Most Commonly Asked Questions

Luxury Africa Journeys With Master Safari Guides

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Most Commonly Asked Questions

Q1. Tell me about a typical day on safari

Early morning game drive:  Interestingly this is probably the most amazing time to take a game drive. It’s easy to spot animals as it’s generally cooler and the wildlife is most quite active. It is an especially good time to catch the big cats getting back from a night of hunting. Having arranged with your guide the night before you get an early wakeup call at which time you’ll be served a warm beverage of your choice along with a light snack.  At sunrise, we’ll proceed to look for those returning big cats and other interesting game during your early morning game drive.

Late morning: After a delightful game viewing experience you’ll probably be hungry and in need of proper nourishment. Not to worry. A sumptuous breakfast spread awaits you back at your property.  If you couldn’t make it for the predawn game drive, an after breakfast game drive is in order. We can also arrange a special bush breakfast in the savannah on request.  

Lunch and afternoon: Meals are fun events while on safari. It is an opportunity to sample a broad variety of foods often served buffet style.  After a hearty lunch, many clients elect to take a nap or enjoy the amenities on the property. Some like to take a dip in the pool, enjoy a drink or cocktails at the bar as you mingle with new friends you’ll meet on safari. As it is the warmer part of the day, the animals tend to be less active and therefore game viewing is less interesting.

Evening: As temperatures drop in the late afternoon, it is a great time to set off for another game drive. The predators are waking from their heat-of-the-day slumber and their prey is more active and alert as the sun begins to descend. We’ll stay out as long as is permissible by the rules governing the respective park.  As all our safaris are private customized tours, you can generally take as many game drives as you wish for as long as you wish. You and your Master Guide will decide when to head back to property. Upon arrival you’ll have the opportunity to freshen up. Many properties have pre-dinner sun downer events. This is usually followed by delightful candle light dinner for romantically inclined. Dinner is generally followed by a night cap outside under the big African night sky. Visitors sit around a camp-fire telling fish tales and war stories.  If you can tell a good fish story you may opt to learn a new tribal dance (it’s less stressful).

Night time Game Drive: These are only available in private game reserves and generally provide a unique opportunity to take in night game drive. Special vehicles equipped with powerful spotlights, as well as the expertise of our Master guides will allow you to spot any game that would be otherwise invisible. This is probably the best time to spot elusive leopard. They are more-often-than-not hiding high-up in a tree.  A night game drive is a very special experience and one of the primary reasons private game reserves are gaining popularity. They offer a totally different take presenting you with memories of a lifetime.

Q2. Tell me when is the best time to go on safari?

Like most things in life, ask this question to 10 different people and you’ll probably get.... Here is but one perspective.  Generally speaking Kenya and Tanzania are all year destinations. Every weather pattern or season has its distinct highlights and benefit.  Therefore if you have preset travel dates, prospects are you will have the time of your life no matter when you travel. For most people the wildebeest migration crossing the Mara River is probably the single most important determining criteria for selecting travel date. This usually takes place late August or early September. Some people love the rain seasons and enjoy the lush green vegetation.   

 Click here for more details about what you can expect to see at different times of the year.

Q3. Tell me what is included in the safari package cost? How do I differentiate between Silver, Gold and Platinum Safaris?

All of our safaris include the following services. Gold and Platinum Safaris offer additional exclusive services.

  • Airport meet and greet services
  • All arrival and departure transfers
  • All meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Dedicated expertise of an experienced Local Master Guide
  • Morning and afternoon game viewing drives and park entrance fees as indicated in the itinerary
  • Transportation in our guide-driven minivan with pop-up roof for game viewing & photography
  • Guaranteed window seat
  • Two-way long range high frequency radio communication in each 6-seater minivan
  • On safari vehicle accessories: First-aid kit, wildlife books, beanbags for photography, one pair of binoculars per vehicle, cool box, and fire extinguisher
  • Flying Doctor Service
  • All Government taxes and levies
  • 24 hour stand-by contact number

 Platinum*****: Our Platinum Class is truly the luxurious pinnacle of the safari experience.

 Travel between parks is largely via bush plane, which shortens travel time considerably. Platinum guides are Master Guides with ten or more years of safari experience. When these Local Master Guides are not leading safaris, they teach the craft to new and aspiring guides.

The lodges and luxury tented camps available in our Platinum Safaris are the absolute finest properties East Africa has to offer. They rest in the finest locations of each park or reserve, offer the best views, the most abundant game, and the highest levels of service.

