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Author: Nature Bound Africa

Mount Kilimanjaro FAQs Part 1

Mount Kilimanjaro Frequently Asked Questions Part 1

Mt Kilimanjaro Summit Mount Kilimanjaro FAQs Part 1

When is the best time to climb Kilimanjaro?

Although it is possible to climb Kilimanjaro all year round, generally months with good weather is recommended as adverse weather conditions such as excessive rain, winds, snow/ice and extreme cold can be draining on the body and significantly lower your chances of summiting and also increase safety risks.

Typical annual weather 

During the months of January & February and also September & October are considered to be the best months in terms of dry weather and moderate temperatures.

June to August are also good months in terms of dry weather but temperatures will be much cooler. Some rain can be expected in November, December and March.

April and May are the rainiest months and climbing conditions are usually considered poor. If you are considering climbing in the wetter months, the Rongai route is recommended since the northern side of the mountain receives less precipitation.

As you can expect, the months with favourable climbing conditions are also the busiest months in terms of the number of people on the trails.

How many days does it take to climb Kilimanjaro?

The shortest route to the summit taken by most trekkers is the Marangu route which can be done in four nights, five days. Having said this, the Marangu route also has the highest failure rate when it comes to summiting. Why? Because reaching the summit isn’t just about a climber’s physical fitness level, but also whether the climber’s body has had enough time on the mountain to acclimatize to the high altitude.

There is a definite correlation between the number of days spent on the mountain and reaching the top – the longer the climb, the better the chances of summiting.

Our advice is whatever route you select add an acclimatization day and have a safe and enjoyable climb.

Opting on a short route and climbing based on the minimum number of days may seem like a good idea to save costs but in reality you significantly reduce your chances of summiting and if you are travelling all the way to Tanzania for the purpose of climbing Kilimanjaro, the additional cost of an acclimatization day is well worth it and overall will make for a safer and more enjoyable climb.

Which route should I take to climb Kilimanjaro?

There are more or less six established ascent routes – Marangu, Machame, Lemosho, Shira, Rongai and Umbwe. The Lemosho and Shira routes start from the westside of the mountain, while Machame and Umbwe routes approach the mountain from the south. The Marangu route starts from the southeast and lastly, the remote Rongai route commences from the north close to the Kenyan border.

In determining which route to select, consider the route’s difficulty, the number of days (longer is better to allow your body to acclimatize) and your preferences when it comes to traffic on the trail and scenery.

Route Minimum Number of Days to Climb* Difficulty Level Trail Traffic
Marangu 5 Medium High
Machame 6 High High
Lemosho 6 Medium Low
Shira 6 High Low
Rongai 6 Medium Medium
Umbwe 5 Very High Very Low

*We strongly suggest adding an acclimatization day to the minimum number.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How cold is it on Kilimanjaro?

Climbing Kilimanjaro will take you through four ecological zones in only a matter of days depending on your route from rainforest, to moorland, to alpine desert, to finally the arctic zone.

At base of the mountain, the average temperature will range from 20 to 27 Celsius depending on the month of the year. The temperature will quickly decrease as you gain elevation and pass through the different ecological zones. At Uhuru Peak, the night time temperatures can drop down to – 25 Celcius or even lower depending on wind chill. The weather on Kilimanjaro can be extremely variable and change very quickly. It is advisable to be prepared for extreme weather including rain, gusty winds and cold nights.

What should I pack for my Kilimanjaro climb?

EQUIPMENT:

  • Four season sleeping bag suitable for conditions reaching – 10 to -15 Celcius, sleeping mattress and small travel pillow
  • Daypack (25-30 litres) and waterproof cover
  • Large duffel bag to be carried by your porter
  • Small & medium ziplock bags and plastic garbage bags. Ziplock bags are handy for a multitude of uses and large plastic bags for dirty clothes, gear, etc.
  • Headlamp (bring spare batteries and spare bulb)
  • Insulated water bottle or Camel Back/Platypus (the latter is recommend as it is easier to access and you will drink more frequently)
  • Telescopic trekking poles
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera and/or video camera and extra memory cards and battery (note battery life is much shorter under freezing conditions)
  • Earplugs (busy camps can be noisy)
  • Pocket Knife
  • Stuff sacks for sleeping bag and clothing
  • Travel book, novels, deck of cards or other games for afternoon entertainment

CLOTHING:

  • Waterproof trekking boots, well broken in & gators
  • Extra shoes, like gym shoes or flip flops to where in camp
  • Thick thermal outer socks and inner lining socks
  • Waterproof/windproof breathable trousers (side zipper recommended)
  • Hiking pants (convertible to shorts)
  • Base layer or thermal long underwear
  • Underwear, bras
  • Waterproof outer gloves and inner liner gloves
  • Waterproof/windproof insulated jacket
  • Thick sweater or fleece top
  • Base layer or thermal long sleeve shirt
  • Long sleeved, light weight, moisture wicking shirt
  • T-shirt
  • Poncho
  • Scarf for cold and bandana for dust
  • Wide brimmed hat for the sun
  • Toque and balaclava
  • Extra shoeslaces for your hiking boots

