Safe and Responsible Travels
Responsible travel is all about leaving a positive impact on both the environment and the people we will meet in the places we visit. The result being a more ethical and responsible trip when it comes to travelers' impacts, and also a more genuine and culturally immersive experience.
Avoid extended driving
We suggest to drive no more than 4 to 5 hours per day and enjoy the rest of the time exploring the areas and relaxing. Driving offroad is tiring, and tiredness undermines the safety of your adventure. On the tar, an estimate of 35 to 40 mph (55-65 km/h) is realistic. As soon as the sealed road will finish, then the estimate goes down to 15 mph, excluding stops. When preparing the itineraries for our clients, we do take these estimates into consideration.
This will help you spot animals, and it will keep you safe. Most of the accidents happen because of the speed, especially on gravel roads, where it seems there are no obstacles.
Stay close to your comfort zone
Driving offroad is surely more tiring than driving on tar roads, be very honest with yourself and if you do not have the skills, our suggestion is to avoid looking for challenging obstacles and the likes. On top of this, you will probably be driving in remote areas, totally unknown to you. While for some Guests this is exactly what they look for, please make sure to ask yourself if this is what you are looking for in your next adventure. We will be happy to organize for you a guided self-drive. The company founders are very active in guided itineraries, and they normally organize at least one trip they guide themselves.
Rent a solid and reliable vehicle
The last thing you want to have in Africa is a vehicle breakdown. The reliability of your vehicle is extremely important. The road conditions need high clearance, very good tires, and above all, a carefully serviced vehicle. After each vehicle return, we do a complete check of the car, and we replace each and every component that is not right. We also follow a very tight preventive maintenance program to anticipate any possible problems. You will surely find cheaper options on the market. However, please be aware of all the possible risks.
Avoid driving at night
In Africa, vehicles move around often without lights. Furthermore, opposite to what we do in the Western world, people do walk on streets to move around the villages, they often move their cows and donkeys in the dark to avoid the heat, and you can’t see them while driving. This is the reason why we plan the itineraries to avoid the night driving.
Be cognizant of where you are - and engage with a reliable operator for the planning
GPS technologies are fantastic, and mobile coverage is improving fast. However, this does not necessarily mean that they will work everywhere in Africa. We strongly recommend to familiarize with the area, use the traditional paper maps, and keep close control of where you are, and where you want to go. Doing basic training on the use of a paper map and a compass is a wise idea.
Choose carefully what you buy. Avoid buying hardwood, products made from endangered species and so on. Look for local products, and always check the legality of what you are buying.
Respect people and cultures
When visiting villages, always check if it is appropriate to take pictures. If the answer is yes, please make sure to show people the pictures you take. They love it! Also, as a gesture, after you return from your trip, you may consider sending to the village a printed copy of their pictures. Furthermore, please dress appropriately, and avoid making unnecessary noise.
Clean, safe drinking water is scarce in Africa. Please do your best to use it very carefully, and avoid any waste. The best gift you can give to a group of kids on the road is a bottle of clean water.
Consider the animal danger
Camping in the wild does imply very often a close interaction with the wildlife. An incredible experience, that needs to be treated carefully.
Whatever happens, never (ever) start running away. You immediately become prey. Slowly moves back up, and try to get into the car as gently as possible.
Stay always close to the car
Keep the distance, especially from hippos and elephants. Make sure they have a safe escape line to walk away from you. If they don’t, they may charge. Never drive closer than 65 ft (20 m) to larger mammals, elephants, and buffalo in particular.
Before going out of the car, check the area, and see if there is any move, sound, or smell that indicates the presence of wild animals. If this is the case, please stay in the car, and make sure you are not along the line and close to a footpath, especially from elephants and hippos.
When allowed, you will pick up the firewood for your bush fire. Kick the logs before touching with your hands to make sure snakes, scorpions, spiders and the likes will walk away.
If you are traveling with children, make sure they stay very close to the group and keep constant control over them.
Avoid camping near the water. The chances of interfering with footpaths are too high, and crocodiles are also a relevant danger.
Last but not least, respect the wildlife
We are visitors who happened to visit their “home”, and not vice-versa. If you respect the wildlife, they will respect you.
Learn about wildlife through quiet observation
Do not disturb wildlife or plants just for a better shot. Stay on track.
Observe wildlife from a distance so they are not scared or forced to flee. Large groups often cause more damage to the environment and can disturb wildlife so keep your group small.
If you are in a larger group, divide into smaller groups if possible to minimize your impacts.
