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Frequently asked qustions about Kenya.

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Frequently asked qustions about Kenya.

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Frequently asked qustions about Kenya.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Are there set departure dates?
  2. Can we bring our children on safari?
  3. What medical issues should I be concerned about?
  4. So as not to offend, what local customs do I need to follow when on my safari?
  5. What items can I purchase on my East African vacation?
  6. How much baggage can I bring?
  7. What is the weather like?
  8. What clothes should I bring?
  9. What equipment should I bring?
  10. What does Best of Kenya do as a company to protect the environment and help the community?

Elephants in the Masai Mara, Kenya.
Masai Mara elephants.

1. Are there set departure dates? (BACK TO TOP)
No. All of our safaris are arranged around your chosen travel dates. However, due to the long rains, availability is limited during May and June each year, with many smaller lodges and camps closing for this period.

2. Can we bring our children on safari? (BACK TO TOP)
Children are welcome on most East African safari tours; however, we would not recommend bringing children under 5 years old. As Best of Kenya designs each safari to suit your particular requirements, we will recommend fun and exciting properties and safaris if you are traveling with children.

3. What medical issues should I be concerned about?(BACK TO TOP)
Yellow Fever, hepatitis and tetanus vaccinations are recommended for all of East Africa. (Yellow fever is required for Tanzania.) Please bring your vaccination cards with you.

You should take precautions against malaria. There are a number of Prophylaxis available. Some have mild side effects; you should check with your doctor for advice. We recommend starting your course of tablets early, in order to determine if you have any side effects before your safari begins.

Whilst in East Africa, only drink bottled water. We recommend that you drink at least 4 liters of non-alcoholic fluid each day to prevent dehydration. The most common cause of stomach upsets and diarrhea is dehydration; increasing your fluid intake should prevent this illness.

All countries have their own 'bugs' to which residents develop immunity. The African gastro-enteritis 'bugs' are the next most common cause of 'traveler's tummy.' Generally, antibiotics will cure this illness within 24 hours. This mild form of stomach upset is most commonly caught from hand to mouth contact with people. If you have shaken hands (harmless) with children or people in the bush, please wash your hands afterwards before you accidentally brush your mouth and transfer the germs.

Hotels, camps and lodges use clean water for their food preparation. East Africans take great pride in their fresh, good quality food; you will not go hungry! If you are not sure about the preparation of any type of food, simply ask. You will not offend!

Perfume, cologne and scented body lotions can attract mosquitoes and other flying insects. We recommend that you do not wear perfumes or colognes during your safari.

Nairobi, Kenya has excellent, European standard hospitals. Should evacuation be necessary, excellent medical care is a short flight away.

4. So as not to offend, what local customs do I need to follow when on my safari? (BACK TO TOP)
Local cultures vary tremendously throughout East Africa. With over 60 different tribes, each with their own traditions, beliefs, language and culture, it is not possible to learn all the cultural taboos during a short vacation.

However, there are a few do's and don'ts that will ensure you do not offend local custom throughout the countries. Nudity or semi-nudity is not permitted; on the Coast, it is especially offensive to the Muslim culture. Visitors are expected to wear a bikini or swimsuit when swimming; topless sunbathing is illegal. Shorts, t-shirts, trousers, skirts and dresses are suitable for all other activities. Africa tends to be casual, and western dress is perfectly acceptable.

Do not take photographs without permission. Photography of airports or any government buildings is illegal. Save your film for the wildlife and cultural villages where photos are encouraged! The elderly are very respected in East African culture; when introduced to a local family, addressing the eldest member first generates an excellent rapport!

5. What items can I purchase on my East African vacation? (BACK TO TOP)
The flora and fauna within East Africa is often fragile and endangered. You are requested not to collect any form of flora or fauna when on your safari, whether inside a National Park or not. In particular, do not purchase any form of handicraft or souvenir that requires the death of an animal, such as shells, starfish, ivory, animal hides or bird eggs.

Animals on the CITES protection list are numerous in East Africa. Products made from these animals are illegal and will result in prosecution. Purchasing these products also encourages the illegal trade and leads directly to poaching. Ivory, rhino horn and animal hides are all prohibited items. If these items are offered to you at any time, please report the matter to the authorities immediately.

Many local handicrafts are hand carved from indigenous trees. Please ensure that you purchase carvings made from woods such as mango, neam and jacaranda. Avoid the hard woods such as ebony and bamba kofi as these trees take centuries to grow and are now endangered through extensive forest cutting.

When purchasing your souvenirs and handicrafts, purchase the work of local craftsmen and artisans. Woven baskets, beadwork, jewelry, woodwork and cotton cloth are some of the more common handicrafts. Most tribes have their own traditional designs, shapes and sizes, providing a wide variety from which to choose.

