What to expect on an East African Safari?

In January 2020 we got the opportunity to travel on Contiki’s East Africa Safari, a 12 day adventure through Kenya and Tanzania. Growing up with the Lion King as one my favourite childhood movies, I always dreamed of seeing these animals in the wild and this was the perfect trip to achieve that.

Nairobi, Kenya

We started off our adventures at the Jacaranda Hotel in Kenya’s Capital and largest city, Nairobi. We flew in two nights earlier since we knew, coming from Western Canada, our jet lag would be pretty rough. We were correct, and very glad we had a couple days to recover and relax before heading out on our tour. It also gave us a chance to pick up a local sim card (and anything we were missing) from the Sarit Shopping Mall literally across the street from the hotel. 

For those looking, Safaricom is the best cellular provider for Kenyan safaris. We purchased 4 gigs of data for 1,200 shillings, which is around 12 USD. After testing it, we had a good signal pretty much everywhere we went in Kenya, even in the middle of large parks like the Maasai Mara. Just make sure to bring your passport as you’ll need it to get a sim card.

The first day of the tour is left open for people who are still arriving in Kenya. Later in the evening we got to meet the rest of the group along with our tour manager. After introductions our tour manager gave us a little overview on what was to come because the next day we got right into the action!

Our Contiki Vehicles

One thing you will realize after the first day on tour is that Contiki supplies top-of-the-line safari vehicles, and these are some very impressive machines. Each of the modified 4×4 Land Cruisers seats 7 passengers, and every person has a window seat. They close up to protect you from the elements and the cold, and later on the bugs. But when it’s game drive time, the windows slide open and the roof lifts up to give you 360 degree views of the animals, even in the front seat! They are a bumpy ride though, and there’s nothing you can do about it since you’re on dirt roads for the majority of the safari through both Kenya and Tanzania. So if you get motion sick, bring tablets. And if you have any back issues, sit in the front seats as I did.

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