When you are back home
Please share with us and with your social network any of the actions you have taken during your adventure to promote the safe and responsible travel. This will help the entire community to gain insight into such an important topic.
Resting in the magnificent Great Rift Valley and presided over by the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro, Kenya is characterised by hauntingly beautiful natural landscapes of forested hills, patchwork farms, wooded savanna and vast forests brimming with an extraordinary abundance of wildlife. The nation’s diverse range of traditional African cultures is influenced by over 70 unique ethnic groups from the Maasai, Samburu, Kikuyu, and Turkana tribes to the Arabs and Indians that settled on the coast. Add to this: an exquisite tropical coastline fringed with breathtaking golden sand beaches; gorgeous coral gardens providing excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities; and a slew of lively beach resorts, and it is easy to see why so many visitors flock here from around the world to experience a truly unique African adventure in one of the world’s most pristine safari destinations.
Banking and Currency
The currency of Kenya is the Kenyan Shilling (KES; symbol KSh) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of KSh1,000, 500, 200, 100 and 50. Coins are in denominations of KSh20, 10 and 5. Residents may import up to KES 500,000 and must declare if currencies exceeding US $10,000. Non-residents may import local and foreign currencies without restrictions but amounts exceeding US $10,000 must be declared.
Banking hours: Monday -Friday 09h00-15h00, and Saturdays 09h00-12h00. Banks in Mombasa and the coastal areas open and close half an hour earlier. Banks in airports tend to open earlier and close later; typical hours are 07h00-19h00.
ATMs are common especially in major tourist destinations.
Mastercard and Visa Credit Cards are widely accepted; American Express and Diners Club less so. Major hotels accept payment by credit card, as do major safari companies, travel agencies and restaurants.
Very few banks or foreign exchange bureaus accept travellers cheques; when they do, they charge high commissions.
Travel, Transport and Getting Around
Nairobi has two airports for domestic and regional flights: Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Wilson Airport. Kenya has over 150 domestic airports and airstrips and there are daily flights to the most popular destinations. In addition to the scheduled airlines, several private charter companies operate out of Wilson Airport.
Kenya Airways, Air Kenya, Fly 540, Mombasa Air Safari, and Safarilink serve the most popular safari destinations, plus many others such as Lake Victoria.
All other types of transport are good and efficient. Quality on trains can differ depending on which ‘class’ you buy.
Drive on the left side of the road.
Road conditions vary, and are improving.
Food, Drink and Cuisine Advice
Meat in Kenya is generally outstandingly good, and ‘nyam achoma’ (barbecued meat) is ubiquitous at any major feasts or popular dining spots. Beef and chicken are readily available, but goat is the most-widely eaten among locals and certainly a must try for carnivorous visitors. Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine is also popular, as are fresh-water fish inland, and sea fish along the coast.
Drinking the tap water is not recommended as the supply is not reliable, but bottled water is available in most places. When buying bottled water, check the seal of the bottle is intact. Alternatively, bring your own reusable water bottle with a filter or use water purification tablets. Avoid ice and washed salads and fruit except in top hotels and restaurants. Milk is pasteurised and dairy products are safe for consumption. Food prepared by unlicensed vendors should be avoided at all times.
Tipping is optional. Most hotels and restaurants include a 10% service charge in the bill. If they don't, a small tip is customary for good service.
Climate and Weather
Kenya has three types of climate: temperate subtropical climate in the west and southwest highlands (where Nairobi is located), hot and humid along the coast, and hot and dry in the north and east.
Clothing and Dress Recommendations
For Nairobi and the coast: lightweight cotton and linens are advised. Warmer clothing is needed in June and July, while rainwear is advisable between March and June, and October and December.
For safari: loose-fitting and light neutral tones are recommended. If you are visiting a luxury lodge, pack a nice set of clothes for dinner is recommended.
Wi-Fi is readily available in major cities and hotels, as well as in luxury game lodges.
Electricity and Plug Standards
Electrical sockets in Kenya are of the ‘Type G (BS-1363)’. If your appliance's plug doesn't match the shape of these sockets, you will need a travel plug adapter in order to plug in. Travel plug adapters simply change the shape of your appliance's plug to match whatever type of socket you need to plug into. If it's crucial to be able to plug in no matter what, bring an adapter for all types.
Electrical sockets in Kenya usually supply electricity at 220-240 volts AC. If you're plugging in an appliance that was built for 220-240 volt electrical input, or an appliance that is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need. If your appliance isn’t compatible with 220-240 volts, a voltage converter will be necessary.