+254 755 555 555 info@mountkilimanjarosafaris.com

Booking a safari in Kenya 

Many travellers to get all the planning done before they arrive in the country and book fro abroad, either through travel agents or directly with companies. Many safari operators now take internet bookings. However, if you do this, you may have to pay by credit card over the internet or on the telephone – not always a safe thing to do – and you have no assurance that you will get what you have paid for until you arrive in Kenya. There is less risk of being sold something different to what you expected if you visit the various companies in person and talk through the kind of package you are looking for. A good starting point is to visit one of the travel agents in Nairobi or Mombasa and get as many leaflets as you can get your hands on. You can then make an informed choice about which companies to visit. Bear in mind that once you enter a safari company office, the staff may be reluctant to let you walk out without a firm booking. This is more of a problem in the budget places, so be firm and say no if what they are offering is not exactly what you are looking for. You can also book directly with the travel agents, although you will usually pay a little more than if you negotiate directly with the companies. A third way, and one which many people are railroaded into, is to accept the help of a safari tour. These people will approach you as soon as you step off the plane in Nairobi and try to get you signed up for a safari then and there. There are not all bad guys and the safari you end up with may be fine, but you will pay a mark up to cover commission, while the experience of being hemmed in on all sides by touts and agents trying to make a sale can be exasperating. At most of the budget companies, it is not even worth trying to enter the office without a tout as they wait by the door and escort every customer inside. The service provided by even the best safari companies can vary, depending on the driver, the itinerary, the behaviour of the wildlife, acts of God such as flat tyres and breakdowns and, of course, the attitude of the passengers themselves. It is possible for a good company to provide bad safari and bad companies do occasionally shine. It is also a volatile market and a company that has a good reputation can go to the dogs the next. You will find a lot of links to safari operators on this site, but this should not take the place of hands-on search once you arrive in Kenya. One thing to look out for is whomever you book with is client swapping. Quite a few companies will shift clients on to another company if they do not have enough people to justify running the trip themselves. This does ensure that trips actually depart on time and saves travellers days of waiting for a safari to fill up, but it does undermine consumer trust. Reputable companies will usually inform you before they transfer you to another safari operator.