Categories
Guides Tips Travel Planner

Going On a Gorilla Trek in Uganda

Looking for a perfect destination to track the gorillas from? Uganda should be your first priority as it covers almost three thirds of the total population of mountain gorillas in the world. Tracking the gorillas is somehow a challenging activity but the experience achieved from it, is of a lifetime and you are surely guaranteed with memorable escapades. On meeting these giant yet humble apes in their territory, it will arguably be worth your effort as no one can fully describe the fantastic moment attached to the first sight on a wild mountain gorilla. It is to be noted that; among all the gorilla types in the world, Uganda only resides one type, which is the eastern mountain gorilla (rare endangered mountain gorillas) and it resides it more than any other country in the world.

Where to track the mountain gorillas in Uganda

The world comprises of only four national parks which protect the lives of the rare endangered mountain gorillas, and the most fascinating thing is that Uganda has two of the four national parks. These Parks include; Virunga National Park (in DR Congo), Volcanoes National Park (in Rwanda), and then the two Parks in Uganda; Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Therefore, the mountain gorillas in Uganda can only be tracked from Bwindi and Mgahinga, of which both Parks are perched in the South-western parts of the country.

Location, History and Accessibility of Bwindi

Bwindi, found in south-western Uganda, was gazetted as a national park in 1991 and declared a UNESCO natural world heritage site in 1994. The Park is composed of 331 square kilometers (128 square miles) of both montane and lowland forests. Accessing Bwindi by Road from Kampala, Uganda’s capital, it is a 6-8 hours’ drive; a route through Kampala to Mbarara and then converging to Butogota, a mere 17 kilometers from the Buhoma entrance gate. Always remember to book your gorilla safari in advance with your tour agency such that it reserves you a good quality 4X4  tourist vehicle that you will use for transportation, such as; Land Cruisers TX, Land Cruisers V8, Land Cruisers VX, Land Cruisers JX, Extended Land Cruisers with pop-up roofs, Safari Vans, Costa buses, Super Customs, and Rav4s, among others. Bwindi can also be accessed from Queen Elizabeth National Park to the north through Ishasha sector, which is a 2-3 hours drive, or from Kabale town to the south, just a 1-2 hours’ drive.

Bwindi can also be accessed by Air flying from Kampala, Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi Airfield, to the modern tarmac airstrip at Kisoro. Planes can too be chartered to the grass Kayonza or Savannah airstrips. Bwindi comprises of three airfields; at Kayonza and Kihiihi, for those going to track in the northern sector, and Nyakabande, in Kisoro, for those going to track gorillas in the southern sectors.

Location, History and Accessibility of Mgahinga

In the South-western parts of Uganda (Kisoro District) is where Mgahinga National Park lies. Though it is the smallest national park in Uganda, covering a total area of 33.7 square kilometers, Mgahinga is one of the only four Parks in the world protecting the rare endangered mountain gorillas that inhabit the dense forests of the Park, and besides protecting the endangered mountain gorillas, Mgahinga is also known for keeping the endangered golden monkeys. The Park commands majestic natural beauty and its annual visitors always enjoy the beautiful views over the Park’s three volcanoes; Muhavura, Mgahinga, and Sabinyo volcanoes. On addition to gorilla and golden monkey trekking, hiking any of the above volcanoes is also an experience of its own, especially the Mgahinga volcano of which you will only pay US$ 80 to hike it.

Accessing Mgahinga from Kampala, it takes 8-10 hours driving on the good tarmac roads up to Kabale or Kisoro towns covering about 482 kilometers. From Kisoro town, the dirt road covers 14 kilometers to the park and another route goes along the shorelines of the beautiful Lake Bunyonyi. Ntebeko is the only entrance gate open from 07:00am to 06:00pm all year round. However, the Park can also be accessed by air as the charter schedule flights depart from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi Airfield in Kampala and land at Kisoro Airstrip, of which from there it is a one hour drive to the Park.

