What COVID-19 health measures have been put in place by the camps/lodges while on safari?
Safari camps and lodges are excited to safely welcome guests back. The revised Standard Operating Practice is as follows (there might be subtle differences between properties but these are the main items).
– Guests will be required to wear masks upon arrival at the airstrip and use provided hand sanitizers and temperatures will be monitored using a handheld contactless temperature scanner.
– Hand washing facilities will be available with single-use paper towels.
– The staff will be wearing face masks and gloves and interaction with guests will be from a safe distance.
– Welcome drinks served from a tray(contactless).
– Welcome briefing will go over all safety and hygiene measures in place.
– Rooms/tents will undergo a deep clean between guests’ check-out and the next arrival.
– Guests can ask to minimize housekeeping to avoid staff interaction, should they wish.
– In the smaller safari camps, meals will be cooked to order and plated. Communal dining will not be available – private tables set up for the applicable parties (with dedicated waiter waiting on them).
– In the larger lodges, where buffets are in place, additional protective screening is being implemented and individual single portions on the buffet to avoid using a common serving spoon. Buffets servers will dispense food and guests will not handle the serving spoons.
– Most camps have implemented 4pax maximum on game drives (unless it is a private family or group of 4+).
– Masks will be optional for guests during game drives.
– Vehicles will be sanitized after each game drive.
– Sundowners – social distancing will be practiced with chairs spaced a safe distance apart. Staff will wear masks and gloves.
– Guest laundry will be washed separately from others.
– Pool water will be monitored to maintain a higher level of chlorine to provide a virus-free experience.
– Spa treatments – at the moment that is being decided by each government, but camps are expected to impose things like showering before/after each treatment, masseuse will wear a face mask, special sanitization between clients. (If interested, please ask for specifics.)
**All travelers are responsible for the following and it is up to you to ensure that you have adequate supplies for the duration of your trip: face masks, rubber gloves, hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes and reusable water bottle (filtered water is provided on safari).
Whilst this does seem all a bit different, we are confident that we can still offer you an amazing safari experience that will not actually feel that different. All of our properties are off the beaten track and allow us to limit exposure any way. Our activities are all outdoors, with fresh air and are typically socially distanced any way (without you necessarily knowing it). In fact, we honestly feel that this is one of the best ways to get out, unplug, and reconnect with nature.
How can family members contact us on safari?
If family members or friends need to get a message to you on safari, the best way is to contact us via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (954-491-8877). During office hours we can relay the message via the appropriate channel to you. In the event of an emergency outside office hours, a message can be left on the local phone# (954 491 8877), and follow the prompts. Our on-call duty manager will then respond accordingly 24/7.
Is there access to professional medical care at each camp? What happens in case of a medical emergency?
The camps/lodges will have a first aid kit, however in the case of a medical emergency, you will be transported out of the bush to the nearest medical center or hospital.
Due to the high cost of this transportation, medical evacuation insurance is compulsory. We can offer comprehensive travel protection should you not already have a policy.
Do I need travel insurance?
We recommend that you take out travel protection that offers to protect against cancellation, lost luggage, trip interruption and offers Emergency Assistance. Emergency Medical Evacuation (minimum coverage of $50,000 per person) is a requirement of all safari camps in Southern and Eastern Africa.
The Africa Adventure Company offers full travel protection coverage with Travelex.
Should you decide to obtain travel protection on your own, you can get retail quotes eg www.insuremytrip.com .
Do I need to renew my passport? / How many blank pages do I need in my passport?
All passports must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your intended stay.
The passports of all travelers to South Africa, Namibia, and Kenya must contain at least two blank (unstamped) VISA pages for each country. Mozambique requires three blank (unstamped) VISA pages. (NOT the endorsement/amendment pages at the back of the passport). This requirement is over and above pages that may be required for visas issued on arrival in other countries. If needed, a new passport should be obtained well in advance of your trip.
For getting or renewing a US Passport, please visit: https://www.usa.gov/passport
Will I need a visa?
Visa requirements vary depending on nationality and country visited and may change at any time.
At the moment US citizens DO NOT require a visa for Botswana, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Seychelles and South Africa.
US citizens require a visa for Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The cost of the visa can range between $30-$100 per person. Visas that may be obtained on arrival are paid in US Dollars cash using new bills dated year 2007 or later (large President’s head) and in good condition (no marks or tears). No change will be given; therefore exact amount must be paid per person.
