Like everything in life, arriving prepared will allow you to make the best out of your Kenyan safari. Learn how to plan a safari in Kenya with these useful tips.
There comes a time in a traveller’s life when the temptation to go on a safari becomes just too strong to resist. If you ask me, Kenya is the perfect destination in this case.
However, a safari is probably nothing like you’ve ever experienced. The journey can be new and exciting but also stressful. Planning ahead will allow you to enjoy a wonderful and hassle-free adventure.
From your to-do list and timeline to travel documents, from accommodation to budgeting, find below a failsafe guide to planning your safari in Kenya.
When to start planning your safari
First of all, you need to figure out the best time to go on a safari in Kenya. Most tourists arrive during the long dry season, from June to October, and of course many hope to see the Great Migration in August.
However, some animals are easier to spot during the wet season, which is also less crowded. It’s up to you to set your priorities and decide on a departure date.
That said, you should start getting serious about planning between 4-6 months prior to your trip. That’s when, for example, airfares are likely to be cheaper.
Budgeting for a safari in Kenya
If your holiday budget is not generous when you start planning, you still have a few good months to save money. It’s easier to do when you have a goal budget in mind, so research the price of the type of attractions and activities you know you’ll want to take part in.
Here are some factors to consider when budgeting for a safari in Kenya:
- Plane tickets should be bought as early as possible
- Accommodation can vary greatly, especially within nature reserves. Make sure you know what you want and you’re aware of the price
- Documents such as visas and vaccinations result in unexpected expenses for many travellers
- Moving within Kenya can be pricey depending on your transportation of choice
- You will probably need to rent a car at some point, especially if you wish to explore parks and nature reserves on your own (highly recommended)
- If you’ll take part in guided tours, remember that these come at a price
Documents needed for a safari in Kenya
When travelling outside of your home country, you are likely to need a series of documents. Most foreign visitors, for example, need a Kenyan visa in order to enter the nation (although citizens of some African countries are visa-exempt.) The good news is that most tourists and safari visitors can request a visa completely online.
Keep in mind that for some nationals, supporting documents are required in order to obtain a visa. These will depend on the foreigner’s specific circumstances, such as their health conditions, their criminal record, and their travel plans. As some of these documents may take some time to be obtained, it is best to figure out the bureaucracy at least 1 month in advance.
Regardless of the visa, it is very important that you also make an appointment with your physician between 6-8 weeks prior to departure. That’s to discuss the vaccinations and medications you may need for your safari in Kenya. Make sure to have your Kenyan itinerary ready when you go to your appointment as some vaccinations may be required only for certain areas.
If you decide to rent a car, you will probably need an international driver’s license. That should be organised in advance too.
Finally, consider purchasing travel and/or health insurance coverage. It may not be a visa requirement, but it will help you leave with peace of mind.
Packing for a Kenyan safari
If you’re thinking cargo shorts and a hat will suffice, then think again. Temperatures can drop significantly during the night in the wilderness and trust me, you’ll want to take part in that night guided tour to spot big cats.
Here’s a list of essentials to pack for a safari in Kenya:
- Neutral-coloured clothing (khaki, green, and white are ideal)
- Sunglasses and high-protection sunscreen
- A light scarf and a hat
- Comfortable shoes or hiking boots
- Windbreaker jacket
- Malaria and antihistamine tablets
- Insect repellent
- Electronics like a camera, batteries, memory cards
How to choose the camp for a safari in Kenya
This may be one of the hardest parts of planning your trip. Of course, the first step is figuring out your priorities (five-star comfort or budget?)
However, you also want to make sure that the safari lodge of your choice is clean, safe, and has a good reputation, regardless of the price range. That’s why some online research is needed. Of course, asking your friends and family for recommendations should also be in your to-do list.
Finally, don’t forget that your priorities may include things you’re not used to when picking the accommodation for a regular trip abroad. For example, you may have some animals in mind that you absolutely want to see. That will affect the reserves and areas you will visit for your safari.
Susan Noel is an experienced content writer. She is associated with many renowned travel blogs as a guest author where she shares her valuable travel tips with the audience.