Gap Expedition to Kenya - Kenya
Have you ever wondered whether gap years actually do any good for the people they say they help? But at the same time are you interested in international development, exploring a country in detail with local support and feeling that you will come away from the trip with a clear feeling that you have achieved something special and perhaps made some significant decision about your life? Then this is the trip for you, because fundamentally our gap trips are linked to long term development projects and programmes, which we believe reflects the integrity of the experience, and also they are really good fun with plenty of opportunity to branch out and get out of your comfort zone.
It's a ten week adventure in Kenya for people aged from 18 to 24 and the theme is personal development through close interaction with local communities and contributing positively to other people's lives who are supported by our charity Moving Mountains Trust, which has been working to improve the lives of people in areas of education, health and social welfare for the past twenty years. The charity was set up by our company director Gavin Bate who has spent his life in international development and mountaineering.
Apart from that there's a great adventure challenge in the Rift Valley supported by our Kenyan team, homestays in some of our projects like children's homes and rescue centres and our volunteer's centres, and lots of activities and experiences to really see the flipside of life in Africa. We're really proud of this trip, not just because it does what it says on the tin, but because it financially supports so many people! Your visit will do lots, and we fully comply with the ideas behind Fair Trade Volunteering, which is all about making a short term volunteering trip benefit the stakeholders and not be exploitative or irrelevant.
Each group is a maximum of fifteen, but you are accompanied by a group of fifteen young Kenyans who are also on their Gap Year, and they will travel with you around their own country as part of the Moving Mountains Kenya scheme to foster social responsibility in youth. You also travel alongside our Kenyan aid workers, who are experienced in education, building, health and social welfare. These people will guide and mentor you, while at the same time teaching you how to engage with the communities and people who are beneficiaries of the NGO. This requires preparation and learning, before the trip as well as during it, and we will provide you with the resources. The group is self-sufficient, travelling in our overland trucks and living in local situations, sometimes in tents, sometimes in homestays and sometimes in our guesthouses.
The logistics are managed by our staff in the UK who are all Trustees of the charity aswell as leaders of youth trips to Kenya for over ten years, and in Kenya by our Kenyan staff, most of whom are Trustees of the local NGO. The purpose of the trip is to provide both a genuine experience for you, but also to provide relevant and well-planned support for Moving Mountains, so our leadership includes people experienced in both expeditions and in international development.
This gap year reflects nearly twenty years of experience for Adventure Alternative working in Kenya and running long term development projects with our charity Moving Mountains, that was also set up by Gavin Bate at the same time in 1991. The trip is fun and exciting and educative, and long enough for you to feel a difference in yourself and to properly get under the skin of a development organisation.
It's not all about development though, you will be travelling in large overland trucks along with Kenyans, staff and your fellow travellers. This is a chance to travel widely in the country and live at a pace of life which is slow enough to feel you have got to know it a bit. Being in the outdoors, visiting local people and feeling a part of the place is the essential part of travel, and Alternative Gap will give you the chance to do that.
We do not run many gap year trips like this, they take a long time to prepare and get right, and a lot of people are involved. This is not a trip which exploits people either, the programmes you will be involved with are chosen and managed very carefully, with every emphasis on the development potential, and especially on the welfare of any children you come into contact with, and communities you are visiting.
We have made a commitment to them that goes well beyond money, many of our UK staff are godparents to children we have seen grow up into young adults. We have extremely strong and long standing bonds with schools, orphanages, clinics and communities who see Moving Mountains as a family. So we have made this trip work because of the involvement of many people, and the benefits it gives them, and by no means as just another holiday.
Adventure Alternative have fully trained and experienced UK and Kenyan staff in place for this gap year trip to ensure that you will always have the backup and support that you need. We will organise the logistical aspects of your trip and assist you in all aspects of your experience. However we will also be careful to give you the degree of freedom and responsibility which is essential to your development and to allow you to get the most out of your involvement.
