Planning & packing for your visit to East Africa - what to take and what to wear
Although Kenya is in the tropics it also has high mountains. This makes for a variable and almost unique climate. This has to be kept in mind when packing for a visit. Temperature and climate vary dramatically from region to region and even during a single day. So you need to pack according to the activities you are planning to undertake. Unless you are just coming for a beach holiday you should come prepared for hot, cold, wet and dusty conditions!
Luggage space is often limited on safari, especially if you will be traveling anywhere by domestic/charter flights or light aircraft, so it is important to choose what you take with you and only take what you need for your specific trip.
If you will be touring around make sure that you bring suitable luggage. Bags and cases should be able to withstand lots of handling and dusty conditions. Hard suitcases are ideal, but can take up a lot of space.
If your trip involves travel by public transport or you are trekking, a good quality backpack is best. A sturdy, well-designed rucksack with orthopedic support and lockable zips and openings is a good investment.
A small daysack is sensible for carrying cameras, travel documents and personal items. And if you are planning overnight excursions a smaller bag or back pack could be useful.
Choose casual, lightweight clothing, preferably in khakis, olive and other neutral or earth colours. Long sleeved shirts and trousers rather than shorts will protect you from the harsh sun and remember that ordinary fabrics do not always completely protect against sunburn. White, bright colours (especially blue) and vivid patterns are best avoided if you want to see any game animals!
Do pack some warmer clothes too, like a sweatshirt or windcheater, for colder days and evenings.
Strong, comfortable walking shoes are best for a safari trip. For serious climbers and trekkers you need to bring a good pair of hiking boots. Make sure you have worn them in properly and you have good socks too.
Remember that Kenya is on the equator and the tropical sun is strong and burns quickly. Wide brimmed hats are preferable to baseball caps for sun protection. Both sunglasses and a good quality sunscreen (rated SPF15 or higher) should be used.
In some areas, mostly coastal, it is considered inappropriate for women (and in some cases men) to wear shorts or short sleeved shirts. It is always best to seek local advice.
For some up-market lodges and nights out in Nairobi you may wish to bring some more formal evening wear.
A torch, extra batteries, pocket knife, binoculars, sunscreen, lip salve, and sunglasses are essential
A good quality insect repellent is worth bringing.
You should bring your own Toiletries with you. Basic toiletry items are widely available.
Any personal Prescription drugs should be brought if necessary. Also bring the generic names for these drugs in case they need to be replaced locally. If you have prescription glasses it is wise to bring a spare pair.
For those planning lengthy treks or camping expeditions, a basic medical kit is also a good idea. A small Flashlight/Torch and a Swiss Army knife are good accessories to carry.
If you have a video camera battery charger or an other electrical items, bring your own converter plug set if needed (the electricity supply is 220 Volt, 50 Hz with a square pin 13 amp plug).
A good quality pair of Binoculars are essential for effective game viewing.
Climbers can hire equipment, ropes and gear in Kenya, but may wish to bring their own personal kit and equipment.
Divers will find excellent dive gear for hire in Kenya, but may also wish to bring their own regulators or dive computers. Those with prescription masks should definitely bring them along. Dive Certification Cards and log documents should be brought along.
All travel documentation should be kept together securely. This should include tickets, Passports (with appropriate visa entries), Vaccination Certificates, and Travel Insurance documents.
Additional photocopies of Passport, Air ticket and Traveler’s Cheque numbers should be brought and packed separately. Use our personalized Kenya Travel kit to print records of all this information. Take several copies with you and leave some at home.
Take your credit cards together Traveler’s Cheques and some U.S. Dollars cash.
Carry essential medication, water and food before you set out on each safari trip.
Avoid drinking water from unsafe sources. Avoid swimming in stagnant water sources.
Follow basic safety precautions while interacting with strangers. Be aware that AIDS is widely prevalent in Africa and take appropriate precautions.
Avoid carrying valuables. Keep track of your expensive cameras and binoculars
Avoid driving in deserted areas or at night.
Don't be afraid to contact us for more details and advice.