Travel advice & practical information for travelogue:
'Photo Safari Kenya'
Consulate-General of the Republic of Kenya
866 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017
Tel.: 212- 421 4741
Fax: 212-486 1985
Website: Consulate General of Kenya in New York
You need a visa to visit Kenya. Apply at least 3-4 weeks before your trip. If it's a package trip, your tour operator will give you information and application forms. They can also make the application for you, for a fee of course. Also really important: your passport should be valid for another six months.
Climate and best time to travel
Despite its location around the equator, it's almost never extremely hot in Kenya. In the daytime, the temperatures rise to 25-30 degrees centigrade, in the morning it can be chilly and in the evening - depending on the altitude, it cools down to 10-15 degrees. It can be cold and foggy at the Ngorongoro Crater, Mount Kenya and in the Usambara Mountains. A warm sweater and windbreaker, and also a warm sleeping bag are necessary, especially in the winter months of July and August.
December through March and June through October are dry seasons
April and May: Long rain season
November: Short rain season
The best time to travel is shortly after the rain season: the landscape is lush and green then and many trees and plants blossom. As the dry season drags on, it gets increasingly hot and the landscape gets yellow and dry. Which makes it possible to get a better look at the game, by the way. On the other hand: game follows the rain. The great trek in the Serengetti takes place around December.
It's possible to travel in the rain season, but keep in mind that the roads may be in bad shape and camping sites will be muddy. And of course, there will be rain, in short, but heavy showers.
The currency is the Kenian Shilling (Ksh). It's best to bring cash in dollars or euros and a back-up amount in travelers checks.
Don't wear your money in a visible money belt, keep it under your clothes.
Tips and begging
Hotel and restaurant staff depend on tips. If service is not included, give a ten per cent tip. Cab and van drivers, guides and people who offer their services in the streets also expect a tip.
In cities you may be accosted by beggars. Giving them money doesn't solve their problems and they may even come to depend on it. If you want to help, give money to aid organisations. And don't give pens or money to children. If you want to provide them with pens and notebooks, give those to a school.
Kenya has 220-240 Volt network. The sockets are British, so bring a universal adaptor.
To take pictures of animals in game parks, it's best to bring an at least 200 mm telelense. Most game drives are in the early morning or late afternoon. If you use film, bring fast ones (200-400 iso). Digital cameras are ideal, because they often have adaptive sensitivity.
Not all photogenic tribes love to be photographed, sometimes for religious reasons. Always ask their permission before you take pictures of people and respect their wishes. In places with many tourists, people sometimes will ask for money to be photographed. Don't try to take pictures surreptitiously.
Kenya still has some diseases that are transferred by mosquito bites, like malaria and dengue fever. Malaria mosquitos are active at night; the mosquito that transfers dengue works at night. Bring a good mosquito spray. Avoid contact with freshwater pools, because of bilharzia.
Tap water is unsuitable for drinking. Bottled water can be bought everywhere. Hygiene is extremely important. After a visit to the bathroom and before meals, clean your hands with a desinfectant.
Vaccinations are needed. A good source of information about health risks is the site of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Kenya. Always consult your family doctor as well.
Safety and security
Traveling in some countries or regions can bring risks with it. That shouldn't always be a reason not to go there, but part of a thorough preparation is to find out about possible risks.
One can find up-to-date information on the web site of the CIA World Factbook Kenya. Also always consult with your own country's Foreign Department.
Plan your trip to Kenya online
Through online reservation systems like À la Carte Vacations you can book airline tickets, hotels, rental cars and holiday houses. You can build a fly-drive itinerary with maximum flexibility, book a flight plus a hotel hotel for a night or weekend. Without the limitations of package deals from travel organisations and most times for a much better price.