The trip attracts a large number of people so the 'leadership' ratio is often very high, there are teachers and Doctors and youth workers, as well as builders and artisans, social workers, Government staff, community elders, tribal chiefs and a host of secondary staff who you will meet. All of them will offer you advice and help, and give you an insight into their life. They will show you what it means to manage orphanages, rescue centres, education programmes, community health promotions and building projects. None of these people are outsourced, they are all actively working for Moving Mountains Kenya and Adventure Alternative Kenya, and all of them will see you as a part of the long term development of the charity and the company.
Activities and Highlights
Travelling around the country in our overland safari truck, living independently and experiencing life for the people of Kenya.
Cycling through the Great Rift Valley and ending up camping on an extinct volcano with the Maasai people
Working in schools on our School Help programme
Working with our work teams to build and renovate structures
Homestay with local people who are part of our programme, including staying at the children's home
Meeting all of our staff and spending ten weeks with great friends and helping to make a difference with Moving Mountains
Understanding something about international development through the eyes of our NGO staff
The projects you will be involved in during the gap year trip are all long term development aims of Moving Mountains which is a group of registered charities in the UK, Ireland, Kenya and Nepal. It also funds a large tree-planting project in Borneo, which is our own carbon-offset initiative. Every Gap trip to Kenya trip will give you the chance to get a hands-on experience with all of the projects and programmes that we run, in everything from construction to education, mentoring, sports, camping and welfare. These programmes are all run by the Kenyan NGO and all of them represent many years of input from Moving Mountains UK and a personal lifelong vision of Gavin Bate. You are not asked to take over the jobs of professionals, but you will experience the work and get involved to the extent of feeling you have properly benefitted the charity.
Every trip we run has some sort of link with the development of the community or village through Moving Mountains, since this was the reason that Gavin Bate started the company and the charity in the first place. It is very much an example of social enterprise, using tourism to create development and wealth.
Adventure Alternative has an enviable amount of resources for this gap trip and all our school expeditions, including our own transport, guesthouses and a huge network of support across the country, from teachers to Doctors to tribal chiefs and authorities. We do not outsource our responsibities so you can be sure of the safety and integrity of what we offer and do. We have successfully maintained these long term links without over-extending ourselves, and providing great opportunities for careers.
Prior to your trip and when you return you have full back-up and support from the UK office with Chris Little, Andy MacDonald and Andy Hunt, who have both been organising and leading our Kenya trips for over ten years. Andy Hunt lives in Wales and he runs a structured programme of pre-trip support for all our groups.
We also work with Interhealth, which provides a complete medical service for overseas travellers including medical back-up during your trip on an emergency line which is 24/7. Plus we are part of the Know Before You Go Campaign and recommend you register with the Locate programme run by the Foreign Office.
Value of Your Visit
Our Gap trips and School trips are very much part of the policy of the charity to raise funds for projects and provide revenue and support for our programmes. The money that comes from the Gap trips provides a cash injection into a community, which then allows the charity to provide training for capacity building and investment into community development. They also allow us to employ many people, and in Kenya this is very significant. People still adhere to the job for life idea.
We don't allow your visit to prevent local people from gaining employment, in fact it will achieve the opposite. The company provides training and development and careers for local people, and your visit enables AA and MM to maintain a high level of investment into capacity building and providing full time employment. Your visit will also contribute to the national volunteering scheme we run for Kenyan youth who want to have their own Gap Year, and you will also be able to assist our staff in carrying out their work. This may be running camps for street kids, renovating one of our structures, helping the staff with recording or even hands-on work if it is appropriate and relevant. Clearly this is a working charity and the beneficiaries are real people, so your gap year is designed to integrate and not to impose. You will gain an enormous amount of knowledge and experience, but by no means will your trip compromise or jeopardise any aspect of the work of Moving Mountains.
