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Tips Travel Planner

Ultimate Packing Tips for Africa Travelers

Africa is a wide continent with so  many travel destinations usually your packing tips rotates where exactly you are going and the kind of activities to do in respect with how long or short the trip will be. We recommend limiting your adventure travel packing list to only items that you will use regularly and are fairly compact. In general below are the packing tips to guide on what is necessary while traveling to Africa;

1. Travel Documents

After confirming the itinerary, everything is set it’s important you bring together all the required travel document s including visa to the African countries you’re visiting, medical and insurance cards. In most cases you will need to carry your credit cards and a little cash for easy transaction.

2. Back Pack

It’s obvious you need one to carry all our belongings together, much as you would have packed one big suit case but  a small hand back pack is necessary. It will help gather all the necessities together. Let’s say stepping out for swimming, even walk, this will be of great use carrying your gadgets like cameras, sun glasses and swim suits with you.

3. Hiking Shoes or Boots

Comfortable shoes for walking around, you will find most of the times while in Africa you will have distances to walk for adventure let’s say trekking to the top of the mountain, to find mountain gorilla if you are in east Africa, other pair of shoes to pack are trainers and sandals to relax your feet after a long day in the boots. Endeavor to pack at least 2 0r pairs of shoes for comfort and depending on the days of stay.

4. Light Clothing

Most African countries have hot weather, therefore you will need right clothing for example pair of khaki trousers, shorts, long sleeved shirts, vests and others, for ladies Africans are conservative and reserved, you will need knee length skirts, scarves, for respect of peoples culture and society depending which African country. However there is need to pack rain coats and gears, some time weather is un predictable and it can shower any time.

5. Gadgets

To keep update and track of your safari you need your camera and a pair of binoculars to spot the furthest interesting features. Adaptors and chargers, accessories like power chargers, head seats, selfie stick, tripod stands can spice up your safari and not feel left out. Spare batteries, Cell phone with a local plan to connect with family and friends back home. Most camps may not have Wi-Fi, but will have a cell phone connection.

6. Sanitary Ware

There are lots of toiletries to remember to bring with you on your trip. Some items you may be able to find wherever you’re traveling.Pack your favorites in advance and use this section of the travel packing checklist to ensure you haven’t forgotten any of the essentials e.g. tooth paste, brush, combs and sun screens, and wet wipes.

7. First Aid Kit

Much as every lodge and camp site give basic first aid and almost every safari vehicle has a first aid kit, it is also important if you pack some of the essential emergency medication and supplies like hand sanitizer, histamine for sting and bites, Aspirin and paracetamol among others.

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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.

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Travel Planner

Planning a Gorilla Tour

A gorilla tour is one of the most exciting expedition a traveler can ever take on. A gorilla safari involves tracking the gorillas in their habitats which is a very adventurous and demanding tourism activity. With lots of work to be done in gorilla trekking, a gorilla tour needs some planning in order to enjoyable and a memorable one.

Below are tips on planning a gorilla tour;

Always plan your gorilla trek in advance; gorilla tracking in Uganda is known to be one of the best tourist activities in Africa and you need to plan it in advance. You need to start planning at least six months in advance; this is because there are many things you need to consider if you want to have a successful gorilla tour in Africa;

You decide on which country to trek; Uganda or Rwanda

You require making a decision on which country to visit. Mountain gorillas can be viewed in Rwanda, Uganda and DRC. Unluckily, there is some insecurity in the DRC and as such we don’t recommend tourists to trek gorillas in Congo until further notes. The mountain gorillas in Uganda are in Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga national park while those in Rwanda are found in Volcanoes national Park. One gorilla family is found in Mgahinga National park which is also part of the Virunga ranges shared between Uganda, Rwanda and Congo; this group keeps migrating to and from Uganda to Rwanda.

Bwindi impenetrable national park has got 12 gorilla families that are located in different regions of the forest and this means that you need to be careful when buying the permits. You can as well choose to visit both countries and compare the two experiences or trek in one country. When you make your decision about where to trek the mountain gorillas from, always contact a tour operator to book for you a permit.

