• What to Pack for Your African Safari

    July 21, 2023

    The ultimate guide to packing for an African safari adventure!

    Are you ready to embark on an African safari? It is an exhilarating experience filled with breathtaking landscapes, diverse wildlife, and captivating cultures.

    However, to properly enjoy the experience, you need to be prepared. What you pack will make all the difference on your safari. Pack wisely and be prepared for the unique conditions you may encounter.

    Protect yourself: In the African wilderness, there are unique risks and dangers, but with the right preparation, you can easily minimize these risks and they won’t ruin your experience.

    Pack only what is necessary: Traveling through the African wilderness can be challenging, so make sure you’re not carrying a big bag with excess weight and your luggage won’t become a burden.

    Enjoy your safari: Ultimately, all the preparations you make are to ensure you have a good time (which is the main aim of this article!) 😄

    Included in this guide is some information about luggage, a comprehensive packing list, including clothing, footwear, accessories, health & safety, and other miscellaneous items to take with you, as well as some general tips to consider when you’re preparing for your trip.

    Disclaimer: Your packing needs may vary depending on the specific location, season, and activities planned for your African safari. We advise you to research the destination thoroughly and consult with your tour operator or safari lodge for any specific packing requirements.

    Luggage for an African safari

    The size and type of your luggage is more important than you may realize when embarking on a safari trip. Having the appropriate luggage can really make your trip more comfortable.

    Make sure you know the specific luggage restrictions for each of your flights. While international flights may offer generous baggage allowances, smaller aircraft that connect you to remote safari destinations often impose strict limitations on weight and size.

    The permitted weight allocation may vary slightly depending on your destination, but typically falls between 15 and 20 kg (33 and 44 lb) per person. This usually does not include camera equipment, handbags, and additional carry-on items. And yes, they do sometimes check, so it's wise to pack as lightly as possible for a seamless and stress-free journey. If you really can’t choose what to bring - you can book additional luggage beforehand via your safari expert - or pay the extra fee directly to the airline at the airport. Prices vary per airline and route - but generally are between $2 and $5 per additional kilo.

    The choice of luggage is equally important as the weight considerations. Hard-shell cases are generally not recommended for safari travel, as soft-shell bags are typically required for transportation on smaller aircraft.

    Also important to realize is the size limit of the safari car. Hard-case luggage is harder to pack and takes up more space. Especially when traveling with a group of 4 to 6 people per car, this means it will not be possible to fit in 6 hard case suitcases - where 6 duffel bags will fit without any worry. A last thing to be mindful of is that there is a lot of moving from location to location on a typical safari - so your hard-case suitcase will very likely run into some dents and scratches along the way.

    Certain activities, such as gorilla trekking, may require a sturdy and waterproof backpack. For most safaris, a lightweight, soft-sided duffel bag is the preferred option. If you have a lot of things to pack, some opt to leave the wheeled luggage at home, as the added weight of the luggage can get in the way when every kilogram counts.

    Packing list for an African safari

    Create your own list from this guide and check off items as you pack them!

    1. Clothing
      1. Lightweight, neutral-colored clothing: Pack breathable, lightweight fabrics like cotton or linen to stay comfortable in the African heat. Opt for neutral colors such as khaki, tan, or olive green to blend in with the environment and minimize disturbances to wildlife.
      2. Long-sleeved shirts and trousers: Protect yourself from the sun, insects, and thorny vegetation by packing lightweight, long-sleeved clothes. They also offer an additional layer of protection in the cooler mornings and evenings.
      3. Sweater or jacket: Although the days may be hot, nights and early mornings can be chilly, particularly in certain regions. Pack a warm sweater or jacket to keep you comfortable in these cooler periods.
      4. Swimwear: Some safari lodges and camps offer swimming pools or water-based activities. Don't forget to pack your swimwear for a refreshing dip or some relaxation at the lodge.
    2. Footwear
      1. Sturdy, closed-toe walking shoes: Invest in comfortable, closed-toe shoes with good traction for walking safaris and game drives. Choose footwear that provides support and protection against uneven terrain and potential encounters with thorns or insects.
      2. Lightweight sandals or flip-flops: Pack a pair of comfortable, lightweight sandals or flip-flops for relaxing at the lodge or camp after a day of exploration.
      3. Socks: Bring a few pairs of moisture-wicking socks to keep your feet comfortable and protected inside your shoes.
    3. Accessories