Contact us for other country visa information not listed.
Two visa service companies that can help with applying for a visa are:
VisaCentral (website: http://visacentral.com/) and Travisa (website: www.travisa.com)
Do I need any vaccinations? What about Malaria?
Please contact your physician to discuss your trip and what vaccinations you may require.
Depending on the country you are visiting, how long you are staying, where you are staying and the risk of diseases found in that country, vaccinations that might be required/recommended are Yellow Fever, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid, Tetanus, Meningitis and Rabies.
Malaria is a disease spread through mosquito bites and is found in most African countries and precautions should be taken. Anti-malaria medication is a tablet, not a vaccination.
Do I need to bring my own mosquito/bug spray?
Most of your hotels, lodges and camps and even seasonal mobile camps have mosquito netting. They also supply a can of spray and coil in the rooms.
Will I require the Yellow Fever vaccination?
Please contact us for our Visa and Vaccination Requirement sheet. This sheet contains what is REQUIRED for travel to each country in Africa. This is subject to change at any time at the Country’s discretion.
Please check with your local Health Department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1-800-232-4636 or www.cdc.gov), your physician or the Africa Adventure Company office, if you have any questions. If you plan to visit one or more countries in endemic zones (i.e., in Africa, South America, Central America or Asia), be sure to mention this when requesting vaccination requirements. Many countries do not require any vaccinations if you are only visiting the country directly from the United States, Canada or Western Europe; but, if you are also visiting countries in endemic zones, there may very well be additional requirements.
If required for your travels, make sure you carry with you the ‘International Certificate of Vaccination’ or ‘yellow card’ showing the vaccinations you have received.
Will someone meet me when I arrive in Africa?
Yes. Once you have cleared Customs and collected your luggage, a representative will be waiting with a sign with your name on it. Details will be on your Final itinerary.
What time do the charter flights depart?
Camp to Camp charter flights will often not have specific departure times listed on the itinerary as the scheduling is done 24-48 hours prior to departure. You will always be notified the previous evening what time you will have to be ready for your charter.
How much money should we take?
This will depend on your itinerary. On safari your camps/lodges are Full Board, which includes meals, game activities and park fees, and in some cases drinks and laundry. Hotels are generally bed and breakfast only.
Not included during your safari would be tipping, visas, departure taxes, curios, extra meals at hotels/restaurants, drinks and laundry.
Can we use our Credit Cards? / Are there ATMs?
Major international credit cards are accepted by most top hotels, restaurants, lodges, permanent safari camps and shops. Visa and MasterCard are most widely accepted. American Express and Diner’s Club are also accepted by most first-class hotels and many businesses. However, American Express and Diner’s Club are not often taken in more remote areas and camps.
Cash is recommended in the camps/lodges whilst out on safari.
ATMs are in many locations in South Africa, but are found in few other countries (except some major cities). Visa is the most reliable card to use at ATMs. MasterCard might not be accepted as well as other international ATM/credit cards. Only local currency can be withdrawn at an ATM and in limited amounts.
How much should we tip?
Tipping is always a difficult question to answer and our suggestions are a guideline only. You can of course tip whatever you feel comfortable with, but as a start you can budget on $25.00 per person per day.
This could increase if you’ve booked a private guide or tours, go to a restaurant, etc. For lodge and camp staff, leave whatever you feel appropriate for the service you experience.
We do recommend putting your tips into envelopes before you leave (don’t seal them, as you can re-apportion as you go along!) as this helps to ensure you don’t run out of tipping cash before the end of your trip.
Your final documents will have a more detailed tipping recommendation for your trip.
How do I keep my money/valuables safe?
We recommend that you keep your money/passports/tickets with you at all times. We supply a handy green document pouch.
Is luggage limited to one bag?
No, as long you keep within the weight allowance. Your allowance will vary depending on your safari itinerary, airline and class of travel. Keep in mind that laundry can be done at most camps during the time you are on safari. Toiletries like soap, shampoo and conditioner are generally provided, so you only need to bring a small supply.
Do I need a soft-sided duffle? Where can I get one with wheels?
