Who we are
We are an Kenya based company and we make all safari arrangements including hotel/lodges reservations. We have our own fleet and though our clients are from all over the world we do not arrange international flights.
Best safari time
Almost all the parks have great sightings all year round. Due to different habitats of the parks and reserves an overland safari comes handy and many maintain that June to September is the best time for Kenya and April to June, October –December for Tanzania.
Bottom line is that all year round there is plenty of wildlife to see and great birding activities. The mentioned months usually have less vegetation and wildlife can be viewed with relative ease. The nature reserves are at the time a bit crowded and as such recommended to make reservations much in advance.
What to bring
From June-September the evenings can be quite cool. Be ready for this and pack some warm clothing for the evenings. Be ready to meet with an unexpected showers but this doesn’t lower the temperatures too much. The guides know how to deal with this and it should be the least of your worries.
Always have with you a wide-brim hat, insect repellant, sunscreen and sunglasses. Force yourself to drink water, lots of it, if you want to avoid headaches and lethargy from dehydration.
Would you advice taking a family to Africa?
Kenya and Tanzania are great destinations for families. Some of the lodges have arrangements to cater for young ones through children clubs that you can engages them a lot with games and nature activities. Many of the lodges and permanent tented camps have swimming pools that the kids can enjoy. Contact us for children arrangements and you will be informed accordingly. Some lodges do not accept children less than 7 years. If traveling with children indicate in the remarks on the reservation/inquiry form.
What do I require to enter East Africa?
The nearest consulate office will be the best to answer this question for especially for latest visa requirements. You should have a valid passport at least 6 months extra more than the planned stay. Visa for Kenya and Tanzania costs $ 50 respectively. Arrange to have your visa in advance but can also be received on arrival at the airport.
Kinds of accommodation
This depends on personal taste and varies from Luxury safari lodges, hotels, bed & breakfast, Luxury tented camps and camp sites. Whatever your choice, advance booking is recommended. Each one of the accommodations is further explained below.
The kind of safaris and packages we offer?
Sierra Safaris offers the lodge safaris, fly-in, permanent tented camps, budget mobile camping. All of these are available for both of our Kenya and Tanzania safaris. More specific information is available on request.
Our safari guides drive you from lodge to lodge and does game drive excursions in each of the park/ reserves visited. These are facilities in the nature reserves. These offer great comforts. Works well for families with children and services such swimming pools, restaurant, bars are available.
Permanent tented camp safari
Permanent tented camps are facilities in the nature reserves and are really permanent facilities. Safaris are operated by vehicle or fly-in packages. Accommodation varies from comfortable to luxurious tents. Usually these camps accommodate up to 50 or less people. They are facilities for smaller group of clients. This adds a personal feeling of closeness to the nature. Furniture’s such as chairs, beds are included. Hot showers, cold water and flashing toilets
What is a budget mobile camping safari?
Sierra Safaris budget mobile camping are tented safaris that are on the move every day or every two nights. The camping unit consists of the cooks and safari guides. Showers and toilet facilities are provided on the camping grounds. The meals are made on time and are always fresh. The sleeping tents are designed for 4 persons but only two people share our tents to allow some space. The meals are prepared on open fires. Budget safaris operate with a minimum of 4 persons and a maximum of 18.
How many people for a safari to take off?
Our safaris are guaranteed to commence with a minimum of 2 people. The vehicles are 7-seaters. For safaris with more than 7 people we use 2 vehicles. Each person is assured a window seat.
What is a single supplement?
The hotels impose a minimal extra fee for single travelers. Safari prices are based on two people sharing a double-room accommodation. In the case of single travelers they pay the per-person and the single-supplement fee.
A single traveler can share a room with another single?
In addition, a single traveler can share a room with another single person as long as the other person is of the same sex and on condition they both agree to the arrangement.
How far in advance should I book my safari?
It is highly recommended to make arrangements for your safari in advance as far as possible. 4-6 months is most convenient and assures you availability especially during the months of the high season, July-mid September, Christmas-new year. This saves last minute searches which often find you compromising standards and with no guarantee of availability.
What type of vehicles do you use on safari?
Sierra Safaris uses safari mini-buses with open hatch (roof). All the vehicles have long distance two-way radios and maintained to provide great comfort during the drives.
What are the different cultures?
‘African culture’ is a very broad term and varies from country to country. A full explanation is beyond Kenya and Tanzania
There are over 42 tribes and over 65 dialects in Kenya. Some of these dialects can further be subdivided into related clusters of about 5 in each. Differences between some of the dialects can only be recognized by people who have been in Kenya long time. To the one-time visitor they are all the same. For example Kikuyu who forms the major group are related to Meru, Embu, Mbeere and Ndiga. Unfortunately all these tribal groups are losing their traditional cultural values and tourism has its share in this. At the coast it is comprised more of a mixture of Arab, Indian, Ngiriama.
Tanzania lacks the widespread cultural heritage existing in Kenya, but also enjoys the African, Arab, European and Indian influences. The largest group is of Bantu origin including Dukuma, Nyamwezi, Makonde, Haya and Chagga. The Maasai in Kenya and Tanzania are of Nilotic origin, as are the Samburu and Arusha.
What is the geographical formation like?
