Kenya Trip Report Part 19 – Safari Tips and Advice

A pair of cheetahs

So, what did we learn from our trip. The airline-related lessons include:

  • Don’t expect Qatar Airways to hold a flight for you even when you arrive before it takes off.
  • Do expect aircraft changes and business class seat changes on international flights.
  • Know your options if there’s a delay or missed connection.

Mostly though, I wanted to discuss some of the things we learned about how to plan and execute a safari in Kenya.

  • Use a local safari company. Imraan and his company worked with us every step of the way in planning and executing the trip. I did check with a few other companies just to compare prices, but in the end, I was very happy with the decision to use Best Camping & Tours. Even so, I had a lot of questions about logistics and the camps he selected. Don’t be afraid to ask tons of questions and get satisfactory answers. You are probably spending a lot and need to be comfortable with the itinerary.
  • Don’t buy a camera just for the trip. Yes, if you have a great DSLR or mirrorless camera and lenses that you use often, bring them (in your carry-on). If you’re typically a smartphone photographer, don’t bother buying a new camera just for the trip unless you have many hours to figure out how to use it before you leave. There’s no sense in trying to figure out all the settings while the rhino or leopard walks past your vehicle and is gone before you can say f-stop. Smartphone cameras are great and can take excellent pictures and video. Yes, they are not as sharp as a DSLR camera, but you can still get some good pictures, especially if you have a good driver/guide who gets close to the action.
  • Make sure you understand the entry requirements for where you are going. Kenya’s requirements changed several times over the three years we were planning and re-planning this trip. Don’t forget the needed documents and print things out just in case your phone dies or you can’t get Wi-Fi at the airport on arrival.
  • Plan for all medical contingencies. You’ll be in remote areas, so plan to bring a course of antibiotics for each person in your group, mosquito repellant, sunscreen, anti-diarrheal medicine, a small first aid kit including antibiotic cream and any other medication that might be needed. I went to a travel clinic and picked up anti-malarial pills for our family and they also gave me a Cipro prescription for all of us. Everything was free (covered by insurance). You may also want to bring something for motion sickness if you have someone who suffers from it in your group, as you get the “African massage” from the safari vehicle and the bumpy trails.
  • Figure out your most cost-effective way to get some local cash. It’s best if you have an ATM card from Schwab that reimburses all ATM fees, but if not, you can arrange with your safari company to exchange some money or use the exchange booth at the airport. You’ll need some cash for souvenirs at the villages, tips for porters, waiters and other staff at the camps, and for a nice tip for your driver/guide at the end.
  • Pack light. We all managed to bring carry-on luggage for a 13 day trip. Yes, we checked it on the way home, but there’s less risk if something gets delayed or lost on the trip home. We were able to do laundry (except underwear) when we got to Tipilikwani Camp so we had plenty to wear. You do not need to bring any nice clothes for dinner as everyone is casual. You will need some warmer layers for the evenings and early mornings.
  • Enjoy all aspects of the trip. It’s not just about the animals. We also enjoyed two different tribal village visits, shopping for souvenirs in Nairobi, getting to know the staff at the camps, seeing different landscapes on our road trips, and some excellent and much-needed downtime relaxing with a book or downloaded show or just spending time together.

I hope you enjoyed reading this trip report as much as I enjoyed writing it and reliving our trip. If you have questions, let me know in the comments or send me an email at If you are thinking about opening a new credit card, please use one of my links.

One thought on “Kenya Trip Report Part 19 – Safari Tips and Advice

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s