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East Africa Travel Guide

General Information

Country Specific Information


When to Go

There are two rainy seasons in Kenya. the long rains from March to May, and the short rains from October to December. The high season if from December to March and from June to August, but most tourists go in January and February, when the weather is hot and dry. The most photogenic time to go is August and September when the extraordinary spectacle of millions of wildebeests migrating from the Masai Mara to the Serengeti take place.


Health

In order to enter most African countries you will need to have a valid vaccination certificate showing that you were vaccinated against yellow fever and cholera. Additionally we strongly advise you to get vaccinated against typhoid, tetanus, tuberculosis, polio, and meningococcal meningitis. Check with your local travel clinic for up to date information.

Malaria is endemic throughout East Africa and you need to take prophilactics, such as mefloquine (Larium), which you take once a week, up to 2 weeks before departure and 4 weeks after. Check with your local doctor, as in certain areas the parasite has begun acquiring immunity to some of the drugs. Note that no prophilactics are 100% effective, so the best way to protect yourself is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.


What to Bring

You should pack the minimum, since it is fairly easy to get your laundry done. Cotton is best when it's hot. You should take short and long sleeve shirts (to protect yourself against mosquito bites), slacks and shorts. You may need a jacket or sweater for cooler evenings or if you will spend any time in the highlands. It can get very chilly in Nairobi at night, and it is definitely nippy on the rim of Ngorongoro Crater. Naturally if you are going to do any mountain climbing you need the appropriate equipment. Don't think that because Mt Kilimanjaro is near the equator, it will be warm there!

In terms of photography, in order to take good wildlife pictures you will need a SLR camera and a 200 mm lens at a minimum. A wild angle lens is also nice to have for panoramic shots. Personally I took two zoom lenses: a 28-100 mm and a 75-300 mm, and had great results. If you are going to have two lenses, I recommend having a camera body for each, since there is dust everywhere, particularly in Tanzania, and the wildlife tends not to wait for you to swith your lens.

You should take plenty of film with you before you leave (about a roll a day), especially if you want high quality film. Film is available throughout the country, but only your basic Kodak Gold and only in the main cities. Additionally, you do not know anything about the conditions it's been stored in.

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