6. How much baggage can I bring? (BACK TO TOP)
When traveling on safari, baggage should be kept to a minimum. Charter flights and vehicle transfers do not allow a large amount of baggage. Soft duffle bags should be used rather than suitcases, as frequently the airplane baggage lockers cannot fit a large suitcase.

Laundry service (excluding underwear) is available in all of the properties so large amounts of clothing are not required. Towels are supplied in the lodges and hotels.

Hotels provide electricity for such items as shavers and hair-dryers. Some lodges run generators for electricity in the evenings. Most camps do not have electricity so hair-dryers, electric shavers etc. are not useable.

7. What is the weather like? (BACK TO TOP)
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.

8. What clothes should I bring? (BACK TO TOP)
Long-sleeved, lightweight shirts or blouses and trousers, with a sweater and light jacket are appropriate for the evenings. Shorts and t-shirts are suitable for the hotter days. A lightweight rain jacket is useful and a wide-brimmed hat is vital. Dress is casual. The camps do not have heating, so bring something warm in which to sleep.

A good pair of walking shoes or boots is advisable when out on walks or horse rides. However, within the camps, lodges and hotels, light footwear may be worn. Neutral colors, such as gray, khaki, browns or greens, are best; bright colors and patterns, including white, can spook animals and birds.

Some lodges and hotels have swimming pools, so bring your swimsuit!

9. What equipment should I bring? (BACK TO TOP)
Bring all camera equipment, including spare batteries and film (100-400ASA), cleansing fluid, tissues and dust spray, as they are difficult to obtain and extremely expensive in East Africa. Please ensure that you also bring dust covers of some kind for your camera equipment. A small beanbag to use as a tripod when in a vehicle is useful.

If using a 35mm camera, we suggest a wide-angle lens of 25mm to 35mm and two additional lenses that allow a range of 35mm to 300mm. When staying in small mobile camps, it is unlikely to be able to re-charge video cameras.

Other items to bring include binoculars, along with a daypack to carry:

  • high factor (over 20) sunscreen
  • lip-screen
  • a small torch (flashlight)
  • insect repellent and moisturizer
  • moist towellettes (Wet Wipes)

Suggested medicines include:

  • packets of rehydrant powder (such as Gatorade)
  • anti-diarrhea tablets
  • generic antibiotics
  • aspirin
  • anti-histamine tablets
  • plasters (band-aids)
  • If you are taking any prescribed medicines, please ensure you have an adequate supply for the duration of your trip.
  • If wearing contact lenses, please remember that it will be dusty and you will need extra cleaning fluid.

10. What does Best of Kenya do as a company to protect the environment and help the community? (BACK TO TOP)
Best of Kenya hopes to ensure that Kenyan tourism develops in an environmentally and community oriented manner, protecting the local environments and communities into the future. We use renewable energy products, reduce paper and plastic consumption, develop community self-help projects and educate both our consumers and our partners with our free safari ezine.

Click here to subscribe to Karibuni!, our free safari ezine on East Africa's parks, people and animals!

Community Work
It is our company policy to donate 10% of all post-tax profits to fund community and/or conservation projects. Community development projects are operated in conjunction with local villagers as the operators and managers; Best of Kenya provides advice and guidance when requested, but abides by local beliefs and traditions

On-going projects include:

  • Ranger's Equipment Provision for the Watamu National Marine Park.
  • School-classroom building at three under-funded local schools.
  • The development and funding of a Community Library.
  • Operational support for a local orphanage, the Children of the Rising Sun Home.

Office
Our office is operated using natural resources, with all our power generated by solar panels and wind turbines. Our roof collects rainwater, which is diverted into tanks for toilet and shower usage; in fact we are not even connected to a mains water pipe. We employ and train local staff ourselves.

Within the company, our staff practice our energy and resource saving policies, such as:

Paper Usage - Wherever possible, email notices and messages are sent instead of paper notes. When paper is required, internal memos and letters are printed on the back of already used letters. Envelopes are re-used for local hand delivered letters.
Power Usage -Systems such as computer printers are switched on only when required and are turned off when not in use.
Water Usage - Reduced flow showerheads and drip irrigation for the gardens reduce water consumption. The staff are all trained to turn taps on and off when using washbasins or showers to further reduce consumption.

Natural vegetation has been left uncut to protect the land and prevent soil degradation. As the plot has been unfenced, local wildlife, such as the Suni Antelope and Monitor Lizards, have been left to freely wander through the grounds on traditional routes.

The Kenyan Best of Kenya office is located within the boundaries of the Watamu National Marine Park. A Best of Kenya director is an Honorary Game Park Warden and the company provides extensive assistance to the warden and rangers within this United Nations protected Biosphere.

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