What is the best season for a safari?
When and where can i see the great migration?
Can i have an exclusive vehicle?
Can i have my own custom itinerary?
Should i stay in lodges or tented camps?
Can i take a safari as single traveller?
Are safaris suitable for children?
Communication? · Food? · Shopping?
Although Kenya is on the equator, only the coast has a truly tropical climate. Elsewhere it varies from dry and hot in the North to temperature in the highlands. The climate is healthy and generally agreeable with plenty o clear sunshine all the year round. Nairobi is just Eighty-Seven (870 miles from South of the Equator, but at approximately 5500 ft.
The equatorial heat is tempered to an average of 700 f. The warmest months are January, February and March and the coolest, July and August at the Coast the best months are September and October and from January through to March when the weather is super to with brilliant sunshine and bright blue skies.
On safari, remember that you will be unpacking and packing everyday or two. It is unusual for people to dress up in the evening. You therefore need comfortable, preferable cotton trousers (socks give added protection against mosquito bites) During the day, cotton trousers, shorts or shirts and blouses a sweater or light jacket is essential for the cooler evening.
Take a comfortable pair of walking shoes and don't forget to pack your swimwear as most lodges have swimming pools. The best advice is to bring as little as possible.
Driving from one lodge to another with little opportunity (or desire) to unpack, your beautiful clean and pressed clothes will quickly become crumpled heaps!! Tight fitting trousers may be fashionable, but they will become most uncomfortable sitting in a mini-bus for many hours. The emphasis is definitely on well-worn practical clothes that will not suffer from the dust, heat or the occasional down pour etc.
Choose lightweight trousers/skirts or safari shorts cotton shirts/blouses and a sweater or a light jacket for the days spent at higher altitudes or the cooler early mornings/evenings. Safari suites are useful, but by no means essential. Comfortable flats shoes or sandals are recommended. Don't forget to pack a hat or scarf for protection against the sun and dust, swim wear as most lodges have swimming pools and sunglasses.
Video cameras: Customs are very much on the alert for these and will demand over 100% duty. It is not necessary for you to pay this as a tourist, ask customs to stamp this in your passport. You should then ensure that when you leave the country as customs officer cancels the inward stamp to indicate you have taken the video camera out of the country with you.
Most colour film can be developed but not Kodachrome. A U/V Filter and a camera dust cover or a polythene bag would be useful. As most of your baggage is X-rayed at airports, you would be wise to carry film with you to avoid the possibility of damage. Do remember to take your binoculars for game spotting.
Malindi is not a "Hot Bed" of crime, but being a town, it is inevitable not without the usual crimes which occur in large cities. Please do not leave any valuables, jewelleries, money, travellers cheques or passport in your room when you go out and make us of safe - deposit boxes available to you at every hotel and lodge for these items (occasional a small charge is make for this facility)
Do not carry too much cash on you, and please keep a tight grip on your handbag when in crowd or busy through fares. Please do not walk at night (use taxi available 24 hrs) and avoid financial deals with persons on the treets. Treat any bargains offered but street hawkers with a considerable degree of caution. Try not to make flagrant display of wealth - your normal holiday spending money amounts to a small fortune to most Kenyans.
Our aim is to alarm you; we merely wish to remind you of the standard safety precautions. Your will "A boy scouts" and a variety of young boys and men with hard luck stories. Please ignore their request and do not take the offer of cheap air tickets, tours etc.
It is particularly recommended you take special care during the first few days of your visit and perhaps we should remind you that even on an overcast day, ultra-violet rays can still penetrate the light cloud and cause severe sunburn to recently arrived fair skinned persons. Also caution is urged, particularly by the sea, when reflections can burn you even sitting in the shade.
Kenya's transport systems offer the adventures the opportunity to explore the country to its fullest. As in most countries around the world the normal word of caution must be remember especially if travelling alone. After dark we do not recommend you venture out of foot on your own.
There are regular domestic flights on Kenya Airways linking all major towns in Kenya. Modern single and twin engine aircraft operated by local charter companies can take you to most of the places of touristic interest including the more in accessible areas of the remoter national parks etc.
The use of local country or urban buses is not advisable. Although they offer cheap services to most major towns, they tend to be very overcrowded, extremely uncomfortable and driven at neck breaking speed.
If you take a taxi you should make sure it is licensed, taxis do not have metres. All prices to be negotiated in advance. An advisory list must be shown to you. Although more expensive, the Kentaco Mercedes taxis offer a comfortable ride on a fixed fare basis.
The yellow band taxis offer a much cheaper services, but frequently with very old vehicles which vehicle which infrequently have proper insurance. You fix the fare before entering and bargaining is essential.