Habituated gorilla family in Mgahinga

Mgahinga is a home to almost 100 mountain gorilla individuals but due to various conservation reasons, there is only one habituated gorilla family that is open to trekkers. Nyakagezi gorilla family, comprising of 10 members (gorilla individuals), is the only renowned habituated gorilla family in Mgahinga National Park. The gorilla family is led by a silverback known as Mark and being assisted by another silverback called Mafia. Out of the 10 gorilla individuals in the family, there are; 3 Silverbacks, 2 Black-backs, 2 Females, 2 Juveniles and one Baby-Toddler.

Habituated gorilla families in Bwindi

As of now, Bwindi Impenetrable Forests National Park comprises of over 500 mountain gorillas, which is almost half of the total number of mountain gorillas left in the world. The Park consists of 18 habituated gorilla families and these families reside and are trekked from the Park’s four sectors; Buhoma sector, Rushaga sector, Ruhija sector, and Nkuringo sector. These gorilla families are; Mubare, Rushegura, Habinyanja and Katwe (in Buhoma); Bweza, Nshongi, Mishaya, Mucunguzi, Busingye, Kahungye, Bikyinji and Bushaho (in Rushaga); Oruzogo, Kyaguriro, Mukiza, and Bitukura (in Ruhija); and then Nkuringo and Christmas (in Nkuringo sector). Mubare gorilla family, boasting 5 gorilla individuals, is however the oldest habituated gorilla family in Bwindi and Uganda at large and thus trekking this family is much adorable.

Gorilla Permit in Uganda

For one to go trekking the mountain gorillas in any of the country’s gorilla trekking Parks will need to owe a Uganda gorilla trekking permit which costs quite affordable as compared to that of Rwanda. A Uganda gorilla permit costs US$ 600 per person and this will be acquired for you by your tour agency however due to the high demand of the permit, especially in the peak season, you are highly advised to consider advance booking. It is on your arrival in Uganda after settling all your safari’s bills that the permit will be handed over to you and you will need to represent it at the Park’s entrance gate – as it even includes the Park entrance fees and thus you will not need to pay any extra charge for the entrance fee as long as you posses a permit.

Accommodations in Bwindi and Mgahinga

Bwindi National Park comprises of various accommodations ranging from budget, mid-range and luxury accommodations which include; Buhoma lodge, Lake Kitandara Bwindi Camp, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, Silverback Lodge, Volcanoes Safaris Bwindi Lodge, The Gorilla Resort, Mahogany Springs Lodge, and Buhoma Community Rest Camp (in Buhoma sector); Nshongi Camp, Gorilla Valley Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Camp, Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge, and Gorilla Safari Lodge (in Rushaga Sector); Bakiga Lodge, Gorilla Mist Camp, Gift of Nature Lodge, Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge, Broadbill Forest Camp, Ruhija Gorilla Friends Resort & Campsite, and Trekkers Tavern Lodge (in Ruhija sector); Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, Mutanda Lake Resort, Wagtail Eco Safari Camp, and Bwindi Backpackers Lodge (in Nkuringo sector).

Accommodations in Mgahinga National Park are also many and some of them include; Mgahinga gorilla lodge, Mgahinga Community Camp Ground, Virunga Hotel, Mgahinga Rest camp, Travelers Rest House, and Kisoro tourist hotel, among others.

Rules and Regulations to follow during gorilla trekking expeditions

-Trekkers will only be given one hour to spend with the gorillas once met.

-Keep a distance of at least 6 to 8 meters while viewing the gorillas because a close intact with them may lead to spread of some air diseases from you to them, as we share almost the same DNA with them, and also since these primates are wild creatures, however much how friendly they are to us, you should at least view them from a certain distance for security purposes.

-Gorilla trekking is done in groups of 8 individuals per trekking group.

-Minimize your voices while tracking the gorillas because high voices will scare the primates hence failing to meet them.

-Do not use flashlight cameras while taking photos of the gorillas as the flashlights may scare the primates while you are still viewing them.

-Do not litter the Park.

-Do not smoke or eat from the Park.

-Do not mimic the gorillas as you may not know what you are communicating to them.

– Arrive at the Park headquarters earlier (at 07:30am) for briefings and to be given your trekking group – the gorilla trekking activity starts at 08:30am.