This is the safari of dreams.

To our standard services, Platinum Class adds:

  • All bush plane flights and fees
  • Master Safari Guides who train our other guides
  • Special airport meet, greet, and assist service
  • Complimentary Nairobi excursions to Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, Giraffe Center & Karen Blixen Museum
  • A welcome or farewell dinner
  • Complimentary sundowners
  • Complimentary bottled water and soft drinks at every meal and in every vehicle
  • Complimentary nature walks

Gold****: Gold Safari lodges and luxury camps are among our favorite four star properties, in the best game-viewing areas. Gold Safari Guides have at least five years of experience.

Gold Class Safaris include our standard services, and add:

  • Complimentary welcome or farewell dinner
  • Complimentary safari hat
  • Complimentary bottled water during game drives

Silver***: Our Silver Safaris include all of our standard services, and feature the three star lodges we would happily visit ourselves.

Q4. Tell me what is not included in the safari package costs?

  • All items of personal nature e.g. telephone call bills, fax/email bills etc.
  • Tips and gratuities to hotel, lodges, camp staff and driver- guide(s).
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks
  • Any local / regional or international flight and departure taxes
  • Laundry services
  • Holiday supplements: Christmas, New Year and Easter.
  • Visa fees/application
  • Travel insurance.
  • Any other item(s) or events not included in your itinerary

Q5. Tell me about the climate in Kenya and Tanzania?

East Africa region generally enjoys favorable temperate climate around the year. Coastal regions including Mombasa and Zanzibar enjoy tropical weather marked by higher temperatures and humidity. The average temperatures range from 70 to 90ºF. Most of game parks are located in semi-arid bush-land. Here the rainfall is spread evenly through the 12 months and temperatures averaging between 86 and 104ºF.  

For more detailed climate information, visit our Climate page.

Q6. Tell me when is the best time to see the Wildebeest Migration?

The wildebeest migration is a naturally occuring phenomenon driven primarily by prevailing climatic conditions, primarily rainfall and availability of fresh pasture. For this reason, it is difficult to give an exact timing that the wildebeest migration will commence. Periods given are often fair estimates based on previous years' experience. No two years are exactly the same. Generally, the wildebeest will make their way into the Mara around August, but sometimes as early as July and stay on until October or November, and then head back to the Serengeti arriving between December and January. During our many years of experience arranging African Safaris to Kenya and Tanzania, these are the general trends we have observed:

December - March: At this time the vast savannah of southern Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation Area are populated by huge flocks of wildebeest and zebra. For many clients this is probably the most ideal time to be in the Serengeti. The calving season is in full swing and when well over 80% of wildebeest calves are born. On the flip side that also means great feasting for predators.

April - May: The multitude begins the journey away from the short grass plains in the south Serengeti region towards the long grass regions and woodlands of Serengeti’s western Corridor. These activities reaching close to the Lake Victoria result in rapid depletion of the plains which will soon not be able to provide sustenance to the herds.

June: By late May the wildebeest have cleaned up the pastures along the Western Corridor and are forced to decamp further north. In June you can spot the herds as the migration heading towards the Lamai Wedge and the Mara Triangle.

July - October: Between July and October the herds are in the northern Serengeti/ Maasai Mara area. Around the July/August time period (depending on the onset of the long rains) the Wildebeest begin to assemble along the swollen Mara River. This presents a precarious hurdle standing between them and the tantalizing short sweet grasses across in the Maasai Mara. Plunge they must.  Not before seeking out shallowest cross often with crocodiles lying in wait or deep raging waters that will sweep you away. Most people do not get to see the actual crossing as timing and duration can vary widely one year to the next.

November: With short rain we see the migration heading southward continuing they journey that has existed from time immemorial.

Q7. Tell me about children going on safari?

Many properties have minimum age requirements or request strict parental supervision. Our experience informs us that children under the age of 7 years are generally not ready to fully appreciate and deal with the requirements of a safari in the African bush. 

Q8. Tell me about special rates for children?

Children under 11 years of age at the time of completing the safari pay 70% of the adult rate. This requires them to share a room with two full paying adults. If the child shares the room with one adult or with another child, then the full adult rate applies.

Q9. Tell me the number of people in each ToKenya.com safari?

