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Frequently asked questions

  • Payment Information
    To secure your itinerary, a 30% deposit is required, which helps us book your room and flights. The remaining balance is required 90 days prior to your travel date. In the event of a last-minute booking (within 90 days of travel), full payment is required both by us and the properties. The majority of our guests opt for direct bank transfers. However, you have the option to make payments using Visa and Mastercard through a secure online payment gateway. It's important to note that when using credit cards, a 3.6% processing fee will be applied, in line with the common practice of most banks in Africa.
  • Can you cater for our dietary requirements?
    At our Ololo Lodge, we can cater for all dietary requirements (and we must say, we are very proud of our food), and most camps we work with do the same. However, please let us know your specific dietaries when booking and we can confirm for you.
  • How do I get a Kenyan Visa or Electronic Travel Authorisation?
    With a bold and courageous move by the Kenya government on December 12th, 2023, Kenya has removed the need for international travellers to obtain a visa for Kenya, as of the 1st of January, 2024. In a bid to 'welcome everyone home' to the birthplace of mankind, the government has replaced the traditional visa with an online Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA), encouraging more travellers to put Kenya on their bucket-list! The ETA Kenya website, set to replace the current online entry visa (eVisa) starting January 1, 2024, is now operational at www.etakenya.go.ke. The new processing fee of $30, will replace the old Visa fee of $51. The application is quite easy, collecting some personal information and trip info, which can be submitted at any time before travel. It is recommended to apply soon after booking your safari with us. Who needs ETA? All foreign visitors, excluding citizens of EAC member states, must obtain an ETA. Applications must be submitted exclusively through the official government website here, with third-party submissions automatically rejected. For those under 18, the application is the responsibility of the legal guardian, parent, or accompanying adult. Application Process: The secure government platform at www.etakenya.go.ke or the official "Kenya Travel Authorization" mobile app is the designated avenue for ETA applications. Each traveler must submit a separate application. Important Notes: The ETA is valid for a single entry; subsequent visits require a new application. Follow these steps for ETA application: Visit www.etakenya.go.ke Click "Apply Now" and follow instructions Ensure accurate data entry Submit the application Confirmation email on application receipt Payment confirmation email if applicable Approval/rejection email after immigration officer's decision What will you need: Valid passport for at least six (6) month after your planned date of departure out of Kenya with at least one blank page Selfie or passport-type photo Contact information, email address and phone number Details of your arrival and departure Address at destination: Please enter Ololo Safari Lodge and Farm for the whole duration of your stay in Kenya. Accommodation booking confirmation: If we haven't already sent this to you, let us know and we'll send you a copy! Airline Booking confirmation Credit card, debit card, Apple pay or other means of payment After Approval: If approved, print the attached PDF or save it in the mobile app. This document serves as the travel authorization and must be presented at departure and arrival. Standard processing time is three (3) working days. If Rejected: Contact support-kenya@govtas.com for details on rejection. Travel is prohibited until approval. Check Application Status: Visit https://www.etakenya.go.ke to monitor application status. Travel is only permitted post-approval by the Government of Kenya. Karibu Kenya! If you have any questions about the new ETA system, please let us know, we're happy to help.
  • How much does a safari cost?
    How long is a piece of string? The cost of a safari can vary widely depending on several factors, including the duration of the safari, the type of accommodation, the season, the specific national parks or reserves visited, and the level of luxury and services included. In the realm of African safaris, the age-old adage holds true: "you get what you pay for." At Ololo Safaris, we firmly steer away from the cut-rate, backpacker-style safaris priced at a mere $500 for three days. Such experiences often involve cramped vans, rushed park visits, and guides lacking the necessary expertise. We pride ourselves on offering a different caliber of safari. To give you and idea of high-season prices (July - September), our "lead-in" safari typically starts at $500 per person per day, providing a quality experience that goes beyond the basics. Stepping up to a "mid-range" safari, priced from around $600 per person per day. If luxury is your preference, our "luxury" safari starts at around $800 per person per day. At Ololo Safaris, we offer 'fully-inclusive' safaris (unless otherwise stated or agreed upon) which means that the trips are generally inclusive of: full-board accommodation, game drives and often other activities, park and/or conservancy fees, domestic flights, and road transfers. For those flexible in their travel plans, the Green Season and Low Season is generally speaking more affordable and often one can take advantage of special offers. Contact us, and we will be able to advise you further.
