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1. When is the best time to visit Kenya?

Any time that is convenient for you and more so based on your interest. You may decide to go when a certain event is happening, for example "Wildebeest Crossing" or the annual marathon inside the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in June or during the Maasai Mara Marathon in September. You may want to be near a lion on 10th August which has been newly designated as the Lions Day.You may wish to see certain animal(s) located in some parks and not in others etc.

You may also ask us "I want to tour Kenya around this time of the month/year. What am I likely to see/do?" We will advise you accordingly.

2. When is the peak, high and low seasons? Do rates change?

Peak season : August & December = most expensive.

High season : July to October = moderately priced.

Low season : April to June, November = lowest rates.

Festive seasons : There are two yearly festive seasons in Kenya;

- Easter Season which include days just before and after the actual Good  Friday & Easter Monday and...

- Christmas & New Year Season incorporating 22nd December to 3rd January. Majority of the accommodation venues (hotels, lodges & camps) charge supplement (per person) in order to cater for the extra services they provide during festive seasons such as special foods and entertainments.

The same venues do lower their rates in low season so as to attract guests that are unable to visit in both peak and high seasons due to either time or budget. However, please note that this rarely has anything to do with the presence or absence of animals in parks.

3. Do I need a Visa to enter Kenya?

Yes, visitors from some countries require a visa to enter Kenya. Nationals of the following countries require a visa; http://www.kenyaembassy.com/pdfs/visa.pdf However, effective 1st February, 2016, foreign nationals below the age of 16 years will be exempted from paying visa fees BUT will still require a visa to enter Kenya.

The link below explains the latest regulations and application procedures governing entry to Kenya; http://www.immigration.go.ke/downloads/eVisa-newspaperad.pdf

Effective 1st July, 2015, one may apply for a visa online. The online E-visa and the manual Visa applications will continue to run concurrently. To apply online, please click https://account.ecitizen.go.ke/register

Please contact Touch Kenya Safaris if you need any assistance or clarification.
 


4. To travel to Kenya, would I require any vaccination ?

Yes! You must be vaccinated against Yellow Fever (preferably one month before departure) and issued with a certificate which you take along with you to Kenya. Although you may not be asked to produce the certificate at the port of entry, it is wise to have it to avoid possibility of infection or unpleasant welcome at the entry point or outright refusal unless vaccinated.

5. How do I get to Kenya ?

Majority of visitors to Kenya arrive in the country by air. There are two major international airports in Kenya. One is the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi (capital city), and the other is Moi International Airport (MIA) in Mombasa, Kenya’s second largest city bordering the Indian Ocean and located 500 km from Nairobi. The airports are located about a 30 minutes drive from the central business district of the respective cities.

Many airlines fly the Kenya route including Kenya Airways, British Airways, KLM, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Swiss Air, Korean Air, Etihad Air, Turkish Airways, Ethiopian, Egypt Air, South African Air and Brussel Air among others. Please consult your travel agent or get in touch with us for assistance on how to get to Kenya. Within Kenya, one may fly to various destinations including national parks and game reserves by local airlines and chartered flights.

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By the way, can you identify Mt. Kilimanjaro below the wing of the Kenya Airways plane?

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6. How is Kenyan weather ?

Kenya borders the Indian Ocean and lies on the Equator. Basically, Kenya has four geographical regions: Semi-arid, Savannah grassland, fertile lowlands and the highlands. Many visitors have said “Kenya has the best weather in the world”. It is moderately hot and cold, more like summer and autumn throughout the year. Since Kenya lies on the equator, weather changes is not that pronounced as whether hot or cold is much dependent on the height above sea level. You will love it! To prove you are really on the equator, experience a demonstration where a piece of stick placed on water in a bucket rotate either clockwise or anti-clockwise depending on its location 10 meters north or south of the equator. Interesting! This is what is known as the Coriolis Effect.