The Best Time to Go For Gorilla Trekking In Uganda

For all gorilla lovers all over the world should take note that; though the gorilla trekking activity is regarded as an all-year-round-activity, there is a best time during the year that the gorilla trekking expeditions be more joyous. The most ideal time to go for gorilla trekking expeditions in Uganda is during the Country’s two dry seasons; January to February, and then June to October, reason being that; since the roads linking to the Parks are dirt, they become easier to pass through in dry seasons as they become slippery in the wet seasons and passing through these slippery dirt roads becomes a hurdle. Still trekking the gorillas in the thick forests of Bwindi and Mgahinga becomes more enjoyful and easier during the dry seasons when it is not raining in the Parks.

What to Pack for a Gorilla Safari in Uganda

There are some vital things that you should not forget to pack while going for a gorilla safari and here is the guide on what you should pack; a yellow fever vaccination, water-proof walking/hiking boots, wet weather clothing and warm layers as the weather is at times unpredictable and for the evening coldness, sun glasses, sun hat, water-proof bags to protect your belongings safely, good cameras together with extra charged batteries, energy-giving snacks and enough drinking water, garden gloves, and insect repellents, among others.

Categories
Destinations Guides

Guide to Visiting Seychelles

Michel Earnesto has a crooked smile, accentuated by plenty of missing teeth, and squints at me through the early morning sunshine as I examine one of his jars of homemade chilli sauce. “This will put hair on da chest and fire in da belly,” he says with a grin. I look down at the jar – which once held confiture de mûre. Now it is home to a bright red sauce filled with thick slices of menacing looking red and green chilies. However, curiosity wins over culinary fear and I fish out a few rupees with intrepidation.

This is the colorful, bustling Sir Selwyn Clarke Market in the heart of Victoria, the sleepy capital of the Seychelles. The market is a hive of activity despite the early hour; fishermen and middle men yell out prices for fresh tuna and colorful reef fish in Seselwa Creole, a local language that resembles mumbled French. In the vegetable aisles, plump elderly women, dressed in brightly colored sun dresses and straw hats, gossip behind tables packed with vibrantly yellow lady finger bananas (one of 30 varieties in the Seychelles), cracked coconuts and brick-sized mangoes.

I take my finds – Michel’s fearsome-looking salsa, a bag of local vanilla tea, and some cinnamon bark wrapped in yesterday’s Nation newspaper – and head to the more touristy corner. Here a few European travelers barter for bottles of vanilla essence and coconut oil, sachets of nutmeg, and the odd carved and polished coco de mer nut.

It’s a fitting national icon for this tiny Indian Ocean republic. Plenty of people have heard of this rare, Herculean-sized nut, which only grew on two tiny isles before conservation efforts lead to larger plantations further afield. For hundreds of years, before the Seychelles were even discovered, people believed the world’s largest seed came from a magical underwater tree, washing up on the beaches of the nearby Maldives and Mauritius. But ask people what to do with it, even in the Seychelles (it’s used in Chinese medicine but little else) and no one’s quite sure. Ask people where the Seychelles is, and what it’s like, and apart from famously beautiful beaches, the answers are pretty much the same.

An archipelago nation of 115 islands, many of which are little more than granite teeth lunging from azure seas, the Seychelles is a curious place. It’s had both French and British occupation, hopeful plantation owners trying, and failing, freed slaves given a new – if not isolated – home in paradise, and pirates living on its islands and anchored in its deserted coves (even today treasure hunters scour the northern beaches of the main island of Mahe for the treasure of feared pirate Olivier Le Vasseur, said to be valued at US$500 million).

Consequently, Seychelloise are the ultimate blend of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Their language may sound French but there is a replica of Big Ben that holds prime real estate in the centre of Victoria’s first traffic light-controlled intersection (there are now two). In the markets, stall holders are every shade between black and white, and blonde hair is as common as black, blue eyes as common as brown.

