Travel Tips and FAQS
WHAT IS THE BEST SEASON FOR A SAFARI?
Just about any time of year (see Climate below).
However, the most popular seasons are mid December to
mid March and July to mid September. This is because of
the demand for Christmas and Winter holidays and the
Summer school break timings. An increasing number of
visitors are realising that June and October are ideal,
benefiting from lower visitor numbers and off peak rates
on the airlines.
Primetime Travels & Safaris normally offers safaris with
lower single supplements in the April/ May/June low
season and may well be able to offer some good discounts
for larger groups during this period- please contact us
WHEN AND WHERE CAN I SEE THE GREAT MIGRATION?
The millions of wildebeest and zebras are always
somewhere, but they are not always in large herds and on
the move. Their location is largely dependent on the
weather, which can vary considerably from year to year.
In general the herds assemble south of the Serengeti
during January and February, the season in which they
give birth to their young. Starting around March they
begin moving North and West in search of fresh grazing
through the Serengeti Park. They can move in enormously
long single file lines or in huge herds. The bulk of the
animals reach the Masai Mara in Kenya, where they tend
to remain during August/September/October, before
starting their return trek south back through the
Serengeti in November.
CAN I HAVE A PRIVATE VEHICLE?
Yes. All safaris can be booked with the exclusive use of
a vehicle for your party. A custom safari for two
clients is significantly more expensive per person than
seats on a similar small group safari. However, on a
custom safari with an exclusive vehicle, the cost of the
vehicle and driver/ guide are divided by the number of
clients sharing the vehicle. Therefore, the per person
cost of a custom safari reduces the more clients that
are sharing the vehicle (maximum in one vehicle is 7).
CAN I HAVE MY OWN CUSTOM ITINERARY?
If you are arranging an exclusive vehicle safari then
you are free to arrange whatever itinerary you choose.
Primetime Travels & Safaris presents a small selection
of proven itinerary favourites in this website but you
are not limited to these and we can arrange any required
itinerary, subject to practical and logistical
considerations. We will be pleased to develop and quote
for any feasible plan.
SHOULD I STAY IN LODGES OR TENTED CAMPS?
This is really a matter of personal preference and
choice. Most of the vehicle- based set itinerary safaris
use lodges, but some include nights at tented camps and
some use all tented camps. The majority of flying
safaris use tented camp accommodation.
All the accommodation used by Primetime Travels &
Safaris for their clients is of high standard, but you
should be aware that, contrary to many clients'
expectations, tented camps are in general more expensive
than lodges. The main reason for this is that the tented
camps are low capacity, exclusive and luxurious places
with a high standard of service.
CAN I TAKE A SAFARI AS A SINGLE TRAVELER?
Because of the size of its organisation and volume of
customers, Primetime Travels & Safaris Safaris can
easily include single travelers on most set date safari
departures. There is a single supplement to cover the
additional cost of single accommodation. However, there
is a reduced single supplement in the low season.
ARE SAFARIS SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?
A safari is a wonderful trip for any child old enough to
enjoy and appreciate the experience. On most safaris
there are quite long trips on rough roads, and these
cannot really be recommended for babies and very young
children. Children under 12 will benefit from reduced
fares on scheduled airlines, and all lodges will provide
an additional bed for a child sharing a room with
parents at a reduced cost. A few of the more expensive
permanent tented camps do not allow children under 12
years of age.
Kenya straddles the equator so there is little seasonal
variation in temperature. There is much more variation
between the coastal and low lying regions and the high
plains and mountain regions. The game parks lie at an
altitude of 5,000 to 7,000 feet and have a pleasant
climate with warm days and cooler evenings year round.
There are two rainy seasons- the long rains during April
and May and the short rains in November. The rest of the
year is classified as dry season. In practice, the
rainfall pattern has been neither regular nor
predictable in recent years. In the rainy seasons, the
rain often falls in heavy but brief tropical downpours
during the evening or night with pleasant sunny days in
between. The effects of the rain can cause some animals
to disperse and may produce a few local problems with
flooding of roads and bridges. On the other hand, rain
makes the atmosphere clean and dust free and the
vegetation beautifully lush and green.
CURRENCY AND EXCHANGE
The local unit of currency is the Kenya Shilling which
these days is freely convertible within Kenya for the
U.S.$ and other currencies. There are numerous banks and
bureaux de change in towns, and most lodges and hotels
will exchange currency or travellers cheques at
It is not possible to obtain Kenya Shillings outside the
country, and it is illegal to export more than a small
amount. Many items or services are priced and paid for
in US dollars so do not convert more funds into the
local currency than you need for incidental expenses.
