“Under Canvas in the Masai Mara”  

Old World Safari Elegance in Kenya

Oct 4- 12, 2024



Timeless Kenya is everything you imagine Africa to be and truly the epitome of turning your safari dream into reality. October is the time to go for great weather and to witness ‘the greatest roadshow on earth’ in the Mara. Countless herds of wildebeest, zebra and herbivores cross the rivers south into the Serengeti in search of the rains. The Great Migration, one of the seven wonders of the world, is an experience that changes you. Senses are stirred with the thrill of anticipation of what will happen next. That’s just one of the reasons AFSers consistently rate magical Kenya as their“best vacation experience ever“. It is here where the safari concept began.

  Forget watching National Geographic. Come live it with a front row seat to the abundance of wildlife ! Enjoy exhilarating game drives morning and night when the predators are actively chasing prey. In the Mara, you’re virtually assured of seeing the Big 5- lions, rhinos, elephants, buffalo and leopards. It’s as authentic as it gets. You’ll love the new award winning 5 star Fairmont Safari Camp ! Imagine luxury tents with 4 poster beds, huge bath and a private deck overlooking the hippos and crocs in the Mara River below you. Like the ultra- rich, you’ll be spoiled with the spa, pool and gourmet meals. At night there are lectures by Maasai warriors, sundowners and bush dinners under the stars. With your stay here, you’re giving back. Fairmont supports a local Masai village which we will visit. Also Children’s Garden Home for us to delight the orphans with school supplies.

 Each day we add more special moments. Visit David Sheldrick’s Elephant Sanctuary, Ol Pejeta Rhino & Chimpanzee Sanctuary, Lake Nakuru, the Rothschild Giraffe Center, Karen Blixens Homestead, Kazuri Beads, the Carnivore and more. Since 1989, we’ve  sent dozens of groups here , so loved by all, some return again with us. With our smaller groups now, many of you were left behind on the waitlist last year. What’s different about our new Classic Kenya ? It’s our fine tented properties to pamper you throughout. And it’s about our all inclusive best ever price this year that can’t possibly be beat ! The only thing optional is your champagne hot air balloon safari in the Mara over the endless game.

 From colonial Nairobi to luxurious tents in the wild bush, this is an experience like no other and Kenya always delivers. Our 9-day adventure is tailor-made for only 24 animal lovers to photographers. If you’re an AFS Afriholic, you may consider extending this safari with our next Tanzania and Zanzibar trip, whose dates dovetail this trip. They won’t come around again. Now is the time for your ‘Out Of Africa’ adventure of a lifetime.


“Wow, Suzy! Our Kenya trip is really gonna be hard to talk. We all were amazed and it just kept getting better each day. You outdid yourself with this itineraries. Thank you for making a difference in my life.” –  Jennifer P.




Our Glorious AFS Itinerary


Click for a printable PDF Kenya itinerary

Oct 4 – Depart fly USA to Nairobi. (Air details coming in trip tips)

The flights to Nairobi are all overnight, so plan accordingly to leave the U.S. today. Air is easy round-trip to NBO and plenty of airline choices.

Oct 5 – Jambo, Welcome to Kenya!

Land at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International airport.  (One common group transfer will be provided).  The drive to our hotel is about 5 minutes away from the international arrivals. Arrive and check in to the beautiful Crowne Plaza Airport Hotel.

After check-in, the day is free to take advantage of the hotel’s rooftop pool or optional excursions depending on the time of arrival. The hotel is located very close to the Nairobi National Park which allows Nairobi to call itself the World’s only Wildlife Capital by hosting a national park within its borders.

Overnight: Nairobi Crowne Plaza (2 nights)


 Oct 6 –  Amazing Sightseeing Tour from Nairobi

After breakfast, we enjoy a full day city tour of vibrant Nairobi. Our first stop will be for an incredible experience with orphaned elephants and rhinos at the David Shedlrick Wildlife Trust. This Kenyan wildlife conservation charity was founded in 1977 by Daphne Sheldrick in memory of her late husband David Sheldrick. Its mission is to assist and advise the Kenya Wildlife Service and manage these large orphans who otherwise would perish in the wild. It’s educational and delightful to see the baby Ellies run out for their bottles of milk!

Next, we visit the Karen Blixen Museum. The former African home of Danish author Karen Blixen, famous for her book Out of Africa, which chronicles life at the estate in the early 1900s.  We’ll enjoy lunch at the Karen Blixen café.  Our visit to the Kazuri Bead Factory in the afternoon will highlight an all women enterprise renowned for making fabulous clay beads and jewelry. The Factory was founded decades ago by an Englishwoman who wanted to help single mothers become self-supporting. The clay beads make great gifts and are as amazing as the story of the Factory’s evolution.

