If there is a perfect climate in the world, surely it is in East Africa with cool mornings and warm middays. Although it can be hot and sticky by the sea, inland the air is dry and even at midday the temperatures are equitable. Due to the proximity to the equator, sunrise occurs daily between 06.00hrs and 06.30hrs while sunset takes place 12 hours later. It can get quite chilly in the early morning and evening hence visitors should pack a sweater. Each time of year has its special attractions. There are two main rainy seasons – usually mid-April to the end of May and November to mid-December. Even during the rains, the weather can be pleasant with rain occurring in the early morning and late in the afternoon or evening.
Visitors must be in possession of valid visa on arrival. The regulations vary dependent on nationality and country of origin and should be checked with the nearest tourist office or diplomatic mission.
HEALTH REGULATIONS AND MEDICAL ADVICE
Inoculation centres in the country of origin will provide updated information and advice on health regulations and recommendations.
As Kenya & Tanzania enjoy a healthy, invigorating climate, visitors need feel no concern for their general health during their stay. However, malaria is endemic in certain areas and anti-malaria medication should be taken according to prescription recommendations. Visitor requiring special medication should pack sufficient supplies in their hand luggage. Chemist shops are well stocked, but the same generic medication may not be readily available. Tap water is considered safe in Nairobi. On safari, rooms are provided with flasks of filtered and purified water. Mineral water is readily available.
CUSTOMS AND EXIT REGULATIONS
Personal effects, film and cameras may be imported temporarily free of duty. However professional video equipment, tape recorders, radios, musical instruments and souvenirs from other countries may require a customs bond to ensure re-exportation. Firearms need a special permit which must be obtained in advance.
Baggage is normally inspected by customs officials on arrival and departure.
Please strictly adhere to baggage limitations as advised by the airline as excess baggage charges can be quite expensive.
AIRPORT DEPARTURE TAX
A local airport service charge is payable on departure for domestic flights.
There is no restriction to the amount of foreign currency a visitor may import provided that it is exchanged through authorized dealers only. It is essential to retain a receipt for each transaction in order to re-exchange the local currency on departure. Foreign currency as the U.S. dollar or British pound (in cash or travellers cheque) are the most widely accepted. Well known credit cards are also widely accepted in Kenya &Tanzania It is a legal offence to deface local currency.
Banking hours are from 09.00hrs to 14.00hrs Monday to Friday. Most Hotels and Lodges change money outside these hours.
Normal precautions as in any other destination worldwide should be taken. Keep a close watch on handbags, wallets and cameras when walking in crowded places and avoid walking at night (take a taxi). Place all valuables in safety deposit boxes at hotels and lodges and only carry small amounts of cash. Wear as little jewellery as possible, if any, and never leave valuables on show in an unattended car or tour bus.
Taking photographs at airports, near military installations, of policemen, the President, the national flag, the State House, state lodges, soldiers, prisons and prisoners etc., is prohibited. Before photographing local people, permission should be obtained and a fixed price agreed. Seek the assistance of your driver/guide in this matter.
Driving is on the left for all countries.
Safari clothing should be casual and comfortable. Cotton slacks and shirts, with skirts and culottes for ladies and a light sweater or jacket, during the day. Evening wear in game lodges and safari camps can be very casual. In the more sophisticated clubs and hotels gentlemen will be required to wear a jacket, while ladies should dress rather more formally.
At high altitudes, where early mornings and evenings can be very chilly, warm sweaters, socks and comfortable shoes are recommended. Pack suntan lotion, swimwear (to be reserved for the beach and pool only) and a small first aid kit. Local customs and modesty should be respected.
Most hotels, game lodges and safari camps offer a 24-hour inexpensive laundry service.
Voltage in East Africa is 240volts/50 cycles AC, British standard generally through three-pin square plugs. Some lodges and camps have power only in the early mornings and evenings and, in some, video charging facilities are centralized.
We strongly recommend that luggage is limited to one piece per person. A small overnight bag is essential. All city hotels provide secure storage for left luggage. On all itineraries where journeys by light aircraft are involved the baggage allowance is 15kgs per person. At Treetops and The Ark only one small overnight bag per person is permitted, secure storage is provided at the Outspan Hotel and Aberdare Country Club.
There is no shortage of the more usual film throughout Kenya, however it is expensive and visitors are advised to bring plentiful supplies, especially where specialist film is concerned. As a general guide, double the amount of film normally needed in other areas.
In Tanzania films may not be available. For wildlife photography a 35mm single reflex camera, with telephoto lens of 200mm to 300mm is recommended. Larger lenses which require a tripod, or double reflex cameras are generally impractical. An ultra violet filter, waterproof dust cover and spare batteries are essential. A pair of good quality binoculars for each person will be a great asset.
The standard check-out time is 10.00hrs hence rooms may not normally be ready for occupancy until 12.00hrs. Should an early arrival be anticipated, please reserve rooms from the preceding night. Day rooms up to 18.00hrs are usually available.
MOUNT KENYA AND KILIMANJARO
No special mountaineering skills are necessary for climbing either mountain but due to the high altitudes attained, the climbs should not be undertaken unless climbers are fit and well-exercised. Climbers should have a physical check-up and start a fitness training programme at least a month before the safari. In Kenya and Tanzania a limited amount of equipment is available from the base hotels. Recommended kit lists can be provided on request.
QUICK REFERENCE GUIDE
Bank Hours 9.00-14.00hrs 8.30-15.00hrs
Mon to Fri Mon to Fri
Currency: Kenya Shillings (Ksh) Tanzania Shillings (Tsh)
Major Credit Cards Amex, Mastercard, Visa Visa
Travellers Cheque Most denominations U.S. dollars and sterling pound
Tipping 10% at restaurants 10% at restaurants
Time Difference GMT + 3hrs GMT + 3hrs
Shopping 9.00-17.30hrs 8.30-17.00hr
Mon to Sat Mon to Sat