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The Great Wildebeest Migration 2019

The Great Wildebeest Migration 2019

The great wildebeest migration is one of the most thrilling spectacles of nature.

The Great Wildebeest Migration is an endless, repetitive cycle that occurs every year. Between July and October where more than 1.5 million wildebeests, zebras, elands and gazelles move mysteriously in a circular clockwise motion from Serengeti in Tanzania to Masai Mara in Kenya in search of grass and water. This great mass movement is a spectacular natural wonder of the world. This period provides nature lovers with the best opportunity to view the predators such as the lions, leopards, hyenas, cheetahs and also crocodiles as they attack the unsuspecting wildebeests. During the migration around 300,000 wildebeest and 30,000 zebra are killed every year as a result of predation by the carnivores, they also die from thirst, hunger, and exhaustion. Most of the movement takes place in Tanzania in the vast Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area and further south.

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At the onset of the long rains, at around April, herds of wildebeests leave the hot dry eastern Serengeti moving towards the north west past Moru kopjes with others moving towards the west into the woodlands of the hilly part of Seronera towards Lake Victoria. Leading in the migration are the zebras that favor the coarse grass with long stems. The wildebeests relish the fresh, young and short grass which zebras do not fancy. The zebras have a superior memory and unique sense of smell, as they sense rain and water. Zebras signal and lead the wildebeests to the Masai Mara, as they search for new pasture lands and water.

Annual rutting

At around June they begin the annual rut, where more than half a million females mate with the bulls in less than a month as they move towards the woodland and to the plains of the western corridors of the Serengeti. The rutting season mostly coincides with the full moon.

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Around the month of July they approach the grasslands of Masai Mara in Kenya after having to overcome the crocodile infested Grumeti river in Serengeti. Many animals drown as they cross the Grumeti, as they can be pulled downstream as its rushing waters head westward towards Lake Victoria. The highlight of the Mara migration is the Mara river crossing. The wildebeests will normally get to the Mara river in big groups and as the groups build up, they eventually chose crossing points which they consider safe from predators. At times the Mara river can be swollen and with strong currents leading to some of the animals breaking their limbs or getting stuck in the rocks. The Nile crocodiles who by this time are lying patiently waiting for them get an opportunity to attack, clutching their prey with their strong jaws and suffocating them by drowning them under the water. Others get injured during the stampede and are easily grabbed by the crocs. Studies have shown that some wildebeests chose the same crossing points, something that has been genetically imprinted in the minds of these animals. This magnificent scene attracts hundreds of big cats as the numerous animals provides more than enough prey. After a successful migration, the herds of wildebeest team up with the resident Mara population which is about 150,000 and spend most of the period grazing north east Mara plains. The resident wildebeest are commonly known as the Loita plains herd.The Mara river crossing is the experience that makes Masai Mara a unique safari destination and the fact that it is home to the Big five.

Trekking back to Serengeti

As October approaches, the grass at Masai Mara plains has been trimmed to ground level and in some parts dried up. The herds start trekking back to Serengeti plains which by this time due to the short rains the lush grass has grown afresh. Moving through the eastern woodlands of Serengeti, they spread out as they reach the open plains in the southern plains of Ndutu and Salei in the Serengeti.

Calving season

By mid-January towards February, the wildebeest congregate in big groups in areas below the Ngorongoro Crater on the Serengeti. For two to three weeks’ period, the wildebeest cows give birth to more than 400,000 calves. The synchronized calving occurs in the short grass plains. This is where a new generation is born and starts the cycle of life. Newborn calves are equipped for survival, they are known to gain coordination very fast, getting to their feet two to three minutes after birth and are able to run with the herd after just five minutes.Calving season is a time to see the drama of the hunt as predatory animals seek the newborn wildebeests. However,the predators quickly become satiated and are unable to consume much, therefore having less impact on the calf population. All the same many of the calves die in the first year due to malnutrition, fatigue and diseases besides predation. The nutrient rich short grasses, which contain higher levels of protein, sodium, calcium and phosphorus, are healthy for the lactating wildebeest cows. The calves that survive join the grazing herds as they make their maiden journey to Masai Mara.

During this season, the southern Serengeti has specific areas that provide exceptional views of the Great Migration such as the Moru Kopjes.

Nomadic Holidays and Safaris is offering some of the most competitive Kenya safari deals that leads you to witness an unforgettable migration experience.

Contact us for more information

Rusinga island

Top Hidden Destinations in Kenya

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Top Hidden Destinations in Kenya

Despite Kenya being a famous safari destination, there are so many top hidden destinations in Kenya with amazing attractions. Kenya safari is not just about the Masai Mara, there are many less visited, but unique destinations for any adventure traveler. If you want to discover and enjoy attractions a bit outside the tourist setup and still marvel at the wonderful nature and magnificent scenery, Nomadic Holidays and Safaris offers some off the beaten track Kenya safaris to various destinations.