      1. Wide-brimmed hat or cap: Shield yourself from the sun's rays during game drives and walks by wearing a wide-brimmed hat or a cap with a neck flap.
      2. Sunglasses: Protect your eyes from the intense sunlight and glare, giving you clear vision during your safari adventures.
      3. Bandana or scarf: A versatile accessory that can be used to protect your face from dust, cover your head, or serve as an impromptu accessory.
      4. Binoculars: Enhance your wildlife viewing experience by bringing a good pair of binoculars. They allow you to observe animals and birds in greater detail, even at a distance.
      5. Camera equipment: Capture the thrilling moments and breathtaking landscapes with a high-quality camera. Don’t forget your additional lenses, spare batteries, memory cards, or whatever else you need for your camera.
      6. Power bank: Safaris often take you into remote areas with limited access to electricity. Carry a reliable power bank to ensure your important electronic devices stay charged.
      7. Waterproof backpack or daypack: Choose a waterproof backpack or daypack with sufficient space to carry your essentials such as water, sunscreen, camera gear, and personal items.
    4. Health and Safety
      1. Insect repellent: Protect yourself from mosquitoes and other biting insects by packing a high-quality repellent containing a high percentage of DEET. Apply it generously to exposed skin and clothing.
      2. Malaria prophylaxis: Consult with a healthcare professional or travel clinic to determine if malaria medication is recommended for the specific regions and time of year you'll be visiting.
      3. Sunscreen: Carry a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF to shield your skin from the intense African sun. Apply it generously and frequently, especially on exposed areas.
      4. First aid kit: Prepare a basic first aid kit with essentials such as band-aids, antiseptic cream, pain relievers, antihistamines, and any necessary prescription medications.
      5. Hand sanitizer: Maintain good hygiene standards, especially during game drives and in remote areas where handwashing facilities may be limited.
    5. Miscellaneous
      1. Travel documents: Carry a valid passport with at least six months' validity, any required visas, your travel insurance documents, and any necessary permits or vaccination certificates (check the up-to-date requirements online or with a healthcare professional). Keep both digital and physical copies of these documents.
      2. Travel adapters: Ensure you have the appropriate power adapters for the country you're visiting to charge your devices. Some African countries may have different plug types and voltages.
      3. Cash and cards: Bring a mix of local currency and internationally accepted credit/debit cards for convenience. ATMs may not be readily available in some remote safari destinations.
      4. Travel guidebooks/maps: Stay informed and learn about the regions you'll be visiting. Pack guidebooks, maps, or download relevant travel apps to navigate and enhance your safari experience.

    Preparing for an African safari - general tips

    Here are some general tips and useful information to consider when preparing for your African safari adventure:

    • Research your destination: Africa is a vast continent with diverse ecosystems and wildlife. Research the specific country or countries you'll be visiting, including the climate, terrain, wildlife species, and any unique requirements or considerations.
    • Be mindful of luggage restrictions: Some safari camps and lodges have weight restrictions for luggage due to limited space on small planes or vehicles. Check with your tour operator or accommodation providers regarding luggage restrictions and guidelines.
    • Pack light: It's essential to pack efficiently and keep your luggage to a minimum. Opt for versatile clothing items that can be layered and mixed and matched. Choose lightweight and quick-drying fabrics to facilitate easy washing and drying.
    • Don’t bring unnecessary plastic: Some African countries have totally banned plastic bags and won’t allow you to bring them into the country. Be a responsible traveler and support efforts to reduce pollution by leaving plastic bags at home.
    • Plan for different weather conditions: African weather can be unpredictable. While the days might be hot, nights and early mornings can be chilly. Pack clothing for both warm and cooler temperatures, and don't forget a waterproof layer in case of rain.
    • Respect wildlife and follow safety guidelines: Remember while on safari that you are in the animals' territory. Always listen to your guide's instructions, maintain a safe distance from wildlife, and avoid any disruptive behavior that may stress or endanger the animals.
    • Prepare for dust and sun: Safaris often involve driving on dirt roads, which can kick up a lot of dust. Bring a scarf or bandana to cover your face and protect yourself from dust and potential allergies. Apply sunscreen regularly, wear a hat, and use sunglasses to shield yourself from the strong African sun.
    • Stay hydrated and drink safe water: Carry a reusable water bottle and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, especially in hot climates. Inquire about the safety of tap water at your accommodation and use bottled or treated water if necessary.
    • Respect local customs and traditions: Learn about the local customs, traditions, and etiquette of the country or communities you'll be visiting. Respect the local culture, be open-minded, and embrace the opportunity to learn from and interact with local people.
    • Dress appropriately: Respect the local culture and dress modestly, especially when visiting communities or cultural sites outside of safari areas. Be mindful of packing clothing that covers your shoulders and knees.
    • Follow health and vaccination recommendations: Consult with a healthcare professional or travel clinic well in advance to ensure you are up to date on necessary vaccinations and receive any recommended medications, such as malaria prophylaxis, and make sure to take proof of vaccinations with you!
    • Engage in responsible tourism: Choose tour operators and accommodations that prioritize sustainability, conservation efforts, and responsible wildlife viewing practices. Minimize your impact on the environment by following guidelines, avoiding littering, and supporting local communities.
    • Have travel insurance: It's crucial to have comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellation, and any safari-specific activities you'll be participating in. Ensure your policy covers the countries you'll be visiting and the activities you'll be undertaking.