For the detailed value of each section of the GapKenya trip, you can read more on the More Info pages. To be honest, there is a huge amount to take in, which is one of the reasons we arrange pre-trip planning and visits. We must be absolutely clear that this is not orphan voluntourism, slum tourism or irrelevant visits by foreigners which border on exploitation and in some cases are damaging to the welfare of children; we have put every effort into making sure that we 'get it right' and don't make the mistakes that are often seen in the press (and which are entirely correctly identified as reprehensible). In order to justify that claim, we would look to our track record and the fact that the company is really working to the tune of the charity, and also that the trip itself has been determined and agreed by Kenyans, not only by us. It is very much a partnership, and we would like you to be part of it.
Type of People
GapKenya should attract people who have a real desire to explore a country and understand both it's development needs and also appreciate it's uniqueness. This will take an open mind, initiative and a sense of curiosity about the world. We really want people to come back from our trips and use their experiences to gain skills and help them in their career and lives. It may even contribute to people making some significant life choices.
We want the trip to help those people who are less fortunate, and therefore the participants should see themselves as a mentor to peers they will meet and travel with, some of whom will be materially poor and coming from difficult backgrounds. This is really a very big responsibility that takes maturity and preparation. We want the trip to show how, even though there is great disparity and exploitation and material poverty in the world, we all have equal rights and equal opportunities. This is not a trip designed to promote a 'colonial' type of aid, you will be constantly interacting with people of your own age to prove that in reality they are just the same as you.
Since Moving Mountains actively promotes the aims of the Millennium Development Goals, we want to invite people who are prepared to learn about their role in the world, and teach others about their role too. Therefore we invite people from all backgrounds, particularly those who might normally find it difficult to travel or to get opportunities like this.
We will interview people prior to going in order to make sure that we have right calibre of person applying. It is important that we take this step to ensure that the integrity of the people, the children and the communities you will be visiting are protected, since you will be guests in their homes and in their country. If you are successful then we will need to carry out certain checks, including a criminal record check and we will want to talk with your referees. Clearly you will be meeting children and we need to be certain that we are protecting their rights and also your integrity.
Packs and Correspondence
You will be able to correspond directly with AA Kenya and MM Kenya, they are very used to using the most modern technology, and we will set up facebook pages for you to meet the others online and start interacting. This website has a huge amount of information but we will be meeting with you to discuss certain aspects of your trip, including the ethics of volunteering trips and gap year trips, as well as practical aspects of the expedition and exactly what you will be doing during your trip to Kenya.
Dates and Itinerary
1 week pre-departure training in the UK, travel briefing and teambuilding in Nairobi
2 weeks in Embu - Swahili, working at the rescue centre and at the schools we support
2 weeks in Solio - infrastructure project at a huge IDP encampment
10 days cycling expedition through the Rift Valley
5 days in Nairobi - briefing and rest
2 weeks at a Childrens Home and Community Centre in western Kenya - education work, homestays, social welfare
4 days in Nairobi - debrief and sightseeing, visits and celebrations
3 days travel home and post-trip debrief
Time in Country
Your time in Kenya is varied both in terms of the locations, environment, tribes and the experiences you will have. The beauty of the program is that it is versatile, diverse and all encompassing. From rural homesteads, to busy little towns, from working in orphanages and schools to cycling through the great Rift Valley. Every day brings a worthy and exciting new experience.
