Global Prep — 2020
Discover the real meaning of safari (the Swahili word for “journey”) on a two-week adventure in Kenya, created and implemented by Kenyans to provide an authentic and impactful experience. You’ll connect with the cultures and environments of this remarkable country as you explore national parks, visit wildlife reservations, and stay with a local host family. You and your group will tour urban centers—such as downtown Nairobi—and venture into the habitats of rare species like lions and rhinos. You’ll also meet and live with the semi-nomadic Maasai tribe, who live on a breathtaking national reserve, and learn about the Maasai way of life and their work . Enjoy two weeks of education and exploration in a country dedicated to preserving and protecting its vast natural beauty.
The below itinerary serves as an outline for the program, and each Global Prep experience will vary based on group size and opportunity.
Your journey will begin in New York, where you’ll meet up with the rest of your group and travel with your Group Leader to Kenya. When you land in Nairobi, you’ll be welcomed by AFS staff or volunteers. Then you’ll attend an orientation and learn some essentials about Kenyan culture and the Swahili language. In Nairobi, get ready to absorb the kinetic energy of the city, which is full of bustling crowds, sizzling street food, and colorful corner markets.
After settling in, you will visit the The Wildlife Foundation in Kitengela, a small but rapidly-growing urban center that neighbors the Nairobi National Park. TWF is a Kenyan NGO dedicated to conserving wildlife dispersal areas by nurturing a sustainable coexistence between humans and wildlife. After lunch you will have a brief introduction about the work of the Center and learn more about Masai culture. Plus, you’ll get to spend the night at the Wildlife Foundation Center!
On day four of your journey, you will volunteer in Nairobi with the Masai Children’s Centre – a non-profit that supports homeless youth, where you’ll participate in sports and education activities. The Centre is a charitable institution with the legal responsibility of care and protection of at risk or homeless youth. At the center, you will have an opportunity to learn more about its mission and have lunch with the kids! Read more from a former Kenya Global Prep participant.
You’ll get to visit Masai traditional homes locally referred to as Manyatta. There, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about Masai rites of passage, oral tradition, ways of life, and artwork, including bead-making by Masai women. Expect another exciting expedition in the Masailand that will take you through guided nature walks and a local community boma (homestead) to see a predator deterrent lighting system, among other efforts for wildlife conservation.
You’ll also explore nearby cities, like the market town of Naivasha, which is located on the banks of an enormous lake that’s famous for its hippo population. Its attractions include the famous Hell's Gate National Park. (The main locations for The Lion King, including Pride Rock and the Gorge, are modelled after this park, Longonot National Park, and Mount Longonot). This area is known for its abundant flower farms. You and your group will check-in at Lake Naivasha Crescent Camp and go on a boat ride to observe hippopotamus and other wild animals!
Next, take in the incredible Masai Mara. Known by the locals as The Mara and named in honor of the Maasai people, this is a large game reserve contiguous with the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. It is world famous for its populations of lions, leopards, and cheetahs. The annual Great Migration of zebra, gazelle, and wildebeest to and from the Serengeti every year from July to October is simply astounding. Be prepared for a spectacular sight of many wild animals following the Great Migration to Mara!
After leaving the Lake Naivaska Crescent Camp, prepare for a whole day of driving around on safari, where you’ll hopefully see all the famous “Big Five” animals! Among the highlights include the Mara River, the ‘border’ between Kenya and Tanzania where Masai Mara meets Serengeti! On your journey back to Nairobi, you’ll have another opportunity to see the wild animals inside the Mara conservancy and National Reserve.
In the last few days of your program, you will tour the town, do some last-minute shopping, and enjoy lunch in one of the local restaurants. You’ll visit the bomas (homestead) of Kenya for a colorful display of Kenyan traditional dances. The Center is a village within Nairobi that displays traditional villages belonging to the several Kenyan tribes. It is also home to one of the largest auditoriums in Africa where there are regular displays of traditional Kenyan dances.
During your time in Kenya, you will stay with Maasai host families (for a portion of the trip) in a boma (traditional village). This is your chance to experience what daily life is like in their community and maybe even learn how to make some traditional foods like irio (green peas and mashed potatoes) or pilau (spiced rice with beef or chicken). Your host family will be a great resource for learning about different aspects of Kenyan culture!
This Global Prep experience is led by in-country experts and volunteers, in addition to an AFS-USA staff group leader who will chaperone your group to and from your host country.
"Life-changing" is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad. When you return home, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and developed the confidence and resilience to accomplish anything you set out to do.
It’s not just an adventure abroad; it’s a whole new reality. The perspectives and personal connections you gained will stay with you and likely draw you back to the second home you found in Kenya.
A new you awaits. Apply for Global Prep in Kenya!
Please Note: Travel date ranges are meant to help with general scheduling and are subject to change; please don’t book any travel based on these dates until you’ve received confirmation from AFS. All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.