1. What to pack for your African Safari - Luxury Safari:
Packing for a safari can be a challenge as many of the smaller aircraft and charter planes have a weight restriction of 20kgs of luggage per person. Many lodges and luxury safari camps do offer a laundry service so not much is needed. At a number of the more luxurious lodges, people do tend to make an effort in the evening, but this can be as simple as a clean shirt and a colorful scarf. Day wear while on safari should be in neutral colors so as not to attract or alarm the game.
- Camera, Binoculars and ipod if necessary.
- Additional batteries, memory cards and USB memory stick.
- A comfortable pair of walking shoes and a pair of sandals.
- Long trousers or convertible trousers.
- Shorts and a skirt
- Long sleeved shirt
- Sarong and swim wear.
- A scarf
- Fleece. This is better than wool.
- Underwear and socks
- Cap or hat
- Raincoat or poncho if you are travelling in the rainy season.
- Sunglasses and sunscreen.
- A small first aid kit, although all lodges will have basic medication on hand.
- During the winter months we do suggest you bring along a pair of ‘longjohns’ or thermal underwear that can be worn under your usual trousers. This saves on space and can be taken off as the days warm up.
2. What to expect on a typical day on Safari in Africa – Luxury Safari:
05h00 – You will receive a wake up call ….its a early start to the day 05h30 – Meet your ranger and tracker for early morning tea and coffee before heading out on safari, typically on open 4X4 safari vehicles. The best game viewing is to be found first thing in the morning and the anticipation is half the excitement! You could meet a herd of elephants at a drinking hole, observe a leapord in the thick bush or follow a pack of wild dog . That is what makes a safari so exciting …you just never know what the African bush wil deliver for the day . 09h30 – Safari vehicles start returning from the game drives and you can enjoy a delicious full English breakfast . 11:00 – Depending on the season and the rules of the reserve, many lodges offer a Safari Walk with an armed tracker. This gives you a chance to concentrate on the smaller wonders of the African bush such as insects and birds. The tracker will tell you fascinating stories of the bushveld as well as the traditional cultural and medicinal properties of trees and plants. After your walk you will have a chance to relax and unwind or enjoy a swim . 13h00 – A delicious lunch is served. After lunch there is more time to relax and soak up the splendour of your surrounds. 16h00 – As the African sun begins to ease away , guests and rangers meet for afternoon tea before the evening Game Drive. 16:30 – Safari Time! You will head out on your second Game Drive for the day . The animals become more active again and the nocturnal animals get ready for their hunting. Your ranger will be driving the vehicle and the tracker is up front looking out for tracks and spotting the animals. 18h00 – As the sun sets your ranger will pick a good spot for a sundowner where you will stop to watch the sunset and enjoy some sundowners and refreshments. 18h30 – As it starts to get dark, the tracker and guide use a powerful spotlight to catch sight of the animals. The animals eyes reflect in the spot light and the ranger and tracker will concentrate on finding the nocturnal animals such as Leopards and sunset hunters such as Lions. 19h30 – The timing of dinner is determined by the activities on safari! All depends how much is happening on your afternoon game drive . You will have a chance to freshen up before dinner . Drinks will be served at the bar before you head towards the dining area . 20h00 – Dinner Time. At most lodges, there are a number of places to enjoy dinner at the lodge and weather dependant the camp manager will select the perfect venue. Your ranger usually joins you for dinner and the camp fire stories have been known to continue into the early hours! You get to retire to your suite for some peaceful sleep before the next exciting safari day.
3. Respecting the Wildlife and your Safety on Safari:
Arica has many local tribes and dialects and all of them come with a proud tradition behind them. While travelling in Southern and East Africa you will encounter local peoples such as the Masai, Himba and Samburu and all of them have a link to the land that we could never hope to understand. They have been affected by the creation of the reserves and tourism plays a huge part in their relationships with these reserves and if they see the benefits of tourism, this does justify things in a way. So support them, visit their manyattas and villages and learn a little of their proud heritage. They may be poor in our eyes, but they are so much richer than we believe.
The majority of operators have a favourite charity or clinic that they support. Let us know if you would like to help in any way and we can advise you the best route to take. Stationary and school equipment are always needed, sometimes more than clothing or food. We are more than willing to help and advise where we can.
The floral kingdom in Africa is vast. The well known saying of take only pictures and leave only footprints is so true. The eco systems are so fragile and can be unbalanced so quickly. Pay attention to the guides, especially while on safari as they will teach you the healing lore of the plants and open your eyes to the incredible world that is so often missed.
When one thinks of Africa one automatically thinks of the Big 5 and plains teeming with wildlife. We have all of this and more. We have the small animals too and insects and birdlife that is incomparable. These animals are becoming more and more threatened with the encroachment of civilization and the need for fossil fuels. They feel this danger too.
