Planning Your Safari

When planning to visit Kenya to see its diverse wildlife and to relax on the coastal beaches, there is no doubt that you will get a memorable safari experience for the time well spent. To get the best out of your traveling season, there are things you ought to do, know and have to avoid disappointment and frustration while on your safari. If you started looking for a tour company and they never suggested that choosing your destinations is the place to start, then you need to read this.

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Quick Links
Your Safari Itinerary
Picking a Time for a Safari Tour
Types of Safari
Clothing for Safari
Photographic Gear for Safari
Items necessary for Safari
Children on Safari
The Disabled and Elderly on Safari
Wildlife while on Safari
Electric Supply in Camps and Lodges on Safari
Languages in Kenya
Visa and Passport for Kenyan Safari

Your Safari Itinerary
An itinerary is a plan of your whole trip from the day you land in the country till the last day you will fly out of the country.
The first step is to decide how long your safari trip will be: -
A safari can be for a week, two weeks or even a month depending on what you want to do and see.
If you are in the country for a period of three days, you could choose to visit the Masai Mara, a good starting point for first time safari goers in search for the Big Five.
Safaris that will last longer than a week have a handful of parks and reserves to visit, some depending on the visitor are scheduled to visit the Kenyan Coast and Beaches where one can enjoy and relax away from the harsh winters of the north and also tour some of the historic sites rich that have a lot to offer.

It is also vital to decide whether you prefer road or flying between different reserves: -
If you love exploring towns, seeing different landscape then using the road can be a good idea. Most roads leading towards the reserves are well maintained and with a comfortable 4WD vehicle, getting around becomes easy even while on loose roads. Flying is another alternative to long bumpy and dusty roads. It is a relatively safe and fairly affordable way to cover lots of ground especially when the itinerary covers journeys. With the availability of charter flights that ferry small groups of people, flying directly to lodges anywhere in the country becomes easier and faster.

Picking a Time for a Safari Tour
Honestly, wildlife tours are never restricted to a particular time. Kenya been a country that lies on the equator, the weather is a determining factor on the behavior of wildlife in the country.
With short rains starting from October into December and long rains from late February to late May peaking over April, there are considerable changes that take place in the reserves and these is where all the action and beauty lies.
Discount Safari, Quick book safari, custom safari, tailored itinerary
In the reserves, there are animals and birds that migrate while others are territorial, meaning that there are times when the reserves vary with habitats depending on the time of the year.
During the dry season; preferably the best time to pick a safari, (i.e. June to October) survival is crucial in the natural world; scarce vegetation and drying up of rivers forces animals to congregate close to water sources. It is around these areas that predators cease the opportunity to hunt on animals that come to drink water. Most fascinating is the order in which they take turns to drink water.
On the other hand, wet seasons (November to May) is not left without activity. This is a period of calving, heightened insect activity and returning of migrant birds from the northern hemisphere.

Depending on what you hope spot, information on what is happening in the reserves in that particular month can be provided. Here are some activities...
June-August: Secondary gazelle calving season (Offers an easy hunting season)
July-October: Wildebeest migration (The crossing of the river Mara from the Serengeti, one of the world’s greatest wildlife spectacles)
October-November: Arrival of millions of migrant birds from the Pale-arctic
November-March: Most dogs and hyenas rear their pups in dens.

Types of Safari
Planning for a safari will help you scale down to the most suitable itinerary and the most favorable budget by considering the following questions;
Will you be flying from one reserve to another or will you be using the road?
Flying-in safari is quick, safe and suitable for those traveling with children. Flying-in safaris have a higher budget compared to road safaris. Thou flying is convenient, flying separates you from the countryside and the people, minimizing your chances to get a glance of the geographic landscape, town settings of Kenya.
Will you be alone, a family, a group, a couple or co-operate team?
A family may require extra attention especially if children or disabled members are involved. This would help in choosing a flying-in itinerary rather than an itinerary that involves traveling by road from one reserve to another. All this helps you budget and choose a safari that accommodates your travel needs.
Hippo -Amboseli National Park, Also found in Mara River
Will you stay in a campsite, large mid-range lodge or bush camp?
Budget camping safaris are usually cheap and offer a better experience of a safari especially during the night. Visitors enjoy and feel the thrill when they are protected from the wild by just a canvas sheet.
Bush camps are smaller and they blend in very well into the surrounding wilderness. They are also luxurious
The lodge is more like a “hotel in the bush”. They provide secure accommodation, decent restaurant food, and comfort. Unlike the budget campsites which offer a night experience, lodges are slightly isolated from the wild nights.

