Planning a trip this big, this exciting, you're bound to have a few questions. Browse the FAQS below to see what other clients have asked about and you may find the answers you need. Of course, feel free to call us Monday through Friday between 9 am and 5 pm (EST) at 800-235-3692. We'll be happy to help.
What is it like to go on safari?
- When is the wildebeest / zebra migration in Kenya & Tanzania?
- What do people wear on safari?
- How is the food on safari?
- What is the electricity like?
- Can I bargain in Africa?
- Can I travel as a single?
- Safari Guides
Preparing for your trip
- What countries do I need a visa for?
- Will there be any extra costs while on safari?
- Is trip insurance available?
- Can I use my credit card while I am on safari?
- How much luggage can I bring?
- Will there always be a representative when I arrive in Africa?
- What can I expect tipping to be?
- Safari Documents
- What inoculations are required?
- Can I drink the water?
- Are we safe from the animals?
- Are there snakes and bugs?
What is it like to go on safari?
When is the wildebeest / zebra migration in Kenya & Tanzania?
Every year the Wildebeest, Zebra & Thompson Gazelle migrate from the Serengeti National Park to the Masai Mara National Park. All the other animals are non-migratory. You can expect to see the migration in the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania from November through June. You can expect to see the migration in the Masai Mara National Park in Kenya from July through October.
What do people wear on safari?
The emphasis for clothing is on comfort and informality. AfricaTours supplies our clients with a suggested packing list.
How is the food on safari?
Breakfast consists of a selection of fresh fruits, juices, hot and cold cereal, eggs, sausage, bacon, toast and fresh baked bread served with tea or coffee. For lunch, you may choose from a hot and cold buffet, and even try some African cuisine. You can expect dinner to be of high standards, that which you would find in a top restaurant. Remember to leave room for specially prepared desserts.
What is the electricity like?
Voltage is 220-240 AC and plugs are usually 3-pin square, but most hotels and lodges have 110 AC for shavers. It is recommended for you to take your own adapter plug and most lodges DO NOT provide adapters.
Can I bargain in Africa?
In Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, you will find shops of every kind selling almost anything you want including safari clothing, gemstones and jewelry, akimbo wood carvings, local handicrafts in beadwork, Kiondo baskets, printed fabrics and many other souvenirs. The markets are a cultural experience and deserve a visit for fun and for the bargains. Bargaining is a way of life in the curio shops so doesn't be shy.
You may wish to bring things from home to bargain with. The locals love caps and tee shirts with logos of US cities or teams. Also bandanas, pens and pencils and even used blue jeans. This is suggested at the local markets or roadside stops, but not in the nicer shops in the cities or the lodges. Be careful about making purchases and then shipping them home. If you do decide to do this, make sure you pay for the shipping up front otherwise you may receive a shock when you come home and receive the shipping bill (it can sometimes be twice what you where quoted).
Can I travel as a single?
Yes, you can travel as a single or with a group. There are no restrictions in Africa if you would like to travel alone.
We only use local guides, familiar with the game, culture and politics of the country. Guides in Kenya must to go to college and take courses that include wildlife, birds, tribes, geography and history. The curriculum includes courses on vehicle maintenance and a second language. Guides are sent to refresher courses in customer care, environment care, and are sent annually for Spanish lessons. Guides in Tanzania are qualified by experience, plus they are required to take courses in tourism, wildlife, and geography. Guides in South Africa must take a registered guide course run by the South Africa Tourist Board. To become a South African guide, one must first take a basic training course, and then choose the area to specialize in. Upon successful completion of the course, the guide is officially registered. Tour operators are required by law to use registered guides in South Africa. Guides in Zimbabwe must start out by taking two-years of educational courses. After that they must apprentice with a professional guide for three years. Once the complete the apprenticeship, they must complete a written final exam in order to be qualified to guide. The entire process takes up to five years. Guides in the Seychelles must go to a qualified hotel and tourism school. Once they have completed the courses, they can become guides. Guides in Zambia have very strict criteria. They must pass a written exam as well as a practical exam. Guides who have been in Zambia for at least five years administrate the tests that include a combination of knowledge about flora and fauna, local culture and traditions. In addition, they are evaluated on their attitude about the bush, guests and guiding and most show basic vehicle knowledge. Guides in Egypt must have four years of college in which they study Egyptology, archaeology and tourism. After graduating they become licensed for guiding. All guides in Egypt must be of Egyptian descent.
Preparing for your trip
What Countries Do I Need A Visa For?
You will need a visa for Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and Zambia (we can arrange for a visa waiver for Zambia). AfricaTours will supply all necessary visa applications forms. An entry visa for Zimbabwe will be issued at the port of entry (Victoria Falls / Harare etc - where you will have to pay $30 locally in US Currency).
Will There Be Any Extra Costs While On Safari?
Very little. The best thing about going on safari is that almost everything is paid for before traveling. Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages are generally not included. Most tips are included except the tip for you are recommended to give your professional safari guide ($5.00-$10.00 per person per day). Items of personal nature are at your own expense (telephone calls, laundry, shopping etc).
