing with your binoculars. If you are patient and observe the interaction of the animals rather than rushing to check off the next animal on your list, you will have an extraordinary wildlife experience.
Our guides always put client safety first and on roads that are rough and bumpy, they observe utmost caution to avoid tire swallowing potholes. Main highways are paved but roads in the safari areas are dirt and usually the main park roads are only graded once a year. Most "travel days", involve less than 4 hours driving time between parks, with light aircraft flights used for longer stretches.
CLIMATE IN EAST AFRICA
The East Africa region enjoys one of the world's most pleasant climates year round. The daytime temperatures are normally in the high 70's to mid 80's and from the mid 50's to low 60's in the evenings and mornings. Southern and coastal areas of Kenya & Tanzania tend to get much warmer, and can be very humid depending on the season. There are two rainy seasons but the sun shines throughout the year. Travel can sometimes be difficult during the long rainy season of April and May, but the short rains of November and December are fine for traveling, with short showers usually in the late evening.
By Taxi, Matatu, Tuk-Tuk and Boda boda
Driving is on the left side of the road and you'll most likely need an international driving license as well as a major credit card to rent a car. Driving at night is not advised.
THE BEST TIME TO GO
The best times for a safari to Kenya & Tanzania, are any months but mid-April and May, during the "big rains". If you want to see the "great migration", then its best to go on safari from August through October when the herds will be in the Maasai Mara. Wildlife migration patterns will fluctuate in most parks depending on the season and where the "food" is. For example in the dry season during July - September, large concentrations of elephants, head to Amboseli to get water from springs that originate from the snows of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
BOTTLED AND ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES
Wine, beer, extra bottled water, sodas and alcoholic beverages are available at all camps and lodges and are usually not included in the trip price. Beer and sodas are depend on the East African country but are generally inexpensive but premium spirits can be pricey so you may want to bring your favorite with you.
CLOTHING ON SAFARI
Comfortable, casual clothing that is lightweight and easy to care for is the best bet while on safari. It can be quite cool in the early mornings, so you'll want to dress warmly in layers, until the sun has a chance to warm up the air. " Safari convertibles", khaki pants with zip-off legs, are perfect for cool early morning game drives that turn warm before you're back in camp. Walking shorts, long pants, cotton shirts and tees are just right. For ladies, shorts are less accepted on streets in Africa but urban areas tend to be okay. A cotton bush jacket or wind-breaker will be useful along with a warm sweater or fleece jacket for the cool nights. And, a hat that ties on is a must. There is not a good deal of long walking or hiking on most safaris, so a comfortable pair of walking shoes or tennis shoes and a pair of sandals should be adequate. You will need thorn-proof soles.
MONEY AND CASH
The local currency in of the region is the shilling. Major credit cards are accepted at hotels and most lodges and camps "in the bush". However - don't even think about finding an ATM machine in the bush! US dollars, Euros and travelers checks are readily accepted, but small denominations are recommended for cashing at lodges and camps. Changing money at banks can be very time consuming and it is never wise to change money on the street.
Malaria is not a serious problem if people are sensible and take basic precautions from being bitten by using mosquito repellents and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants in the evenings. Safari camps and lodges at not located in any densely populated areas, and many are at high altitude. This greatly reduces the risk of becoming infected. Consult your physician, for recommended malaria prophylactics.
In the United States, the drug Lariam is the most commonly prescribed malarial prophylactic, but it has unfortunate side effects for some people. It should not be taken by anyone with a heart problem or high blood pressure. It should not be used during pregnancy or lactation and it should not be used by people with tendencies towards depression. On July 14, 2000 the FDA approved a new malarial prophylactic called MALARONE. Although it has to be taken daily, it is said to have few side-affects.
If you don't like to bargain, there are many nice shops and galleries in the main cities that carry nice crafts, including basketry, batiks, beadwork, masks and woodcarvings. Gift shops in hotels, safari lodges and some camps are also excellent places to buy quality souvenirs. If you like to bargain, you may want explore the local markets. However - do not ship goods home! Shipping rates are not guaranteed and can be exorbitant. Plan to carry your purchases home or pay the surcharge from the airline.
To keep from getting dehydrated, you will need to drink plenty of fluids. Litres of bottled water are supplied daily in your room or tent and also in the vehicles for game-drives.
Kiswahili is the national language of Kenya, but in Tanzania is the official; Ugandans tends to speak predominantly in English and Buganda but Kiswahili is also spoken but not that widely. While on safari you will pick up such phrases as Habari Gani (How are you?) and Twiga (Giraffe). However we have ensured that all our guides are fluent in English, French, Spanish and some speak Chinese.
CHILDREN ON SAFARI
Children are welcome, including mobile camps and most lodges. We will advise you of any restrictions should you wish delight your children by bringing them on safari. Many families travel with children as young as 5 years old. On game drives if you have more than one child you may be required to have a separate vehicle.
TIPPING AND GRATUITIES
As a custom, tipping is not compulsory, but is usually expected as a sign of appreciation of good service in lodges, bars and restaurants and permanent tented camps. Safari guides depend on tipping for a large part of their income, so be sure to bring extra cash for tipping your guide at the end of your safari.
The East African region has several different international standards of delivering power. Electricity is delivered at 230 Volts, but varies on the connections, so be sure to bring a Universal Adapter. Also, if outlets are not available in your permanent tented camp, the main building or bar area will have outlets so you can recharge your camera. You can also bring a cigarette lighter adapter to charge your camera while traveling in your vehicle.