FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to some common questions

Preparation

HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR TRIP

Supplied in Our Camps

  • Hairdryer
  • Flashlights
  • Umbrellas
  • Insect Repellant
  • Soap & Shampoo
  • Cotton swabs & Q-
  • Tips
  • Laundry soap for underwear
  • Basic First-Aid supplies

Essentials You Should Bring

  • Plenty of sunscreen & lip protection
  • Best quality sunglasses + a spare pair
  • Your reading glasses + spare pair
  • Prescription medicines
Tipping Guidelines for Staff and Guides

Guests who have traveled with us on safari over the years have been incredibly generous to our professional camp staff and guides and the staff at the various lodges. For the years 2010, 2011, 2012 the average tip per guest was $300 for a 10-12 day safari. This included tips of about $10 per guest per day at lodges such as Lewa Downs, Sirikoi, etc. If you plan to give your tip in US Dollars, please make sure the bills are newer than 2000 – older currency is not accepted in Kenya banks.

If you are planning a camel safari, gorilla trek, or mountain climb, there will be another formula for tipping which we are happy to help with.

Gift Giving

Many people ask us to recommend appropriate gifts they can bring along on safari – especially for kids.

Although our policy is to never give presents to individual children (this is to prevent begging which is now so prevalent with kids – thanks to kind but misguided tourists), we give generously to schools, churches, and community programs who then distribute gifts to the children equally.

Treasured gifts for kids could include ink pens, pencils, crayons, writing tablets, and balloons. If you have the room in your luggage and you have access to secondhand elementary school books, one schoolbook could change a child’s life.
Many of our guests give financial support to our community conservation projects, and we have a registered 501 (3) c US charity for our projects in Africa. Please let us know if you would like any more information about our involvement in community conservation.

Keeping Fit on Safari

We offer escorted walking wherever possible, and we can design hiking, camel treks, mountain climbing, horseback riding, fly fishing, wake-boarding, water-skiing, kite-surfing, and mountain biking into the itinerary at your request. While staying in our camps, you will have plenty of floor space on the verandah of your tent for stretching, yoga, skipping rope, etc. We are happy to supply a yoga mat upon request. Although running is technically not allowed in the National Parks and Reserves, we can always find a quiet corner where you can run a few miles each day.

Spa Treatments, Massage, etc.

Massage, hairdressing, manicure & pedicure are available upon request in our camps at extra charge (payments accepted in local currency or US dollars). Spa treatments are also available at almost all lodges as well, but please let us know in advance so we can make reservations for you.

Retail Therapy

Most shops at the lodges accept VISA and MasterCard, but most artisans and street vendors prefer payment in local currency or US Dollars. Make sure your US currency is undamaged and carries a printing date after the year 2000. Traveler’s Checks are not popular in East Africa. ATM machines are available around Nairobi, though not at the lodges or hotels.

For your international flights, we recommend you bring your camera, computer, toiletries, and a few pieces of essential clothing in a carry-on bag. For more packing tips please view this…

Luggage

For your international flights, we recommend you bring your camera, computer, toiletries, and a few pieces of essential clothing in a carry-on bag. The international airlines lose luggage more often than you might think, and since it usually takes a day or two for lost luggage to appear, we recommend being prepared. We don’t want anything to upset the perfection of your safari with us!

You are welcome to leave extra luggage and clothes you won’t need on safari with us in Nairobi. We are happy to have your clothes washed and ironed, or dry-cleaned, ready for your return.

For flights within Africa, the local airlines require that passengers use a soft-sided duffel bag with maximum weight allowance of 33 lbs. per person. (Since laundry is done every day at our camps and most of the lodges, 33 lbs. is more than adequate for a 10-14 day safari, so don’t panic). You are also allowed a “reasonable” amount of carry-on, so you can carry your cameras and laptop on board.

Our safari team will remind you before you board your local flight to the next exciting safari destination, to keep your binoculars and camera in hand (also your hat and sunscreen). This way, when you arrive at your destination, you won’t need to unpack and locate your equipment at the airstrip – you can go on a game-drive immediately upon landing.

Please note: although our service in our camps is regarded by our guests as ‘5-Star,’ there are no airport valets or baggage handlers (other than your driver/guides) at the local airstrips, so please be prepared to help carry your own luggage to the safari cars.