Departure Taxes (please call us as this information changes constantly)
- Botswana: Airport Tax is not charged at present - this is subject to change at any time
- Egypt: Departure taxes are included in your International Tickets
- Kenya: US $40 per person to be paid locally in US$
- Maldives: Departure taxes are included in your International Tickets
- Mauritius: RS300 per person. This tax must be paid at time of departure, in Mauritius rupees.
- Mozambique: US $20 per person to be paid locally in US$
- Namibia: Airport Tax is not charged at present - this is subject to change at any time
- Seychelles: US $20 per person to be paid locally in US$
- South Africa: Departure taxes are included in your international tickets
- Tanzania: US $30 per person to be paid locally in US$
- Zambia: Departure taxes are included in your international tickets
- Zimbabwe: US $30 per person to be paid locally in US$
Is Trip Insurance Available?
Our custom Travel Protection Plan is included in all our trips. Our Travel Protection Plan covers $20,000 Emergency Assistance, $20,000 Accidental death & dismemberment; $10,000 Medical Expenses; $1,000 Baggage & travel documents; $400 Baggage delay; $500 Travel delay - $100 per day maximum. It is strongly recommended that you purchase Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance. Please see our booking form for our Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance.
Can I Use My Credit Card While I Am On Safari?
VISA and MasterCard are widely accepted but American Express is accepted infrequently.
How Much Luggage Can I Bring?
Luggage should be kept to the following restrictions: Two pieces of luggage per person and one carry-on bag. WEIGHT SHOULD NOT EXCEED 40LBS. If you are traveling on small planes within Africa THE WEIGHT LIMIT IS 24LBS. This is particularly true when traveling within Botswana and Namibia. You will also be required to use soft-sided (duffel) styled bags, as other luggage cannot fit in the aircrafts luggage compartment. Baggage tags are sent to you with final documents. Please put these on your bags as they are also used to identify your luggage by our staff and porters at the lodges and hotels.
Should you be flying from the US to a European city and onto Africa, please claim your luggage in your carrier's European hub (London, Amsterdam, Paris etc) and re-check it for your final destination (unless you are traveling on the same carrier from the US all the way through to you African destination; in that case the luggage will be checked from you point of origin to your final destination).
Will There Always Be A Representative When I Arrive In Africa?
Rest assured, your representative will meet and assist you upon arrival and will present your safari briefing. The representative can be contacted at any time in case of an emergency. If at any time during your trip you need assistance PLEASE contact the AfricaTours representative who will be able to assist you with any request.
What Can I Expect Tipping To Be?
Suggested tipping for driver/guides is US $5-10 per person per day (this is totally subjective and will depend on how much you feel your guide deserves), for porters it is US $1 per person, for waiters at lodges it is US $1-2 per person per meal. If you are eating at a restaurant in Nairobi/Johannesburg/Cape Town/Victoria Falls/Cairo/Windhoek (any of the big cities) tip as you would in the USA.
Guides like to be tipped in US Currency, carry $20 and $50 bills for guide tips. The guides in South Africa and the Seychelles like to be tipped in local currency. You will receive a detailed guide on tipping with your preliminary documents.
Once you book a safari with AfricaTours, we will send out a wealth of information to help you prepare for your upcoming adventure. We will supply the following information to you:
- Confirmed itinerary and invoice
- Suggested packing list
- Recommended reading list
- Recommended Restaurant List
- Tipping Guidelines
- Useful travel information for each country that you will be traveling to
- TravelSmith Catalog
- Electrical Voltage/Plugs & Receptacles
- Hotel & Lodge Contact Information
- Tipping Guidelines
- Visa Waiver Letter (for Zambia only)
- Confirmed itinerary & flight itinerary
What Inoculations Are Required?
A yellow fever inoculation will be required if traveling between Kenya and Tanzania or if traveling to Egypt from Kenya or Tanzania. Even though neither Kenya nor Tanzania has yellow fever, it is a requirement if entering both countries. We STRONGLY recommend that you also take anti-malaria tablets for those going on safari. Those are the only requirements for safe travel to Africa; anything else that you choose to take is for your own level of comfort.
Can I Drink The Water?
We strongly advise that you drink bottled water, instead of tap water (this is not because there is anything wrong with the water in Africa - we recommend drinking bottled water, as your body is not accustomed to the water in Africa).
Are We Safe From The Animals?
Yes, your view of the wildlife is from a safety safari-designed land cruiser. Your safari guides are experienced in dealing with the wildlife and making your safety and comfort his/her priority.
Are There Snakes And Bugs?
There are snakes while you are on safari but you rarely see them. While on safari you may travel and encounter bugs, you will need to bring bug spray and take anti-malaria tablets.
We take care of all the details - all you need to do is you prepare yourself for the trip of a lifetime!
LET THE ADVENTURE BEGIN!