Taj Mahal

Quick Facts

See these National Geographic web pages for quick facts about Kenya and Tanzania:


What to pack

We encourage you to travel simply and lightly. You will not need any dressy clothes for this trip. The internal flights will be very small planes. If your suitcase doesn’t fit in their baggage compartment, they will put it on a later flight or even send it by vehicle (and that will be very slow). Duffle bags are best, but they are also more difficult to haul through airports. Don and I will take only one carry-on bag (on wheels) each and a small backpack each (useful for taking on game drives). You will be able to get laundry done everywhere.

  1. 3 pairs hiking pants and/or shorts (pants with zip-off legs work well)
  2. 4-5 T-shirts and/or hiking shirts, some long-sleeved
  3. 1 pair closed-toe walking shoes
  4. 1 pair sandals (optional)
  5. fleece or sweater for cooler days and evenings
  6. lightweight jacket
  7. underwear and socks
  8. sleepwear
  9. swimsuit
  10. sun hat
  11. umbrella
  12. sunglasses
  13. sunscreen
  14. mosquito repellant (with DEET)
  15. hand wipes and hand sanitizer
  16. lip balm
  17. small amount of toilet paper
  18. travel alarm clock
  19. small flashlight
  20. all your standard medications
  21. Imodium or similar in case you get a stomach bug
  22. malaria medication
  23. standard toiletries (there will be hair dryers at most, if not all, the lodges and camps)
  24. several zip lock plastic bags
  25. camera with extra disk and battery (power is 240v, which most chargers can use)
  26. adaptor kit (see “electricity” below for socket types)
  27. binoculars (each person needs a really good pair)
  28. whatever you like to read
  29. phone and charger (you won’t be able to use these most places, but may want them in airports)
  30. small travel pillow (optional)
  31. an extra passport photo or two—just in case you need it
  32. passport, yellow fever certificate
  33. copies of passport photo/information page and flight schedule


Important reminder: you will need a certificate (the “yellow card”) proving you’re up-to-date on your yellow fever vaccination to enter Tanzania.

The best source for health information on East Africa is the Centers for Disease Control website. They provide very specific information about health risks and vaccinations as well as other medications to take. Please read these webpages soon to ensure you have all the vaccinations you need and get the necessary prescriptions from your doctor. Malaria is present in the parts of Africa we’ll be visiting, so you will need to take malaria medication with you.


We strongly recommend you contact one of the international travel clinics well before our departure date to make sure you are up to date on your immunizations and receive any vaccinations you should routinely have for international travel (including Hepatitis vaccines, which are a series).

Here is a link to some of Denver’s international travel clinics:

Don and I use the University of Colorado at Denver (the medical school) travel clinic, located at the infectious diseases clinic at Anschutz on the Fitzsimons campus: http://www.uch.edu/conditions/international-travel-health/. The phone number there is (720) 848-0191 and the nurse practitioner who helps us is Peggy. Rose also has an international travel clinic.

We also recommend you take with you a strong medication for diarrhea (such as Lomotil or prescription-strength Imodium) and a general antibiotic such as Cipro in case you get a stomach bug, which can make you miserable.

Here are our health tips for Africa:

  1. Eat only cooked vegetables and fruits you can peel—no fresh salads, berries, etc. The camps and lodges where we will be staying will have elaborate water purification systems and claim their food is safe, which it probably is. Nonetheless, I (not always Don) eat with great caution.
  2. Drink only bottled water and use only bottled water for brushing your teeth. We will provide bottled water in our Land Cruisers. Our tents and rooms will have bottled water and we will provide extra bottles for your use.
  3. Use hand sanitizer and/or wash your hands with soap and water often.
  4. Don’t eat anything that is uncooked or undercooked, such as meat, eggs, fish, or unpasteurized dairy products. Our camps and lodges will have good, clean and safe restaurants—but the recommendations still apply.
  5. Check to make sure any ice is made from purified water.
  6. Do not eat food in a market.
  7. Wear sunscreen as the sun is intense.
  8. Wear long sleeves and long pants at night and keep mosquito repellant with you to stave off insects.


