So you’re thinking about going on Safari but have ALL the questions? Don’t worry, I got you! I polled the EDP fam on IG stories and put together a list of most frequently asked questions. Keep scrolling to get your 411 and please don’t hesitate to comment with more Qs you might have.
If you’re looking for details on my Kenya Safari experience with Kin Travel don’t forget to checkout this post. I also did a very extensive post on what to pack and how to prep for Safari in Africa here.
Where did you start when planning this trip?
Our seven-day safari at Cottars 1920's Camp was planned by Kin Travel. See my Kenya Safari experience with Kin Travel post here for all the details. The only thing we had to take care of was getting ourselves to Nairobi.
How long is the flight from the US to Nairobi?
Depending on where you are coming from it could take upwards of 36 hours to get from the US to Nairobi. We flew from Los Angeles to Nairobi with Air France and had one stop/layover in Paris. That first leg was 11 hrs. Paris to Nairobi is 9 hours.
How much are flights?
This varies drastically between airlines and seat preference. I’ve seen flights start as low as $750 for base level economy. The flights are LONG and typically overnight, so keep that in mind when booking. This is a FABULOUS time to use those credit card or airline points to upgrade to business class. I promise, it’s worth it.
Do you have to get vaccinations to go on Safari?
To enter Kenya from the United States it is NOT a requirement to get vaccinations, however, the CDC recommends it because there are cases of Yellow Fever in certain areas. This is a very personal decisions and I suggest talking with your doctor. Andy and I both decided to get shots to be safe. I received: Typhoid, Yellow Fever, Tetanus, and Hep A all in one day and had no reaction or issues except for sore arms. Do at least 14 days before going on Safari. Note: Visiting a travel clinic and receiving multiple immunizations probably isn’t covered by your health insurance so do some research on options in your area.
Malaria Pills: take ‘em?
Again, this is a personal decision. There have been cases of Malaria in Kenya which is why most doctors will suggest and prescribe Malaria pills. We found that our Safari camp had little-to-no mosquitos due to the higher elevation so after taking our first pill we decided to stop. Note: there are newer versions of this pill.
What is the insect situation?
Where we were in the Mara the elevation is high and the temp drops at night, so the mosquitos were nowhere to be seen which I was really surprised about. After wearing insect repellant for two days I stopped for the remainder of the trip and didn’t get bitten. There are definitely spiders around, especially house spiders in the tents. They are totally harmless just kind of big and creepy looking. Other than that I didn’t notice anything alarming, nothing like my recent trip to Belize!
Did you feel safe?
100%. Riding around in the open air vehicles on game drives is one of the coolest experiences. At times we were within 5 to 6 feet of lions but never once did I feel scared. The Maasai guides are very experienced and know how to read these animals like the back of their hands. Additionally, if anything were to happen to a guest a guide can lose their license entirely, so they will not put you in a situation that would ultimately harm you. It’s important to trust them and listen to their directions!
Are all safaris the same?
Since this is the only Safari I’ve been on I don’t really have anything to compare to. What I can say, is that Cottars is on a conservancy which is owned by the indigenous tribes of the Maasai Mara vs. the National Reserve which is government owned. Per Cottars: Situated in an untouched and exclusive concession bordering the Serengeti and Maasai Mara National Reserve we are the only camp situated in the 6,000 acre conservancy. No hot air balloons flying overheard, no minibuses buzzing around, no nearby lodges and no low-flying aircraft to disturb. Most of our game drives were spent on the conservancy and the ONLY cars we ever saw were our own. When we crossed the line to the National Reserve to go to the Mara River (to see the hippos) I was flabbergasted at all the safari “traffic”. TONS of vans (with little windows) and other vehicles all surrounding a lion pride. I would be very disappointed with a safari experience like that, especially the limited view vehicles that customers were in.
Why Kin Travel + Cottars 1920’s Camp?
I’ve been traveling with Kin Travel for over two years now. My original trip with them was to Haiti in 2017 which I did again early in 2018. When the Kenya trip came about I knew that Andy and I had to jump on board for this once in a lifetime adventure. When you experience a Kin trip there is a feeling you get inside that is indescribable; the group discussed this in depth on the last night of our Kenya trip. No caption, IG story, or blog post can put it into words. It’s the feeling that keeps me coming back to Kin experiences. The people they bring together, the vibe they create, the adventures we go on, the lives we touch… it makes your heart feel so so good.
On this Safari trip, Kin introduced us to Cottars and I honestly cannot recommend them enough if you want to do a Safari outside of Kin. Cottar’s 1920’s Camp is only one of ten accredited Global Ecosphere Retreats (GER’s) within the world. GER’s directly manage or influence a natural area of significant global conservation value, and, demonstrate their ability and commitment to achieve sustainability through the 4Cs (conservation, community, culture and commerce). The camp is also rated Gold by the Ecotourism Society of Kenya and has won a Green Globe Award from the World Travel Market. This is A HUGE DEAL. The camp is also run by the oldest established and continuing safari family in Africa spanning over five generations. You can read more about the camp here. And learn more about my experience at their camp on this post.
What Camera should I Bring?
When it comes to cameras I highly suggest the Sony RX10 because it’s a point + shoot with an INSANE 25x zoom lens. The zoom was actually BETTER than the interchangeable lenses the professional photogs brought on the trip. You can see many of the pictures we captured on my Kenya Safari experience post. Also it’s important to note that Andy shot many of our pics and he is NOT a photog at all - this camera is really idiot proof.
Is an iPhone enough? It works great for video. I suggest changing your settings to record 1080p HD at 60 fps for the BEST quality that won’t take up all your phone space. For photos the answer is no. You want to get close up shots of the animals and the zoom on the iPhone is great but the quality is not there. I definitely suggest in investing in a great camera unless you know you’ll be on safari with someone who has one.
Bathroom / Shower Situation?
During Fly camp (see more about that on my Safari experience post) the bathroom was a hole a few feet deep and with a wooden toilet box/set on top. Showers were bucket showers constructed with canvas and filled every AM with warm water. Every tent had it’s own private bathroom and shower.
At Cottars toilets and showers are what you expect at a regular US establishment.
In the bush, during game drives, the toilet is behind any bush or tree where there aren’t lions or elephants! It’s totally not awkward and no one had any issue “popping a squat.”
How was the food + drink?
So yum! Food ranged from pancakes and eggs to pasta, chicken, and beef. For every meal we had vegetarian options and there was plenty of fruit and veggies to go around.
Water provided was always filtered. Our trip included hard alcohol, wine, local beer, etc. The bar can make pretty much everything one can in the states!
What was the cost of your trip?
For 6 nights it was roughly $5,000 all inclusive. This varies based on your flight cost. And also doesn’t include prep + gear (clothes, shots, etc.)
Did you spot any kids or families on your trip?
We did! Not at fly camp (we had the entire thing to ourselves) but at Cottars Luxury camp there was one family there with two kids between 7 and 12 yrs old. The experience is once and a lifetime and can imagine it being absolutely incredible for a child who loves adventure. The game rides can sometimes be long and require a decent amount of patience which is something to think about when deciding to bring your child on Safari.