Planning Your Safari

* When to go       * Budget       * Number of Travelers            * Travel Times            * Accommodations
* Meals                   * Vehicles              * Custom Safaris            * Security

Below you will find a FAQ with answers to frequent safari planning questions. And if you don’t find the answer to your question there, just ask us at

When to Go and Other Important Dates

How many days would you recommend for a safari?

It largely depends on budget and available travel time. The shortest programs we arrange are three days / three nights. Anything shorter is a blur. Our most popular programs are seven or eight days. They include

When is the best time of year to go on safari?

Kenya and Tanzania are great year-round destinations. July through August and the month of December are the busiest times in Kenya and Tanzania. Lodges and parks can be crowded with tourists and reservations often must be made six, eight, even nine months in advance. July and August also happen to be the best time to catch the wildebeest in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve.

Seasonal rains hit hardest from March to May (with lighter rains falling October to December).

January and February are wonderful months to visit East Africa since the hot, dry weather is considered by many to be East Africa’s most pleasant. It’s also the time of year when birdlife flocks to the Rift Valley lakes in the greatest numbers, attracting bird-watchers from around the globe.

Why are the rates lower between April 1 and May 31?

Seasonal rains hit hardest between April and May. During these months things are much quieter, lodges and camps generally have more rooms available and therefore prices decrease. The rains generally don’t affect travelers’ ability to get around, although the tracks within the parks, particularly Amboseli, can become muddy and rutted.

What is the weather like in Kenya and Tanzania?

Kenya straddles the equator, and Tanzania is not far south, so both countries enjoy a tropical climate. The coasts are hot and humid, while the inland areas are generally temperate, due to the altitude. The northern parts of Kenya are very hot and dry. The average annual temperature in Nairobi (altitude 4,980 feet) is 77°F maximum and 56°F minimum. The coastal town of Mombasa (altitude 50 feet) is 86°F maximum and 73°F minimum.

There is plenty of sunshine throughout the year and summer clothes are appropriate year round. Nights and mornings can be quite cool. The long rains occur from March to May and short rains occur November and December. The rainfall is sometimes heavy and when it does come, it often falls in the afternoons and evenings. The hottest period is from February to March and the coolest is July to August.

When and where can I see the great migration?

Always; the annual wildebeest migration never ends. The herds roam the grasslands and rolling hills of Tanzania and Kenya in a great counter-clockwise loop. Their travels carry them from their breeding grounds in the southern reaches of Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to their summer foraging grounds in Kenya’s Maasai Mara Reserve and back again, over and over. The massive herds, nearly two million wildebeest, zebras, antelopes, and gazelles, generally begin crossing the Mara River into Kenya and the Mara Triangle in late July and begin the return March in late September. During the rest of the year, the herd can be seen in different parts of the massive Serengeti National Park

Do safaris start on specific days and dates?

Public safaris start on scheduled departure dates while private safari programs with a minimum of two travelers can start on any day you wish.

Are departure dates guaranteed?

Yes, all of our public safaris have guaranteed departure dates in kenya for camping safaris while in tanzania we have for both camping and lodge safaris.


As a rule of thumb, a good number to work with is $300 to $400 per person per night for an all inclusive safari in a party of two to four people traveling together sharing two per room. This will include your accommodation in a three or four star property; breakfast, lunch and dinner; transport in your own private vehicle with your own private guide; game park entrance fees; and up to three game drives per day.

Items not included are alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks as well as tips for your driver/guide. These typically average between $8 and $10 per person per day, paid directly to your driver/guide. Other items to consider are medical shots and entry visas.

What is included in the safari price?

1. Accommodation as detailed in the itinerary (hotel, lodge, camp).
2. All meals noted in the itinerary. Each day generally includes Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner buffets consisting of both western and local dishes.
3. Transportation in a minivan fitted with a pop-up roof for game-viewing and photography. Every passenger is guaranteed a window seat. Your driver (who is also your guide) speaks English and has in-depth knowledge of the flora, fauna, landscape, and culture of East Africa.
4. Minivans are outfitted with two-way, long range high frequency radio communications equipment.
5. Each minivan carries safari accessories including wildlife books, beanbags to support cameras on car doors and window sills, binoculars, a first-aid kit, an ice-chest, and a fire extinguisher.
6. Bottled mineral water during game drives.
7. Park entrance fees and game drives as noted in the itinerary.
8. All government taxes, levies, and fees.
9. All arrival and departure transfer fees between airports, hotels, parks, etc.
10. Twenty-four hour stand-by contact telephone number.