TOILETRIES:

  • Toilet paper
  • Kleenex or facial tissue
  • Sun block
  • Lip balm with sun protection
  • Skin lotion (the cold and wind will dry your skin more than usual)
  • Wet wipes
  • Small soap
  • Travel towel – light-weight and takes very little space
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss
  • Deodorant
  • Insect repellent
  • Nail clippers/scissors
  • Razor & shaving cream/gel
  • Contact lens solution & extra set of lenses
  • Feminine hygiene product

FIRST AID:

  • High altitude medication
  • Anti malarial medication
  • Band aids & moleskin for blisters
  • Bandages, gauze pads
  • Painkiller (Tylenol, Ibuprofen)
  • Antiseptic cream (Polysporin)
  • Stomach ache/indigestion medicine (Pepto Bismol)
  • Anti-diarrhea medicine (Imodium)
  • Re-hydration salts
  • Prescription antibiotic effective against a broad range of bacteria including travelers diarrhea (Ciprofloxacin)
  • Any other prescription medications
  • Sterile syringes & needles
  • Eye rinse/moisturizing drops

MONEY & DOCUMENTS:

  • Passport
  • Plane tickets
  • Travel Insurance Policy & Emergency Contact Number
  • Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate (if applicable)
  • List of Emergency Contact Number from home
  • U.S. dollars in large and small denominations ($20, $50 & $100 bills should be issued after 2003)
  • Credit cards and ATM bank cards
  • Medical history

Avoid over packing and bring only what you need. Porters are limited to carrying 15 kilograms of your personal belongings. If your duffel is overweight, you will need to hire and pay for an additional porter. If you forget anything, most gear and equipment may be rented, although the quality may be less than what you might expect.

All extra luggage items you will not use on your climb, such as clothing, gear and equipment for safari or Zanzibar can be safely stored at the hotel.

It is not uncommon for checked luggage on international airlines to be lost or delayed and accordingly, we recommend that you wear or carrying on items which are absolutely essential to your Kilimanjaro climb, including one complete hiking outfit including your hiking boots. In your carry on baggage, make sure you should bring your toiletries, medications, camera and all important documents.

What do I need to carry in my day pack?

You only require items that you may need during the day until you reach your next camp and the items may vary from day to day depending on trail conditions, weather and your mountain guide’s recommendations. Typically such items may include rain gear at the lower altitude, warm clothing & gloves at higher altitude, snacks, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, lip balm, camera gear, drinking water, lunch and all important documents including your passport and cash.

All other unnecessary items should be packed and locked into your duffel bag and be ready for the porters before setting off for the day. The porters will carry the duffel bag from campsite to campsite.

What kind of food can I expect on the mountain and what about drinking water?

All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and drinks will be provided while on the mountain. An example of what you can expect on the mountain:

Breakfast Lunch Snack Dinner
Tea, coffee, hot chocolate
Porridge
Toast or crepe with margarine, peanut butter, jam, honey
Eggs and sausage
Beans
Fruit
Water or juice
Sandwich
Boiled Egg
Roasted chicken
Cheese
Candy bar
Snack
Fruit
Tea, coffee, hot chocolate
Roasted peanuts
Popcorn
Tea, coffee, hot chocolate
Soup
Salad
Stewed vegetables with Beef, Chicken or Fish
Rice Pilaf
Potatoes
Fruit Salad

Plenty of drinking water will be boiled and cooled each day and provided to you before setting off on your day’s hike to keep you well hydrated. When you reach your next camp in the afternoon further drinking water will be available to you. There is no need to chemically treat the water but you may wish to do so.

You may wish to bring your own favourite snacks, Gatorade powder, candy bars, etc. with you.

If you have any special dietary requirements or restrictions, please let us know at the time of booking.

What is altitude sickness and will it affect me?

Kilimanjaro is a serious mountain and the dangers associated with climbing Kilimanjaro should not be taken lightly. Although not widely discussed, it is estimated that every year nearly 1,000 climbers are evacuated from the mountain and approximately 10 deaths are reported and in the vast majority of the cases, it is due to altitude sickness.

For anyone climbing Kilimanjaro, it is essential for you to know the symptoms of altitude sickness or Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) to avoid an emergency or life threatening situation.

Acute Mountain Sickness is caused by the failure of the body to adapt quickly enough to the reduced oxygen as the climber reaches higher altitudes. Although the percentage of oxygen (about 21%) remains the same from sea level to the top of Uhuru Peak, the barometric pressure decreases with altitude and accordingly, the amount of oxygen taken in by your lungs and absorbed by your body with every breath also decreases.

At an elevation of 3,600 metres the barometric pressure is about 630 mb (480 mmHg) while the barometric pressure at sea level is approximately 1000mb (760 mmHg) resulting in roughly 40% fewer oxygen molecules per breath.

