Who is responsible for my visas?
You are responsible for your own visa’s, many of which can be obtained on the borders at the time of travel. Your driver will assist you on the day, but should you have any concerns then please do not hesitate to contact us or check out the Visa and Embassy information link on the Links page.
I am travelling on a certain passport – is that going to be a problem?
Please remember that you are responsible for your own visas – if you arrive in Africa and you are from a country that requires visas before arrival then we cannot be held responsible. Residents of the EU (most countries), Britain, Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada normally do not require visas before arrival (except for Kenya and the East Africa Visa) however, governments being governments, the regulations can change overnight. If in doubt check with each consulate.
Please do not spoil the potential holiday of your lifetime without ensuring you conform to the immigration laws and regulations of each country you are visiting.
A useful guide to finding out what visas you will need can be found on www.wikipedia.com if you search by putting in your passport ie British Passport etc. This will give you a list of visa costs and availability. Please remember though that this is a guide only and as things change it may not be 100% reliable.
What else must I pay for including Local Payments?
We require the local payment as we are unable to reliably transfer foreign currency required to operate the tour. It is for this reason that we ask for a part of your tour payment to be paid on the first day, directly to your driver. The Local Payment is not a Food Kitty. Whilst it does pay for the food as per itinerary, it also covers; camping accommodation cost, local tolls and taxes and other payments required to make the tour run successfully. It is administered by the driver and is not refundable.
What are Optional Activities?
These are activities, which are available for you to do along the way on the tour but are not compulsory so we have not included them in the tour cost. These are booked & paid for on the trip and suggested form of payment is US$ cash. Sometimes you can pay by Travelers Cheques or Credit card; however the surcharges can be high.
Is each trip run separately or will people be getting on and off?
Some trips do have been broken down. The reason we do this is that not everyone can afford to take several weeks off work (if only!), so this allows people to come and do a few section at a time. This also means that there will be a more diverse and integrated group of people on your truck and fresh faces too.
Can I charge equipment batteries on the overland truck or at campsites?
Though you can charge of the truck we don’t advise it as it runs on a 24 volt system which shortens the life of your batteries. You can charge at nearly every campsite or lodge.
How often can I email home?
Most towns have internet cafés, and some campsites and lodges offer email facilities and WIFI. So you can email from every day to sometimes once a week. Most travellers do bring their smart phones or iPads on the trips as WIFI is more commen these days.
Can I use my Credit Card whilst on the trip?
Bring two if you can get them in case one stops working, or gets swallowed by the cash machine. There are quite a few places where you can draw out local money. But take care as your card can easily be stopped with the unusual use abroad (as a bank security measure). Which means you may have to get on the phone home to get it unlocked . As a precaution, before travelling ring your bank and tell them where you are going and when you will be away.
How much spending money should I bring?
US$10 – US$40 a day is a good start excluding the big side trips. This varies from with how much you drink, eat out and how many souvenirs you buy. Budget separately for the big side trips and options (Gorillas, Serengeti etc.).
The best way to break up your money for a mixture of ease of exchange and safety is to take 33% cash in US$, 33% Travellers cheques in either US$ or Euro’s and 33% in money on your credit card – but you really need to bring two credit cards as they can easily be rejected by the cash machine in Africa due to your own bank blocking them as suddenly withdrawing cash in Africa will seem unusual to your bank at home. In East and Southern Africa ATM machines are available about every two to four days, but remember ATM machines only pay out local currency. On most borders you can change excess left over currency for the next countries money.
The balance of carrying a lot of cash is a risk you have to asses yourself in case you lose it. But check your travel insurance as most policies cover losses.
On tours where all activities are included in the price you will therefore not be spending lots of money on additional excursions. You will however need some cash to purchase snacks, drinks, perhaps local curios, and some restaurant meals. For meal expenses you should count the number of lunches and dinners not included in the specific itinerary and then work on about US$15 to US$25 for a sit down restaurant dinner, about US$7 to US$12 for a light lunch or take away. (local currency will be required, but as an indication we’ve shown US$)
Bottled water is approximately US$1.50 per litre and a can of beer or coke is roughly US$2.00.
If you budget on +/- US$ 25 per day, you will have ample cash available for out of pocket expenses. Please bear in mind that this daily budget, does not include the expenses of optional activities such as white water rafting, shark cage diving or helicopter flights etc. The prices for these optional extras can be found on our downloadable detailed tour dossier.