Credit cards are accepted at an increasing number of
establishments in Kenya but not everywhere. It is not
generally possible to obtain cash on a credit card in
Kenya, so it is recommended that visitors carry
sufficient funds in the form of travellers cheques.
The power supply is at the UK/ European standard voltage
of 220/240 , and power sockets are the U.K. square pin
type. Remember if you want to use U.S. appliances you
will need a voltage convertor as well as a plug
convertor. Mains power supply is subject to cuts and
voltage fluctuation. On safari, most lodges' power
supplies are from generators, and these are often turned
off during parts of the day and night to reduce noise
and fuel consumption.
Primetime Travels & Safaris equips all its safari
vehicles with two way radios, so that drivers can
communicate with their base, each other and the lodges.
Most lodges and hotels also have a telephone, but the
service, particularly for overseas calls, is both
erratic and expensive (a $50 minimum is not uncommon).
More remote lodges and camps are likely to rely on radio
for communications. Game parks are not within cell phone
range, but satellite telephones work just about
FOOD AND DRINK
It is generally recommended to drink only bottled
mineral water which is readily available everywhere.
There are no restrictions on the sale or consumption of
alcoholic drinks in Kenya. A good selection of local
beers and soft drinks are available everywhere, and you
will find a range of imported wines, beers and spirits
in many places, although these can be expensive.
The quality and value of food in Kenya is generally very
good. However, do eat sensibly particularly in the first
few days of your visit.
The official language of Kenya is Kiswahili. This is
spoken and understood by the great majority of the
population, many of whom also speak a tribal language.
There is a wide usage and understanding of English, and
virtually everyone the average tourist is likely to meet
in the course of the safari will be fluent.
There are some long distance coaches which are suitable
for use by visitors, such as the daily Nairobi to Arusha
shuttle bus. Local bus and minibus services are likely
to be uncomfortable, overcrowded and potentially
There is a railway link between Nairobi and Mombasa, but
the service caan be unreliable and we do not recommend
using it these days.
Taxis are available everywhere in urban areas, but the
condition of these can be very poor. The better hotels
generally have a superior selection of taxis available,
and it is suggested that you obtain one of these,
particularly for longer journeys.
Self drive car and safari vehicle hire is possible but
not recommended. The poor state of many of the roads in
both town and on safari plus erratic driving by other
road users makes driving on most routes tiring and
Most hotels and lodges have gift shops with a selection
of local crafts and souvenirs. You will find some
interesting woodcarvings, paintings and batiks. Precious
stones and jewellery are also a speciality.
PREPARING FOR YOUR TRIP:
All tourists to Kenya require a tourist visa which costs
US$50 per person and can be obtained on entry (visa fees
must be paid in US cash only) or in advance from Kenya
embassies abroad. A transit visa is available for a
US$25 fee, but if you are returning through Kenya, you
may as well obtain a full visa - make sure this is dated
to include your return visit.
There is a departure tax on International flights of
$40- this will generally have been included and already
paid in the price of your ticket. There is a small local
departure tax payable in cash at the airport/ airstrip
for local flights.
Check with your doctor to get the current
recommendations and advice. Anti malarial drugs are
CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT
Clothes for safari should be light, comfortable and not
too brightly coloured. There is little or no requirement
for anything formal. A light jacket or sweater may be
needed in the evenings at higher altitudes, comfortable
walking shoes are an essential, as is a hat to keep off
the sun, and sunglasses. Don't forget a swimming costume
for use at the lodge pools.
Most people bring binoculars and/ or cameras and video
equipment with plenty of tape or film. Zoom or telephoto
lenses are likely to be useful. Film is available at the
Most of the better hotels and lodges will spray rooms
and provide mosquito nets, but do bring your own insect
A flashlight is always useful.
There will be no television or radio in most places, so
you might want to bring a little shortwave radio or
Walkman if you want to keep up with world events or
listen to some music.
Remember that safari vehicles and light aircraft have
tight limits on the size and weight of luggage carried.
Depending on your itinerary it may be possible to leave
some luggage in your hotel in Nairobi for the duration
of your safari.
Primetime Travels & Safaris require that all clients
arrange personal travel insurance to cover their
medical, property and other personal risks for the
duration of their safari. Advice on policies or actual
cover can be arranged if required. Temporary membership
of the Flying Doctor Service, based in Nairobi and
providing cover in Kenya and Northern Tanzania can also
be arranged at a modest cost.