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There are many safari companies. Why choose Uso Africa Safaris?
The distinction of our company is twofold. One, we go beyond the traditional wildlife-viewing safari activities. Our clients will be immersed a variety of local experiences that foster awareness, broaden horizons about other cultures and build relationships between clients and local people. Second, we are committed to insuring our business supports local people and local economies through our purchasing, accommodations, and the allocation of a percent of our profits to local organizations.
Am I the right type of client for Uso Africa Safaris?
We believe we have something to offer just about any safari-seeking visitor to Kenya, but we are also aware that everyone has their own comfort zones and risk-taking preferences, whether those risks are real or perceived. The clients who are best served by Uso Africa Safaris are willing to take a few steps out of their comfort zones to interact with local people and stroll around their communities in order to build their awareness and understanding about this part of the world. In addition, our safaris include opportunities to get out of the car and move around – we’ll have opportunities to go on short guided walks (or longer hikes if you are interested) or to mill around a local market.
Do you take clients places other than what is highlighted on your website?
Supporting local communities via tourism is one of our highest priorities at Uso Africa Safaris. We personally invest time to visit lodges ahead of time and speak with their managers to understand their levels of local employment, purchasing from nearby growers/sellers, and their overall outreach efforts. In some areas we have not found accommodations that meet this standard, so we do not offer it as part of an itinerary. In other locations, we are still investigating the options and hope to add more locations soon.
During what time of year should we go on safari?
Climate, cost and crowds are three considerations when making a decision about when to go on safari in Kenya. Generally, mid-October to mid-December, and March to mid-May can be wetter and cooler. We will generally discourage safaris during the height of the rainy seasons (e.g., late March, April, May, November, early December) because travel on some of Kenya’s roads can be difficult if not impassable during that time.The typical peak season for tourism in Kenya is mid-June thru October, and again in January to early March. During this time, rates at lodges and the number of other tourists increase, but the weather is also likely to be drier and warmer.The shoulder season of mid-May to mid-June can provide pleasant weather and lower “off season” rates, though rain is a possibility at times.
What should I bring on safari?
Once you book your travel with us, we will provide a complete list of recommended items.
Should I bring items to give away to kids or others?
Our philosophy is that donating items via organizations (e.g., schools, children’s homes) is the best and most appropriate strategy rather than handing out pens or candy informally, which can cause problems. Philanthropy can have positive or negative consequences depending on how it is provided, and we encourage clients to give this careful consideration. If you want to bring items, you are welcome to do so and we will help provide the right opportunity for donating those items.
What will the weather be like?
It depends. Kenya has many varied environments, from mild, lush and wetter forests in the western part of the country to hot, dry and barren landscapes to the north. The weather specifically during your trip would of course be difficult to predict for certain. Prior to your safari we will provide more information based on your specific itinerary and time of year. We also encourage you to visit http://www.kenya-information-guide.com/index.html which has more information about climate and many other topics of interest to the Kenya visitor.
There’s a range of accommodation/lodging options. What’s the difference?
Yes, there is a wide variety of types of places to stay throughout Kenya. For the super adventure-seeker and budget traveler, staying in a hut in a Masai village with pit toilet latrines and limited running water is an option. But we realize that’s not for everyone. We also work with well-established lodges that offer swimming pools, spa treatments and a very high level of service, as long as those lodges also show a track record of supporting their local community. The photo gallery shows examples of the different types of accommodations.
What is included/not included in the price of the safari?
The price includes all of your ground transportation while in Kenya, from the moment of your arrival until the time of your departure flight. All meals are included except for those meals that are taken while en route between destinations. All accommodations are included in the price. Additional costs for which to budget include alcohol, beverages taken at lodges (including non-alcohol), souvenirs/curios, and tips for service employees who provided client care to you individually (e.g., room attendants at lodges). Rules of thumb for tips are $5-10/day for room attendants, and 10-15% of the bill for food/bartender service employees. Tips for individuals that provided service to the entire group are included in the price. Lastly, it is common for your guide/driver to receive a gratuity in the range of $10-15/day (per party) if you believe the individual is deserving.
Should I purchase travel insurance?
This is a matter of personal preference. Some travelers want the peace of mind of having insurance should their flight be cancelled, they become sick, a checked bag becomes lost, and so on. Others are comfortable without it. At a minimum, check with your health insurance company to understand your health coverage while traveling internationally, which is often an important factor when deciding whether or what level of travel insurance to purchase.
Can Uso Africa Safaris assist with my air travel to Kenya?
Our company is like many safari businesses in that we do not provide international air travel assistance, in part because clients can generally find similar or even lower airfares on their own rather than going through an agent or company which will include a surcharge or commission fee. Once you exit from the customs area at the international airport in Nairobi, we will meet you and your journey with Uso Africa Safari will begin!
What vaccinations/immunizations do I need for travel in Kenya?
Ultimately this is a conversation for clients to have with a health professional who specializes in international travel. For U.S. travelers, check with your local county-sponsored health clinic which of often employs an individual with this expertise. Visitors to Kenya may be asked to show proof of immunization for yellow fever upon entry, particularly if you have travelled previously to a country with yellow fever risk. In addition, we recommend visitors have a typhoid immunization and take malaria prevention medication. There are other immunizations and vaccinations to consider, which a health professional can describe in more detail.
How do I obtain a visa to enter Kenya?
Whether you need a visa to enter Kenya depends on your country of citizenship (seehttp://www.kenyaembassy.com/visa.html). Visitors from the United States are required to obtain a visa, which can be purchased in advance of your arrival from the Kenya Ministry of Immigration by clicking here ($50 + small service fee) Visas are still obtainable upon arrival, though the Kenya government intends to phase this option out in order to reduce corruption opportunities that come up with visitors paying cash on-site upon arrival.
What is the cancellation policy?
Our full terms and conditions can be found at click here. In general, cancellations that occur less than 60 calendar days prior to the start date on the safari are subject to a penalty in addition to loss of the 50% deposit. We understand this policy is tough, but lodges require non-refundable deposits well in advance in order to guarantee rooms for clients, so our policies must follow accordingly.
What will be the source of drinking water? Will the food be safe?
Bottled water will be available to you every step of the way. As far as food preparation, the staff at Kenya’s lodges are fully trained in food preparation and understand that out-of-country visitors may have sensitivities to some of Kenya’s foods. That said, it is a good idea to travel with over-the-counter options such as Pepto Bismol. Adventure-level travelers: In the more local accommodations which are small and often do not have the capacity for staff dedicated to only cooking, we will insure to the best of our ability that their food handling and food choices are appropriate.