A casual trouser, running/tennis shoes or just chucks and socks to wear in the morning game drives, several shorts and light shirts to enjoy the pleasant weather will do. A pyjama may be necessary to keep you warm in the night and as you may opt to view game in the wee hours of the night. If you are destined for the sunny hot beach or look forward to swimming at the beach or lodge/camp then, of course, carry a swimming costume. Laundry services are available at most lodges/camps but be clear about when you need your clean clothes returned bearing in mind the length of your stay there. Take at least three changes of clothes for a week safari. Some accommodation venues have hairdryers in each room and also a beauty salon. Please consult us on what you want and once you confirm where you would wish to visit, we will inform you of what is available at that particular place. 

7. What do I need to wear or carry along ?

Kenya is a sunny country and obviously, a lengthy direct exposure may affect your skin (some visitors love it though) and eyes. Please carry a pair of sunglasses, a hat with a brim, sunscreen cream and lip cream to avoid excessive sun-turn and dry lips respectively. You will need an autumn jacket or sweater for the mornings and evenings.

A casual trouser, running/tennis shoes or just chucks and socks to wear in the morning game drives, several shorts and light shirts to enjoy the pleasant weather. A pyjama may be necessary to keep you warm in the night and as you may opt to view game in the wee hours of the night. If you are destined for the sunny hot beach or look forward to swimming at the beach or lodge/camp then, of course, carry a swimming costume. Laundry services are available at most lodges/camps but be clear about when you need your clean clothes returned bearing in mind the length of your stay there. Take at least three changes of clothes for a week safari.

Some accommodation venues have hairdryers in each room and also a beauty salon. Please consult us on what you want and once you confirm where you would wish to visit, we will inform you of what is available at that particular place. 

8. Is my security assured while in Kenya ?

Contrary to what some people outside Kenya believe, Kenya is very safe for a tourist, much safer than, for example, USA. However, there are some cautionary measures you need to observe such as not walking alone in some areas particularly at night, disembarking from the vehicle in a non-designated area in the park or walking outside the perimeter of a guarded hotel/lodge/camp. We will advise you at all times during your stay in Kenya. You have nothing to worry about. Our staff will go with you (with prior notice) in case you would want to walk around shopping malls. Animal parks are always guarded by armed wildlife rangers who are placed at all gates and in secret locations inside the parks. All hotels/ lodges/camps are under security round the clock. Remember to never leave your valuables within reach in your room. Instead, use the safe box provided to keep  important items including passport, cash and jewelerly. If you are in doubt over anything, please bring it up with our staff or with the management of where you are accommodated.

9. Should I take an Insurance cover ?

Yes, you should and you must, though this is entirely your own decision. Whenever you intend to travel out of your native country, it is wise to take an insurance cover. We suggest you talk to your insurance company. In Kenya, there are such insurance companies for example, Chartis(former AIG) and UAP who are internationally connected.

Please contact us if you require detail. Remember, you are only fairly covered while you are in the precincts of our vehicles. Any other form of cover should be your own private arrangement.

10. Am I safe from animals in the park ?

Yes, absolutely safe! However, walking in parks is prohibited except in designated areas. You will move in licensed vehicles (our vehicles) under the care of our professional and experienced drivers/guides who will advise you accordingly at all times both in parks or elsewhere. You are able to view animals while seated or standing inside a open-roof 4x4 vehicle. More often is the time our staff will spot an animal earlier than you and will inform you at once. You may then use bare eyes or a pair of binoculars (provided) depending on the distance where the animal is from the vehicle. Venturing outside a permitted area around the hotel/lodge/camp is potentially dangerous. Please heed the warning.

11. What type of accommodations are available in Kenya?

There are about 3-4 types of accommodations;

The first is Safari lodges which are essentially hotels in the bush which accommodate 100-200 guests. They consist of a restaurant, lounge, bar, swimming pool, amenities found in an ordinary hotel.        