Rusinga Island

Rusinga Island lies to the East of Lake Victoria, in Homa Bay County, with the most stunning views of the lake Victoria. The Island has an elongated shape approximately 16 km from end to end and 5 km at its widest point, lies in the eastern part of Lake Victoria. It is about 8 hours drive from Nairobi, approximately 450Km, via the Kisumu to Homa Bay route. Rusinga Island is connected to Mbita, via a Causeway that takes you to the island.

If you choose Rusinga Island Lodge, you get to enjoy the serene tranquility relaxing at the well-manicured lawns that stretch to the lake. There are exotic trees that are home to numerous bird species, some of which are only found in this region.

Activities that you can indulge in include Birdwatching, boat riding, walking, mountain biking and fishing.

Ruma National Park

Ruma National Park is 425 Kilometers West of Nairobi, 10 Kilometers East of Lake Victoria & 23 Kilometers South West of Homabay.

Ruma National Park promises undiscovered wildlife treasures and undisturbed peace.  It is also Kenya’s last remaining sanctuary for the endangered roan antelope. Ruma lies on the flat floor of the seasonally watered Lambwe River Valley bordered by the Kanyamwa Escarpment to the South-East, and by the volcanic plugs of the Ruri Hills to the north. Ruma’s birdlife is exceptional. The park is also the only protected area in Kenya where the globally threatened blue swallow, a scarce intra-African migrant, is regularly recorded. Blue swallows, which depend upon moist grassland for both feeding and roosting, arrive in Kenya from their breeding grounds in Southern Tanzania around April and depart again in September.

Activities: Ruma provides a perfect place for birdwatching, one can also combine with a game drive.

Saiwa Swamp National Park

Saiwa Swamp is located near Kitale town, in the Rift Valley of Kenya. It is 385km northwest of Nairobi, close to the Ugandan border.

Saiwa Swamp National Park is the smallest national park in Kenya. It covers an area of just 2.9km² and was established to protect and preserve the strange and rare Sitatunga (an aquatic antelope). Apart from this rare swamp dweller, it is also home to the rare De Brazza’s monkeys. You will also love the exotic flowers, a wide variety of trees and bird species such as Narina trogons, the collared and orange-tufted sunbird, the yellow bishop, Hatlaub’s marsh widow bird and the Noisy Ross’s turacos.

Activities: game viewing, bird watching and trail walking.

Kakamega Forest Reserve

Kakamega forest is located in Western Kenya, Kakamega county 418 KM from Nairobi city through, Nakuru, Kericho, Kisumu Kakamega town. The forest including reserves encloses about 238 square kilometers, a little less than half of which currently remains as indigenous forest. Kakamega being a tropical rainforest has a temperate, warm climate and can be visited at any time during the year.  The forest is elevated at predominantly between 1500 m and 1600 m above sea level. Kakamega rain forest has over 360 species of birds, 380 species of plants, 400 species of butterflies, 7 species of primates. This beautiful forest is home to various mammals including bush pigs, giant forest hedgehogs, colobus monkeys, De brazzas’ monkeys and pottos. Some of the birds to be seen here include the Blue Headed Bee Eater, Black Billed Turaco, Turner’s Eremomela and Grey Parrots.

Activities that can be enjoyed here include Bird watching, hiking and rock climbing .

Lake Turkana

Lake Turkana is located in the remote northern Kenya. Lake Turkana also known as the Jade Sea, was originally named Lake Rudolph in 1888 and was renamed Lake Turkana in 1975. Lake Turkana is famous for it’s remarkable greenish-blue colours, hence the nickname the Jade Sea. It is the largest alkaline lake in the world.

This lake is over 250km long and 50km wide, it is a source of life for some of Kenya’s most remote tribes. The communities that live around the lake are the Turkana, who live a semi-nomadic existence around the lake. The country’s smallest tribe, the El Molo, live a hunter-gatherer existence on the shores.

This is a rarely visited part of Kenya, as it is fairly remote, but those who make it are well rewarded with a memorable experience.The island parks are breeding habitats for Nile crocodiles, hippopotamus and several snake species. The island is home to a variety of birdlife including 34 species of European migrants most spectacularly viewed as they return home between March and May. At least 23 species breed here, including Goliath heron, and African skimmer, while African open-billed stork, Duck and Gulls feed on the shores and the volcanic island lakes attract lesser flamingos. Birds of prey are also abundant, especially swallow-tailed kites.

Activities here are Bird watching and game viewing considering this park has the largest concentrations of crocodiles.