  • Do I need to book activities in advance?
    When it comes to your safari, most of the included activities (depending on where you are staying), such as game drives, night game drives, cultural visits, bush walks and bush picnics, are arranged the night before with your guide or the camp manager. However, there are a few activities that must be booked in advance by letting us know during the planning stages of your itinerary. These include hot-air ballooning and longer day trips to visit Browns Cheese farm or Kiambethu Tea Farm (both on the outskirts of Nairobi). Also for those interested in taking to the air in a scenic flight, or traversing the landscapes on horseback, then please let us know in advance so we can arrange these experiences prior to your trip. As always, let us know if you have any questions, and we can help advise the best experiences for you!
  • Hot-air Ballooning
    A truly 'once in a lifetime' experience, flying in a Hot Air Balloon over the Masai Mara plains allows you to witness the stunning beauty of this iconic region from a unique perspective. For many of our guests, this is one of the highlights of their safari experience. For balloon flights, we use Balloon Safaris Kenya, the first balloon safari in Kenya and highly reputable (their founder Alan Root was actually a neighbour of ours at Ololo and a famous wildlife documentary maker/conservationist). Ballooning isn't cheap - they charge $450US per adult and $300 per child, but this is pretty standard pricing across the Mara and it includes transfers from your accommodation, the flight itself, and a champagne breakfast in the bush afterwards. The Itinerary 1. Pickup and Transfers One of their drivers will normally visit your lodge the evening before the flight to agree the time for collection in the morning, answer any questions on what to wear and to bring with you. Departure is from your lodge where you are collected by one of their drivers in 4×4 safari vehicles before dawn (normally between 4.30am and 5.00am). 2. Briefing and Inflation In line with all Aircraft Operators, there is a pre-flight security check before attending the Launch site. The pilot will give a pre-flight Safety briefing either outside of the basket or once you have climbed safely into the basket. He/She will take you through safety aspects and Landing procedures for your safety and comfort. These all meet with international standards. 3. Take off and Flight You will often be seated in the basket prior to Take-off. The pilot will inflate the balloon and when it is safe to do so and the balloon is standing upright, he will tell you to stand-up, your adventure has really begun. The sharp-eyed will spot animals quickly; what never fails to amaze is the natural camouflage African wildlife has. Gently gliding with the wind over the plains of the Masai Mara, the silence, beauty and magnitude is breathtaking! 4. Celebration and breakfast Once the balloon has landed, the pilot will ask you to stay in the basket until he has deflated the balloon and the ground crew and drivers have arrived to pack the balloon away. This is the Masai Mara and wild animals may be close by: so passengers are asked to stay close to the basket until the drivers arrive. In most cases they are there as you land. Your Balloon Safari Masai Mara finishes with a flourish. In the time celebrated tradition of balloon flights the world over, you toast your return to earth with breakfast in the Masai Mara (complete with sparkling wine), served in the bush close to wherever you land. Your lodge drivers will collect you from the bush breakfast and return you safely to your lodge with a game drive. If you're interested in this experience, let us know and we can add it into your itinerary!
  • How is the climate?
    Kenya offers warm days with cool mornings and evenings year-round, throughout most of the country. At higher altitudes, the temperatures are moderate and the coast is often humid and tropical. There are two primary rainy seasons: the long rains roughly from April to June and the short rains during October and November. Kenya can be visited year-round, but the climate varies hugely between the rainy and dry seasons.
  • What should I pack?