We’ll also the Children’s Garden Home, a community-based, nongovernmental, non-profit charitable organization for orphans, abandoned, abused, desperate and neglected street children. The Home offers parental love, spiritual care, rehabilitation, and non-formal education to nurture the children and unleash their full potential towards living a good life based on self-reliance. Let’s bring goodies to Joy bomb these impoverished kids with a visit they’ll never forget.

Your evening is free to enjoy. There are many things to do and see here both day and night. Visit www.magicalkenya.com

Overnight: Nairobi Crowne Plaza (2 nights)                             B,L


Oct 7 – Nairobi – Olpejeta Conservancy – Rhinos, Chimps & More

We’ll leave early after breakfast to make our way to the Northern Frontier region to Olpejeta conservancy. Our journey will take us through the lush Kikuyu farmlands and coffee plantation to the cool Kenyan highlands.

The Ol Pejeta Conservancy is situated in the foothills of snow-capped Mount Kenya in central Kenya’s Laikipia County, and is a trailblazer in conservation, most famous for protecting the world’s last 3 northern white rhinos. Across the 36,400-hectare conservancy, we may even spot lions prowling the plains, giraffe and elephant munching on whistling thorn trees, cheetah scanning for prey or even elusive wild dog and leopard. It’s one of the largest black rhino sanctuaries in East Africa. Unlike in many protected areas, cattle farming has been built into Ol Pejeta’s conservation plan, benefiting the land and wildlife through strategic grazing, and the people through employment.

We will arrive in time for lunch at Sweetwaters tented camp, an absolute AFS favorite place.  We’ll have time to get checked into our tents and explore the grounds of this stunning enclave in the center of the conservancy. At 3 p.m. there will be an offering of Hot Tea and coffee in the lobby before we have a unique opportunity to visit the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary and learn more about the day-to-day care of our primate cousins. Chimps are not indigenous to Kenya and these chimps were brought from West and Central Africa after being orphaned or injured. The whole day lends great close-up photo ops.

Game Drive – The visit will be followed by an afternoon game viewing drive in the Ol Pejeta conservancy which offers visitors an unforgettable opportunity to watch and photograph animals in their natural habitat. We’ll return to the camp as the sun sets. Sweetwaters has a water hole to attract plenty of wildlife. Large, elevated tents with ensuite bath and nice swimming pool. Staff can arrange a bush walk with an armed ranger and even the new camel rides here.

Overnight: Sweetwaters Tented Camp (2 Nights)                                B,L,D


Thank you and credit to Jeff Jeffaries for some fabulous AFS photos!

Oct 8 – Olpejeta Conservancy – Get your Game Drives on!  

 We’ll spend a full day in the 90,000 acre, award winning conservancy, which is home to large prides of lions, leopards, elephants, rhino and more. Our highly trained and knowledgeable guides will help us make the most of the viewings as we explore Ol Pejeta’s open plains and secret valleys with an astonishing variety of wildlife.

We’ll start out before dawn for a game drive and return for a scrumptious breakfast. The day is one to enjoy at your leisure with lunch at the camp.   Following afternoon tea and coffee, we’ll proceed on an early evening Game Drive before returning for dinner and overnight again at the camp.

 Overnight: Sweetwaters Tented Camp (2 Nights)                                B,L,D



 Oct 9 – Lake Nakuru   

After breakfast, we set out for a morning drive into thew Great Rift Valley and head to Lake Nakuru National Park. We’ll arrive at Sarova Lion Hill Lodge in time for lunch.

Our lodge is designed in such a way that most chalet-style rooms afford stunning views of the Kenya’s third largest lake and the park. The Lodge incorporates natural landscaping with tall acacia trees, winding walkways and greens dotted with bird feeds. Enjoy the spa, pool, sauna and free Wi-Fi.

Following lunch, we’ll have some leisure time before proceeding on an afternoon game drive. Lake Nakuru is famous for the massive populations of flamingos that number in the thousands during dry season. The Park also contains Kenya’s largest population of rhinos, as well as many primates from baboons to monkeys, giraffe and even leopards.  The surface of the lake occupies about a third of the park. The lake supports a dense bloom of the blue-green algae called Cyanophyte Spirulina platensis from which Nakuru derives its color and draws over 400 species of birds.