Solio Ranch

Solio Ranch or Solio Game Reserve is a fenced, privately owned wildlife conservancy. The ranch which is only 22km north of Nyeri town is recognized as one of the most successful private rhino breeding reserves in Kenya. The reserve plays a major role in the protection and breeding of black rhinos in Kenya. The conservancy is also inhabited by other wildlife species such as buffalos, zebras, giraffes, oryx, antelopes, Thompson gazelles, Impala, waterbucks and warthogs. Predators such as lions, leopards and cheetahs are also easy to spot.

To have an unforgettable experience, some of the activities you can indulge in include: game drive, walking safaris and horse riding.

Lake Baringo

Lake Baringo, after Lake Turkana, is the most northern of the Kenyan Rift Valley lakes, with a surface area of 130 square kilometers and an elevation of 970 metres. Lake Baringo is also a Ramsar site, having been recognized internationally as a vitally important wetland.

The views are just amazing especially during the sunset. A wide variety of birdlife, hippos and crocodiles and also the local fishing Njemps community makes this destination unique.

The lake is a well-known birding destination, with a local record set at 300 species recorded in one hour at the Baringo Club. Boat trips are the best way of exploring this area. The Baringo Community museum displays several species of snakes, including the Black Mamba, Puff Adder, Boomslang (tree snake) and Spitting Cobra as well as Monitor Lizards, Crocodiles and a central pit shared by endangered tortoises and harmless Stripe Bellied Sand Snakes.

Laikipia

Laikipia plateau is located north of Nairobi and north-east of the Great Rift Valley, north-west of snow-capped Mount Kenya. The Laikipia plateau stretches from Aberdare ranges to Samburu land. The high plains of Laikipia are recognized as one of Kenya’s best safari destinations. Much of this region is occupied by private wildlife sanctuaries that contain a large variety of animals including the big five. Laikipia has one of the most successful conservation initiatives in Kenya.

One is certain to see the big 5 and some endemic species such as Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffes and Jackson’s hartebeests. The highest number of rhinos are found in this region.

Some of the unique and most exciting conservancies worth visiting are:

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Borana Conservancy, Lekurruki Group Ranch, El Karama Ranch, Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Sosian Ranch, Il Ngwesi Conservancy and Ol Doinyo Lemboro Ranch

Activities that you can take part in include: lion tracking in Ol Pejeta, walking safaris, horse riding, cultural visits, game drives and bird watching.

Chyulu Hills

Chyulu Hills National Park is located in Makueni County in South-West Kenya and lies between the Tsavo and Amboseli ecosystems. The height is 2188m at its highest and extending 150km long.

The Chyulu hills consists of several hundred small flows and cones characterized by endless green and spectacular landscape views. Within the hills there are numerous lava tube caves that criss cross.  The 11km Leviathan cave is one of the longest lava tubes in the world. The Chyulu Hills do not have any permanent rivers, yet it is a vital catchment area for Tsavo and Galana rivers and Mzima Springs on the surrounding plains.

Large mammals include buffalo, bushbucks, elands, elephants, leopards, giant forest hogs, bush pigs, reedbucks and giraffes along with various reptiles and insects.

Horse riding, hiking, camping, mountain climbing, wildlife and bird watching can be enjoyed in this hidden part of paradise.

Nomadic Holidays and Safaris organizes tailor made safaris to Chyulu hills and adjacent parks

Water rafting

Thrilling Adventure Experiences in Kenya

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Thrilling Adventures

For those who love extreme outdoor activities, we offer some of the most thrilling adventure experiences. Sometimes adventure may require special skills and physical exertion, with activities involving exploration and working on adrenaline rush.  At Nomadic Holidays and Safaris, we organize adventure activities, designed to create exciting activities that are safe and environmentally sustainable.

Hiking and Walking safaris

Walking safaris are a unique way of exploring nature and discovering wildlife. This allows you to get closest to wildlife as possible. The unique thing about the walking safaris is that you stop to learn about small things like insects, plants, identifying animal spore and listening to bird calls. Although not common in the main Kenyan parks and reserves, it is offered in conservancies and game ranches. For serious nature walks we always have our guests escorted by armed guides.

Mountain biking

Nomadic Holidays and Safaris organizes mountain biking safaris that will take  you to various destinations in Kenya as you marvel at the magnificent landscape and attractions by bike.

Mountain biking in Hell’s Gate National Park is a great way to explore allowing you to ride past herds of grazing wildlife.

Horse Riding

Those who love horse riding will admit it is an exciting activity especially when riding past wild animals and enjoying the amazing landscape

Rock climbing

This activity involves a combination of physical strength, mental focus and fun. Since it involves climbing in rugged rocky areas, it is the ultimate challenge for those who love adventure. Climbing routes are normally planned out for you because they are loosely defined by where the loops are placed into the rock. You can try your strength at Hell’s Gate National Park or challenge yourself at the Roaring Rocks in Tsavo West National Park.

