Kenya

  • When to spot whales in Mombasa

    Vika
    October 27, 2021

    Spotting whales along the Kenyan coast

    In early June, after travelling some 4000 kilometres from Antarctica, majestic humpback whales enter the waters along the East African shore and swim into warm tropical inner reefs to calve and mate.

    Large numbers and their playfulness make them easy to spot, and offer an unforgettable sight. Imagine a 15 metres long, 30 tonnes huge creature jumping a summersault for its mate. And for you, too!

    Whales can be spotted from the Kenyan coast as close as 500 metres from the shore. On a dedicated whale-watching safari you can easily see them. With a pair of binoculars, of course. So don’t miss out on a whaling trip when you are visiting Mombasa.

    Your real adventure starts after boarding a whale-watching boat. Specialists behind the rudder and watch guards on shore combine their knowledge and lead you to one of what will surely be an unforgettable encounter.

    More than ten species of whales and dolphins have been reported being seen along the East African coast. Besides the humpbacks, you may see the Bryde’s whale, both of the baleen whales, the toothed whale species orca or the killer whale and the sperm whale or cachalot, which is the largest toothed predator.

    Whales are being thoroughly researched but remain a mystery; a new species was described only in 2019. They constitute an infraorder of Cetacea, an entirely aquatic group of mammals, along with dolphins and porpoises.

    Since they have to breathe air, they have to surface - their surface behaviour was observed and described in detail. From anywhere in Mombasa you can start your whale watching tour to witness this behaviour for yourself.
    Far less understood is their communication with sound - they sing the most beautiful songs and their sounds travel far, so you might even hear some.

    For about a decade, a series of non-profit organizations in Kenya have been sharing their knowledge and responsibility to protect these mysterious mammals and ensure respectable and environment-friendly whale watching expeditions, just as the one that you’ll join.

    Whales begin their journey back in late September and October, to the cold waters with an abundance of sardines and krill, a small shrimplike planktonic crustacean of the open seas.

    So, if visiting Mombasa or staying anywhere on the Kenyan coast between June and October - don’t miss out on this extraordinary opportunity of encountering these mysterious, gigantic and yet gentle and highly intelligent creatures.

  • Top 5 safari parks to visit from Mombasa: The best places for a short safari from Mombasa

    Vika
    October 27, 2021

    A great advantage of Mombasa is that the tropical beaches are close to such famous parks as Arabuko Sokoke National Park, Amboseli National Park and many others. Even the famous Maasai Mara is only a short flight away! Hence why you should not miss the chance to add a short safari to your beach holiday. You will ensure your trip to remember for years to come.

    Which are the best parks to visit from Mombasa?

    We prepared our Top 5 best destinations for a short safari from Mombasa. You can choose the offer that suits you best and spend an unforgettable time visiting the wild. On you go!

    Tsavo East National Park

    One of the oldest and largest parks in Kenya covers an incredible 14000 square kilometres and is also one of the largest game reserves in Africa. Truly an impressive scale! Tsavo East is known for its grand elephants and the legend of the Maneaters of Tsavo.

    When staying in Mombasa, you are just a short drive away from elephants, rhinos, leopards, lions and other wild animals. On your safari, you will have the chance to get acquainted with the habitat of giraffes, caracals, cheetahs and zebras. Bird lovers will be especially interested - about 500 bird species are residing here!

    Amboseli National Park

    A truly legendary place. This park gained worldwide recognition thanks to its elephant population, the most studied elephants in the world. From the very first minute upon entering the park, you will feel all the power of African nature and the mystery of a safari. Amboseli National Park is where you can spot Kilimanjaro on a clear day. The combination of Kilimanjaro as a backdrop and the elephant population has made Amboseli become a darling for photographers and filmmakers.

    The name of the park is consonant with the name of a small unstable lake, which is formed due to heavy rains and finds its recharge in the underground vapours of Mount Kilimanjaro. The papyrus swamps located in the park are the principal source of water for animals, which is why you have the opportunity to see a cluster of unique specimens together.