    Are you prepared for your African safari?

    Preparing for an African safari requires careful consideration and planning. Follow the tips and guidelines in this guide, and have an incredible, stress-free safari experience.

    Remember to research your destination thoroughly, understand the luggage restrictions for your flights, and pack only what is necessary. Protect yourself from the unique risks of the African wilderness, pay attention to clothing and footwear choices, and take useful and practical accessories. Prioritize your health and safety.

    Make a packing checklist for yourself and make sure you have everything you need!

    We at Shadows Of Africa want you to have the best possible experience when you’re out on the trail with us. Reach out to us to book your African safari, and we'll make sure you’re prepared before we head out together on our adventure!

    Remember, each safari experience is unique, so adapt these tips and guidelines to suit your specific destination and itinerary. Embrace the adventure, immerse yourself in the beauty of Africa, and create memories that will last a lifetime!

  • Nairobi City Guide - The Vibrant Heart Of Kenya

    July 20, 2023

    Nairobi: a captivating blend of modernity and rich cultural heritage in a bustling metropolis. Come and explore the urban charm and untamed wilderness of Kenya’s fascinating capital city.

    From the moment you set foot in Nairobi, prepare to be enveloped in a sensory feast. This city is a testament to contrasts, where sleek modern skyscrapers stand tall against the backdrop of sweeping savannah plains, and bustling markets pulse with the vibrant rhythms of Kenyan culture. Nairobi's deep-rooted history, spanning from colonial times to the present, beckons you to explore its cultural landmarks, including museums that showcase the diverse heritage of Kenya.

    Kenya, located in East Africa, is a captivating country known for its diverse landscapes, rich wildlife, and vibrant culture. From the iconic savannahs of Maasai Mara to the cultural tapestry of its ethnic groups, Kenya draws in adventurers and nature lovers from around the globe.

    Beyond its urban facade, Nairobi's proximity to remarkable natural attractions, such as Nairobi National Park and the nearby Rift Valley, allows you to embark on unforgettable encounters with majestic wildlife. Whether you seek bustling markets, tantalizing cuisine, vibrant nightlife, or thrilling day trips, Nairobi has something to captivate the heart of every traveler.

    This guide will look at Nairobi’s trendy restaurants and bars, unique accommodations, and interesting things to do and see when you’re in the city.

    Join us on a journey as we unveil the vibrant soul of Nairobi, where the essence of Africa and the spirit of adventure intertwine, immersing you in an experience of a lifetime.

    Eat and Drink in Nairobi

    • The Talisman
      Nestled in Nairobi's Karen suburb, The Talisman is a delightful gem that enchants with its charming garden ambiance. Their diverse menu caters to a range of tastes, featuring locally sourced ingredients and global flavors. Indulge in grilled meats, seafood, and a variety of vegetarian options, all prepared to perfection.
    • Sushi Mitsuki
      Bringing the authentic flavors of Japan to the heart of Kenya. Sushi Mitsuki features a menu of sushi rolls, sashimi, and other traditional dishes (as well as some innovative creations), all meticulously prepared with fresh, high-quality ingredients. This restaurant is a must-visit for sushi enthusiasts and lovers of Japanese cuisine.
    • Peppertree
      The charming Peppertree's menu showcases a range of delectable dishes, from gourmet burgers and steaks to vegetarian options and tantalizing desserts, inspired by diverse international cuisines. The restaurant is committed to using fresh, high-quality ingredients, which is clear in every bite.
    • Beit é Selam
      Beit é Selam showcases the vibrant Ethiopian cuisine in the heart of the city. Their menu features traditional Ethiopian dishes, including injera (a sourdough flatbread), flavorful stews, and a variety of vegetarian options. With rich aromas, bold spices, and friendly service, Beit é Selam brings the essence of Ethiopian hospitality to the heart of Kenya.
    • Hero Restaurant
      Located in the heart of the city, this restaurant offers a sophisticated combination of global flavors with local inspiration. Hero's menu features a creative fusion of dishes, crafted with the finest ingredients and presented with flair. From fresh seafood and prime cuts of meat to innovative vegetarian options, the restaurant caters for everyone.
    • Cultiva Kenya
      Known for their creative and innovative dishes, Cultiva takes pride in using fresh ingredients sourced from their own local farm to create unique flavor combinations. The restaurant's menu showcases a fusion of global cuisines, including many vegan options, prepared with skill and artistry. Their menu rotates weekly with beautifully-plated dishes, enticing desserts, and inventive beverages.
    • Urban Eatery
      A vibrant dining experience in the heart of the city. Urban Eatery's menu showcases a fusion of global cuisines, featuring a diverse range of dishes crafted with locally sourced ingredients. From mouthwatering burgers and gourmet pizzas to flavorful salads and indulgent desserts, the restaurant caters to all tastes.

