Essential East Africa

Trip Code: YGYE

Why we love it

Safari, safari, safari – what East African adventure would be complete without one? Well, this trip has five (with the option to book one more) in two different areas. Which brings us to…, The animals! Go in search of hippos, lions, leopards, giraffes and more during game drives in the Serengeti and Masai Mara with your experienced local leaders., Spend a night hanging with the red-clad Maasai folk in Loita Hills. A local elder will explain what the tribe is all about and show you around their house., Crossing the Masai Mara in a purpose-built truck is just one of those classic East Africa experiences – vast plains spotted with thorn trees and herds of animals., Stops in places like Mto wa Mbu and Musoma mean you’ll get time to chat with locals, and travelling with a local (your leader) makes it even easier.

Is this trip right for me?

Staying in Loita Hills is a proper adventure – you'll be in a bush camp with no showers as the Maasai guard you from the animals. Pretty nice for some guys you just met.

Similarly, camping in the Serengeti means, well, camping in the Serengeti. No barriers between you and mother nature means there's no fence between you and the animals. We take safety seriously and your leader will brief you in detail on how to set up camp so as not to attract any unwanted visitors (not hanging raw meat to dry on your lines is a good start).

This is an overland trip. That means you’ll be travelling with a group in a purpose-built vehicle, visiting remote communities, setting up your own tent, occasionally roughing it in the bush with no facilities, and getting the best possible views of the ‘Big Five’. While the trucks don’t have air conditioning, they do have sliding windows which let in the breeze and make it even easier to take spectacular snaps of the local wildlife. The drive days can be long, but it’s as much about the journey as the destination, and half the fun is the camaraderie. For more info on this style of travel, see our Africa overland page at https://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/africa/overland.

Important information

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights of your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
2. This trip starts in Nairobi on Day 1 at 6pm. This allows time after the welcome meeting to explore Nairobi. This trip finishes upon arrival in Nairobi on Day 10. Please do not book any flights until after 8pm this evening.
3. An optional sunrise balloon ride in the Masai Mara National Reserve and Serengeti National Park are possible on this itinerary. Please see Days 4 & 7 for full details of this activity. As the balloon only holds 16 people, places are limited and we recommend that you book in advance. Please inquire when booking your trip to book this optional activity.

What to bring/pack

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances.

Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.

Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip.

ESSENTIALS:
- Sleeping bag. We recommend a 3–4 season sleeping bag because it can get very cold at night in winter months in desert and mountainous regions. Sleeping bags are also available for hire (if pre-booked). Please speak to your sales consultant, at least 14 days prior to departure, if you wish to hire one.
- Pillow or travel pillow.
- Closed in shoes. As this trip includes camping and/or bush walking we highly recommend that you take a pair of comfortable, closed-in walking shoes. Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings from dangerous animals in this environment.
- Lightweight clothing. You will need to bring a mixture of lightweight clothing, some warm items for the evenings, and long shirts and pants for protection against mosquitoes in the malaria areas. Clothes should be easy to wash and dry. Shorts down to the knees are ideal for warmer weather. Some people like to take jeans for evenings out but they can be tough to dry and should not be used for trekking. Avoid nylon and other synthetics, which can be very uncomfortable in hot weather. Ex-military or military style clothing and equipment is NOT recommended.
- Waterproof/windproof jacket is a good idea for wet days, and early morning or evening game activities when it can be cool.
- Warm fleece and beanie for morning and evening game drives.
- Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses
- Towel (or travel towel)

RECOMMENDED:
- A waterproof toiletry bag (that can hang on a nail on the back of a door) will be useful to keep your clothes dry inside basic camp shower structures. Plastic bags are banned in some African countries.
- A good quality, high-beam headlamp or torch for around the campsite at night. Some campsites have limited lighting and are powered by generators that switch off at a certain time. Although the trucks do carry lamps for meal times it’s a good idea to bring a headlamp to navigate the campsites and in particular going to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
- Personal medical kit. Your guide will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes, anti-diarrhoeal, antibacterial gel, wet wipes, bandaids/plasters etc.
- Insect repellent.
- Water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.
- Camera with spare battery or power bank.
- Binoculars