When travelling on scheduled charter flights on small planes between camps, you will need luggage that is soft-sided (and no rigid frame) such as the Africa Adventure Travel Bag (carry-on size) or one that has only two small wheels and a pull handle like the Africa Adventure Rolling Duffle Bag (checked luggage size). This is in order for the crew to be able to maneuver the bag into the aircraft luggage hold.
Can I do laundry while on safari?
There is daily laundry service in most camps and lodges. Some lodges offer an express overnight service. Be sure to ask the cost of the laundry service if you are not sure whether it is included in your stay or not. The camp staff will not wash underwear, especially ladies, due to local traditions.
What clothing should we bring?
- On game drives in vehicles, any color clothing is OK.
- However if doing some walking in the bush natural colors or khaki clothing is the preferred color.
- Dark clothing (black and blue) will attract tsetse flies during day, but they are not out at night.
- Much of Africa gets cooler in the evenings and early morning (especially the months of June/July/August/September). The best advice is to dress in layers with a sweater and light windbreaker.
- Early morning/night temperature can be around (40-60F). During the day it can rise to around (70-86F). Gloves and scarves are a good idea.
Should I bring my hairdryer?
You should leave your hairdryer at home. Most hotels and lodges have hairdryers for your use. If a lodge/camp has the power (some use generators) to run a hairdryer, then one will be provided to you.
What plugs/adapters do we need?
An international travel adapter kit for the countries you are visiting is recommended (available for purchase in most airports or say a Best Buy).
Will my C-Pap machine work in the bush?
When staying in mobile camps or where electricity may not always be available, we suggest you take a Power Inverter as the camp will be able to provide 12Volt battery power.
How do we charge our camera/iPad/cellphone?
Most hotels/lodges/camps have charging facilities either in your room or in the lounge area.
Most modern gadgets have dual voltage built in. If not, you will need to bring your own adapters, and converters. You may want to bring a cigarette lighter adapter/charger as this can be plugged into the vehicle and you may be able to charge your battery while on long drives. Bring a minimum of two batteries. (We suggest three batteries.) If you need to have your video battery recharged you can do so while you are out on an activity – the spare for use while the other is being charged and a third as a back-up.
Will there be internet/Wi-Fi?
Internet access is becoming more widely available. Lodges/camps might have a computer for use at a nominal fee, otherwise check with your service provider if you will be able to get internet access on your cell phone, laptop and iPad while in Africa.
Wi-Fi connectivity varies in the camps/lodges depending on their location. Wi-Fi would normally be free and available in the public areas.
Can I use my cell phone?
Your cell phone provider will be able to assist you with the possibility of using your own phone while in Africa; however obtaining international roaming service can be expensive. You will need to have your phone unlocked by your cell phone company in order to use it abroad. In most major cities you will be able to purchase a SIM card and air time which may be exchanged for your normal SIM card if your phone has one. Remember though that reception in the bush may not be possible.
Use your cell phone only in private areas of camp for your privacy and in consideration of others.
How long does a game drive/activity take?
Most activities last 2 to 5 hours and are conducted when the wildlife is most active: early in the morning (often before breakfast), just after breakfast, in the afternoon and at night (where allowed by park authorities).
Midday activities might include spending time in a “hide” observing wildlife coming to a waterhole or river, visiting a local village or school, bird watching or viewing game as it passes by your tent or lodge, writing about your experiences in your journal, lazing around the swimming pool or taking a siesta (nap).
If booking a private vehicle and guide for one day or more of your safari, you have more flexibility to going out longer on your activity.
Food on safari - what's it like and is it safe?
Dining on safari is a wonderful experience. You should know that the foods on safari, even fresh salads, are completely safe to eat. The fresh air will give you a healthy appetite for meals that on a typical day include:
Breakfast: Fruit and cereal: eggs and bacon: toast and preserves: tea and coffee.
Lunch: Assorted cold meats: meat or vegetable pies: salads: cheeses and bread: desserts.
Dinner: Usually 3 courses: an appetizer or soup: main entree (meat or fish) with vegetables: a dessert.
Is the water safe to drink and is bottled water provided?
Bottled water is available for purchase and potable drinking water is provided everywhere. You will pay about double what you pay here in the US. On most game drives light refreshments (water and sodas) are provided in a cooler. We advise that you ask first “am I paying for drinks on the drives”, as there are exceptions to a) no charge of soft drinks on game activities b) water may or may not have to be purchased.