Buying your gorilla permit; you will automatically need a gorilla permit for a given day in a known national park in either Uganda or Rwanda for you to be able to trek the mountain gorillas. You can as well contact your tour operator in Uganda to get you a gorilla permit. You also need to contact a tour operator who is a member of the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO). The will check and advise you on availability got the gorilla permits leaving you to make a decision on your own.

Once you buy the gorilla permits, you are well to go. With in Uganda, the gorilla permits are issued out by Uganda Wildlife Authority through the registered tour operators on a first come first serve basis. In order to keep away from shortage of gorilla permits, organize this in advance. There is a likelihood of booking a gorilla permit by you however its better using a tour operator since Uganda wildlife Authority is so slow at returning calls as well as responding to emails.

More so, the gorilla permit you are holding will determine the accommodation to be booked for you among many other factors. You need to create your interest first and in case you need a simple trek, then it’s better to book permits for either Ruhija or Buhoma. In case youneed a more challenging trek, you can go for Rushaga region or Nkuringo. With the problem in altitude, then you should avoid the southern sector of Bwindi forest since it has the highest altitudinal point. For more information, contact your operator before you make any decisions.

Which of Bwindi Region are You Trekking?

Gorillas permit allocation in Uganda is based on regions. These regions with gorilla families in Bwindi impenetrable national Park are alienated by long distances. Buhoma region is situated in the north of Bwindi and this is home to three gorilla families’ namely; Mubare, Rushegura and Habinyanja. Ruhija region is located in the east of Bwindi with three gorilla families like Bitukura, Oruzongo and Kyaguriro. Rushaga sector located in the south is home to five gorilla families including Kahungwe, Mishaya, Nshongi, Bweza and Busingye while Nkuringo region located in the south has Nkuringo gorilla family.

About Transport and accommodation;

So when you have finally decided on which side of Bwindi to trek. It’s better to seek advice from the operator as they know better which sides will suite your interest. Now it’s time to book your accommodation as well as transport. Let your tour operator know the level of accommodation and type of vehicle you would like to use. There are many accommodation options in all regions of the bank so it’s up to you to choose budget, moderate or high end. This also applies to transport. You might choose to travel in a safari vans, land cruisers or land rovers depending on your budget. With in Uganda, there are daily scheduled flights to Bwindi so in case you prefer flying to save on time then, you will need to contact your tour operator to book you on these scheduled flights to Bwindi.

Knowing about the gorilla trekking rules and regulations;

These are endangered species and according to 2013 census, only 800 individuals are remaining in the world. Your visit to these primates should not reduce their numbers but should instead increase on it. Always ask your tour operator to send you gorilla trekking rules and regulations and how to conduct yourself while you are with these great apes. The basic things you need to know are; each of the gorilla family is visited by a maximum of eight people per day for one hour. You are also supposed to leave at least seven (7m) between you and the gorillas. Avoid eye contact with the mountain gorillas and always turn off your flash while taking photos. Always try to listen and follow what your guide will tell you while trekking.

What to pack for your gorilla trek;

The mountain gorillas in Bwindi live in thick forests and in an area that is dominated by steep hills and because of this thickness and terrain in the forest, you need to prepare what to wear. Below are some of the need wear for the trek; hiking boots, long sleeved trousers and shirts. You need garden gloves since some shrubs and climbing plants can itch you. Long socks, insect repellent, camera, a hut, sun glasses are highly recommended plus energy giving food.

Best time to trek gorillas; when planning a gorilla safari, you must know the best time to trek the gorillas in Uganda. While gorillas in Uganda can be trekked throughout the whole year, drier months of June, July, August and September are always preferred. Throughout these months, there is less rain and chances are that the trek will be easy since the trails will be less slippery as well. The months of April, May and November are the wettest months and clients avoid them.