    Maasai Mara National Reserve

    With a limited amount of time, not a minute should be wasted. We suggest taking a flight from Mombasa and visiting Maasai Mara - a reserve of world importance and incredible wealth of nature. With a lucky coincidence, you will be able to witness a unique and impressive phenomenon - the migration of wildebeests through the park. Imagine: over a million copies are moving en masse in one direction, isn't that worth your attention?

    Arabuko Sokoke and Shimba Hills

    Arabuko is located a hundred kilometres from Mombasa and is a must-see for all tourists from this island. And the path to it lies through the Shimba Hills, so both locations are being offered as one trip. What will be remarkable for you? These two national reserves contain the largest coastal forests in East Africa, both sites are important for bird conservation and are listed as 25 biodiversity hotspots in the world. Are you ready to pass by such a sight?

    Tsavo West National Park

    Another option for a short safari trip from Mombasa is the second national park from the Tsavo nature reserve, located in the coastal province of Kenya. Breathtaking landscapes, wild animals, springs of Mzima - this is not the whole list of richness that Tsavo West beholds. Ideally, you can combine two parks in one day, and Africa will open up for you even deeper and more informative.

    That is just a short description of what you will hopefully see with your own eyes very soon. Do not waste time book tours and enjoy unexplored places! There are so many interesting and incredible locations in the world!

  • 10 reasons to go on a beach holiday to Kenya this winter

    Vika
    October 12, 2021

    Have you ever thought of setting off to Kenya for your holiday? Kenya has become a popular beach destination relatively recently, but it already boasts some of the best resorts in the world! That is not surprising because Kenya has something difficult to find in other places - a combination of luxurious beaches with turquoise water, tall palm trees, warm, pleasant sun. And, of course, the opportunity to visit the best safari parks in the world is just a stone throw away. Although the advantages go on and on, we have highlighted the main ten points that will make it difficult to resist visiting Kenya yourself.

    1. World’s best beaches

    As mentioned earlier, Kenya's beaches are incredible. The white, clean sand is washed by the Indian Ocean. The beaches offer a blend of tropical serenity and fun activities: making it a haven for couples, families or travelling with friends.

    The northern beaches offer an array of pastimes, both water and land-based, including golf, tennis, snorkelling, squash, diving, fishing and other sports. Whereas the southern beaches offer a more of a serene tropical experience.

    2. Go from beach to bush in a day!

    The proximity to some of the safari parks makes Mombasa your gateway to a real African safari. You get to see what exists only in Africa: elephants, giraffes and other rare wild animals in their natural environment. The closest park Shimba Hills is only 45 minutes drive from Mombasa!

    3. Kenyan national parks

    Kenya is the Mecca for safaris and wildlife enthusiasts and it is easy to see why. Nowhere else in the world can you find such a diversity of wildlife experiences. These are our favourite parks:

    • Amboseli National Park
    • Tsavo East National Park
    • Tsavo West National Park
    • Maasai Mara National Reserve
    • Nairobi National Park
    • Aberdare National Park
    • Shimba Hills National Reserve
    • Arabuko Sokoke National Reserve

    Choose yours and enter deep into the wild!

    4. Great wildebeest migration

    On the top of the bucket list of every wildlife enthusiast: the Great migration. Fly from Mombasa to the very heart of the Maasai Mara and ensure that you have the best possible chance to see this miracle.
    There are direct local flights from Mombasa to the Maasai Mara - where the herds are from January till March.

    5. Snorkelling, diving, and all the watersports!

    Well, what about water entertainment and activities? A beach vacation without those will not be a vacation! In Mombasa, you can enjoy diving, sailing, snorkelling and exploring the underwater world. Which is as rich and varied as the outside one! Definitely worth your attention.

    6. Spot the Big five

    The Big Five is the name for the five most extraordinary wild animals that live in Africa. These are buffalo, elephant, rhino, lion and leopard. Seeing them with their own eyes is a dream of probably every person on the planet. And we help to make it happen! Just ask your safari expert to add a safari to your beach holiday - we know how to fulfil your wish.

    7. Learn more about Maasai people

    Visiting a new country means also getting to know a new culture, new people and living through new experiences. To touch the life of Africans, to try yourself in the role of a resident - all this can be done in Kenya, and we think, it's a must. And it will be another great experience in your life that you will be eager to share with your friends and family.