Lower air pressure at high altitude can also cause fluid to leak from the capillaries in the lungs and the brain which can lead to fluid build up and result in a life-threatening condition known High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE).

There are four factors related to AMS: (1) high altitude; (2) fast rate of ascent; (3) exertion of the body; and (4) dehydration. The main cause of AMS is climbing too high too quickly. Your body has the ability to adapt to decreased oxygen at higher elevations if given enough time.

At over 3,000 metres 75% of climbers will experience at least some symptoms of mild AMS which include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Increased heart rate
  • Headache
  • Nausea & Dizziness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Restless sleep

Climbers suffering mild AMS may keep ascending at a moderate rate and symptoms will generally subside as the climber acclimatizes.

If you start suffering mild AMS while hiking, please communicate this to your mountain guide so that he is aware and can keep an eye on your symptoms.

Symptoms of moderate AMS include:

  • Severe headache not relieved by regular headache medication
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Ataxia or decreased coordination

Normal activity becomes difficult for a person suffering moderate AMS and the person must turn around and descend to a lower elevation. Descending even only few hundred metres will result in improvement of symptoms. Continuing to higher altitude while suffering moderate AMS can lead to severe AMS and death.

Symptoms of severe AMS include:

  • Shortness of breath at rest
  • Inability to walk
  • Loss of mental acuity (HACE)
  • Fluid build-up in the lungs (HAPE)

Severe AMS requires emergency descent of 600 metres and anyone suffering from HACE or HAPE requires evacuation to a hospital for treatment.

What can I do to acclimatize properly while climbing Kilimanjaro?

  • Climb pole pole (slowly, slowly in Swahili), follow your mountain guide’s lead, stop often drink and to enjoy the views. Don’t be in a hurry to get to the next camp. Include an acclimatization day into your itinerary.
  • Take deep breaths and do not overexert yourself.
  • Climb high, sleep low. Climb to a higher altitude during the day, then sleep at a lower altitude at night. By adding an acclimatization day, additional hikes can be incorporated into your itinerary to help your body adjust.
  • Stay well hydrated. You should be sipping water continuously while you are climbing at least 3 litres while on the trail. Camelbacks or Platypus encourage drinking and is highly recommended. Make sure you eat enough food to keep up your strength even if your appetite starts to diminish.

If you begin to show symptoms of AMS, let your mountain guide know so he can monitor your symptoms. If you do not feel well, do not say you feel fine. You may be risking your life.

If your mountain guide determines that you are unwell and it is in your best interest to abandon the climb and he tells you to descend, it is an order. Respect the decision of your mountain guide and follow his instructions.

What can I do to train for climbing Kilimanjaro?

First, before you start any training, get a medical check up and ensure that you are in good physical health and also inquire whether high altitude trekking is acceptable for your age, fitness level and health condition. Determine if any pre-existing medical conditions or any medications you are taking can cause problems on the climb.

We ask that you inform us of any current or prior medical conditions that we should be aware of at the time of booking.

As for training, although Kilimanjaro can be climbed by most people with an average fitness level, the climb is a much more enjoyable experience if you have properly trained and are physically fit.

The best and only exercise that you really need to do to prepare for climbing Kilimanjaro is hiking. It’s best to start training three or four months prior to your climb. If you have never hiked before, start gradually hiking a short distance at a slow pace and gradually increase the distance, elevation gain and start carrying a day pack. Be sure to wear the hiking boots you will use for your climb. Try to get to a point where you are able to comfortably hike four to six hours with an elevation gain of 500 – 600 metres while carrying an 8 kilogram day pack on two consecutive days (over a weekend) and you will be ready.

How early do I have to book my climb and what do I need to do?

If you plan on travelling during the high season (June – October, December – March), we suggest you book your climb as far in advance as possible, 6 to 8 months, especially if you are climbing the Marangu route as there are a limited number of spaces available in the huts at each camp. We can book on short notice, however, your climb will be subject to availability and we will require full payment immediately upon confirmation.

How do I pay for my Kilimanjaro climb?

We request that your deposit to secure a climb and the balance of Kilimanjaro climb payment be made in US dollars by wire transfer into Nature Bound Africa Tanzanian U.S. dollar bank account. Unfortunately we do not accept credit card payment at this time.

All deposits and payments received into the company’s bank account will be held on your behalf and we only disburse funds to the appropriate suppliers as necessary until such time we have completed delivering our services to you.

 

Sheldricks, Karen Blixen & Giraffe Center

The David Sheldricks Wildlife Trust, Karen Blixen Museum & Giraffe Center

The David Sheldrick Trust  18 Sheldricks, Karen Blixen & Giraffe Center

Highlights:The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is a small, flexible charity, established in 1977 to honour to memory of a famous Naturalist, David Leslie William Sheldrick MBE, the founder Warden of Tsavo East National Park in Kenya, where he served from its inception in 1948 until his transfer to Nairobi in 1976 to head the Planning Unit of the newly created Wildlife Conservation & Management Department.