Zip lining

This adventure outdoor activity, is popular especially for those interested in adventurous getaways not far from the Nairobi city. The clean, fresh air presented by nature when zip lining is a significant advantage for zip lining and therapeutic to your body. The wind helps cleanse toxins from your respiratory system allowing your body to function more efficiently. Zip lining is also an excellent way of reducing stress and can help burn calories.

To really get your feel of high flying adventure there are plenty of zip lining locations in Kenya which include: Kereita Forest, Rapid Camps Sagana, over the Tana river by Savage wilderness and many others.

White water rafting

Get the ultimate adrenaline rush by exploring the white waters of the Tana river. White water rafting is a perfect exhilarating adventure activity that involves rafting in rough waters. This can be a one-day excursion or several days’ safari. One gets the opportunity to enjoy the scenery, viewing the birdlife and admiring a variety of wildlife. You can also combine this activity with wildlife safari.

Bungee Jumping

It involves falling from an elastic rope. The thrill comes by bouncing up and down when the elastic rope is stretched. This activity is offered at the Rapid Camp, Sagana.

Hot air balloon

The thrilling experience of looking down the savannah plains as the animals start their day is truly fulfilling. This great unique activity can be experienced in the famous Masai Mara national reserve.

Sky diving

This exhilarating activity involves free fall from a plane while physically attached to your instructor, who manages your descent and parachute. This thrilling experience leaves you with an unforgettable experience. Diani beach is a perfect spot for this unique adventure.

Scuba diving and Snorkeling

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Scuba diving involves underwater diving where divers is strapped with a tank with compressed air. Divers move under water with fins attached to their feet. The Kenyan coast offers almost endless spots that will give you some of the most memorable diving experiences of your life, but knowing the best sites takes your experience to a new level. Diani, Wasini and Watamu are ideal spots for scuba diving.

Snorkeling is another exciting activity at the warm coast of East Africa.Good conditions in the sea allows all visitors to have access to the spectacular undersea life. It involves swimming while equipped with a mask.

Swahili Beach Resort

Best Kenyan Beaches

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Kenya’s coastline has some of the best tropical beaches in Africa. Below are the best Kenyan beaches for swimming, beach sports, scuba diving, snorkeling as well as boat rides with transparent glasses at the bottom that allow you to see the rich marine life.

Diani Beach

Located approximately 30km south of Mombasa city in Kwale county. This 17Km long white sandy beach is the most popular beach that provides a tranquil haven where you can relax and enjoy the warmth of the sun. Diani beach is renowned for its coral-reefs, underwater sandbars, and widespread palm vegetation.

In 2014, Diani Beach emerged top as Africa’s Leading Beach Destination in World Travel Awards.

With many world class beach resorts, widespread palm vegetation, giant coral reefs and a vibrant marine life put Diani Beach in its own class. While here, you can simply relax on the beach and unwind, take a walk or participate in activities like kite surfing, snorkeling or sky diving.

To access Diani Beach, you pass through the Likoni ferry crossing that connects with Mombasa Island. You can also fly to the nearby Ukunda airstrip (which has direct flights from Nairobi)

Nyali Beach

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Nyali is located on the mainland north of Mombasa Island. Nyali is renowned for its tourist potential and proximity to the city It is connected to Mombasa Island by the New Nyali Bridge. Nyali is known for its many high-class hotels and residential houses, shopping malls. The  long white sand beaches that offer a calm and relaxing ambiance makes it a popular destination for both local and foreign tourists.

Due to its calmness, Nyali has a wide range of accommodation facilities that range from luxury hotels to affordable hotels and its coast is bordered with white sand beaches protected by a coral reef. Apart from the normal beach activities that you can do around Nyali like sunbathing, swimming and playing with sands and building sand castles, it’s also a good location for beach volley, windsurfing, scuba diving, kite surf, jet skiing, sailing. The beach is never overcrowded and offers lots of space for privacy.

You can also spend time at the Haller Park or the Mamba village. Wild waters is a perfect for families and especially very entertaining for children.

Watamu Beach

Watamu is a small town located approximately 105 km north of Mombasa and about 15 km south of Malindi on the Indian Ocean coast of Kenya. The beach is known for its local reefs making it a perfect spot for snorkeling and scuba diving, crystal clear water and soft white sands. The beach is perfect for swimming, gives you a fantastic holiday experience. You can engage in some beach activities such as surfing, sunbathing or take a long walk along the shores. The Watamu Marine National Park is one of the best snorkeling and diving sites on the East African coast. You could also explore around by taking a trip to the Arabuko Sokoke forest or visit the Gede Ruins.

