By George Christopher Thomas, Travel Writer
Start learning some Swahili, because it is Safari time. Did you know that Safari in Swahili means journey? I have all the tips for traveling cheaply and having the time of your life. The thing about going to Africa is the cost of living is a lot different than say,…Beverly Hills. If you are a suave bargainer, and look at the situation like you are at an old world fair where bartering is all part of the fun, then you will get by just fine. Only in America is the price set on everything. You wouldn’t go into a Vons or a Ralphs and try to get a better deal on milk. But that is how it works over there, so get ready to negotiate over the price – it is expcted of you and the only way to pay a fair price, as vendors will start high.
It is going to be two very long flights from Los Angeles. I flew into London, and then had a few hour layover before flying to Narobi, Kenya.
The nice thing about Kenya is that everyone speaks English. Since Kenya used to be a British colony, all of the signs are in English. In fact, you would not need to even speak a lick of Swahili, and you would be just fine. Kiswahili is the national language and English is the official language. Most Kenyans are well conversant in both English and Kiswahili. There are over 42 ethnic languages spoken, the most known being Kikuyu, Luo, Luhya, Kamba and Kalenjin. The key to the trip is pre-planning. There are a lot of great deals for Safari, and just doing the necessary research will save you thousands of dollars.
Consider, the cost of staying at a hotel over here in America is around $100 a night, give or take $25. Now for $30 a night in Kenya, you get the honeymoon suite. This is just because the cost of living is so different, so buy when you get there, not while still in America. Consider the 3 day Safari I went on, with a Masai guide, food, tent accomodations, and a Land Rover safari on the Masai Mara all for about $100. A huge beer at the bar is about 10 cents. Now this is some really good Tusker beer, tasty stuff, and it’s the 24 oz size, all for the a dime. You could get drunk for a quarter. We went to a Chinese restaurant in Mombasa, ordered six dishes, beers, wine, the whole thing, and the bill was about $5. With the cost of living easily offsetting the expense of flying, visiting Africa really is within your budget.
Do some internet research, and make some calls to Africa. You could find yourself scuba diving with whale sharks off the coast of Malindi. It is time for you to go to Africa. Imagine seeing giraffes and lions up close. Being right next to zebras and wildebeests. Camping out in the wild, the plains of East Africa. Save $3 a day, and in one year, Africa! Don’t forget the Mosquito repelant and sunblock, and take pictures! For more info visit www.kenya.com/