    Accommodations in Nairobi

    • Tribe Hotel
      Tribe Hotel is a luxurious sanctuary that combines contemporary elegance with authentic African charm. With its sleek architecture, stylish interiors, and exquisite attention to detail, the Tribe Hotel creates an atmosphere of refined comfort. Located in the affluent suburb of Gigiri, the hotel features spacious rooms and suites adorned with African-inspired decor, complemented by modern amenities and personalized service. Guests can enjoy the delectable cuisine at the on-site restaurants, unwind at the spa, or relax by the sparkling pool.
    • Giraffe Manor
      A truly unique retreat that offers an extraordinary wildlife experience right at your accommodation. Nestled in a leafy suburb of the city, Giraffe Manor is renowned for its resident Rothschild giraffes who freely roam the property. Guests have the opportunity to interact with these gentle giants up close, as the giraffes often poke their heads through the windows to greet visitors during breakfast and tea time. The manor itself is a charming colonial-style mansion, exuding elegance and old-world charm.
    • Palacina Residence and Suites
      A boutique hotel that offers a luxurious retreat in the heart of the city. With its elegant and contemporary design, Palacina Residence and Suites boasts spacious suites and apartments, meticulously designed to provide utmost comfort and privacy. Guests have access to a range of amenities, including a spa, fitness center, and a high-quality restaurant, for a refined and relaxing experience in Nairobi.

    What to do in Nairobi

    • Nairobi National Park
      Nairobi National Park is a unique gem, located just outside the city center. This remarkable wildlife sanctuary allows you to witness a range of African wildlife against a backdrop of the city’s skyscrapers. Spanning over 117 square kilometers, it is one of the few national parks in the world that exists within a capital city's limits, and is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including lions, giraffes, zebras, rhinos, and a variety of bird species.
    • Maasai Market
      For a taste of authentic Kenyan culture, head to the Maasai Market. This bustling open-air market pulsates with vibrant energy and offers a treasure trove of local crafts, traditional artifacts, clothing, and jewelry. Chat with local artisans, haggle for unique souvenirs, and embrace the vibrant colors and patterns of Maasai culture. The market is a haven for those seeking one-of-a-kind gifts and mementos.
    • Uhuru Park
      Find tranquility in the heart of Nairobi at Uhuru Park, a serene oasis that offers respite from the bustling cityscape. Spanning over 12.9 hectares, this iconic public park is a beloved recreational spot for locals and visitors alike. With its lush green lawns, tranquil lakes, and scenic walking trails, Uhuru Park is an ideal space for leisurely strolls, picnics, and outdoor activities. The park also boasts iconic landmarks such as the Freedom Corner, a significant historical site for political gatherings and speeches.
    • Shadows’ Choice: Nai Nami Street Tours
      Nai Nami Street Tours in Nairobi offer a unique experience, providing visitors with a glimpse into the city's vibrant street culture. Led by former street kids who have transformed their lives, these guided tours take you through the bustling streets of Nairobi, showcasing local markets, street art, historical landmarks, and hidden gems. Nai Nami's passionate guides share personal stories, insights, and local perspectives, offering a genuine and authentic encounter with the city's vibrant energy and diverse communities. It's an opportunity to not only explore Nairobi's urban landscape but also contribute to social impact initiatives that empower and uplift the lives of local youth.
    • Sheldrick Foundation
      Dedicated to the conservation and protection of elephants and other wildlife, The Sheldrick Foundation operates an orphanage that rescues and rehabilitates orphaned baby elephants, providing them with specialized care and support. Visitors can witness the incredible work done by the foundation through educational visits, learning about the conservation efforts and even participate in feeding and interacting with the adorable young elephants. The foundation plays a vital role in raising awareness about wildlife conservation and offers a heartwarming experience that highlights the importance of protecting these majestic creatures for future generations.