Merritt Ireland, I Laugh So I Won’t Cry: Kenya’s Women Tell the Story of Their Lives, 2005
(women’s stories about their changing land and culture)

Joseph Lekuton, Facing the Lion: Growing Up Maasai on the African Savanna, 2003
(story of a Kenyan boy who grew up Maasai and later went to college in the US)

Jane Barsby, Kenya--Culture Smart!: the essential guide to customs and culture, 2007
(culture tips and anecdotes)

Quintin Winks, Tanzania—Culture Smart!: the essential guide to customs and culture, 2009
(culture tips and anecdotes)

Michela Wrong, It’s Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistle-Blower, 2009
(through story of a high ranking whistle-blower, portrays the problems of corruption, ethnic politics, and management of foreign aid in modern Kenya)

Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa,
many editions (classic memoir of Isak Dinesen—born Karen Blixen—who owned a coffee plantation in Kenya)

Kuki Gallmann, I Dreamed of Africa, 1991
(lovely story of a woman’s both joyous and tragic life on a Kenyan Highlands farm)

Kuki Gallmann, African Nights, 1994
(stories of the author’s encounters with African wildlife on her Highlands farm)

Martin B. Withers, Wildlife of East Africa
(Princeton Illustrated Checklists), (photo guide to East African wildlife)

Anup Shah and Manuj Shah, The Circle of Life: Wildlife on the African Savannah, 2003
(stunning photographs of African wildlife)


Culture Tips

Here are some tips for what to do and how to dress in Kenya and Tanzania:

  1. Both countries are mostly Christian, but have many Muslims as well. Dressing modestly is appropriate.
  2. Casual dress is very appropriate. Shorts—not short shorts--are fine, though most Africans don’t wear shorts.
  3. We’ll be eating in tourist lodges and camps, so African manners won’t affect us. But, a couple of things to remember:
    Africans don’t eat with their left hands. Kenyans believe it’s impolite to eat and drink at the same time, so have drinks after the meal. It’s polite, but not necessary, to finish everything on your plate.
  4. You’re expected to wash your hands before and after a meal (hand sanitizer at the table will be fine for us).
  5. If you are giving or receiving a gift, use only your right hand, or both hands for larger gifts. Don’t give alcohol as a gift unless you know the recipient is not a Muslim and does drink alcohol.
  6. Greet people with a handshake, unless they’re Muslim (Muslim men and women do not shake hands with the opposite sex).
  7. “Jambo” is the standard greeting. It is polite to ask about a person’s health and family.
  8. Don’t rush a greeting. It is considered impolite.
  9. If you go into someone’s home, remove your shoes.
  10. Don’t show affection in public.
  11. Africans will often avoid blunt terms in conversation, so you may have to listen carefully to ascertain what they are saying.
  12. Always ask permission before photographing a person.
  13. Don’t smoke while on safari.
  14. Tipping is included in the cost of the trip, so you don’t need to tip for most services (i.e., meals, baggage handling, guides). If someone performs a special service at your request, a small tip will be appreciated.


These are the adaptors you need for Kenya and Tanzania. Your camera and phone will charge on 240 power, so all you really need is the adaptor kit.


September and October are excellent times to visit East Africa as they are in between the two rainy seasons, with pleasant temperatures. The websites below give detailed weather for Kenya and Tanzania. Scroll down the page for the details:

http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/hdfForecast?query=kenya http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/getForecast?query=tanzania

Visas and Passports

You will need a visa for both Tanzania and Kenya. We can get those at the airport or border crossing easily. For U.S. passport holders, the fee for a Tanzanian passport is $100 per person. Kenya visas are $100 for multiple entry, which is what we will need. You will need a valid passport, of course, that expires MORE THAN 6 months after our return. Bring crisp U.S. dollars, free of creases, tears or stains, for your visas. We may be able to use credit cards when we arrive in Nairobi.

You will need a visa for both Tanzania and Kenya. We can get those at the airport or border crossing easily. For U.S. passport holders, the fee for a Tanzanian passport is $100 per person. Kenya visas are $100 for multiple entry, which is what we will need. You will need a valid passport, of course, that expires MORE THAN 6 months after our return. Bring crisp U.S. dollars, free of creases, tears or stains, for your visas. We may be able to use credit cards when we arrive in Nairobi.

Our Policies:

Itinerary Changes:
Please note that we may change the itinerary based on changes in airline schedules, natural disaster, or other circumstances requiring such changes.

Refund Policy:
Deposits and any payments are fully refundable, less a $250 per person cancellation fee, until 120 days before departure to East Africa (May 24, 2013). After that date, refunds can be made only if the program is sold out and your place(s) can be resold, in which case a $1000 per person cancellation fee will apply.

We strongly recommend that you buy trip cancellation and interruption insurance and, if the insurance doesn't include it (most policies do), medical evacuation insurance. If you do not have a preferred insurance company, you can read and compare policy details and costs on our insurance page. We have found these sites to be very useful, with good customer service.

Cancellation Policy:
We reserve the right to cancel the trip if circumstances beyond our control (i.e., war, quarantine, etc.) require it. In the case of cancellation by us, we will refund your entire payment. Please note the policy above in the “refund policy” section regarding cancellation by you before and after May 24, 2013.

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