Overnight at Sarova Lion Hill Lodge (1 night)                                   B,L,D

 Oct 10 – Lake Nakuru – Masai Mara   

In the morning, we head around 4-hours in our five safari vehicles with pop-up roof for maximum viewing comfort to the legendary Maasai Mara, Kenya’s most famous Game Reserve.  We’ll have a few stops along the way for comfort breaks, a handicraft market and to enjoy the cool savannah fresh air. The Masai Mara borders Tanzania’s Serengeti plains, is home the Big 5.

We check into the dreamy Fairmont tented retreat with impeccable service. Our luxuriously furnished tents with large bath and outdoor rain showers, overlook the Mara River, right on the seasonal path of the Great Migration. There is a spa, outdoor heated pool, horse rides, sundowner cocktails, alfresco buffets, bush dinners, evening lectures on Kenya and cultural dances by the Masai make it truly unique. Enjoy lunch at the camp with an array of culinary African cuisines.

You’ll have some leisure time before we enjoy a late afternoon game drive in this magnificent reserve. The greatest attraction in the Mara is watching the animals in their natural element; a lion’s roar, a cheetah making a kill, the large herds of the migratory wildebeest, an elephant trumpeting and lots of other animal activities are all very fascinating events. We’ll return to the camp after your game drive for dinner.

Overnight at Fairmont Safari Club (2 nights)                            B,L,D


Oct 11 – Masai Mara – Balloons, Village Visit, Game Drives

 We set out for a pre-dawn safari game drive in search of animals. The early mornings and evenings are the best times to watch the big cats hunt – lions, cheetah, and leopards. We’ll return for a scrumptious buffet breakfast and mid-morning we’ll visit to a Maasai Boma. As we arrive at the village, we’ll be greeted by excited children and adults with song and dance including the traditional jump dancing. We’ll learn how the village functions, visiting huts (called Manyatta) that are made of cow dung and clay plastered over stick frames. Some of our hosts may not speak English but our guides will interpret for you and the elders. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn about the history and lifestyle of these Maasai.

After lunch, the afternoon is free.  Then at dusk we enjoy another exciting evening game drive with spotlights in search of the “Big Five” the lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and the buffalo. Dinner is back at the Safari Camp.

Optional 5 to 11AM – Morning flight in hot air balloons will be offered early today.  Wake up 5 AM for coffee and croissants. 6 AM pilot breafing and launch.  This is the number one place to ascend in a balloon with panoramic views of the wildlife drama sweeping across the Mara plains below. We rise early for a lift-off at dawn over 1000 feet, floating in total silence apart from the natural sounds below. Celebrate with champagne and a full English breakfast served in the bush in fine ‘Out of Africa’ style. Receive your balloon certificate. 11 AM head back to camp with game viewing en route and return to camp for another breakfast!  It’s expensive (around $495)  but oh so worth it. Full details and headcount later. 

Overnight at Fairmont Safari Club (2 nights)                            B,L,D



 Oct 12 – Masai Mara to Nairobi (depart)   

 We’ll bid goodbye to our camp after breakfast and make the five-hour journey across the Mara to head back to Nairobi. We’ll have lunch at the legendary Carnivore restaurant that specializes in exotic game meats and an endless buffet for a dining experience you’ll never forget.

Our final stop will be at Nairobi’s Giraffe Center, where you can hand-feed the giraffes. This place saves endangered Rothschild Giraffes. There’s also habituated warthogs, bushbuck and dik-diks wandering around.  Afterward, we will drive back to the airport, where we start our journey home.       B,L

For those that are extending to Tanzania, arrangements will be made to get you to Arusha Serena Lodge in Tanzania.  You will fly from Nairobi to JRO, October 12.  Transfer with our group to the Nairobi airport. You check in at Precision Air. Fly 8 PM to 9 PM to Kilimanjaro. Meet your guide team on arrival and transfer to Serena Lodge. At present, ticket cost $255 subject to change until ticketed and will be nonrefundable. We will email you each more details on this.  

Click here for the Trip Tips



Land Price $ 3795 per person twin share based on 24 participants   $70 collected with booking for drivers, porters, lodge staff, restaurant meals.  (On April 1, Kenya announced the Mara Park permit increased from $80 per day to $200 per day.  $240 has been added to our original cost.) Land cost is $4035 plus $70 for pre-paid gratuities for a portion of land services.  This is in addition to the amount you’re bringing for your personal Rangers that you have give on own.

Deposit $500

Includes:  All lodging, meals, tours, game drives as listed in the itinerary

Not included:  International air from USA, Kenya entry visa $51.  Bring gratuity envelope of USD $70 (On arrival, we divide into four groups with four drivers. Gratuities to your personal ranger will be with you entire trip. Please consider $10 per day direct to him when you say goodbye.)