    Nairobi’s Culture

    • Nairobi National Museum
      The Nairobi National Museum is a treasure trove of Kenyan history, culture, and art. Explore its diverse exhibits with archaeological artifacts, ethnographic displays, traditional crafts, contemporary art collections, and more. The museum also features exhibits on the country's flora, fauna, and geological formations, as well as an impressive collection of fossils, including those of early hominids discovered in the region. Visitors can explore Kenya's diverse cultures, learn about its prehistoric past, and appreciate contemporary African art.
    • Bomas of Kenya
      The Bomas of Kenya is a cultural center located just outside Nairobi that offers a captivating glimpse into Kenya's rich heritage. This unique venue showcases traditional music, dance, art, and crafts from various ethnic groups across the country. Visitors can immerse themselves in the vibrant performances of tribal dances, witness intricate beadwork, and see the craftsmanship of traditional homesteads. The Bomas of Kenya also features a fascinating display of traditional artifacts and offers educational programs to promote cultural awareness. It serves as a vibrant hub where visitors can experience the diversity and traditions of Kenya's diverse communities, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking an authentic cultural experience.
    • Fairview Coffee Estate
      The Fairview Coffee Estate offers a unique and immersive coffee experience for both enthusiasts and curious visitors alike. The estate showcases a journey through the world of coffee production. Guests have the opportunity to explore the lush coffee plantations, learn about the cultivation process, and witness the meticulous art of coffee bean harvesting. The estate also features a charming café where visitors can enjoy freshly brewed coffee made from beans grown on-site.
    • GoDown Arts Centre
      The GoDown Arts Centre is a vibrant creative hub that fosters artistic expression and cultural exchange. Located in the Industrial Area, this dynamic space serves as a platform for artists from various disciplines, including visual arts, performing arts, music, and more. The GoDown Arts Centre hosts exhibitions, performances, workshops, and residencies, providing a nurturing environment for artists to showcase their talents and collaborate with fellow creatives. It is also home to several arts organizations, studios, and galleries, contributing to the thriving artistic community in Nairobi. A must-visit destination for anyone who wants to explore the arts scene of Nairobi.
    • Karen Blixen Museum
      Step into the world of the famous Danish author Karen Blixen, best known for her memoir "Out of Africa". The Karen Blixen Museum, located in a serene suburb of Nairobi, provides a glimpse into her life and the colonial era in Kenya. Explore the beautifully preserved farmhouse, stroll through the enchanting gardens, and learn about Blixen's extraordinary life and her connection to the country.

    There’s so much to do in Nairobi!

    …and this guide is only scratching the surface.

    Nairobi, the vibrant heart of Kenya, invites you to embark on a captivating journey where modernity and rich cultural heritage intertwine. Whether you're a nature enthusiast, a culinary explorer, or an art aficionado, Nairobi has an abundance of experiences to offer. Embrace the essence of Africa and indulge your spirit of adventure in this truly unique destination.

    Nairobi is a city that seamlessly blends its urban landscape with its cultural heritage, making it an enchanting destination where the essence of Africa and the spirit of adventure intertwine. Whether you're a nature lover, a food enthusiast, or an art aficionado, the city welcomes you to explore its vibrant soul and create unforgettable memories. Let Nairobi weave its spell and create unforgettable memories that will linger long after you've left.

  • Food on safari: the taste of adventure!

    March 3, 2023

    The African safari is usually associated with serene plains full of grazing herds, the thrill of majestic big cats hunting for a meal, and the breathtaking sights of Mount Kilimanjaro. With these kinds of settings to dine in, it's not often that you hear about the food on the traveler’s plate.

    That being said, there are plenty of culinary adventures to be found on your safari trail as well!

    Africa has an incredibly rich and diverse food culture. Let’s take a moment to look at what kind of culinary experiences you can expect in this part of the world.

    Eating on safari: what to expect

    You can absolutely expect to find familiar, globally-popular foods on your African safari. Safari lodges are used to catering to people from all over the world, and they know what people like to eat.

    Breakfast: Start your day well with omelets, cereals, toast, fruits, salads, or continental breakfast.

    Lunch: You are most likely going to be enjoying your lunch in the middle of your game drive, in some stunning natural location. This will usually be served picnic-style, and Shadows Of Africa takes these meals very seriously.

    Dinner: At dinnertime, you will typically be treated to a full three-course meal, taking advantage of local produce and the culinary talents of the lodge chefs. These menus will usually have a choice of 3 different starters, 3 different mains, and a selection of desserts. Usually, the menu will feature at least 1 meat-based and at least 1 vegetarian option.

    Nothing that catches your fancy? Don’t be shy to talk to your waiter - in most cases, the kitchen will be more than happy to create a dish to your liking.

    Drinks: Quench your thirst throughout the day with water, coffee, tea, wine, or beer. Filtered water will always be readily available when you travel with Shadows Of Africa. At your lodges, there will be drinks available as well, from sodas, to wine, to cocktails.

    Some lodges will offer buffet-style dining, with plenty of snacks and other tasty treats available all day, while others will offer restaurant-style dining with set menus.

    In more remote areas, you can expect simpler menus, but this doesn’t mean the chefs will put any less love in what they serve!

    You can definitely find familiar foods, but you can also enhance your African experience by venturing into the local cuisine.

    Delicious food in ‘the middle of nowhere’ 🍲

    In the more remote corners of game parks, being far away from food markets and grocery stores, the supply of food can be more complicated. Most lodges will work with local communities for supply of vegetables, dairy, and seasonal products, also supporting the local economy.

    Many chefs will serve familiar dishes with influences from local cuisine, with a little creativity, using what is available to feed travelers from all over the world what they want to eat.

    Special dietary requirements 🍲

    The most important thing to making sure your special dietary requirements are met is: communication.

    Make sure to let Shadows of Africa know about any dietary requirements in advance, before your trip. With a little extra preparation, we will make sure that your needs are met at every stage of your trip.

    We will also be able to check with lodges to make sure they can provide the meals you need.