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The second comprise of tented accommodations which provide accommodation ranging from comfortable to luxurious. Most consist of large walk-in tents on elevated wooden platforms with beds, furniture and an en-suite bathroom with hot and cold water and a flush toilet. Most of this type of tented camps contain a restaurant, lounge, bar and swimming pool. They accommodate 20-100 guests and afford a more personal interaction with the natural habitat.

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The third are what one may call Tented camps which have beds, bedside tables with reading lamps, bedrolls, towels etc. en-suite bathroom with hot and cold water and a flush toilet.

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The fourth type is the mobile-tented camps which may move each day. The cooking is done in an open space usually next to a born-fire. This type obviously does not have the amenities/luxury of either lodges or permanent tented camps.

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Please note that whether it is a hotel, lodge or a tented camp, bed arrangement will be done according to your specifications be it single, double, twin or triple. Please let us know what you want and we will have it done.

12. How many people may I take along for the Safari ?

Any number. The larger the merrier (and more often, the cheaper)! One vehicle will take a maximum of six people, all assured of a window seat. A large group, therefore, will move in a convoy of six persons per vehicle.

13. Can/Would I use a credit card in Kenya?

Yes. Visa Card, MasterCard and Amex Card are widely accepted. Diner’s Club, Diamond Card and JCB Card are not generally accepted. Tell us in advance what card you would want to use and we will advise on the current position. You can use your card in restaurants, hotels, lodges & camps or pay for purchases in souvenior shops. We recommend that you carry small denominations of hard cash (either in USD or KSh) for expedient use in tips and small purchases.

Please note Kenya started online banking more than 10 years ago. We can do internet banking for remittance but online shopping via Internet has yet to be well implemented in Kenya. Therefore, payment for the safari will have to be done by bank remittance.

14. How early in advance should I book for a Safari?

To be on the safe side, it is better to book as far back in advance as possible to ensure availability of accommodation at the time you wish to arrive in Kenya. Peak/high seasons require 4-6 months booking/confirmation while off peak season require at least a month.

Festive seasons i.e. Easter season and Christmas/New Year season require at least 3 months booking/confirmation.

15. How early in advance should I pay for a safari?

Please pay after you are satisfied with everything (including itinerary) and confirmed availability. We recommend you pay at least 30 days before departure. Peak/High seasons may require earlier deposit to secure bookings. We will advise you accordingly.
Kenya has an Internet Banking system. We are in a position to confirm your remittance within 1-4 days depending on from which country you will remitt. We shall inform you on our bank details after confirmation of itinerary.

16. Is the water safe to drink?

While water in major towns is treated and relatively safe to drink, it is safer to drink bottled mineral water which you open yourself. Most of the hotels, lodges and camps provide mineral water in each room or you may buy if you need more. When on safari, we provide at least a 500 ml mineral water bottle for each guest daily.

17. What type of foods do I find in Kenya?

Most lodges/camps in parks operate buffet style where a variety of meats including beef, pork, chicken and fish are served along with different varieties of starches such as rice, sphangetti, pasta, tandoori, chapati, ugali among others. Fresh and tasty fruits, fresh vegetables and desserts are provided. In some lodges/camps, ala carte menu are occasionally provided. In Nairobi and Mombasa, there are hotels/restaurants specializing in Italian, Chinese, Japanese, French, Brazilian, Lebanese and Ethiopian cuisines. The "Carnivore" is a restaurant in Nairobi specializing in game meats where you can try a bite of Crocodile. There are also many "Nyama Choma" restaurants where really tasty meats (goat/sheep/beef/chicken) are served while enjoying African/local music where you may shake a leg (dance) and at the same time mingle with the middle and upper class Kenyans.

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Please also see FAQ No.19 (Kenyan local foods)

18. Are foods for special dietary needs available?

Majority of the hotels/lodges/camps have vegetarian foods. With the exception of a few places, halaal and kosher food is not available. Please let us know of your dietary requirement and we will ensure availability

19. What types of Kenyan foods is available?

Ugali: Made from Maize flour. Add certain amount of flour to boiling water and mix thoroughly. Let it steam for about 20 minutes. Eaten with either meat,chicken or fish plus vegetables such as kale (sukuma wiki).

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Chapati: Made from white or brown wheat flour. Mix with water to make dough. Take a portion of the dough and flatten it on a flat board then fry it on a hot special pan until it attains a brownish hue. Chapati is similar to the Indian "Nan".

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Irio (Mukimo): Made up of a mixture of maize, green peas, beans and potatoes and traditional greens all mashed together. Sometimes mixed with banana. Very nutritious. 

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Githeri: Made of a mixture of boiled maize and beans (or peas or both) fried with onion & tomato and occasionally with pieces of meat or even cabbage. Very tasty.

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Nyama Choma: "Nyama" means meat while "Choma" means roast in Kiswahili. This is either salted goat meat, mutton or beef roasted on charcoal. This is the real Kenyan barbecue. Very tasty!

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Kenyan Barbeque: This is a huge chunk of meat in a barbecue metal stick roasted over charcoal. The Carnivore & Fogo Gaucho restaurants in Nairobi are experts at this. 

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Mandazi: Made from self-raising wheat flour, eggs, sugar & milk mixed to make a dough, then deep fry. Add some spices e.g. ginger, cinamon and cardamon if you like.

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Samosa: Made from a mixture of wheat flour & water (dough) and then minced meat containing onion, garlic etc is put inside a portion of dough, wrapped/sealed into shape and deep fried to a brownish hue. The samosa may contain various forms of meat or just vegetables. It goes very well as a snack or an evening drink accompaniment.

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20. What language(s) do Kenyans speak ?

Kenya’s national language is Kiswahili while the official languages are Kiswahili and English. However, you may happen to hear people talking different dialects as Kenya is a multi-ethnic society comprising of over 40 tribes/languages. All staff in hotels/lodges/camps can speak English and you may also encounter staff who can speak varying levels of French, German, Spanish, Italian or Japanese. Please converse with them and learn a few words of Kenyan languages.

21. What is the power voltage in Kenya ?

220-240 Volts (V), 50 Hertz (Hz)  

Kenya’s voltage is 220-240V with a frequency of 50 Hz.

 

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The available wall socket is as shown (left). If you need, we provide an adapter (middle) which you may insert to a socket (right) to enable you to use for your electrical gadget. However, most of the accommodation venues do provide an adapter on request at the reception desk. Remember, an adapter itself will not change the electrical voltage. You must be certain that your appliance can handle different voltages, either automatically or through a voltage switch. If not, you will need a voltage converter, which is not provided and therefore you have to take it along with you

22. What are the terms when booking for a Safari with Touch Kenya Safaris?

 Terms & Conditions : click here to READ MORE

23. What is "Migration of Wildebeest" ?

Wildebeest (Gnu) are gregarious herbivores that migrate twice a year in such of greener pastures and water in an expansive area covering northwest of Tanzania (Serengeti) and southwest of Kenya (Maasai Mara). They move (migrate) in large numbers, over a million strong across the vast savannah, a spectacle today known as the "8th Wonder of the World". It is a beautiful event to see. Moving along with them are herds of zebra and antelopes. They do cross the precarious Mara river at least twice yearly (July and September) in what is known as "Wildebeest Crossing". Please note these crossing periods may vary slightly from year to year.

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24. Any advice on photography?

For animal photography, a 200 mm lens is the lowest you may use although a 300 - 400 mm is preferable. For bird photography, a 500 mm or higher is necessary. A wide-angle lens would be ideal for scenic shots. We advise you to take along, flash betteries and plenty of film since you may find it difficult to obtain them locally and also expensive. Lastly, for human photography, it is important that you request a Kenyan for permission before taking his/her picture. It is considered rude and insensitive not to do so. You may be required/expected to pay for the service

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