One can get to Watamu through the Malindi Airport. Driving from Mombasa town and 15 Kilometers from Malindi you turn right to the Watamu beach.

Bamburi Beach

Just about 10 km from Mombasa city centre towards the North coast is Bamburi beach. Bamburi beach has quite a number of beach hotels, apartments and villas. The famous ‘Pirates’ (Jomo Kenyatta Public beach) which is Mombasa’s and Kenya’s largest public beach is located on this stretch of Bamburi beach. The beach is a popular destination for sun lovers and sand seekers, those who love walking, swimming or relaxing by the beach.

The Mombasa Marine Park is a major attraction here for those who’re fascinated with Marine life. Being a very busy public beach, there are several stalls where you can buy artifacts, traditional wear and snacks to enjoy on the beach. You could also visit the Haller Park or Mamba Village. There are a number of shopping malls with close proximity to the beach.

You can easily get here with a private car, taxi, tuktuk or matatu from Mombasa town

Shanzu Beach

Shanzu is a secluded beach located about 18Km north of Mombasa, off the Mombasa – Malindi road. The beach is surrounded by coconut palm groves and has several beach resorts and hotels, bars and restaurants. The coral reef starts right at the shoreline and the coconut palms form the backdrop to the beach where the visitors can enjoy and have fun. The beach offers pleasant views of the sea, sheer beauty of the coast and endless water spots. It is perfect for tropical beach holidays and memorable experiences.Accessibility is easy through Serena road that is adjacent to Shanzu Teachers College.

Tiwi Beach

Tiwi is a quiet beach located in Kwale County approximately 18km from Mombasa City. This beach is a perfect hideaway. If you just want to relax and rejuvenate in a stress free environment with absolute silence, this is the place to be.

With very few beach resorts, Amani Tiwi beach hotel is the only big hotel but there are cottages and apartments nearby. This beach has the best snorkeling spots and is calm and undisturbed.

Lamu Beaches

Lamu Island has the best beaches perfect for relaxation during your holiday. These beaches are known for their breathtaking views and peaceful ambiance. These beaches are surrounded by luxury resorts built around the ocean. These beach resorts offer visitors an exquisite place to have fun and relax.

Dhow sailing is a common sight in Lamu. Dhows are the cheapest mode of transport, used to ferry people from Lamu beach to Shela beach and Manda Island, all the way to Kiwayu Island. You can set sail to watch the sunset in the deep sea, or cruise all the way to the marine park to snorkel and swim with dolphins if your timing is right, or you can go on an excursion to view the ruins of Takwa.

Lamu is best accessed by air either directly from Nairobi (Fly 540 from Kenyatta airport, Safarilink and Air Kenya fly from Wilson Airport, Nairobi) or from Mombasa or Malindi. The airport is on an island opposite the main village requiring a short boat/ferry ride.

For those on a tighter budget a daily bus service does run from Mombasa via Malindi. The trip from Mombasa to Lamu (Mokowe on the mainland) takes 5-7 hours depending on road conditions. Two express buses are Tawakal and Najaah. From Mokowe on the mainland it is possible to take the slow and crowded ferry, a shared speed boat or hire your own speed boat. All options will take you to Lamu Town. You can usually negotiate to be taken to Shela if this is your final destination.

Suitcase

Travel Tips For Your African Safari

Travel tips for your Safari

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These are some of the Travel tips for your African safari.

Safaris in East Africa are unpredictable and sometimes inefficient or uncomfortable, no matter how detailed the itinerary, things may at times not work as expected. Unpredictable weather, wildlife activities, food, water, or fuel shortages can all impact on level of service. The safaris involve activities in remote areas of the country that may carry an element of risk or illness or injury where medical facilities may not be readily available. The most important items to pack are an open mind, patience, positive attitude and a desire for adventure.

Packing for safari

Depending on the number of passengers in the safari vehicle, it is always good to carry light luggage. This makes it comfortable for you and also for other passengers especially if you are sharing the vehicle. Soft sided suitcases or soft bags are recommended as they are easy to pack in the vehicle. You can have an extra back pack that will carry essential items such as your personal items, money, documents, cameras, binoculars, a jacket and any other items that you may need during the safari.

Clothing

Lightweight casual clothes can be worn all year round. Evenings and early morning can be chilly especially in the mountain areas so pack a sweatshirt, sweater or warm jersey. Socks and walking shoes or sneakers are recommended. Footwear should be low-heeled and comfortable. On safari keep clothes to a minimum and mostly of neutral coloring – khakis, browns and greens. A sunhat, sunglasses, sunscreen and insect repellant are a must. Remember, roof hatches on safari vehicles are left open during game viewing. Don’t forget swim wear and binoculars. Some city restaurants and clubs have dress codes – casual jacket and tie for men, informal dresses for women.

