Frequently asked questions
What to pack
Cotton clothing work best in Africa, during the daytime, I recommend shorts and tee shirts or polo shirts. For the evening, I recommend long-sleeved shirt/blouse and trousers/slacks. Don’t pack jeans because they are very heavy. You will need a jacket, because early morning and late afternoon game viewing drives tend to get too cool. I take a fleece jacket. It is light and does not wrinkle, when crunched into the airplane overhead bins. I strongly recommend a hat, for shade from the African sun, and a pair of sunglasses.
All the lodges and hotels offer same laundry services at very reasonable prices. Yes, you can make your wardrobe work with packing just five outfits on your international flight to Africa, so that makes a total of six outfits.
Useful items to take include scissors, tweezers, lip salve, and sun block as well as preferred brands of toiletries and cosmetics, as local supplies may be scarce. Also take a torch and a pocket knife, and spectacle wearers should take a spare pair.
Passports & Visas
All passports must be valid at least 6 months beyond the date of intended stay, and that you have sufficient blank VISA pages (not endorsement pages) in your passport for the countries to be visited. We recommend three blank pages (with at least two blank opposing pages) or even four if you are travelling through more than one country on your holiday. Please note that all children now require their own passport. Visa requirements change very frequently so please check with us for the very latest information. Should a visa need to be obtained in advance of travel we can recommend the services of a visa company. Please note that postal applications to certain embassies can take up-to 4 weeks so early application is advisable.
It is also advisable to take photocopies of all your important documents, e.g. passports, air tickets, visas and credit cards and keep them separate to the original documents. In the event of loss of any of the original documents whilst travelling, replacement will be much easier.
You will need very little spending money on most safaris as the majority of meals and activities are included in your itinerary, you only need to pay for extras like beverages, laundry, telephone calls, additional sightseeing or deviation from the itinerary etc. You will usually have to pay for lunch, dinner and drinks when you are staying at hotels in cities. Bills can be settled in US dollars, by traveller’s cheque or credit card – however use may be restricted in small towns and rural areas.
Health The exact choice of vaccines required depends on many individual factors as well as the precise travel plans. The vaccines most commonly recommended to travellers to Africa include tetanus, typhoid, meningitis, polio, yellow fever, rabies and hepatitis A. In addition, malaria is a serious disease spread by mosquitoes, with prevention consisting of taking anti-malarial medication. Every traveller to Africa should seek advice from a qualified doctor or practitioner prior to travel and the use of insect repellent locally is also advisable.
Almost all countries will request to see proof of Yellow Fever vaccination (or ask you to show a valid official exemption certificate) at Immigration if you are travelling from, or have recently travelled to, any country with risk of Yellow Fever transmission, regardless of the amount of time spent in the country or even at the airport if just transiting.
Please note: Travellers who are unable to have the Yellow Fever vaccination for medical reasons can be exempt from this - you must however carry a valid official medical exemption certificate from your Doctor or Travel Clinic explaining why you cannot have the injection. It is recommended that the certificate is also accompanied by a detailed letter from the Doctor specifying entry and departure dates from each country and a full medical reason for the exemption.
Some visitors forget to pack eye drops. Carry them, particularly if you wear contact lenses. Air carries fine-particle dust
Space in the safari vehicle is limited and we request that you pay particular attention to the following guidelines.
Your luggage is restricted to:-
1 bag not exceeding 15kgs and 65x46 cm. We recommend that you pack your personal effects in an inexpensive barrel/sausage bag available from discount stores, hypermarkets and sports shops.
We recommend that you utilize old or inexpensive luggage. Suitcases are unsuitable for our type of safaris. You may use a small/medium-sized rucksack, provided that it has no frame.
If your first night is in Nairobi, you may wish to leave your unnecessary luggage at the Hotel left luggage, and only take what you really need on safari. Please have a look at what to pack on safari http://www.visitafricalimited.com/index.php/safaris
PLEASE NOTE THAT ANY EXCESS LUGGAGE OVER 15KGS WILL NOT BE LOADED INSIDE THE VEHICLE. EXCESS LUGGAGE WILL BE STORED AND ANY COSTS INCURRED WILL BE THE PASSENGERS RESPONSIBILITY
The reason for the above is our vehicles as are made to carry limited luggage, and overloading the vehicle does effect operations and break downs of the vehicle.
The Safari Code
East Africa is the uncontested ‘Safari Capital of the World', and has been since the 1900's when royalty, aristocracy, politicians and movie stars flocked here to hunt the ‘Big Five' (lion, rhino, buffalo, elephant and leopard). The word ‘Safari' actually means ‘to travel' and can refer to any journey or trip. When in either a park or a reserve visitor should observe the following code: Respect the privacy of the wildlife, this is their habitat.
Beware of the animals - they are wild and can be unpredictable.
Don't crowd the animals or make sudden noises or movements.
Don't feed the animals - it upsets their diet and leads to human dependence.
Keep quiet - noise disturbs the wildlife and may antagonize your fellow visitors. Stay in your vehicle at all times, except at designated picnic or walking areas. Keep below the maximum speed limit (40 kph/25mph). Never drive off-road -this severely damages the habitat. When viewing wildlife keep to a minimum distance of 20m and pull to the side of the road so as to allow others to pass.
Leave no litter and never light fires or discard burning objects.
Respect the cultural heritage of Kenya - never take pictures of the local people or their habitat without asking their permission, respect the cultural traditions of Kenya and always dress with decorum.
Observe the rules: leave the park by dusk; never drive at night in a national park. An informed safari is an enhanced safari; carry guidebooks (about the park, wildlife, birds and flora) and binoculars. Always travel with plenty of water, wear sensible shoes in case you have to walk, carry a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses.
The best time for wildlife viewing is 6.30am- 9.30 am and 3.30pm-6.30pm; this is due to the fact that most of the animals retire to the shade to rest during the middle (hottest) part of the day. For best viewing, the trick is not to look AT the bush but THROUGH it. Focus your eyes at mid-range distance, look under bushes and into the shadows, and watch out for those subtle changes in colour and continuity that may indicate the presence of wildlife.
A typical day on safari: A day full of rich experiences
Luxury safaris are quite active because guests want to make the most of their learning-adventure trip. I prepared this timetable to give you an idea of a typical day.
After coffee and a light pre-breakfast snack, you depart on a 3- to 4-hour game drive with your ranger and tracker in their safari vehicle. Bring your camera and binoculars.
You stop in the wilderness for hot coffee, tea, or hot chocolate served with a light snack.
You return to the lodge, where a hearty breakfast awaits you. Or, sometimes, you enjoy a full-fledged bush breakfast in the "middle of nowhere".
10:00 am to 1:30 pm
This is the time to relax at the pool, take a nap, curl up with a book on your or the lodge's veranda, have a massage in your room, or join a one-hour ranger-led midday interpretative walk through the wilderness.
Lunch is served, either in the main dining area or on your private veranda.
After tea service with other guests, you embark on your several hour evening drive.
You get out of the safari vehicle to have cocktails with your safari mates in a remote natural setting.
On your return from the drive, you have cocktails and dinner with your companions. This could be in the indoor dining area, or in an enclosed open-sky boma, or in the bush, or almost anywhere.
You enjoy after-dinner drinks with your old- and new-found friends - or go to bed after your active day.
The times above are for summer. Winter times are slightly different because the daylight period is shorter. For example, the winter morning drives leave at 6 am, and dinner begins at 7:30 pm.