    8. Go whale watching

    Whales are another advantage of Kenya's waterways. They are safe and kind, and watching them is incredibly interesting and entertaining. And most importantly, you will not need to go anywhere far - after all, you are on the ocean shore.

    9. African sunsets

    This argument is difficult to describe in words. A sunset there needs to be seen just once to fall in love forever. The palette of colours and shades can be compared to fire and flames. There's a reason why a well-known proverb says: "You can always look at the fire, at the water and the famous Kenyan sunsets!"

    10. Luxury lodges & hotels with style!

    First-class lodges and hotels, luxury service and attention from the staff are waiting for you. Pamper yourself - because you deserve it! There is nowhere quite like Kenya where the service comes with a Swahili smile!

    Is it possible to resist all these? I wouldn’t think so. If you agree, start planning your perfect dream trip!

  • The best Safaris from Mombasa

    Vika
    September 8, 2021

    When you are enjoying yourself on the stunning sandy beaches of Mombasa it's worth remembering: being on the African coast, you cannot miss the opportunity to experience one of the most important sights of Africa - a real safari in the bush! To help you plan we have listed the best safaris from Mombasa for you.

    It is super easy to add a safari to your beach trip - Shadows of Africa has the perfect safari for you - whether you are looking for a 1-day safari or a 15-day adventure - we have it all. With so many options to choose from, where should you plan your safari? No worries - we got you covered: Have a look at our favorite safaris starting in Mombasa.

    safari from Mombasa

    1. Minimum Travel & Maximum Safari: Shimba Hills

    Only 30 km from Mombasa - this trip will let you get a taste of safari without even having to pack an overnight bag! If you do not have a lot of time - or if you are not 100% sure yet a safari is for you: this will be the perfect taster! With a pickup and drop off at your hotel - you have nothing to worry about and you can enjoy the wonders of an African Safari - while being back at your hotel for dinner.

    Safari from Mombasa - One day trip to Shimba Hills

    2. Our grand tour from Mombasa!

    Divided by road and rail, adjacent Tsavo East and Tsavo West national parks and the Amboseli offer a variety of landscapes, vegetation, and wildlife, all in abundance. This trip is designed to take you to all the highlights and have you spot the best possible wildlife!

    Safari from Mombasa - Tsavo East Tsavo West and Amboseli National Parks - Five days

    3. Overnight while listening to elephants trumpet and lions roar!

    If you want the full safari experience: but don’t want it to cut too much from your beach time, then our one-night safari in Tsavo East is for you! Spend two days in search of the famous ‘red elephants’, lions and of course all of Kenya’s wildlife!
    Spending a night in a tented camp or luxury safari lodge will be the highlight of your Mombasa trip and will make for unforgettable memories.

    Safari from Mombasa - Two days in Tsavo East National Park

    For a full overview of our safaris from Mombasa have a look here

    safaris from Mombasa

  • Where to stay in Mombasa: A guide to the best beaches in Mombasa

    Vika
    August 30, 2021

    Mombasa boasts some of the best beaches, not just the best of Africa but of the world. And despite its name "Kisiwa Cha Mvita" in local Kiswahili, meaning "Island of War", Mombasa’s beaches conjure a vision of endless white beaches and tropical paradise. And this certainly holds true!
    But where to stay around Mombasa - with 500 kilometres of beaches it is not always easy to find the best spot for you! To simplify your search and help make the right choice, we have written this guide to the best beaches in Mombasa.

    Best beach in Mombasa

    Not only are Mombasa’s beaches the ideal destination for sun and relaxation, but also the perfect base for a wide variety of water sports, and even whale watching! Thanks to its legacy as the largest port in East Africa, Mombasa is a cultural melting pot. British, Asian, Arabic, Omanis, Indian, and Chinese immigrants have enriched the city's architecture and cuisine, and many mosques and temples grace the city streets. And to top this off - Mombasa is located just a stone throw from some of the best safari parks in the world.

