The best of Kenya & Tanzania

Would love to hear from anyone who has taken this trip. This has been a "bucket list" item for me my whole life. There are no forums on it yet. If anyone has any insight, advice or experience of this trip, I would love to hear about anything you have to say. We are going in September. Thanks in advance

  • Hello! I have not taken the trip, but am booked on the August 27 departure date. Just like you, this is a life-long dream! Also looking for tips, or to "meet" fellow travelers in this forum. Joy from Vermont.
  • Hi, I just booked the September 10th departure. Also my #1 bucket list trip. So excited. This will be m first time with Rhode Scholar. Which date are you on? Have you taken any other trips with them?
  • My first trip with Road Scholar, too. I'm hoping someone who has been on this trip will chime in with advice or tips!
  • I am booked on this trip Oct. 3. Noticed in information packet that luggage should be soft sided. Are you taking a duffel bag or a soft suitcase? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
  • I am also booked on the September 10th departure. This is my second Road Scholar trip and the first was fantastic so I am very excited to travel with Road Scholar again. After a lot of research I got the Rick Steve's back door duffle/backpack. It arrived this week and it was nicer than I expected. I also got some compression bags to keep my clothes clean and dry during travel. We have another friend who went on a safari and they highly recommended the compression bags. Their suitcase was ruined on the plane and the only thing that saved the clothes was that they were all packed in bags. Decided to take the suggestion after hearing her story.
  • I am worried about everything! Leaving in 6 days. How about money? I have read that US cash is the way to go. Any advice would be very appreciated. Hope your trip was all you hoped it would be. PWS
  • How did our trip go? What did you decide about money on the trip. Did you need to buy very much while on safari? Was US money taken in most places. How much local currency did you truly need?
    Thanks!!! I"m going in March and can't wait!!!
  • Did you take any small gifts for people you met along the way - kids in a village, etc. Did you need to spend much money along the way? Do you need to buy water or is it provided during the day. We are going in March and I'm trying to get my list of what to take started!
  • cash is king! Also it is pretty easy to get cash from ATM's there. I took $500 cash, went through it all & took out another $200 from ATM. There are foreign currency exchange fees, etc., but they are not prohibitive. We tipped a LOT, including when we'd make road side stops for photos & the locals would be in the photos with us but they did want a tip. We were given plenty of water through out the trip. That was a worry of mine also, but I drank several bottles of water every day & there was never a problem running out
  • Water: There is water supplied all the time. They keep a full cooler in the travel vehicles, and water in the rooms at all your stops. You will not need to buy water.
    Money: Do not carry any thing larger than $20 bills. The hotels will change money for you but all the people will take american dollars. People want $1-$2 to have their picture taken. When you stop to go into the game parks locals will be selling beaded jewelry etc. you can barter through the windows. I wish I had brought more $1 to buy jewelry as gifts. Remember this is their livelihood. I wish I had brought more small bills and bought more to support them. I used very little cash. In the hotels you can charge everything to your room and pay as you check out with your credit card.
    Tips: Road scholar advertises that all tips are included. On my past trips were were told by our guides not to tip anyone that it was handled by RS. I always give my guide a personal gift as I was told they were not to accept money. We did tip our drivers in Tanzania. They were with us for many days and were much than just drivers. They are very knowledgeable and will help you with everything and can answer all your questions. the drivers were also trained as guides and were fantastic.
    Packing: Pack in compression bags, it saves space and keeps things organized. Take a bandanna. I used it as a washcloth, it dries fast. I had an extra one and used it in the truck for the dust and wrapped my camera in it other times. Get a bungee wash line. We washed our socks and underwear every evening and it was dry by morning. We sent our pants and shirts to the laundry service when we could. We carried a bar of Fels Naphtha soap for our laundry. We also packed a small roll of duck tape. When you plug your adapter in and then a charger into that, the weight made it hard to make a connection. We duck taped it to the wall and solved that problem. Never know when you need duck tape to repair luggage, shoe, etc.
    I definitely used chap stick and took a tiny bottle of eye drops which helped with the dusty roads.
    Take and extra toothbrush in case you forget and run it under the tap. We put the soap box over the faucet so we wouldn't forget.
    We did not take souvenirs as we were told it can create problems with who got something and who didn't. You don't know how much to take and you have limited space. Just take lots of $ and take their pictures. Even the youngest children herding goats in the middle of no where knew the english word dollar. Money buys food.
    Leaving: I took my oldest sneakers and left them behind to make room for my souvenirs. You don't need great shoes, you don't do much walking. We also gave our bug repellent to the drivers when we left. We didn't need to carry it home and figured they could use it.
    We also arrived one day early. We were the only one in our group and we were so glad we did after a 20 hour flight. We relaxed by the pool, charged meals to the room, paid with our credit card and the hotel has a shuttle that will pick you up at the airport for a modest fee. Your flights arrive at 10 and till you get through customs it is late. The rest of the group looked exhausted and had to be ready early the next morning to leave on a long day of travel and adjust to the time change. Give yourself a day to rest. Everyone speaks English and you don't need to leave the hotel. We were so glad we went early. The food at the Eka is spectacular. Try their fish stew!
    Everyone is very kind and helpful, remember that hospitality is their business. You will have a wonderful trip.
  • TERRIFIC TRIP!! WAS ON IT IN 2015 am going again 2018 -Great accommodations - good for folks that can not walk long distances - lots of wild life!
  • This is a great review of the trip. I just returned and am happy to answer specific questions:
    The rains started early this year, so our weather was overcast almost everyday. The up side was there was no dust to deal with. One day was slightly dry and we had a small amount of dust. It made me glad that we went when we did, because the dust in the parks with all the safari vehicles would have made it very uncomfortable in the dry season. Take wweyant031439's comments about keeping a wet cloth in the vehicle and bringing something to keep your camera covered.
    I changed some money to Kenyan shillings and shouldn't have. Again, I agree - take lots of American 1s. Make sure all bills, especially the larger ones are after 2006 or 2008. I had a few 2003s that were refused. They are afraid of forgeries.

    Nobody checked the weight of our luggage or if it was soft-sided, but I would follow the weight limits just to make life easier for you and the porters. We had laundry done at Ngorongoro and Masai Mara for about $1 per piece.

    There were only 4 in our group, so we were really lucky to have Eddie Ongori, our Tour Guide, full-time. However, the drivers are excellent and with most non-Road Scholar tours, they will be the primary guide, so they have plenty of knowledge.

    The shopping places we stoped at were very nice, with art quality craft items. We didn't buy from the Maasai that came to our windows, but if you want trinkets to take home, you might want to go this route. They are handmade and help sustain the tribes. I saw some nice beaded bowls at the Ngorongoro lodge, but decided to wait to buy them. They didn't have anything like that at the shop we went to in Nairobi, so I missed out on that. I got plenty of other things, so don't feel sorry for me - LOL!!!

    I could go on forever, as this was a fantastic trip, but feel free to write if you have specific questions!!
  • How was it on the long rides with no bathroom access?
  • They actually broke up the drives with stops that had bathrooms. That was not a problem. Most stops had water, toilet paper but no soap. We did carry hand sanitizer and toilet paper in our backpack and did need it at times.
  • I’m leaving September 25 and traveling alone from the quad cities to Atlanta. If anyone is in the area, I’d love to text before the trip. I went to Machu Picchu alone and two others on line. Also, can you wear shorts and short sleeves? Carol