First things first, many ask if it is safe to travel to Kenya? and the answer is YES. Also many ask if it is ok to travel solo (guy/girl) and the answer is YES. Will you be attacked by the Africans and the answer is NO.
Now that we have answered the important questions which any traveler has in his mind before preparing his journey lets move on to the safari. JAMBO
I had a couple of days left in my vacation and it had to be used before year-end. During my recent visit to India, my friend Girish (Bhutan Ride) reminded me that it was 4 years since we did a tour together. He also mentioned about purchasing a new DSLR i.e. Canon 80D and he wanted to explore its features on a good tour, preferably wildlife safari. Well now I had to think of a good location wherein he can explore his cam features and also a new country. Looking at my Nat Geo Atlas app, I realized that we have never been to Africa! I have covered most of the Asian, Middle East and Eurasian countries but never been to Africa. And it was pretty easy for me to zero in Kenya due to its proximity to Dubai with many flight options, evisa, budget friendly and last but not least, Wildlife Safari.
This is a self-planned tour and I will detail out all the information for fellow travelers who want to visit Kenya. As always, word of caution: this planning was done to suit my budget and timing. Please do check once before using same info for your tour.
Most of the countries are eligible for evisa i.e. you can apply for visa online via http://evisa.go.ke by registering your details. Once registered you can access the portal’s visa services page and start filling the online form along with relevant documents like travel tickets, Passport copy. Passport size color photo and details of local stay/agent/tour company. All these documents is to be uploaded and do review your application form before submitting. The fees for single entry 30 days visa is $51 which is to be paid online. It will take two working days for the visa to be issued and same be downloaded from the portal. Please take copies of this evisa before you land in Kenya. I’m also informed that many citizens can also avail visa on arrival but the info is not concrete though I saw the forms available at JKIA terminal. Suggest you use the hassle-free online visa mode which will be easier.
Almost all major airlines fly to Kenya i.e. Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. If you plan your tour from Dubai like me then suggest you check out Oman Air which has a route to Nairobi via Muscat. You also have direct flights from Dubai via Kenya Airlines, Fly Dubai and Emirates but the cheaper option is Oman Air. If you have time at hand like me, then suggest you spend less on flight ticket and same be used at destination.
Currency: (Date: Dec’17)
Kenya currency is called as Kenyan Shillings (Khs) which has an exchange rate of 100 when compared to US Dollars. Say for example, 1000 Khs will be approximately equivalent to 10 USD. Suggest to carry 150 – 200 USD for a single person who is traveling on a 3N/4D tour to Kenya which is sufficient to cover the expenses.
If you visit a day prior to start of your tour then suggest you opt for Decasa hotel or Lagos hotel in Nairobi which are budget friendly, clean and easier for pickup by your tour operators. You can also book Sunrise hotel, Intercontinental, Hilton if your budget allows.
If you are an Indian or Asian then do not worry about food. One will be surprised to see that Chapathi is a regular item on Kenyan food table and as someone said Chapathi is the adopted son of Kenyan cuisine! You can also find famous food chains like KFC, Pizza Hut in Nairobi. If you stay in Nairobi for a day or two then you can try Royal Palm restaurant which is multi-cuisine for delicious food. And for UAE residents, you will be happy to see Shawarma joint few meters along same road .
You can talk to your travel agent for airport transfers to be included in your package or alternatively use government taxis at the airport. Usually the going rates for airport pickup or drop is 2000 Khs. Uber operates in Nairobi and I found their rates to be cheaper (800 – 1000 Khs) for airport transfers but I could not use their services.
Safari / Tour Agency:
There are ample number of tour agencies in Kenya offering your wide services from Masai Mara safari to Nairobi city tour. You can check a suitable agency via safaribooking.com which has almost all the agencies registered on their portal. We opted for African Comfort Zone Safari, which gave us 3 day tour package of Masai Mara. It included pickup from hotel (not airport) in Nairobi, 2N/3D tour of Masai Mara National Park with accommodation at Lenchadaa Camp and all three meals included with 1 liter of water bottle given daily.
The guys at ACZ Safaris are excellent and very friendly, especially our tour guide Mr. John who ensured our comfort all the way till be returned. John really tried very hard to spot the Big Five but we missed out on Rhino. For most of the tour inside park it was ‘right place, right time’ moment from John because of which we could get some amazing pictures. Also Mr. Joshua from ACZ Safaris was great in co-ordination of quote, payment assistance, tour organizing, hotel pickups, airport drop. He is always connected to you via whatsapp to answer your queries. I would strongly recommend ACZ Safaris for your tour in Kenya.
Please check your country requirements before embarking on a journey to Kenya. For UAE residents there is no need to get vaccinations. But for Indians going from India to Kenya, you need to get Yellow Fever vaccination and same is checked before you depart.
Other things to do:
Apart from Safari you can also explore the Masai tribe by visiting one of the Masai villages in and around your camp. It is definitely worth visiting to understand and listen to stories of Masai people. Even in the present day of modernization, you will be surprised to see the life style of Masai tribe. You will be charged 1000 Khs to experience the Masai village life which includes, local dance, visit to Masai hut, Fire making by Masai people and stories of Masai tribe.
Enjoy the pictures from my Kenya tour and feel free to share your comments.
Hope you enjoyed the Safari and this blog was useful to you and Hakuna Matata in case you plan to visit Kenya…..