Things To Know Before You Go

So you've booked your safari, you're very excited, you’re looking forward to the adventure of a lifetime… however, you have some questions! We've compiled a list of our most frequently asked questions plus answers, so you can feel as prepared as possible for your trip. Here are the things you need to know - before you go!

What vaccinations do I need?
It is important to ensure you have the right vaccinations for travel to Africa before you set off on your trip. It is important that you speak to your doctor about the most up to date vaccination advice. The vaccinations normally recommended for every country are: hepatitis A + B, typhoid and diphtheria. If you are spending time in Kenya, whether for your whole holiday or for just one night, it is very important that you are also vaccinated against Yellow Fever – as this will be required for entering any other African countries. . Additionally, malaria is endemic throughout all the areas we operate safaris, so we strongly advise you to take malaria prophylactics. The only exception to this rule is parts of South Africa. These include Madikwe and the game lodges around Port Elizabeth. Travel clinics can sometimes have long waiting lists, so make sure you get your vaccinations booked up in advance!
 
Can I get my visa on arrival?
Where and when you get your visa depends on a number of factors, such as where you're from and where you're travelling to. We provide a guide below, but it is important to note that this applies to US and UK citizens only. We cannot be held responsible for the visa requirements of any destinations, so please contact the relevant authorities to get the most up-to-date visa information.
•    Botswana
A visa is not needed for a stay of less than 90 days.
•    Kenya
A visa is necessary and obtainable on arrival for $50pp.
•    Mauritius and the Seychelles
A visa is not needed for a stay of less than 90 days.
•    Mozambique
A visa must be obtained prior to travel.
•    Namibia
A visa is not needed for a stay of less than 90 days.
•    Rwanda
A visa is necessary and obtainable on arrival for $50pp.
•    South Africa
A visa is not needed for a stay of less than 90 days.
•    South Africa if travelling with children

If you are travelling with children aged under 18 years, you will be asked to show each child's original unabridged birth certificate. Where only one parent is accompanying or no parents are present, parental or legal consent for each child to travel is also required, plus a photocopy of the passport of the parent not travelling.
•    Tanzania
A visa is necessary and obtainable on arrival for $50pp (UK) or $100pp (US).
•    Uganda
A visa must be obtained prior to travel.
•    Zambia
A visa is necessary and obtainable on arrival for $50pp.*
•    Zimbabwe

A visa is necessary and obtainable on arrival for $30pp.*
* If your trip includes both Zambia and Zimbabwe, you can purchase a UniVisa on arrival at either country for $50pp – this covers entry to both countries (UK and US).
 
Can I charge electronic devices?
The mains electricity supply in virtually all lodges is 240 volts, 50 cycles, with UK-style plugs (except South Africa where sockets are 2-prong or 3-prong with round pins). All camps will be able to recharge your camera batteries.
 
What are the luggage restrictions?
This depends on where you go.
For Kenya,Tanzania and Mozambique, internal scheduled and charter aircraft flights have a baggage limit of 15kg per person, including hand luggage. Please take your luggage in soft bags rather than rigid suitcases. The maximum dimensions of the soft bags must be 36cm (14.5 inches) x 68cm (27 inches).
For Botswana, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, internal scheduled and charter aircraft flights have a baggage limit of 20kg per person, including hand luggage (the exception to this is South Africa, which is 20kg pp plus 5kg pp hand luggage). Please take your luggage in soft bags rather than rigid suitcases. The maximum dimensions of the soft bags must be 25cm (10 inches) wide x 30cm (12 inches) high and 62cm (24 inches) long.

Where can I get the currency?
We advise you to take all your money in US dollars except if you are travelling to Kenya, where the currency is the shillings. You can get your money exchanged for both of these currencies before you travel. Please be advised that US dollar notes dated before 2004 are not usually accepted because of the risk of counterfeiting. Credit cards are accepted in many locations, but there is often a large surcharge on card payments. There is no need to exchange your money into local currency, with the exception of South Africa.
 
What clothes do I wear on safari?
Informal and casual dress is appropriate for the majority of lodges. However, smart casual clothes are recommended for evenings in Africa's top lodges. On safari, neutral colours like khaki are ideal for tops, shorts and trousers. A fleece is useful for the early morning, when there can be quite a chill in the open vehicles. The evenings can also be cold, so we suggest you take along a light cardigan or sweater. For more details, we tells you what to pack for your safari trip!
 
How much should I tip?
We recommend a tip of US$15 (ZAR 170 if South Africa) per person per day to your specific guide. We also recommend a $15 total tip (ZAR 170 if South Africa) per day for the communal tip box – this covers all the people behind the scenes. Tipping is always done at the end of a stay, not during.
 
