Kenya and Tanzania Mini-review



  • Just a note. The currency not only needs to be ‘new’ but unwrinkled. They will not take old looking wrinkled money. We perhaps went a little overboard and ironed he money with spray sizing. Came out great. And new or ironed money takes up a lot less space. We always carry a couple hundred in ones for tips and small purchases. Many places will accept US currency, but many cannot make change.

  • Hubby wants to know “steam or dry”?????? LOL

  • **ALAN S.: ** We remembered we had those flashlights from Harbor Freight in the cars (2) but then we found they were on sale again so we went and bought them today and will use them instead of our other flashlight that we were going to use even though they are bigger than our other ones. The new Blue ones are brighter than our older Blue ones. Thanks for the reminder!!!!

  • We followed Sealord’s advice about bringing crisp bills - no marks, no tears, printed after 2005. We starting starching and ironing but ultimately got our bank to get crisp bills. Getting change in US currency was never a problem (even the Massa) made change. It was just best to have lots of $1, $5, $10 and some twenties. We also brought soccer balls with needles and pumps, crayons, pencils and note pads — very appreciated. Our tour stopped at a large supermarket a few days before our school visit - a good opportunity to buy a few things for the kids - as well as Kenya coffee and tea! The supermarket only accepted credit cards.

  • edited August 2019

    I think if Mr B saw me ironing money he would cancel all our future tours thinking I was no longer fit to travel 🤪. If I saw HIM ironing anything, yikes, I’d die of shock!

  • LOL I went to our bank and got stacks of new bills, $1, $5, $10.

  • Kenya and Tanzania!! Also Kenya requested our proof of yellow fever vaccine. A couple ahead of me in line didn’t have the vaccine or a waiver. They told the Kenyan medic that they were over 65 and advised not to take the shot. Last I saw - they were taken into the airport terminal with uniformed agents.

  • Nancy, which country were you entering Kenya from?

  • Nancy, thank you finally for providing proof that it is not a good idea to think it is Ok to avoid having the Yellow Fever vaccine.
    Itskr If the Person at the Kenya border wants proof of Yellow Fever, then that’s it, it doesn’t matter what country you were coming from, the last thing you want to do is start getting into some kind of confrontation about it.
    Please everyone, if you don’t want all the stress, just get the Vaccine. While it is unlikely that you will ever contract Yellow Fever, certain countries require the vaccine, so that’s what we have to abide to. If you read all the research about the vaccine you will see that adverse reaction reports are minimal and have been overstated in the past. Drs are just trying to prevent risk of being sued.

  • edited August 2019

    Cathy, way back in 2007 when we first went to K and T we were told that only decent looking notes later than 2005 would be accepted. The banks can be very picky about which notes they will accept for exchange so the locals are afraid to take antything they might be stuck with.

  • Itskar: we were coming from Tanzania

  • A few tips:

    BATHING SUITS: we had free time at Four Seasons in Kenya. Our ‘wickedly wonderful’ tour guide recommended against wearing blue or black here. So if you bring a bathing suit: make sure it’s not black! We never saw tsetse flies or mosquitos anywhere - just flies at the Massa Village. We were there July 7-July 23

    HAIRDRYERS: every hotel had them! As well as bathrobes!

    MONEY: We are shoppers and tippers! We brought (as per Sealord’s recommendation):

    $300 —$1bills $200 - $5 bills $100 - $10 bills

    plus gratuity for TD and a bunch of $20 bills for ‘just in case’ I brought home $100 in $1’s!! I will stash it away for the next trip!

  • Nancy, once you get settled back home, a separate mini review thread would be great. The latest information is always very helpful. Your posts here so far are exactly what people are looking for especially first timers to Africa.

  • Nancy. Just curious what did you spend so much cash on? Don’t the hotels accept credit cards? Also how much did drinks such as beer and wine cost at the various lodges.

  • I used cash for dinners in Arusha before the tour began, glasses of wine ($6-12 ea), laundry, gratuities for housekeeper (we were told this was not included - and the few dollars was very meaningful to them), gratuities (optional) for the fantastic guides/drivers (we even went on an optional safari late one afternoon rather than relax at the Four Seasons (only 4 guests opted for this!); additionally we went an another optional safari and got to see the wildebeest migration (words and photos do not adequately describe this), enhanced gratuity for the tour guide (Chris was amazing) and then the shopping: At various spots (at the ‘air strips (and I use this term very loosely), the Tanzania Cultural Center, entering into Kenya from Tanzania, at the Massa Village and hotel gift shops: beautiful beaded objects and jewelry, cow horn products (bowls, servers, frames, bracelets), carvings. After our visit to the school, we made an optional trip to a curio shop: beautiful carvings, bead work and art.

    Yes, the economy of T&K had a spike!! Yes many of these things could have been put on my credit card, but it was essentially small amounts of money

    A note: if you go to CAPETOWN: everything was less expensive thanT&K. Very similar products. But I was happy to support tanzania and Kenya.

  • Yikes Nancy. You really are a shopper, how do you carry all that home? If you are talking about when the tour has started, housekeeping is included. We had CHRIS for our Botswana tour, he really is a nice guy. I think I remember some intense discussion here on the forum about whether to tip the Safari guides and all sorts of things like jealously between the guides and so on came up. When we took our first Africa tour, there were a few people who had saved for years to do the tour, maybe all that tipping may be something that made them be unable to take the tour.
    Personally, I don’t want or find that Tauck suddenly starts expecting us to tip here there and everywhere because we don’t like carrying a lot of cash around. I’ve just been reading about another tour company where every time they use a local guide everyone has to line up to tip them.
    Seems as if you have the Africa bug.