The porters and walking sticks;

These are the best companies you can ever have on your gorilla trek. You will need a walking stick to help you trek those steep hills. The walking sticks are offered by most lodges and if the lodge can’t provide, then the porters can provide them at a cost of $10-$15. In case you have a less fit client, we advise that you take a porter with you who will give you a push or a pull when the going gets tough. He/she will carry your back pack and stay with you throughout the trek.

How is gorilla trekking like?

This whole process starts with you waking up to prepare yourself. Get to dress accordingly and then go to the restaurant for an early breakfast and pick up your packed lunch as well as the walking sticks. Make sure you have all that you will need to have your gorilla trek. After breakfast and mostly depending on the facility where you spent a night from, you might drive or walk to the pack head quarters for registration and allocation of gorilla families depending on your wellbeing and bodily fitness. Some of the lodges are closer to the park head quarters while others are not so always take care of this before making decision.

You will be divided into groups of eight people per gorilla family and after briefing; each group is given a guide, a ranger and a tourism police officer who has to ensure that you are safe while trekking the mountain gorillas. You need to know that Bwindi is home to un habituated chimps, forest buffaloes and elephants among other wild animals. The police men and the rangers are in place to scare away any of these animals in case they come closer. You will walk or drive to the starting point as each gorilla family has many starting points depending on its movements within its territory.

Also note that mountain gorillas are not defensive but they tend to stay in a given dimensional area. From the starting point, you will start your trek which might take 30 minutes to 6 hours and once you glance these gorillas, you will then be given one hour to spend with them as take photos before returning back to the park head quarters. At the head quarters, each of you will be given a certificate of recognition of your contribution to the conservation of the gorillas.

Combining gorilla tracking and other excursions; Uganda as well as Rwanda has got a lot to offer apart from gorillas, you might choose to visit the source of the Nile, do chimpanzee trekking, visit Queen Elizabeth National park, enjoy adventurous tourism like white water rafting and bungee jumping etc. Rwanda has got a visit to Dian fossey tomb, do golden monkey trekking, visit the genocide memorial site, and many more. It’s always advisable to combine a gorilla safari with any of the above activities to have the best experience in both Uganda and Rwanda.

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Traveling Africa Responsibly

As environmental concerns, climate change and loss of biodiversity continue to increase, it’s very important for the various tourism stakeholders to adopt eco-friendly practices. In line with this, the style of traveling to Africa for safari is for travelers to have low impact holidays and visit eco –tourism destinations that prioritize environmental, wildlife conservation and community development.

Eastern Africa top destinations like Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda attract many tourists for wildlife viewing safaris and offer many adventure and cultural activities. Thus by choosing to go on safari to these places, make it a priority to travel responsibly with tips for an eco-friendly safari.

Choose eco-friendly accommodations that give back to the community

As a first step to travelling Africa responsibly, choose an eco-friendly lodge or hotel. This means that travelers need to research about the accommodations. Try to find out a hotel’s operational practices such as use of solar energy, water saving measures, waste disposal and recycling, use of locally sourced food, support of local initiatives that give back to local communities among others. as African safari goers, look far beyond than having comfortable bed, free Wi-Fi or well stocked bar, a lodge should have at least be taking steps to ensure environmental conservation and community development.

Visit local cultural attractions and support local community based tourism organizations

Africa is the most culturally diverse continent on planet. East African destinations in particular like Uganda are home to over 64 indigenous tribes each with its culture, traditions, and customs. These are some of the friendly and welcoming people on earth. Thus it’s important to learn about the local culture so that you respect local cultural norms.

If you plan to have a wildlife safari filled with game drives, make sure to add cultural tours. A village visit for example gives tourists a chance to meet and interact with indigenous tribes such as Masai in Kenya, Karimajong and hunter gatherer BaTwa pygmies in Uganda. Tourism helps local communities improve their well-being through various projects like education, health, sell of crafts and arts among others. Thus by visiting local attractions, or participating in cultural activities it’s one of the ways money flows direct to the locals which makes a huge impact on them as much as the cultural experience is authentic and memorable to you.

Some local community based projects focus on conservation while others look towards addressing local issues such as food security, orphanage education, poverty, water development among others. For those who love to give or donate, these are the right kind of charities that deserve your contribution.