Animals are very aware of their ‘personal space’ and each species has its own danger area. Your guides have studied this and are able to recognize the danger signs. This may be as subtle as a flick of a tail, an ear that has been lowered or slight movement to the side. Please listen to your guides and observe with them. Our game is part of our continents wealth and we are proud to share this wonder with people who will respect and appreciate these phenomenal animals with us.
The allure of Africa is her endless horizons and unpopulated wilds and unfortunately with this will come under developed social structures such as hospitals and medical care. Although many countries do have excellent facilities, many of the areas you will be traversing don’t. For this reason, it is better to be prepared and make sure you have all your vaccinations in place before you travel. Travel Clinics would be able to help you with this. Please visit them with time to spare as some vaccinations would need to be ordered and some do need to have a rest period before you travel
In certain counties a Yellow Fever Vaccination is compulsory and in many instances you will not be able to enter a bordering country which is Yellow Fever free, without first producing proof that you have had your vaccination. This does last for 10 years and you are issued with a card proving your vaccination once it has been obtained. You will also be asked for proof of this yellow fever card on returning to your home country. At present, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia require yellow Fever vaccinations. Please check with your consultant if you will be traversing through these countries
Other vaccinations which should be a must for travel would be all the usual childhood ailments and vaccinations such as Hepatitis B, Diptheria, Tetanus, Measles, Mumps, Rubella and Polio. Boosters are available for those that have had these vaccinations as children. Please do check with your health practitioner before travelling to Africa.
Other recommended vaccinations would be Hepatitis A, Meningitis, Rabies and Typhoid. Cholera is still found in Africa, although in the majority of places you should be able to get bottled water. Rabies has also pretty much been eradicated from Africa, but it does rear its head every now and again. Please be aware of animals at all times, both wild and domesticated and never approach an unknown animal or try and feed any either.
Please visit www.netdoctor.co.uk/travel/africa.shtml for further information.
The majority of countries in Africa require one to have a visa for travel. In many instances the visa can be purchased at the border, especially for Americans, British, Australian and New Zealand passport holders. Other Nationalities very often need a visa in advance. Africa is unfortunately a continent where rules and regulations can change at a moments notice, so we do advise you to double check all information on visa requirements yourself before booking a safari as some visas can take up to 6 weeks to obtain. For great service and excellent up-to-date advice, please visit www.projectvisa.com.
6. Why is travel insurance important:
Travel Insurance protects your investment in your trip. You may recover the cost of pre-paid, non-refundable, and unused payments of your trip if you have to cancel because of:
- Illness, injury or death to the insured, a family member or traveling companion
- Bankruptcy or Financial Default of your travel supplier*
- Terrorist incident
- Called to jury duty
- Auto accident on the way to the airport
- Home damaged before departure
- Job termination
- Travel insurance must be purchased within 14 days of the initial trip deposit or payment in order to receive coverage for pre-existing medical conditions and financial default.
- Provides peace of mind while traveling
- Coverage for emergency medical expenses.
- Coverage for emergency medical transportation.
- 24 Hour hot-line for travel assistance.
7. How much does Travel Insurance cost?
The cost of Travel Insurance is based on the trip cost per person, the age of the travelers and the length of the trip. To request a personalized quote please email your travel information to [email protected]://live4africa.com What is your country of residence? What are the birthdates (month/day/year) of each traveler? What is the trip cost per person? What are the dates of your travel? Travel insurance is critical in today’s uncertain world to protect your travel investment, your health, belongings and vacation memories
8. We can help you with our services for your pre and post tour travel arrangements:
We are aware that with booking a safari meaning other factors come into play to, such as pre and post tour accommodation, transfers and internal flights. Please let us know what your requirements are and we can help you plan your stay from start to finish. We wish to make your travel experience in Africa as seamless and stress free as possible, Once you have chosen your dream getaway, your work is done. Leave the rest up to us.
9. Tipping in Africa:
Tipping is a personal choice and how much to tip is too, but one must remember that tourism in Africa is very demanding and the seen, as well as the unseen staff, work extremely hard to make your safari as seemingly perfect as we are sure it will be. In Africa the norm is a 10% tip and for exceptional service you can tip more. There is obviously a huge difference between the luxury and the budget safaris. Please see basic guidelines below.
Overland and Budget Camping Safari Tipping:
On an overland, the crew will be on call for 24 hours a day for the duration of your trip. As well as making sure that things run smoothly on a day to day basis, they also have a huge amount of work behind the scenes especially at border crossings and in major towns where the trucks and vehicles are checked and major shopping is done for the next days. Accounts and pre-planning and very often bookings are made along the road too. The group normally gets together as a whole and makes a kitty which can then be split amongst the crew. We do suggest a minimum of US$ 5 – 10 per crew member per day per couple travelling. We do understand that the long trips of 42 days or more means that this could add up considerably. Please use your discretion and bare in mind the long hours that these crew have dedicated to you.