Gratuities for ranger guides and lodge staff will be added to your invoice later for ease of distribution.

Lonely Planet Says…

Kenya Trip Tips  2024

Prepare to be thrilled by all the natural wonders in timeless Kenya where is safaris began! Of 54 countries in Africa, our classic Kenya under canvas with the Masai Mara always exceeds expectations. Since 1989, our 20+ past groups here have loved every minute of each day with the local people and endless wildlife. And you’ll love our lodges. The exquisite Fairmont Safari club was voted among the top 20 “world’s best hotels” In Travel & Leisure.  At present we have a wonderful group of 24 travel lovers. There’s space for 2 more so tell your friends. Connect now on your private group Facebook page. See below. We’ll be emailing you more details as departure in nears.

Trip Tips are designed to answer trip-related questions. It’s your responsibility to read this information.  Updates and addendums will be posted here.  Some travelers have lost their entire trip for not reading what we send on visas, air details, inoculations, etc.  Check back from time to time.

  • PAYMENT DATES: There is a 2nd deposit of 50% due June 1 and Final Payment due July 11. Wetravel is our booking management company. It allows you to pay by check electronically without a fee. Please follow the instructions below. If you choose to pay with a credit card, a processing fee at the time of purchase the amount displayed in the upper right-hand corner of your payment screen. To pay online for free, simply enter your checking account routing and account numbers. Alternatively, you can write a check to Adventures For Solo Travelers. Include trip name of country name so that we can apply it correctly. Then text a picture of the check to 770-432-8225, and we will enter your payment without any processing fee.

Your fearless GTL (Gracious Trip Leader, not a guide but a liaison between our guides and group to ensure things run smoothly).

GTL SalandaSalanda – has decades of experience in the travel industry and has worked over 12 years as a travel consultant for one of the world’s largest management companies.  She has been traveling with AFS tours since the year 2000 and leading many of our groups. With over 40 trips under her belt, she always adds value to the client experience introducing them to new things during the tours.   With a passion for exotic places and unique culture, she loves to lead some of our most exciting adventures – (Kilimanjaro, Mt Everest base camp and Galapagos to name a few.)

Trip Prep:
• Read the revised Heading Abroad with AFS, especially if you are new to AFS.
• Ensure your passport is valid 6 months after return date with two blank pages – these are Visa pages, not addendum pages.  Take a photo of your passport to store in the cloud or bring a copy. If you lose your passport, US embassies now except a digital copy from your email.
• To speed through US Customs download Mobile Passport. Look in your App Store for details.
• Notify bank and cc company of travel dates so they don’t block charges.
• All airline rules differ. It is imperative to read your airline rules on their website to ensure a smooth departure! Always check your flight before departure.

Visa – these are required. New digital ETA visa out now but rules can always change and will advise. Around August, will email you details how to apply at www.etakenya.go.ke. Cost varies around $15-$30. You’ll do this online with our AFS booking number and details. You’ll need to take a passport photo and give a copy of your passport page. Ensure now your passport is good through April 2025 with one blank page.

For those that are extending to Tanzania, arrangements will be made to get you to Arusha Serena Lodge in Tanzania.  You will fly from Nairobi to JRO, October 12.  Transfer with our group to the Nairobi airport. You check in at Precision Air. Fly 8 PM to 9 PM to Kilimanjaro. Meet your guide team on arrival and transfer to Serena Lodge. At present, ticket cost $255 subject to change until ticketed and will be nonrefundable. We will email you each more details on this.  

8 of this group are continuing to Tanzania. You need a yellow fever certificate or a doctor’s note to enter.  Air details for you in Tanzania Trip Tips.

Fitness level – most activities are from safari vehicle so little walking.  (Know your limits! AFS trips are generally soft adventure with moderate activity. All included extensive walking. As we age, we think we can do what we used to do but discover on the trip an activity is too strenuous and are slowing down the entire group. You may consider Elder Trek. We cannot be responsible for booking a trip beyond your skill level and physical stamina. Please be respectful of you of your fellow AFS Travelers and consider choosing an itinerary that is more conducive to your needs so you can thoroughly enjoy your trip!)

General Air Info – Route changes can happen now. Airlines must notify you of such and protect you if problem with flight.  Consider flying in early to ensure you’ll be there once trip begins.   Always download and use your airlines app! Use app to track your booking, delays, bags, to show boarding pass and to contact them. Also, premium credit cards often offer many air perks, assistance, insurance, lounge passes, global entry and more. Read more at www.tpg.com for best cards.