    Roughly, you can divide the beaches to the North and the South Coast. On the south coast of Mombasa, the beaches are lined with gorgeous palm trees and have incredible white sandy beaches. One of the most popular beaches throughout the southern coastline is Diani beach. Overall, the southern beaches offer more tourist facilities than the northern and are detached from the hustle and bustle of local life.

    The North Coast is located very close to the city - within ten minutes, you can immerse your feet in the sand. If you are keen to merge with local life - this is the place for you. Because of the proximity to the city, many locals visit the northern beaches. One downside is the persistent presence of the local beach boys - who are always ready to sell you something you need or do not need. Also, the beaches tend to be slightly rockier here than the ones in the south.

    NORTH COAST OF MOMBASA

    Nyali & Bamburi Beach

    The north coast of Mombasa is connected to the mainland by the Nyali Bridge, making it easily accessible and popular with locals. Nyali, Bamburi, Shanzu, and Kikambala are four beaches with big resorts and hotels, and, full of life - visitors to the endless white sandy beaches and residents below sea level. Just off the coast is a stunning coral reef that ranks the north coast of Mombasa among the most interesting diving sites. The reef (for now) bursts with life. Divers dive along the reefs, walls, and on the wreck of the MV Dania. At low tide, you have a fantastic opportunity to walk to the outer reef, which is truly a unique experience, and swimming and other fun in the sea are possible at all times, regardless of the tide. And there are plenty of water activities here, in addition to diving, snorkelling, and swimming, there are many water activities available here, so you can spend a day full of adrenaline.
    The magical beauty of the coast and the beach lull you to rest in between, and you can end the day by visiting one of the top restaurants in the area.
    Or visit the historic Nyali Golf Course, where all guests of the north coast hotels can play squash or tennis in addition to golf.
    So the north coast of Mombasa is suitable for everyone - you will find many activities there, and at the same time you will be able to lie lazily on the beach and enjoy the beautiful views while sipping on a delicious cocktail.

    Kilifi

    Just under a two-hour drive from Mombasa is the charming town of Kilifi, perfect for a relaxing holiday, as Kilifi, despite the bridge that greatly facilitates access, is almost overlooked on the tourist map. You will meet locals, mostly Giriama and Chonyi from the Mijikenda tribe, as well as a few tourists.
    The central part of the city is the Kilifi stream, and in its estuary, you can observe thousands of birds and other riparian life.
    The town of Kilifi is set on beautiful white sandy beaches - Bofa beach, which is considered one of the most beautiful, uninhabited towns along the Kenyan coast, lined with palm trees, and the smaller Shauri Moyo beach on the south side of Kilifi Creek, ideal for sunbathing or active rest while engaging in one of the water sports available. Kilifi lies next to important archaeological sites, and the ruins of two 15th-century Mnarani mosques are worth a visit.

    white sand beaches in Mombasa

    Watamu

    A good two hours drive from Mombasa, along the picturesque road around the Marine National Park and Watamu Reserve, stretches for about 7 kilometers a beach of the same name. The three bays, Watamu, Blue Lagoon, and Turtle with white sand, constantly kissing the turquoise ocean in a light breeze that just sways the tops of palm trees, are not only breathtaking but also full of interesting activities.
    Stunning coral reefs stretch out just off the coast, part of the Watamu National Marine Park Protected Area. Here are some of the most beautiful diving locations in the world, the desire of every avid observer of the underwater world.
    Something special are the mangrove forests and tidal wetlands on the mainland, where you will enjoy watching many different birds. Perhaps the most important are the nesting grounds of three species of endangered turtles, here safe from egg poachers. Injured or sick turtles have also found shelter, increasingly threatened by plastic that floats in the oceans and is often mistaken for food, or they get fatally entangled in it.
    In this beautiful and diverse environment, pursue your favorite water sport, or try something completely new.
    After a day full of adventures, visit one of the great restaurants in the evening or treat yourself to a glass of your favorite drink while watching the sunset on the beach.

