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Travel Tips and
Frequently Asked Questions

Important Safari

Travel Information

Africa is an unknown continent for many people, so it’s not unusual to have questions and concerns when planning a safari trip or vacation here. We know and understand the issues of our customers very well, and with that in mind, we share here the most researched subjects about tourism in Africa which we are sure will put any concerns you have to rest.

Please ensure your passport contains three (3) consecutive blank pages and is valid for at least six (6) months from the return date of travel.

It is imperative that you check with the relevant Embassy or authority as to whether you require visas for your trip, including any transit points. Visa requirements (and costs) vary, with some needing to be arranged weeks or even months in advance. As such, please do not leave this to the last minute.

Kindly note, we refrain from providing specific visa information, as requirements vary hugely and are subject to change, however please visit this website for real-time information: https://www.iatatravelcentre.com/passport-visa-health-travel-document-requirements.htm.

Please note Safari365 is not responsible or liable for any issues arising from clients not holding correct visas at the time of travel.

Should Safari365 be booking airline tickets for you (domestic or international), it is essential that the first, middle and surname you provide us with exactly match the passport names you will be travelling on, as airline tickets are non-refundable for inaccurate information.

Many short haul flights in remote parts of Africa are conducted in light aircraft. These are usually subject to a 15kg (33lbs) luggage limit per person in soft-sided bags, and have a passenger weight limitation of 100kgs (220lbs) per person. If you are above these weight thresholds, please discuss these with your travel consultant. These restrictions do not apply to scheduled (commercial) aircraft flights.

We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive cancellation, medical and travel insurance prior to travel. Please see further recommendations here: https:/www.safari365.com/travel-insurance/

 

For vaccinations, innoculations or medications you may need for your trip, please consult your medical practitioner prior to travel for advice (including yellow fever and malaria requirements). Kindly note, we refrain from providing specific vaccination and medical information, as requirements vary greatly and are subject to change, however please refer to these websites for real-time information: https://www.iatatravelcentre.com/passport-visa-health-travel-document-requirements.htm and/or https://www.iatatravelcentre.com/world.php

Please note when travelling with children under 18, it is common for parents to have to carry additional legal documents such as unabridged birth certificates and/or affidavits from the absent travelling parent (if one parent is travelling alone). Please therefore carefully check all visa and entry requirements for the countries you are visiting or transiting through, as there may be additional steps needed. 

 
For further information please see below, or ask your consultant for more information on any countries not listed below:

We have included most additional items in this quotation that are known at the time of booking. Unless otherwise specified, these are the standard inclusions and exclusions:

 

General Inclusions:

– Park and Gate entrance fees

– All meals at safari lodges, and breakfast at hotels and guest houses

– Soft drinks and local beverages at most safari lodges (but excluding premium alcohol)

– All game viewing activities at safari lodges (game drives, and bush walks where specified)

 

General Exclusions:

– Tipping and gratuities

– Airline rebooking fees and seat allocation or baggage fees (which vary significantly per airline)

– Items of personal nature (telephone calls, laundry, visas etc)

* Please note, there may also be rare occasions where Governments or suppliers implement last minute changes to park/gate entrance fees, fuel surcharges, VAT and/or taxes. These types of increases are outside of our control and any additional compulsory costs will be passed on to yourself.

One of the first questions we ask clients planning an African safari for is a guideline of their budget. Africa can be a very expensive or very affordable destination depending on various factors (what time of year you travel, how you get around, what areas you want to see, and what level of luxury you’d like to experience). As we customise our safaris, we can work with almost any budget, but by booking through us you’re assured of excellent value and competitive rates. 

The figures below are estimations based on safari travel to Africa’s most popular destinations – based on a 10-day itinerary, which would include accommodation in privately run camps and lodges and be fully inclusive of all internal flights and transfers, all accommodation, meals and local beverages; and exclusive of international airfare. 

– Value or budget-orientated safaris (3*) cost between US$2 000 to US$3 000 per person sharing

 – Mid-range or standard-level safaris (4*) cost between US$3 000 to US$5 500 per person sharing

 – Top-end luxury safaris (5* plus) cost from US$7 500 and above per person sharing

Note that costs vary dramatically by country and according to ease of access/availability of accommodation – for example, an itinerary to the remote areas of Botswana, Tanzania and Kenya will cost more than an itinerary to Zimbabwe, South Africa or Namibia. Timing can greatly impact cost for certain destinations too – booking during Green Season or the Shoulder Seasons will save you money, for example. We recommend speaking to us about crafting a cost-effective itinerary based on your chosen destinations, should your timing be flexible and budget be a factor. 