Want to fly business class?  Many but don’t realize fares range from 4K to 9K. We do have two good contacts for AFS that can get seats at nearly half cost by combining award miles….  ali@above9.travel  Ph. (855) 777-6336 or britney@business-class.com 305-390-4132 or see skylux.com or business-class.com.  Tell them Suzy sent you.

Group Air – it’s fun to travel together and arrive same time for airport transfers. We were given a great schedule on Kenya Airways direct from JFK but pretty high at $1575.  However airlines require a minimum of 14 bookings which we rarely get. Many like to book on air for flexibility.

KE Sample: Oct 4 JFK-NBO 1:45PM – 10:30AM Oct 5,  Oct 12 NBO-JFK 11:30PM – 7:35 AM next day Oct 13.

Important Air Dates –  USA roundtrip to Nairobi NBO Oct 4-12. Lance starts October 5. Note your transit flights on return home may arrive Oct 13.

Doing Own Air & A/p Transfers–  dozens of airlines fly USA via NBO; Kenya airways, Air France, Qatar, KLM, American, United have the best routes.  Today we see Qatar Airways round-trip JFK to NBO is $1009.

I like to add a stop over pre-or post trip to break up the long journey and augment my vacation. Prices are high now. It’s a difficult call to get your seat now or to wait until a fare sale. You can put in dates at Google flights for “fare alerts” when prices drop. Fly from your hometown to the cheapest major gateway for best fares. Check credit cards to combine miles and points with cash.

We like Google Flights.  3rd-party booking engines like Expedia, make it easy to book, but it is nearly impossible to handle air problems.  Buy direct from airline or pay a travel agent to ticket you.  If you need help air with the economy seat,  our guy in Delhi can help; email flights@diversedestination.com with your exact air dates, destination, passport name, and details with birthdate.

Meet Up With Group- Again, we meet on Oct 5 at the Nairobi Crowne Plaza Airport Hotel.  More details later.  Salanda will be reaching out to you with more details.

Baggage– Think light to ease your burden, not like you’re fleeing your homeland.  You change hotel properties several times. 1 carry-on bag & 1 medium suitcase not to exceed 45lb checked bag – weigh on a bathroom scale.   Leave space for great souvenirs. Be sure to attach ID inside and out of carry-on and checked bag.

Packing-    Google Nairobi weather a week prior. Totally casual trip and easy to pack. Shorts and short sleeve tops by day. Jeans and long sleeves at night. Early morning game drives are cold. Bring warm jacket. Footwear – no hiking boots, sandals or sneakers are fine. Bring hat with chinstrap, daypack, sunglasses, insect repellent, umbrella, swimsuit, flashlight. Please bring gifts for visit to children’s home. See more packing tips below.

Read Packing 101 in Heading Abroad with AFS

Cool travel hacks from our AFSers! Pack overnight outfit in your carry-on, liquid IV packets to hydrate, use packing cubes, downy wrinkle spray, Apple AirTags, extra nylon bag to check laundry home, tons of US dollars for extra tips, fully charged travel banks, less is more, get global entry.

Electric– In Kenya, power plugs and sockets (outlets) of type G are used.  Don’t forget a portable backup charger, cords, gadgets, etc. Cell phones and tablets do not need a converter; you only need an adapter plug.  AFSers often leave charger cords in room, so be sure to double-check your room before check out. All properties have hairdryers.  See https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com

Money Matters – Always bring some cash!  You will need some cash for personal tipping, meals, and shopping. $300 cash should suffice.    Change currency on arrival at airport, bank, or hotels or withdraw local currency from an ATM.  Note -independent ATMs are risky due to skimmer scams. Safest ATMs are at airport and banks. Always shield your pin number when entering.

Master Card and Visa widely accepted.  Amex rarely accepted except at hotels.   Credit cards are far safer than using your debit card. I use my credit card for most purchases.  Many cards now offer no foreign transaction fees. (Some countries in Africa and Asia require new bills dated after 2016. Older bills not accepted when changing money.)

Currency  Exchange Rate   $1  = 162 Kenyan shilling

Gratuities – It’s protocol to tip our local guides, drivers, rangers, assistant porters, lodge staff, waitstaff and other ground services. $70 will be billed to your final payment invoice. We divide into small groups of 6 to 7 people. For your daily game drives with your own personal ranger. Please tip $5 to $10 per day pp directly to him. Your GTL will advise. Bring an envelope of 60 to 70 USD to draw from.