What is not included in the safari price?

1. Domestic and international airfares and departures taxes.
2. Personal communications charges for telephone calls, faxes, email, etc.
3. Tips and gratuities for hotel, lodge and camp staff and for your driver/guide.
4. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. (Bottled mineral water is provided in the minivan while on game drives.)
5. Laundry services.
6. Holiday supplemental fee over the Christmas/New Year Holiday.
7. Between meal snacks, additional entrance fees to reserves, parks, attractions, and events not included in your itinerary.

Are airport transfers included in the price?

All safaris including an overnight stay in Nairobi or Arusha at the beginning of your safari include your arrival and departure transfers.

For all other safaris, arrival and departure transfers are not included.

How much do airport transfers cost if not included in my program?

Airport transfers cost $50 per person each way.

Number of People Traveling

Does the cost per person in a group decrease as the number of participants increases?

Yes, the cost per person in a group decreases up to a maximum of six people traveling together. Although our vehicles are designed to comfortably carry eight passengers, we never seat more than six in a vehicle. When the number is larger than six we try to work out a special price. For groups larger than 15 a free trip is provided for the group leader (land only ? sharing).

Can I go on Safari alone?

We have special rates for people traveling solo. See the specific safari for details and contact us at for more information or call +254 723 433 138 to speak to our safari professional and consultant.

Will there be other travelers in the vehicle?

Private programs only include members of your party – in your own private vehicle with your own private guide. Public programs are open to other travelers, to a maximum of six.

Are children allowed on safari?

Tanzania and Kenya are terrific destinations for families and a safari is an amazing experience to share with children, particularly those who are already enchanted by Africa and its wildlife. If you are considering taking a young child, however, you should ask yourself if both you and your child can deal with the complications of travel. For children, especially young children, Kenya and Tanzania can be a mixture of fun (the pool, the beach, playing with other kids) and tedium (the 17+ hour flight, the sometimes long game drives, the need to be well-behaved while dining in restaurants). Also, be sure to speak with your doctor about any health-related concerns related to bringing your child to Africa.

Finally, please note that some properties, such as Treetops and Shimba Hills Hotel, do not allow children under age five at their lodges. We will be sure to inform you if your safari plans include such properties.

Traveling from Park to Park

Travel from one park to next is in your designated safari vehicle. This is usually our purpose built safari minivan or 4×4 land cruiser, but we also offer the option of flying from park to park. On average we budget about $250 per person per flight segment.

What are the travel times between the places on the safari programs?

Sample distances:
Nairobi > Maasai Mara 4 1/2 hrs
Nairobi > Samburu 4 1/2 hrs
Nairobi > Lake Nakuru 2 1/2 hrs
Nairobi > Amboseli 3 hrs

Accommodations on Safari

What are the accommodations like?

The best way to learn more about our camps and lodges is to review the detailed day-to-day itineraries. Each day on the itinerary includes a the lodge or camp – just click on the top menu of our site is a link for Hotels , Lodges and camps and they range from simple and clean to elegant and refined.

How many people can share a room?

Most rooms can comfortably accommodate up to three (3) people each.

How does staying in a tented camp compare to a lodge?

Tented camps are usually small and often privately owned, so the attention to detail and level of service is generally exceptionally good.

In a tented camp, the landscape and wildlife feel very close, because they are. Unlike in a large lodge, travelers are not sealed off from the African soundscape ? the hooting of owls at night, or the roaring of lions. However, camps do tend to be more expensive than lodges and fill up quicker since they are smaller.

Can I select a different hotel or lodge from the one suggested on your program?

Yes..!! All private programs can be customized to suit your preferences.

Do people speak English in Tanzania and Kenya?

English is the “language of communication” in Tanzania and Kenya. It is widely spoken in hotels, restaurants, and visitor establishments.

Swahili is the national language in both Tanzania and Kenya, and a little Swahili goes a long way. Try to learn a little before your trip, and try top pick up a little more while on safari. Don’t worry about your accent; the locals are thrilled to hear visitors attempt to use any Swahili at all. To get you started, “jambo” means hello. You’ll be hearing it often.

Meals on Safari

The food served on safari is of the highest quality. Gourmet cooks bake fresh breads, and produce soups, salads, and entrees that could easily grace tables at top restaurants around the world.