Clothing for Safari
To ensure comfort while on safari, loose-fitting, lightweight cloths made of natural fabrics are a good choice. The quantity of cloths depends on the duration of your stay.
Nights are cooler, sweaters or light jackets are necessary as it tends to get chilly and windy when returning to lodges or camps from the game parks.
Closed shoes, socks and trousers offer better protection at night from mosquitoes.
Open shoes are a good choice on road safaris as from the long journey, your feet are comfortable and exposed to cool air.

Photographic Gear for Safari
To capture the remarkable features while traveling and the various cities in Kenya, a camera with a strong lens can be of great use. The more space a camera has to store pictures, the more likely you are to capture a larger number of memorable pictures. It is advisable to have an extra battery in case the first one goes low.
Recharging cameras and the extra batteries overnight while in the lodge before embarking on a safari can avoid disappointments faced when the camera goes off while on safari.
Action in the wild happens unexpectedly, and this is something one may not want to miss.
A binocular can help obtain a better view for distant wildlife.

Male Thomson's Gazelle -Found in most National Parks & Reserves like Masai Mara

Items necessary for Safari
Hygienic Wet Wipes: Hygienic wipes come in handy for cleaning sweat and dust from your face and hands.
Insect repellant: Help keep away the annoying insects and mosquitoes from biting or stinging your skin. It should be applied every few hours throughout the day.
Prophylactic drugs: It is advisable to take Prophylactic drugs a week before arriving in Kenya and another weeks after returning home.
Confectioneries: Children often come greeting visitors, to overcome the persuasive money pleading, confectioneries leaves a smile on their faces.
Sun Glasses: Glasses help protect your eyes from the glazing sun
A hat: A hat helps protect your head from the hot sun by covering your forehead.

Children on Safari
Children are a blessing and an early view of the African wildlife is a memory that will endure for a lifetime. Choosing a private safari for the children will ensure safety and avoid boredom from long strenuous journeys. Booking a lodge rather than a campsite will ensure that all necessities for the children are catered for and other safari goers remain undisturbed.

The Disabled and Elderly on Safari
Despite the few facilities available for the disabled, most staff in camps will go out of their way to ensure total satisfaction of the elderly or disabled guest. By inquiring what can be done and what cannot, it is possible to arrange safaris that will meet their needs and travel requirements.

Wildlife while on Safari
In many Kenyan parks and reserves, wildlife is adapted to people and vehicles but that does not mean that they are harmless.
Parks have rules and regulations that should strictly be observed.
It is important to adhere to these rules to avoid attacks or scaring wildlife away. At times, vehicle may come close to giant wildlife or even predators and making sounds to attract there attention is categorically not allowed. Driver guides or tour guides do instruct on spots where one can leave the vehicle but without such instructions, it is important that one remains in the vehicle throughout.

Electric Supply in Camps and Lodges on Safari
The British-style plugs and socket are the most used electric appliances with a standard voltage of 220-250 volts. In case you have a two pin, an adapter would be necessary.

Languages in Kenya
English is the International language while Swahili is the National language in Kenya.
In remote areas, communities speak in their native language.
Swahili is quick to master and with a little practice, one can communicate easily.

Visa and Passport for Kenyan Safari
A visa to travel to Kenya can be obtained from Kenya embassies or on arrival at all land borders and airports.
It is important to note that visitors may need to show a return ticket or proof of funds to buy one.
Visitors with the proper documentation and holding onward return tickets may obtain "Visitor Passes" (normally valid for three months) on arrival at any Kenyan Port of Entry free of charge.

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