George, a mountain of a man, and my driver and guide from Select Seychelles, the island’s top concierge service, meets me outside Victoria’s garden-wreathed high court and we walk down the high street and past the Pirate’s Arms, a more modern day icon and one of the capital’s two tiny casinos. Punters are stacked around tables in its rustic seafood restaurant on the ground floor, sipping the local Seybrew and dining on Creole dishes. There are few tourists about, not only because the Icelandic volcano has stopped many European travelers from making it to their holiday in the sun, but also because so many that do arrive head straight for the resorts scattered across Mahe and beyond.

Tourism is one of the few industries thriving in the Seychelles. With only enough agriculture to sustain its own population of 85,000, it is resorts like Ephelia, which opened in February, that inject precious hard currency into the economy.

At Ephelia Resort, the landscaping is still growing in, but already the four beaches, including two of the best stretches of coastline on Mahe, are filled with sun-bathing guests. Families cluster around the resort’s numerous swimming pools or wade out into the shallows of South Beach looking for crabs, while couples snorkel and kayak off North Beach, a popular spot for luxury yachts.

Ephelia Resort is sprawling and modern and luxurious, but isolated; although its development has met the strictest ecological provisions (a large and fragile mangrove forest runs through its centre), and its guests have everything from palatial pool villas to a state-of-the-art spa village on hand, they have little interaction with the local culture and its people.

After a day exploring the resort’s extensive coastline, and a head-to-toe massage in the spa village, I join other guests sipping local Takamaka Bay rum and star gazing, serenaded by waves of jazz saxophone from the main cocktail bar.

It’s another early start and George and I make our way back across Mahe’s mountainous spine to Victoria, via the San Souci road, one of two mountain passes and by far the more picturesque. From the summit, the view down the coastline is jaw-dropping. Ephelia looks tiny, the sea beyond unfathomable.

We continue winding our way down towards the capital, passing a handful of soldiers who have just finished a shift protecting the president at his mountainside home. Until the Seychelles fell under one party rule in a 1977 coup, the nation didn’t even have armed forces and now that democracy has returned, the 450-strong force spend most of their time chasing illegal fishing and the odd modern day pirate.

The ports of Victoria are small but busy. Almost everything, from food to building supplies and even labor, has to be imported. The harbor is dotted with everything from a restored sailing ship called Sea Pearl, which offers island cruises, through to modern deep sea fishing boats which catch tuna, to be canned at the local cannery, one of the biggest employers in town.

I board a speed boat for the hour trip to North Island, northwest of Mahe. The general manager of North Island, which is owned and operated by Wilderness Safaris, has come along to greet me. He’s tanned and dressed in light-weight cotton, like a nonchalant millionaire – certainly a sign of things to come.

We make good time, passing million dollar homes on the northwest coast of Mahe, before cutting across the sea towards the tiny dog bone-shaped island. Flying fish and black-naped terns glide alongside the boat, and in the distance Silhouette, the third largest island in the archipelago, towers out of the ocean, its slopes brutally steep, its peaks reaching into a halo of low-lying cloud.

Categories
Guides

How to Choose a Safari Company

Choosing the best company for your African safari can be overwhelming with many available on the web today. However there are steps you can take to select the right company which will take care of all your holiday needs such as transportation, accommodation and meals, guiding and other logistics necessary to have a successful trip.

Understand Your Company

Whether it’s a new company that just started a few years ago or the one that has been in business for so long, it must be registered with reputable tour operator associations. There are many safari companies in popular countries for safaris. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a local or international tour operator. The most important thing is to justify the company’s credibility to meet your expectations.

There are several tourist bodies on the African continent. It is advisable to check out the leading tour operator associations in a country where you want to go. Some of these organizations include Association of Uganda tour operators (AUTO) for Uganda, Kenya association of Tour Operators (KATO), Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO), South African Tourism Services Association (SATSA) etc. Continental bodies include the African Travel & Tourism Association (ATTA), the newly launched Africa Tourism Board etc.

