Kenya spiders and snakes

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Mar 15th, 2002, 06:06 PM
  #1
Ann
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Kenya spiders and snakes

My husband and I may be taking a trip to Kenya this summer staying at high-end resorts and taking guided safaris. I am very afraid of large spiders and snakes. For those who have been there before (be honest!) What are the chances that I will have an encounter with one or the other. Is there anything I can do to avoid them?!
 
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Mar 16th, 2002, 02:28 PM
  #2
Louise
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Ann - don't be afraid. I don't like spiders either and during our trip to Kenya we only saw one big bug that might be classified as scary. No snakes and I really can't remember any spiders.
 
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Mar 16th, 2002, 03:47 PM
  #3
bob
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You will have plenty of opportunities to see snakes and/or large spiders. High end resort or not, it's Africa and crawly things are everywhere.
 
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Mar 16th, 2002, 05:12 PM
  #4
Ann
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Thank you for your feedback, Louise. Bob, can you be more specific? I know it's Africa and there are lots of crawly things. That's why I asked the question. What/how many spiders and snakes did you see? I'm just trying to prepare myself. Thanks
 
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Mar 17th, 2002, 09:14 AM
  #5
carol
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We were in Kenya last August. The only time we saw spiders were the ones on their webs in trees at Gov. Camp. They didn't poise a threat and you could see them. Not scarry at all. The only snake we encountered was in Tanzania. Remember you are in a land rover for most of your explorations. Just relax and have a wonderful time.
 
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Mar 17th, 2002, 12:54 PM
  #6
Myriam
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One spider - yes, a scary one - coming down from the ceiling in a corner of the restaurant at our beach resort in Mombasa, that's all we've seen during 2 weeks in Kenya. There are lizards everywhere (totally harmless and very afraid of people) who eat the the crawly things. And in our beach resorts there were lots of cats. We were told that they were supposed to catch eventual snakes.
Don't let an eventual encounter with a spider/snake spoil a trip of a lifetime.
 
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Mar 17th, 2002, 04:12 PM
  #7
me
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Bob is right in that creepy crawlies are everywhere in Africa. That said, oif you take a few simple precautions you'll probably not see any (or many).

Bugs: The most dangerous ones you should look out for are mosquitos (malaria vectors) and scorpions. Just wearing repellant, keeping your arms and legs covered at night and sleeping under a net if tent camping should cover you as far as mosquitos go. Fot scorpions, just don't go poking around under/between rocks or in lush vegetation and you probably won't see one. I've never actually seen many spiders in Kenya - I've seen a lot of solifugids, which are scary spider-looking things, but they are not poisonous at all. You mostly see them at night so make sure you carry a flashlight with you when walking around after sundown.

Snakes: There are lots in Kenya, but they are more afraid of you than you are of them, and they will try very hard to stay out of your way. Some precautions to take are to wear closed shoes when tramping around in the bush, and don't walk through tall grass or step into or put your hands into holes or crevices between rocks. ALWAYS carry a flashlight with you when walking at night.

Always keep your bags zipped unless you want surprises. Always keep at least the mosquito netting on your tent zipped. If there are geckos (little lizards) around your room, leave them alone - they won't bother you, and they eat any insects that get into your room. Check your shoes every morning -you can also stretch your socks over the tops of them if you're worried about anything crawling in them in the night. ALWAYS wear shoes, at the very least flip flops, even when just poking around at your camp.

I did fieldwork in Kenya for four seasons, for 4-6 weeks each time, living in a tent in the middle of nowhere, and I've NEVER seen a snake, and only ever got one really scary bug in my tent. Don't worry, you'll be fine. Have a great time!
 
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Mar 18th, 2002, 03:56 PM
  #8
Jan Goss
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Ann:

In all likelihood you will not see any snakes or spiders. I just returned February 1 from Kenya and all that I saw in the way of bugs was lots of dung beetles on paths and roads, and they won't bother you.

