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- Category: Kenya
- Published on Wednesday, 23 January 2013 09:31
- Written by Administrator
- Hits: 182
When planning a safari to Africa, there are many questions that spring to mind. These can vary from; what to wear on safari ? Is it safe ? How do I book a safari ? What must I bring ? What medical or health precautions should I take ? and many more.
The list of Questions & Answers below are some of the more common ones, have a glance through and if you can’t find an answer drop us a line and we will gladly answer the questions you may have about planning your tour or safari to Africa!
Are there any Luggage restrictions?
The check in luggage limits on the regional commercial flights is 20 kg pp (44 lbs per person) plus you are allowed 1 carry on bag. Unless otherwise specified, if your African safari itinerary involves any light aircraft transfers in Kenya or Tanzania, there is a limit of 15 - 20 kg (44 lbs) per person. This 20 kg includes camera bag and equipment. Please ensure the bag is a soft carry-all (instead of a rigid suitcase).
Do you have luggage storage facility for your clients?
Yes, we do have a luggage storage service that we offer for East Africa safari participants at the the Jomo Kenyatta international airport (Nairobi) or Moi International airport (Mombasa). It entails our representative meeting you off your flight in Mombasa or Nairobi or Arusha relieving you of excess baggage and storing it until your return to your respective airportl, where the representative will meet you off your flight once again and hand the luggage back. The cost of this service is: U$ 55 .00 for a maximum of 7 pieces per party, and there is no time limit.
Regarding luggage security: since airlines are experiencing high volumes of valuable items going missing out of passengers checked-in luggage, we request that the following items should not be included in your checked-in baggage: fragile items, money, jewellery, precious metals, negotiable documents, cameras, pocket computers, mobile phones and chronic medication. The airlines assume no special liability on such items. Please note this is industry practice and passengers will be advised to claim through their personal insurance if anything goes missing on their African holiday.
Are there any health precautions I should Take?
There are a few basic health matters that require care and attention if you plan to participate in an African adventure travel. Here are a few guidelines for you to address with your general practitioner. Please also check with your health department prior to departure for any changes in health regulations. Your African tour operator will also be able to inform you.
As most southern and eastern Africa safari destinations do have occurrences of malaria, a lot of the camps are quite remote and the chances of contracting malaria are low. However, it is definitely worth taking preventative steps. Both chloroquine resistant and normal strains of malaria are prevalent in Africa. Malaria is transmitted by a very small percentage of female Anopheles mosquitoes. They are generally active in the early evening and throughout the night, usually when one is sleeping or sitting around campfires. Expert opinion differs regarding the best approach to malaria prophylactics. It is important to bear in mind that malaria may be contracted despite taking tablets, especially in areas where chloroquine resistance has been reported.
Please remember that the best insurance against contracting malaria is to try to prevent being bitten, so use mosquito repellents liberally. Wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers/slacks in the evenings. You should spray your room prior going to dinner with an insecticide like Doom which will kill any mosquitoes that may have flown into your room. Mosquito coils are also effective. We do suggest you contact your own doctor prior to leaving for your African holiday, to advise him/her of where you will be travelling and let him/her prescribe the best suited prophylactic. If you become ill on your return, while still on prophylactics or even once you have stopped, make sure that your doctor does everything necessary to establish that your illness is not malaria. Malaria is not a serious problem if people are sensible and take basic precautions. If caught early on the disease can be effectively dealt with.
It is very important that you drink plenty of water especially if you travel to Africa during the warmer months. Dehydration is possibly the single biggest cause of ill health on an Africa safari. It is generally recommended that guests drink at least 2 to 3 litres of water per day to limit the effects of dehydration. This excludes tea, coffee and alcoholic beverages, which act as diuretics and actually contribute to dehydration. If water is not fit for human consumption then the lodge or hotel will advise guests and supply drinking water, but bottled mineral water is readily available at most places anyway.
