Did you know that the term "safari" is derived from the Swahili word for "journey" or "trip"?
Whether you’re staying close to the capital at Nairobi National Park, making the journey to the world-renowned Masai Mara, or going off the beaten path to explore Amboseli National Park, the Kenyan Wildlife Service takes great pride in their country's natural landscapes and wildlife.
Despite the fact that planning to go on a safari in Kenya may seem to be a daunting task, a little forethought and planning will go a long way in making your experience enjoyable and memorable!
Traveling Has Never Been Easier
Of course, before you can have the opportunity of going on safaris in Kenya, you will first need a visa. Visa applications can be quite tiring especially if you apply through the embassy, but what if I told you that it's possible to make a visa application from the comfort of your smart phone in only a few minutes.
"How?" You ask. Atlys is how. This app helps with your visa application from gathering all your documents, scheduling a visa appointment and visa fees.
You'll be enjoying safaris under the African sun in no time!
How To Plan Safari Trips In Kenya
Planning a safari trip does not have to be complicated or stressful. So here are five expert tips to ensure your Kenyan safari is unforgettable and seamless!
Curate Your Itinerary
When planning a trip to Kenya, it's really important to be smart about what you want to do while you're there!
There are so many things to do and see that trying to do everything would mean a rushed and stressful experience, especially if you’re there for a short trip. Therefore, we recommend picking one ‘big ticket’ item and rolling with it.
For instance, in order to view the Big Five (elephant, buffalo, lions, leopards, and rhinoceros), you need to travel during the dry season.
Kenya is also home to the Great Migration, which occurs every year from July to October, where millions of animals travel from Tanzania's Serengeti National Park to Kenya's Masai Mara National Reserve. Your visit should be properly planned so that you can enjoy this spectacular natural phenomena to the fullest.
Do you have a passion for birds? In that case, consider visiting Kenya during the wet season, when hundreds of bird species can be spotted, and you'll have less competition as well as a lower cost of travel.
On that note, you also want to decide whether you want a general tour or a specialist game drive. While a general tour may be appropriate if it’s your first African safari and you want to see as many animals as possible, a specialist game drive would give you the opportunity to go with a veteran guide to spot a single kind of animal you’re very passionate about.
Get The Timing Right
The height of the dry season has long been regarded the ideal time to go on safari.
When there aren’t many trees obstructing your view, you’re more likely to spot the animals. Moreover, watering holes often dry up after it hasn't rained for a few months, leaving just a few options for animals to drink- and that’s where you’ll be taken by the wildlife spotters and guides too!
I should mention that his does not rule out other times of the year as viable options for a visit.
In reality, there are many benefits to traveling outside of peak season. For starters, fewer tourists ensure that you have a more authentic safari experience, lest it becomes akin to a theme park. A second benefit of fewer visitors is more competition among tour operators, which results in lower prices for you!
Take The Right Camera
Carefully consider your camera and safari gear before embarking on your trip. Photography in the Kenya's wilderness is no easy feat.
For example, if the wildlife you want to photograph is within 25 meters of the vehicle, you'll be able to get some great images, but if they are farther away, you'll need a much more expensive zoom lens to get the clarity and quality you're looking for. To get great shots in the wild, you'll need to go large. There are lenses with focal lengths of up to 600mm, however, you will want at least 200mm.
In the event that you lack both the desire and the funds to purchase a high-quality camera, our advise is to just observe and appreciate as much of the sights as possible rather than spending all your time attempting to capture a fuzzy, faraway elephant.
Choose The Right Tour Operator
If the animals are in the national park, any tour operator should be able to help you see them, right?
Many people return from the safari experiences disappointed because they went with the cheapest tour operator or decided to go at it on their own. Therefore, it’s important to recognize that experienced wildlife tour guides will have immense experiential knowledge that no amount of ‘training’ can replace.
Take a guide who understands the terrain, the best spots, and how animals travel. A good guide will always be able to point you in the right direction. Keep in mind that the animals will not approach you; you need to go in search of them. You’re not the only one keeping an eye out for lions - so are a hundred other species (wink).
Get Your Paperwork In Order
You may be wondering, “What paperwork? I thought I was going to see animals?”
Depending on where you’re coming from and what passport you hold, you may need to prepare some paper work in advance of your trip to Kenya in order to avoid any issues at the airport, such as visas or vaccinations.
You can apply for an e-Visa online through the official Kenya e-Visa website or contact your nearest Kenyan embassy for assistance if necessary. Alternatively, Atlys can help you get your Kenya e-Visa effortlessly. Applying through Atlys will ensure that you spend more time planning your trip instead of enduring a frustrating visa application process.
Furthermore, you may need to show a yellow fever vaccination certificate depending on where you’re traveling from.
Enjoy The Ride!
With these expert tips, we hope your Kenya Safari experience is one for the books! Do make sure to tag us on Instagram at @travelwithatlys with your epic wildlife photos!