Kenya: African Safari
Know Before You Go
For an epic trip with zero stress and infinite holy s#!t moments, get familiar with the information below. Seeing the world should be fun, not stressful, which is why we’ve written this guide for you and are available 24/7 so all you have to do is travel. Now, it’s time to do a happy dance and make this trip ULTIMATE.
Your health and safety are our top priority. Travel involves certain inherent risks related to the chance of being exposed to and/or contracting COVID-19. We want you to travel confidently, which is why we’re taking steps to make EF Ultimate Break the safest way to see the world. You can see all the steps we’re taking here.
We are requiring all travelers certify to comply with the requirements laid out in our COVID Safe Traveler Agreement . Requirements such as, but not limited to:
- As of today, all travelers wishing to participate on this tour must be fully vaccinated and carry physical proof of vaccination with them. Fully vaccinated is defined as two weeks after receiving the last recommended vaccine dose.
- In addition, all travelers entering Kenya must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test from a sample taken within 72 hours of tours departure. Travelers should bring a copy of that negative result to your tour. For your trip, that means taking the test no sooner than three days from your departure. Please note that proof of vaccination does not eliminate the need to receive a negative PCR test result.
- Agreeing to take all reasonable efforts to minimize their exposure to COVID-19 within the two weeks prior to the tour’s departure. If made aware that they have been in close contact (as defined as within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes over a 24-hour period) with a person diagnosed within COVID-19 within 14 days of the tour’s departure date, they will notify EF Ultimate Break immediately
- Following all local regulations, restrictions and advisories related to COVID-19 for the tour. Travelers also agree to follow all rules, requests and requirements from their Tour Director or EF Ultimate Break staff for the health and well-being of themselves, their fellow travelers, and any suppliers.
Your COVID Safe Traveler Agreement will be released in your online account 14 days prior to departure and must be completed 72 hours prior to your tours departure to Egypt.
Note: Travelers may be required to show their vaccination card and or negative results while going through immigration, as such we require all travelers carry with them their physical vaccination card and or printed proof of negative test result.
Entering Kenya: Lastly, all travelers are also responsible for completing the pre-registration form required to enter Kenya 48 hours prior to departure. You can find the link here.
While on the road, you will be required to follow all local COVID safety regulations and requirements in Kenya which currently include:
- Facemasks must be worn while in public if not social distancing more than 6 feet and in all indoor settings except when eating, while alone or in a private home; the use of masks is mandatory on all forms of public transportation, including your tour bus/ safari van.
- Restaurant capacity is limited to 50% and many restaurants have set a maximum of 4-6 people at the same table
Should any traveler be diagnosed with COVID-19 while on the Tour, the person diagnosed with COVID-19 will be required to isolate and the remainder of the tour group will be required to quarantine on-tour AND test for COVID-19, in accordance with local guidelines.
2021 Quarantine Coverage
If a traveler is either diagnosed with COVID-19 or required to quarantine on account of COVID-19 while on tour in 2021, EF will provide or arrange for the following, consistent with local requirements, at no additional expense to the traveler throughout the duration of any on-tour quarantine period:
- Lodging and meals
- EF representatives available to support the traveler and coordinate with local authorities on their behalf where necessary
- Assistance connecting with local health care providers*
- Translation services
- Communication between the traveler and the traveler’s family back home
- EF-arranged flights home, based on existing itinerary, once the traveler is cleared to return
*Travelers are responsible for their own medical costs; we highly encourage travelers to confirm their current health insurance includes coverage while traveling domestically or internationally or purchase trip protection that includes medical coverage through EF or another provider.
Returning from tour
In accordance with U.S. Centers for Disease Control requirements to re-enter the United States, all travelers, must take a mandatory COVID-19 test (either PCR or antigen viral test) OR have documented proof of recovery from a medical professional, within 72 hours prior to their return flight to the US.
While EF Ultimate Break will assist travelers in scheduling with local testing facilities, you will be responsible for covering the cost of the COVID-19 test. We recommend budgeting $100.
Travel Documents & Tour Preparation
Before heading to the airport, complete the tasks below and check them off in your Online Account Checklist. If you have any questions, give us a call at 800-766-2645. We’re available 24/7 to make sure you have the Best. Trip. Ever.
- Verify your passport: In order to enter Egypt, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date of at least six months after the date of re-entry.
- A visa is also required - see Visa Information below for more information.