Tipping on own – If service is stellar, feel free to give more directly.  All we tourists leave behind is our reputation. I carry a stash of US ones in an envelope to draw from as needed. Porters – AFSers roll bags to their room.  If you use a porter, please tip.  For group lunches or dinners included, please leave $2 for waitstaff!

Websites – go to www.magicalkenya.com for excellent detailed information on each place to visit.

Communication– Internet is available throughout. With smartphones, be sure to check with your provider for rates and coverage for international phone plans before departure. Data Roaming rates can be expensive. To reach home – Texting, iMessage, WhatsApp, and Facebook messaging when using WIFI. Be cautious using public Wi-Fi without using VPN. Without VPN never open attachments or view financial or personal accounts on the Internet while abroad.  Phone calls, text messages, and data usage of all kinds, it is crucial to understand that, unless you are connected to Wi-Fi, every use of your phone incurs a data toll. That means that viewing and downloading email, browsing the web, viewing social media, and mapping all incur data charges, as do applications that we sometimes assume to be “free,” such as Skype and WhatsApp. Unless you are connected to Wi-Fi, however, WhatsApp is using cellular data, so you are getting charged at your provider’s international roaming data rate.  Facebook Messenger Phone is an easy free way to make calls.

Retail Therapy – In Kenya, AFSers have purchased several souvenirs or mementos of their trip. Maasai beadwork, which includes colorful jewelry, belts, and other accessories handmade by the Maasai people. Another sought-after item is traditional African artwork, such as wood carvings, masks, and paintings, which showcase the rich cultural heritage of Kenya.  Finally, Kenyan coffee and tea are also popular purchases, as the country is known for its high-quality and flavorful beverages. These items not only make great souvenirs but also support local artisans and communities.  Bargain all.

Accommodations –– Our itinerary has links to hotel.  Note that hotels can change, but it’s rare.

Optional Hot Air Balloons – early morning October 11 or 12 for bush breakfast & balloon ride over the Masa Mara. Price is $498.   This is always expensive in Kenya but this is our net cost and it is always worth it.    Will advise and get headcount later.

Amending tour pre-or post-trip. We honor your independent spirit but encourage you to extend more days at the trip’s end when you’re acclimated well to the destination.  If you add another country, we often see many AFSers on Facebook urging others to join them what do you consider the cost of tours, transport, hotels, etc.  Stopovers are great to add, but understand AFS has no responsibility for the quality of your trip.

Private Facebook Group Page  –  The benefit of the Private FB Group Page is that you have an opportunity to introduce yourself to your fellow travelers before departure and share trip photos during and after the tour.  The link can be found in your Wetravel welcome letter after your initial deposit.  (We found that some never read the Trip Tips jumping right to the Private FB Group Page assuming they will get all trip info needed. Often, they only receive rumors or misinformation. All important information is ALWAYS emailed to each participant and posted in Trip Tips under UPDATES. Nobody misses a thing.)

Emergency Contact – AFS phone or text 770-432-8225, or email us at https://afstravelers.com/contact-us/    More contacts will be provided with your Final Docs email 2 to 3 weeks before departure. Your guide can handle a call home for a true emergency. Do not expect to use your trip leader’s cell phone; you’ll need to use your own.

Cancellation Penalty –  At booking, we sent you our terms and conditions. Click here for our Terms & Conditions   . Briefly, on land packages, we’ll refund your deposit less than $155 until 5 weeks prior to the trip’s final payment due date.   Any cancellation after this date will result in full forfeiture of your deposit. AFS reserves the right to resell or otherwise use the canceled space at our discretion.

Travel Insurance– While travel insurance is optional, in today’s world, we highly encourage you to get standard coverage to cover trip interruption and cancellation.  The best source for all is www.insuremytrip.com.   CFAR or cancel for any reason covers Covid but is expensive.  Note that no company covers for fear.

Preexisting conditions – If you would like the security of travel insurance and have a pre-existing condition (elderly parent, medical, etc.), you must purchase insurance within 15 days from your initial trip deposit in order to assure full coverage.  The trip cost can be amended or adjusted as needed after your initial purchase (eg. like adding an air ticket cost later). You can buy travel insurance at any time, just know that there may be some possible limitations if purchased outside the 15 day period.  We like TravelSafe, Allianz or Seven Corners.