At ToKenya.com we specialize in private customized safaris. Therefore the number is determined by the people traveling with you in your own party.  We do not provide group safaris; join-in safaris or preset guaranteed departure safaris.  Just private customized safaris tailored to our individual client specific requirement. Our clients prefer not to travel in crowded buses with eight or sixteen other travelers. As such they are never rushed to meet the tour operator’s daily schedule. Our clients enjoy the benefits of their own Master guide. They travel in their own private safari vehicle including only members of your party. This allows you to take in the amazing experience at your own pace.

Q10. Tell me about customizing my safari?

All ToKenya.com safaris are completely - 100% customizable.  The itineraries listed on our website are purely suggestions refined by client feedback, destination knowledge and insight plus many years of experience. ToKenya.com safaris also come in three classes of service: Silver, Gold and Platinum. This gives you maximum flexibility to choose the exact safari that meets your budget and taste. A seasoned African Safari professional is always standing by ready to tailor and customize your safari to your exact specifications and requirements all at no additional cost.

Q11. Tell me about ToKenya.com safari vehicles?

Each of our safari vehicles is purpose built from the ground up to take you to the furthest reach of the game park. They all come with wireless radio. This device is exceedingly helpful for instant notification when an exciting development takes place and we need to get the scene pronto. This may include spotting a rare animal, a kill or birth that may take place while you were on game drive. The game viewing and photography pop-up roof is a standard feature.  For more information visit our page on Safari Vehicles.

Q12. Tell me about my guide and whether I’ll have the same guide throughout my safari?

At the core of ToKenya.com operations is a cadre of highly motivated Master Guides, dedicated to their craft. Ours are among the best trained, most experienced safari guides working in East Africa today. On average, this group has 12 years of experience in the bush. In fact, many of our guides are frequently called upon to train other guides. All our safaris are guided by these highly seasoned and decorated local master guides. If visiting Kenya or Tanzania, you will have the same guide throughout your safari. If visiting both countries, you will have a separate guide for each country. If you take one of Platinum Safaris you’ll have a different resident Master Guide in each park.

Q13. Talk to me about my safety while traveling to Kenya and Tanzania?

Tourism is a critical economic driver for Kenya and Tanzania as such both governments and its gracious people are deeply committed to the safety and wellbeing of our safari visitors.  When you go with a reputable and well established safari provider, you are in exceedingly competent hands. This allows you to kick back and enjoy what is for most people ……….. a dream come true.

When travelling internationally its sensible to be present, vigilant and aware of your surroundings. This is equally true for East Africa, especially outside the game parks and away from your safari vehicle.

It is wise to apply thoughtfulness and common sense security measures especially when in urban areas. When on the road it’s never a good idea to carry lots of cash. It’s always wise to refrain from ostentation clothing. Other thoughtful steps include locking up jewelry and valuables in the hotel safe and not roaming city streets alone at night.

The State department website provides offers extensive sensible personal security advice when traveling abroad. They include tips on what to pack. What not to pack and leave at home. Measures to follow in the event of an emergency as well as advise on the best way to reach the local embassy or consular office.

Q14. Tell me how to get to Kenya or Tanzania and how long it would take to get there.

If your safari begins in Nairobi, you would fly in to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi (Airport code: NBO).
If your safari begins in Arusha, you would fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport (Airport code:JRO)

Major airlines that fly into above two airports include Delta/KLM, Turkish Airlines, British Airways, Emirates, Swiss Air and Emirates amongst others.

If flying from North America, you would board a flight to Europe/Dubai with a stopover and then connect with another flight to Nairobi or Kilimanjaro Airport.

If you departed from North America on Saturday, you would arrive in Nairobi or Kilimanjaro on Sunday evening or Monday morning depending on your flight connections.

Q15. What else can you tell me?

With its huge wildlife population and long history of hospitality and caring for safari visitors, Kenya and Tanzania are the independent traveler’s dream destination. Tourism plays a vital role in the respective economies. As such both countries take extra measures to ensure the enjoyment, safety and wellbeing of Tourists. You will feel very welcome, safe and comfortable during your stay in our country.

Karibu Kenya na Tanzania.  Hakuna matata.

If you still have questions please contact us and a highly competent safari master will be delighted to assist you.

ToKenya.com Inc.

7755 Center Ave, Suite 1100

Huntington Beach, CA 92647

Phone: 1.866.ToKenya (1.866.865.3692)

Fax: 1.866.753.1726

Email: safaris@tokenya.com