There are four geographical zones. The highlands, the coastal lowlands, savannah grassland, extinct volcanoes plus lakes and rivers. The Indian Ocean is shared also by Tanzania, with great beaches in Mombasa, Zanzibar among other coastal towns. The itinerary usually covers several or all of them depending on personal taste.
In both Kenya and Tanzania, all the major roads are tarred. Not all of them are in good condition but accessible. In the National reserves the roads are of earth and rough.
Time difference East Africa
Kenya: GMT +3 hours
Tanzania: GMT +3 hours
Language is not a problem and English is widely spoken in East Africa. In the tour industry some of the guides also have added languages learnt in the local institutes. These are colleges put up to help cater for the wide safari industry.
Food and water
Any special dietary requirement can be catered for. For this inform us in advance and will be organized accordingly. On your itinerary you will see these letters , B, L,D, B&B. These are abbreviations. Each stands for: B > Breakfast, L > Lunch, D > Dinner. B&B > Bed and Breakfast.
Water: Avoid drinking or even brushing your teeth with tap water in your rooms. Drink only bottled water.
Are there any medical precautions?
Travelers to East Africa should start with long term basic health protection. This means vaccinations against Tetanus, Typhoid, Yellow fever and Hepatitis A. It is mandatory for Kenya and Tanzania visitors be vaccinated for Yellow fever. You have to prove this so bring your inoculation card and it will be checked at the airport.
East Africa has some parts with Malaria. It advisable that you consult your doctor for information on Malaria prevention preparation and most updated information on health to the third world.
Don’t go in the sun in the middle of the day, and be especially careful when swimming, snorkeling. This will avoid earning you a good chance in the melanoma lottery.
If you intend to do mountain climbing be prepared with necessary altitude sickness medication from your doctor. Otherwise known as AMS, Acute Mountain Sickness.
Dizziness, nausea, headaches, insomnia, breathlessness, loss of appetite.
Cure: rest, eat well, drink lots of water and don’t ascend further. You should be fine in a couple of days. To avoid this take time to acclimatize.
Stage 2: Dry cough, vomiting, confusion, loss of balance and co-ordination. Pulmonary oedema.
What is meant by self-contained rooms?
These are rooms with private toilets and showers located within your room. They apply to both lodges and luxury permanent tented camps. Also en-suite. On budget camping the facilities are communal.
What photography advice can you give?
Souvenir photos can be taken. This requires some patience and excellent timing. The regular family camera is usually not enough for wildlife that is far. A camera with a 200-300 mm comes handy in this case. Dedicated photographers can use telephoto lens of 400-500 mm. If you have big lens bring with a light tripod stand for stability and a teleconverter (2 x) to help double the focal length. Bring with you ample films and batteries. These can also be bought in the lodges or tourist centres. At the moment of writing this page it is forbidden to photograph government institutions, military personnel (police, army, and border police). Some cultures eg, Masai are very sensitive so be careful when you photograph and to consult the guide on the various circumstances.
Why big five?
The leopard, lion, elephant, rhino and buffalo were the top of list of traditional fun-hunters who came to Africa. These animals constitute a wish list for many people on safari. The term is a reference from colonial trophy hunting. Hunters ranked African animals as to how dangerous they were to hunt. This is why hippo and giraffe – despite their stature – are not among this elite, sought-after group.
It is always advisable to have travel insurance while visiting East Africa just like any other parts of the world. An element of personal risk that is of hazardous nature is involved in all the expeditions. Members in such an expedition must accept this risk. You are advised to take out an Insurance policy to cover personal accidents and medical expenses. This can be arranged on request.
All prices are net and non-commissionable
Prices are quoted in Dollars and include:
• Full-board accommodation on two-people sharing basis
• Triple room where requested will be given.
• All transport as per itinerary in safari van/cruiser.
• Full-time English-speaking safari guide
• Campsite fees for camping safaris
• Park fees( also payable directly at park entrance gates)
• Airport transfer, from and back
Prices are valid for the specified time but are subject to change without notice in case of Government action; increase in hotel tax or V.A.T. Prices are marked on the today-exchange rate at the time of publication and may be affected in case of major variation in exchange rates.
The standard pricing policy is of two people sharing a double/twin room. Single rooms are available at supplementary costs. Wherever possible we book rooms with private baths throughout the safari (except on budget camping). However Sierra Safaris can neither guarantee rooms with private baths as some rooms in Tree hotels do not have private bathrooms.
Depends on the itinerary route but is usually by safari minibus with pop-up roofs, large windows and English speaking driver-guide. Each client is guaranteed window seats allowing each one of you a perfect photographic corner.
Shown here are some of our frequently requested safaris. A tailor made itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs and should you wish to design your own program we will be happy to help.
Urban areas of Kenya as do other parts of the world have a degree of crimes, the commonest being petty thefts. As such simple precautions are necessary. Large sums of money or travelers cheques should not be carried about but left in your hotel safe deposit.
Walking along the dark streets in major towns is a risk. Included in the petty crimes is theft of jewels such as gold chains, bungles or earrings, purse etc.
Be aware of petty conmen within the cities who may request small sums of money for sad reasons. They are to be ignored.
An element of personal risk that is of hazardous nature is involved in all the expeditions. Members in such an expedition must accept this risk. You are advised to take out an Insurance policy to cover personal accidents and medical expenses. This can be arranged on request.