Recommendations

Look at travel recommendations made by other travelers. Recommendations of friends and family, or colleagues and the internet are the leading sources of information when it comes to making a decision for travel plans. Today there are several travel forums where you can read traveler reviews. These include the Trip Advisor, Safari Bookings, Your African Safari, Safari Reviews, Trust Pilot and other online travel advisory platforms rule when it comes to choosing a safari company. On these platforms, you will find reviews of those clients who have been on safari with the company you intend to select. A company with positive reviews of customers is an indicator of excellent services and a guarantee that your interests will be met. However if a company you wish to choose has less reviews, (may be its new or it uses agents), find out if it’s registered as mentioned above.

Find out the type of tours and safaris they offer if they match with your interests.

Are you interested in wildlife safaris, primate viewing such as gorilla and chimpanzee tracking, nature, and hiking, birding or cultural tours? Many safari companies provide a diversity of tours and custom made itineraries for independent or group travelers. However, for travelers who want special interest safaris such as photography, birding, mountain climbing make sure the company has expertise and experience in the respective field. In that case, a company should be able to offer logistics, knowledgeable guide who will be with you for entire trip.

Ask the right questions

Ask about the kind of accommodation facility, type of vehicle and the number of people you are likely to have on your trip. In other words, let the company clearly show you what’s included and not included on a trip. Some of these essentials you can have a look at the lodge from its website as well as see the pictures of the vehicles.

Categories
Guides

Climber’s Guide to Mount Nyiragongo

When we talk of safaris in East and Central Africa, most would think of wildlife safaris and extreme activities that most travelers have continuously engaged in because of their thrilling experience that they offer.

Speaking of the unexploited destinations in Africa, first on the list comes Mountain Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of Uganda. It is an active stratovolcano elevating to approximately 3,470 metres above sea level. Located just inside the oldest National Park of Virunga in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Mount Nyiragongo is part of the large Virunga Massif associated with the Albertine rift valley. It is about 20 km north of the town of Goma and Lake Kivu and just west of the border with Rwanda, making the mountain an ideal supplement to a tour in Rwanda or south-western Uganda.

The ominous figure of Mount Nyiragongo is absolutely one of the main attractions in Virunga National Park. The smoothly sloping sides of this active stratovolcano allow hikers to reach its peak in just a day, giving them spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and forests. At the end of the hike, trekkers are rewarded with a glance at the summit shelters perched along the crater rim.

The lower slopes of the volcano are forested and habour varieties of animals ranging from the bushbucks, the blue monkeys, colobus monkeys and baboons as well as man’s closest relative, the chimpanzees. Explore the western arm of the Albertine rift that emerges up to the ascent of a 1.2 km diameter summit teeming with devoid vegetation of heathers and ferns healing from the 2002 violent volcanic eruptions that left thousands of people homeless in the nearby town of Goma.

Putting aside its landscape, Mountain Nyiragongo has a 2km wide crater on its top. This crater has two detached lava benches that cooled within the crater walls. One lava bench is about 3,175 metres and the other one is about 2,975 m. The most voluminous lava lake in today’s history with a depth of over 3,200 metres, is situated on the top of mount Nyiragongo.

Trek to the top of Nyiragongo Mountain and come across the world’s largest crater cut into the side of the volcano remaining as evident scars of Nyiragongo’s most recent act of destruction that erupted down to the people who live in its footsteps.

Setting off to the summit of Nyiragongo is at Kibati patrol post very early in the morning immediately after breakfast. The hike takes about 4 to 6 hours where experienced guides lead all trekkers through Nyiragongo’s magma rocks and the tropical forested slopes. It is relatively a hectic hike but rather an exciting one, best appropriate for adventurers. For vigorous people, it is so possible for them to climb up and descend in one day. However, in most cases travelers stay at Nyiragongo’s summit shelters after a thrilling walk through lava rocks and the magnificent scenery of Virunga chain of mountains that span across Rwanda, Uganda and D.R. Congo.

The genesis of dark hours, viewing the dim brittle outside of the lava, the merging and cracking lava rocks. Seeing rock plates separate, unbelievably creating a spider-web like pattern is only experienced by those that get a chance to stay for an overnight at Nyiragongo Cabins which were built on the edge of the lava lake. A summation of all those and more typically make Nyiragongo Mountain a unique destination that all travelers are yearning to explore.

