Nothing says safari like Kenya. Whether you’re exploring the famed Maasai Mara, bird-encrusted Rift Valley lakes or arid Samburu plains, it’s as if you’ve stepped into a wildlife documentary. Watch the drama of daily life unfold from your 4×4, providing a front-row seat for big cat hunts and herd migrations, your days dictated by the rhythms of the wild. You’ll rise with the sun to see its first rays warm the savannah from a hot air balloon, then watch it set in red-gold splendour beneath an acacia tree while sipping an icy G&T. Meanwhile, evenings in the Kenyan bush are made for sharing safari stories around the campfire, the sky lit by a tapestry of stars, or for exhilarating night drives where the pinpricks of nocturnal animal eyes pierce the darkness.
Many are drawn to Kenya for its romantic Out of Africa associations and show-stopping headliners: Big Five sightings, Kilimanjaro views and million-strong herds of wildebeest during the Great Migration. As you’ll find out though, it’s the tiny details and the people who call these timeless landscapes home that will really sear Kenya into your soul. It’s the humble dung beetles you’ll spot on a walking safari with a Samburu guide, the scarlet-robed Maasai chief who’ll teach you about the Mara’s medicinal plants and meeting the lesser-known Pokot tribesmen as they shepherd cattle on the Laikipia plains. Then there’s the market sellers in Nairobi peddling colourful kanga fabrics and the fishermen who navigate white-sailed dhows along the palm-fringed coast.
Let our Kenya specialists bring your dream African safari to life, selecting the best wildlife experiences, luxury camps and cultural excursions the country has to offer.
Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Becky, who's travelled extensively in Kenya. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - the rangers who'll ensure you'll spot the best wildlife in the Mara, the village chiefs who'll give you a genuine insight into local life and the camp managers who can recommend the very best spot for your sundowner.
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Time difference: GMT +3
Flight time: London + 8.5-9.5 hours
Currency: Kenyan shilling (Ksh)
Language: Swahili and English
Telephone code: +254
Tipping: Has become customary in up-market hotels, many of which will have a tip box in reception. It’s normal to tip bellhops an additional Ksh100 and to leave a 10 percent tip for great service in tourist restaurants. When you’re on safari, your tour manager or a printed guide in your lodge will explain how to tip correctly. As a general rule, budget around Ksh2,000 per room, per day of your safari, to be paid at the end of the experience.
Etiquette: Kenyans love small talk and long greetings complete with a friendly handshake but as a rule, women should only shake hands with men in formal settings. When chatting, be sure to ask after the person’s health and family before you settle into the main conversation. In Kenya, ultimate respect is given to elders in the community and hissing isn’t considered rude, it’s simply a way to attract someone’s attention. However, be careful not to point your finger at anyone and always ask before taking photos of locals.
Religions: Christianity is the main religion in Kenya, brought over by missionaries in the 19th century. While around 85 percent of the population identify as Christian, around 11 percent are Muslim due to Arabic traders who settled in Kenya’s coastal ports as far back as the 8th century. Alongside these key religions, many Kenyans have indigenous beliefs that are unique to their specific ethnic group.
Use of plastic: The law bans the use, manufacture, and importation of all single-use plastic bags. Travellers arriving in Kenya with duty-free plastic bags will be required to leave them at the airport. The government however confirms that reusable zip lock bags are permitted. Plastic bottled water may be provided in vehicles although to stay hydrated on the go, we recommend travelling with a personal, reusable bottle which you can refill at airports, hotels and lodges.
Visas: You can look up the latest advice on https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/kenya. Please be aware that this information can change at short notice.
Vaccinations: Health risks vary depending on the destination so it’s essential to check the specific vaccination and hygiene requirements for Kenya on the NHS Fit for Travel website.