OPTIONAL:
- Sleep sheet. If you are travelling during the hot season you may wish to also pack a sleep sheet so you will be comfortable no matter what the weather.
- Thermarest. While we provide a basic camping mattress for each client, some travellers find they like the extra comfort of a double layer.
- Ear plugs to guard against a snoring tent-mate
- A good book, a journal or an Ipod for the long drives.
- A small bottle of biodegradable laundry soap and string for hand washing and hanging your clothes
- toilet paper and soap to carry in your day bag

LUGGAGE LIMIT:
The weight limit for luggage on all trucks is maximum 20kg.
The size of luggage that can be brought on our overland trips is limited by the individual locker space on the trucks. The average locker size measures 26 inches long, 18 inches wide and 10 inches high. Your main luggage will be stored in these lockers with day bags stored at your feet or on the overhead shelf. For this reason, we highly recommend you pack light with luggage no larger than the locker dimensions. Traditional, framed suitcases will not fit in the truck lockers. Backpacks or duffel bags are an ideal choice. You will need to bring your own lock for your locker. We recommend a 20-30mm sized padlock. Please contact your booking consultant if you think you will have issues with this luggage limitation.

VALUABLES:
Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe and the safe on the overland truck to store the bulk of your money, passport, and airline tickets. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden. We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.

POWER:
Our overland vehicles are equipped with UK socket power outlets at each seat to use while on the road, while some camps will have powered sites to charge your devices when not on the road. We also recommend power banks and multi country power converters.

CONSERVATIVE DRESS FOR WOMEN:
In many parts of Africa women travelers should dress modestly as there is a wide range of cultural differences. Wear skirts or shorts that reach just above the knee and tops that cover shoulders at a minimum. If visiting coastal areas wear a cover-up when you step off the beaches., PLASTIC BAG BANS ACROSS AFRICA
While Namibia holds people liable to a fine of N$500 or imprisonment for entering Game Parks with a plastic bag, Botswana has announced a countrywide ban on plastic bags to come into effect on 1 November 2018. The ban will make the importing, trading and commercial use of plastic bags a criminal offence. Exceptions will be made for plastics that are essential for health and hygiene. With these announcements, Botswana and Namibia join other African countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tunisia, Morocco, Rwanda, Uganda, Somalia and Eritrea that have banned plastic bags. South Africa imposed a levy on plastic bags in 2004 but they have not yet been banned.
Many countries are strictly enforcing this and have been searching luggage at border points. Camping stores are good for obtaining waterproof reusable bags, for dirty laundry etc, prior to departure.

Physical rating

 
2

You do not need any real fitness for this safari besides the ability to get in and out of the safari vehicles. The step up into the overland truck, while not overly high, can become tiring, as can the constant setting and packing up of camp. You need to judge yourself to be physically fit enough to haul yourself up and down at least 8-10 times a day. Please also note that the roads, particularly in Kenya, are in quite poor condition and you may experience a fair amount of bouncing around.

Joining your group

Kenya Comfort Hotel Suites, Junction of Milimani Road/Ralph Bunche, Milimani, Nairobi,, Nairobi, KENYA, Phone: 254 737111111

Joining instructions

Finishing your trip

Masailand Safari & Lodge, ., Arusha, TANZANIA, UNITED REPUBLIC OF, Phone: +255 624 732020

Masailand Safari & Lodge is approximately 50 kilometers (one hour drive) from Kilimanjaro International Airport. Taxis are readily available and will cost you around USD$50. Some airlines offer shuttle services - please contact your airline to find out. Alternatively, the smaller Arusha Airport is a 30-minute drive/taxi from the lodge. However, there can be heavy traffic in the town centre that may delay your journey.

Private airport transfers are available for pre-booking. Be sure to advise which airport you are departing out of and your flight details at time of booking. If you have pre-arranged a transfer, your leader will advise of your pick-up time.