I too have concerns about snakes since the first night I was to stay in a tented camp, while I was on a game drive, the steward found a spitting cobra in my bathroom. They had to break apart the foundation under the tent to get this critter and kill it. This was in 2001. On my last trip I was sure to stay on all paths and always have a flashlight with me at night -- even in going to the bathroom in the tented camp I would flash my light around first just to be sure there were no unwanted visitors.

This last trip I didn' find anything worrisome at all. However, because I did see lots of Europeans walking in high grass and off the paths where they weren't supposed to be, I inquired from an expert here in the States if I could purchase a snakebite kit as a gift to the employees of the tented camp. I couldn't find antivenin here for African snakes, but they did recommend Sawyer's venom extractor(www.sawyeronline.com/bites_stings/snake.htm) which could be used to "buy time" until help arrives. This I will do and take with me the next time I go just "in case". I probably will never need it but will donate it to the tented camp. They are so far away from any hospital that buying time might save a life.

Please don't worry about what could happen. Just keep your eyes open, watch where you walk and thoroughly enjoy the marvelous Kenyan country. Once you go you will want to return.

Jan
 
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Mar 18th, 2002, 03:59 PM
  #9
Ann
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Thank you so much! These messages are very reassuring. Thank you for the great tips on the most recent message too.
 
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Mar 19th, 2002, 07:09 AM
  #10
Jane
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I was camping for two weeks in Kenya and Tanzania and didn't see any spiders until we got to Zanzibar and that one just stayed in the same place the whole time! (we checked it all the time just to make sure!) the only snakes we saw were in a Snake park in Tanzania - we weren't in tented camps either - just camping in camp sites or in the national parks. I'm very afraid of spiders and had no worries - don't let it hold you back from going.
 
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Mar 19th, 2002, 09:06 AM
  #11
Hans
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We were in Kenya a year and a half ago and never saw any spiders (or other big bugs either!). I also did not see any snakes--thank god! Another couple on our trip did have a "run in" with a cobra (at least that is what they said it was). They were walking back to their tent with the Masai Guide (this was at Olanana--an incredible camp owned by Abercrombie & Kent in the Mara) and their guard stopped them as he said there was a snake in the path. He apparently brushed it away with stick and they never saw it again. Allegedly, there are also pythons along the Mara River, but again, we never saw any and we were told that they were much more afraid of us than we are of them. The only "run-in" I had (except, of course, for the monkey who stole my dinner role when we were up at Samburu) was one morning I was walking out of our tent (also at Olanana) and standing right at the endge of our deck was a monitor lizard (baby cousin of the Komodo Dragon!). I screemed and the Masai Guards came running and doubled over laughing at me--the monitor lizard was, literally, shaking with fear and was unable to move until the guard came a little closer and then he darted into the brush never to be seen again (in fact, our guide to this day still does not beleive me!). Overall, my suggestion is not to worry about it--it is Africa after all--and simply follow the advice posted above about carrying a flashlight at night--making some noise down the path does not hurt either! Also, take the guards up on their offers to walk you back to your tents and make sure you zip up your tent all the time (more for the monkeys than snakes and spiders). The trip is absolutely incredible and take it from someone who is terribly afaid of snakes...its worth every minute of it! Have a great time! Hans
 
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Mar 23rd, 2002, 05:15 PM
  #12
gary
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You'll normally only see the back of snake trying to get away.

If you would like it to live don't tell the askaris because locals believe if you see a snake you have to kill it back luck otherwise!!

I live in the Mara and have only had one close (and I mean close encounter)

I have seen dumb ass tourists watching snakes up in the trees standing directly underneath them on several occasions, don't do this, the snake slips and falls and then its pissed right in the middle of the crowd!!