Arrival in Nairobi / Mombasa

When you arrive at your port of entry, Nomadic Safaris will have your flight information, hence, our representative will be waiting for you at the airport to receive you. You will then be transferred to your hotel in Nairobi according to the program.

Money Exchange

Hotels and lodges can change money but their exchange rate are not usually very good. There are Forex bureaus at the airport if you choose to exchange dollars for Kenyan Shillings upon arrival. Banks at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi remain open 24 hours a day. The exchange rate varies but mostly 1$ changing with Kshs 100.

There are numerous banks in the major towns as well as many bureau de changes. Hours of business vary from bank to bank, but most are open from 9.00am to 430pm, Mondays to Fridays, and 9.00am – 12.30pm on Saturdays. Hotels and lodges change money outside these hours. Banking services are also available at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi and at Moi International Airport in Mombasa.

Currency

Currency unit is the shilling, comprising 100 cents. Coins are in denominations of 1,5,10,20 and 40 shillings. Bank notes are in denominations of 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 shillings. Importation of foreign currency is unlimited and does not have to be declared on arrival.

It’s best to come into the country with dollars, Euros or pounds which can be exchanged at any of the many Bureau de Change in the main Towns. If you are offered an exchange on the black market at the borders, exercise extreme caution as they are notorious for cheating you without you even realizing it.

Credit Cards, Cash and Traveler’s Checks

International credit cards are accepted by most restaurants, stores, hotels, lodges, camps, car rental firms, etc. However, many small shops in rural areas will not accept them. American Express, Visa and MasterCard Traveler’s Checks are widely accepted.

Languages

While the national language of Kenya is Kiswahili, English is the official language and is widely spoken and understood across East Africa. There are more than 43 different ethnic groups, each with  their own language and culture.

Safety

Please don’t walk alone in apparently deserted areas, especially in and around the cities. It is preferable and usually more enjoyable to walk with company or in groups. Don’t carry large sums of cash in your purse or pocket, or display expensive jewelry. Be aware of the possibility of pick-pockets and bag snatchers in crowded areas. Make photocopies of the first few pages of your passport, air ticket and other important travel documents. Keep this separate from the originals. Don’t leave money or valuables in a hotel room. Most hotels offer safety deposit box service, and ensure that you have adequate insurance coverage before leaving home.

Wildlife Areas:

Always remember that while some animals have become accustomed to the presence of people they are still wild animals. Keep your distance. It is illegal to feed any animal, make excessive noise to attract their attention, or deviate from designated roads for that closer photograph. Never get out of your vehicle except at designated points. Close all windows and zippers when you leave your room or tent and spray it with insect/mosquito repellant.

The best way to get the most out of your safari is to take an active interest in everything going on around you, not just the number of species you can see in the shortest possible time. Ask all the questions you can think of and take reference books on not only wildlife but birds, insects and trees and read up about everything you see.

Be punctual

Please be on time when meeting your safari driver for travelling or for game drives so that you can get maximum value for your time spent on safari.

Health

It is advisable to take out emergency medical insurance before flying to Kenya.

Vaccinations for cholera, tetanus and yellow fever are advised. Malaria is virulent in Kenya. Take prophylactics two weeks before arrival and continue two weeks after leaving. ( Your chemist or doctor can advise you of the most suitable drug available as certain drugs lose their effectiveness. )It is advisable to buy travel insurance covering accidents, illness or hospitalization for the period of your stay. Temporary membership in East African Flying Doctors’ Service is also recommended for safari goers. Members who require emergency medical attention on safari are flown to Nairobi for the best medical attention available in the country.

Water

It is advisable to drink bottled water which we shall provide 2 half liter bottles per day per person during safari. It is also readily available in the camps and lodges. Drink only bottled water or from flasks of filtered and boiled water provided by most camps and lodges.

Accommodation

Standards and services range from up-market to tourist. Deluxe and first class hotels are found in the main cities and the resorts on the coastline of the country. Luxurious lodges are set in exotic locations, while comfortable tented camps are found in the main game parks.

Valuables, cash and passports

Please keep your passport & money on you at all times. Never leave money or valuables in your room or in the van. You can check valuables in security boxes at the lodges and camps.

Electricity

Power supply is 220/240 volt 50 cycles. Plugs are usually 13-amp 3 pin square (British type)

Tipping

A tip of 10% for good service is adequate. Service charges are frequently added and it is usual to tip a waiter, porter, tour driver or guide at least US $15 per person per day.

