Experience East Africa Like Never Before
This is a world of grassy steppes, tall mountains, beautiful people, and the country’s renowned abundance of wildlife. This is East Africa. You won’t feel like a tourist when you experience it with WI. Local East African guides will take you off the beaten path to see the wildlife, meet the Maasai, and explore the diverse landscapes of equatorial Kenya. Watch the sun set over the plains, camp out under the stars, view animals from on foot and from four-wheel drive vehicles, make friends of both Maasai and Kikuyu descent, and if you are keen to stay on, climb Mount Kenya or Kilimanjaro.
For standard meeting places and times, see Dates & Fees tab.
DAY 1: Your guide will meet you in the evening at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. Transfer to your hotel in Nairobi for a night of rest.
DAY 2: Load up vehicles for a scenic drive through the Great Rift Valley enroute to Lake Nakuru National Park. We'll arrive in time for an evening game drive before dinner. Camp inside the park!
DAY 3: Spend the day driving Nakuru National Park photographing millions of pink flamingos, rhinoceros, giraffe, monkeys, zebra, and, if we're lucky, some of the big cats. The bird life in Nakuru is astounding.
DAY 4: Get up early for sunrise over Lake Nakuru and then drive on to Lake Naivasha. Visit Elsamere estate, residence of Joy Adamson, historian, artist, naturalist, and author of BORN FREE. Enjoy a boat cruise to Crescent Island with a chance to see hippos and take a walk with giraffe, zebra, gazelle, and more on the island where "Out of Africa" was filmed. Enjoy an elaborate afternoon tea at the estate afterwards.
DAYS 5-9: Drive to the Loita Hills of Masailand, exploring the towns of Narok and other small Maasai villages along the way. We'll camp near Morijo where we will be met by our Maasai cultural liaisons. The next three days we will be spent immersing ourselves in Maasai culture and taking in the vast beauty of their homeland. There will be possible options to hike, attend ceremonies, sleep in a boma, herd cattle, attempt beadwork, visit a school, and of course we won't leave without having a goat roast with new new friends.
DAYS 10-12: You'll have a chance to trade belongings or money for Maasai tools and crafts before driving on to Maasai Mara/Serengeti National Reserve. We will stay in a tented safari camp out on the plains of the world's most famous game reserve that has been called the Kingdom of Lions. Over the next three days you'll have the opportunity to spot wildlife ranging from the mighty elephant to the tiny jackal.
DAYS 13: Return to Nairobi and visit the City Market for a chance to buy some handmade crafts and gifts for people back home. Your final evening in Kenya will end with dinner at Carnivore where you'll be able to sample local game and beverages.
DAY 14: Visit the Nairobi Giraffe Center or the National Museum before heading to the airport to fly home. If interested, begin optional Mt. Kenya or Kilimanjaro climbing adventure (additional costs apply).
Travel, Terrain, Etc...
TERRAIN/ROUTE CHOICES: Kenya varies in terrain from tall mountains to vast plains. You'll complete a custom route base on the nature of your service project.
TYPE OF TRAVEL/DISTANCE: East Africa is a welcoming escape for travelers of all levels of experience. Travel between destinations is provided in four-wheel drive vans where everyone has a window seat. For the safari sections we'll open the roofs of these same vehicles for excellent wildlife viewing and photography. No previous experience is necessary.
WEATHER: In the area where most safaris take place, it gets hot during midday and cools dramatically at night (50º-95ºF). Mid-March through April is a period of short rains, and November through December see more persistent rains, though rain is possible year-round.
YOUR GROUP: The group size typically ranges from 5 to 12 participants, plus local guides. Each group consists of people of various ages, backgrounds and abilities, including people with disabilities.
ACCOMMODATIONS: Running water facilities are available everywhere except in Maasailand where we will sleep in tents and bathroom facilities will consist of an outhouse or a foldable commode chair set up in a privacy tent. We make every effort to ensure privacy and cleanliness.
EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING: If you are new to outdoor activities, you need not spend a lot of money on gear. Wilderness Inquiry will provide all necessary group and camping equipment. All you need to provide is personal gear, such as clothing , sleeping bag, and backpack. A detailed equipment list will be sent to you upon confirmation.
MEALS: Kick back and relax while all meals are made for you. You'll indulge in a mix of typical Kenyan and British cuisine, including beef, chicken, potatoes, rice and lots of fruit. The water is not safe to drink out of the tap, but bottled water is readily available. The purchase of alcoholic beverages is not included in the trip fees.
HEALTH: It is important that you make an appointment at least 4-6 weeks before your trip and inform your doctor that you are traveling to Kenya. This allows for adequate time to get new immunizations, if required, and ensure that others are up-to-date. We also recommend a prescription for an anti malarial medication. For the most up-to-date recommendations and requirements, please visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's website.
PASSPORT/VISA: U.S. citizens need a passport to enter Kenya, and it must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your planned departure. Two blank passport pages (excluding the Amendments pages) are typically required for entry stamp and visa. Prior to visiting Kenya, all travelers must fill out an online eVisa application via the eCitizen portal, https://www.ecitizen.go.ke/. Cost is about $53 USD. After receiving the eVisa, travelers must download and present a hard copy of the eVisa upon arrival in Kenya. Approval after application and payment takes an estimated seven to ten days. We encourage you to check the State Department website for the most up to date entry requirements for Kenya.A note about the itinerary: Our trips are real adventures in the outdoors. While we'll make every effort to follow the itinerary listed here, elements may change due to weather or reasons beyond our control.
Kenya lies on the equator, and borders the Indian Ocean, Tanzania, and Uganda, among other countries. It has a warm and humid climate along its coastline on the Indian Ocean that changes to wildlife-rich savanna grasslands as you move inland towards the capital of Nairobi. Nairobi has a cool climate that gets colder as you move towards Mount Kenya, which has three permanently snowcapped peaks. The warm and humid tropical climate reappears further inland towards Lake Victoria, before giving way to temperate forested and hilly areas in the western region.
Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi, lies next to a national park. The country is famous for its safaris and diverse world-famous wildlife reserves such as Tsavo National Park, the Maasai Mara, Nakuru National Park, and Aberdares National Park that attract tourists from all over the world.
Lake Victoria, the world’s second largest freshwater lake (after Lake Superior in the U.S. and Canada) and the world’s largest tropical lake, lies in the southwest part of Kenya and is shared with Uganda and Tanzania.
Mount Kenya, an imposing extinct volcano, dominates the landscape of the Kenyan Highlands east of the Rift. Mount Kenya lies about 140 kilometers north-northeast of Nairobi with its northern flanks across the equator. The mountain has three main peaks - Batian (5200 meters), Nelion (5188 meters), and Point Lenana (4985 meters). The mountain slopes are cloaked in forest, bamboo, scrub, and moorland that give way to rock, ice, and snow as you ascend in altitude.
Designated as both a Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997, Mount Kenya covers 715 square kilometers. This reserve includes the peaks consisting of all the ground above 3200 meters with two small salients extending down to 2450 meters along the Sirimon and Naro Moru tracks. Surrounding the park is Mount Kenya National Reserve with an area of approximately 2095 square kilometers (517,000 acres).
The tourism sector has exhibited steady growth in most years since independence and by the late 1980s had become the country’s principal source of foreign exchange. Tourists, the largest number from Germany and the United Kingdom, are attracted mainly to the coastal beaches and the game reserves, notably, the expansive Tsavo National Park (20,808 square kilometers, or 5.14 million acres) in the southeast. Tourism has seen a substantial revival over the past several years and is the major contributor to the pick-up in the country's economic growth. Tourism now ranks as Kenya’s largest foreign exchange earning sector, followed by flowers, tea, and coffee.