David died 6 months later but his legacy of excellence and the systems he installed for the management of Tsavo and wildlife generally in Kenya, particularly in the sphere of wildlife husbandry and ethics, lives on.

These babies have lost their mothers to poaching, death, injuries, on getting lost in the wild or other tragedies. Daphne and her dedicated staff raise them to be released back into the wild when they are ready. It’s worth visiting and witness the humanitarian care to the wildlife and the heart it takes to care. They charge a small entrance fee, instead you can buy a souvenir or donate for the conservation.

The Giraffe Center

%name Sheldricks, Karen Blixen & Giraffe Center

The Giraffe Center was started by Jock Leslie-Melville, the Kenyan grandson of a Scottish Earl, when he and his wife Betty captured a baby giraffe to start a programme of breeding giraffe in captivity at their home in Langata – home of the present centre. Since then the programme has had huge success, resulting in the introduction of several breeding pairs of Rothschild Giraffe into Kenyan national parks. The Giraffe Centre is located Langata, approximately 5 km from the centre of Nairobi, Kenya.

It was established in order to protect the endangered Rothschild giraffe, giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi, that is found only in the grasslands of Africa. In 1979, Leslie-Melville added an education centre to his (then still private) giraffe sanctuary.

By 1983 he had raised enough money to establish the Giraffe Visitor’s Centre as a tourist destination in Nairobi. The center is also home to several warthogs which freely roam the area along with the giraffes. The main attraction for visitors is feeding giraffes from a raised observation platform.

Details:
Drive towards the Nairobi National Park to Sheldrick Baby Elephant Orphanage which is open 1 hr daily. You can visit between 11am and 12 noon every day, and see the elephants being fed and playing. In addition, there is a keeper who will give a talk about the elephants, where they came from, how they are getting on, and how some of the previous orphans are progressing. You can get really close to the elephants. The orphanage also takes in rhinos and so if you are lucky you will get the chance to see a young rhino.

Karen Blixen Museum

Karen Blixen Museum Sheldricks, Karen Blixen & Giraffe Center

Located 30 kilometres from Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, the Karen Blixen Museum is situated on a farm at the base of the Ngong Hills. The museum takes its name from its Danish owner Karen Blixen and stands as a marvellous reflection of what Kenya was like many years ago.

Karen Blixen, who married Baron Bror van Blixen Fincke, first gained international attention in 1985 when the Oscar winning movie ‘Out of Africa’, starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep was released. The film, ‘Out of Africa’ is based on Karen’s autobiography with the same title and tells the story of a Danish baroness who owns a plantation in 20th century colonial Kenya and centres around her passionate love affair with a free-spirited big-game hunter, Denys Finch Hatton.

Cost Includes:

  • Service of an English speaking driver guide
  • Transport based on a safari Minivan vehicle with pop up roof for game viewing
  • Driver allowances and park fees for vehicle and driver where applicable
  • Any applicable taxes

Cost Excludes:

  • Entrance fees where applicable
  • Extras –tips, drinks or any other personal expenses
  • Entrance fees where applicable
  • Extras – tips, drinks or any other personal expenses

Be Part of the Adventure Action in African Savanna!

Be Part of the Adventure Action in African Savanna

African Adventure Be Part of the Adventure Action in African Savanna!

Each day, the drama of the animal kingdom plays out across the forests, jungles, savannah plains, and rivers of Africa. This is a place like no other, where you can see elephants on patrol, cheetahs on the prowl, crocodiles lying in wait, and wildebeests on the stampede. And Nature Bound Africa knows just where the action’s at, so when you’re with us, there’s no better seat in the house. You’ll feel like you’re truly part of the action. 
Welcome to Africa!

Baby Cheetah in Masai Mara National Reserve Kenya Africa 1 Be Part of the Adventure Action in African Savanna!

There’s nothing in this world like waking up as the sun crests over the plains of the African savannah, hearing the chips of the birds overhead, listening to the hoots of monkeys in the trees, and the thunder of hooves on the plain knowing you’re in for a day you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Check out our wildlife tours to East Africa Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda to see how these experiences and many more can soon become a reality.
 
Elegant Accommodations

Mashatu lodge Be Part of the Adventure Action in African Savanna!

With fascinating ambiance and unique African charm, the accommodation you’ll find with Nature Bound Africa is both elegant, and personal. You’ll be staying in historic hotels converted from former palace guesthouses, ancestral mansions, wild safari tented camps, or merchant town houses typical of the East African coast. 
Africa’s Central Highlands

Dawn on Lake Victoria Uganda Be Part of the Adventure Action in African Savanna!

Rwanda and Uganda are two of Africa’s undiscovered jewels. Swim in the crystal clear waters of Lake Victoria, discover unspoiled island paradises on the Indian Ocean, experience fantastic snorkeling and diving, explore the intriguing colonial history, and get up close with the abundant wildlife in the national parks. It’s all here. Where are you? 
Get to Know Our Primate Cousins

Rwanda Uganda Gorilla Tracking Tours Gorilla Watching Congo Be Part of the Adventure Action in African Savanna!