You will be travelling with your Kenyan peers and also working with our Kenyan staff, plus all of the many supporters and individuals involved with the programmes and projects. Your time in country will be spent making many new friends and there will be time to develop those relationships and visit their homes, meet their friends and feel at ease. The pace of life will not be too fast, and this is not all about teaching in schools, this is about a much more holistic approach to life in East Africa.
|1-2||London: Team meets in UK for final meeting and briefing on their trip, hosted by management experts and Company Director. Final check of kit and team-building sessions before heading to the airport and flying to Nairobi.|
|3-5||Nairobi: Meeting your Kenyan staff and staying at our guesthouse where you can visit the projects in the area and get a feeling for your trip.|
|6-19||Embu: Two weeks doing a Swahili course, helping at the rescue centre and the schools we work with here, plus interacting with the street kids (sport, mentoring, local businesses) and coaching at the Black Cats. There will also be a refurbishment project on, working with our Community Action Team. We also explore the area and go on sightseeing visits, safaris and local visits along with some of the Kenyan children.|
|20-34||Solio: Construction project at this huge refugee area, and also working on other schools we support locally such as Morrone Primary and Tigithi Primary. Classroom assistant work and sports at the schools, plus helping with farming in the area. Everyone will experience a homestay during this time. During this time you can also go on a local safari, walking on the slopes of Mt Kenya and visiting tree-planting projects run by Kenya Wildlife Service.|
|35-44||Rift Valley: Cycling through the Rift Valley from Mount Kenya all the way to Mount Longonot, an extinct volcano near the Masai Mara. The truck will carry your gear and follow you as you travel through an amazing part of the earth, where the crust is at it's thinnest! Cycle through Hell's Gate National Park, see the famous Thompsons waterfalls, camp on the edge of the Great Lakes and end up at the Suswa Masai Community area and experience a homestay with the most famous of Kenya's numerous tribes.|
|45-99||Nairobi: Back to Nairobi for a quick rest to wash clothes, stock up on supplies again and prepare for the next stage of the trip. Travel to the western border of Kenya.|
|50-64||Ulamba: Staying at the Ulamba orphanage, two weeks helping the staff manage the children, being a classroom assistant at one of the local schools, perhaps doing a refurbishment project and also having another homestay experience. You can visit Barack Obama's grandmother nearby!|
|65-68||Nairobi: Back in Nairobi a time of celebration and evaluation with our counsellors and NGO managers to help you leave Kenya with a clear understanding of what you have achieved during your time in-country. Goodbyes and flight home.|
|69-70||London: Arrive back in UK and travel to a centre for a debrief and final goodbye to your fellow Gap participants. A chance also to discuss the impact of your trip and discussion of what to do next. This is followed by a further communication and keeping in touch, receipt of your reference and certificate, and an annual reunion for all the trips of the year.|
The trip follows blocks of time spent in different areas doing different projects so therefore the daily routine does change somewhat throughout your ten weeks. Sometimes you will be in a guesthouse, sightseeing and learning Swahili, other times on the road with the truck, and longer periods spent at a project site doing the work with the Moving Mountains staff. This could be building, helping out at the schools, coaching football, helping at at the street kid rescue centre, helping at the orphanage or spending time in local homes with families.
During the adventure phase you will be on the road using bicycles and being supported by the truck which carries all the gear; this is very much a journey so you will be moving from town to village and so on. This is a big adventure! A long cycle ride through one of the most remarkable places in the world, actually where you find the thinnest part of the earth's crust. Every day camping and on the move, lots of freedom to travel and enjoy the countryside.
You will work alongside your fellow Gap team, plus the staff and the Kenyan youngsters; therefore the daily routine will include looking after yourselves, preparing camps, cooking, shopping and keeping discipline. As a gap expedition this trip will really ask quite a lot from you!
At the end of your ten week expedition with us you have the opportunity to stay in Kenya and do some independent travel. We can help you with this and ensure that where you are going and where you stay will be safe. We can provide a friendly face in most towns in the country, and our company in Kenya can act as a back-up for emergencies and leaving gear. However you will be responsible for yourselves, and it is important to understand that although we take a moral responsibility for you, we can't be on hand every day. You and your family should see this as an additional service of safety and advice if you choose to travel a bit by yourself or with some friends after your trip with us.
Gap Expedition to Kenya cost: £2,360.00
- Organisation of your trip.
- Pre- and post- trip briefings
- Staffing and ground logistics.