What currency should I bring my travellers cheques in?
US$ is the most widely recognized hard currency. When bringing travellers cheques bring the receipt and keep it separately. Many places want the receipt when you change. If your coming from USA bring $, from Europe – € & UK – ₤.
What will the weather be like on my overland tour?
Best thing to do is decide on the trip you want to do and the time of year, then look up the weather website from our links page, and you should be able to get an idea. But bring a jumper as it can get cold at night – even in Africa!
Do I need insurance for overland tours?
Travel Insurance is compulsory. We can point you in the right direction for insurance but can’t sell it. You need insurance which covers you for medical, baggage, repatriation, and currency. Please bear in mind, when buying insurance, the most important thing is to look for medical and repatriation cover.
Can you guarantee that I will see the gorillas if I buy a permit?
No one can guarantee you will see the gorillas as they move freely through the jungle forests. The gorillas are tracked daily and 99% of the groups do see them but, if the gorilla families are sick for example they are protected from human contact. The permit only allows you the chance to see them however we have managed to see the gorillas every time in the last five years.
What language are the tours conducted in?
English – if you don’t know English by the end of the tour you will. We do run a couple of German tours but these are for Germans only. Please contact us if you want more info on these departures.
Can I bring my own tent?
We supply good tents – but if you have one you like your welcome to bring it.
I can’t cook
Don’t worry about that as there is always someone around who can help. It’s not a Michelin 3 star gourmet experience and most people are so hungry living in the out doors all day they won’t be too fussy. We also do offer tours with limited participation and the guides will cook for you or you will eat at the lodges.
I’m a single traveller – does that matter?
No as over half the people who join our trips come alone the rest with a friend or so don’t worry about coming alone as lots do.
Do you have luggage restrictions?
Not really. The safari trucks are very roomy but remember that most airlines restrict you to 20/30 kilos of luggage without charging so that may limit you in what you carry. We expect people to have a; back pack or duffel bag, day bag & sleeping kit. The trucks are designed for storing backpacks or duffel bags – suitcases are hard to squeeze in and are likely to get damaged.
I have particular dietary requirements – is that a problem?
No, most diets can be catered for but note ingredients can be limited. If you do have a particular dietary requirement or medical condition, other than being a vegetarian, you must tell us at the time of booking.
How many people are on tour?
It really depends on the tour you book. We offer small group tours with a maximum of 12 people per tour, we offer expeditions with a maximum of 8 people and we offer overland tours with a maximum of 18 passengers. When booking a private safari you deside the group size.
Can I drink the water on the truck?
Yes it’s safe to drink bottled water is readily available and most people prefer to drink it.
Your tour operator does not supply bottled drinking water. There is however clean drinkable water throughout Southern Africa. Tap water in most places is good to drink, and you can always ask your guide for advice if unsure. Each safari truck has a 150ltr water tank, which can be used for drinking. For those who are concerned about the water it is possible to purchase bottled water at own expense.
From an environmental point of view, we ask each client to consider how many plastic bottles they throw away. We suggest you either bring a water bottle from home, or buy a 1.5 ltr bottle of water at the start of the tour. You can then refill that water bottle from the truck or from tap. (if every client bought 1 plastic bottle every day, we would use over 40,000 plastic bottles a year! So please help us by re-using your water bottle).
Where is the best place to get medical advice before travelling?
From your doctor. We can only offer guidelines but do not rely on any advice given on on-line forums or other travellers. Everyone is individual where medical needs are concerned.
Do I need to take malaria pills?
Yes, seek advice form your doctor or travel clinic.
What food can I expect on tour?
Most tour operators will provide two or three scrumptious meals per day, unless specified in the itinerary [B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner], from lunch on the day of departure until breakfast on the last day of your tour. Good healthy meals make happy travelers. The tour leaders do all the shopping and meal planning for each group. He/she will always try to obtain fresh produce wherever possible. Each tour has 1 cool box / freezer for the meats and fresh produce only, and 1 cool box for drinks. We do cater for special dietary requirements. Please bring this to our attention at time of booking.
A rough idea of what meals can be expected:
Breakfast – Cereals and milk or bread/toast, jam and fruit with coffee and tea or the occasional cooked breakfast.
Lunch – Cheese, cold meats, fish, fruit, pasta salads and bread or rolls.
Dinner – Potjies (stews), braais (barbecue), stir fries, curries etc prepared on a wood fire or gas stove.
