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By Julian 12 March 2020

Questions to ask before you go on a safari

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!

*Pre-safari questions to ask before you travel

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!

What are the luggage restrictions?

While the luggage requirements seem limited, don't forget that the lodges include laundry service, so you can pack less and have your laundry done as needed. You need less than you think and basic toiletries as with any hotel and bug spray are provided. For a list of luggage restrictions based on destination, check out this detailed blog.

For Tanzania, Kenya 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.

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. For a more detailed description of the visa and entry requirements, check out this blog – please 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.

Where can I get the currency?

We advise you to take all your money in US dollars except if you are travelling to South Africa, where the currency is the South African Rand. You can get your money exchanged for both of these currencies before you travel. Please be advised that US dollar notes dated before 2006 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.

*Questions around what to take on safari

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 are ideal. A fleece is useful for the early morning and evening, when there can be quite a chill in the open vehicles. For more details, you can head over to this blog, where we suggest packing essentials.

How much should I tip?

We recommend a tip of US$15 per person per day to your specific guide. We also recommend a $15 total tip 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. For more information, we've compiled a breakdown of how much to tip during a safari here.

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.

*Questions about your day-to-day safari

What do I do between the morning and evening game drives?

Rest and recover! The early mornings, afternoon drives, and large amounts of food in between can be tiring, so the period between drives works well as siesta time, for relaxing by the pool, for reading a book, or for going through photos. Time between game drives disappears very quickly!

What is a day on safari like?

A typical day on safari starts with a morning wake-up call followed by a morning activity. Lodge and camp schedules vary depending on the time of year and the area in which they’re located. After the morning activity, you’ll return to your lodge/camp for either breakfast or lunch depending on how long you’ve been out in the bush. You’ll then have the hottest part of the day in which to relax and rest – you can enjoy lunch and take a nap, for example. This is followed by high tea just before you head off on your next safari activity. Finally, you’ll return to your lodge/camp in time for dinner and drinks around the fire.

Will my travel arrangements be taken care of from start to finish?

Absolutely! We typically arrange airside meet-and-greets for clients at most of the airports across the destinations in which we operate. For the most part you’ll also be met by your driver or guide when travelling from one lodge or camp to the next, and from your lodge/camp to an airstrip or vice versa. The exception is if you opt to hire a vehicle to self-drive any part of your trip.

Will I have a private vehicle or shared game drives with other people?

We work with lodges and camps that tend to enforce a maximum person per vehicle policy of 6. This means that, although you’ll be sharing with other guests, everyone will get a side-view seat with unobstructed views. Some itineraries are configured in such a way that a private vehicle and guide are included for a portion of the trip, but the use of a private vehicle throughout your safari comes at an additional cost (and is subject to your lodge/camp having sufficient vehicles).

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, but do speak to your safari specialist before you embark on your trip to find out more.

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.

*Questions about safety in Africa

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.

What do I do in case of an emergency?

We have a 24 hour emergency line which is serviced by some of our most experienced safari consultants. If anything is amiss they are there to assist you regardless of time or date.

If you have a question about your safari to Africa that we haven't answered above, please don't hesitate to contact our team of experts here. They will be more than happy to answer any of your queries. Alternatively, take a look below at some of our guides and tips for your adventure: