TIPS & MT. CLIMBING TIPS
Buy your Flight Ticket
Before departure, you will
be required to buy an appropriate flight ticket to and you’re your tour
destination. Double check your flight departure and arrival day, time and
flight number and ensure that we are supplied with these details well in
advance. These details will be very important to facilitate your arrival
meet and greet service.
Get reliable health and vaccination advice
All visitors to East Africa are required to produce health records. It’s
therefore very important for you to get health advice before you depart.
Malaria is endemic to certain areas of Kenya, notably by the coastal region
and western Kenya. However, visitors to Nairobi and the higher altitudes
should also be taking prophylactic treatment. Treatment should start one
week before entering the country and continue throughout the duration of the
visit and for six weeks thereafter. Anti malaria tablets and any over the
counter drugs can be purchased in chemists and pharmacies in major centers.
Other medication should include panadol (or any other effective pain
reliever as headaches can be caused by the glare of the sun and tiredness).
Anti-diarrhea medication such as Imodium (loperamide), throat lozenges,
band-aid, insect repellent and antibiotic cream for cuts and scratches. The
appropriate tanning or sun-blocking lotion is also essential. Main towns
have good hospital care and Nairobi has excellent medical facilities.
Double-check your airline
reservation; make sure there have been no changes.
Get vaccinations six weeks
in advance if possible, a Yellow Fever certificate is necessary when
visiting Zanzibar (you don't need the actual shot) - be sure to ask for one
at the travel clinic.
Some clinics prescribe
malaria prophylactic pills (e.g., Lariam) however, you will have less risk
of side effects if you simply wear long sleeve shirts and pants at dusk -
and use an insect repellent containing DEET (e.g., Off, Deep Woods).
Fill personal prescriptions
Buy trip insurance (for
int’l medical/dental) from an independent trip insurance agency; be sure to
get trip cancellation and medical evacuation coverage.
Make sure you have flight
insurance coverage (for lost luggage, delay, or cancellation) many credit
card companies offer flight insurance if you purchase your ticket with the
Personal effects (clothes,
camera, etc) are normally covered on your renter's or home insurance - they
will not be covered by trip or flight insurance - be sure to verify that you
Get entry Visas at least one
month in advance, ensure passport is updated and will not expire while you
are overseas. US/UK/EU/Canadian citizens can purchase visas at the border or
airport of most African countries, other nationalities should make sure they
have their visas in advance.
Make 2 copies of passports,
visas, tickets & immunization records (hide one copy in suitcase somewhere
and leave other copy with friend or relative to hold in case of emergency).
Take about one hundred
dollars in cash ($20 bills or smaller) for driver, guide, and porter tips,
visa fees, airport tax, and mad money.
You may want to rent a
powerful zoom lens for safari photos – 300-500mm lens is standard when
taking game viewing photographs (1000mm and tripod needed for good bird
pictures), also a good pair of binoculars and/or good zoom digital video
camera if you wish.
It is a common courtesy to tip your driver, guide, and porter when on
safari. The following list is a guide - as always you should tip based
on your satisfaction with service. All amounts per person, per day (per
Climbing rates: When climbing Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro
there is at least one senior guide, a cook/junior guide, and an average
of two porters per client. In a group of 8 it will be typical to have
one senior guide, one cook, and 16 porters. Therefore, on a six-day
ascent expect to pay $90 in tips per person - or more if you feel a
particular person went above and beyond the call of duty. All
amounts shared by group, per day
At least one major credit
card (ATM cards will work in most cities - but it's easier if connect your
VISA/MC to your bank account for use in the automatic teller machine
Money belt, or travel pouch
(make sure the pouch hangs/clips inside your pants or shirt), do NOT use a
(International Travel Immunization Record – required for some countries)
Passports/visas, plus copies
List of emergency contact
Sun Hat or cap, sunglasses,
clip-ons for regular glasses
Extra set of eyeglasses or
Pick up many rolls of film
before even getting to the airport, the price of film increases dramatically
at the airports and overseas.
Bird or mammal field guides,
Africa travel book
Blow-up travel pillow (helps
for sleeping during the flight)
Earplugs & blinders (for
sleeping on the overnight flights or anti-snoring during camping)
Basic stuff (band aids,
gauze, tape, first-aid cream, Betadine, pick up a kit from EMS, LLBean, or
Swiss army knife (do not
take in carryon, it will be confiscated at airport security)
Antibacterial hand gel (very
useful when water is scarce)
medications (whatever you need)
Imodium A-D or other
If you wear contact lenses,
bring eye medicine (Neosporin eye drops)
Tylenol, aspirin, Advil or
Benadryl pills or other
Mosquito repellent (DEET 35%
concentration – DeetPlus, Repel or Deep Woods, to spray on skin)
Sunscreen, aloe vera gel
Glucose tablets (critical for the final summit push on Kilimanjaro and
Kenya) and recommended prescribed medicines: dysentery antibiotic pills (Cipro),
altitude pills for Kilimanjaro (Diamox)
Manual shaver & extra blades
Deodorant stick (not
Shampoo and hair conditioner
(in small leak proof bottles)
Bar soap with soap
Chapstick for dry lips
Disposable contact lenses
For camping and mount
climbing - Toilet paper and quick-drying camping towe
Clothing is a matter of
taste, and laundry service is provided at all hotels/lodges during the
safari (not on Kilimanjaro), Days are warm and nights are cool so dress
accordingly. If you wish to purchase some special "safari" clothes, here is
a recommended list:
Wear tan, beige or light
sage green clothing (these colours hide dust, don't look dirty).
Women will want to have at
least one long casual skirt (cotton/canvas/khaki or whatever is easy-care in
hot weather) to wear during day-tour trips, out of respect for local
Teva sandals are all around
great footwear, or tennis shoes are okay for beach and bush, however you
just don’t want them to be brand new white.
Use packing plastic smush
bags to store sweaters/fleece, bulky clothing (these seal out the extra air
and make sweaters more compact).
3 pairs of pants (2 for the
field, 1 for evening) pants can be the kind that zipper off into shorts
(such as Expeditio), or blue jeans.
Long casual khaki
button-down dress or skirt (okay for day wear & evening in the bush or
lodge, can be brought in lieu of the 1 or 2 pairs of pants mentioned above).
3 shirts (stone/light
moss/sage-colored, not white colored) (2 for the field, 1 for evening)
2 under T-shirts, 7 pairs
underwear, 7 pairs khaki-color cotton socks (enough for about 1-3 weeks in
the field, can wash these out).
Shoes (brown color to match
evening dress or casual khaki dress)
Fleece jacket for early
morning/sunset game drives
Bathing suit, bikini, swim
goggles (white water rafting, swim at hotel/resort)
Packing: mountain climbing
Hiking boots (required),
should be waterproof and reasonably warm (Kili has snow at the summit – but
crampons or specialized boots are not necessary)
Warm hat, gloves, for
Rainproof shell (top and
bottom) - wear over fleece jacket at top of mountain for extra warmth
Long underwear, sock liners
Sub-zero weather sleeping
bag, camp pillow
Flashlight (or head lamp)
Granola or energy bars for
snacking on the trail
Remove your watch and
jewellery in big cities to avoid being a target. Never wear an external
money pouch or use a wallet in your pocket or have a loose backpack. Keep
things inside your clothing and out of sight.
Nairobi is like any major city in the world be it New York, London or Paris.
Take care of your valuables concealing jewellery and watches and hold
handbags tightly when walking on streets. Gold neck chains can be snatched
with ease and it’s not advisable to wear them. Keep valuables in the hotels
safe. Do not leave money, passport, jewellery or watches in the rooms or
tent; you carry them with you at all times. Be careful late at night in town
or whilst on a lonely beach.
Africa is a wonderful
place, but as in any poor economy, there are those hungry enough to steal
for their dinner.
Currency and banking
The amount of money in any currency brought into the country is not limited.