Billharzia is a disease, which is common in most large bodies of water in the southern half of Africa. In the unlikely event of billharzia being contracted, it is easily diagnosed by a simple blood test and easily and effectively treated with biltracide. We recommend a test is taken after any African holiday, where you may have swam or drank water from rivers or lakes.
Tsetse flies are large day time feeding flies occurring in certain low lying and hot safaris areas. They prefer shady conditions and are attracted to movement, carbon dioxide and lactic acid secretions. We advise that you wear light coloured lightweight clothing on your Africa safari. Avoid deep blue and black (as tsetse are attracted to these colours) to lessen the chance of being bitten by these flies.
e) Yellow Fever
All travellers entering Tanzania from any of the 43 countries where yellow fever has been diagnosed must present a valid certification of vaccination against the disease. The decision has been taken jointly by the Ministry of Interior and Health. Any passenger who cannot present such a certificate at his or her point of entry will be vaccinated at a cost of about 40 US dollars before entering the country. Yellow fever has been reported from 43 countries, mostly in Africa and Latin America. The list includes three SADC countries, namely Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania. Consult your Africa tour operator if you are not certain whether or not the country you will be entering from is in fact on the list.
What about Wild animals is Africa?
Most private camps in Kenya & Tanzania are unfenced, so listen to your camp staff and guides. Don’t push any safety issues – you will not be in any theme parks where the animals are tame. Don’t ever go strolling away from the camp or from your guide.
Most private camps in Eastern Africa are unfenced and dangerous animals can and do wander through the camps. Many of the animals and reptiles you will see are potentially dangerous. Attacks by wild animals are rare. However, no African tour operator can guarantee that such incidents will not occur. Neither MICS Safaris Ltd, or any camps or operators, their staff members, associates, agents, nor their suppliers can be held liable for any injuries caused during an incident involving the behaviour of wild animals.
Please make sure that you listen to and abide by the safety talks given by your guides or camp staff prior to your Africa safari. Don’t go wandering off on your own without a guide – even to your rooms; a guide must escort you to your room. After retiring to your rooms at night, don’t leave your rooms. If you are sensible, you should be safe.
Is it Safe Self driving in East Africa?
For East Africa self driving is a viable and economical way of seeing the area. For other parts of Africa self driving is something to be done only be experienced African travellers, and preferably in more than one vehicle.
When self driving in East Africa, please bear in mind that the standards of driving are not as high as that of the average road user in places like Europe, Britain and North America. In the urban areas, the roads are generally good and well marked, but one must drive defensively, always anticipating the worst from your fellow road users. In the up country areas, roads are not well marked and you must have a G.P.S system to find your way. It is advisable to carry cash (of the local currency) with you as there are toll gates on certain national roads where you will need to pay a fee. DO NOT try to bribe or accept any bribe attempts from a traffic official in the event you are stopped for a speeding fine or anything of the sort.
What about crime in East Africa?
Crime has been a much reported evil of certain areas in East Africa, particularly the big cities. We have had no problems of this nature happen to any of our Africa safari clients. The hotels we suggest are in good areas and you are invariably out of the rough city centres. However we do urge guests to exercise the same common sense they would whilst in any other big city of the world, and not to openly display cash and valuables whilst out on the street. If you will be self driving for part of you African holiday, don’t pick up any hitch hikers or stop near informal settlements (shanty towns), unless you are with a guide who will have good local knowledge.
Do I need travel Insurance?
