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Kenya, Experience The Best In Sun, Sea And A Big Five African Safari

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For those intrepid holiday makers with the heart of an explorer, looking for the best african safari destinations, Somak has a very special holiday experience to offer you. Kenya is 'the' land of safaris; an adventure holiday destination as diverse as your imagination. From a lion's roar to a bird's chirp, a Masai warrior to a fisherman, snow-capped peaks to thick forests and white sand beaches to grassy plains, Somak's local safari guides and experts ensure your safari experience is filled with all that Kenya can offer.

At the heart of East Africa, straddling the equator, is a land of wildlife documentary heaven and a sunbather's paradise! The country plays host to the largest animal movement in the world during the annual migration into the Masai Mara, which is home to the 'big five' - elephant, lion, buffalo, rhino and leopard, and has a heritage and culture which fascinates all those who visit. Safari with Somak and Somak's guides will do all they can to get you a grandstand seat from which to experience Kenyan wildlife as it happens, right in front of you. And, at the end of the day, relax in style at one of our fine African safari lodges.

amboseli

Not only is Amboseli one of the most popular destinations for Safari-goers to Kenya, it also offers some spectacular views of the highest free-standing mountain in the world - Mount Kilimanjaro.

centralhighlands

Kenya's Central Highlands is a picturesque region with a diverse landscape consisting of lush jungles, rolling hills and imposing mountains, with Mount Kenya the star of the show. The area is also home to the Kikuyu tribe.

laikipiaandnorth

Laikipia is a beautiful and remote region between Mount Kenya and Samburu. Covering a wide range of landscapes including high altitude plateaus, low forested valleys and deep rocky river gorges.

lamu_kiwayu

The Lamu Archipelago is a small cluster of desert islands situated on Kenya's northern coastline. The largest of the islands include Lamu, Manda, Pate and Kiwayu, each offering a peaceful retreat with endless beaches and crystal clear waters

mombasa

Mombasa is the largest city on the Kenyan coast and combines city excitement with beach relaxation. The coastal area features nearly 500 kilometres of tranquil white beaches, golden sand dunes, warm aqua water and idyllic secluded islands.

masaimara

The Masai Mara is named after the Masai people that inhabit the region and the Mara River which snakes through the reserve. It is home to the 'big fiv'e amongst many other species and is one of the most popular safari destinations in Kenya.

nairobi

Nairobi is Kenya's capital city and is often the main starting point for many safari holidays. Nairobi offers plenty to see and do with attractions such as the elephant orphanage, the National Museum and the giraffe centre.

riftvalleylakes

The main lakes of Kenya's Great Rift Valley include Lake Nakuru, Lake Naivasha, Lake Mgadi and Lake Victoria. They are quite simply a birdwatcher's paradise with a plethora of bird species.

samburu_shaba_meru

These national parks are a little lesser-known, but are nevertheless teeming with wildlife. Visit Samburu for its rugged landscape and rare species; Shaba for its famous conservation past; and Meru to spot leopards.

tsavo

The National Parks of Tsavo East and Tsavo West together form one of Africa's largest wilderness reserves and offers a quiet and secluded game viewing experience amidst a classic savannah landscape.

elewana_sky_safari_-_kenya_classic
This is a wonderful Africa experience, highlighting varying landscapes with stays in delightful 5-star accommodation.
elsa's_footsteps

10 Nights

This breathtaking 10-day flying safari combines the dry and savagely beautiful bush country of Meru National Park and Samburu National Reserve in northern Kenya with the open rolling grasslands of the Masai Mara plains.

mara_&_laikipia_-_kenyan_secrets

7 Nights

This safari provides the perfect opportunity for a three-day stay at Borana Lodge, allowing for total immersion in the life and goings on of a working ranch.