    Malindi

    Not far from Watamu, another half-hour drive north, is the 13th-century Swahili city of Malindi. In an idyllic setting, this place offers historical and cultural monuments and attractions in addition to activities along, on, and in the water. The styles of various previous periods are intertwined with modern comfort in an excellent mix of cultural, adrenaline, and relaxation offers.
    You will probably start your vacation on the white beach of paradise and go swimming in the ocean first. But you will soon be tempted by some of the activities on offer. Let’s say scuba diving along the branching coral reef here, for the less active perhaps a glass-bottomed boat ride which also reveals a wonderful underwater world that you can enjoy without having to get wet.
    Once you have soaked up the sea and tested yourself in enough water activities, treat yourself with an explorative trip to the cultural and historical background of Malindi.
    Ancient buildings tell the story of the city. Among the traditional village homes and local shops, we find churches, a palace, and a popular tourist attraction, the Jumaa Mosque. Imagination will be stirred by the sinister ruins of Gedi as you discover, layer by layer, the story hidden in the remains of homes and other buildings.
    For the perfect experience, head northwest to the Marafa Depression, where the ground is split by jagged sandstone gorges. When you see it, you know why its other name is “Hell’s Kitchen”. For a perfect contrast, visit the Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve, where you can see several species of endemic vegetation, birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and insects.

    Island Lamu

    Founded in the 13th century, Lamu island has been continuously inhabited for over seven hundred years. It is proud to be one of the oldest and best-preserved remaining Swahili-tradition settlements in East Africa. It is a city and port just off the Kenyan shore some 250 kilometres north of Mombasa. It is also easily accessible by just a 40 minutes flight from Mombasa to the adjacent island of Manda.
    Nevertheless, a visit to the island of Lamu promises a break from the hustle and bustle and a rest in the most beautiful scenery, worth every postcard.
    If you are looking to stay away from anything too touristy or busy - and luxury facilities are not a must for you, Lamu island might be just what you are searching for. Slow visitors’ flow keeps this place filled with the charming flair of bygone times. The latter is emphasized by seeing locals riding donkeys to get around their daily chores - cars for personal use are on the island banned.
    Lamu Old Town represents the Swahili culture at its truest and finest - not a unique or single way of life and culture, but an ever enriched blend of traditions and cultures from whole Africa, Asia, and Europe. Walking the narrow streets among friendly and kind locals, visibly proud of their traditions, feels somehow surreal, like being a part of an exhibition - but amazingly fulfilling!
    The crescent-like southern shore of Lamu island's windward side is a long, long sandy dune. With no barrier reef to hold the waves, this is one of the few beaches in Kenya, where you can expect wind conditions to surf properly. Perhaps even hang ten! On the northeastern point of the completely uninhabited crescent, there’s this heartwarming, quite laid-back, artsy bohemian town of Shela. A completely different vibe as in Lamu Old Town.

    SOUTH COAST OF MOMBASA

    Diani Beach

    That is THE beach in Mombasa. Located 30 km outside of the city, the sparkling white sands and lush greenery of Diani are a fantastic material for films. It has been voted Africa’s best beach destination for the sixth time running since 2015 - there is simply no competition!

    The sandy beaches are wide, white and they stretch out as long as you can see. Beautiful coral reefs protect the beaches from heavy waves and offer fantastic snorkelling opportunities. You can also enjoy some great diving and plain old regular swimming here. It's also renowned for kitesurfing and deep-sea fishing.

    And when the sun sets - there is again plenty to do here. Diani offers the best coastal nightlife on the continent!
    And, as a cherry on top, combining your unforgettable beach vacation with a safari adventure is a piece of cake - for the cherry to put on! Nearby Shimba Hills National Reserve and Mwalunganje Elephant Sanctuary are both only a little over an hour’s drive away.

    The best places to stay in Mombasa

    Further south are more secluded beaches, Galu, Gazi, where you can walk among the mangroves or visit the Kenyan Institute for Marine and Fisheries Research, Msambweni, and the islands of Funzi and Che Chale. These beaches usually offer a more exclusive offer. There are also Shelly beaches near the ferry and Tiwi bordering Diani and Shimoni near the border with Tanzania.

    Best Beaches in Mombasa
    Evidently, there is the perfect place for everyone! Contact us today and book your trip to Mombasa and the Kenyan coast.

