Trip Planning Questions


Sep 21st, 2004, 07:31 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2004
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Trip Planning Questions

I am planning a trip to Kenya next spring. I am impressed with the range of information here. Here are some initial questions that I have:
I can go to Kenya for 3 weeks anytime betweeen March 1 to May 1 (leaving at the latest May 25). Any time frame preferrable?

Can I exchange USD for Kenya shillings in the US? What is the exchange rate?

Is Kenya expensive? How does it compare to the US and/or Western Europe?

adamsparks is offline  
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Sep 21st, 2004, 01:33 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Here's my input, having only been once
I would suggest closer to March is better, since you have a slightly better chance of game viewing. You can see a viewing chart by camp at:

I was unable to find a place that would exchange shillings in the US, but then again I live in the midwest. Since we stayed at camps the whole time, we were able to use credit cards at each location and didn't ever have a need for shillings. But I do recall seeing exchange facilities at the Nairobi airport even though they were closed when we arrived near midnight.

In my opinion, the airfare is what makes Africa so much more expensive than many other places. Lodging in town I found to be relative to hotels in medium sized cities in the US and Europe. Lodges in the bush are a bit more expensive ($200 a night probably on average) but include transportation, guides, food, etc.
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Sep 21st, 2004, 02:36 PM
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There is no need to change Kenya shillings for US dollars prior to departure. Even if you could, and I doubt that it could be done, the rate will be terrible, and you change money in Nairobi airport.
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Sep 21st, 2004, 05:13 PM
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April and May are the "long" rains in East Africa, so I would suggest you plan your trip for March. That said, there is never a guarantee that it will rain during the wet season, and if it does, it isn't likely to rain daily, but then it could. However, you will find rates more favorable during this time - less expensive.

As to exchanging USD, doubt there is anyplace to exchange Kenyan Schillings in the US, besides your best rates will be in Kenya. The airport exchange booth is supposed to be open 24/7, but if not you can find ATMs in Nairobi. Until you do exchange funds, your USD in small denominations will do just fine. Do not exchange money at your hotel.
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Sep 22nd, 2004, 06:36 AM
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More 'beginners' questions:
1. is a single woman alright alone in Kenya?
2. I have a lot of American Advantage miles that I would dearly love to use for this trip. Does American go to Kenya or will I need to take it to England or Amersterdam and then pick up another airline?
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Sep 22nd, 2004, 02:51 PM
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American Airlines will get you to London, with either a free ticket or an upgrade on an economy paid ticket to business class. In London you can connect to a BA flight that flies daily to NBO. However, you cannot use AA FF miles to upgrade on BA - they don't have this agreement. Also out of London is Kenya Air who partners with KLM/NW.

Out of Amsterdam you would fly KLM who partners with Northwest and soon with Delta.

As far as a single woman traveling - are you planning an itinerary with a group or independently. One way or another you will have to get from one place to another with a guide/driver or by air - there aren't local buses in the sense that you know this in the States. Sure there is a local bus from Nairob, Kenya to Arusha in Tanzania, and from the Kilimanjaro airport to say Lake Manyara, Tanzania, but I don't believe this is the way you would want to travel.

Since you have only told us when you would like to travel, but not exactly where, type of accommodations and your budget, it is difficult to provide more specific information or advice. If you could give us an idea, I'm sure we can come us with suggestions.
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Sep 25th, 2004, 01:52 PM
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I haven't decided where---am interested on 'people input' vs guidebook input as to what are the 'must sees'. I am looking at a mid to low range budget, and accommodations that are comfortable and as reflective of the country as possible.
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Sep 25th, 2004, 06:54 PM
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By all means a woman traveling alone will do fine on safari. However, I wouldn't wander around on my own in the cities. I'm 65 and I've made six trips and will return late January for my 7th.

You could fly American from here to Amsterdam and then take KLM from Amsterdam to Nairobi.

Please also keep in mind that since you may be there during the rains, the animals might be scarce. They often leave the parks after the rains and find food and water outside the parks.

As for money, there are banks and Forex bureaus at the airport where you can exchange money to Kenyan shillings. I try not to take travelers checks because even banks give you a hard time. I waited 45 minutes on one occasion just to cash 400.00 in travelers checks and they wanted to know what I needed it for! Another bank said they couldn't cash them because I didn't have an account there. They don't seem to realize that they are the same as cash. Almost all the lodges and tented camps have safety deposit-type boxes so you can lock up your money and passport, etc at each place.

Just use a recommended safari travel agent and they will look after you well. I use Southern Cross Safaris and they have done a super job for me.

Feel free to email me if you need further info ([email protected])

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