Travel Psychology 101  – Prepare for your departure joyfully with no contempt before investigation upon arrival. Please understand that with travel, things are not like at home and changes may occur. Great trips work best for those with an open mind, flexible attitude and adventuresome spirit.  If changes occur, embrace them with serendipity. Who knows?… The unexpected may prove to be a better experience.  Adapt and go with the flow with a laid-back attitude.  Be spontaneous. Be tolerant of foreign cultures in respecting their centuries of traditions. Embrace the differences. Be curious, not shy. Smile – locals will sense your energy of kindness and kindness always begets kindness.  Our common goal is to experience different cultures, make new friends, get great photos, have large fun, and return home safely with memories worthy of recollection.

The best spirit of an Explorer requires the openness of a child – Suzy

“When traveling, remember that a foreign country isn’t designed to make you comfortable.  It’s designed to make its own people comfortable.” – Clinton Fadiman

Please note that AFS is non-partisan – With our homogeneous groups, we all want to focus on the common denominator – our love of travel.  In today’s divisive world, we suggest members not discuss politics and if you must, please practice my rule of TOK:  Tolerance, Open-mindedness and Kindness.

Please be advised that the operation of some tours may need to be rearranged or modified to suit local conditions, but all activities stated will be included.  We are here for you to address any questions about your trip. In time, we believe travel will begin to normalize with less rules and we appreciate your cooperation until then.  Now more than ever before, travelers value the privilege of travel to explore our world. You’ve been waiting so long, it’s time for recess!

Suzy’s Africa Travel Tips

General Stuff

Suzy’s Africa Travel Tips

(2024)  “The only man I envy is the man who has not yet been to Africa. For he has so much to look forward to.”
“Africa changes you forever, like nowhere else. How can you describe its magic? How can you explain the fascination of the past and noble dusty continent, whose oldest roads are elephant paths? How are experiences here in a way no other place can? Maybe it’s because Africa is the place of all our beginnings, the cradle of mankind. The happiest years of my life were spent here.” Paul Theroux

Studies reveal the most meaningful and memorable journeys always end in the same place – Africa! You go for the animals but you remember the people most. Our AFS “Afriholics” get hooked for life.  Some travelers who’ve never been to Africa think a safari is non-stop action. Behold the stunning boredom! The fact is there’s a lot of glorious downtime between early morning and evening game drives. Time in the bush is like entering a remnant of an earlier era. Everything slows down. Shade seeking lions flop over like house cats, zebras stand still as statues, leopards drape over branches to sleep. All game rests. With them, we engage in a communion of laziness. We relax. We observe.

Wildlife Encounters – All animals are wild and you are prey. Respect proximity. Wild animals are totally unpredictable. If you ever encounter a predator in the bush-never run! You will always be the slowest. Animals may roam into lodge camp. Never deviate off path or walk alone at night. Guards will escort you. Never walk near a riverbank or swim in lakes. Hippos hide well.

Game Drives – You will be divided into groups of 4-6 per safari vehicle. Do not interfere with or direct your expert rangers – guide who lived there. He’s far more than a driver with years of experience and intense certifications. Your safety is their number one concern. They can spot everything from ground to sky. Suggested tip is $5 per game drive. If several days of drives, wait until the end. Give direct to your ranger in US dollars, newer bills not torn.

Animal sightings are not guaranteed. AFS past groups have been extremely successful on all. Over 3 decades, we never had a bad safari. Big cats are usually present, but leopards and cheetahs tend to hide. Don’t just search out the big mammals. You’ll miss the marvels of small creatures like badgers to bushbabies and spectacular birdlife.

Photography– Rather than hauling big lenses, small digital cameras get incredible shots nowadays. Edit/delete each night. On drives, keep camera in the bag to protect it from dust and sun. Don’t forget extra batteries! Best light on safaris is 6 to 10 AM and 4 to 6 PM. Rangers will assist with the best vantage points. There is usually a pair of binoculars to share in jeep. Always get consent before photographing local people.  On return home, share your pics on AFS private Facebook page. (I have over 8000 photos of elephants and lions. Please take human photos as well as wildlife. Better yet, take photos AFS humans with the wildlife.)

Expert Africa Packing: Suitcases are stowed in our 6 to 7 safari vehicles or jeeps. New hard cases don’t fit.  Bring only soft-sided luggage or duffels are best.  If we use small charter aircraft deep into bush like Botswana, I’ll advise strict weight restrictions for both bag and carry-on. Pack light and wear the same clothes more than once. Laundry is always available.

Neutral color clothing (no bright colors or fragrances to alarm animals.) Light cotton shorts and T-shirts by day. Jeans/pants with a long sleeve top at night. Early-morning drives always cold-bring warm jacket, fleece or sweater. Smart outfit for evening functions.  Hat with a brim for sun protection and chinstrap for drives. Bring a simple light day pack on drives. Sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellent with DEET, swimsuit, adapter plugs, mini flashlight, toiletries.