2_night_masai_mara_flying_safari_-_ashnil

2 Nights

A short flying safari to the Masai Mara is a superb way to see this world-famous game reserve, which is teaming with wildlife, without spending too much time travelling by road.

cheetah_safari

7 Nights

A traditional seven-night safari visiting Samburu, home to unique wildlife, followed by the Rift Valley Lakes.

flying_ashnil_-_2_nts_samburu_+_2_nts_mara

4 Nights

Flying safaris are a superb way to combine different game parks without spending too much time travelling.

flying_ashnil_-_2_nts_samburu_+_3_nts_masai_mara

5 Nights

Flying safaris are the ideal way to combine different game parks without spending too much time travelling. This 5-night safari visits two of Kenya's beautiful parks, the stunning Samburu followed by the magnificent Masai Mara.

flying_ashnil_mara_-_3_nts_mara

3 Nights

This 3-night flying safari to the Masai Mara allows plenty of time to see the myriad of plains game and the 'big 5' in this renowned game reserve.

flying_ashnil_samburu_-_2_nts_samburu

2 Nights

Samburu which is blessed with a dramatic and rugged landscape, is home to the colourful Samburu people, and is teeming with wildlife including species rarely seen elsewhere.

flying_mara_-_governors_camp

3 Nights

Although short, this 3-night safari in the Masai Mara is packed with thrills and excitement. The world-famous Masai Mara is blessed with an abundance of wildlife including the majestic big cats.

flying_mara_-_governors_il_moran_camp

3 Nights

A short flying safari to the Masai Mara is a superb way to see this world-famous game reserve, which is teaming with wildlife, without spending too much time travelling by road.

flying_mara_-_little_governors_camp

3 Nights

If you're short of time, then a flying safari is the perfect way to see this magnificent country and its incredible wildlife without spening too much time travelling.

governors_flying_safari

5 Nights

Governors' Camps, set in some of the most beautiful parts of Kenya, offer an old-fashioned pace of life, with the best of 21st century comfort, in the heart of some of East Africa's prime wildlife areas.

intrepids_flying_safari

6 Nights

This safari offers the most adventurous and luxurious way to explore two of Africa's greatest wilderness areas, whilst staying in some of the most exclusive camps.

kenya_royal_safari

7 Nights

A safari of distinction, fit for royalty, visiting Kenya's finest game reserves and enjoying some of Kenya's finest lodges and camps.

lakes_&_plains

5 Nights

An exclusive safari visiting Lake Naivasha and the Masai Mara. The accommodation is small and beautiful, and offers the highest levels of service and personal attention.

serena_explorer

6 Nights

This exciting safari, which is conducted in a 4-wheel drive vehicle, will ensure encounters with a superb amount of animals and birdlife, whilst you are comfortably accommodated in award-winning Serena properties.

the_mara_migration
Eat. Migrate. Give birth. Repeat. This is the great migration in a nutshell, and it's a way of life for over 1.5 million wildebeest and over 200,000 zebras.
the_real_africa_flying_safari

6 Nights

Welcome to a new opportunity to experience the real Africa. We offer this exclusive flying safari with six nights spent in unique accommodation. First stop is Borana Lodge, on a working ranch.

porini_camps_safari

6 Nights

This safari provides a wonderful opportunity to stay in Porini Camps' exclusive accommodation. Combine unforgettable experiences, where you can walk with Masai warriors and guides, whilst you explore the wilderness areas.

porini_wilderness_experience

6 Nights

Enjoy an unforgettable experience visiting three of Kenya's finest wildlife areas whilst staying in Porini Camps' stunning accommodation.

aruba_explorer_ex_mombasa

1 Night

Ashnil Aruba Lodge is situated above the Aruba Dam, one of several watering holes in the vicinity which attract game.

kili_safari

5 Nights

A short itinerary packed with interest providing an exciting overview of Kenya and her wildlife. There are no age restrictions for children at the lodges, which makes this an ideal choice for families.

sarova_safari
A delightful 5-night safari exploring the beautiful Rift Valley Lakes and the wildlife-filled Masai Mara.
thorn_tree_safari

4 Nights

A popular short safari including the famous game viewing lodge, Treetops, and the world-famous game reserve, the Masai Mara.

adventure_camping_safari

6 Nights

This camping safari has been designed to offer a high quality wildlife safari experience whilst enjoying the thrill of 'real camping'.

ol_kinyei_adventure_camping

3 Nights

This short camping safari has been designed to offer a high quality wildlife safari experience whilst enjoying the thrill of 'real camping' in the world famous Masai Mara.

parks_and_peaks

3 Nights

An excellent opportunity to combine a visit to Kenya's largest national park, Tsavo, with Amboseli, considered by Hemingway to be the very essence of Africa.

