You've chosen your safari adventure; you've booked it.... then what’s next?
Being prepared before you go travelling is important as it will ensure you have the right information. African Diurnal Safaris provides all the pre-travel advice necessary for the preparation of your tour; from what to pack to how to carry your money. We’ve put together a check-list below of the things to consider before you set off on your adventure.
Which documentation should I bring on my Safari?
A valid passport is required for entry into Tanzania and other East African countries. Please ensure your passport is valid for at least six months after the end of your planned trip. Please check with your departure country for visa requirements. Visas can be obtained at all points’ entry and embassies.
Should I have travel insurance?
It is strongly advised that you take out fully comprehensive insurance including medical, injury, delays, loss and damage of property and death. Africa Diurnal Safaris & Tours will not be held responsible for any such claims.
Please note: tickets of medical evacuation insurance are available on request.
Did Credit or Debit card accepted on ATM’s machines?
Most people choose to travel with a Credit or Debit card but this should not be relied solely upon. VISA is the most widely accepted card and is recommended. Mastercard and American Express are accepted only in selected locations. Some providers charge high fees for using Credit and Debit cards. It is now possible to obtain Forex Cash Cards from Travelex as an alternative to your usual Debit or Credit Card.
Please note that all ATM’s will ONLY dispense cash in local currency in East African Countries. Most activities are payable by credit card (surcharges will apply) and some by cash.
How much in cash should I bring on me?
Bring most of your spending money in cash as USD, Sterling or Euro. Generally, US dollars and Euro are the easiest to exchange. If your tour remains within East African Countries – Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda – you may opt to bring all your spending money in US dollars. If you carry US dollar bills in East Africa, please ensure they are clean, un-torn and issued post-2009. Anything else will incur a poor exchange rate or might be refused. Your guide can advise you where it is best to change money into the local currency on your tour and how much you are likely to require. Some tours may require you to have money already changed after arrival at the airport.
What clothing should I wear on safari?
Safari clothing and eveningwear should be comfortable and casual – cool cotton and linens are ideal. Bright colors should be avoided for wildlife viewing. Note: Avoid wearing dark colors such as blue and black as it attracts the tsetse fly. In addition to this, mosquitoes don’t like to be seen and so lighter clothing tends to repel them more than dark clothing. Also, please avoid wearing camouflage/army print as this is not acceptable in many areas. For early morning wildlife drives and at high altitudes, when evenings and mornings can be very chilly, warm sweaters (e.g. fleece) and layering of clothing (e.g. vest) are recommended. Revealing clothing is not appropriate and offends local customs, and swimwear should be reserved for the beach and pool only.
Light cotton clothing (long sleeves for the evenings are not a bad idea), shorts and sunglasses with a hat is suggested in the warm lowlands. While in the highlands, medium weight clothing with a warm jacket (e.g. fleece) is appropriate. As mentioned, we recommend layering of clothing on safari as temperatures can vary through the day. Note: You should dress conservatively when in the larger cities, both inland and coastal.
During the rainy season, a light raincoat (e.g. cagoule) and a sweater is best for the evenings. Most camps will provide an umbrella and waterproofs when required. Your list of Gorilla hiking gear should have trekking boots or shoes that can handle slippery mud, because it rains every now and then in the forest. You need a rain jacket, long sleeved shirt and gloves.
What should I do about medication / vaccinations?
Many countries in East Africa require you show evidence of an up-to-date Yellow Fever certificate particularly if you are travelling from an infected area, therefore we recommend you have a Yellow Fever inoculation as a precaution and bring your certificate with you. Polio and tetanus boosters should be up-to-date. Typhoid, Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Cholera, TB, and Meningitis inoculations are usually recommended.
As medical advice changes from time to time, your doctor and local travel clinic should be consulted about current information on health requirements and regulations. This should be done well in advance, as some injections need to be administered at least ten weeks in advance.
The incidence of HIV is much more common in Africa. Please be aware of this and take the necessary precautions. In areas where there is a lot of sand, ensure you wear flip flops, open sandals or barefoot. Wearing shoes and socks will attract sand flies.
Travelers to most parts of sub-Saharan Africa are strongly advised to take anti-malarial medication according to prescription recommendations, and to use insect repellents. Malaria is a serious disease, which is transmitted by infected mosquitoes. You must take preventative medication and we strongly encourage you to seek the advice of your doctor. In addition, it is essential that travelers take all possible precautions to avoid this disease.
Remember that mosquitoes are most active during the evening and night:
- Wear light colored clothing – mosquitoes don’t like to be seen. Wear long trousers and long-sleeved shirts in the evenings.
