The best time to witness the migration from the Serengeti to Masai Mara is between July and September. During this period, the greatest spectacle on earth unfolds right before your eyes. Over a million wildebeest, zebra and gazelles make their way to Masai Mara by crossing the crocodile infested Mara River in search of greener pastures.
The exact timing may change from year to year as it is a spontaneous event influenced by rainfall patterns and the subsequent grazing opportunities. The animals are constantly on the move all year-round. They stay in the Masai Mara from July to October before gradually migrating back to the Serengeti from November
The dress code is fairly informal; just pick the clothes that you are most comfortable in.
Nights can be a bit chilly. Bring your sweater or fleece jacket and wind or rain coat as well. Morning and evening game drives can be quite cold.
The savannah is dusty, so white clothes are not advisable. Sandals are fine within the camp, but gym shoes – preferable with a solid sole – or hiking boots are important for walking safaris. Bring a small backpack to carry your water bottles, notebooks, binoculars etc.
If visiting Lamu we strongly encourage covered shoulders and knees when in Lamu town or Shela Village, out of respect for the locals’ religion and culture. When you are on the beach or at the Dhow, bikinis or bathing suits are fine.
Visas are required for almost all visitors entering Kenya. Currently the visa fee is 50 USD. It is most advisable to apply your visa online.
HOW TO APPLY FOR VISA ONLINE
Go to eVisa webpage
Create an account – you can use the same account for future visa applications as well.
Select the single entry visa.
Apply for the visa and pay with valid credit card.
Await approval via email, then download and print the eVisa from your eCitizen account.
Note: It takes at least 2 working days to get your eVisa.
Print the visa before you travel – present your printed eVisa to the immigration officer at the port of entry.
WHO NEEDS THE VISA?
Visas are required for all visitors entering Kenya, except for Nationals of the following countries who do not need a Kenya visa:
Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Botswana, Brunei-Darussalam, Cyprus, Dominica, Ethiopia, Fiji Islands, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Jamaica, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Maldives, Mauritius, Namibia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, San Marino, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, St Lucia, St Vincent & The Grenadines, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Turkey, Tuvalu, Uganda, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
The “Big Five” is a term that is used to refer to the 5 African animals that early big game hunters considered most difficult and dangerous animals to hunt on foot in Africa. These animals include the African elephant, lion, leopard, Cape buffalo, and rhinoceros.
This is the largest land animal in the world. Some of the adults can reach up to 3 meters in height. The adult males, bull elephants, are usually solitary creatures while females are generally found in groups led by a matriarch surrounded by younger females and their offspring’s. Although they are referred by many as gentle giants, elephants can be very dangerous and have been known to charge vehicles, humans and other animals when they feel threatened.
The lion is often called the king of the jungle because it is the fiercest and largest predator on land. Lion’s natural prey includes zebras, impalas, giraffes and other herbivorous especially the wildebeest. Lions tend to group themselves in pride of 12. Males are easily distinguished from females with their shaggy manes and are generally much larger. The females, however, do most of the hunting. Although they have been known to attack humans, lions are generally calm animals that do not usually seem threatened by close proximity to people.
Unlike the lions the leopard are almost always found alone. They are the most elusive of the big five since they mostly hunt during the night. The best time to find them is very early in the morning or at night. During the day you need to look carefully for these animals that usually can be found partially camouflaged in the undergrowth or behind a tree.
The buffalo are perhaps the most dangerous to humans among the big five. Buffalos are very protective and territorial and when threatened they are known to charge with astonishing speed. The buffalo are mostly found in groups and large herds. They spend most of their times grazing the savanna and flood plains. When approached the dominant bulls would tend to take an aggressive vigilant stand while the other adults gather around the calves to protect them.
Rhinoceros are endangered species. Even seeing one at a distance is a rare treat. There are two types of rhinos, the black and white rhinos. The white rhino gets its name not from its color which is really more yellowish grey but from the Dutch word “weid” which means wide. This is in reference to the animal’s broad, wide mouth. With its square jaw and wide lips they are able to graze. The black rhino, on the other hand, has a more pointed mouth which it uses to eat leaves from trees and bushes. White rhinos are much larger than the black rhinos and more common.
Kenya lies on the equator and has a pleasant, tropical climate, but there are large regional climatic variations influenced by several factors, including altitude. Temperatures drop by about 6°C for every 1,000m you climb (or 3.5°F per 1,000ft). Kenya’s daytime temperatures average between 20°C/68°F and 28°C/82°F, but it is warmer on the coast. The coast is hot and humid all year round, but the heat is tempered by the monsoon winds. Kenya is too close to the equator to experience a real winter and summer. There is, however, both a Dry and Wet season.