    Modest clothing is advisable in the bigger towns and cities in Kenya, however in the lodges and camps and on the beaches at the coast, it is perfectly fine to wear shorts and shirts or beach wear. Generally speaking, light layers of clothing in neutral safari colours of green, khaki and beige are the best items to bring with you, as well as a warmer jacket or fleece for the colder evenings. A hat is also a must have! What to Pack: • Layers - long and short sleeve shirts and trousers • A warm fleece or jumper • A lightweight waterproof jacket • Comfortable but sturdy shoes • Flip-flops • Swimming costume (Bathing suit) • A hat • Sunglasses • Sunscreen – a must! • Toiletries – most camps will provide shampoo, shower gel and soap • A small torch • Spare batteries, plug adaptors and charging equipment • A good pair of Binoculars (8x40/8x42 is recommended) • Books or a fully loaded Kindle for siesta time
  • What is the weight limit on domestic flights?
    Please be advised that on domestic flights, luggage is limited to one soft bag per person with a maximum weight of 15kg/33lbs. For guests who have extra luggage, you are welcome to store bags at Ololo, or at the airport, where there is storage facilities, and pick them up on return. For the keen photographers who might be carrying extra equipment, then there is the potential to buy a 'freight seat'. Please reach out if this interests you.
  • Is Kenya safe to visit?
    In our opinion, Kenya is very safe to visit. The tourist industry is very established and visitors are very well looked after. Several governments have advised against traveling to some cities and remote border areas, but we will only take you to places that are considered safe. Staying Safe whilst on Safari: your safari guides will ensure your safety at all times – all you have to do is follow their instructions and always keep your distance from wild animals when on foot. Only leave your car where it has been designated as safe to do so. ​ As always, please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions on your trip to Kenya. We want your trip to be the holiday of a lifetime, so if you have any concerns then please reach out to us!
  • Money and Tipping
    Money The currency in Kenya is the Kenya Shilling (KSh). You can convert money to Shillings at a bank or Forex Bureau, or withdraw from an ATM, all found in the larger airports and towns. VISA and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards. American Express has limited to no coverage. It is advisable to have some cash for smaller shops and for tipping. IMPORTANT: When bringing foreign currency (e.g. USD, GBP, EUR) into the country, be sure to have the new format with no damage or marks. For US Dollars only bank notes dated from 2009 and onwards will be accepted in Kenya. Tipping If you are pleased with the service you receive, you are more than welcome to tip your guide or the staff. Tipping is usually done at the end of your stay. You may tip the staff individually, give the tip to the manager to distribute, or do both. Tips can be made in Kenyan Shillings (KSh) or USD. Gratuity suggestions: Ololo recommends $15 USD for your guide per day and $25 USD for the general tip box at the Point of Sale area at the Ololo Bar. All staff share equally, including the farm staff and carpenters per room per day (excluding guides and office staff). These can be paid by cash or card on departure. This is only a guideline and tips are very much at your discretion.
  • Should I get a local sim card?
    This is a great question, and often depends on the individual. Some guests like to 'switch off' on safari, and then connect to Wifi at the camps when needed (although sometimes patchy, most camps and lodges offer wifi these days). For those who want to stay connected (this is particularly handy when exploring areas on your own, such as on the coast, when you might like to go off exploring different areas and restaurants), then we normally suggest one of two options. Option 1 - purchase a Kenyan e-sim E-sims are quite a new concept, but a very convenient way of staying connected when overseas as you don't need to go through the mandatory in-person registration process that a traditional sim card requires. For e-sims in Kenya, we recommend downloading the 'Airalo' app on your phone, select Kenya > choose your data package > then activate it on arrival. Essentially, they partner with local network providers, to provide this service. To note: with an e-sim, you are not given a phone number, just mobile data. This allows you to use WhatsApp or any other application on your mobile requiring data. Device compatibility: Your smartphone, smartwatch, or other connected device must have eSIM support. Not all devices are equipped with eSIM functionality, so make sure to check if your device is compatible. Option 2 - register for a regular sim card. For those who would like a Kenyan number, then you would need to visit a physical store (we recommend Safaricom) with your passport, to register. The easiest place to do this is on arrival at the airport, as you will already have your passport on you, and there is rarely a queue. If you are too tired after your flight, or forget to do this, then no problems. Just let us know and we can take you to our nearest shopping centre, perhaps whilst your out in town on an excursion. Anyway, we hope this info is helpful. Of course, if you have any questions about the above or would like more info, then please let us know!