The current is 230 volts AC 50 cycles, so most appliances will work as normally as they do here on 240 volts. Plug sizes vary so we do recommend you take a plug adaptor which can be obtained from most electrical or hardware stores. The only problem may be in the safari lodges as not all of them have electric rarer points but with initiative and an adaptor for a light socket it should be possible to shave.
Just about any time of the year (see climate above) however, the most popular, seasons are mid December to mid March and July to mid September. This is because of the demand for Christmas and winter holidays and the summer school break timings.
An increasing number of visitors are realizing that June and October are ideal, benefiting from lower visitor numbers and off peak rates on the airlines.
Free Zone Express Travel normally offers safaris with lower single supplements in April/May/June. Low season and may well be able to offer some good discounts for larger groups during this period - please contact us for details.
The millions of wildebeest and zebras are always somewhere, but they are not always in large herds and on the move. Their location is largely dependent on the weather, which can vary considerably from year to year. In general the herds assemble south of the Serengeti South of the Serengeti during January and February, the season in which they give birth to their young.
Starting around March they begin moving North and West in search of fresh grazing through the Serengeti Park. They can move in enormously long single file lines or in huge herds. The bulk of the animal reach Masai Mara in Kenya, where they tend to remain during August/September /October, before starting their return trek south back through the Serengeti in November.
Yes, all safaris can be booked with the exclusive use of a vehicle for your party. There is a supplementary charge to two clients but for a group of three the price per person is much the same as a "Seat in vehicle" safari and with four or more clients travelling as a group, the cost per person will be less than the brochure price for a "Seat in vehicle" safari, plus you have the privacy and flexibility of your own vehicle and driver/tour guide.
If you are arranging an exclusive vehicle safari then you are free to arrange whatever itinerary you choose. We can arrange any required itinerary subject to practical and logistical consideration and will be pleased to discuss and quote for any special requirernents.
This is really a matter of personal preference and choice. Most of the vehicle based set itinerary safaris use lodges, but some include nights at tented camps and some use all tented camps. The majority of flying safaris use tented camp accommodation. All the accommodation used by Free Zone Express Travel for their clients is of high standard, but you should be aware that, contrary to many clients expectations, tented camps are in general more expensive than lodges.
The main reason for this is that the tented camps are low capacity, exclusive and luxurious places with a high standard of service.
Yes, you can take a safari as a single traveller. Free Zone Express Travel can easily include single travellers on most set date safari departures. There is a single supplement to cover the additional cost of single accommodation. However, there is a reduced single supplement in the low season.
A safari is a wonderful trip for any child old enough to enjoy and appreciate the experience. On most safaris there are quite long trips on rough roads, and these cannot really be recommended for babies and very young children. Children under 12 will benefit from reduced fares on scheduled airlines, and all lodges will provide an additional bed for a child sharing a room with parents at a reduced cost. A few of the more expensive permanent tented camps do not allow children under 12 years of age.
The local unit of currency is the Kenya shillings these days is freely convertible within Kenya for the US Dollar and other currencies. There are numerous banks and bureau de change in towns, and most bodges and hotels will exchange currency or travellers cheques at reasonable rates.
It is not possible to obtain Kenya shillings outside the country, and it is illegal to export more than a small amount. Many items or services are priced and paid for in US Dollars so do not convert more funds into the local currency than you need for incidental express.
Credit cards are accepted at an increasing number of establishments in Kenya but not everywhere. It not general possible to obtain cash en a credit card in Kenya, so it is recommended that visitors carry sufficient funds in the form of travellers cheques.
Free Zone Express Travel equips all its safari vehicles with two-way radios, so that drivers can communicate with their base each other and the lbodges. Most lodges and hotels also have a telephone, hut the service, particularly for overseas calls is both erratic and expensive. More remote lodges and camps are likely to rely on radio for communications.
Game parks are not within cell phone range, but satellite telephones work just about anywhere.
It is generally recommended to drink only bottled mineral water which is readily available everywhere. There are no restrictions on the sale or consumption of alcoholic drinks in Kenya. A good selection of local beers and soft drinks are available everywhere, and you will find a range of imported wines, beers and spirits in many places, although these can be expensive.
The quality and value of food in Kenya is generally very good. However, do eat sensibly particularly in the first few days of your visit.
Most hotels and lodges have gift shops with a selection of local and souvenirs. You will find some interesting wood carvings, painting and batiks. Precious stones and jewelleries are also a specialty.
Freezone Safaris looks forward to your visit. For more questions, don't hezitate ask us.