Kenya’s human population remains quite diverse. About 41 million people live in Kenya, coming from 42 different peoples and cultures, including, Swahili on the coast, pastoralist communities in the north, and many different communities in the central and western regions. The Maasai culture is well known because of tourism, despite being a minor percentage of the Kenyan population. They are renowned for their elaborate upper body adornment and jewelry.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What are the visa requirements for Kenya?
A visa is simply a stamp in your passport that permits travel in a foreign country. You need to have a Single-entry tourist visa to get through customs in Kenya for this trip. There are two ways to obtain this visa:
A. In advance, from the Kenyan Embassy in Washington, DC.
This method is preferred by the Kenyan government because it reduces congestion in the airport and allows for efficient processing. To get your visa using this method you must use certified mail to send your actual passport and the following to:
EMBASSY OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA
2249 R STREET, N.W.
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20008
Enclose the following:
1. Form V
2. Valid Passport - to be submitted with the application
3. Completed (filled in) application form (in duplicate in case of multiple journey visas)
4. Copy of Round Trip Ticket or copy of Itinerary
5. Two passport size pictures (full face showing both ears)
6. Visa Fee of $50.00 for Single Entry (Tourist/Business), or $100.00 for Multiple Entry (Business) or $20.00 for Transit Visa payable in Cashiers Cheque or Money Order ONLY
(Cash and Personal Cheques are not acceptable)
7. A self addressed stamped envelope for the return of your passport (s).
The envelope should have enough postage for: Express Mail, Certified Mail or Priority Mail with delivery confirmation.
B. The second option is to get the visa upon arrival at Jomo Kenyatta Airport in Nairobi. This usually involves waiting in line and dealing with grumpy customs agents but it does work. You still need to fill out Form V, pay $50 US cash, and show a copy of your return plane ticket. I don't think you need a photo but it wouldn't hurt to bring one. If choose to do this I recommend filling out Form V ahead of time because that will help you get to the front of the line faster.
We hope this information is clear. Please contact us with any questions.
What are your thoughts on safety in Kenya?
Safety is our top priority on every trip, and Kenya is no exception; we would not offer a trip of any kind that places our groups in unsafe situations. Please rest assured that we take every precaution that we can and monitor conditions during our time there. We also register our entire group and route with the US Embassy.
We are confident you will be impressed with the level of safety and security you will experience in Kenya. Tourism is Kenya's primary industry and it is in their worst interest for any crimes to happen to tourists. You will find the wonderful local people going to great lengths to ensure your safety and comfort.
For more, information, go to http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_923.html
Do I need international travel insurance if my health insurance doesn’t cover me on an international trip?
If your health insurance doesn't cover you while abroad, it is a good idea to consider a basic travel-specific insurance. We refer our participants to Travel One for travel insurance needs. You can reach Travel One at 800-247-1311 or click here to visit their website.
How large are the groups that typically go on the Kenya and Mt Kenya trips? Do these groups include families with kids? Are they mostly couples?
Typically, the group size for this trip is 7-12 people. Most of our trips are geared for adults, both male and female who range in age from 18 and up. These trips may include a couple, but not necessarily. Nor would these trips include a family with children younger than age 18.
What is the main difference between the Kenya and Tanzania trips?
These trips are very similar. In Tanzania you'll get to experience more of a human anthropology aspect and visit one of the last remaining true nomadic tribes in the world, the Hadzabe Bushmen. You'll also visit the world-renowned Serengeti National Park and world heritage site, Ngorongoro Crater, home to the largest unbroken caldera in the world. The Tanzania trip also involves more walking.
In Kenya, we visit many comparable places, including Samburu National Reserve and Masai Mara. Spectacular opportunities abound for wildlife viewing and we also spend time with three different local tribes: the Maasai, Samburu, and Kikuyu.
We suggest reading about some of the following places and deciding based on what piques your interest:
Kenya: Masai Mara, Samburu, Nakuru National Park, Lake Naivasha, Mt. Kenya
Tanzania: Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti, Lake Manyara, Lake Eyasi, Oldupai Gorge
Why is there a difference in price between the Kenya and Tanzania trips?