    Diani Beach best beach in Mombasa

  • Latest Covid Entry Requirements Kenya

    Vika
    July 21, 2021

    Last update: December 2021

    Looking for the latest covid entry requirements to KENYA? Shadows of Africa has got you covered. With our team living on the ground, we are always aware of the latest covid entry requirements For a quick overview, see below. Our safari experts are ready to give you tailored advice.

    Latest Covid entry requirement summary:

    • All travellers are now required to show a negative Covid-19 PCR certificate not older than 96 hours before departure.
    • All travellers to Kenya need to be fully vaccinated. Your vaccination certificate will need to be presented to gain entry to the country and access to hotels, local flights, national parks and additional services.
    • All travelers who wish to visit Kenya must complete an online registration form before departure. The “Travelers Health Surveillance Form”

    Note: Flights from the UK to Kenya are suspended, passengers who have been to or transited through India in the past 14 days are not allowed to enter Kenya.

    Note: Travellers are to register their negative PCR test before departure. Trusted Travel Initiative. Persons travelling to Kenya from countries not using the Trusted Travel Initiative must use a tool made available through the Global Haven partnership for Covid-19 test result verification available here.

    All passengers arriving in Kenya to fill in The COVID-19 Travelers Health Surveillance Form. The forms must be filled online via https://ears.health.go.ke/airline_registration/

    If you want to plan a safe and responsible trip to Kenya - don’t hesitate to contact us to start planning & dreaming.

    For the full document please click this link: Kenyan Ministry of Health

  • Your guide to visit East Africa this summer

    Vika
    May 27, 2021

    Travelling to East Africa this summer - a great idea and a wise conclusion!

    To realize your great idea support your wise conclusion with updated information on pros, cons, and of course the latest Covid regulations. Daily updated and thoroughly checked information will surely help you to get an informed decision.
    Pros surely include fewer visitors, curious animals, a higher standard of service for a lower price, easily maintained social distancing, and more profound contact with nature.
    Cons may be different Covid protocols when entering each country.

    1. Tanzania


    The undisputed queen of African safaris, Tanzania, is home to the Wildebeest Migration for ten months of the year, it is where the World Heritage-listed Ngorongoro Crater shows off the unique wildlife, where Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's tallest mountain protrudes from the average, and the gorgeous island paradise of Zanzibar is being caressed by the sea.
    One of the advantages is "front row seats" for the great migration spectacle - dare to fight the croc for its bite? Pre-covid times witnessed rows and rows of cars waiting to catch a glimpse of nature's wonders, now great views are on display.

    Covid-19 regulations:
    All travellers are now required to show a negative PCR Covid-19 test certificate not older than 72 hours. Upon arrival, all travellers will be subjected to rapid Covid-19 testing. The cost of this test is 25 USD and will be paid by the traveller on location. You are required to fill in the health form, available online, before travelling.

    2. Rwanda


    This green heaven in the heart of Africa invites with its unparalleled treasures. Gorilla and chimpanzee trekkings are always on the top, you can spot all of the big five here, and don't forget the amazing birdlife as well.
    Volcanoes national park, Akagera, Nyungwe, or the newest Gishwati Mukura national park all have lots to offer, Lake Kivu shares a different perspective, just as a visit to the sombre Rwanda Genocide Museum in Kigali.

    Covid-19 regulations:
    All arriving travellers are required to have a negative PCR Covid-19 test certificate conducted within 72 hours before departure. Before arrival, you are required to fill in the Public Health Passenger Locator Form online and attach the PCR certificate. All passengers are required to stay 24 hours in quarantine, while passengers from India are required to complete 7 days in mandatory quarantine upon arrival at a designated quarantine hotel at their own cost.
    All travelers departing from Rwanda must test negative for Covid-19. A PCR test must be performed within 72 hours before departure. The Covid-19 test is not mandatory for accompanied children under 5 years.

    3. Uganda


    No country in Africa can offer quite what Uganda does: world-class gorilla and chimpanzee trekking, terrific game drives, all big five, bustling birdlife, and the majesty of the mighty Nile.
    Winston Churchill fondly called Uganda The Pearl of Africa, and we certainly agree with that sentiment, adding our cognition - Uganda's wild charm and variety of activities make it a great place to plan a safari.