MICS Tours & Safaris Ltd, its agents, operators, suppliers and its associates cannot be held responsible or liable for loss, damage, or theft of personal luggage and belongings, nor can they be held liable for personal injury, accident or illness. Please ensure that you have yourself and your belongings adequately insured before you depart for your Africa safari. Insurance is compulsory for all our trips. If you do not possess a policy, we can issue insurance at competitive rates. It is, however, better to purchase your policy locally as this will cover you for repatriation back to your home country. Please contact your broker or your travel agent for details. We cannot be held liable for any losses or damages incurred during your African holiday.
a) Health Insurance
It is very important to have full medical, emergency evacuation and repatriation cover for the period of time you are away. We at MICS Safaris do include this in all of our safari expeditions in our costing.
b) Cancellation and Curtailment
You might have to cancel or curtail your Africa safari due to unforeseen circumstances. If you cancel a trip close to departure date for any reason you could lose all that the safari was going to cost you. Should you have to leave the safari early, we cannot refund you the portion of the Africa safari you do not complete. Dependant on the reason for cancellation and curtailment, insurance may cover you for this eventuality. In such an event we do try our utmost to get the various suppliers to waiver cancellation fees, but this is something that we cannot guarantee, as each Hotel/Lodge or airline establishment will have different views on the issue.
c) Baggage & Money Insurance
It is advisable to take out insurance to cover you for damaged or lost baggage or cash, especially if you are carrying a large amount of cash or expensive and valuable camera equipment. You should always carry such equipment as “carry-on” luggage. Do not put anything of value in your checked baggage! On some Africa safaris, you may travel in canoes, motorized boats or Dhows. It is rare that these overturn, but it is possible. So have insurance and also bring waterproof bags for your cameras.
What about Tipping and Gratuities?
Tipping (gratuities) is not compulsory at all, however, if you want to tip because you have received good service, we have enclosed a brief guideline to assist you. We usually recommend that there are three categories of staff members to tip whilst at East Africa safari camps: your safari guide, the camp staff.
We recommend about U$ 5 - 10 .00 per guest per day if the guide has done a good job. If you have a specialist guide who accompanies you all the way, this could increase to more than US$10 per guest per day.
2. The General Camp Staff
Here we recommend about US$ 5 – 8 .00 per guest per day. This should be placed in the communal tipping box to be distributed equally amongst all the staff at a later stage.
Transfer guides that drive you between hotels and airports can be tipped about US$ 2 – 5 .00.
However once again, tips are only to be paid at your discretion if you as the client feel the service provider deserves something extra. It is not compulsory.
Are there specific requirements for passports?
It is the responsibility of the client to ensure that their passports are valid for travel to Africa. The passport must also have at least 3 - 4 blank pages in it. This is critical as you will not be allowed into South Africa without meeting these requirements.
If your East African holiday itinerary has you entering Kenya or Tanzania twice i.e.: arriving and then routing through Kenya or Tanzania again to catch your flight, then make sure you purchase a multiple entry visa on arrival, it is a lot cheaper in the long run than purchasing two single entry visas.
It is also the responsibility of the client to ensure that they are in possession of valid visas for all countries being visited during their East African holiday, and that all necessary health certificates for these destinations are in order. MICS Tours & Safaris Ltd does not arrange visas, but will dispense verbal information received from a country’s consulate regarding visa and / or health requirements. This is a courtesy but not a service. MICS Tours & Safaris Ltd will not be held responsible for any misinformation, errors and omissions with regard to this information.
what sort of Camera Equipment shall I bring for safari?
The choice of the correct camera equipment and film will determine the quality of your photographs on your African holiday. For good photography of birds and animals, a good SLR camera and telephoto lens is necessary. The minimum recommended size is 200 mm and a zoom lens can be extremely useful on safari. Consideration should be given before travelling with any lens bigger than 400 mm as most interesting shots are taken using hand held equipment. Heavier equipment will mean that you purchase photography license. Colour reversal film (slides) will give far greater quality than prints. The guides have found that they are getting the best results using Fuji film.
Fuji has brought out a good high-speed film which gives good colour with very little grain (less so than any of their competitors). This is especially useful when using a big lens in low light situations. The guides’ personal preference is the slower film (either 50 or 100 ASA) as this gives almost perfect quality for normal light. However you may consider going to 200 ASA for a larger lens in low lighting conditions. The only disadvantage with the low ASA film is that you need a tripod for the early morning and evening shots. IMPORTANT: BRING LOTS OF FILM, AS IT IS OFTEN NOT AVAILABLE ON THE SAFARIS. BRING SPARE CAMERA BATTERIES TOO.