Daily Departure from Mombasa.
tsavo_explorer

2 Nights

An introduction to one of the world's largest game sanctuaries, the Tsavo National Park, home to an array of bird and animal species.

Daily Departure from Mombasa

Map

Throughout the country, the hottest months are December to March. The coastal areas are tropical, with particularly high humidity in April and May, but tempered by monsoon winds. The lowlands are hot but mainly dry, while the highlands are more temperate with four seasons. Nairobi has a very pleasant climate throughout the year due to its altitude. Near Lake Victoria, the temperatures are much higher and rainfall can be heavy. Lightweight cottons and linens with rainwear are advised for the coast and lakeside. Warmer clothing is needed in June and July and for the cooler mornings on the coast. Lightweight layers are needed for much of the year in the highlands. Rainwear is advisable between March and June, and October and December.
Health PrecausionSpecial PrecautionCertificate
Yellow Fever Yes*
Typhoid Yes
Tetanus Yes
Rabies Sometimes
Malaria Yes
Hepatitis A Yes
Diphtheria Yes
Health insurance is essential, and should include medical repatriation. Part of the African Medical and Research Foundation, the Flying Doctor Service have introduced a special Tourist Membership, which guarantees that any member injured or ill while on safari can call on a flying doctor for free air transport (www.amref.org). There are excellent medical facilities in Nairobi and Mombasa, but they are of a varying standard in the rest of the country. * A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over one year of age arriving from infected areas; those countries formerly classified as endemic zones are considered to be still infected by the Kenyan authorities. Travellers arriving from non-endemic zones should note that vaccination is strongly recommended for travel outside the urban areas, even if an outbreak of the disease has not been reported and they would normally not require a vaccination certificate to enter the country.
Country Code: . International calls can usually be made directly, but in some rural areas, international calls are diverted through the operator. Public telephones, operated by Telkom Kenya (www.telkom.co.ke), work with coins or with phone cards (which may be purchased from post offices or from international call services in major towns); coin-operated phone booths are painted red, card-operated booths are painted blue. Major hotels also offer an international phone service, but they usually charge up to 100% more. In larger towns, private telecommunication centres offer international services. For local calls, it is useful to have plenty of small change available. Roaming agreements exist with international mobile phone companies. The main network providers are Airtel (www.africa.airtel.com), and Safaricom (www.safaricom.co.ke). Local SIM cards and top-up cards are available to buy everywhere. Wide areas around Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa, as well as the whole coast region, the popular safari parks and the road between Nairobi and Mombasa, have good network coverage. Outside of these areas coverage is limited. There are internet cafes in the cities. Even smaller towns have at least one venue, usually on the main street. Almost all post offices now offer at least one terminal for public access. Tourists can also access the internet in many hotels; the more upmarket and business orientated ones have in-room Wi-Fi. Accommodation in parks and reserves generally don't have internet. Kenya enjoys a more diverse media scene than many other African countries. The print media is dominated by two publishing houses, the Nation Media Group and the Standard Group, which also have broadcasting interests. The main dailies (all published in English) include Daily Nation, The East African Standard and Kenya Times. Newspapers from Tanzania and Uganda are also widely circulated in Kenya. State-owned Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC; www.kbc.co.ke) has TV channels in English and Swahili; Kenya Television Network (www.ktnkenya.tv) is operated by the Standard Group; NTV (www.ntv.co.ke) is a Nairobi-based station operated by the Nation Media Group. Other private channels include Nairobi-based station Citizen TV and Family TV. DSTV (www.dstvafrica.com) is multi-channel international satellite TV found in most hotels.

In Nairobi and Mombasa there is a comprehensive choice of international newspapers and magazines sold in bookshops, airports, hotels and at pavement kiosks. Day-old copies of UK and other European newspapers are available. Post is efficient and most towns have post offices run by the Postal Corporation of Kenya (www.posta.co.ke). Post boxes are red. Stamps can usually be bought at post offices, stationers, souvenir shops and hotels. Airmail to Western Europe takes around five days, and to the US, 10 days. The service is generally reliable. If you are sending parcels out of the country the contents must be inspected and the parcel wrapped (in brown paper and string) at the post office.