The day begins with tea and biscuits before a morning activity, such as a game drive. Late breakfast or brunch is served upon return to the camp or lodge ? cereals, fruit, bacon, eggs, sausage, and toast. Buffet lunches are typical with a warm dish such as stew served with salads, quiches and cold meats. Dinner consists of an appetizer followed by meat, fish and pasta dishes served with assorted vegetables and sauces.

Dinner is followed by coffee (or tea), cheeses, and gorgeous desserts.

What types of meals are included on safari?

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided each day on safari. Meals are primarily European style buffets with African influences.

Do you cater to special meal requests such as vegetarian, diabetic, low sodium?

Special diets are not a problem as long we know your needs in advance.

Safari Vehicles

What kind of vehicle will we be traveling in?

Our classic safari vehicle is a purpose built Eight-seat minivan specially designed for the terrain. It comes complete with a pop-up roof for easy game viewing and plenty of windows for unobstructed views of the landscape.

Four-wheel drive vehicles are also available at an additional cost.

Customizing a Tour,Excursions, Hotels, Extensions

Can I customize a safari to Kenya/Tanzania?

Of course you can! Our safari itineraries are suggestions; if you would like to visit different parks or stay at different lodges or camps, we would be happy to make those changes for you. We will also make sure your choices do not result in over long drives between destinations and complicated logistics.

Can we go out on night game drives?

Night game drives are only available in private parks and reserves such as the Sweetwaters Sanctuary and the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and at special areas of mara west.

How close will I get to the wildlife?

Pretty close, but you will be perfectly safe in your minivan or 4×4 vehicle. Some animals are acclimated to minivans and won’t think twice about coming near the vehicle for a closer look at you.

A few destinations offer hikes and walking safaris. These require the services of an armed guide, just in case.

What activities are available in Nairobi at the beginning or end of our trip?

There is plenty to do in Nairobi including visits to the Giraffe Center, Karen Blixen Museum, Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, Bomas of Kenya Cultural Center, The Nairobi Museum and Snake Park, a city tour, Mrs. Mitchells Tea Farm, among others. Each excursion averages about $80 per person.

Could you assist with finding accommodation in Nairobi or Arusha?

We are a full service safari and Travel agency. In addition to safari planning services, we can also book your hotel, book international air travel and domestic air travel within Kenya and Tanzania, and arrange airport transfers.

Where can I go on a hot air balloon ride and how much is it?

A hot air balloon ride can be arranged for you at the Maasai Mara Game Reserve or Serengeti National Park. The cost averages about $450 per person.

Do we have to book our hot air balloon ride in advance?

During the high season, we recommend that you book hot air balloon rides in advance to guarantee availability. In the low season, you can make arrangements on the ground.

Are there activities that can allow us to experience some of the local culture?

Yes. Visits to Maasai or Samburu villages are quite popular and can be included in your program on request. You will also have some opportunities to meet locals on the road between parks and reserves. Ask
your driver!

We are going to celebrate a special occasion ? honeymoon, birthday, anniversary. Do you make any special arrangements in such cases?

Our safari experts would be happy to discuss any special requests that you may have to make this occasion memorable for you.

What other activities are available other than game drives?

You can take nature walks, relax by the pool, visit local villages and meet local people, arrange for balloon rides. Some private reserves, such as those operated by the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, will allow you to observe (and sometimes participate in!) their preservation activities.

Security in Kenya

What is the security situation in Kenya?

Kenya has long been one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. It is the safari capital of the world in large part due to extraordinary care the Kenyan government takes to ensure the safety of tourists and visitors. There is no record in recent history of any safety related issue involving a tourist in Kenya. Kenya hosts over a million visitors each year in safety and comfort.

As with all international travel, visitors should remain aware of their surroundings. This is true of East Africa, particularly outside the parks and away from the safari minivan. Kenya and Tanzania are developing countries, each with pockets of poverty and desperation, and western tourists can be attractive targets. Travelers are advised to follow common sense security practices while in the cities and on the roads (do not carry lots of cash; refrain from ostentation in dress; leave jewelry and valuables at home or in the hotel safe; do not roam city streets alone at night).

The US State Department offers travelers extensive personal security advice while abroad, including tips on what to pack, what to leave behind, what to do in case of an emergency, and how to contact the local embassy or consular office. Visit the State Department’s website: to learn more.

About Author