    East Africa is very accustomed to plant-based diets. Many of the local meals are purely plant-based anyway.

    Hungry for safari? 🌱

    Honestly, Africa should be more famous for its food. The continent is host to countless destinations for food lovers, with some of the richest cuisines in the world, and every corner has a uniquely delicious gastronomic experience to offer.

    The perfect safari meal is a combination of a stunning location around you and beautiful food in front of you.

    Come taste the adventure with us!

  • Let’s learn Swahili for your safari!

    January 6, 2023

    Jambo! (Swahili for “hello!”)

    Quick quiz: Do you know how to say “have a good day” in Swahili? What is Swahili for “good morning”? What is “how are you” in Swahili?

    Speak to people in East Africa in their native language, and they will surely give you a Swahili thank you (asante)! We have already taught you how to say “hello” in Swahili, now let’s keep going.

    We can start you off with the basics: some Swahili words and phrases useful for travelers visiting East Africa.

    Swahili greetings

    People are big on greetings in East Africa. This is the most valuable thing to learn before your trip.

    It only takes a small effort to create a positive first impression in any conversation, so let’s learn how to say “Hi! How are you?” in Swahili!

    Hello: jambo / hujambo / ​salama
    How are you?: habari gani?
    Fine (response): nzuri
    Goodbye: kwa herib (to one person) / kwa herini (to more than one person)
    See you later: tutaonana
    Nice to meet you: nafurahi kukuona
    Goodnight: lala salama

    General Swahili

    Here are some very common Swahili words that will certainly come in handy.

    Please: tafadhali
    OK: sawa
    Yes: ndiyo
    No: hapana
    Thank you: asante
    Thank you very much: asante sana

    Swahili at the market

    What should you say in an East African market? These phrases might be useful!

    How much is this?: Hii ni bei gani?
    Can you reduce the price?: Unaweza kupunguza bei?
    The price is too high: Bei iko juu

    Swahili on safari

    Know what you are looking at on safari in the local language! Here are some common animal names in Swahili to get you started.

    Elephant: tembo
    Leopard: chui
    Hyena: fisi
    Antelope: swala
    Hippo: kiboko
    Zebra: punda milia
    Cheetah: duma
    Giraffe: twiga

    Swahili is the most widely-spoken language in Eastern Africa. Whether you’re planning to take a once-in-a-lifetime safari adventure soon, or just have an interest in the region, it is always a good idea to start learning!

    Swahili is an official language of Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda. Wherever you go, knowing the language will come in handy.

    Being able to converse with people in their own language, even a little bit, can go a long way towards bridging the cultural gap and breaking down communication barriers.

    Like learning any language, practice makes perfect. Work at memorizing these Swahili basics and you’ll be sure to have a good foundation for your travel in East Africa.

    Start your East-African journey today by learning some Swahili!

    Now, tell us, how do you say “hello” in Swahili? ?

  • We Plant Trees. Together, Planting a Forest

    October 19, 2022

    Travel with us, and we plant a tree in your destination.

    Shadows Of Africa has partnered with One Tree Planted to maintain and restore our beloved continent.

    By supporting reforestation in the delicate ecosystems of our African home, we are making sure that this beautiful land will be around for much longer, so that it can continue to give life to its inhabitants, and that we can continue to enjoy its wonder.

    Our partners at One Tree Planted have a mission to rebuild animal habitats, restore biodiversity, and improve the lives of the communities who rely on these forests by promoting sustainable forestry practices.

    Trees are critical to protecting Mother Nature. They provide habitat for countless creatures, they filter the air we breathe, they clean the water we drink, and they play a big role in the fight against climate change.

    Take a trip to Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, or Uganda, and we will plant a tree on your behalf!

    Traveling with Shadows means that you leave Africa greener than when you arrived!

  • Our Top 5 Tips for Your Second Safari!

    October 10, 2022

    Recovered from your first African safari? Start getting ready for round 2!

    The magic of safari is this: no two safaris are ever the same. Once you’ve been on your first safari, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll be coming back for more! Trust us - we know from personal experience.

    First-time safari-goes usually head for the more famous places, like the beautiful Serengeti or Maasai Mara National Park. The second time opens up more opportunities - once you have had your first taste of this unique experience, you naturally feel more comfortable exploring the less-beaten paths.

    Here are our top 5 tips for your second safari:

    Tip #1: Really enjoy the safari

    You’ve already ticked off all of the Big 5, now you can relax and really enjoy! For those coming back again, we recommend taking it more slowly this time.

    For most people, the pressure of having to spot all the animals is now off. If you do all of this on your first safari, and tick off everything that you wanted to see, now you can just relax and take everything as it comes.

    Spend a few nights at one camp to appreciate the sunsets and sunrises. Spend a few hours with a family of elephants and watch how they spend their days. Focus on the quality of wildlife sightings, rather than the quantity.