Climb into the misty cloud forests above Central Africa as you go in search of our closest relatives, monkeys, chimpanzees, and the elusive mountain gorillas of Uganda and Rwanda’s mountainous highlands. There’s nothing quite like looking into the eyes of these great primates, and watching as they play with their young, forage for food, and swing between the high branches of the great jungle trees to truly understand just how connected we are with the animal kingdom.

Luxurious Things To Do In Kenya

Luxurious Things To Do In Kenya

giraffe manor kenya Luxurious Things To Do In Kenya

When you think about luxury travel, what comes to mind? Gold plated planes with the world’s most beautiful air hostesses, serving you caviar on silver platters? Well, the caviar, the silver platters and the air hostesses can stay. The gold plated plane is a bit much, though.

The truth is, luxurious travel really depends on the traveller. Some of us find luxury in the simplest of things. Others, however, have to be surrounded by silver and gold before they can rate anything as ‘luxurious’. Whatever your definition of luxurious travel, there are some destinations in Kenya that will just…mesmerize you! To say the least, here are 20 of the most luxurious things you can do in Kenya.

1. Fly to Space at Mahali Mzuri Kenya Safari Camp

mahalimzuri3 Luxurious Things To Do In Kenya

This amazingly unique camp site is owned by Sir Richard Branson, the prodigious entrepreneur and the founder of Virgin Group. That alone should tell you that there is nothing ordinary about this place. It has 12 spaceship shaped tents that are set in the breathtaking backdrop of the one and only, Masai Mara. This is the camp site you go to when you want to bring your modern world into the wilderness. There is complementary laundry services, Wi-Fi in every tent and even iPads are available for guests to use. Visit: Mahali Mzuri Safari Camp

2. Experience Nature with Riding Safari – ‘Ride Kenya’ at Ol Donyo Lodge

ol donyo lodge chyulu hills national park kenya 39 safari 1 Luxurious Things To Do In Kenya

If your idea of luxury is experiencing life in its most natural and easy going form, then this is for you. Ride Kenya is no doubt one of the most adventurous and luxurious things to do in Kenya. The riding safari offers boundless access to one of the largest regions of Africa, from dry lakebeds of Amboseli in the east to the grand Chyulu Hills in the west, with Mount Kilimanjaro overlooking the breathtaking range of ecosystems. Guests are offered a chance to enjoy bush walks, game drives and ride on well-schooled horses during the riding safari, plus they get to have a safe and close encounters with the wildlife during the mobile safari.

Now, let’s talk about a luxury trip in its most basic definition. Beautiful surroundings with absolute exclusivity and a team of caterers that has nothing else to do but cater to your every need. These are the kinds of places that will have you spending an obscene amount of money in a frighteningly short amount of time. But for those who know what they want and deserve, there is no other way to live. Visit: Ride Kenya

3. Pamper Yourself at Alfajiri Villas – Diani

Alfajiri Villas 2 Luxurious Things To Do In Kenya

These are some of the most exclusive villas in the Kenyan cost. Every villa has absolute privacy and enjoys an elevated view of the beautiful Indian Ocean. These villas are serviced by some of the best chefs in the coast and the support staff is very highly trained. Here, you will be treated as royalty. Visit: Alfajiri Villas

4. Sample the Best of the Best at Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa – Diani

diani reef Luxurious Things To Do In Kenya

This is the hands-down favourite of many luxury travellers who visit Diani Beach. Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa is set on 35 acres of nothing but paradise. A private beach, 143 luxurious rooms that have everything you can reasonably dream of and excursion packages that make your visit to Kenya one to remember. Visit: Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa

5. Get the Best Out of Africa at Bateleur Camp in Kichwa Tembo – Masai Mara

bateleur camp at kichwa tembo Luxurious Things To Do In Kenya

Have you ever seen ‘Out of Africa’? If not, try and watch it. It is a wonderful movie that will show you just how beautiful Kenya is. You must be wondering what this has to do with the camp site. Well, most of it was shot here. This place will take your breath away and never give it back. Oh, did we mention you get a private butler?

6. Feed the Rothschild Giraffe at Giraffe Manor – Nairobi

giraffe manor kenya Luxurious Things To Do In Kenya

Giraffe Manor resonates the ancient British aristocracy. It’s a 140 acres conservancy that it is built on is as lush as it is breathtaking. Most mornings and evenings you will have some unusual visitors (the 8 Rothschild Giraffe) that reside on this conservancy. They come to see what the visitors are up to and to find out if you are willing to share some of your snacks. It is an all-round, wonderful experience in a very exclusive location. Visit: Giraffe Manor

7. Distinguish Yourself at Fairmont The Norfolk – Nairobi

Fairmont The Norfolk – Nairobi Luxurious Things To Do In Kenya

This is by far one of the most prestigious and well respected establishments in the city of Nairobi. Fairmont The Norfolk is a luxury hotel with modern touch, Kenyan charm and and a distinctive personality. The Norfolk has been a staple for Kenya’s elite society for over a hundred years now. Kenyan luxury safaris begin here! Visit:Fairmont The Norfolk

