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8 Big Mistakes to Avoid When Going on Safari in Kenya

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If there’s one thing that comes to mind when people think about Africa, it’s safaris. And for good reason – a safari is an amazing way to see some of the world’s most stunning wildlife in their natural habitat Particularly if you’re going on safari in Kenya.

So, what is a safari? Well, in short, it’s an adventure into the wild to view animals. In fact, safari literally means “journey” in Swahili, and that’s exactly what it is – a journey into the heart of Africa to see some of the world’s most beautiful creatures.

So, if you’ve booked your safari in Kenya or just thinking of going on a Kenyan safari one day, you should first be aware of some of the biggest mistakes that people make when planning Kenya safari holidays.

This way, you can quickly and easily avoid them and have the best safari in Kenya possible.

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After all, this past year has been a wild ride and I don’t want you to lose money because government regulations have changed. 

Truth be told though, I’ve never traveled without travel insurance and don’t think you should either – especially since I think we’ve all had plans drastically change because of the pandemic. 

Therefore, find an insurance agency that covers travel changes related to COVID-19, like my two all-time faves World Nomads and Safety Wing. You can also read more about which policy is right for you in my full review here.

Biggest Mistakes to Avoid When Going on Safari in Kenya

1. Not having the required documents to enter for your Safari in Kenya

Truck riding through the Savanah when on safari in Kenya with a giraffe in the background.

If you’re planning to travel to Kenya to experience the safari of a lifetime, it’s important to make sure you have all the required documents ready.

Otherwise, you may not be able to enter the country or could experience problems while you’re there on safari in Kenya.

And one document you’ll need will be a visa for Kenya. Nationals of many countries can obtain an electronic visa simply by completing an online application at least three business days before your planned safari in Kenya.

When doing this, also make sure that the passport used for your visa application is valid for at least six months after the scheduled date of your trip.

Also, because of the ongoing pandemic, Kenyan authorities currently require all incoming visitors to complete an additional entry document, which is a Health Surveillance Form.

You may check your eVisa eligibility here at evisa-kenya.com and get all the necessary travel documents without even leaving your house.

2. Packing the wrong clothes

Elephants walking across the Savanah in Kenya with mountains in the background.

Contrary to what many people believe, it’s actually quite cold during the daytime in some areas of Kenya. So be sure to bring a jacket or warm weather clothing that will keep you comfortable during your safari in Kenya.

A little preparation goes a long way when it comes to ensuring an amazing safari experience!

It’s also important to pack – khaki pants and short-sleeved shirts for men, and long skirts or slacks and blouses with long sleeves for women.

And when it comes to shoes, be sure to bring sturdy walking shoes as well as sandals or flip-flops for wearing around the camp.

However, if you need any further help when packing for your safari in Kenya, be sure to have all of the following:

  • Clothes in khaki, green, beige and other neutral colors
  • Long-sleeved shirts to protect you from the sun and mosquitos
  • T-shirts
  • Shorts or a light skirt
  • Jeans or safari trousers for evenings/cold days (khakis are best)
  • Jackets and sweaters for drives in the early morning or late afternoon
  • Light waterproof jacket
  • Bathing suit and other swimwear
  • Comfortable shoes for walking
  • Sunscreen and bug spray
  • Moisturizer
  • Lip blam
  • Binoculars
  • Camera gear

3. Expecting to see incredible wild animals at every turn

A giraffe in the Savanah during safari in Kenya.

When going on safari in Kenya you may expect to see wild animals at every corner. After all, isn’t that one of the many things that make safaris so exciting? You never quite know what you’ll see next!

However, whether you’re an experienced safari-goer or this is your first time, you may be wondering what to expect when it comes to animal spotting.

Well, contrary to popular belief, animals are not everywhere. In fact, you’ll probably only see them about a third of the time.

That being said, don’t let that deter you! Because the other two-thirds of your safari in Kenya will be filled with beautiful landscapes and opportunities to learn more about these amazing creatures.

4. Not respecting the natural habitat of the wild animals

A herd of Zebras in the Savanah

It’s easy to understand why people are fascinated by safaris. The thought of getting up close and personal with some of the most beautiful creatures in the world is incredibly alluring.

However, many people don’t realize that when they go on safari, they’re essentially entering into a wild animal’s natural habitat.

That means it’s important to respect the rules that govern how we interact with them. Unfortunately, many travelers don’t do this, which can have disastrous consequences for the animals that you might see during your safari in Kenya.

Just because you have a nice camera and binoculars doesn’t mean you can treat the animals like they’re in a zoo.

Sadly, many travelers don’t seem to understand this, and they end up harassing the animals or disrupting their natural behavior.

But, if you’re respectful and keep your distance, you’ll be able to enjoy some amazing views of wildlife in their natural habitat!

5. Taking food on your safari and leaving it unattended

When planning a safari in Kenya, most people know to leave food at their hotel or lodge.

However, some visitors still try to take bits of food or snacks with them into the park, thinking that they’ll need something to eat while on safari.

This is actually one of the worst things you can do – not only can you be fined if you’re caught, but you’re also endangering the wildlife.

Believe it or not, there are animals on safari that can smell your food from a mile away. And if they happen to find your meal unattended, they will most certainly take advantage of this unique opportunity.

As a result, It may be a really dangerous encounter and is a situation you should avoid at all costs.

6. Not following your safari guide

Truck for safari in Africa.

A safari guide is an expert that you should definitely listen to during your safari in Kenya. They know all about the animals in the area and can tell you all about their habits.

Plus, they can give you some incredible tips on where to find them and how to best view them.

So, make sure you take advantage of your guide’s knowledge and so that you can enjoy your safari trip even more!

Also, don’t be afraid to ask them questions – they’re happy to share their knowledge with you! And if you’re really lucky, they might even have some amazing stories to tell.

7. Using your flash when taking photos

Lions on safari in Kenya.

You’re on safari in Kenya, and you’ve just spotted a lion. You pull out your camera to snap a photo, but as soon as you hit the button, you hear a loud ‘pop’ followed by the animal running away in terror. What happened?

Well, you took a picture with your flash on, and the sudden brightness scared away the lion!

So, while you may think that your camera’s flash will help you capture photos of the animals in all their glory, it can actually do more harm than good.

In fact, using a flash while on safari can scare away the animals and disrupt their natural behavior.

So if you want to get some great shots of local wildlife, leave the flash off your camera. Instead, use natural light whenever possible and allow your camera’s shutter to stay open for a longer period of time to capture the animals in more detail.

With a bit of practice, you’ll be taking amazing safari photos without disturbing the animals in no time!

8. Wearing perfume

Animals are pretty curious creatures. They’ll come up to your vehicle and check you out, sometimes sniffing around in search of a tasty snack.

However, there’s one thing you should never do if you want to meet the animals on safari and that’s wear perfume!

In fact, did you know that the smell of perfume can actually scare away animals on safaris? Many people don’t realize this and end up ruining their safari experience by wearing too much perfume.

Believe it or not, researchers have found that animals like lions and elephants are less likely to hang around areas where they could smell humans.

So, if you want to get up close and personal with the animals, it’s best to leave the perfume at your hotel or lodge!

There you have it! That just about wraps up this guide to big mistakes to avoid when going on safari in Kenya.

Because no one goes on safari planning to make mistakes. But, they sometimes happen.

And if you’re not prepared for them, they can definitely put a damper on your trip. So, follow this handy guide and experience the beauty and wildness of real Africa!