Climate

Although Kenya is considered to fall in the tropics, climate and temperature varies depending on altitude and proximity to the ocean. Coastal regions are hot and humid while the central plateaus are warm and dry, with cool nights.

Laundry

Most hotels and lodges will offer a laundry service. For low budget travelers there are no coin operated Laundromats at all so consider drip dry clothing and be prepared for hand washing. In most places one could hire someone to do your washing.

Photography

Kenya is considered to be a photographer’s dream destination. From panoramic scenery, wildlife and birds to people and vibrant ceremonies. Rich color and good low lighting conditions abound. It is considered rude to take pictures of people without asking them first. Masai and Samburu warriors will expect payment for posing. Keep your cameras in a dust resistant, padded case and out of the midday sun. A 200mm (or longer) telephoto lens will prove very useful on safari, and an ultra violet filter and lens cap are strongly recommended. Please note that taking pictures of government and military personnel and installations is prohibited!

Driving

Driving is done on the left side of the road. Drivers require a valid license that must include a picture of the holder. A valid foreign license may be used for up to 90 days, but only after it has been endorsed by the Road Transport Office in Nairobi.

If you’re doing a vehicle trip through Kenya it is a good idea to carry a range of tools and essential spares with you. Two spare wheels and a couple of spare tubes are a must due to the condition of the roads. Spare jerry cans of fuel and water, a tow rope, compressor, winch and a spotlight are useful items to have. Many of the villages along the main routes offer tire mending services at a very reasonable fee. .

Be very careful in towns and villages not to leave your vehicle open and unattended. You should have no problem sleeping outdoors in designated camping areas or remote places along the way, but get into the habit of locking things away before you go to sleep.

Transportation by Air

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi and Moi International Airport in Mombasa are main points of entry. Many charter services operate out of Nairobi’s Wilson Airport. Regular services link Kisumu, Lamu, Malindi, Mombasa and Nairobi.

Air Kenya, flies to Amboseli, Lamu, Masai Mara, Nyeri, Nanyuki and Samburu. Kenya Airways is the national airline.

Customs Requirements

All visitors must have a valid passport and are subject to clearance through customs. In addition, all non-Commonwealth citizens require a visa, to be obtained from Kenyan Missions abroad or at the post of entry. Personal effects, including cameras, binoculars are allowed into the country duty free.

Time Differences

Throughout the year, Standard Time in Kenya is three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, two hours ahead of Central European Winter Time, and eight hours ahead of Eastern Standard Winter Time in the U.S.

Safe Travel  

Nairobi

Things To Do in Nairobi

things-to-do-in-nairobi

Nairobi is the capital city of Kenya. We at Nomadic Holidays and Safaris are happy to guide you on things  to do in Nairobi.

Nairobi began in the late 1890s as a supply depot of the Kenya-Uganda Railway. Its name originally came from the Masai words “Enkare Nairobi” meaning “place of cool waters”. Because of its central location in Kenya, Nairobi latter became the British provincial capital and, finally, the capital city.

In 1905, Nairobi replaced Mombasa as capital of the British protectorate, and the city grew around administration and tourism, initially in the form of big game hunting. As the British occupiers started to explore the region, they started using Nairobi as their first port of call. This prompted the colonial government to build several spectacular grand hotels in the city. The main occupants were British game hunters.

In addition to its urban core, the city has Nairobi National Park, 113 sq kms of plains, cliffs and forest. The park is a safe haven for the endangered black rhino and is also home to large herds of Zebra, Wildebeest, Buffalo, Giraffe and more. A large number of Lions are all found here, living wild within 20 minutes of the city centre. Next to it is a well-regarded elephant orphanage operated by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

Nairobi is still the safari capital of the Africa, although urbanization has quickly caught up with the city. Nairobi has become one of Africa’s largest, and most interesting cities. Nairobi is a city that never seems to sleep.

Nairobi has grown around its central business district.The city is also expanding to the Upper Hill areas and Westlands. The CBD takes a rectangular shape, around the Uhuru Highway, Haile Selassie Avenue, Moi Avenue, and University Way. It features many of Nairobi’s important buildings, including the City Hall and Parliament Building. The city square is also located within the perimeter. Most of the skyscrapers in this region are the headquarters of many international organizations.

Kenyatta International Convention Centre, renowned venue for conferences, meetings and exhibitions, at the heart of the city is the landmark of Nairobi. While the tallest building is the new 32 –storey 200m Britam Towers in Upper Hill. The second tallest is 33 storey 163m UAP towers. Work is underway for Nairobi’s tallest building 70 floors, 300m Pinnacle Towers at Nairobi’s upperhill.

The Nairobi River and its tributaries traverse through the Nairobi County. Nobel Peace laureate Wangari Mathai fought fiercely to save the indigenous Karura forest in northern Nairobi which was under threat of being replaced by modern housing and other infrastructure.