    A lot of the African wilderness’ beauty comes from its spontaneity. Of course, if you have a clear goal in mind (and a good safari guide!), you can certainly do everything you want. But on the other hand, if you head out on safari with an open mind, you will see many things you didn’t even know you wanted to see!

    Tip #2: Make time for more than wildlife

    Adding some cultural activities to your itinerary can make for a much more immersive African experience.

    It should go without saying that Africa is incredibly rich in culture and history. It is well worth it to spend some time exploring the uniquely interesting life of the African continent and her people.

    Of course, the African wildlife is what draws many people to the continent, but if you have already seen a lot of these majestic animals, you probably won’t feel the need to spend the extra time looking for them again. So why not go for something new!

    Tip #3: Save money on accommodation to add more activities

    Naturally, once you have spent some time with Africa’s wild animals, you will feel more comfortable being around them. Even if the idea of sleeping among lions still doesn’t excite you, you might be more open to spending your nights under the stars.

    The money you can save on accommodation will mean that you can add more activities to your itinerary. Instead of opting for that luxury lodge, why not go on a balloon safari!

    There are plenty of comfortable ways to save money on accommodation, so that you can add more to your adventure!

    Tip #4: Visit in a different season

    The Serengeti in the dry season is a completely different place than the Serengeti in the rainy season. The golden savannahs make way for lush green grass.

    Animal behavior is different at certains times of the year too. From the Calving Season of the Great Migration, to the River Crossing in Maasai Mara, to the Whale Shark Season on Zanzibar, and even the Bird Breeding Season, where birds show of their spectacular breeding plumage to attract a mate - the timing of your trip can determine what kind of show nature will put on for you.

    If you want to get the timing just right to see the landscape at its most vibrant or witness the special moments of an animal’s life cycle, talk to one of our experts and they will make sure you don’t miss out!

    Tip #5: Check out another country or region

    If you have been to eastern Tanzania for your first safari, you may not realize just how different Uganda’s natural environment is.

    East Africa is a very biodiverse region. There are many animal and plant species that only exist in very specific areas. In fact, if you were to drive from Dar-Es-Salaam to Kigali, you may feel like you passed through many different worlds.

    On top of the differences in wildlife and nature, East Africa is a region with very diverse cultures. This diversity exists between countries, but also within countries, as different communities have their own unique histories and ways of life.

    If you visited one country or region on your first safari, don’t make the mistake in thinking that other places are the same!


    Come back again!

    The second safari is often even more enjoyable than the first. There are so many reasons to return to this great continent for another adventure.

    You feel a well-earned sense of accomplishment after your first African safari adventure, but the second trip opens up many new and unique opportunities, making it well worth coming back!

    Of course, the main point here is: you can’t see everything Africa has to offer in one trip, nor even in one lifetime. On the plus side, this means there will always be something new and exciting to greet you every time you return!

    How was your first safari? Feeling like it missed something? Or just interested in knowing what else you can see in this endlessly-fascinating continent? Don’t hesitate to get in touch - our safari experts will make sure your second trip is even more memorable than the first!

  • Six Ways an African Safari Will Change Your Life

    October 10, 2022

    African nature is an incredibly powerful force. It leaves a profound impression on everyone who sets foot on these lands.

    The pure and exhilarating natural beauty of the African landscape and all of its inhabitants is not something you easily forget. The experiences you have here will live on in your memory, but also in your spirit.

    There are many ways an African safari can have a life-changing effect on you!

    #1: You’ll reconnect with Mother Nature 🌍

    You’ll get a glimpse at what it means to be truly wild. Seeing animals roam free as Mother Nature intended and without human interference is something special, and Africa may be the best place in the world to find that experience.

    The best way to open your eyes to the full wonder of this planet is to fully immerse yourself in its nature: feel the breeze on your skin as it blows across the savannah, your hair waving like the grass; watch the sun set behind the Kilimanjaro, birds flying overhead; fall asleep to the sounds of nocturnal animals singing out through the jungle; wake up to the smell of fresh morning dew on the greenery around you.

    Even simply standing in the broad plains, just being among everything that makes Africa so special is enough to feel changed. It reminds you of the fact that the human race is part of something much larger than itself.

    You’ll feel a kind of reset in your body, and this can have a profound effect on a person. An African safari is good for the mind, body, and spirit. It opens your eyes to the true wonder of this planet, and makes you feel more connected to everything around you.

    Elephants in the Great Ruaha River

    #2: You’ll learn to appreciate new things 🐘

    It is hard to fully grasp the size and majesty of the African landscape from watching nature documentaries. Nothing compares to being here in person. Seeing these scenes in real life will definitely exceed your expectations.

    You may come for the elephants, but you will leave with a deep appreciation for much more than that. These experiences will live in your memories and conversations for a lifetime.