Clothing

Laundry is done every day during your safari, so you can pack light. We recommend 2 x long trousers, 2 x shorts, 2 x long sleeve shirts, 2 x short sleeve shirts, plenty of socks, T-Shirts, and underwear, sleep wear, and at least one hat. Although there are lots of ‘micro-fiber’ and insect-proof travel clothes on the market, cotton is still the coolest, most comfortable, and most durable material for safari, so we recommend you stick to good honest cotton clothing.

“Khaki” is the legendary color for safari clothing, and although khaki or “earth” colors are recommended, our only specific recommendation is that you don’t wear white clothing while approaching wild animals on foot or on horseback. The color white is alarming to most animals.

Equatorial nights and early mornings can be surprisingly cool (in the low-50′s), so bring a polar-fleece jacket or sweater with you. Rain is always a possibility, so bring a light, waterproof jacket or poncho.

Gorilla treks require specific clothing and we will supply that list for you upon request.

Shoes

Any comfortable walking shoes or training shoes will do. Those old running shoes in the closet are just fine for safari and you can give them to one of your new African pals when you leave camp. Bring plenty of sturdy cotton socks.

You won’t need heavy hiking boots unless you are going on a camel safari, gorilla trek, or climbing Mt. Kenya or Kilimanjaro.

We recommend you bring a good pair of binoculars for each member of your party. For more information on camera gear and binoculars please read this section. Good Binoculars are Essential A good pair of binoculars for each member of your party is essential. We recommend 7 x 40 or 8 x 30 as the best magnification, and after 30 + years of testing various makes of binoculars, we feel that the best quality for the price are Vortex Optics. We encourage you to visit the Vortex Optics website: www.vortexoptics.com Vortex Optics are generous supporters of the Lion Guardians conservation program, and because of this special relationship, our safari clients are invited to contact directly Vortex Optics Marketing Director, Shamus Terry: sterry@vortexoptics.com Cameras If you are using an SLR camera with interchangeable lenses, we recommend the following focal lengths for safari: 20-35 mm wide-angle zoom lens 70 – 210 mm medium zoom lens 300 mm telephoto lens Bring extra batteries and extra FlaskDisks. If you are shooting in RAW, we recommend you bring a remote hard drive for storing these extra large files. We supply beanbag cushions for keeping your camera steady on drives, but we recommend serious photographers bring a tri-pod, especially if you plan to do HDR images or night photography. Make double sure you pack your battery charger, and of course, bring the instruction booklet!

Electricity for charging batteries is available continuously in our 1904 Safari Camp. For more information about connectivity please read this section.

Electricity

Electricity for charging batteries is available in our camps throughout the day, however, some lodges such as Lewa Downs, supply electrical power only from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. – 10 p.m., so you need to plan for this.

A really convenient way to charge your iPhone, iPad, or any device using a USB power connection, is a great product called the i.Sound (http://www.isound.net). Don Young carries an i.Sound with him wherever he travels.

East Africa electrical current is 220 volts, and although most of your computers, cell phones, and tablets can be charged directly from 220 volt without conversion to 110 volt – you need an adapter for the East African power plug. We keep a supply of adapters (3-prong flat blade) in camp, but it is a good idea for you to bring your own adapters in case there aren’t enough at the lodges.

Cell phones, Smart phones, Tablets & Computers on Safari

Cell phone signal is available in most areas of East Africa including most of the lodges on your itinerary. Our campsite in Masai Mara has a somewhat patchy signal and although we have a WiFi in a separate Media Tent, please be aware that the signal is only strong enough to support basic email messages and limited internet browsing – not Video Chats, streaming or downloading video’s and large photo files. We request please that no one use their phones, tablets, or computers during game drives, walks, or during group events such as meals and sundowners. It is our wish to keep Wild Africa wild, and although we all seem to need our digital devices for work and family connections, we hope you will agree to limit your use of device to the privacy of your tent, our Don Young Camp Media Tent or your room at the lodges.