    Covid-19 regulations:
    Arriving passengers will be subject to temperature checks and will be screened for infectious diseases by the Port Health Authorities. If a passenger shows signs or symptoms of any infectious disease they will be taken by ambulance to a local isolation centre to undergo a COVID-19 test at their own cost. Test results will be returned within 24 to 48 hours; passengers will be expected to remain at the isolation centre until the test results are returned. Passengers coming from India or being there less than 14 days ago, are not permitted to enter Uganda. Passengers from certain countries will have to undergo PCR testing on the border /airport at their own costs.
    Departing passengers are required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate, issued no more than 120 hours before travel. The 120 hours begin on the day the sample is collected for testing.

    4. Kenya


    Often referred to as "Africa's safari capital", home to the world-famous Maasai Mara and hosting the famed Wildebeest Migration in August and September as well as boasting the best views of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Kenya is also an affordable and well-developed tourism market that is great for families or people traveling on a budget. Many different options to choose from in every rank, for every taste.

    Covid-19 regulations:
    All arriving passengers must take the PCR test 96 hours before departure from the first embarkation point and present the negative test. You must complete the “Travelers Health Surveillance Form” online before departure.
    Currently, flights from the UK and India to Kenya are suspended until June 2021.
    Passengers who have been to or transited through India in the past 14 days are not allowed to enter Kenya.

  • What camera to bring on safari

    Giulia
    March 30, 2021

    If you are wondering what camera gear to pack for your safari experience, look no further! Here is the comprehensive list of all the camera equipment and accessories you will need for your safari.

    This photography gear list is brought to you by our resident photographer Giulia Cimarosti, safari specialist at Shadows of Africa and professional photographer. Guilia also leads groups on our special photographic safaris in Tanzania.

    Generally speaking, depending on the device you use you can expect different results. Let’s go through some options:

    Mobile Photography on Safari

    You don’t have to own super pricey, professional equipment, however it’s quite safe to say that using a mobile phone to take photos during your safari won’t make good close-up images of the wildlife possible, no matter the phone’s model or quality.

    Mobile phones tend to have very poor zooming capabilities, however they can be great for African sunsets, photographing a herd in the landscape, and of course to take the occasional short video for social media, when a curious cheetah decides to climb on the vehicle!

    Keep in mind though that during your safari you won’t always get very close to the animals, so the best way to frame the subject is to use a zoom-telephoto lens on an actual camera.

    Cameras and Lenses on Safari

    If you want to take really good photos on your safari, make sure you bring your DSLR camera! A digital single lens reflex camera will allow you to use manual settings, adapting them to the lighting situation, the distance to the subject and the effects you want to achieve.

    Now you may be wondering what camera body is the best one, but the answer is not an easy one. There are cameras of all formats and brands, but they all have one thing in common: manual settings!

    The thing you need to concentrate on, when thinking about the right photography gear for safari photography, is what lens - or better, lenses - to bring.

    Zoom lenses

    The must-have kind of lens for safari photography is a zoom or telephoto. This is the kind of lens that allows you to zoom into the subject, making it appear closer. There are countless zoom lenses on the market, but make sure your telephoto lens has a focal length of at least 200 mm.

    • Budget
      28-300 mm or 70-300 mm lenses are good budget options for beginners.
    • Medium
      A 150-600 mm lens will allow you to shoot almost anything in daylight, taking your photography to the next level with a reasonable investment.
    • Pro
      A 70-200 mm f/2,8 prime lens, although the focal length is not extreme, is an excellent lens that will not disappoint.
      There are other lenses such 400 mm f/4 or even f/2,8 prime lenses which are top choices but at an extremely high price tag.

    If there is a lens worth an investment when planning to go on a photographic safari, it has to be the zoom!

    Medium and Wide Angle Lenses

    Although zoom lenses are the first ones that come to mind when thinking about safari photography, a wide angle lens also goes a long way when it comes to shooting the animals in their habitat, dramatic African skies and sunsets, and large herds moving during the Great Migration. Make sure you pack a wide to medium lens too!

