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FAQ | Travel Tips

When to Travel

There is no bad time to travel to Africa, but climate changes throughout the year  can alter wildlife movements and even the appearance of the landscape, so it is worth bearing these in mind (see climate charts in each region).

The drier times of year can result in some of the best game-viewing, as thirsty animals are forced to come down to rivers and waterholes to drink. Some of the vegetation tends to die back, meaning smaller, shyer creatures can be easier to spot.

In contrast, the rainy season (or green season) can see a degree of wildlife dispersal, as animals can find food and water more easily. This is a very beautiful time of the year, when the bush truly comes to life and many young animals are born. Migrant bird species also start to arrive.

Safari is a great way to get away from the city crowds of course – you will very often feel as though you have the wilderness to yourself. That said, the dry season tends to be the busier of the two seasons, so if you really want to get away from it all, you might want to try the green season. This is also often a good time of year to get special discounted rates.  Please contact us to chat further about the different times of the year

What to Pack

The main consideration here is your own comfort and wildlife-viewing experience – not forgetting that many safari Camps and Lodges are accessible only by light aircraft charter so you will often find that there are restrictions on baggage weights. We definitely recommend soft duffle-bag or holdall type luggage that can be squeezed into the cargo hold of a light aircraft.

Two of the most important things to pack are a pair of binoculars, which will make a real difference to the quality of your sightings, and a camera.  For a suggested safari packing list, click here

Clothes

Most safari Camps have a relaxed dress code, leaving you free to choose clothes that will keep you cool, shaded, and unbothered by the occasional bug or two. Choose neutral, natural colours that will help you blend into the bush rather than stand out. Avoid white and other very light colours. Camouflage or military-style clothing is best avoided. A wide-brimmed bush hat and sunglasses are essential. A sweater or fleece comes in handy for early morning game drives and evenings around the camp fire. Aim for a ”layer” system – several layers that you can add and remove as necessary. For a suggested safari packing list, click here.

Health & Safety

Safari is an extremely safe holiday, with guides and managers all highly trained in animal behaviour and first aid. You will be in the hands of experts at all times. We recommend that you bring a basic first aid kit, as well as adequate supply of any particular medications or hygiene products you require, as these can be hard to source in remote locations. A visit to your physician or a travel clinic is highly recommended well in advance of your safari, to discuss malaria prophylaxis and any other specific medical needs you may have. Visit www.smarttraveller.gov.au for information for Australians travelling overseas.

Insurance

It is a condition of booking a safari holiday that you take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance, including evacuation insurance.  In the very unlikely event of any issues, you may find that you are some way from the nearest international-standard hospital and evacuation is very costly. We are able to assist with arranging a suitable policy, please contact us.  Please also contact us for our standard booking terms and conditions.

Travel Regulations and Requirements

As of 01 June 2015, regulations have changed for passengers travelling to South Africa and Botswana with children under 18 years old.  If you are travelling with children (entering or in transit), you need to provide immigration with unabridged (full) birth certificates of each minor which states both parents names.  Should both parents not be travelling, then affidavits and other documentation are required.  Please click here for a basic summary of requirements, or visit this easy to use checklist on the Drive South Africa webpage

Visas

Visa requirements vary from country to country with some requiring to be obtained prior to travel, whilst others are obtainable at border points.  We can advise you on the exact requirements for each country you will be visiting.

Money

On safari you will generally not need to carry too much cash. Many Camps can now accept credit cards (Visa and Mastercard are preferred and few places take American Express). Unless you will be spending time in towns and cities you almost certainly won’t need local currency – rather carry US dollars or Euros in small-denomination notes for tipping and other incidentals. Most safari Camps, Lodges and mobile safaris are fully-inclusive of food and services.

Tipping

Tipping policies can vary but it is usual to tip your guide at the end of each safari, rather than after each game drive. Staff tips are shared between all the people working at each Camp, including those you may not have met but who perform vital functions to help your safari run smoothly. Generally speaking, a standard guideline would be:

  • Guides, Specialist Guides & Private Butlers – approx. US$ 10.00 per guest per day (full day/twice daily activities)
  • Trackers, Polers/Paddlers – approx. US$ 5.00 per guest per day
  • General Safari Camp, Lodge or Hotel Staff – approx US$ 5- $10.00 per guest per day. This can generally be placed in a communal tipping box
  • Massage Therapists – approx US$ 3.00 to US$ 5.00 per treatment
  • Transfer Driver – approx US$ 2.00 per guest
  • Porterage – approx US$ 2.00
  • Restaurant meals – generally 10% is customary on meal accounts if you are satisfied with the service

Photography

Wildlife photography can be incredibly rewarding and provide you with great mementos of an amazing holiday. These days compact cameras can be very good, and even smart phones can take decent photos, especially of people/general holiday snaps/tent interiors etc.  For wildlife photography, we would recommend a 70-200mm lens, although a 100-400mm or 70-300mm lens is ideal.  Carry spare batteries, memory cards and possibly even a support such as a monopod.  Camera equipment should be kept in a bag that will keep it from dust and general travel motions.  Please chat to us for advice and recommendations on what equipment to take.

Contributing

If you would like to contribute to community or wildlife charities or initiatives during your time in Africa, please talk to us for advice on how best to donate your time, money or other donations.

Accreditation and booking conditions/details

Remarkable Africa Pty Ltd is an AFTA member (Australian Federation of Travel Agents) and proudly an ATAS accredited agent.  Click here for more information.

Should you wish to make a booking, we will require a deposit to secure any reservations, with the balance generally being payable 2 months prior to your departure date.

For more information, please click here for our Booking Terms and Conditions.

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