PLANNING ON A SAFARI TO EAST AFRICA?
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
When planning a safari to Kenya there are some very important key aspects to consider.
Your Accommodation - Boutique and Small Luxury Camps, Eco Camps or Large Tourist and Safari Lodges.
Parks and Reserves - National Parks or National Game Reserves or Conservancies
Transportation - Road Transport or by Air
Types of Itineraries - Fly in Safaris or Road Safaris
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BOUTIQUE, SMALL LUXURY CAMP AND AN ECO CAMP?
Boutique lodges and Small Luxury Camps are exclusive camps catering for less than 30 Guests and offer
impressive accommodation. Prices are higher and guests are normally flown in by air opposed to road.
Guests are taken on game drives in 4x4 safari vehicles by qualified driver guides who know the area very well.
Eco Camps are small and exclusive accommodation designed to have minimal impact on the enviroment,
Guests tents with proper beds and en suite bathrooms, idea for those who want to get close to nature.
Porini Camps located in exclusive conservancies are a good example here. Whats great is you have all
the wildlife and very few tourists.
Large Tourist and Safari Lodges are very popular, prices are lower catering for the mass market tour companies
using mini bus tours - great for those on a budget.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A NATIONAL PARKS and CONSERVANCIES?
Kenya has over 40 National Parks, the best well known wildlife areas are Amboseli, Lake Nakuru, Samburu, and Maasai Mara
plus Tsavo, Meru, Laikipia, the Aberdares and Mount Kenya.
THE NATIONAL PARKS AND GAME RESERVES have been set aside by the government for the protection of wildlife and are open to the public. Tourist numbers can be dense within the most popular parks and in the high season there are often a large number of visitors in any one day. It is not uncommon to share an animal sighting with several other tourist vehicles. There are also restrictions in place within some of the National Parks prohibiting open sided vehicles, walks and night game drives inside the park.
Recently wildlife conservancies have been set up on community-owned land adjacent to the parks.
These Wildlife Conservancies provide additional habitat and a safe haven for the animals.
A conservancy safari offers a private and more exclusive safari experience away from masses of tourist vehicles. With a limit of only 1 tent per 700 acres, they have all the wildlife without the crowds!
TRANSPORTATION BY AIR OR BY ROAD?
Most of the mainstream tour companies with tours to Kenya feature road safaris with transport in minivans which drive overland between the parks.
BY AIR is much preferred - We highly recommend flying to the parks from Nairobi to avoid long and arduous journeys driving for hours across the country.
When you go on safari, do make sure that you allow enough time to stay at each of the lodges or camps so that you can go on several game drives to see the area and its wildlife.
We always recommend flying in to the camps rather than travelling across country.
Make sure you each have your own pair of binoculars so that you can enjoy the best viewing of the wildlife and birds.
Do some reading to get a better appreciation of what is in store before you fly out to start your safari: see our Reading List.
If you arrive in Nairobi in the morning after an overnight flight, instead of travelling straight on safari consider having a night at Nairobi Tented Camp in Nairobi National Park, so that you can rest and take things easy after the flight but still do some game viewing on a safari in the park.
Book a safari which has game drives in a proper 4x4 safari vehicle in preference to a minibus (van).
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT KENYA?
Kenya is on the equator and is known as a "year round destination" which can be visited anytime. The hottest months are late January to March while the coolest are July and August. It is probably best to try to avoid the two rainy seasons, known as "the long rains", a 10 week period between late March and early June and the "short rains" a six week period during November and December.
WHAT IS THE LUGGAGE ALLOWANCE ON DOMESTIC FLIGHTS?
Luggage should be kept to a minimum, especially if you will be travelling via light aircraft. In East Africa the limit is typically 15 kg per person, and in southern Africa it is 20kg per person. This should be in soft bags as opposed to hard suit cases in order to fit in the baggage compartment on small aircraft.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I HAVE A MEDICAL PROBLEM ON SAFARI?
It is very important to take out Travel Insurance ask us for more information.
WHERE SHOULD I BOOK ?
TORCHWOOD TRAVEL of course - they have first hand knowledge and work closely with all the Tour Operators