Sorry I've added too much drama already, Australia's the place for top bugs and snakes ;-)

Cheers

Gary

http://www.balloonsafarisdirect.com
 
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Apr 26th, 2002, 06:46 AM
  #13
Patricia
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I just returned from a week in Kenya and several days in Cape Town. We had only one bug in our rooms (we stayed in lodges) and the first one had a very ill-fitting door. Big gap on one side at the top and the other side at the bottom--sort of hung crooked. We sprayed it with our Deep Woods Off to help discourage anything, but only found one dead inch-or-so-long unidentifiable bug under the bathroom sink one night. Saw one normal looking, kind of spindly-legged spider on the porch once, also. No snakes at all. We took a balloon ride and landed in the grass and I saw one normal looking spider in a web and a big green worm as big around as my thumb hanging on a piece of grass. I am TERRIFIED of bugs and wouldn't read this thread before we went for fear it was a warning. But we had less mosquitoes than at home and less bugs. The little geckos (like little chameleons in Florida) run around and are cute. I can't speak for summer there, but we had no problems.
 
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May 12th, 2002, 03:26 PM
  #14
Janne
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Hi

Honestly, don't worry. Just enjoy the trip of your lifetime. I lived in Kenya for six years as a kid (camping under extremely primitive conditions) and never encountered many snakes or spiders considering the time we were there. I'm absolutely hysterical about spiders (don't particularly like snakes either) but you honestly very rarely encounter many creeply crawlies. I'm now a mother of 3 halfgrown kids and have taken them back to Kenya 3 times already (and we're planning the next trip). Particularly my youngest is scared stiff of spiders, but irrespective of the fact that they are there she's dying to go again. As always you should use your common sense. That said - have a wonderful trip - we are very envious.
 
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Jun 22nd, 2002, 11:26 AM
  #15
Salena
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I spent three months in Africa in '89 and was struck in the eyes by a spitting cobra. I don't write this to scare you but to educate you. Forewarned is forearmed. The most important things to do are: 1.remain calm, 2.do not rub your eyes (even though that is all you will want to do), 3.have someone pour clean, filtered or bottled water or fresh milk in your eyes to extract the venom, (very painful)4. When venom is out, apply tetracycline drops to eyes and, 5. take tetracycline orally as an antibiotic. 1 and 2 prevent the venom from coursing through your system faster and doing more damage. 3,4, and 5 help your body rid the venom and prevent any infection. I was inside a storage tent of a volunteer expedition when this happened. My tentmate was bitten on the foot by a scorpion so, as others have mentioned, check your shoes and socks and sleeping bags before you get in them as a precaution. Other than that relax and have fun.
 
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Aug 5th, 2002, 12:54 PM
  #16
Ann
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Just returned from 10 days in Kenya and saw no snakes, spiders or scary bugs!!! In fact the only bugs we saw were 2 mosquitos and 1 beetle. Thank you to all of your reasurrance and advice. We had a fantastic time!!!
 
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Aug 6th, 2002, 08:02 AM
  #17
Liz Frazier
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Ann:

Will you be posting your trip report? That is one of the highlights of this thread. I LOVE to read others trip reports, where they stayed, the animals they saw, any exciting experiences. How long were you there? Thank you. Liz
 
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Aug 6th, 2002, 08:04 AM
  #18
Liz Frazier
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Scratch that "how long were you there" please. I just re-read your post. Everything else though. Liz
 
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Sep 21st, 2002, 11:19 AM
  #19
Ann
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Liz - Sorry it's taken so long to reply. Our trip was fantastic! We spent a day in Nairobi and visited the giraffe sanctuary and Karen Blixen house. Then to Samburu Reserve for two days where we stayed at the Samburu Serena Lodge. They had great food and a fantastic opportunity to have a private dinner along the river for only $60 American! This park had stunning landscapes. We also saw the Big Five. Then we flew to the MAasai Mara for two days and stayed at the Mara Safari Club. THis was also very nice. It was a tented camp (the most luxurious tents I've ever seen) all along a river filled with hippos. We saw a pride of lions and one of the few small groups of white rhinos left. Also herds of 17+ giraffes and a troop of 80 baboons. The migration was late this year, so we had to take an all-day game drive to find them (very tiring and dirty). We also visited a Maasai village. Our last day was back in Nairobi where we had the best shopping at the Maasai Market(Fridays only) and a fun dinner at Carnivore where we tried crocodile, gazelle, eland, ostrich, zebra and eland. The worst part of the trip was 26 hours of plane time back to Minnesota! Definitely a trip of a lifetime. I'd love to return someday...
 
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