    Whatever expectations you had going into your first African safari, when it comes time to plan your next adventure, you won’t settle for anything less than spectacular. Your local zoo will never be the same again. 😉

    #3: You’ll reassess your priorities 🌱

    See the world in a new way. You’ll ponder this planet and your place in it while bearing witness to its wonders.

    Stepping outside of your comfort zone always leaves you changed on a spiritual level. Whether it is realizing that the material things you once valued are not actually so important, or realizing that you need to make a change in the direction of your life, Africa has the power to make people really think about their lives on a profound level.

    The peace you find by slowing down to the pace of Africa, watching herds of animals calmly drinking from a watering hole in the early hours of the day, will be a welcome break from your life at home.

    You may just find that life makes sense again after your African safari…

    #4: You’ll address your fears 🐍

    Being in a totally new environment with totally new creatures can be a real shock to the psyche. The best place to address your fears is outside of your comfort zone.

    By spending time with unfamiliar animals and in unfamiliar environments, you will get more comfortable, and suddenly you’ll realize that you understand these things better.

    Your fear of snakes, spiders, or big cats will disappear when you see how they live, and you learn to appreciate their lives and their important place in the habitat. They won’t seem so scary any more after that!

    Overcoming these fears comes with a great feeling of accomplishment, and one that lasts forever!

    #5: You’ll contribute to wildlife conservation 🏞️

    Making a positive difference to the planet makes a positive difference in your life (since you also live on this planet!).

    Most safaris actively contribute to local conservation initiatives. The funds gained from these safaris go towards protecting the precious nature that we are lucky enough to enjoy on this continent. Many local communities rely on funding from international travelers to support conservation efforts.

    African safaris are good to help you understand the natural world and the role of humanity in protecting and maintaining it. Ethical ecotourism is a great way to support conservation efforts, all while giving you the trip of a lifetime!

    And finally…

    #6: You’ll want to come back 🧳

    You will never forget this experience. It’s something you can’t quite get anywhere else.

    You will miss the friends you make on safari, whether the local people or the wildlife. You will miss the African sun on your skin. You will miss the incredible experiences you had here. You will long to return, to revisit your experiences, but also to discover new ones.

    Unfortunately, you can’t see everything Africa has to offer in one trip, nor even in one lifetime. But the good news is: this means there will always be something new and exciting to greet you every time you return! There’s still so much to do and see!

    Africa is waiting for you!

    We know from traveler reviews that we have already helped many people have a life-changing experience in Africa.

    Everyone who is lucky enough to come to this great continent forms a connection to the land. It engages all the senses in ways that you cannot find elsewhere. The wild teaches us how to coexist with the world and everything in it.

    It affects everyone in a different way. The moment your food touches the ground for the first time, you feel something new and refreshing. As you experience life here, in all its many diverse beauties, that new feeling becomes clearer, and by the end of your trip you will understand something you didn’t before.

    That feeling is forever.

  • What Vaccinations Do I Need to Travel to Africa?

    September 27, 2022
    What vaccines do you need ahead of your safari adventure? We highlight the vaccines and medications you should look into ahead of your trip to Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, or Tanzania.
  • Tsavo: Kenya’s Greatest National Park

    May 9, 2022

    Have you seen Netflix’s Our Great National Parks series yet? Are you feeling inspired by the episode featuring Kenya’s incredible Tsavo?

    The biggest national park in Kenya hosts an amazing variety of animals, plants, and adventure!

    The new Netflix documentary series, narrated by none other than former American president Barack Obama, shows some of the most beautiful national parks in the world. In the third episode, you are taken on a breathtaking journey through Kenya’s Tsavo National Park.

    The episode follows the animals of Tsavo and showcases the vast natural landscape that they call home.

    Tsavo National Park

    Kenya is famous world-wide among wildlife lovers for the incredible natural beauty in the flora and fauna across the country. As the country’s biggest national park (and one of the biggest parks in the world as well), visitors are treated to a spectacular theater of the wild.

    Tsavo has an enormous amount to offer any traveler, but it is particularly famous for its bright red earth and the legendary “man-eater” lions. The park is also one of the world’s largest game sanctuaries - enormous herds of elephants, giraffes, buffalos, leopards, hippos, kudus, gerenuks, hirolas, and even the critically-endangered eastern black rhinos, all call this special part of the world their home.

    If you are feeling inspired to see more of this natural wonder for yourself, why not come visit and bear witness in person?

    Safari in Tsavo

    There are many adventures to be found in Tsavo. See the red elephants on a four-day trip from Nairobi, or go for three days around Amboseli and Tsavo West parks.

    If your goal is to see more of Kenya, outside of Tsavo as well, take the journey from Bush to Beach, safariing in several national parks and ending with well-earned relaxation time on Kenya’s serene coast.

    On any safari in the region, you are sure to be amazed by the natural wonders of the great Tsavo.

    A safari in Tsavo is great year-round, so there’s no reason not to start planning today!
    Get in touch to take the first step on your safari journey!

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