- Use mosquito repellents containing 35-50% DEET on all exposed skin
- Avoid wearing perfumes or aftershaves.
- Check your mosquito net to make sure that there aren’t any holes.
- Take your pills as prescribed and be aware if you are vomiting or have diarrhea, because your defense levels may drop.
If infection is suspected, medical advice should be sought immediately. Malaria is detectable with a simple blood screen and is easily treatable.
Can camps and lodges cater to my dietary / health requirements?
Most properties are extremely good at catering to all sorts of allergies and dietary requirements, but it important that you let us know of any requirements in advance, so we can make the necessary arrangements.
Will there be electricity and do I need to bring a plug socket adapter?
Most countries in Africa have either round three-pin style, two pin European-style or square three-pin UK-style ranging between 220 and 240 volts. In most cases, camps and lodges will provide adapters, but it is always best to bring your own just in case. In some tented camps and lodges power is only available in the early mornings and evenings, and some do not have power in the rooms/ tents. There are also a few properties that do not have electricity in either the rooms or the tents. Torches are sometimes provided, but it is highly recommended that you bring your own. As most camps run on solar or a small generator, items like hair dryers cannot be used on safari as they will overload the system. If you need use of hairdryers we can provide further information of facilities on your specific itinerary. Always remember to switch off your lights when going to dinner to save on solar energy (and to avoid attracting insects into the rooms). Where sockets are not available please hand all batteries that need charging to the management who will charge at the main station.
Can I travel if I’m pregnant or bring my baby?
This is up to your own and your doctor’s discretion. We recommend visiting non-malarial areas, of which there are many options in Africa. If you have the medical go-ahead, let us know and we can design something around a non-malarial safari dependent on the age of the baby and the rules of the camp.
Will we be met at the airport?
Since we are responsible for you from the time you get through customs at the airport, right up to the time you are dropped off again at the other end, we will always send a trusted representative of African Diurnal Safaris to come and meet you.
Will there be Wi-Fi at the camp that I am staying at?
Many properties do have Wi-Fi, while some do not for reasons that vary between their remoteness and their desire to not distract from the safari experience. Please visit our website or ask your designated African Diurnal Safaris destination specialist for individual camp or lodge information.
How much cash should I bring for tips?
Tipping of your driver/guide/staff and other guides or helpers is not compulsory but is customary and will be left to your discretion. However, tipping can be an awkward area, so we have outlined what we think is suitable. Please remember that tipping amounts should be viewed in a local context and your average camp staff will probably earn about US$ 100 per month. Generally tipping breaks down into four main areas:
1. General Camp Staff
As a rule of thumb US$20 per person per day to cover all camp staff is acceptable. Lodges will normally provide you with an envelope for camp staff gratuities. This should be handed in on departure. Smaller camps and lodges have a small communal tip box where you can leave your tips for the manager to sort out later. If they do not, then please give the tip to the manager, in full view of other members of staff, upon departure.
2. You’re Guide and Cook for camping safari
Again, US$20 per person per day for your guide is acceptable and US$15 per person for the cook during the camping safari. This should be tipped at the end of the safari and is dependent on how well you think that he or she has done his or her job. If you are a small group or family, we suggest tipping a total US$60 per day to the guide.
Are there any luggage restrictions on safari?
As your itinerary will invariably involve at least one leg in a light aircraft, your luggage allowance is restricted to 15kgs (33lbs) per person including hand luggage and camera and photographic equipment. You are also required to take your entire luggage in a soft-shell bag to fit it in the small hold. For this reason, it is also a good idea to carry any fragile, breakable items in your hand luggage with you. The carriage of excess baggage is not permitted on these flights and this rule is strictly adhered to. As many camps and lodges provide laundry services, you are likely to not need too many changes of clothes. If you are travelling via private aircrafts, your luggage allowance may be more, and we will confirm this closer to your departure time.
Will I see wildlife on my trip?
By its very nature, wildlife is wild and so nothing can be guaranteed, but it is highly likely since the African wilderness is one of the best areas in the world for wildlife sightings.
What’s level of fitness is required during gorilla trekking?
Different families require different times, some gorilla families are easier to take, if you are not very fit, or facing old age, the Rushegura Gorilla family in Bwindi Impenetrable is the one you must insist on with your tour operator or Safari Company. For most of the families, you may need to work out before you can take a more challenging family trek. But this should not worry you, it’s not mountaineering! At the Uganda Wildlife Authority briefing point you shall receive free, walking poles or sticks. Our safari guide will give you enough water to help you during your Gorilla trekking safaris.