1. Are there set departure dates?
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
2. Can we bring our children on
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?
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
4. So as not to offend, what local customs do I
need to follow when on my safari?
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
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
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?
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
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?
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?
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
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
Some lodges and hotels have swimming pools, so bring
9. What equipment should I bring?
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
- 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
- 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?
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.
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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
- 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.
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
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.