Again – it is very important that you drink plenty of water especially during the warmer months. It is recommended that you drink at least 2 to 3 liters of water per day to limit the effects of dehydration – this excludes tea, coffee and alcoholic beverages.
Should I bring my own binoculars?
Each person should consider bringing their own binoculars in order to get the most out of every safari. Sharing binoculars, even with children, means that there will be times when a person/child will not be able to see clearly.
Binoculars are something that is often overlooked but we feel that every traveler should have a great pair when going on safari. Binoculars range in price from $180.00 and up, a small price to pay for seeing the Africa “up close and personal”.
Each binocular has two numbers; the first number is the magnification and the second number is the diameter of the objective lens in millimeters. For example; 10 x 40 = 10 x magnification with a 40mm objective lens.
If you choose a higher magnification then you will sacrifice a little brightness in the image and the viewing area will slightly narrower. This is less discernible in the higher end binoculars. If you choose a larger objective lens you will notice a brighter and sometimes clearer image. Therefore, it becomes a personal and subjective decision on which is the correct combination for you.
Some other important terms:
Field of View: is the width of the area that you can see from left to right.
Eye Relief: is the distance that your eye can be from the eyepiece while still allowing you to see the full field of view. (If you wear glasses, you want at least 15mm.)
What type of camera/lens should I bring?
Digital 35mm SLR (single lens reflex) cameras are more often used than film cameras. Camcorders with freeze-frame options are easy to use and are also very popular with safariers.
You need to ask yourself what you are going to do with the photographs you take on safari. If you are going to try and sell them to a magazine or book publisher, then you need high-quality optics and good quality transparency (color slide) film or a professional digital camera. If you are going to make an electronic album to email to friends, then a reasonably priced digital zoom will be ideal.
Many people prefer the idea of capturing movement and sound and with video camcorders being so compact and easy to use, this is an obvious choice. If you want to take high quality photographs, a recommendation is that you spend your money first on a good lens and second on a camera. It is slightly more important to have a quality lens than it is to have a quality camera. If you just want memories of your safari, nowadays, many of the new “all-in-one” (ie, no removable lens) digital cameras take excellent shots, as animals are often within close enough range of the vehicle for these cameras to capture good images.
Bring whatever lenses you like to use, from wide angle to medium telephoto. Consider a minimum of two lenses, one for scenery and one for more distant subjects. A good, balanced system of lenses would be an auto-focus zoom lens (come in a variety of ranges), a 28-70mm and a 100-300 or 100-400mm.
For more detailed information, please see the section on Photography in our General Information.
Shopping hours and can I ship items back to the USA?
Shops are usually open Monday through Friday from 8:00 or 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. and from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays. Shops in the coastal cities of Kenya and Tanzania often close midday for siesta. Use the shopping hours given above as a general guideline; exact times can vary within the respective country.
All major cities have good shopping opportunities and will arrange to ship larger items back to the USA. Some lodges and camps have small curio shops, as do certain villages that you may visit.
However, please note that it is VERY expensive to ship curios home and most times is considerably more than the purchase price of the item. Though the vendors may quote one price, the actual shipping price may be very much higher. If you do ship something you must get a written estimate or quote on the bill of sale. IF YOU CAN, WE SUGGEST YOU CARRY THE ARTICLES WITH YOU AS EXCESS BAGGAGE.
What could I bring for donations?
(Making a Difference / Packing for a Purpose)
We at The Africa Adventure Company are very involved in many African communities, giving back to conservation projects and supporting guides at grass roots level. We are especially thrilled to assist students’ education as it is our hope they will continue in the wildlife conservation or tourism field.
You can help by making a donation in supplies or monies. Please request our Donation Wishlist.
If you are going near a village, please consider taking some inflatable-solar charging lights, such as Luci Lights – go online to purchase.
Do you have a recommended reading list?
Helping Wildlife in Africa
I am pleased that you are considering supporting conservation protection. Africa needs it now more than ever. Two programs we recommend donating are: Mana Pools in the Lower Zambezi and the Serengeti in Tanzania.
www.bushlife-conservancy.org – Mana Pools
Mission Possible Serengeti. #serengetishallnotdie.
We hope that you consider travelling there again because it is highly important that people return to as soon as possible. The revenues and jobs that are at stake there make a huge difference to the conservation of the wonderful landscapes.