Tanzania, generally, is much more expensive then Kenya. The places are harder to get to but at the same time more popular. The park fees (daily entrance) in Tanzanian parks are often double those in Kenya. Due to the economy, geography and a few other factors, lodges, food, vehicles, and petrol also cost in Tanzania and are the main reasons for the difference in price.
When is the best time to visit Kenya?
We generally offer Kenya trips in May-June, September-October, or January-February to optimize peak wildlife presence, dry seasons, low tourist seasons, and affordable airfare.
What shots do you recommend if one goes to Africa?
We recommend that you check with your doctor as early as possible prior to leaving to ensure you are up to date on your standard immunizations. Your doctor may also recommend immunizations against things like typhoid and yellow fever but we leave that up to you to decide. During the safaris there is the possibility of exposure to malaria carrying mosquitoes and thus you will also need to bring an anti-malarial medication.
What is the policy for tipping in Kenya?
You will not need to tip your drivers and safari guides unless they go out of their way for you personally and you really want to show them you appreciate it. If you do Mt. Kenya you will be expected to tip your guide and porter (anything from $5 to $40 is appropriate).
You will need to tip a very small amount if you order alcoholic beverages at hotels as these are not included in the trip fee.
Do you meet people at Jomo Kenyatta Airport for the Kenya trips? What is the airport like?
We do meet you right outside customs at Jomo Kenyatta airport. Many times, we work with our travel agency to try to get people on the same flight from Amsterdam to Nairobi, but regardless we'll meet you there.
Jomo Kenyatta Airport is not quite as modern or as large as typical major US city airports, but it has almost all the same amenities and good security. The airport is actually near Nairobi National Park and it is not uncommon to see giraffe or zebra from your plane as you are circling in to land.
Is bottled water available on trips to Kenya and Tanzania?
Bottled water is recommended on our trips to Kenya and Tanzania, and is available everywhere we stay throughout the trip.
What is the nearest meeting place for the Kenya Safari and Mt Kenya trips?
The group usually meets in Nairobi, but if for some reason someone was already in Kenya, s/he could meet us in a town called Naro Moru, though Nairobi should be much more convenient for them. We will do pickups at Jomo Kenyatta Airport and 1 or 2 Nairobi city hotels.
The State Department says the terrorist threat is high in Kenya. Can you offer any information about that?
The State Department has a travel warning issued for Kenya. It was issued in June 2014 and has not changed. The areas that are the focus of the warning remain border counties (with Somolia and Ethiopia), the Eastleigh neighborhood of Nairobi, and Mombasa on the Indian Ocean Coast. You can read the full report here: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings/kenya-travel-warning.html. Canada provides a similar report that I feel better highlights the highly regional nature of these warnings: http://travel.gc.ca/destinations/kenya.
We monitor these travel advisories, as well as current events in Kenya, very closely, and our local guide keeps us posted on what he’s hearing in-country and what he’s seeing on the ground. Since Wilderness Inquiry started guiding trips in Kenya in 2005, we have run all scheduled trips with itineraries that kept our groups far away from areas where problems have occurred. Similarly, your trip itinerary will take you only to areas that have been consistently safe for travel.
Which immunizations do you recommend when traveling to an international destination?
Prior to departure, we recommend that you check with your doctor as early as possible to ensure you are up to date on your standard immunizations. Your doctor is in the best position to recommend specific vaccinations to specific destinations.
How safe are international trips with Wilderness Inquiry?
Safety is our top priority on all Wilderness Inquiry trips. We maintain awareness of all State Department travel advisories and ensure our itineraries follow appropriate routes. We have an excellent record of safety on all international trips and only run trips when we feel comfortable and confident in participants having an excellent experience.
For more information, visit these links:
No Dates Scheduled
This trip is one of WI's best kept secrets in terms of value and unique experience. If you have 8 or more people who are interested in authentic outdoor adventures in the Rift Valley, this is the trip for you! Please contact us if you are interested in a group trip to this destination.
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