Mon-Fri 0800-1700; Sat 0800-1200. Small branches close for an hour at lunchtime.
Meat in Kenya is outstandingly good, as are tropical fruit and vegetables. Inland, a local freshwater fish, tilapia is popular and tasty. On the coast Swahili cuisine features fragrant rice, grilled fish and seafood curries with coconut milk. Indian and Middle Eastern food is available in most areas, and there is a wide range of international restaurants in Nairobi and Mombasa. Tourist hotels provide buffet meals. Hotels in smaller towns offer a dish of the day, such as chicken and chips or stew and rice.

National specialities:
Game park lodges serve game, which may be marinated in local liqueurs and berries or garnished with wild honey and cream.
Nyama choma (barbecued meat served with a spicy tomato relish).
Ugali (maize meal porridge).
Mandazi (doughnuts).

National drinks:
Tusker and White Cap (locally brewed beer).
Kenya Cane (spirit distilled from sugar cane).
Kenya Gold (a coffee liqueur).
Uki (traditional beer made with honey).
Changaa (locally made spirit distilled from maize).
Chai (tea boiled with milk and sugar)

Tipping: Optional. Most hotels include a 10% service charge in the bill; if they dont a small tip is customary.

Legal drinking age: 18. Most of the major hotels in Nairobi and the holiday resorts along the coast have dancing with live bands or discos each evening. There are also a few local nightclubs in Nairobi and Mombasa that stay open until dawn; these can get very crowded and prostitution abounds - go in a crowd and take a taxi.

Increasingly, modern multi-screen cinema complexes are appearing in Nairobi and Mombasa, which show mainly Hollywood movies, while in the smaller towns are old colonial-style cinemas showing old Kung Fu or Indian films. Theatre is popular in Nairobi. There is a National Theatre and several small groups of dramatic companies; probably the best-known is the Phoenix Players. Quite often, traditional tribal dancing and drumming is performed in the game lodges and beach resorts. The city and town centres usually have markets that sell curios such as African drums, old brass and copper, batiks, soapstone knick-knacks, carved chess sets, and large wooden carvings of animals or salad bowls carved from a single piece of teak, mninga or ebony. Masai items such as beaded jewellery, decorated gourds and the distinctive red-checked blankets worn by all Masai men make good souvenirs. Khanga, kitenge and kikoi cloths are ideal to use as sarongs (common in East Africa for both men and women), and Kenyan baskets made from sisal and leather are also popular. Most of the tourist areas have abundant stalls and markets selling these items; you will be expected to haggle good-naturedly over prices.

Shopping hours: Mon-Sat 0830-1230 and 1400-1730. Some Muslim supermarkets and other businesses close on Friday afternoons.

Note: Exporting souvenirs made from wildlife skins (this includes reptiles) and shells is forbidden.
Kenyan Shilling (KES; symbol KSh) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of KSh1,000, 500, 200, 100 and 50. Coins are in denominations of KSh20, 10 and 5. Currency can be exchanged at the major banks, bureaux de change or authorised hotels. The banks at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Moi International Airport have 24-hour exchange services. The easiest currencies to exchange are US Dollars, Pounds Sterling and Euros. MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted; American Express and Diners Club less so. Major hotels now also accept payment by credit card, as do major safari companies, travel agencies and restaurants. Almost every bank now has an ATM, and they are increasingly being installed at petrol stations. Travellers cheques are no longer accepted in Kenya. There are no restrictions on the import or export of local or foreign currency. However, amounts exceeding US$5,000 or equivalent must be declared. Mon-Fri 0900-1500, Sat 0900-1100. Banks in Mombasa and the coastal areas open and close half an hour earlier.
1.00 GBP = 139.1 KES
1.00 USD = 93.52 KES
1.00 EUR = 99.85 KES
1.00 CAD = 75.99 KES
Currency conversion rates as of 16 April 2015
The following goods may be imported into Kenya by passengers over 18 years of age without incurring customs duty: 250g of tobacco products.
1L of spirits or 2L of wine.
500ml of perfume and eau de toilette, of which not more than a quarter may be perfume. Prohibited items include counterfeit money and goods, pornography, matches made using white phosphorus, narcotics, soaps and cosmetics containing mercury, and used tyres. Restricted items include animal traps, unwrought precious metals and stones, arms and ammunition, ivory, hippopotamus teeth, rhinoceros horn, tortoise shell, whalebone, antlers, coral, endangered species, and historic artefacts.
Below are listed Public Holidays for the January 2014-December 2015 period.
2014
1 Jan New Year's Day
18 Apr Good Friday
21 Apr Easter Monday
1 May Labour Day
1 Jun Madaraka Day
28 Jul Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan)
4 Oct Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice)
27 Oct Mashujaa Day
12 Dec Independence Day
25 Dec Christmas Day
26 Dec Boxing Day