Are there any threats to my safety I should be concerned about?
No. If there were any issues in any of the countries where we operate our trips, we would not propose them as potential destinations. Furthermore, we receive regular updates from the Foreign Office on countries where we operate, so if any issues were to arise, we would make you aware of them before your date of travel.
 
Is my food and drink all inclusive?
The majority of safari lodges are all inclusive. However, some operate on a full board basis, where all food is included but guests pay for drinks. City and beach lodges tend to operate on a half board or bed and breakfast basis. All lodges are different, though, so do speak to your safari specialist before you embark on your trip!
 
Can I drink the local water?
Whilst in some areas people do drink the local water, we would always advise our guests to drink bottled water throughout their stay in Africa. If you have any queries about this on your trip, just speak to your camp/lodge managers.

Packing For Your Safari
If you have never been on safari before, packing can be quite daunting! Are you taking too much, too little, what will the weather be like, are there laundry services, how smart do you have to dress in the evenings? We have all been through this and we have all asked these questions!

Luggage limits
Firstly you need to check if you are taking any light aircraft flights – and if you are, check what the luggage allowance is. It is usually 20kg in Southern Africa, with the majority of East Africa’s planes having a limit of 15kg INCLUDING hand luggage! It is also worth stressing that you will need to have a soft-sided bag that can be manipulated into a small hold in the plane. Airlines can be VERY strict on baggage limits, so it’s important to double-check your limit before you travel.

Laundry
As many as 98 per cent of all lodges in safari Africa will do laundry and it is usually included in your daily price. It tends to take 24 hours to get laundry back to guests, so if you are staying for three nights you can send it in on your first or second night to get done. There is also usually washing powder in the bathroom for your more personal items.

Long trousers and gloves in Africa?!
If you are travelling to Southern Africa in winter (typically May/June/early July), it can be surprisingly cold on your early-morning game drives and in the late evenings. We always suggest taking a fleece with you, together with long trousers – and even gloves! However, the days are usually very pleasant and quite warm, so you need to layer to ensure you are warm in the mornings and then can be dressed cooler as the day goes on.
 
Shoes
Unless you are doing some major hiking or serious walking safaris when you are in East Africa, you will normally just need a good pair of trainers – hiking or proper walking boots are unnecessary.

How smart should I dress?
Ultimately this depends upon the quality of your hotel or safari lodge. In the evenings, the dress is still casual in the vast majority of camps – these are safari lodges, after all. However, some of Africa’s top lodges &Beyond, are super-expensive luxury lodges where à la carte dinners are common. Dressing smart casual is always recommended. Either way, you will always want to have long trousers and a light jacket or jumper for chilly mornings or evenings.
 
Khaki colours….or black and white?!
The other thing to bear in mind is the colours recommended for your safari. We always suggest wearing neutral colours like khaki. Try to avoid any bright colours and white clothing. I know most places will make mention of also avoiding black and navy blue, but this is mainly for areas where there are tsetse flies – and trust me, they will find you if they want to, they are just more attracted to dark colours. If you are anything like me and your closet is mainly dark colours, don’t feel you need to go and get a whole new wardrobe just for your safari – get a couple of neutral-coloured t-shirts or shorts and mix and match these with your jeans or dark shirts.

Here is my safari check list!
•    Passport and Visas
•    Travel Insurance – everyone should have adequate insurance for their trips.
•    Proof of vaccinations – especially Yellow Fever certificates if needed.
•    Anti-malarials – the majority of ‘Safari Africa’ is high risk of malaria. Take it seriously.
•    A hat, sunglasses and sunscreen – it gets hot during the days, even in winter, and the African sun can be very strong.
•    Lip balm or Vaseline – long days in the sun and the wind when you are on game drives can make your lips very dry.
•    Basic medical kit including anti-histamine cream – if you are prone to getting bitten then this works wonders!
•    Glasses – if you wear contact lenses, the dust from being on safari can irritate your eyes, so we always suggest people take a pair of reading glasses just in case.
•    Binoculars – some of the lodges will have a spare pair, but we always suggest taking a pair with you.
•    Rehydration salts – this is especially useful if you are going to Northern Tanzania, as it can get very hot and you are sometimes out for full days.
•    A good book – afternoons are mainly a time for you to have a rest or siesta. I always try to get a book that is set in the country I am visiting.
•    Pen and paper – you never know when you might need this!
•    An excellent camera – photos are a major part of a day on safari. We have a number of expert photographers working with Kenya Turacos. They are significantly better than Us, so please feel free to call through for a chat. My only recommendation is the longer the lens, the better!

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