8. Experience Exclusivity at Loisaba Luxury Safari Camp – Rift Valley

LoisabaTentedCamp Luxurious Things To Do In Kenya

This is an outstandingly beautiful luxury safari camp located in private wilderness ranch in Nanyuki, Rift Valley . You can choose to either stay at the house, the lodge or the cottage. All of their accommodation is authentically African and reeks of pure luxury. They have an on sight spa that will wash and massage all you worries away. You will get a chance to sleep under the undisturbed Kenyan skies in one of their beautiful star-beds. Visit: Loisaba

9. Pay Tribute to Elsa The Lioness at Elsa’s Kopje – Meru National Park

Elsas Kopje Luxurious Things To Do In Kenya

Elsa’s Kopje is renowned as one of the most outstandingly elegant lodges in all of Africa. Each one of the 8 suites blends in perfectly with the hilly surroundings and has an exclusive view of the rocky hillside that they are built on. This is where Elsa the Lioness, from ‘Born Free’ lived. Visit: Elsa’s Kopje

10. Get Specific at Cottar’s 1920’s Camp – Masai Mara

cottars lodge Luxurious Things To Do In Kenya

Remember when we spoke of ‘gold plated planes’? Well, the Cottar’s 1920’s Camp has more ‘gold’ than that plane. The camp has 3 Gold Level Guides (qualified by the Kenya Professional Safari Guide Association). It has also been awarded the Gold standard by the Kenya Ecotourism Society. But, all that aside, the camp provides bespoke safaris. This means everything is tailored to your every desire and sprinkled with a healthy helping of luxury dust on top. Visit: Cottar’s Camp

11. Be Uncompromising at The Msambweni Beach House – Mombasa

msambweni Beach House Luxurious Things To Do In Kenya

Picture this, if you will; 700 feet of private, white sandy beach, a lush garden, a view of the turquoise blue Indian Ocean from a 40 feet high cliff and an infinity pool that will make you sea sick (in a good way). This is what you will get at the Msambweni Beach House. With 28 acres of natural tropical land and private transfers, this is where luxury comes to get away from compromise. Visit: Msambweni Beach House

12. Get an undefined luxury at the Tribe Hotel – Gigiri, Nairobi

tribe hotel Luxurious Things To Do In Kenya

Do not let the title fool you; there is nothing tribal about the Tribe Hotel. That is, unless you come from the 1% tribe. The Tribe Hotel is luxury redefined. Located in Gigiri, which is one of the most upscale living districts in Kenya, The Tribe Hotel offers nothing but the best. It is just next to The Village Market, which is East Africa’s Premier shopping mall. The rooms here are impossibly beautiful and only serve up rarefied….everything! Visit: Tribe Hotels

13. Get a Taste of Dubai in Nairobi’s Caramel Restaurant & Lounge – ABC Place

caramel restaraunt Luxurious Things To Do In Kenya

Dubai is perhaps the epitome of luxurious living in this planet. And with good reason! The UAE, as a region, has an obscene amount of money. This is exactly the kind of luxury that the Caramel Restaurant & Lounge brings to Nairobi. This luxurious restaurant is located at ABC place, Waiyaki Way, Westlands. If you want to know just how exclusive this place is, there is a bottle of Remy Martin Louis VIII there that goes for over 1.2 million Ksh. (well over $ 13,000). Here, you can enjoy foods and drinks that will drive your pallet wild. Visit: Caramel Restaurant and Lounge

14. Get Homely at Palacina The Residence & The Suites – Nairobi

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This is one establishment that combines a 5 star status with a homely feel. This is not your regular hotel. The Palacina, is family owned and run in the same manner. Here the luxury accorded to you is punctuated with a homely and loving touch from both the staff and owners. You can choose to stay at the suites, for short visits or at the residence for those staying for a period longer than a month. Visit: Palacina, The Residence & The Suites

15. Party like A Kenyan Celebrity at Galileo Lounge- Westlands, Nairobi

Galileo Lounge Luxurious Things To Do In Kenya

Galileo Lounge is one of the most popular night clubs in Nairobi. This is where the who’s who of Kenya come to unwind. It has a wonderful atmosphere and several VIP lounges. Most nights, the VIP lounges are difficult to get into because many politicians, TV and radio personalities lay claim to them. There is a huge variety of drinks and tasty delicacies to enjoy.