Our Camp Library includes a selection of the best guidebooks (Birds, Mammals, Plants, Insects, and Reptiles), as well as classics of East African history and literature. To plan your reading…

Essential Reading List

Our Camp Library includes a selection of the best guidebooks (Birds, Mammals, Plants, Insects, and Reptiles), as well as classics of East African history and literature. Here are a few of our favorite books – still available – which you may wish to have for your personal library. Enjoy! – Don Young

  • Faces of Africa by Carol Beckwith & Angela Fisher,
  • Out of Africa by Karen Blixen
  • Nice Faces of Kenya by Elspeth Huxley
  • West With the Night by Beryl Markham
  • The Lunatic Express by Charles Miller
  • The White Nile by Alan Moorehead
  • Elephant Memories by Cynthia Moss
  • The Scramble for Africa by Thomas Pakenham
  • Fifty Shades of Khaki by Donald Young (just kidding)
  • Chadwick, Douglas, The Fate of the Elephant
  • Croze, Harvey, Pyramids of Life
  • Dowden, Richard, Africa, Altered States, Ordinary Miracles
  • Estes, Richard, The Behavior Guide to African Mammals
  • Fitzjohn, Tony, Born Wild
  • Gallmann, Kuki, I Dreamed of Africa
  • Huxley, Elspeth, Out in the Midday Sun
  • Johanson, Don, Lucy’s Legacy
  • Kingdon, Jonathan, African Mammals
  • Matthieson, Peter, The Tree Where Man was Born
  • Meredith, Martin, The Fate of Africa
  • Paice, Edward, Tip and Run
  • Prettejohn, Michael, Endless Horizons
  • Reader, John, Africa, The Biography of a Continent
  • Root, Alan, Ivory, Apes, & Peacocks
  • Stevenson, Terry, and John Fanshawe, Birds of East Africa
  • Tattersall, Ian, Masters of the Planet

Highly Recommended Coffee Table Books

  • Beckwith, Carol, Maasai
  • Beckwith, Carol and Angela Fisher, African Ceremonies
  • Coulson, David and Alec Campbell, African Rock Art
  • Johanson, Don, From Lucy to Language
  • Pavitt, Nigel, Kenya, The Making of a Country

We offer many optional luxury services that will bring even more joy to your safari. Read this section for more information on spa treatments, hairdressing, manicures and pedicures, massages and…

Spa Treatments, Massage, etc.

Massage, hairdressing, manicure & pedicure are available upon request in our camps at extra charge (payments accepted in local currency or US dollars). Spa treatments are also available at almost all lodges as well, but please let us know in advance so we can make reservations for you.

Retail Therapy

Most shops at the lodges accept VISA and MasterCard, but most artisans and street vendors prefer payment in local currency or US Dollars. Make sure your US currency is undamaged and carries a printing date after the year 2000. Traveler’s Checks are not popular in East Africa.

ATM machines are available around Nairobi, though not at the lodges or hotels.

Dietary requirements are not a problem for us and you are cared for in that regard. Before your safari you will be asked to fill out a person profile where…

Guests who have traveled with us on safari over the years have been incredibly generous to our professional camp staff and guides, and the staff at the various lodges. For the years 2018 and 2019 the average total tip per guest was $450 for a 10-12 day safari, and we ask that you delegate one person from your family or group to present the tips directly to the Manager of the lodge or camp and directly to your driver/guide as you are leaving from the airport. Here is a guideline to help you plan for tipping. Lodge staff tip per guest per night: $10 – $25, Safari Driver/Guides per day from the group: $100 per day. If you plan to use US Dollars, please make sure the bills are brand new, in pristine condition; even slightly damaged currency or any money printed after 2016 is not accepted in any of the African banks.

If you are planning a camel safari, gorilla trek, or mountain climb, there will be another formula for tipping which we are happy to help with.

Tipping Guidelines for Staff and Guides

Gift Giving

Many people ask us to recommend appropriate gifts they can bring along on safari – especially for kids. Although our policy is to never give presents to individual children (this is to prevent begging which is now so prevalent with kids – thanks to kind but misguided tourists), we give generously to schools, churches, and community programs who then distribute gifts to the children equally.
Treasured gifts for kids could include ink pens, pencils, crayons, writing tablets, frisbee’s, volleyballs, whiffle balls, and we especially love those inflatable world globes! If you have room in your luggage and you have access to second-hand elementary school books, one schoolbook could change a child’s life. Many of our guests give financial support to our community conservation projects, and we are represented by Friends of Africa International <www.friendsofafricaaz.org>. for our projects in Africa (Federal Tax Exempt I.D. #74-2488671).

