East Africa :- Due to its location - close to the Equator, night and day are almost equal all year round. The coast is often hot and humid. Mornings in the central Highlands can be cool while in the North and North East, the days are dry as it is neither too hot nor too cold. In general the long rains are from April to June and the short rains occur from late October through November. July and August are generally the coolest months and most popular time for travel.
Indian Ocean Islands: - The rains are from November to April with occasional cyclones during this time. The dry season is from May to October and ideal for a beach holiday.
Southern Africa: - In general the rainy season is from late November to April.
Take normal precautions as in any other countries worldwide. Keep a close watch on your handbags, wallets, and cameras at all times. Avoid walking at night, use reliable taxis recommended by hotels. Place all valuables in safe deposit boxes at hotels and lodges and only carry necessary amounts of cash. Wear as little jewelry as possible if any and never leave valuables in hotel rooms or in an unattended vehicle. Taking photos at airports, near military installations, State House, state lodges, soldiers, prisons, prisoners, policemen, The President and his convoy or national flag is prohibited. We suggest that you ask your driver for the other countries before taking any pictures.
3. Visa & Passport
Government regulations change without prior notice, and is therefore important to check regulations with the relevant authority prior to travel. This is a guideline only.
It is a requirement for all visitors to obtain a Visa for East Africa. One can obtain a visa on arrival at the Mombasa or Nairobi Airports.
Afganistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cameroon, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Senegal, Somalia Sudan, Syria, Tazikstan and Yemen need to ge a visa prior to arrival
You must have a passport that is valid for not less than 6 months when departing from any of the African countries. Visa regulation depends on the countries you are visiting and the country of origin. If you depart any of the African country and re-enter for your return flight or continuation of your tour, you may require double or multiple entry visas.
These requirements may change at any time without prior notice therefore please check the regulations with your nearest diplomatic mission. It is the sole responsibility of the client to ensure that they have the required visas to visit the countries as per the itineraries.
Passport should be valid for at least 6 months with at least 2 free pages.
4. Health Regulation
Following are our recommended guidelines to a few basic health matters.
Visitors arriving from yellow fever and cholera infested areas must have a valid vaccination certificate. Please bear in mind that you may require the vaccine if you travel to multiple destinations in Africa.
Malaria is rare in the highlands but prevalent in the hot and humid low altitude areas around the coast, lakes and grasslands. Prescribed dosage of Malaria Prophylactics is recommended and most are required to be taken week(s) before travel, during your stay and after your return home (consult your doctor, pharmacist). We recommend you to carry an insect repellent and wear long sleeved shirts and trousers/pants in the evenings.
Yellow fever vaccination is a requirement when visiting Tanzania.
It is safe to swim in the sea and swimming pools but NOT in lakes, rivers and open reservoirs as they may be infested with bilharzias parasites.
Drinking water from these places is not advisable. Drinking bottled water is recommended.
We advise you to take a full medical, emergency evacuation coverage and comprehensive travel insurance.
We can organize a membership of AMREF (flying doctor service), who provide a highly organized service and the fastest way to evacuate from the bush to the nearest city hospital in case of illness or accident.
5. Customs And Exit Regulation
Personal possessions, cameras and films may be imported temporarily without a permit or duty. However professional video equipment, tape recorders, radios, musical instruments, filming equipment may require a customs bond to ensure that these goods are re-exported. Firearms require special permit that must be obtained prior to arrival. Customs officials on arrival and departure normally inspect baggage. Please adhere to baggage limitations by the airline for international carrier. Domestic carrier allows only 10-15 kilos in soft bags depending on the carrier. Excess baggage charges can be quite expensive.
6. Airport Departure Tax
Airport departure taxes are generally included in the ticket cost for international flights however there are exceptions for some places such as Zanzibar, Zambia and also for local flights (e.g. internal flights to game parks in Kenya, Tanzania etc which will be advised when booking a tour).
It is illegal to depart or enter most of the African countries with anything other than nominal amounts of local currency. In general there is no restriction to the amount of foreign currency a visitor may import provided that it is exchanged through authorized dealers only. It is essential to retain a receipt for each transaction to re-exchange the local currency on departure. Major credit cards are accepted in most of the hotels and lodges, however a commission charge is normally added to any transaction.
It is a legal offence to deface local currency.
Banking hours are generally 09h00 - 14h00 Monday to Friday (except public holidays). Airport banks are usually open until midnight every day. You will get a better exchange rate from a bank than hotels and we recommend that you change some money at the bank upon arrival. Most hotels and lodges change money outside these hours.