- Medical back-up
- Internal transport and travel.
- All meals and food
- All Park fees and permits.
- All activities
- Reference and certificate.
- The Fundraising total for Moving Mountains - £2000.
- Return flight to Nairobi
- Travel Insurance
- Travel vaccinations
- Personal spending money
Not all about money
The cost of your ten week trip in Kenya is £2360.00, plus you need to buy a flight, travel insurance and vaccinations. This money goes to Adventure Alternative in the UK and to Adventure Alternative in Kenya.
The fundraising total of your trip is £2000 and this goes to Moving Mountains, which is the charity, and you can legitimately fundraise for this amount. We will help you plan how to raise this money and how to get involved with the charity online and start chatting to the staff out in Kenya who will be looking after you and showing you all the programmes. The money you fundraise ensures the work of the charity goes ahead, and we believe it is vital work.
We provide all the breakdowns of exactly how the money is spent in the More Info section, it's important you can see what money is used in the UK and what is spent in Kenya, and how the charity money is accounted for. We very much believe in the transparency of trips like this, which have attracted so much bad press because they are seen as expensive holidays which do nothing for the people you visit.
The trip cost of £2360 comes to a lot of money for ten weeks and some people will consider it expensive; it calculates at £33 per day for an experience that will hopefully stay with you for the rest of your life and give you a considerable advantage in the workplace and perhaps in your career path. Prospective employers look for examples of character, civic engagement and leadership above and beyond exam certificates and a degree. We feel that this Alternative Gap provides you with that opportunity to shine, and we believe that the trip we offer is of such a high quality that the figure of £2360 could be spread over many years in order to properly assess it's value. Don't see this just as a long holiday, but as part of your overall development and employability in the future. We also employ a great many people in Kenya, so some of this money goes towards one of our main aims in both the company and charity, which is to use tourism to provide a sustainable future for as many people as possible.
Adventure Alternative Kenya manages your trip and the revenue we give them from this trip and others allows them to employ 26 people in the office. Additionally we promote small local operations and businesses for services and accommodation, which feed money into local economies and communities. This is a big part of our commitment to the principles of Fair Trade Volunteering, which tries to ensure that companies follow a moral responsibility to make sure that the host community gets some of the money from tourism, and it doesn't end up costing them to look after you. You can see a complete breakdown in the More Info section on your trip fee.
The money you raise for Moving Mountains pays for a multitude of profit share programmes in-country which benefit the community and the beneficiaries. For example, sleeping at the Ulamba Home involves a payment for your bedroom which goes to the charity and enables it to look after the 48 children and the 6 staff there. We really encourage you to talk to the staff everywhere you go and find out how this money is being used to benefit so many people; we're extremely proud of it and we have all of the paperwork and financial records to show how the money is transferred from MM UK to MM Kenya and then to each of the local areas.
The programmes in Embu, Ulamba and Solio will all benefit from your presence, but also from the external cash that we bring into the area courtesy of your visit. We employ many local people and nobody is left out. A family who offer you a homestay will be paid for their hospitality, and we will also cover the cost of your food. A school will benefit from having a roof fixed, courtesy of your visit, and that school will be part of a long term action plan that we have with the Board. During your holiday you will be able to talk to the Kenyan staff and be a part of this process so it is completely open.
Some people think that building something is not really beneficial to a community, and we agree with that, but only if there is no long term plan. If your presence helping our Community Action Team to renovate a classroom is part of our long term plan to refurbish an entire school and work with the education authorities to improve academic performance by 25% and intake by 30%, then for sure your visit is creating a lot of local benefit! This is what we do, and have been doing for many years. It's the link between Adventure Alternative and Moving Mountains that allows commerce to support charity; charity provides capital investment and company promotes revenue. Read more on the Responsible Tourism pages and the More Info section for a detailed discussion of this and much more.