  • Any recommendations for LGBTQ+ travellers?
    Travelling in Africa might seem daunting for some LGBTQ+ individuals. We are proud to work with guests from a diverse range of sexual and cultural orientations, providing advice and guidance on how to have an incredible safari experience, whilst prioritising safety and respect. Feel free to reach out to us when planning your safari, so we can provide advice and some extra dialogue on your particular trip.
  • Do I need vaccinations?
    Before travelling to Kenya you should ensure that you are up to date with the latest travel advice and information. When it comes to travel vaccinations for Kenya, we recommend speaking to a Travel Vaccination Clinic or your local doctor about your travel plans. You can also find some helpful information here. You should use this information to start a conversation with the doctor and raise any questions or concerns during your appointment. Malaria Whilst there is no Malaria at Ololo or in the Nairobi area, Malaria is present in Kenya and many guests take malaria prophylactics before, during and after your visit. Please consult a medical professional regarding which prophylactics will be suitable for you. In addition to the recommendations of your travel clinic or physician, you may also consider the following proactive preventative measures: ● Apply insect repellent to exposed skin. Recommended repellents contain 20-35% DEET but it is a very virulent repellent, and should be used cautiously. ● Wear long-sleeved clothing and long pants at dawn and dusk, as well as closed shoes. ● Use a mosquito net if your tent or room isn't screened or air-conditioned Yellow Fever There is risk of Yellow Fever in Kenya; and, vaccination is required for travellers who are arriving from, or have transited through, countries with risk of Yellow Fever transmission (e.g. Uganda, Rwanda or elsewhere worldwide). It will also be required should you be carrying on to any regional countries without Yellow Fever (e.g. South Africa, Botswana, etc). This requirement can change unexpectedly, therefore, we recommend carrying a Yellow Fever card with you at all times.
  • Which airport should I fly into, and how do I find you there?
    Nairobi has two main airports: Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) and Wilson Airport (WIL). Both airports are about 45 minutes from Ololo. 1. Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO): This is the primary international gateway to Kenya. International traveler's arriving in Nairobi will land at this airport. 2. Wilson Airport (WIL): This is a smaller airport located closer to Nairobi National Park. It handles the domestic flights to your next safari destination. For your arrival into Nairobi, no matter what time of day or night, one of our drivers will be at the airport to greet you. They will be waiting in the arrivals area, holding a sign with your name and "Ololo". Please keep an eye out for this sign as you exit the airport. We always ask for our guests flight details, which allows us to track if the plane is early or late, so don't feel bad if you're a bit behind schedule! From the airport you will be driven to the Nairobi National Park main gate, and transferred into one of our safari vehicles. From the main gate, it is about a 30 minute drive to Ololo. Keep your eyes peeled, as you're bound to see some wildlife on the way!
  • How do I find your driver on arrival?
    Upon landing at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), going through immigration and collecting your luggage, you will find our driver waiting for you just outside in the arrivals area. They will be wearing an Ololo uniform, and holding a sign with Ololo/your name on it. In the unlikely event that you cannot find our driver, then we suggest checking again just in case you missed the sign. If not, then please call our head guide George on +254 724 084285 (Whatsapp or call). Whilst the Nairobi airport is very safe, you might be offered a taxi. Please don’t accept rides from anyone who isn’t in an Ololo uniform. Our driver will also have your flight details (if you haven’t sent these through, then please do!) and can access live updates of your arrival time, so please don’t worry if your flight is early or late, they’ll be there to greet you no matter what time of day or night. From the airport you’ll be transferred to the Nairobi National Park gate, where you’ll transfer into one of our 4x4 safari vehicles. The drive through the park is about 30 minutes, but keep your camera/binoculars handy as you’ll likely see animals along the way. For those who are arriving at night, you might even see some nocturnal animals, so keep your eyes peeled! We hope that helps explain your arrival to Ololo. Of course, if you have any questions, then please let us know!
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