It is advisable to carry some US Dollars in small bills (approximately $200-$300) for personal expenses - gratuities, bar bills, shopping at the hotel gift shops, however its a good idea to change some US Dollars into local currency as soon as you arrive to be able to shop in markets and rural areas.
Donot rely heavily on credit cards or ATMs for cash as there are very few in rural areas and dont always work!
Notes prior to year 2000 series are not accepted in Kenya or Tanzania and therefore fetch lower exchange rate. It is best to make sure that all dollar bills are from 2000 series onwards.
9. Hotel Check-in /Checkout
The usual checkin time is 14h00 whilst the checkout time is 10h00. Early checkin or late checkouts are normally at an additional cost and are subject to availability. If one is arriving very early morning, we recommend that rooms be reserved from the preceding night (an extra night). Dayrooms are generally reserved from 10h00 - 18h00.
Children are generally welcome at most places however please check before booking the tour as there are restrictions at some lodges and certain activities also have restrictions for younger children.
Game drives are normally in the early morning or late evening for a few hours and not suitable for very young children. Please carry enough baby food and accessories such as hats, cover-up high-factor sun protection, books, games for long drives, as these may not be available on safari. Special meals for babies cannot be guaranteed.
11. Clothing, Laundry & Luggage
Clothing should be comfortable and casual on safaris. Light weight and light colour clothing is suitable for the bush. We recommend long sleeves for protection for mosquitoes in the evening and sun protection during the day. Certain restaurants and hotels may require smart casual dress and a tie for the men. At high altitudes, where early mornings and evenings can be chilly, warm sweaters, socks and comfortable shoes are recommended. Hat, sunglasses, toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, combs, suntan lotion, swimwear, small first aid kit, a flashlight, an alarm clock, films, camera, batteries, notebook are some items which should not be forgotten when packing for your trip.
Most hotels and lodges offer laundry services, therefore limit your luggage to a soft, and preferably water proof and lockable duffel bag of 12 kg (27 lb) for safari. Do not bring your best designer clothing on safari as laundry is always hand washed and ironed by coal iron. No responsibility is taken for damage to clothing in most cases. Laundry is generally returned on the next day depending on the weather conditions.
We strongly recommend that luggage is limited to one piece per person (Large suitcases of dimensions greater than 24"x 17"x 7" are impossible to store in vehicles and on aircraft and should not be used). A soft duffel bag for safari is strongly recommended. All city hotels provide secure storage for left luggage. Journeys on light aircrafts donot permit more than 15kgs (33 lb) per person. At Treehotels in Kenya, only a small overnight bag is permitted, and rest of the luggage is stored at the base hotel (storage is secure). We donot accept any liability for loss or damage to luggage whilst on safari and clients are strongly recommended to effect personal luggage insurance before leaving home.
Electricity in most African countries is 240 volts/50 cycles therefore for most 110 appliances you will need an adapter for the proper plug configuration and converter for the correct current. Most of the tented camps donot have outlets in the tent and some hotels and lodges have power only in the early mornings and evenings.
The right camera and a digital chip or film is important as this will determine the quality of your photos on the trip. For wildlife and bird photography a good digital camera with a telephoto lens is important. A 35mm single reflex camera with telephoto lens of 200mm or 300mm is recommended. Large lenses, which require a tripod stand, are impractical as one cannot step out of the vehicle in game parks. An ultraviolet filter, water and dustproof covers, spare 2GB chip or a laptop to download and spare batteries are recommended.
A pair of good quality binoculars is a great asset.
Films of common type are generally available at safari camps, hotels and lodges even in remote areas though the cost is usually higher than in your home country. Please bring a plentiful supply of special films as these will be difficult to obtain.
Travel insurance is highly recommended. All travelers should have an adequate accident, baggage, medical evacuation and interruption insurance before the tour begins. Carry all insurance documents and emergency numbers on the trip at all times. While every care is taken of you and your property, we cannot be held responsible for any accidents, injury, or illness that you may incur or for any loss or damage to baggage.
Tipping is not included in your quote and is completely at your own discretion. Our general recommendation is to tip moderately. Below is just a guideline for tips per person: -10% of your bill at restaurants, $1 to porters and waiters, $5-10 for driver/guide per person per day. Tipping is NOT cumpulsory and these are suggestions for if the guide has done a good job.
Africa is well known for its art and handicraft markets where one can find beadwork, carvings, local sarongs, spices, teas and coffees. Most hotels and lodges have souvenir shops. Local drivers and guides offer useful tips for shopping. Haggling is a way of life in the markets and rural areas.
Be careful of touts offering cheap excursions, always book through a recognised tour operator.