Adventure Alternative Kenya is the main local provider; it has all the staff, the trucks, the tents and guesthouse to manage your stay and also all our school trips, safaris and expeditions. We have spent many years providing the investment and training to get AA Kenya to the point it is at now, and we are very proud of it! We don't outsource and we keep an eye on all the agreements and contracts to make sure that nobody is exploited or taken advantage of.
For this gap trip you don't need to be experienced in foreign travel or experienced in building techniques or working with children or in schools. The programme is designed so that you are the one getting the experience, while at the same time allowing you to interact with our professional staff who can show you their job. This will be managers, counsellors, health workers, teachers, sports coaches and so on. We are not expecting you to be experts in any of these fields, but we will expect you to come back with a great deal of knowledge at the end of it.
The most important characteristics you need are openness, willingness to learn and take part, enthusiasm, initiative and a sense of curiosity. Your experience simply as a young person today will give you an enormous amount to share with other young people who perhaps have less opportunities than you. The trip is very emotional, and you will meet people whose lives seem almost impossible to live, but your interaction with them will help in ways you can't measure.
Adventure Alternative Support
We provide a complete raft of support for you and the team. It's quite hard to put into words just how big our network is in Kenya. We have many staff and many people who work indirectly for the charity, from schools and authorities to committees and business people. We provide all the vehicles, which are our own, a staff complement of nearly 30, all the equipment and all the necessary support systems for you, such as membership of Flying Doctors, links with the hospitals and membership of the Kenyan Association of Tour Operators.
Meanwhile in the UK we have a full office staff planning your trip, monitoring your time in Kenya, chatting daily with the staff and on hand at any time for advice or emergencies. All of us have been working in Kenya for many years and our links with the likes of the Foreign Office, the British Embassy, the local police and authorities are all good and strong.
After filling out an online application form we will review the details supplied and call you for a short, informal interview, probably by telephone. This is not something that you should worry about or become anxious about your performance. It is as much an opportunity for you to quiz us as it is for us to get to know you. We need to make sure that you know exactly what it is that you are embarking on and that it will meet your expectations and stretch you by the right amount. Please also see our More Info page entitled "Recruitment". Remember to be very strict with your questions to us! Gap years have been discredited a lot in recent years and we can help you fully understand what this trip is all about. Your parents should also be involved, do get them to call us if they have any questions, and any other people you would like to involve. Remember this trip is a challeniging time for your family, they will be worried, so feel free to voice all of your concerns.
All specific training required for this trip will be provided as part of the pre-departure schedule and at relevant times during the trip. However we would highly recommend that you independently read up on Kenya before you travel, in particular the areas that you are planning to travel to. Prior knowledge on the history, cultures, tribes and local customs will only enhance your trip.
The majority of Kenyans speak very good English and you will have very little trouble communicating but you may find it useful learning a few key Swahili words and phrases. Kenyans will love that you have made an effort to learn their language. So therefore part of the course includes lessons in Swahili! You will also receive lots and lots of advice and training on the issues surrounding international development.
Without doubt you will witness the strong links between Adventure Alternative and Moving Mountains and the communities that you are placed in. As such, you will be an ambassador for both Adventure Alternative and Moving Mountains and there will be many young people looking up to you as a role model. You need to appreciate what responsibility you are taking on in this respect and to conduct yourself in an appropriate way. Don't be afraid of this, it's simply something to be aware of. Kenyan culture is naturally conservative and traditional, but they are also fun-loving and naturally demonstrative and curious, so you might be surprised by just how much they fit in with our culture.
Also, don't forget that they will be a role model to you, this is not a one way process where you get to do all the giving! Actually, you may be surprised to find that the person benefitting the most is you. The staff who work for MM and AA are all inspirational and motivated people, highly educated and passionate, and almost all of them came from the slums. Their life story will amaze you, and their natural positive attitude to life will mean that they will almost certainly become a role model to you as well.
The Promise to Moving Mountains
Moving Mountains started as a small charity in 1991 when Gavin Bate was teaching in the slums of Kenya. Some of the children he taught are now adults and working for the charity and the company. Along the way Gavin has put into action a set of beliefs in how a charity should best be run. This is nothing to do with helping an African child, but a way of running a community which can break free of poverty and not become reliant on others for handouts. It defines the way money is spent, how it is distributed, and how it fits in with the wider needs. It doesn’t focus on the child, but on how the child is brought up in the family and the community. It’s taken nearly twenty years of experience to get to the point where Moving Mountains is now a big charity which has such a successful ‘business model’ that the Kenyans themselves love it.
We want you to be a part of it, but we ask that you respect our system. We have rules, which include not giving ‘things’ to children and not making private arrangements for personal sponsorships or gifts or money. We have seen this happen before, and it has never worked. The Kenyans respect a system that doesn’t just hand it out, but gives them a chance to become owners of something successful and long-term, like any self-respecting person. It’s easy to fall into the trap of responding to an emotional response and just handing over money, but that isn’t aid and it doesn’t actually help. What helps is clever expenditure of money, a strategy to spend it properly, and the realisation that money is hard to come by in any society.
Your trip is enough to make a difference. It’s part of something successful and inspiring, and it’s part of a vision that somebody had a long time ago. Your promise to us is to let that vision continue.
We love feedback, but don't wait until you come home or wait until you can write to the Director of the company with which you booked. If you have comments then bring them up with the staff, tell them how good they are or how something upset you. There's nothing we can do in retrospect except apologise for something not being right, but if you bring it up then we can improve and change. Don't at all feel embarrassed or bad about this, the fact that our staff are Kenyan or British or Nepalese makes no difference to us, we are all the same people working for the same company! Some things you will find shocking - a typical example is how corporal punishment is still used in Kenya, which can be hard to watch - but don't keep your thoughts hidden.
- Lots of normal clothing (see the info below for more about this)
- Mobile phone - an old model which is unlocked
- Sun glasses - not the most expensive model you can find, but a reasonable pair which has good UV protection
- Sleeping liner - keeps your bag clean and you can sleep in it if the night is too warm. Make one out of an old bedsheet!
- Sleeping bag - a synthetic 3 season bag is fine
- Water proof jacket, but also take an umbrella for showers
- Large plastic bags fpr dirty clothes, keeping things dry etc
- Rucksack - about 65 litres will be fine, but you could also take a duffle bag.
- Travel towel and travel pillow
- Mosquito net, or buy one in Nairobi
- Good shoes and flip flops, you could also take walking boots
- Camera - plus charger unit. A digital camera is fine, but throwaway cameras are great for the kids
- Any contact lens solutions
- Head torch - LED are best
- Money belt - to conceal your money with crocodile type clip to secure it.
- Medical pack / first aid kit
- Sun cream - with a high UVA protection.
- Malaria tablets
- Water bottle - perhaps with a built-in filter
- Water purification tablets
- Insect repellent
- Small padlocks with security code
- A good guide book
Additional Kit Info
Take a good selection of normal clothes, and remember you can wash everything while in Kenya, and you can buy pretty much anything you need in the markets and shops. In fact most of the clothing which we throw away ends up in the street markets in Nairobi, so you can go there and buy them all back again! Take a jacket or fleece, and remember to take a selection of short and long sleeved items, so you've got cover from the sun.
For sleeping you will need a bag and a mat, although sometimes you will be sleeping in guesthouses or homes where there are beds with mattresses. But the sleeping bag is vital and do take along a liner made out of cotton to keep the bag clean and to sleep in if it gets too hot.
Take old clothes to wear for the everyday projects and camps; they will get dirty, covered in paint quite possibly. You need travel clothes which are clean for the travelling home bit, and for the restaurant, but in the schools, camps etc you can just wear the normal clothes you wear at home. Don't take your most expensive stuff and leave expensive watches and things at home if you can. Take an old mobile phone for example and be careful with expensive things like ipods and cameras.