Only change your money at the hotels, in official banks and bureau de
change. Travelers’ checks, US Dollars, and major credit cards are widely
acceptable. However, you should change some small amount into local currency
to use for tipping and buying curios. The currency in Kenya is the Kenya
shillings and is divided into 100 cents.
Nairobi, Mombasa and other principal towns have banks with a bureau de
change. Banking hours are 0900am to 3.00p.m, Monday to Friday and 9.00a.m to
11.00am on the first and last Saturday of the month. Banks at the Jomo
Kenyatta international airport are open 24hours
Food and water
Standards of hygiene in hotels and lodges are high. Salads are safe at
international hotels and lodges; Fruits you can peel are the safest to eat.
Tap water in Nairobi is safe to drink, as it has been purified and filtered.
Ice too is safe in Nairobi. However, outside Nairobi purchase mineral water
or use filtered water found in carriers in most hotels and lodges. The local
Kenyan beer is an ideal thirst quencher too.
Shopping and bargaining.
Shop hours are from 8.30am to 12.30pm and from 2.00pm to 5.00pm Mondays to
Fridays and 8.30am to 12.30pm on Saturdays. Tourist shops usually remain
open beyond these hours and through lunch hour. Bargaining is particularly
used in markets and curio shops. Requesting for the final best price is
almost expected and starts off knowing you are being charged tourist prices
and end up paying what you think the item is worth to you. Do not purchase
game skins, trophies or elephant hair bracelets. These items are prohibited
as hunting was banned in 1976.
Ask for permission before photographing local people. Your driver/guide will
assist you in this and will possibly help you agree on modeling fee. Do not
take photographs of any official buildings such as airports; military
installations, border posts or roadblocks. Wildlife can easily be
photographed you just ask the driver to stop and ask any questions you may
have about the animals, terrain, people and their culture. It is advisable
to carry your cameras in dust-proof bags on safaris, especially in the dry
season. Films are available in hotels and lodges but it is advisable to
stock up in Nairobi as there is variety and are cheap.
Phones and fax facilities are available in Nairobi, Mombasa, Mount Kenya
Safari Club, most lodges/Tented Camps and major towns. E-mail services can
also be found from lodges and also hotel (ask at the reception).
Kenya boasts one of the best climates on the continent. It is
comfortable and pleasant during the day, with variations in
temperature due to altitude and terrain. We offer safaris year
round, and travelers who leave conventional wisdom unheeded by
making their trip during the rains of November, April or May will
almost certainly be treated to unexpected and exciting wildlife
experiences, un-crowded game reserves and probably a good deal of
sunshine. It can rain during any month. In recent times, changing
global weather patterns make transitions between rainy and dry
seasons come and go unpredictably. The following are the typical
a) December– February
This is the hot dry season. Excellent for birds and animal viewing,
though long grass may make some smaller species hard to see. Jan-Feb
is the calving season for wildebeest, zebra, and some hoofed
species. Average daily high temperature is 84 degrees Fahrenheit.
Intermittent rains start at this time. Game viewing is excellent
over short new grass of the plains. Spring-like conditions are
moderated by cool nights. Average daily high temperature is 86
c) April - May
These months are the heavier rainy season, and road conditions can
become difficult. There’s great biological activity in the reserves,
beautiful green landscapes and panoramas. Average daily high
temperature is 73 degrees Fahrenheit.
d) June - October
This is the cooler dry season. Peak tourist season is July-August.
Excellent viewing conditions, though many roads are dusty.
Wildebeest are normally encountered in the Maasai Mara in large
numbers in late July through October. Good time of year for climbing
Mt. Kenya. Average daily high temperature is 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
Here begin the short rains. There’s nice greening of plants, and
birds begin arriving from Eurasia. Expect intermittent showers and
some flash flooding. Wildebeest are migrating south out of the
Maasai Mara at this time. Average daily high temperature is 77
Other important points
Please be punctual for all departures, game drive and schedules so
as to make maximum use of your holiday time. Departure transfers for
international flights are usually two and half-hours prior to flight
times. Day rooms are reserved till 6.00pm.