Before you Travel

Advice & suggestions before you travel to help you make the most of your trip:

Community project involvement and/or donations: For all our community tours we make a small donation on your behalf to the charity or NGO project concerned.  This is included in the price of your tour but should you wish to contribute further following your experience, you are of course very welcome to but please do so via ourselves and the NGO concerned rather than directly to any individuals you may meet on the ground.   To discourage a culture of dependency we strongly discourage guests from giving ‘hand outs’ to local residents whilst on tour – whether money, or donations in kind (e.g. clothing, food, an old mobile phone or even school-equipment).  All of these kinds of donations are hugely valued and greatly appreciated by the rural communities we work with but please inform us of any items that you may wish to donate so that we can distribute them on your behalf via the relevant community network.  This ensures that they get to those most in need.

Travel Insurance: Please note that travel to East Africa can involve risks above and beyond those encountered on a more conventional holiday and that you are undertaking an adventure trip with inherent dangers. The standard of accommodation, transport and roads, safety, sanitation, hygiene, medical facilities, telecommunications and infrastructure development may not be of the standard you are used to at home or would find on a conventional holiday. As such, all visitors are required to take out private and comprehensive travel insurance policies for the duration of their vacation (note that the ‘free’ policies that come with banking services typically offer insufficient cover). Integritour accepts no responsibility for illness, accident or damage to, or loss of personal belongings.   In addition, we strongly advise all guests against putting any valuables in their ‘checked-in’ luggage when flying and/or that hold-baggage is secured by padlock and strap or combination lock.

Passports & Visa: All visitors to Kenya and East Africa require a valid passport (with at least 6 months validity post-entry to be on the safe side).  A three month single-entry tourist visa can be purchased on entry to Kenya (at airport/ port of entry) at a cost of $25 per person (as of 1st April 2011, or in an alternative currency, although note that exchange rates at immigration points tend not to be favourable!). Note that if you cross borders within Africa (e.g. Kenya-Uganda-Kenya) you will be required to purchase another single-entry visa on re-entry and that additional visa charges will apply for the new country.  Integritour will provide further information on this according to your chosen itinerary.

Travel Health & Precautions: Prior to travel, please ensure you have checked with your GP or local health authority for the latest government advice regarding travel health information for the region you are visiting.  This region of East Africa suffers from high rates of malaria with dysentery, typhoid and cholera also common. Taking precautions with hygiene, mosquito-bite avoidance, anti-malarials and/or inoculation (where possible) is strongly recommended.

Hygiene and Sanitation: All of our accommodation and lunch suppliers adhere to the highest standards of food-preparation and cleanliness but food hygiene in Africa, as in many developing regions of the world, can never be 100% guaranteed. We advise guests to always drink bottled, safety-sealed water and take the additional precaution of hand washing with soap or hand sanitiser pre-and post every meal and after shaking hands and greeting people (hand shaking is a universal social gesture here!)

Local Customs and sensitivities:  Kenya’s a friendly nation with Kisumu and the surrounding area the land of the ‘Luo’ tribe.  Luos have their own language and are a proud tribe – traditionally side lined in national politics (which contributed towards some post-election violence back in 2008) but now generally considered on the ‘up’ with the current Prime Minister and some may say, ‘President Elect’ from this region.  The region is currently politically stable with many recent investments in infrastructure (e.g. better roads and expansion of the airport) now evident.   Expect to shake hands with literally everyone you meet!  Everyone speaks English and Swahili in addition to Luo and so  you are unlikely to encounter much of a language barrier – although small childrens’ English language is frequently limited to an enthusiastic holler of ‘how are you!?’.  Learning a few Luo greetings will be met with huge appreciation.   There are few restrictions with regards to dress, with ‘Western’ dress codes the norm –other than perhaps (as with travel anywhere unfamiliar) not dressing in a way that attracts too much attention.

Public conveniences: Please be aware that many of our tours visit rural communities or scenic areas where public conveniences will be hard to find!  Those that are available are most likely to be of the ‘pit latrine’ variety – little more than a hole in the ground – with, if you’re lucky – screens to protect you from prying eyes!   And even where toilets are found, carrying toilet paper/ tissues with you is a must… (although all of our guides carry ‘tour packs’ in which this is included)

Packing Check List (in priority order)
- Passport
- Anti-malarials and mosquito repellent (for skin/ body)
- First aid kit (including pain relief, anti bacterial wipes, plasters, dressings and where possible, a sterile kit)
- Hand santiser gel
- Sunscreen and hat
- Long-sleeved, light weight clothes for evening
- A warmer item  e.g. jumper/ jacket for cooler evenings and early mornings
- Suitable closed-toe shoes (for walking in bush land)
- Torch/ Head torch
- Water purification tablets

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