Lodges or Camps – All first-class properties or “glamping” style tents. All food and water is purified.  Tap water – Cover bathroom sink with a washcloth as a reminder not to use. Bottled water in the rooms and always available daily. Hydrate! African air is dry and sun is strong. Know that massages at the lodges are usually subpar. Save your spa visits for Europe, Asia and cruises.  Lodges have a staff tip box. $5 to $10 is generous to give and will be shared with all staff.  Ask reception for charging station to plug-in phones, cameras and tablets.

Be mindful of everything around you, not just the Big 5. I’m a primate girl myself. In times gone by European hunters used to search out for the most difficult animals to hunt in Africa which led Safari club supreme a list of five key animals that were challenged to shoot. These were considered difficult for a number of reasons, including ferocity, visibility, and elusiveness.

Lions really are the kings of the savanna and are at the top of the food chain. As such, they need no introduction. Lions are widespread throughout southern and eastern Africa and you’ll have a good chance of seeing them in most safari locations.

Black Rhino now critically endangered, the black rhino is not actually black, but more off-white. Despite its huge bulk and dangerous reputation, rhinos are herbivores who would rather graze on some grass than attack a person. There are a few rhinos left in a wild due to large increase in poachers hunting them for their horns.

Leopards are nocturnal and secretive, making them the most difficult number of the Big 5 to actually spot. When you do see one, chances are it will be lounging in a tree at sunset having just eaten dinner.

African Elephants as most people know are large thick-skinned herbivores. Elephants are numerous in Africa but nevertheless can be hard to spot in some areas due to their ability to hide in the bush and long grasses. Despite being widespread, elephants face a growing threat from poachers who hunt them for their ivory.

Cape Buffalo considered by many to be the most dangerous of the big five, reportedly causing the most hunter deaths, with wounded animals reported to ambush and attack pursuers.

Meds – Since 1989, we never had travel diseases with our travelers. But we do advise you discuss your trip with your doctor or healthcare provider. After that, any specific questions you have, text your name to 770-432-8225 and we will call you back.  Some clients go to CDC website which prepares all for the worst and creates unnecessary fear. We only stay in fine properties with clean food and water. We do not use needles, swim in rivers, work with the sick or have sex with locals.  I don’t want you to over immunize yourself sick, spending hundreds for unnecessary dollars. Over 2 decades selling Africa and South America, no AFS client has ever contracted any disease. Ultimately, it’s your decision on what’s best for you.

About Anti-malaria drugs
This is a common question from our travelers to parts of Africa and So. America. It is a serious disease that can happen when being bitten by an infected female mosquito. However, it’s extremely rare. While locals, tourism staff and guides there do not take pills, many travelers prefer to play it safe with either weekly or daily pills which starts a week before your arrival.  In the US, we are limited to only 3 choices; Malarone, Doxycycline or Atovaquone (Larium). Malarone can be costly, but now there’s a generic. Wal-Mart or Kroger have best prices. See your doctor for a prescription. Sometimes one only needs a strong DEET repellent (roll-on best) and wearing pants and long sleeves at dusk.

Yellow Fever – each country differs and rules change constantly. You may need to get a yellow fever shot if you are traveling from one African country to another. Check your rules. These vaccines found at local health departments are nearly impossible now to get in the USA. If you are over age 60, they won’t give you the shot. Get a doctor’s note. If you can obtain the yellow fever vaccine, bring the yellow card which is proof with you. A change made recently if you have an old yellow fever card it’s good forever.

Travelers’ diarrhea can happen anywhere outside USA. It can be caused from the stress of travel, different diets and water that is contaminated. However, all lodge meals are hygienic clean meals. (Cause of infection may be a virus, parasitic or bacterial, so don’t think Cipro is a cure-all.) You all know not to drink untreated tap water, use ice cubes, or brush your teeth with it.  Guides will remind. you, though few get sick in Africa.  If you get sick, rehydrate with oral rehydration salts, take Imodium or Lomatil. If it doesn’t pass in a week, see doctor. Don’t reach for ‘’stoppers’’ right away. Allow toxins to pass. Fluids are essential.

Things for Children – Bring anything as all we be used. Think Dollar Store or Target. Some stores will even donate. (Get creative. (I bring hair scrunchies and mirrors for girls and balloons for kids.). In poor places, school supplies can be useless with no paper to draw on. They need shoes, socks, clothes etc. They love caps, toys and inflatable balls. You can always donate cash to the headmaster or visit Packwithapurpose.com to see who needs what in each country.