Great efficiencies in cost can be found in travelling as a group of family or friends, especially where vehicle and accommodation costs can be split between the group. 

We work closely with suppliers on being able to provide special offers and last-minute booking deals. These specials often reward longer stays (four nights or longer) or when a supplier has short-notice availability.

Africa derives a significant portion of its foreign revenue from tourism, so it is in both the private companies’ and government’s interests to keep visitors safe in their countries. Regardless, Safari365 strongly advises that you take out the correct comprehensive travel and medical insurance to cover yourself against all eventualities and circumstances. Trip insurance should cover you for events that may occur before, or during travel; such as trip cancellation, lost or stolen baggage, emergency evacuation, medical expenses and emergency cash transfer. 

HEALTH

Malaria is a widespread risk throughout Africa, therefore it is important to consult with your medical practitioner or travel clinic three months before departure or as soon as your holiday has been booked. If you’re heading to malaria-endemic regions, the prophylactic regime should be taken without missing doses. The less common insect-borne diseases that you may encounter are sleeping sickness, tick bite fever and dengue. Precautionary measures for all of these include wearing long-sleeved clothing and using insect repellent – most camps and lodges supply insect repellents and are equipped with mosquito nets.

There is no risk of yellow fever in Southern Africa, but as it is contagious, a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for entry into certain African countries. This may be obtained from the travel clinic where you received the Yellow Fever Vaccination.

HIV is prevalent in Africa, so always use precautions to reduce the risk of this and other sexually transmitted diseases. 

WILDLIFE

We only recommend lodges with qualified and trained guides who will accompany you on safari – these guides are armed with an in-depth understanding of wildlife behaviour and will avoid situations that could be potentially dangerous. Always remember that the animals you encounter are wild and in their natural habitat, and that you should never get out of the vehicle without the permission of your guide. Follow the instructions of your guide at all times, and stay aware of your surroundings. Within your camps too, you may come across a variety of wild animals (most camps are unfenced and within the natural habitat of free-roaming wildlife) so adhere to the advice and instructions given by your guides. 

WEATHER

Daytime temperatures in Africa can be extreme, so adequate sun protection and a hat is essential. It is also important that you drink plenty of water while on safari to limit the effects of dehydration.

CRIME

Most safaris take place in remote areas, away from villages, towns and cities, and so the risk of crime for visitors travelling to tourist destinations is generally low. Transfers (by road or air) between airports, hotels and lodges are executed by reputable companies or the properties themselves, and so you will not be left unattended at any time during your safari, meaning your chances of encountering problems is minimal. However, no country is 100% safe and it is wise to take precautions when travelling and to let common sense prevail. When in towns and cities, do not carry large amounts of cash in your pocket or wear flashy or expensive jewellery. This should be placed in a safety box at your lodge/camp or preferably left at home. Never leave your baggage unattended at the airport and don’t walk around in deserted suburbs, especially after dark.

If you are self-driving it is important to lock your doors and keep windows as far up as possible. Plan your route ahead of time and always have clear maps on hand. Do not leave your handbag in view – rather keep it locked in the boot of your vehicle.

A variety of types of accommodation is available on safari – each with its own benefits. Speak to us about the ins and outs of each to determine which will best suit your travel needs. We recommend planning your safari at least six to 12 months prior to your dates of travel (even further in advance for exclusive camps in destinations such as the Serengeti or Okavango Delta). If you are travelling as a group, plan well in advance. Note that due to the active nature of African safaris, most camps and lodges require that children need to be at least six years of age (some have a 12-year minimum) in order to participate in game activities. This will always be at the rangers’ discretion. 

The overview below will give you an idea of what each type entails: 

SAFARI LODGES

Options vary greatly in this category, from basic three-star accommodation to luxurious five-star. Safari lodges are permanent structures, and are often designed to blend into the African bush. This is the most typical type of safari accommodation in South Africa, Kenya, Namibia and Botswana. You will most likely find air conditioning, a small library, a pool, a spa, laundry service, high-quality cuisine and excellent service.

PERMANENT TENTED LODGES

As the name suggests, these are non-movable permanent structures built on a concrete or wooden base with canvas tent sides. Permanent tented lodges merge the secluded, intimate atmosphere of tented lodging with the modern convenience of a safari lodge, and offer a deeper connection to nature. They generally feature private decks overlooking the bush, large sleeping areas, a separate bathroom, showers with hot and cold running water and electricity. Public areas typically include a bar, lounge, dining areas, viewing decks, a pool and a curio shop. Some will have Internet and air conditioning.