- Join the Facebook group: Join your private Facebook group as soon as it opens! It’s how you can meet other travelers and see announcements from your Tour Director. Call us at 800-766-2645 if you’re having trouble joining.
- Request a roommate:: Double check with us and your Tour Director that they have your rooming status on file. We will assign a roommate for you if you do not submit a specific request.
- Travel Insurance: All travelers are required to provide proof of international medical insurance. Travelers must bring a certificate of proof of purchase and coverage. Check out the cost-effective Travel Protection, designed to meet the needs of EF travelers here.
A Visa is required for all U.S. travelers going to Kenya. It is your responsibility to apply for this visa and obtain all necessary travel documents. EF Ultimate Break will not complete this process for you, but we’ve provided additional information below regarding this application process:
- You may obtain an e-Visa online through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, using the link here. This is the easiest and most recommended route, and costs approximately $50 - $100.
- You may also submit a request for a paper visa by visiting your local embassy. (Please note: The consulates in the U.S. and Canada have no jurisdiction over the e-visa process). You will also need to have your visa receipt with you upon arrival in Kenya
- The visa application process can take up to 15 business days or longer to complete so be sure to start this process well in advance.
Health & Safety
Staying Healthy while Traveling
There are no major health risks associated with traveling to Kenya, but we strongly recommend you consult your physician or local travel clinic, and the CDC (Center for Disease Control) at lease 60 days prior to departure for the latest updates and entry requirements. See more tips below for staying healthy in Kenya:
- Local governments may require proof of a yellow fever vaccination (often referred to as a yellow card ) or a statement of medical exemption from the vaccine. This is only required of travelers arriving from a country with a risk of yellow fever virus transmission (Please note: This does not include the U.S. or Canada). Visit cdc.gov/yellowfever for more information.
- Drink bottled water only. Avoid tap water even when brushing your teeth or showering. We recommend travelers purchase bottled water when given the chance. DO NOT refill your water bottle with tap water.
- Take proper care with sun exposure, the sun is very strong in some of the areas you are visiting
- Travelers’ diarrhea is a fairly common illness among travelers to East Africa. Bring a small first aid kit, including antacids, anti-diarrhea medication, motion sickness medication, and any prescription medications in your carry-on bag.
- Avoid eating fresh fruits and vegetables unless you can peel them yourself or wash them in bottled or disinfected water.
- Certain medications (both over-the-counter and prescription) are banned in foreign countries. Consult your physician at least four weeks prior to departure to make sure any medications you want to bring with you are legal.
- Public restrooms in Kenya can be quite bare. We suggest carrying bathroom tissue and hand sanitizer with you.
Safety while Abroad
With a global presence of more than 46,000 people in over 115 countries and regions, we’re fully committed to your safety. From your first flight all the way through to your farewell dinner, don’t hesitate to reach out to your Tour Director or your Trip Consultant if you need a helping hand. Keep these extra tips in mind so you can #travelsmart:
- Keep your bag/purse in front of you and your phone zipped inside when you’re not using it. Leave your laptop at home, store valuables at the hotel in locked luggage or the safe deposit box. Refrain from carrying large sums of money or wearing valuable jewelry.
- Use the buddy system. Stay in groups and watch out for each other, especially at night—no one gets left behind!
- Be smart about alcohol consumption. Watch your drinks and don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know. Don’t leave the bar alone with someone you just met.
- Before you go out, grab a business card at your hotel so that you always have the address handy for getting back later.
- At the end of a night out, use trusted transportation like a licensed taxi or Uber, and always have cash on hand.
- Save our 24/7 number in your phone: +1–617–619–1411
Money & Tipping
The currency of Kenya is the Kenyan Shilling; Although US Dollars are widely accepted, we recommend using local currency to pay for bar bills, souvenirs, and non-included meals on your trip. You should order some local currency from your bank before this trip, and we also recommend you bring a debit/credit card with you, which you can use to withdraw cash at local banks or ATMs if needed. See more information about money abroad below:
- While better exchange rates are usually found overseas, it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive
- US Dollars are accepted in Kenya, but note that no bills printed before 2003 are accepted due to a high number of fake notes in circulation
- It’s extremely useful to have supply of U.S. currency and local currency in small denominations for this trip
- Budget around $40-$50 per day for meals, drinks, souvenirs, and tips or extra activities
- We recommend tipping your Tour Guide $44-$66 at the end of the trip, plus additional tips ($1) for local guides. Tipping is an important part of Kenya’s local economy, and a 10% tip is customary in city restaurants and bars when a service charge is not included.