16. Live Like Royalty at The Majlis Hotel – Lamu

The Majlis royal suite Luxurious Things To Do In Kenya

There aren’t enough words to describe this hotel. Idyllic, unique, stylish, luxurious, exclusive….all these pale in comparison to what Majlis has to offer. The hotel has the perfect view of Lamu and the Indian Ocean that acts as its front yard. This is a destination hat has the perfect blend of Swahili culture, Western amenities and pure luxury. Visit: Majlis Resort

17. Get The Palatial Experience at Ol Donyo Lodge – Chyulu Hills

ol donyo lodge bedroom 1 Luxurious Things To Do In Kenya

Ol Donyo Lodge is a luxury safari lodge located in Chyulu Hills National Park, Makueni County. If you are going to go all natural, then you want to do it at Ol Donyo Wuas. Any one of their ten luxurious suites will give you an unparalleled view of the expansive plains by its door step and the majestic Mt. Kilimanjaro. Ol Donyo Lodge has managed to blend princely living with an authentic bush experience that you will be hard pressed to find anywhere else. Visit: Ol Donyo Lodge

18. Visit The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille – Nanyuki

Sanctuary at Ol Lentille – Nanyuki Luxurious Things To Do In Kenya

The snow-caped peaks of Mt. Kenya; Ol Olokwe, the sacred mountain of the Samburu people; Karisa hills; and the breath taking Matthew Ranges. These are just some the things that make up your view when you visit The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille. This is not even luxury anymore. It is decadence. The four houses within this sanctuary are heart-stopping luxurious with privacy and lush surroundings being the order of the day. The international in-house chef will serve you anything you want, any time you want. If that is not good living, then we do not know the meaning of the phrase. Visit: The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille

19. See Nairobi from The Rooftop Lounge and Cocktails – Sankara, Westlands

Sankara Nairobi Luxurious Things To Do In Kenya

Sankara, Nairobi is one of the best, and newest, hotels in the city. Just by looking at it, you know that Sankara is in a class of its own. From the neatly dressed and exceptionally polite valets, to the professional wait and hotel staff, the Sankara will give you all that you deserve. If one of the things you deserve happens to be a beautiful view of Nairobi’s skyline and impeccably prepared cocktails, then there is nowhere better than the Rooftop Lounge that just so happens to be a poolside bar. Visit: Sankara

20. Sit Back at The Crystal Bar – Panari Hotel, Nairobi

Crystal Bar Luxurious Things To Do In Kenya

As we mentioned earlier, sometime the most luxurious things are the simplest of them all. Although, The Crystal Bar is located at one of Kenya’s premier hotels, Panari, the bar itself tries to be as simple as can be. Shinny glasses, expertly prepared cocktails, Wi-Fi and an outstanding view of the Nairobi National Park. This is where you come to just…chill! Visit: Panari Hotels

Depending on your definition of luxury, there is a host of things and places that you could visit within this magnificent country. The best part is that, wherever you go, you will find some of the friendliest people you will ever meet. People who are easy to smile and more than willing to help you learn Swahili! It is about time you gave yourself a treat, have the best vacation by enjoying the luxurious things Kenya has to offer. 

Have you enjoyed the luxurious things to do in Kenya? Share your experience with us in the comment below: 

How to Take Children on an African Safari

How to Take Children on an African Safari

children on walking safari How to Take Children on an African Safari

Despite all the warnings, a trip to Tanzania with a toddler and an 8-year-old turned out to be a dream vacation for the whole family

A LITTLE AFTER dawn, our safari guide headed to the less-explored eastern part of Serengeti National Park. He slowed the Toyota Land Cruiser at a patch of green that interrupted the straw-colored Tanzanian landscape, so barren that it made our mouths feel dry.

“There’s a hyena under that tree,” he said.

My husband, Nitin, and I stood up in the vehicle and instinctively shushed our groggy children, Naya and Riya, then ages 8 and 1. Looking through binoculars at the tree, we saw only a blur.

“Hey!” the baby shouted. “Hello? Hello?”   “Shhhhhh!” we scolded.

And suddenly, there was the hyena—headed straight for us. Creatures like these see young animals (including humans) as easy prey; once you get over the creepy factor, this can make for a cool wildlife-viewing experience—at least from the relative safety of a getaway car.

Months earlier, when we’d told friends that we planned to take our children to Africa, they mostly admonished us. The water’s not safe. The bugs are vicious. The kids will get bored on long drives. They won’t remember any of it.

Their doubts only emboldened us. We’d lived in India through my eldest daughter’s toddler years and considered ourselves seasoned travelers. The three of us horsebacked across Kashmir, rode elephants into the grasslands of Assam, took a palanquin into the caves of Ajanta. Then, in 2008, we moved back to the U.S. We bought a house. We had a second child. Vacations became three-day weekends in the Catskills or Berkshires, beach rentals up and down the Eastern Seaboard. Our Facebook photos started to look like everyone else’s.

I missed adventure and wanted to expose my children to more. Tanzania felt like a logical destination. Its pleasant dry season runs from June through October, overlapping with the kids’ summer holiday. My college roommate lives in Dar es Salaam, so we had an in-country contact in case of an emergency.

 African safaris are attracting a lot more families these days, including some with very young children, according to tour operators. When planning our trip, which included stops in Istanbul and Zanzibar, I requested safari quarters where little ones would be welcome (many lodges bar children under 12). To our surprise, we were offered high chairs, baby cots and special kid-friendly meals as we made our way around Tanzania.