MOBILE TENTED AND SEASONAL CAMPS

For those that are a little more adventurous, Tanzania and Botswana have a number of seasonal and mobile tented camps from which to choose. These non-permanent, luxury tents are reminiscent of Ernest Hemingway’s East Africa adventures and allow you to be fully immersed in your environment. Camps are set up in remote game viewing areas away from tourist circuits and are often erected for three to six-month periods following the Great Migration and other wildlife movements, putting you in the best locations for game viewing. Generally campsites are small and sleeping tents are large, with comfortable furnishings, complete with flushing toilets and hot and cold running water. A separate dining tent and often a lounge/library offer room to relax away from your tent. 

FLY CAMPING, LIGHT MOBILE CAMPING AND SLEEP OUTS

For the very adventurous, there are well-organised but simple ‘fly-camping’ options, usually associated with walking safaris. This option is the most versatile, basic and rugged. If you are comfortable sleeping in the open with nothing but a thin-walled tent/mosquito net separating you from the soundtrack of nearby hippos and wildebeest, this option is for you! Immerse yourself fully in the wilderness in a location chosen by your accompanying guide. 

Natural tones in durable fabrics (greens, browns, olives and khakis) allow you to blend in as much as possible and prevent you from disturbing the wildlife. White, bright and pale clothing should be avoided (it stands out), as should black and blue (especially in East Africa as they attract tsetse flies). Note that camouflage clothing is not allowed and in some countries it could cause you to be arrested. We recommend packing the following items:

 – Comfortable long-sleeved t-shirts 

–  Sturdy shoes

 – A warm jacket or fleece 

 – Hat and bandanas

 – Swimwear

 – Binoculars

 – Camera

 – Sunscreen

 – Torch

 – Mosquito repellent

As Africa has evolved and developed as a travel destination, so has the range of different safari types. Here is a breakdown:

FLY-IN SAFARIS

This is the easiest way to get from A to B quickly, maximizing time spent in the wilderness. You will make use of charter or scheduled aircraft to fly directly to your safari lodge of choice, where your guide will be waiting for you for the start of your safari. Fly-in safaris are available for every destination we specialise in, and in some areas they are the only option available.

PRIVATE GUIDED SAFARIS

Safari365 offers a private guided safari option – which gives you the exclusivity and freedom of having your own vehicle and the services of a private guide for the duration of your safari. Guides have immense knowledge of the African bush and a wealth of insights, which they will share with you over the course of your safari. Safari365 will pre-plan your itinerary and your guide will accompany you for the duration of your trip. The calibre of guides ranges, with the most sought after charging in excess of US$500 per day. In some instances (especially our East Africa safari departures), the guides are local Tanzanian drivers and guides, whose services cost less but who still offer outstanding knowledge and skill.

SCHEDULED DEPARTURE SAFARIS

Designed to get the most value out of your safari for the best possible price, these safaris visit prime wildlife areas but generally travel on a group basis (where a number of strangers may travel together with the same interest or goal in mind). These safaris depart on pre-determined dates with a set itinerary routing.

SELF-DRIVE SAFARIS

Most common in South Africa and Namibia, these safaris make use of excellent road networks and game reserves well suited to independent travel. On a self-drive safari you explore at your own pace. This is a well-priced alternative but note that you will miss out on certain wildlife viewing opportunities that you can only experience in the company of a qualified guide.

SPECIALIST SAFARIS

A number of specific, targeted safari types have increasingly become available. As the names suggest, these may be Birding Safaris, Horse-riding Safaris, Photographic Safaris, Canoe Safaris etc. Speak to us for specialist itineraries for each.

FLY CAMPING SAFARIS

Often used in conjunction to walking safaris, fly camping is a minimalist camping experience in total contact with nature. By day you walk with qualified guides, and by night you sleep out under the stars with a lightweight, mobile tent erected for the evening.

As infrastructure and transport options vary between regions, we’ve addressed this question differently for Southern and East Africa respectively.

GETTING AROUND IN EAST AFRICA

East Africa is regarded as a developing destination with infrastructure still underdeveloped, road signage scarce and roads fairly unruly. This makes for a wonderful non-commercial holiday and safari experience, but it’s not a destination we recommend you visit with your own vehicle on a self-drive basis.

DRIVER GUIDES AND SAFARI VEHICLES

Safari365 can provide you with a professionally trained driver/guide, who knows the roads and conditions well and will get you safely from A to B. Safari vehicles are mostly 4×4 Toyota Land Cruisers or Land Rovers that are modified for superior safety and game viewing. You need the 4×4 capability to handle the tough road conditions throughout East Africa, and many of the roads are unmarked and potholed.