Note: Let your bank and credit card companies know your travel plans ahead of time to avoid potential complications while abroad.
Packing & Electronics
Kenya is a conservative country so travelers should dress modestly, covering shoulders, cleavage, and knees. T-shirts, long pants, and long skirts are recommended in many areas, but less conservative clothing can be worn in beach or touristy areas.
Your airline ticket includes one checked bag (typically 27" x 21" x 14") but double check the luggage size requirements on your airline’s website. We recommend traveling with one small backpack or purse, and a smaller carry-on suitcase (22” x 14” x 9”) or bag.
Soft-sided luggage or duffel bags are preferable to hard luggage for storage on safari vehicles within East Africa. Large suitcases of dimensions greater than 24"x 17"x 7" are impossible to store in safari vehicles and should not be used. See more packing tips below to help you become a professional carry-on traveler:
- 1 light jacket or rain jacket, neutral colors
- Comfortable closed-toe walking shoes/light hiking shoes
- Comfortable sandals for the beach
- 2-3 pairs long pants
- 1-2 long skirts or dresses for female travelers
- 2-3 shirts / t-shirts
- 1-2 nicer outfits for your Welcome Dinner and Farewell Dinner
- 1-2 bathing suits as some of the hotels have pools
- Beach/Bath towel – we love the Microfiber travel towel ($5-$20, Amazon.com)
- Underwear and socks
- Toiletries, medicine
- Sunscreen and sunglasses
- Mosquito repellent, binoculars, and a flashlight are highly recommended
- Reusable water bottle
- Phone or camera
- Passport, Visa
- Debit / Credit cards and cash
- Adapter / Converter – type “G”, or universal
- The Kenyan government has a strict ban on plastic bags. It is illegal to use, sell, or carry plastic bags anywhere in the country under the new law, and violators will face charges including high fines or imprisonment. Please bring reusable cloth bags if you plan to go shopping on tour, and do not pack any plastic bags, including small resealable bags.
Hot Temperatures and Game Drives: Weather ranges from 75-80 degrees (F) in June-September; Loose-fitting, breathable layers are best for this climate. This season is also the best time for animal-spotting, and we recommend muted colors as bright clothing may scare animals away, and blue or black clothing attracts tsetse flies.
Phone & Electronics
We recommend you get an international data plan from your cell phone provider for this trip. The most common options are the Travel Pass with Verizon, or purchasing a personal hot spot with your carrier. Read on for additional connectivity must-knows:
- Wi-Fi will be in some hotels, restaurants, and bars, though charges may apply and it may be slower than in the U.S.
- Wi-Fi is not available in the safari vehicles. More reason to enjoy the views around you!
- For your cell phone and any other electronics you bring abroad, you will need a converter/adapter (type G)
- Cameras and phones are allowed on safaris, but you are required to silence your devices so that you don’t startle or disrupt the animals
Arrival Information, Transportation, & Game Drives
When preparing for your international flight to Nairobi, check your online account 30 days prior to departure for your flight itinerary and confirmation number. With this information, you can check in to your flight 24 hours prior to departure. If you prefer to check in at the airport, plan to arrive 2.5 – 3 hours before departure.
- If your flight is cancelled or delayed: Don’t worry! We design the first day of tour as an arrival day in case of flight delays or cancellations. Work with the airline to get re-booked on the next available flight, then let your Tour Director know your new arrival time
- If you slept in and missed your flight: You should still talk to the airline and see if they can get you on the next available option. Tears may help in this case.
- Long Flights: Travel from the U.S. to East Africa is a long process (15-20+ hours total travel time). Bring a book, watch a movie (or five), and drink plenty of water!
Arriving in Nairobi
Congratulations! You’re about to set foot in the #1 Safari Destination of the WORLD. Before you arrive, your Tour Director or Trip Consultant will communicate on Facebook or email about where to meet a representative at the airport. This is another reason you should join your Facebook group! Once you arrive in Kenya it will be late evening so you’ll have time to sleep upon arrival.
If you have booked your own flight arrangements or have extended your travels before the tour dates, you will need to make your own way to the first hotel. Accommodation details will be available in your online account 30 days prior to departure.
Note: Travel from the U.S. to East Africa is a lengthy process (20 – 30+ hours travel time total). Read a book, watch a movie (or five), and drink plenty of water!