We started in Tanzania’s most populous city, Dar es Salaam, took a day to acclimate and continued to Kilimanjaro, where we embarked on six days of safari. The Serengeti ecosystem, which straddles Tanzania and Kenya, is known for the largest migration of mammals in the world, but they were on the Kenyan side by the time we arrived. We stuck mostly to the central Serengeti to catch better views of lions; we saw plenty of zebras and wildebeest in the lesser-known Tarangire National Park in northern Tanzania. Ngorongoro Crater, an immense inactive volcano caldera, gave us a chance to see all these animals in one place. Feeling cramped from days of driving, we also took a memorable hike around its rim.

Safaris, it turns out, are a dream vacation with and for kids. There is nothing like the amazement on a child’s face when giraffes and zebras are so close that you can smell them. Teachable moments abound—about nature and evolution, power and the world order. And though safari travel tends to be luxurious and sheltered from reality, having children along facilitates interaction with locals. Everywhere we went, Tanzanians wanted to hold our baby, pinch her cheeks, make her laugh. They gave our older child candy and pats on the head and encouraged her attempts to speak Swahili.

THE LOWDOWN: SAFARI WITH KIDS IN TANZANIA’S SERENGETI

Getting There: Dar es Salaam and Nairobi are the most common entry points for visitors to the Serengeti. From there, you can take shorter flights to Arusha, Kilimanjaro or Seronera to get closer to the parks. Visas can be purchased for cash upon arrival ($100) but if you want to avoid lines, do it in the U.S.

Staying There: Tour operators generally book safari lodging, and Duma Explorer planned our trip (dumaexplorer.com). In Arusha, Arumeru River Lodge is a serviceable first or last stop, with great food and views (from about $270 a night, arumerulodge.com). Its restaurant has high chairs and will accommodate children’s whims. Rhino Lodge near Ngorongoro Crater is bare-bones, but animals wander right onto the property in the morning and evening (from about $270 a night, including meals, ngorongoro.cc). Tarangire Safari Lodge, inside Tarangire National Park, recently added a spa, with a massage table that overlooks the river (from about $400 a night, including meals, tarangiresafarilodge.com). Duma Explorer’s tented Chaka Camp in the Serengeti offers king-size beds, hot showers and private porches (from about $690 a night, including meals, chakacamp.com).

Eating There: In tent lodges, cooks whip up whatever is freshest. You can request special meals for children, such as pasta or rice. Maasai-raised beef is not to be missed. Pack nonperishable snacks for long car rides; tour operators provide bottled water.

Spending There: Tanzania is largely a cash economy, so bring at least $1,000 for tips, souvenirs and incidentals, or plan to stop at ATMs outside the park entrances.

Taking Children Along: Consult your pediatrician about vaccinations and medications. The Sit ‘n’ Stroll, a car seat that turns into a stroller, is a good investment for any globe-trotting family ($330, lillygold.com).

During a hike through a village outside Arusha, the largest city in northern Tanzania, the baby delighted in all the attention. “Mtoto, mtoto,” children chanted, using the Swahili word for baby as they ran after us and colobus monkeys swung over our heads. Our eldest grew silent when the children begged for her sunglasses and stroked her skin as if to determine if it was different from theirs. Later, at dinner, we reminded her that the poverty she had witnessed was much more the norm than the Tanzania we saw on safari.

Guidebooks warned of something else I might have to discuss with the children: Mating, notably among the lions. We didn’t see any mating, but in July, the landscape of short brown grass exposes other primal behaviors. One day in the Serengeti, we came upon a pride of lions, and watched them for nearly an hour. My youngest stared at the lioness, just steps from her car seat. The eldest fiddled with the binoculars.

When the lioness started walking differently, Ebeneezer Emanuel, the same guide who showed us the hyena, warned that we might be about to see a kill. He gestured at the children as if to ask, “Is that OK?” We nodded.

The lioness crept up behind a pack of dancing gazelles and waited. We waited. I prayed my children would stay quiet. And she pounced. A baby gazelle was dragged under a tree to be eaten.

“So the female lions are stronger?” my daughter asked Ebeneezer.

“Yes,” he said. “They are much better hunters.”

“That is so cool.”

Seeing the kill inspired more serious dinnertime conversation. “How can the gazelles dance around so much knowing a lion might eat them at anytime?” my daughter wondered.

“Perhaps that is precisely why they let themselves be so happy,” I said.

Between game drives, we returned to our lodge or tent and let the girls run around and get out their own wild sides. I had packed an iPad loaded with kids’ videos in case they grew restless, but we never needed it; the children were much happier watching natural dramas unfold before them.

Also unnecessary were the dozens of packets of instant macaroni and cheese we’d brought. As my daughters devoured roast chicken and cassava stew, I felt sheepish for brushing off our friends’ skepticism when I’d clearly had a healthy dose of it myself.

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