Please let us know if you would like any more information about the school children we assist or our involvement in community conservation organisations.

I love your country = Ninapenda nchi yako How are you? = Habari yako? I am fine, thank you = Nzuri sana, asante To learn more, view this section.

Phrases:

I love your country = Ninapenda nchi yako
How are you? = Habari yako?
I am fine, thank you = Nzuri sana, asante
Hello (plural) = Hamjambo
Response is = Hatujambo
Hello (singular) = Hujambo
Response is = Sijambo
Good morning = Habari za asubuhi
Good evening = Habari za jioni
Did you sleep well? = Ulilala salama?
Sleep well = Lala salama
I would like a cold drink, please = Ningependa kinyuaji baridi, tafadhali
Tea, please = Chai, tafadhali
Cold beer, please = Pombe baridi, tafadhali
How old are you? = Una miaka mingapi?
How is your family? = Habari za jamaa yako?
What is this? = Hii ni nini?
Where is it? = Iko wapi?
What time is it? = Saa ngapi?Are you ready? = Uko tayari?
We are ready = Tuko tayari
No problem = Hakuna tabu or Hakuna matata
How much? = Pesa ngapi?
Lower your price = Punzuza bei yako
Where is my toilet? = Choo kiko wapi?
Where is my tent? = Hema yangu iko wapi?
Thank you = Asante

Words:

rhino = kifaru
elephant = tembo
lion = simba
leopard = chui
cheetah = duma
giraffe = twiga
warthog = ngiri
impala = swara
sugar = sukari
water = maji
beer = pombe
bread = mkate
milk = maziwa
tent = hema
today = leo
tomorrow = kesho
tea = chai
coffee = kehawa
food = chakula

We would love to discuss with you your dream safari. Here’s how to get started. We’re betting that you love what you are seeing and are dreaming about a trip to one of our very special destinations. Our desire is to have a conversation with you so we can get a sense of your desires in terms of activities, things you want to see.
For information regarding deposit, payment schedule, etc., please visit this section. PAYMENT & CANCELLATION SCHEDULE We require a deposit of 30% of the final quotation to confirm the safari. This must be received before any bookings can be made. The balance is payable 60 days before planned starting date. If notice of cancellation is received at least 120 days prior to safari starting date, the deposit will be refunded, less $2,000.00 per person cancellation fee. Gorilla permits ($500 per person) are non-refundable.
  • If notice of cancellation is received at 60-120 days prior to safari starting date, the full deposit is forfeited.
  • If notice of cancellation is received 30-60 days prior to safari starting date, 50% of full safari cost is forfeited.
  • If notice of cancellation is received less than 30 days prior to safari starting date, 100% of full safari cost is forfeited.
In view of the above, we strongly recommend purchase of trip cancellation insurance. By booking and paying the deposit, it is deemed that our costings, terms and conditions have been accepted. We reserve the right to alter or cancel any safari due to acts of insurrection, strikes, labor difficulties, acts of God or any other cause beyond our control. RIGHT TO SUBSTITUTE Because so many tourists are coming to East Africa now, it is routine that the most popular lodges are overbooked. It is not uncommon for groups to arrive and find themselves shunted to an alternative lodge or even an alternative National Park. Donald Young Safaris, Inc. prefer to use our own private campsites, private ranches and private homes, not only to avoid crowds of tourists, but also to avoid having our reservations wait listed endlessly and then find that the lodge offices have overbooked. If you are using lodges on our programs, we will do everything we can to advise you of the status of your reservation; however, please note that we do reserve the right to substitute lodges/camps of equal quality if it becomes necessary. MONEY The currency in Kenya is the Shilling, with an exchange rate of 82 Shillings to the American dollar. Although credit cards have become widely accepted throughout Africa (MasterCard and Visa are preferred; most venders do not accept American Express), we recommend you carry US Dollars minted since 2006. It is almost impossible to guess how much individual groups might wish to spend, but US $1000 seems like a realistic average. YOUR TOUR PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE:
  • International airfares
  • Tips to drivers, camp staff, guides, etc.
  • Costs of obtaining passports and visas
  • Excess baggage charges or shipping charges
  • Excess mileage carried out at the request of the participants
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, telephone, cable or fax charges
  • Travel insurance
Please note that most vendors throughout Africa will only accept U.S. currency with a date of 2000 or newer. Read this section for more details.