Categories
Guides

A First Timers Guide to Uganda

Uganda is known to be a land locked country located across the equator in East Africa. Due to its geographical location, Uganda has got a tropical climate, with dry and rain seasons in a year. The north eastern parts, Karamoja Region experiences dry spells in its semi-arid Kidepo Valley National Park the true African Wilderness. Here is a complete guide to Uganda, the Pearl of Africa;

What to expect on your safari;

In western region where the altitudes are high, cold weather and the high amounts of rainfall are expected owing to tropical rain forests like Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the large amounts of snow on the peaks of Rwenzori Mountains National Park.

Uganda is a country of lots of wildlife and culture and is referred to as the pearl of Africa. Uganda is well known for its mountain gorillas and most visitors would travel to this beautiful country mainly for gorilla safaris in Africa. There are 10 national parks and 13 wildlife reserves protecting diverse wildlife including more than 1000 species of birds and the big five animals There are also interesting geographical points such as the official source of the Nile the world’s longest river and Lake Victoria the largest fresh water lake with tropical islands.

Further than the wildlife and natural beauty, the people of Uganda are very friendly and so welcoming and their county is safe and secure for travelers. You can get a visa on arrival at Entebbe International Airport given your documents, apply online or at Uganda diplomatic embassy, thus traveling to Uganda is so hassle free. Kampala city is only 40km away from the airport.

When traveling to Uganda for the first time, you need to understand what to expect on the safari. You can land on information that is a little confusing about Uganda’s political situation. But in case you are dealing with the right tour operators, your search will pay off. But if dealing with the right kind of tour operators, your research will pay off. And you will arrive in Uganda aware of the culture, common words in local language and the nature of transportation.

How to book your safari to Uganda

In case you are planning a safari to Uganda, you can book the safari with a recognized tour operator or the travel agent. Always make sure that the agent you intend to deal with is registered and recognized. There are many tour companies in Uganda and you need one that is trust worthy for you to deal with. In most cases, they have cars for hire to help in connecting dreams.

How to get to Uganda

When you are thinking of a safari to Uganda, you don’t need to worry due to the many international and regional flights to help you get to magical country. The main airline to use include; Brussels, Kenya airways, British airways, KLM and Fly Dubai. There are other means of transport in Uganda including regional coaches/ buses to help you get to the pearl of Africa. You need a valid passport and visa to get to Uganda. To enter the parks of your choice, there are many car rentals for you to help you reach to your dream destination and they usually come with professional driver guides.

Best time to visit Uganda

Uganda can be visited at any time of the year. However, when planning for your safari, take note of the dry and wet season. The dry season is referred to as the best time for one to visit this magical destination and it starts from June to September and December to February. The wet season on the other hand is ideal on its own way especially for birders. This usually starts from March to May and from October to November.

What to pack for a safari to Uganda

In order to have a successful road trip in Uganda, you need to park appropriately. Depending on what your travel needs are, for the tourists on a gorilla trek, the key items not to miss out in your packing list includes the long sleeved shirts or t-shirt, hat, camera with no flash light, sweater, waterproof hiking boots, water, energy giving snacks, rain jacket or poncho a mention but a few.

Safety of the Visitor

Uganda like other stares in the world is not 100 % safe and safety starts with you. Avoid walking at night alone or in the dark corners in the city. In case of any need to eat something, avoid street food. There are many good restaurants or hotels for you to have food-this is just for your health as most of these street food may not be of high standard when it comes to hygiene.

Survival tips for first time travelers

Never show off your valuables like money, smart phones, computers or cameras. Keep all your belongings and don’t leave them un attended to in public places. Always carry cash in dollars and local currency because payments in local markets, craft shops are made both in cash but credit cards are also use in lodges and hotels.

Accommodation facilities

There are many different types of accommodation in Uganda. In Kampala and around Entebbe town there are many accommodations ranging from budget friendly hotels, mid-range and deluxe to luxury hotels. In national parks, accommodations are so unique. There are lodges, tented cams with traditional style like grass thatched lodges, home stays offer a taste of Uganda culture. Many accommodation facilities offer free WIFI in the main lounge but rarely in rooms. The amenities in the rooms include; drinking mineral water, sandals, bathing soap, bath tabs services. Personal items like tooth brushes are not provided.