Minimize your carbon foot print

Carbon foot print is explained as the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of activities of a particular person, organization and community. There are many ways to reduce carbon foot print as a travel visiting Africa for safari. Don’t bring plastic or polythene bags to Africa. Instead, pack your luggage in eco-friendly and recyclable bags. African destinations are faced with challenge of waste management especially in cities. Thus traveling responsibly is to make sure you don’t bring plastic related waste products overseas.

Visit destinations that are conserving endangered wildlife species

Protected areas in Africa provide habitats for diverse flora and fauna. Endangered species in particular such as mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, cheetahs and rhinos are threatened to their survival due to habitat loss, poaching and human diseases. Places where these animals live are protected habitats as national parks which provide amazing wildlife adventure experiences for tourists to enjoy. For instance gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda and Rwanda generate revenue that is used for conservation and protection of gorilla habitats which has led to increase of mountain gorilla population from 880 in 2010 to over 1000 in 2018. Gorilla tourism has not only led to protection of gorillas but rather it has created many opportunities for local development including job creation, development of accommodations, and community based tourism.

Buy locally made products

When shopping for souvenirs or crafts buy local products from local people so as to support the local economy. Buying local supports sustainability since the money directly benefits local producers and farmers. Consider a lodge that purchases food stuff from local farmers; this reduces food miles which means less carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere. Buying local craft products support and helps craft makers to stay doing business. This helps conserve wildlife since locals encroach less on wildlife habitats- the case of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park.

 

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10 Accessories That Can Make a Difference on a Road Trip

Need to make difference in your road trip this coming holiday? Well, to have the best of your road trip, a number of things are involved. A road trip to any destination means spending more time behind the wheel. With update systems, you can upgrade your ride and improve your experience while on road by making it secure, smoother and more exciting. Among other things to consider include;

Mirror dash camera

Safety while on a road trip in Uganda is very essential and the best way to do so is by having a dash camera. Besides capturing fun videos, it is also good for cases of accidents as it can provide evidence to law enforcement and insurance. You can get both the front view and rear view footage in a small package which is easy to install. Cameras also help with alerts for any likely cases of fatigue especially after every 2 hours of driving.

Fingerless driving gloves

With fingerless driving gloves, not only will you keep your finger from cold but they also help make you feel very keen person behind the wheel. The fingerless are made of smooth leather and have intricate perforations for breathability.

Paper or google maps

Because there is no cell service elsewhere, paper maps are good for you or use Maps.me-a free app which permits you to download detailed maps that you can use offline and with no cell service and serve as GPS. They are of great help as you drive to that remote area for a holiday.

Extra money

What makes a trip is money without higher chances are that you can’t to where you want to be or what you need. Traveling means you have to purchase something en-route or on return journey.

First aid kit

This is good for everyone planning a road trip. It contains basic supplies like band aids, wipes, emergency blankets, bandages and safety pins, antiseptic among others. First aid or medical kit are essential whether you are heading off for beach relaxation or long trip to new destination-in fact it is a must to have for visitors on safari.

Car back organizer

With a car back organizer, you will have a clean car and means you are well-ordered. It can accommodate a number of travel accessories thus making your road trip more convenient.

Flashlight

Not everyplace has power or if they do, power isn’t there throughout that is why you need flashlight/torch in case of no power.

Notebooks, pens

These will mainly help you write down your thoughts or leaving a note of the car you accidentally bumped.

Others include smart tire safety monitor to monitor the tire pressure, trail nest rooftop hammock-to help you relax on top of the car while enjoying the scenic views over the breathtaking landscape, sky camp rooftop tent which you pinch on top of the car whenever there is adventure and others.

In summary, with the above accessories, we believe that you will have the best of ultimate road trip in Africa.

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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.

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Going on a Safari

Many months ago, I discovered the amazing photography and writings of the friends who traveled to Africa. I now consider her a to be a dear friend. You never know who you’re going to meet while blogging! Here is an interesting piece of travel bites she used to prepare for her first safari to Botswana!