Kenya Travel Tips
The small amount of local currency you may need during your stay in Kenya can be obtained at authorised facilities (such as at authorised hotels, banks and foreign exchange bureaus). Clients going directly on safari upon arrival in Nairobi may exchange money at the airport currency exchange if they wish.
Porters: A tip of US $1.00 per person is appropriate for two pieces of baggage at airports, hotels, lodges and camps. If you are travelling with more than two pieces of baggage, an additional tip of US $1.00 per bag is recommended.
Driver-Guide: One driver-guide accompanies each land vehicle on safari. It is customary to tip your driver-guide on the last day you are with him or her. Approximately US $5 - US $7 per traveller per day is considered a good tip for a driver-guide (based on 4 – 6 travellers in a vehicle). If there are only 2 or 3 travellers in a vehicle, you may consider raising this amount to approximately US $6 - US $8 per traveller per day in recognition of the individual attention given to a smaller size group.
Safari Escort: In addition to a driver-guide, some groups are accompanied by a professional safari escort. It is customary to tip your safari escort on the last day you are with him or her, and the recommended tip is US $8 to US $10 per traveller, per day. As with the tip for a driver guide, smaller groups (in this case, 5 or less) might consider tipping slightly more – in the range of approximately US $10 - US $12 per traveller per day.
Mobile Camping: If you are travelling on an mobile camping safari (either independently or on a programme) you will be served by a camp manager and several staff, for whom an overall tip of US $10 - US $14 per traveller per day in camp is recommended. This should be given to your guide on the last day for distribution among all camp staff. Again, smaller groups (in the case of 5 or less) might consider tipping in the slightly higher range of approximately US $12 - US $18 per traveller, per day (this applies to the exclusive camps, where tips are not included, and not to the permanent tented camps).
For full details on climate, please see Best Time to Go.
For up to date information on latest health and vaccination recommendations, please contact your doctor.
We recommend that you bring all the photographic equipment you will need from home, including an ample supply of memory cards, additional camera batteries and rechargeables. In Kenya, memory cards and batteries are not usually for sale outside of major cities and, if available, are very expensive. It is also suggested that you have your equipment insured before you depart.
Many travellers, viewing this as their "trip of a lifetime" for animal photography, bring more than one camera in case of a malfunction. Sun filters will help block glare and heat haze; a wind reduction filter may be useful for video cameras. Tripods are impractical, since most photos will be taken from your safari vehicle however a small light portable tripod can be very useful in taking slow exposures for landscapes and evening scenes. A dustproof camera bag (or some Ziploc plastic bags) and an air brush will help protect your equipment from heavy dust.
If you plan to travel with digital photographic and/or video equipment, make certain to pack the specific charging apparatus for each piece of equipment (as well as the appropriate socket plug adaptor and voltage converter). We also suggest that you take into account the amount of data storage of each unit when determining the amount (if any) of additional memory discs to pack. Portable storage devices with viewing screens are also advisable to help edit and back up images. This will save carrying too many memory cards and act as extra storage if needed.
At most lodges, video and digital camera batteries can be recharged with adapters for North American equipment to local voltage. Adapters must be brought since lodges are unable to provide this equipment. However, be aware that overnight recharging may not be possible where generator use restricts the availability of electricity.
When photographing people, especially members of the Maasai tribe, always ask permission first. The only exception to this is when you are photographing a public scene with a lot of people in it, aiming at no one in particular. Because so many local people are asked for permission to be photographed, many will expect a tip or an outright fee for this. In fact, some "professional posers" make a living this way. Always be considerate of anyone's desire not to be photographed.
While gameviewing in parks and reserves, some travellers get caught up in the excitement of the moment to the point of losing their sensitivity to the wildlife they are observing and the other people sharing their safari vehicle. Please be careful not to disturb the animals by making unnecessary noises or commotion, and be conscious of sharing the best photographic views with others in your vehicle. Remember to be respectful of wildlife and the fragile ecosystem you have entered.