Expert Travel Tips for a Safari in Kenya and Tanzania
East Africa Safari: What You Should Know Before You Go
It’s sometimes hard to remember what you need to do before you leave on a multi-day vacation. So, it’s not hard to imagine why traveling on an 11-day safari in East Africa would make you a little anxious. It’s Vacation to the rescue! With our list of expert tips, we wanted to offer our advice on what you should remember to do before a luxurious safari trip in Kenya and Tanzania. Let one of Vacation’s expert travel agents take care of all the details while you focus on wonderful thoughts of exploring Africa’s diverse wildlife. Here’s what you need to know before you go!
- Required Travel Documents - In addition to your government-issued passport, you need a Visa to travel to both Kenya and Tanzania. We recommend applying for your Kenya Visa online before you leave the U.S. And for Tanzania, we recommend that you apply for a Visa through the Tanzania Embassy in Washington, DC. You can apply for the Tanzania Visa upon arrival, but you can save time and hassle if you do it in advance.
Immunizations - Schedule vaccinations and immunization shots several weeks prior to your trip. The guidelines for travel to Kenya and Tanzania are different, so know before you go!
- ATMs and Getting Cash – Bring cash with you. Most cities and some towns have ATMs for you to get cash for tips and souvenirs, but they are limited and can be difficult to find in certain areas. U.S. currency is accepted in both countries, but you will receive change in local currency.
- Avoid Wearing Dark Clothes - Tsetse flies in Tanzania are attracted to black and navy-colored clothing. Although it can be uncomfortable in hot weather, we highly recommend that you wear light-colored pants and long-sleeved shirts to prevent bug bites.
- Age-Appropriate Travelers - Safaris are ideal for family or group trips, but we recommend that parents bring children in their teens or older. It’s important to know in advance that everything may not be appropriate for kids, including the natural behavior of predators, like a cheetah attacking a gazelle in the Serengeti. Consider who should go before you book your trip.
- Plan Ahead - With help from one of Vacation’s travel agents, we suggest pre-planning as much of your safari as you can, including your transportation to and from each destination in your itinerary. Planning a transfer to your hotel before your trip will help you avoid choosing one of 50 Kenyan taxi drivers to get you from the airport in Nairobi to your hotel. Trust us that you’ll appreciate having everything pre-planned after spending more than 15 hours on a plane.
- Tents and Camps: What to Expect – When planning a safari, you’ll hear the words “tent” and “camp” used frequently when it comes to accommodations. Keep in mind that most of these have running water, full bathrooms, electricity and most of the familiar modern amenities such as Wi-Fi. Some remote camps run on a generator where they are turned off at night and throughout the day when you’re out on a game drive.
- Nature isn’t on a Schedule - Sometimes the best Instagram-worthy moments require patience. Sitting and waiting for those jaw-dropping moments will pay off!
- Avoid Migration Crowds – Most people travel to East Africa to witness the Great Migration, which usually peaks in July and August. Travel in October to avoid the crowds. There’s still plenty of action and you may see wildebeest and zebra migrating in Tanzania.
- Pack Light – Airlines are usually mindful of your luggage weight, and this is especially important if your safari includes multiple airplane trips. Remember you must have a soft-sided suitcase and pack casual, comfortable clothes that are easy to wash.
- Pack Essential Toiletries - Pack Kleenex or your own roll(s) of toilet paper. On your journey, some public restrooms in Kenya don’t have toilet paper or they quickly run out of it. Be prepared.
- Be Aware of National Park Hagglers - Guests may be greeted with local women selling souvenirs before entering National Parks in both countries. Although it may seem rude… avoid eye contact if you do not want to purchase a souvenir.
- Tanzanite Shopping – This stunning violet gemstone is for sale everywhere in Tanzania, but we recommend buying earrings, rings and other jewelry that feature the impeccable gem at the reputable Cultural Heritage Center in Arusha.
Inspired by this article and want to speak with an expert travel agent about how you can plan an unforgettable safari in Kenya and Tanzania? Let one of Vacation’s on-call travel experts match you with an expert travel agent to customize an itinerary you’re gonna love.