SCHEDULED AND CHARTER FLIGHTS

Distances are vast in East Africa and driving is not always a good utilisation of your vacation time – for this reason, most safari itineraries include scheduled or chartered flights directly to the landing strips of the lodges you will be staying at. These flights mostly employ small twin-engine light aircraft like the Cessna Grand Caravan. Please note that luggage restrictions apply – not more than 12-15kgs (depending on the altitude of the airstrip) that must be packed in soft bags. Passengers over 100kgs/220lbs also need to advise us before travelling.

INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS

Flying into and out of the correct international airports will save you a lot of time and could also save you money on unnecessary internal flights. Speak to one of our dedicated consultants before you book your international flights.

GETTING AROUND IN SOUTHERN AFRICA

Southern Africa’s road infrastructure – especially in South Africa and Namibia – is well signposted and maintained, but where you want to travel to (and how much time you have) will determine which option is best suited to your trip.

CAR HIRE

We utilise the services of reputable international car-hire companies, who offer a full range of cars. We are able to include GPS systems in hire vehicles as required. We rent vehicles on standard and full insurance cover, although we recommend full cover. We are also able to facilitate cross-border car rental as required.

TRANSFERS AND CHAUFFER DRIVE

We are able to arrange convenient transfer services with chauffeurs that will transfer you from A to B, at any hour of the day and any time of the week. For visitors to the Cape Winelands, it is a good idea to pre-arrange a chauffer driver if you intend on sampling the excellent wines of the region.

DOMESTIC SCHEDULED AND CHARTER FLIGHTS

Southern Africa has an excellent regional flight network with multiple routings to all regional hubs. When visiting some of the more remote safari destinations in Africa however, you will be required to travel by light aircraft. These slower and lower-flying aircraft provide an excellent opportunity to get a view of the destination from the air. Luggage restrictions apply for these aircraft – generally not more than 12-15kgs (depending on the altitude of the airstrip) that must be packed in soft bags. Passengers over 100kgs/220lbs also need to advise us before travelling.

RAIL TRAVEL IN SOUTH AFRICA

A number of luxury rail operators offer exciting routings in Southern Africa. Please see luxury African rail safaris for more information.

4X4 VEHICLE HIRE IN AFRICA

Should you be looking to get off the beaten track under your own steam, we can assist with 4X4 vehicles and camping facilities.

INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS

We generally recommend that our clients book their international routing themselves in their country of origin (as this proves more cost efficient). Please discuss your international flight routing and arrival/departure airport with your consultant before you book.

Once you are on African soil, allow us to manage all of your local flight logistics for easy coordination of all your travel services.

Your daily schedule while on safari may vary slightly according to your lodge, but all safari days follow a similar format:

6:00 AM

Early-morning wake-up call from your ranger and a cup of coffee. 

6.30-10:00 AM

Early mornings are considered the best time to view wildlife, so game drives are timed accordingly (the light is clear and the daytime heat will be avoided). During your drive, your safari guide will share their knowledge while navigating a route off-road in pursuit of game sightings. After the morning game drive you will head back to the lodge, where breakfast awaits (in some instances, a table may be set up in the wilderness for a ‘bush breakfast’).

11:00 AM – 3:30 PM

After breakfast, the day is yours to relax, rest or read. You’ll enjoy lunch at the lodge, after which you are free to do as you please. 

4:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Guests congregate in the late afternoon in the communal area for a cup of coffee (or high tea) before heading off on the afternoon game drive. These drives carry on into the early stages of the night in order to maximise the chance of spotting some of the rarer nocturnal animals. 

7:00-LATE

Sunset ushers in relaxing sundowners before dinner at the lodge and a debrief of the day over a glass of wine.

We recommend that tourists do some reading before embarking on an African safari, as this will help enrich your experience and gain some useful knowledge about the wildlife, cultures and history of Africa and the locations you intend to visit. While it is difficult to recommend a book that will cover everything, we have found that Bradt Travel Guides offer a comprehensive destination selection. Lonely Planet also offers an extensive range of African safari books, and you can also access useful resources on Africa on the Rough Guides website.

We’ve compiled a list of other African safari and travel books, which you may find interesting:

Beat about the Bush: Mammals – Trevor Carnaby

The Safari Companion: A Guide to Watching African Mammals – Richard Estes

The Kingdon Pocket Guide to African Mammals – Jonathon Kingdon

Birds of Africa South of the Sahara – Ian Sinclair

Field Guide to the Birds of East Africa

Around Africa on my Bicycle – Riaan Manser

White Mischief – James Fox

Out of Africa – Karen Blixen

My Pride and Joy – George Adamson

Born Free, Forever Free & Living Free – Joy Adamson

I Dreamed Of Africa – Kuki Gallman

The Ukimwi Road – Dervla Murphy

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