Choose your clothing based on usefulness and durability, not for fashion statements. Some clothes you may want to give away or swap at the end for souvenirs. For cycling you will need legwear that won't snag in the chain or gears and shoes where you can tuck the laces away. Shorts will probably be good for this but ensure that they are at least to the knee and won't billow up like parachutes.
If you wear contact lenses take plenty of saline and comfort drops- it can get dusty.
Mosquito nets are necessary. The tents have inbuilt nets and people in the past have generally not had a big problem with insects but be careful to look after yourself.
No need to bring cutlery etc, we have all that for you in Nairobi.
Girls will have to dress conservatively in public and especially in schools and the childrens homes. You will draw unnecessary attention to yourself and maybe cause offence if revealing clothing is worn.
Keep your money somewhere safe in a bumbag. Do not bring large wads of notes with you. If you take sterling cash with you make sure they are Bank of England notes, not regional notes eg Northern Irish notes or Scottish notes.
Do not pack too much and make sure you know where everything is! All the bags and group equipment will be stored on the truck in the special areas underneath, so generally you carry a small bag with essentials in it while you're on the road. You can use the truck as a storage for bags, or your tent or your room.
Remember that Nairobi is a very cosmopolitan city and you can absolutely anything in the stores and supermarkets! Don't bother carrying huge weights of soaps and shampoos with you, you can literally get anything you want on arrival. You can also buy great clothes in the markets, so no need to pack for ten weeks. Most people take about 15 kgs and then buy T-shirts there, and for a fraction the price of home!
Also don't forget:
Your passport - valid for at least six months beyond the return date.
Insurance - comprehensive travel and medical insurance cover.
Immunisation booklet - with details of all the jabs you've had.
Passport photos - take about six of these to be used as identification
Student cards - as identification and to get student discounts for things like National Parks
List of emergency telephone numbers - to cancel/call insurers, credit/debit cards
Tickets and itinerary - remember to leave copies of these with friends or family
Money - a mixture of some cash, travellers' cheques and credit cards.
List of useful contact numbers - such as British Embassy/Consulate, insurance company and credit card 24 hour emergency telephone number.
- We are driven by good intentions and not just good practise; our trips work with professional bodies that work full time in the field of international development.
- We do not contract out our trips, we employ full time staff, offering job security and good benefits.
- We are passionate about responsible tourism and our company has promoted sustainable development since 1995, and it is still growing!
- We work with Moving Mountains which is tightly linked with the company, and provides relevant long term programmes and projects that benefit the host communities.
- Financial security guaranteed as we are AITO bonded.
- We are members of Interhealth which gives you access to pre-trip health information and on-site assistance by phone in the event of an emergency.
- Our staff only work for Adventure Alternative.
- We are registered with KATO and use the AMREF tourist evacuation scheme with the Kenya Flying Doctors.
- We use low cost sustainable technologies and a business model which incentivises a local NGO.
- We have independent research to evaluate and assess the projects we run.
- We deliver value and an informed choice to our clients, through a highly comprehensive communications network that you can access, and we can provide that evidence to stand behind everything we say.
- We have credibility because our projects are not all self-regulated, but assessed in a collaborative process that involves many stakeholders such as the community leaders, the NGO staff and the regulatory bodies in Kenya.
- We have progressive ideas about the structural determinants of poverty and the implementation of 'clever aid' to create sustainable benefits.
- We don't take people's jobs, we use these trips to invest in people.
- We fulfil the criteria of Fair Trade Volunteering.
- We run a national volunteering scheme in Kenya which means that young Kenyans get to join you on their very own Gap Year, so it's not a one-sided experience.
- Our projects and programmes determine the Gap trip, not the other way around.
- We believe in what we do, and we have the experience to carry it out.