Trying to plan a trip to Kenya? I’m answering frequently asking questions about our first Kenya safari vacation and how to plan a trip to Kenya.
Our trip to Kenya was easily one of the most amazing vacations we have ever taken. From the camps to the food, all the beautiful animals and genuinely kind spirits we met, Kenya is a place that now holds an extremely special place in my heart. I got quite a few questions about how we planned, how much the trip cost, what a realistic budget is, what camera gear we use and more, that I decided to put together a frequently asked questions about our Kenya trip post to share it all! If you are trying to plan a trip of your own to Kenya, today’s post is for you!
Frequently Asked Questions About Our Kenya Trip
What is the cost of a trip to Kenya?
This was, without a doubt, the #1 question I got during our trip. Let me preface this answer by saying that price depends on what type of trip you want. We wanted luxury, so our total trip amount is probably higher than a trip where your food, transfers or game drives are not included in the cost of the camp and luxury is not a priority. For my very first trip to Africa, we decided to go all out. Our total cost including airfare from Hawaii, visas, vaccines, hotels, food, drink, transfers (both bush planes and cars in Nairobi), game drives, generous tips and a few souvenirs was a little over $16,000. Like I said before, for our first trip we wanted to go all out, but I’m sure it could be done for much, much less. Not flying from Hawaii would be a good start 😉
How long did you save for this trip?
We saved for 5 years for this trip. In fact, it’s the trip we wanted to take for our honeymoon, but couldn’t afford, at least not the way we wanted to do it. We knew my student loan would be paid off this year and that freed up a good amount of cash flow, coupled with diligently adding to our travel fund each month.
What is a realistic budget to pull off a trip like this?
This is kind of a hard question to answer, because it really depends on a bunch of different factors – airfare, length of stay, time of year and which camps you want to visit among the top. We booked our airfare 6 months out after watching it for awhile and knew which parks we wanted to see based on research and Dane’s prior travels. If you can get affordable airfare to Kenya, you might be able swing it for around $3,000 per person (not including airfare). Like I said, there are so many different factors that go into planning a trip like this (and lots of moving parts!) that I hesitate to give advice or specific numbers, because it truly varies based on your particular travel style. Here are my 8 budgeting tips for planning a Kenya safari.
Planning the trip of a lifetime takes a lifetime…just kidding! But proper planning for a safari is SO important.
Which camps did you stay in?
Did you go with a travel agency?
Kind of. And this answer probably shocks some of you if you know about our travel agent issue with our honeymoon. The way this trip came together is kind of serendipitous. Dane had been reading an article in MOAA (Military Officers Association of America) this spring about a military spouse named Amy who helped clients plan the African safari trips of their dreams. Right away, he forwarded me the piece and was like “What a cool job!” I randomly started researching flights from Washington, D.C. for the fall since we would be there anyhow for my best friend’s wedding.
On a whim, I contacted Amy, told her a little bit about our background, how we had been saving for Kenya, and my flight deal and the next thing I know she was FaceTiming me from her home in Korea! Two weeks later, our trip was booked. Amy is less like a travel agent and more like a boutique planner, because she customizes each trip to what you want to see and lived in Africa for many years, so she’s got tons of first-hand knowledge tucked in her back pocket. She had no issue when I told her specific parks and camps we wanted to stay at and adjusted our itinerary based on tweaks Dane and I wanted to make. She also doesn’t deal with your international flights – you’re on your own there – but is a wealth of information on the country, parks, etc.
**2023 UPDATE**Now having used Amy more than half a dozen times to plan return trips across Africa, I will always recommend using a skilled Africa travel specialist!
How did you decide what camps to go to?
You might know this already, but Dane and I are those people that scroll Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast and The New York Times Travel section bookmarking resorts and hotels around the world just about every week. We knew specific parks we wanted to see based on Dane’s trips as a kid, animal research and photography blogs. Amy was instrumental in helping us compare the camps she has been to with what we knew and together we came up with the perfect camp roster for our first trip. Yes first – we plan on going back quite often 😉
What is the average temperate during the day and after the sun goes down?
During the day, the temperatures were around 72-78 and at night they were in the low 60s. It was perfect for sleeping! This is a good time to mention that the climate is very, very dry. I dealt with nosebleeds the entire time until I started using a saline nasal spray that calmed them down.
Is it an animal reserve?
All of the camps we stayed at are part of national parks. In Kenya, all of the wildlife is protected, so even if animals are not within the park or on a reserve, touching or disturbing them in any way is strictly prohibited. The up close photos I was able to capture are special thanks to a very, very good camera lens 🙂
How did you pack?
I did an entire post on packing for Kenya, what I brought specifically, and all my recommendations for planning out your pack. Let me know if you have questions!
What camera lens do you use?
I got this a fair amount and all of my camera equipment is linked here + below. One thing to note, we left our drone at home, because they are often known to disturb animals.
I hope this was helpful in answering the questions I got via comment, Instagram and direct message. Did I miss something you wanted answered? Feel free to leave it below!