To help you get the very best out of your wildlife safari experience (and to ensure you make the most out of your time and budget) we have put together our “top tips” to remember when planning your trip:
1. Make sure that you allow enough time to stay at each of the lodges or camps so that you can go on several game drives to see the area and its wildlife. Avoid the temptation to try to cram in many different parks staying just one or two nights in each place as this will mean you spend too much time travelling between the parks and do not have the chance to fully enjoy any of the wildlife areas on game drives from the camp or lodge.
2. We always recommend flying in to the camps rather than travelling across country. The long road journeys between the parks can be exhausting and some of the routes have very bad stretches of road especially Nairobi to Mara. Spending half a day or even longer travelling on the pot-holed Kenyan roads, with all the overloaded lorries and buses, is more stressful than a short flight straight to the camp. Of course, flying also lets you experience some wonderful aerial views of the landscape.
3. Another reason to avoid long overland journeys is that the vehicles licensed to carry tourists are all fitted with “Speed Governors” restricting the maximum speed to 80kph (50mph). This means that a journey of 200 miles on the best roads can take 6 hours and longer journeys can take all day. Many of the different parks are a very long way from each other.
4. Make sure you each have your own pair of binoculars so that you can enjoy the best viewing of the wildlife and birds. If necessary you can buy a new pair at the Duty Free at your departure airport.
5. Before you depart do some reading up on the flora and fauna to get a better appreciation of what you may see – see our Recommended Reading List.
6. If you arrive in Nairobi in the morning after an overnight flight, instead of travelling straight on safari consider having a night at Nairobi Tented Camp in Nairobi National Park, so that you can rest and take things easy after the flight but still do some game viewing on a safari in the park. And this may be the only place where you get a chance to photograph a rhino!
7. Book a safari which has game drives in a proper 4×4 safari vehicle in preference to a minibus (van). The vans are not ideal for driving on the rough tracks in the parks and reserves and can get stuck when roads are muddy. In the rainy season we often have to rescue other safari companies’ minibuses using our 4x4s and pull them out of the mud!