Categories
Guides Travel Planner

A First Timers Guide to Kenya

In case you have been dreaming about going on safari in Kenya. To make sure you get the most out of the country’s great wildlife and jaw dropping landscapes, below is the information you will need to have a great safari.

The average day on a safari

Every though every accommodation is unique , most camps have got a similar schedule being led by a wildlife guide, you will go on at least two game drives per day with other tourists for 3 to 4 hours  per ride. You will also stop at picturesque locations to stretch your legs, get a snack and reveal the incredible scenery. During the day, when the predators and other species are hiding in the shade, you will be in the camp relaxing. More so expect to take your meals at the camp and you can also dine in the wild. The night time, you will cozy up to a warm fire and mingle with the other tourists to share your day’s activity adventure.

About the Activities and Extra costs

The game drives the root of the most safaris, but there are many other activities for you to enjoy, from the guided walks and the visits to the tribal villages to hot air balloon rides over the Masai Mara or camel safaris in the northern Frontier. Some of the activities are included in your daily rate, but it’s good to know ahead of time. Also keep in mind that you might be charged for park entry fees, premium liquors, laundry and many other amenities.

Wildlife viewing offers

Kenya is known not for its great concentration of game but for its vast open plains. You can see and track wildlife from a fair distance and there is always something to see and some interaction between species. There are also certain areas that contain larger concentrations of specific species. If you love elephants, consider Amboseli where herds can reach 100 members or more. And from August to October, the Masai Mara plays host to millions of wildebeest during the Migration, while species like the Grevy Zebra, Somali Ostrich, reticulated giraffe and the gerenuk can only be found in the north.

Family

Taking your child along on a safari can be one of the best ways to instil a lifelong love for wildlife and respect for the environment. In the past years, more companies are tempting families with larger tents or villas as well as special programs that are designed with families in mind. It’s therefore vital to ask if children are allowed or there is a minimum age required. In case your child is very young, you might be required to reserve a private vehicle.

Photography

A good camera with the long lenses are the best for wildlife photography, but in case that’s not your objective, we advice getting a point and shoot with the maximum optical zoom. Don’t bother looking at the digital zoom features as this is basically a crop of the image. Carry many memory cards since there is nothing irritating like having to delete some photos from the camera in order to take more.

Safety

When it comes to the bush, safety at the lodging facility and upon arrival, you will be given all the dos and don’ts and it’s vital to follow directions. Even the safaris are safe, but there are wild animals.

Preparing four your safari

The paperwork; you need a passport that is valid for at least six months prior to your arrival. The passport must have a minimum of two blank pages for stamps. You will also need $50 visa. The visa can be applied for online at Evisa or you can get it on arrival at any airport in Kenya.

Vaccinations

There are no mandatory vaccinations for travel to Kenya though you might be required to get a yellow fever shot in case your travels take you through the endemic zones prior to your arrival. You can as well immunize against Hepatitis A and B, typhoid, yellow fever, rabies and Meningitis. Also carry some pills for malaria.

Packing

Pack enough light casual attire for a long weekend and take advantage of the same-day laundry service the majority of camps provide. It’s chilly in the morning and evening, but hot in the afternoon, so dress in layers. A good sunscreen is also a must-have, in addition to a wide brim hat and a good pair of polarized sunglasses. And flip-flops are fine for the jeep, but also pack a pair of comfortable sneakers.

Luggage

The small commuter planes are the main mode of transport into the bush and all the domestic carriers are sticklers about baggage restrictions. The bags must be soft, no longer than 26 inches and wheel-free, and the total luggage weight per person cannot exceed 15 kilograms (33 pounds), including your carry-on.

Money issues

The Kenya shillings is the local currency and you can pick up some shillings from the airport upon arrival, but USD are also used and accepted. The hotels will accept; Visa or Master card as well.