Luxury Safari tipping:
This is a guideline for tipping .Gratuity is not obligatory; however it is customary throughout Africa. We recommend tipping be done directly or through a staff tip-box, whichever you feel more comfortable with. It is helpful to have a small supply of low-denomination notes handy. Herewith brief guideline to assist you:
- Transfers – US$2 per person
- Restaurants – 10% for good service, up to 15% for exceptional service
- Game Lodge Staff – US$ 10 – 15 per couple per day
- Rangers/ trackers – US$ 15 – 20 per couple per day
- Butler – USD$15 – per couple per day
10. 24 Hour Emergency contact while you are traveling in Africa:
your home country that we can contact in case of emergency. This is a precaution that is in place, for that unforeseen circumstance and not as a deterrent in anyway.
Please note this is an emergency number only. We do know from past experience that it is easier to solve a problem while on the ground rather than from several thousand kilometers away. Very often your tour-guide or lodge manager would be unaware of your unhappiness and just by speaking out, this issue could be resolved immediately. Please do let us know if you have any queries or have not had any action taken or solution to your request. Our ultimate goal is for you to have a superb experience and we will to everything in our power to ensure a seamless African vacation.
11. A few things to bring with:
- A copy of your passport (this must be certified)
- A copy of your return flight ticket
- 2 passport photographs
- A torch – always useful, especially for the Overland trips and budget accommodations. Many of the lodges and campsites in Africa are in places where electricity pylons and cables have not yet reached, so the facilities would be run off generator. To preserve fuel and to allow you to hear and experience the wonder of an African Night, these are switched off at a certain time each evening.
- A pen – especially useful for border crossings which never seem to have any spare.
- For those travelling in remote areas, or on specialized safaris such as the Gorilla trekking, we STRONGLY recommend a sports bra for the ladies.
- Wet Wipes and waterless hand sanitizer
- A comfortable pair of walking shoes
- A small day backpack with an internal pocket
- Spare batteries for the camera and video recorder, memory cards and a USB memory stick are also a bonus.
- Ziplock Bags – ideal for cameras and other items on rainy days and also to keep things clean and dust free.
- A small combination padlock.
- Sunscreen and lip balm
- A scarf is a lightweight extra that has multiple uses.
- Don’t forget your sunglasses.
- International Adapters. Please note that most places are run on generator and the power is not 24 hours. Some campsites have plug points at the vehicle, but others would provide charging at the reception desks. As there will be many people charging, we do suggest you bring along extra batteries etc.
- Flip Flops or waterproof shoes are ideal for those overlanding as you will be in communal ablutions.
12. General Health Tips: (African Sun , drink lots of water , Malaria, etc.)
Please visit www.netdoctor.co.uk/travel/africa.shtml for further information.
Malaria is rife in Africa and is the cause of more deaths than any other disease. It is caused by the Anopheles Mosquito and only the female carries the Malaria strain. This mosquito is most active in the early evening and morning. Please make sure to visit your travel clinic for malaria prophylaxis relevant to the area you will be travelling in. This medication should be brought along with you as it is not freely obtainable in all countries of Africa. Bring along long sleeved pants and shirts for the evenings and also an insect repellent. Repellents with DEAT in them can still be sold in most countries, although it has been banned for extensive use in most African countries. Certain prophylaxis such as Larium do cause a sensitivity to the sun and can cause hallucinations. Be sure to tell your tour guide if you are on this form of medication.
Dehydration is a real danger in Africa. Our sun is harsh and even on overcast days, it is a lot more dehydrating than the son in the European countries. Make sure you drink lots of water. In the lodges, water will be available, but if you have chosen and overland tour, please make sure you check with your guide when you are in a town or near a facility where water can be bought, so that you are not caught short and you can budget for the days needed. One should not drink less than 2 liters of water a day. To check for dehydration, pinch the skin on your hand and raise it slightly, it should drop back into position immediately with no delay. If your skin remains in a pinched position for any length of time – drink more water. Lower back pain and headaches are the first sign of dehydration. Please remember that alcohol will also remove water from your body, so if you have been drinking, add extra water to your normal daily ration. Diarrhea is very prominent, especially as you will have a change of climate, water and travel conditions. Be sure to pack a course of ‘Imodium’ or other tablets for a loose stomach. The majority of places will have a medical kit with them and the majority of your tour guides will have basic first aid kits with them, but it is always better to have the basics with you.
Basic first aid kits are always recommended, especially if one is travelling to a rural area. Once again, all lodges and campsites will have a first aid kit of their own and selected staff would have attended a Basic First Aid Course. Should you wish to take your own, please see the link for a basic kit: www.mayoclinic.com/health/first-aid-kits/FA00067.
This would be especially important for persons that would be going on a self-drive holiday, or in extremely remote areas.