Transfers & Game Drives (Safari)
On this trip, you’ll drive via private vans, safari vehicles, or bus between cities which can take anywhere between 2-8 hours depending on distance, local traffic, and bathroom or photo-stop breaks. Note that the road conditions in Kenya can be rough at times, and some stretches of roads may be dirt.
Game drives are drives or safaris through the wild to see animals in their own environment. During game drives your group will be in safari vehicles, which are usually a 4x4 jeep, van, or Land Rover-style vehicle that can handle the off-road terrain. These vehicles typically accommodate 4-10 people so your group may be split up when driving.
- If you’re prone to getting car-sick, please bring motion-sickness medicine like Dramamine with you
- Remember the days can be hot and the nights are chilly, so pack your layers and sun protection!
- Bring your camera or phone fully-charged on game drives, along with a water bottle and anything you need to be comfortable. Safaris can last 2-3 hours, 4 hours at the most.
- Game Drive vehicles are open, allowing for panoramic views. Window seats are guaranteed for all travelers.
- Transfers between parks are long and cross bumpy terrain, so we recommend bringing a small pillow to ease the ride.
Your Tour Guides
Your guide for this tour will be different than a typical EF Ultimate Break Tour Director. You will be met by a representative from EF Ultimate Break upon arrival and will then meet your guide the morning of your first full day on tour. He or she will act as both your tour guide and driver for the duration of your tour.
Your tour guide will tell you best way to communicate with them during the trip (WhatsApp, Facebook, etc.). They will be with your group from start to finish so if there is anything you need, connect with them. Concerned about international cellular data and staying in touch with your group? Check out “Phones and Electronics” further down in this guide.
As you prepare to spend time in a new culture, here are some expert tips to help you understand the ins and outs of East Africa, and feel like a local Kenyan:
- Tap water is not safe to drink. Instead, stick with bottled water for drinking and brushing your teeth
- Local culture dictates you always eat with your right hand - do not touch food with your left
- Animal protection efforts are strong in Kenya, so keep this in mind when buying souvenirs and observing animals in their local habitats
- Avoid walking on your own at night in major cities or at your safari camps. In safari camps, the staff at the accommodation will likely not allow you to wander camp grounds unsupervised due to animal precautions
- Kenya is a fairly conservative society, especially where Islam is practiced. Courtesy and manners are highly valued
- Kenya is the world’s top safari destination - get your contact lens renewed and your camera film ready.
- Avoid wearing flashy jewelry or carrying large sums of cash with you in order to avoid unwanted attention or suspicion
- Be mindful when photographing local people - always ask permission and be prepare to be asked for payment
Food, Drink & Free Time
Cuisine in your game lodges reflects the region’s British colonial influence—you may find that many locals pause for afternoon tea, most restaurants offer curries and other South Asian cuisine brought over by the many Indian immigrants. Maize, sweet potatoes, and pineapple were brought over by the Portuguese, and beef has been a staple since the 1600s. You’ll sample a variety of local dishes on your trip, but read on for tips, tricks, and delicacies you must try.
- Ugali: A staple of Kenya, this is a maize and cassava flour combo typically eaten with your hands
- Mushy Peas: Irio is a mix of mashed peas and potato. A famous dish in Kenya, this is best served with roasted meat or some sort of Kenyan-style stew
- Githeri: Otherwise known as beans and corn, this dish keeps things simple.
- Kenyan Pilau: A glorified combo of rice and spices is great with stew, tomatoes, and onions!
- Wali wa Nazi: Aka, coconut rice. Need we say more?
- Kenyan Stew: This typically includes different meats (goat, beef, chicken) as well as carrots, peppers, or potatoes, plus a tomato base and mchuzi mix!
- Nyama Choma: Nyama Choma, or, roasted meat. Enough said.
- Mandazi: Kenyan donuts! Not your average donut, these are best served with a cup of chai.
We’ve packed a lot of activity and sightseeing into this tour, which means there is less free time than a typical Ultimate Break trip. Plus, many of your accommodations are in National Parks/Reserves, rather than major cities or hubs. We recommend purchasing the EF Ultimate Break optional excursions for this trip in order to make the most of your time in Kenya, and avoid experiencing FOMO!
Prices for these optional excursions will increase on tour, so please check your online account for available add ons.
We’re so glad you chose to travel with us and are now part of the EF Ultimate Break family! We'll look for your post-card in the mail, and your #thisisultimate tags on Instagram. Cheers to the Best. Trip. Ever.