There are two dominant influences on the climate in Kenya: the onshore monsoon winds from the Indian Ocean, and altitude. The winds determine the onset of Kenya’s two rainy seasons, with the hot northeast monsoon or kaskazi blowing dry air in from the Persian Gulf from November to March/April and the warm, moist kusi monsoon blowing in from the southeast from April/May to October. It’s the slightly cooler kusi that normally delivers the heaviest rain, a season known as the ‘long rains’, in late-April, May and early June. The relatively cool season, from late-June to October, gets much less rain. There’s a second rainy season, the ‘short rains’, for a few weeks in November and December, followed roughly from mid-December to March by a dry season of hot, usually rainless, weather.
Although prolonged rainfall isn’t that uncommon, the typical pattern is for rain to fall as a torrential downpour, lasting perhaps half an hour to an hour, with the sun then coming out and drying the wet ground in minutes.
The theory of Kenya’s climate is one thing: predicting the actual weather for specific dates is increasingly difficult as climate change impacts more and more, bringing floods and droughts, unseasonably cool and unseasonably hot weather.
Insurance is always the guest’s responsibility
Make sure you have valid travel insurance that covers your safari trip.
Maisha Tourist cover
Your safety and security are our number one priority. As such, in the unlikely event of serious illness or injury, our Maisha Tourist Cover could come in handy.
This is a “Flying Doctors” Insurance cover running for 30 days aimed at providing quality and affordable Air Ambulance evacuation services throughout the East Africa region, including: Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, and South Sudan.
It’s important to understand that this coverage is not medical coverage. Instead, it is coverage for medically necessary transportation. We highly recommend travel insurance for full coverage.
Some of the benefits of AMREF Flying Doctors Maisha Tourist cover include:
- Two evacuation flights per subscription period
- Direct access to our 24 Hour Control Centre for medical advice
- Direct access to the air ambulance provider, no third party
Maisha Tourist offers three different levels of cover:
- Maisha Tourist Silver – covers Kenya, Tanzania, & Zanzibar
- Maisha Tourist Gold – covers Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Uganda, Rwanda, & Burundi
- Maisha Tourist Platinum – covers Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, & South Sudan.
Rates per person
Your safety is our highest priority, and upon arrival you will be briefed on do’s and don’ts by our experienced safari guides.
Kenya is generally safe for tourists; however, you should use the same travel precautions as you would in other parts of the world. Avoid travelling after dark in isolated places, and keep valuables safe at all times. It is advisable to not carry large sums of cash or wear expensive-looking jewelry or watches in the streets.
Tipping is normal in Kenya – if you are satisfied with the service, a suitable tip is normally around 10%
At hotel and lodges, you can use the tip box at the reception rather than to tip staff members individually. It is advised by managements to encourage teamwork; hence, the tip is shared amongst all the staff, not only those few who come close to guests.
There are no compulsory vaccinations required for entry to Kenya unless you are arriving from an area infected with Yellow Fever, in which case a Certificate of Inoculation against Yellow Fever is required for all travelers older than one year.
Visitors coming from other countries in Africa where Yellow Fever may occur, including Tanzania and Zanzibar, require a Yellow Fever certificate. The other recommended vaccinations are Typhoid, Hepatitis and Polio, and anti-malarial medication is essential.
Make sure to bring your mosquito repellent, and use long sleeves and trousers during evenings/ morning times as a prevention of getting bitten. Please consult your doctor concerning vaccination prior to your journey to make sure you are fully protected
Upon arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) you will have to clear immigration.
The Visa process at the airport might be a bit chaotic with everyone filling in forms and joining the queue. You should have been given an immigration form on the plane and it is wise to fill this in before landing, but you can find them at the airport. That way you can go straight to the queue to passport control. Make sure you have the needed paperwork for your approved online visa application. You can apply for your visa here.
After picking up your bags, you can head to the exit. Just outside the arrivals hall you will be met by our driver, who will be holding a sign displaying your name. The arrivals hall is often very crowded and you might be approached by taxi drivers before seeing our representative. Just ignore these approaches and keep looking out for your driver.
Below you can find our carefully created packing list for your Safari Travel. We wish you to have the most comfortable holiday!
It’s always great to have – African nights are dark!
A GOOD BOOK
For relaxation between the adventures.
Comfortable footwear for walking safaris (gym shoes/hiking boots) and sandals while in the camp.
To capture the memories.
WIND JACKET/RAIN COAT
For the cold mornings.
For chilly nights around the campfire.
COMFORTABLE SAFARI CLOTHES
Avoid white because of the dust from the savannah.
Make sure to not miss a thing!
To avoid being burned by the sun.
SUN HAT & SUNGLASSES
Protection from the strong African sun.
PACK IN A SOLID, SOFT BAG
Easier to stack in safari jeeps and small airplanes. Remember max. 15kg limit for domestic flights.