What is the Electricity Voltage in East Africa?
In East Africa current is 220/240 volts at 50 cycles per second. Please note that some game lodges do not have electricity and run on generators. You will not find plug sockets in the rooms/tents at lodges.
In East Africa, appliances all run on 220/240 volts. Outlets are square 3-pin, 15 amp type. Points for electric shavers (electric current 250VAC) are available at major hotels and most private camps and resorts. It is advisable to bring battery operated or conventional razors if visiting remote areas during the course of your African holiday.
In Kenya most safari camps are situated in remote areas and have to generate our own electricity. They do so in a number of ways. Generally each camp has a generator, which runs for about 7 hours per day (2 hours in the morning and 4 in the evening and are switched off at 11.00 p.m.)
Should I bring Cash/ Credit cards or Travellers cheques?
Most places, even the safari camps in Eastern Africa, accept credit cards (Visa, MasterCard and Amex); however it is a good idea to carry some cash with you to pay for curios, bar accounts, gratuities etc… When travelling in Kenya, Tanzania & Zanzibar, it will be easier to carry some cash in USD, but in small denominations. The reason being when paying for something with USD, you will receive change in the local currency, which you can then use whilst you are still there, but won’t be able to change back to USD once you have left the country after your African holiday has ended.
Travellers cheques are generally not accepted banks, restaurants or anywhere in East Africa, so again forex cash in small denominations is the best solution.
Will I get some Laundry in the Lodges/Camps?
Laundry can be done at most camps and hotels. Some camps and certainly hotels charge a fee for this facility, but others do provide this service for free. In East Africa at certain camps the camp staff will not wash underwear owing to local traditions prevailing in the country.
Do I need a flash light?
It is essential that you bring a small flashlight (torch) as you may encounter WILD ANIMALS in camp at night. You should also bring a spare globe (bulb) as well as batteries as they are often unobtainable in these remote areas of Eastern Africa. Most safari camps supply a flashlight, but it is good to have your own as a backup as this is one of the best forms of safety.
What are the road conditions on Safari?
The roads are rough and bumpy and occasionally you will travel “off road” where it is possible that one may hit a pothole or a trees branch. So if you have back problems its best to advise your consultant so that we can suggest an area that will ensure smoother safaris.
What are good game viewing ethics while on Safari
- Observe the animals silently and with a minimum of disturbance to their natural activities. Loud talking on game drives can frighten the animals away. Don’t stand up when the vehicle is close to dangerous animals.
- Never attempt to attract an animal’s attention. Don’t imitate animal sounds, clap your hands, pound the vehicle or throw objects.
- Please respect your driver or guide’s judgement about our proximity to lions, cheetahs and leopards. Don’t insist that he take the vehicle closer so you can get a better photograph. A vehicle driven too close can hinder a hunt, or cause animals to abandon a hard-earned meal.
- Litter tossed on the ground can choke or poison animals and birds and is unsightly.
- Never attempt to feed or approach any wild animal on foot. This is especially important near lodges or in campsites where animals may have become accustomed to human visitors. Refrain from smoking on game drives. The dry African bush ignites very easily, and a flash fire can kill animals.
- Never walk on your own. Always have a guide with you.
Refrain from smoking on game drives. The dry African bush ignites very easily, and a flash fire can kill animals.
-Animals in the Wild always have a right of way. Always give them space.
Who will answer any question that I may have whilst on Safari
Our agents are always reachable any time of the day or night.Ask your guide for assistance should you wish to talk to us at any time. We always call our guests every evening to find out how their day was. So do not be surprised when your guide asks you to speak to one of our agents on the phone.