  • Thank you to Nancy and British for highlighting the importance of yellow fever vaccines.We were going to skip them, but now have an appointment at the Sarasota travel clinic next week. So glad I read your posts. BTW, it's so expensive! $343!

  • Diana in Naples: When are you going? Just for your info, if you go to Passport Health in Tampa it might be less expensive. It was less expensive than PH in Bradenton as a friend was going to go there but went to Linebaugh instead.
    We are from Palm Harbor, near Tarpon Springs, near Clearwater (for those who don’t know Florida).

    We are hoping to use CC at the hotels before and after the Tour. Have cash hidden away on us but still need a bit more I suspect. It is getting close... need to start weighing the suitcases!!

  • Here is something we just decided to take as a precaution....a small tube of Super Glue! Taking it in an empty pill bottle. These work great for lots of things that would otherwise go into a plastic bag.

  • How will you explain that to a curious customs officer?

  • Well, it says what it is on the tiny tube that is under 3" long so fits in a pill bottle. It isn't the end of the world if they confiscate it...they once took my husbands 4" toenail clipper that he HAD to take along!

    Just weighed the 4 far so good...still have his sneakers to put in.

  • Nedda: We're leaving Ft. Myers Aug. 17 and going to Tampa for the vaccine would add another hour beyond Sarasota. I'll call them tomorrow, tho, just to check the pricing.

  • WE could have gone to the County Health Dept to get some of the shots or Walgreens (for instance) for Hep A, but decided to get them all at once (2 in each arm) and save running around. Cost was $1320 for the two of us. Plus the malaria pills that they gave us a script for and also anti-biotic/diarrhea.
    The driving time might be too much for you, I agree. Will be interesting to see the comparison pricing...
    We are leaving Tuesday for Orlando, flying out on the 7th for the tour that starts on the 10th of August. Can leave the car at the hotel for free for 14 days, so may have to pay for 2-3 days. Way less expensive than hiring a driver.

  • Diana, you may want to consider the Collier and/or Lee county health departments. We had our yellow fever shots there and not only was the pricing very fair, but they had a database with all of our immunizations we have had from our private physicians. We were hesitant to go to the health department but it turned out to be a good experience for us.

  • We were told that there is a Florida based database with all our immunizations on it as well and Passport Health printed it out for us. Years ago our doc told us to go to the health dept for our shingles shot as it was over $100 cheaper there than what she would have charged us. We didn’t get Hep B, told we wouldn’t need it. Have had the newest pneumonia ones previously and same with Shingles, have the newest one. Husband had to get tetanus as his had run out.

  • edited August 2019

    Hep B.....drs used to say getting the Hep B vaccine was not necessary unless you were going to do risky things like have relations with the locals. But if you were to find yourself treated in a local hospital in a third world country where cleanliness was questionable. Even babies in the US now routinely get the vaccine. We have it.
    Passport Health and similar.... we soon learned years ago that they are an expensive way to go. Some pharmacies carry all the vaccines apart from Yellow fever which has always only been available from certain centers. If you get the shots from the pharmacy, they are likely covered on insurance. Most of them are vaccines that anyone should have, not just because you decide you want to travel abroad. The first time we needed Malaria meds, Passport health charged us per pill! These days, we figure out which type of Malaria meds we need depending on where in the world we are visiting, call our Dr and tell him how many we need and he gives us a script which costs whatever our prescription plan is.
    Once you get the Yellow fever card, it’s a good idea to always have it with your passport wherever you are visiting.

  • Re, having the yellow fever card with you... I also take a picture of it and keep that on my phone and ipad, mine and his, and his and mine on his phone etc. Plus I take a hard copy picture and put it in my carry on. Can’t be too safe!!
    This all was new to us so now we know and are protected re the shots. We filed a claim with our insurance company and they reimbursed us for some of the charges, which at least was something!

  • cathyandsteve, our Passport Health told us the exact same info re yellow fever, and we were told we could get it at Walgreens but when we checked with them they said nope.

  • First of all, I want to say: this is such a great forum. I've learned so much and made many decisions based on everyone's comments. Next, I called Lee County Health, Costco, and the International Travel Clinic in Naples, none of which have the YF vaccine, so Passport Health is the only option for that shot. I already got Hep A & B. I can get the typhoid shot locally, but am questioning whether this and malaria pills are really necessary for K & T. Just trying to minimize the number of drugs. What do yo all think?

  • Diana in Naples: Some people will say no need to get the typhoid and malaria pills, others will say yes, you should. Personally, I would rather get them and be safe, one less thing to worry about... Hard enough to remember to use bottled water for everything and not get tap water up your nose or in your mouth showering! Of course, one solution to that issue is to NOT shower at all!!!! Just kidding folks!!
    And think of it this way, you will then be protected so if you choose to go to some other exotic place you will be safe.
    Neither my husband or I had any reaction to the shots, and had 2 in each arm at the same time. I am debating about the Hep B as British made a good point about going to a hospital etc.

    Also, you might want to check out some of the other forums relative to the T & K trip as there is good info on them too.

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