2015
1 Jan New Year's Day
3 Apr Good Friday
6 Apr Easter Monday
1 May Labour Day
1 Jun Madaraka Day
18 Jul Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan)
23 Sep Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice)
20 Oct Mashujaa Day
12 Dec Independence Day
25 Dec Christmas Day
26 Dec Boxing Day
Holidays falling on Sunday are observed the following Monday.

Muslim festivals are timed according to local sightings of various phases of the moon and the dates given below are approximations. During the lunar month of Ramadan that precedes Eid al-Fitr, Muslims fast during the day and feast at night and normal business patterns may be interrupted. Some disruption may continue into Eid al-Fitr itself. Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha may last up to several days, depending on the region.
East Africa. 580,367 sq km (224,081 sq miles). 44,037,656 (2013). 75.9 per sq km. Nairobi. Republic. Gained independence from the UK in 1963. Kenya covers 580,367 sq km (224,000 sq miles) and sits astride the equator. It shares borders with Ethiopia in the north, Sudan in the northwest, Uganda in the west, Tanzania in the south and Somalia in the northeast. To the east lies the 480 km (300 mile) Indian Ocean coastline.The country is divided into four regions: the arid deserts of the north; the savannah lands of the south; the fertile lowlands along the coast; and highlands in the west, where the capital Nairobi is situated. Northwest of Nairobi runs the Rift Valley, dotted with lakes and containing the town of Nakuru, while further west the Aberdare National Park is overlooked by Kenyas highest peak, and Africas second tallest mountain after Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya (5,200m/17,000ft), which also is a national park. In the far northwest is Lake Turkana (formerly Lake Rudolph), and in the southwest is Kenya's share of Lake Victoria. Kiswahili is the national language and English is the official language. The terms Swahili and Kiswahili are used interchangeably, though the term Swahili normally refers to the people while Kiswahili refers to the language. There are over 42 ethnic languages spoken, including Kikuyu and Luo. About 80% of Kenya's population is Christian (mostly Catholic and Protestant) and the majority of people living along the coast are Muslim. A small number follow traditional religions and there are some Sikhs and Hindus. GMT + 3. Western European habits prevail throughout much of Kenya as a result of British influences in the country. Kenyans are generally very friendly. The standard greeting of 'hello' when addressing an individual is Jambo, to which the reply is also Jambo. People are delighted if visitors can greet them in Kiswahili. Dress is informal and casual lightweight clothes are accepted for all but the smartest social occasions. Because of its Muslim influence, the coast is a little more conservative than the rest of the country. Away from the beach, women and men should dress respectably and cover up bare arms and legs. Alcohol is only available in the tourist areas on the coast. 220/240 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs are UK-type square three-pin. President Uhuru Kenyatta since 2013. President Uhuru Kenyatta since 2013. President Mwai Kibaki claimed victory in controversial presidential elections in December 2007. His swearing-in for a second term in office prompted a wave of unrest across the country and 300 people were killed in the bloodshed that followed the polls. Opposition candidate Raila Odinga rejected Kibaki's victory and accused the government of rigging the result. International observers also expressed doubts about the poll, and called for an independent enquiry. After peace negotiations, Odinga was awarded the post of prime minister in a new coalition government between the Party of National Unity (PNU) and the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).

Most Popular Safaris

Flying Ashnil - 2 Nts Samburu + 3 Nts Masai Mara

5 Nights

Flying safaris are the ideal way to combine different game parks without spending too much time travelling. This 5-night safari visits two of Kenya's beautiful parks, the stunning Samburu followed by the magnificent Masai Mara.

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Cheetah Safari

7 Nights

A traditional seven-night safari visiting Samburu, home to unique wildlife, followed by the Rift Valley Lakes.

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Governors Flying Safari

5 Nights

Governors' Camps, set in some of the most beautiful parts of Kenya, offer an old-fashioned pace of life, with the best of 21st century comfort, in the heart of some of East Africa's prime wildlife areas.

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