    • Budget
      The 18-55 mm “kit lens” that comes with most camera kits works perfectly for this kind of photos. As a budget option, any kit lens works perfectly, actually!
      Lenses in the 10-24 mm range are much wider - another good option that will allow you to take creative photographs during your safari.
    • Medium
      A 15-30 mm f/2,8 wide lens is a high quality choice for landscape.
    • Pro
      The 24-70 mm f/2,8 is a “classic”, very sharp lens that never disappoints, allowing you to shoot landscapes (or good quality files to stitch in panoramas later on) and zoom into the subject too.

    Bear in mind that a good wide angle lens also allows you to take wonderful nocturnal photos of the clear skies of the savannah.

    Other accessories

    Now that you know what to use to shoot your safari photographs, let’s think about the accessories you shouldn’t forget:

    • Spare batteries. Although all our vehicles have charging stations to recharge your batteries during the game drives, having one or two extra batteries is always a good idea to keep shooting without a single worry!
    • Memory cards. Believe it or not, I can guarantee you will find yourself shooting dozens and dozens of photos to the same animal or scene. It’s easy when you have lions posing for you, or a hunting scene taking place. So pack extra memory cards!
    • Battery charger. There are regular battery chargers and also double battery chargers that work with USB and/or car power outlets. I like these, as you can charge 2 batteries at once.
    • Protection for your camera gear. The savannah is dusty, and dust is the real enemy of cameras and their sensors. Try to keep everything protected from dust except what you are using. Camera bags or pouches/cloths will work great.
    • Cleaning kit. A full kit includes the sensor cleaning kit and tools to remove dust and clean the camera. Try to keep everything clean by gently removing the dust every day after the game drives. Please note: the sensor tends to get dirty with all the dust of the safari, but at the same time cleaning the sensor is a very delicate task so don’t risk it if you are not sure how to do it!

    Are you ready to embark on your photographic safari adventure? Please let us know if you need more suggestions and information about what camera gear to pack for your safari. We look forward to having you travel with us!

  • The Simien Mountains - What To Expect

    AdminSoa
    December 15, 2020

    It's difficult to expect what the Simien Mountains will be like unless you've been there! The Simien Mountains is said to have some of the best mountain views in Africa. Once you look down off those cliffs you can begin to see why!

    The Simien Mountains, also described as the "roof of Africa" is a National Park as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site which it became in 1978 - one of the first places to be given such  title.

    It's possible to do anything from a day hike here to up to 2 weeks of trekking to the highest peak, Ras Dashen. We recommend at least doing the 3 day hike to get a good taste of what this stunning National Park can offer!

    The Wildlife

    The wildlife are as much an exciting part of the trip as is the landscape. The Simien Mountains has a large concentration of wildlife and the further you go into the park the more you can see. There are animals such as Ethiopian wolves, baboons and monkeys, Walia Ibex, antelopes, and various bid species.

    Gelada Baboons

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    The Gelada baboons (shown to be closer to a monkey than a baboon) are only found within the Simien Mountains National Park. They live along the cliffs of the park, live in huge groups, and are the only grass-grazing primates left. It’s easy to approach them quite close as they appear unbothered and uninterested by human presence. They are easy to spot due to hanging out in large groups and sticking to certain territories.

    Walia Ibex
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    Klipspringer

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    These little antelopes

    Livestock 

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    Definitely the most easily seen. You often see villagers, especially young boys, herding their cows, goats, and sheep to grass and water. For a long time people lived (and still do) in the park but now there is an increasing effort to move people and livestock out of the park in order to reduce overgrazing and help maintain the park.

    Landscape and Hiking through it

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    The landscape, one of the most enjoyable elements of hiking through the park. Their is so much variety in terms of what to see in the park from different types of flora, streams, waterfalls, and cliffs. It's not an overly difficult hike but going up and down again over the mountains can be somewhat strenuous especially in the hot sun.  Its important to also be aware of the altitude factor which can affect your breathing and possibly even altitude sickness as you are passing and sleeping at high elevations. It's therefore important to recognise the signs of your body, take breaks as much as possible, protect yourself from the sun and drink lots of water. The temperature also drops dramatically once the sun goes down so come prepared for dressing for the cold at night.

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