Nairobi has a tropical highland climate. At 1,795 metres (5,889 ft) above sea level, evenings may be cool, especially in the June/July season, when the temperature can drop to 10 °C. The sunniest and warmest part of the year is from December to March, when temperatures average 25°C during the day. The mean maximum temperature for this period is 27 °C.

There are two rainy seasons, but rainfall can be moderate. The cloudiest part of the year is just after the first rainy season, when, until September, conditions are usually overcast with drizzle. As Nairobi is situated close to the equator, the differences between the seasons are minimal. The seasons are referred to as the wet season and dry season. The timing of sunrise and sunset varies little throughout the year for the same reason.

Shopping

Downtown Nairobi, once the center for government, institutional and private office space is now a bustling shopping district where local and international brands compete for Kenya’s growing middle class. The streets are lined up with all kinds of shops, supermarkets and fast food joints where you can buy anything. Nairobi’s shopping district is a diverse ecosystem that caters for every budget and every lifestyle. Grand shopping malls are now common in the suburbs of Nairobi providing access to many services such as banks and also major supermarkets.

Curio Shops | souvenirs

Kenya is famous for many handicrafts. Look for Kisii stone (soap stone) carvings, Maasai jewelry, Makonde wood carvings, Lamu chairs and batiks.  Nomadic Safaris advises you to visit the Masai Market which has a large selection of souvenirs and can be found at different locations within Nairobi.

DaysLocation of the Masai Market
FridaysUpper Car Park at the Village Market in Gigiri & Lavington Mall
Saturday & SundayHigh Court Parking, City Square Down Town Nairobi city Center opposite Re-Insurance Plaza & Prestige Plaza along Ngong road
SundayCar Park Outside the Yaya Shopping Centre
WednesdayCapital Center along Mombasa road
ThursdayThe junction Mall & along Ngong road
TuesdayPrestige Plaza along Ngong Road

NB: Exporting souvenirs made from wildlife skins (this includes reptiles) and shells is forbidden.

Transportation

At Nomadic Safaris will be happy to organize your transport within Nairobi. We also advise our guests on the best transport mode depending on the areas they wish to visit.

Matatus  (public minibuses/commuter buses) is typically used for traveling between downtown Nairobi and the suburbs. They are the most common form of public transport and provide a cheap way of getting around Nairobi.

Taxis are a more expensive but more reliable mode of transportation than the matatus. Usually, they are not metered and, like most other things in Nairobi, their fares are negotiable. Taxis are available in most parts of the city. They park outside hotels, at taxi ranks in the city center, and at shopping malls.

 Things to do

If you are interested in enjoying any of the excursions below, Nomadic Safaris shall gladly organize one for you. It is possible to combine a number of these excursions to a full day or half day city excursion.

David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage

  • Animal orphanage
  • Nairobi Safari Walk
  • Nairobi National Park
  • Giraffe Centre
  • Mamba Village
  • Snake Park
  • National Museum
  • Karen Blixen house and Museum
  • Railway Museum
  • Kazuri Beads and Pottery Centre
  • Kitengela glass
  • Bomas of Kenya
  • American Embassy Memorial Gardens
  • Arboretum
  • Karura Forest
  • K.I.C.C

Popular eating joints & Restaurants

Common fast food restaurants include SteersDebonairsKFCGalito’sKenchic among others.

Java House & Arte caffe,  you will easily find these restaurants in major shopping malls such as The Junction, ABC Place, Sarit Centre, Westgate etc . They have great coffees and milkshakes among other meals.

Trattoria is an Italian restaurant.

Village Market Food Court, Has an array of different ethnic cuisines, including Thai, Italian, Chinese and German, as well as a Mongolian Barbeque. Good prices as well. Venture further into Village Market to find a good Japanese restaurant as well, though with slightly steeper prices. There are also food courts at other malls in the city.

Pampa Grill located at Panari along the Mombasa road.

Carnivore Restaurant located just outside the city, close to the Uhuru Gardens, is a luxury restaurant famous for its meats.

Accommodation

Homestays are increasingly gaining popularity especially near the airport. Part of the reason is that one is able to experience Kenyan culture in a deeper and more meaningful way.

Wildebeest Camp

La Maison Royale

67 Airport Hotel

Olive Gardens Hotel

The Heron Portico

The Zehneria Portico

Tune Hotel

Golden Tulip

Silver Springs Hotel

Country Lodge

Fairview inn

Holiday inn

Amber Hotel

Sarova Stanley

Nairobi Hilton Hotel

Intercontinental

Sarova Panafric

Crown Plaza

Radisson Blu

Giraffe Manor