On several nights we visit local restaurants, which because of individual tastes will be an own expense meal.
Are mosquito nets provided?
If you are joining a camping trip, the tents have mosquito netting on the windows and door. Mosquitoes spend the heat of the day in shaded areas, so please remember to keep the mosquito net on the door closed during the day too, so that mosquitoes do not enter your tent. At night, you can sleep with the tent window flaps open, and the door rolled up, but remember to keep the mosquito net zipped closed. This will keep out the little biting things (like mosquitos) and the big biting things (like lion and hyena Smile).
On the accommodated safaris, if we visit a malaria area, or a place with mosquitoes, then the accommodation will have nets provided. In areas where there are low numbers of mosquitoes and/or no malaria, mosquito nets will not be provided. These include places such as Knysna, Hermanus, Cape Town, Swakopmund, Windhoek etc.
Can I buy camera memory cards?
Memory cards and other photographic accessories will be available several times on tour. A camera with a zoom lens from wide angle to telephoto, 35-200mm, is advisable to capture both scenic and wildlife shots. Each vehicle is fitted with a 12/24V cigarette lighter – this should not be relied on for charging camera batteries and we recommend you bring a 2nd battery. Remember you can also charge your camera on those nights we use accommodation (SA 220V).
Do I need to bring a sleeping bag and a towel?
If you are joining a camping trip, you will need to bring your own sleeping bag (and small camp pillow) and a towel. Should you not have, or do not want to buy a sleeping bag, you can rent a sleeping bag and camp pillow from the office for Euro 1 per sleeping bag per day on tour. Please book this at the time of booking.
On the accommodated safaris, all bedding is provided, and you will not be required to bring a sleeping bag or pillow. When we do stay in areas where sleeping bags are required (such as the tented camp in the Okavango Delta) sleeping bags and pillows will be provided. At most accommodation establishments, towels will be provided, but it is always a good idea to bring a small travel towel for the beach or swimming pool.
Will I be save while on safari?
Southern Africa, like all 3rd world regions, has its problems, but your tour leader knows all of the areas intimately and will endeavour to show you all of the highlights while always taking your safety into concern. Your operator plans the itineraries to visit interesting places, while not placing clients in harms way.
Like all practical advice about safety, be aware of your surroundings but not paranoid. As you would anywhere in the world, don’t leave valuables such as wallet and cameras unattended or in plain view. IE: don’t leave your camera on a restaurant table while you dash to the loo, or leave your wallet on the bed in your room while you’re not there. The temptation for cleaning staff may be too much.
Please also bear in mind that the people in many of the places you will visit are living in difficult and sometimes poor conditions. To them the possessions you have are signs of your relative wealth, and therefore please be sensitive to their position. Don’t create that temptation in their mind by “flaunting” your valuables.
When entering a wilderness area your tour leader will give you a full safely briefing. If you follow the simple rules while in wilderness areas you will have nothing to worry about when in close proximity to wild animals. On game drives keep quiet and don’t make any sudden movements. On game walks walk in a single file, keep quiet and listen to your guide’s instructions and you will be fine. When staying in un-fenced campsites do not wander off alone, always make sure that you are aware of your surroundings.
Follow your guide’s instructions and you’ll have a great time.
Is there an age limit?
The minimum age for our guests is 12 or 18 years old, although we do occasionally make exceptions depending on the specific itinerary, the group make-up and sometimes during our low season. Please note that a child of 12-17 years will only be accepted for travel with an accompanying adult.
On some of our safaris we camp wild in remote areas and these campsites are not fenced, so it is possible for wild animals do enter the campsite. It is important that parents make sure that the children listen and follow the guide’s safety instructions. Parents are also required to supervise their children at all times so as not to affect the enjoyment of the tour for any other clients.
We do not believe that age should be a determining factor on the enjoyment of life! Therefore we do not have an upper age limit.
But clients who are older than 65yrs are required to submit a doctor’s report stating that they are fit and healthy and that they will be able to undertake a safari that includes a moderate level of physical activity, some long driving days and some moderate day walks. This is not an onerus document, but rather an indication that the client is aware of the style of tour that they will be joining, and capable of participating in all activities on tour. We’ve found that we have many fit and healthy clients who are over 65 years of age, join our trips, and put the younger clients to shame on the mountain walks!
Is your question not part of this list? Please do not hesitate to contact us!