Here is an overview summarizing important information relative to your upcoming safari.
Affable Tours and Safaris has your flight information, therefore, a representative will be waiting for you at the airport holding up a sign with your name on it. You will then be transported to your hotel in Nairobi as per the itinerary. If you are a traveller from the U.S.A, it is good to note that the elevation in Nairobi is 5,000 feet and you are 7 times zones away.
Articles of clothing can be left for lodge staff to launder throughout your safari. There is limited space available in the safari vehicles. All luggage is stored behind the passenger seats as we travel from game park to game park. This will not really be an issue since we are five or six (including driver) traveling in a 7 person van /4x4.
Luggage requirements have to do with your personal comfort as well as the comfort of those traveling with you. Although the airline will allow 2 checked bags each 35" x 29" x 16" in size, travellers on safari are limited to one duffle or soft-sided suitcase smaller in size than that allowed by the airlines.
- Soft -sided suitcases and, preferably, duffel bags are highly recommended because soft bags can be more easily squeezed into tight spaces.
- Bring only one bag that approximates 30"x16"x13". The airline weight limit for the checked bag is 50.7 pounds (23 kg).
- Bring one small carry-on size bag or backpack that can be placed inside the safari vehicle with you. This bag would contain such items as your camera, binoculars, money, jacket or sweatshirt, and any other items needed during the day.
- You can also bring a second carry-on piece, i.e., a "handbag" or laptop not to exceed 16"x12"x6" (new British Air regulation).
Safari attire is casual and comfortable. Dress mainly for outdoor comfort with a change of informal clothes for the evening if you wish. Evenings and early morning can be chilly especially in the mountain areas so pack a sweatshirt, sweater or warm jersey. Socks and walking shoes or sneakers are recommended. Footwear should be low-heeled and comfortable. There is not much walking and you stay in the vehicle during game drives. Bring a hat for sun protection. Roof hatches on safari vehicles are left open during game viewing.
GLASSES & CONTACTS
On safari be prepared for bumpy and dusty roads. These can be an irritant to contact lens wearers. Eye drops and a spare pair of glasses are a sensible precaution.
Hotels and lodges can change money but their exchange rate will not be as good as banks. There are banks at the airport if you choose to exchange dollars for Kenyan Shillings upon arrival. Banks at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi remain open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Right now the dollar exchange to Kenyan shillings is incredibly good.
Credit cards are widely accepted including at curio shops as we travel. A surcharge may be applied for credit card use by your credit card company. Notify your credit card company that you will be using your credit card in Kenya and your European transfer location as well as the dates that you will be out of the country.
SAFEKEEPING OF PASSPORT & VALUABLES
Please keep your passport & money on you at all times. Never leave money or valuables in your room or in the van. You can check valuables in security boxes at the lodges.
You may make international telephone calls home. However, at some lodges you may not be able to get through. International cell phones work very well. Cell phone service is excellent in Kenya and all of the lodges have very good WIFI service.
Please be on time when we meet at the safari van for game drives so that you can get maximum value for your time spent on safari.
The equatorial sun is strong. Too much can cause dehydration, dizziness and headaches. We recommend that you wear sun screen and a hat, as well as sun glasses. The vans will carry bottled water and lodges will provide bottled water in the rooms. Most of the lodges have swimming pools for those who might wish to miss a game drive and relax at the pool.
Throughout your time in Kenya do not drink the water from the tap. Use the bottled water provided to brush your teeth and even to rinse your toothbrush. Ice is generally frozen from boiled water and is fine for consumption.
Food in Kenya is delicious, varied and plentiful. Fresh fruits and vegetables are abundant. The hotels and lodges in which you will stay are renowned for their high standard of cuisine. However, note that a change in climate and traveling can, in a few instances, cause travelers' diarrhea, a minor complaint usually short in duration. Imodium can ease discomfort if needed.
SPIRITS, BEERS, WINE
These are all available in Kenya. The price of soft drinks and beer is reasonable, whereas imported spirits and wine tend to be more expensive. Kenyan beer-Tusker- is very good. Soft drink, spirits, beer and wine are not included in your per person price.
Bed and breakfast is the meal plan provided in Nairobi and full board on safari. Your itineraries delineate the meals that are at travelers expense (in Nairobi) and not included in your per person to Affable Tours.
Take your anti-malaria medication as prescribed.
The larger towns in Kenya have pharmacies and hospitals, but you should carry with you adequate supplies of your own medicines and toilet items as in the smaller towns and villages these cannot be obtained. A spare pair of prescription glasses is recommended. I also bring an assortment of over the counter items, e.g., pepto bismol, anti-bacterial ointment, allergy medication, gas-x, motion sickness pills, advil, zycam, in the event that any of you need it.
There are several hospitals in Nairobi staffed by doctors with internationally recognized degrees. Also many lodges have house doctors.
Most hotels and lodges outside of Nairobi generate their own electricity. Bring a small lightweight flashlight in that some generators are turned off in the night. At some of the lodges you will find a flashlight in your room. The voltage is 220-240 AC -bring a converter and adapter.
DO NOT take photographs of local Kenyans without their permission. The exception is in the Maasai village, schools and women's workshops that we visit where you can take as many pictures as you like.
FYI you can take pictures out the van window of towns and villages as well as of people as we travel.
NEVER take photographs of military personnel, military institutions, armed forces barracks, prisons, policemen, government officials or airports. I suggest that you bring either a dust proof bag for your camera or a zip-lock bag as the roads can be extremely dusty.
You might also consider bringing a small beanbag on which to rest your camera in order to provide a steady base when you are taking pictures from the van.
Carry binoculars for game viewing.
Most people when visiting a foreign country, like to be given some guidelines regarding tipping. Bearing in mind that tipping is an extremely personal matter, the following are guidelines. If you have questions while on safari, you can check with any of our driver guides as to what they would advise.
These guidelines are for those lunches and dinners you may enjoy on your own that are not included in your itinerary. If the menu says 10% service charge included, you do not need to tip. Otherwise 10% is considered usual and customary provided you are happy with the service provided. At the lodges, I often leave an American dollar or 100 shilling bill on the table at the end of a meal. (Not necessary)
When ordering from the bar waiter, a 10% tip is fair.
BAGGAGE HANDLERS AT THE LODGES
I bring 50 single American dollar bills and either tip $1 or 100 Kenyan Shillings. I tip when my bag is brought to the room and when it is picked up and brought back to the lobby or to the van when departing. I also leave a tip for the person that makes up the room each day at each lodge.
Since the early days of safari-ing, driver-guides in Africa have had their expert bush skills acknowledged in the form of tips. I recommend $10 per person per day, but this is entirely at your own discretion. The tip can be in US dollars, Kenyan shillings or a combination of dollars and shillings.
AIR TICKET RECONFIRMATION
Please provide flight information to Affable Tours and we will reconfirm all of your return flights.
THE SAFARI EXPERIENCE
Please look at any inconveniences that may arise with a positive attitude. Flat tires and unexpected adventures are all part of the safari experience.
ESSENTIALLY ENJOY YOUR STAY IN EAST AFRICA!!