There is also an option to finish in Nairobi no extra cost. This is because the your crew and the overland vehicle will continue back to Nairobi. If you wish to take this option please advise your sales consultant prior to travel.

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 9

Lunches included: 8

Dinners included: 8

By travelling on an Overland trip you have chosen a participation camping tour. This means that you will be helping your cook prepare meals for the group. You may also get the chance to help with the shopping.

Your cook will come up with meal ideas and quantities needed for large groups. Participating in the camp is usually done on a duty roster system with group of 5 or 6 people (depending on group size) having a different camp job each day.

If you have any dietary requirements please tell us at the time of booking, and also remind your crew at your welcome meeting.

A typical camp breakfast might be toast with spreads, cereal, something hot such as eggs or pancakes, as well as tea and coffee. Lunch is almost always a sandwich with healthy salad and assorted fillings, sometimes with fruit to follow. On occasion there will be the opportunity to buy your lunch to allow you try the local cuisine or provide some variety to sandwiches. Dinner might be a BBQ, rice dish or pasta dish and there is always the chance to try some African food such as ugali and stew.

Your overland truck has a tank of treated water that is safe to drink. Your crew will use this to cook and provide cordial at meal times. Please do not hesitate to use this water to minimise the consumption of plastic water bottles. Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages are not part of included meals.

One thing is sure - you definitely won't go hungry or lose weight on your safari! When you aren't camping you will have the freedom to decide where, what and with whom you eat.

Climate & seasonal information

In case of emergency

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

For transfers and accommodation issues, Intrepid's Kenya Office can be reached on their 24 hour number +254 733 523 813

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below:

Intrepid's local Operator: +254 788 585 065

Accommodations

Accommodation on this trip is mainly in two-person canvas dome tents with camping mattresses supplied.

The type and variety of accommodation is determined by conditions on each of our routes. Each route is different - on some we use a mixture of campsites and wild camps; on others we also use hotels. In Africa it's not usually practical to camp when staying in towns and cities so we use hotel accommodation and eat out in local restaurants.

There may be the occasional night stop, when we stay in the grounds of a hotel or at a campsite which may also have rooms/cabins available. In this case there may be a choice of camping or upgrading to a room. Rooms cost approximately USD60-120 per room per night for a twin room and cannot be pre-booked. Standards of these rooms vary greatly and we recommend viewing the room before purchasing the nights accommodation. The day by day itinerary advises when upgrades may be possible (subject to availability).

Keep in mind that if we are staying in dormitory accommodation, you may have to share with other passengers or be split into same sex rooms.

Campsites do have facilities but they usually aren't to the same standard you would find in western countries. For example the bathroom facilities can be very basic. There is rarely toilet paper provided and shower facilities can be as simple as a hose pipe spurting out cold water. Wild camps have no facilities at all.

At times there may be spare tents in the vehicles. Unfortunately these cannot be used without purchase of a single supplement. This is to ensure the tents avoid wear and tear, or are clean and ready for the customers arriving on the next section of the trip.

Transportation

Our trucks are purpose-built, self contained safari vehicles. Our fleet of vehicles varies depending on your group size, trip route and style. Your vehicle type may differ from those listed above. It is also important to note that our overland vehicles are not air-conditioned, but all vehicles have windows that can be opened to allow for fresh air. Each seat will have access to a power socket to charge your devices. This outlet will use a UK/Kenyan 3 pronged outlet.

There are many early starts with long hours spent driving on rough roads on all African itineraries. While most people love the chance to watch the changing landscape and daily village life, feedback shows that long periods of inactivity does not appeal to all clients. We provide the approximate distance covered each day and how many hours this normally takes to drive so that you can choose the safari experience that is right for you.

African conditions are extremely tough on vehicles. While we fastidiously maintain our vehicles at our workshops, you should not expect Africa to be your traditional touring experience. While it's certainly our aim to avoid them, it's important that you set off on your trip knowing that the occasional breakdown can happen and are best treated as part of the African adventure. Due to wet weather there may be times when we have to take an alternative route which will mean longer travel times.


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