Baggage on safari should be carefully considered. One soft-sided bag and one smaller piece of hand luggage per person is recommended. In total this should not weigh more than 15kgs for most East Africa domestic flights, and not more than 12kgs on small Southern Africa flights. (This includes camera equipment.) Suitcases and other heavier items can usually be stored in city hotels while clients are on safari.
Children on safari are welcome throughout Africa. However some more esoteric accommodation do not accept children under 12 years old.
Porters are the backbone of climber’s trips. They are the silent ones; the ones who carry the loads, have your equipment set up hours before you arrive, and sweat the same vertical path to the summit. They too are human and suffer from various mountain sicknesses.
Dress is usually informal and should be comfortable. Some lodges have a dress code, but this is usually quite liberal, with some restrictions on shorts and swimsuits in the evening. Essential items would be a wide-brimmed sun hat, long-sleeved cotton shirts, shorts and casual trousers.
Most people travel with travellers’ cheques, however major credit cards are now widely accepted. Please adhere to official money-changing bureau and avoid street-dealers.
You will find many differences of opinion regarding what is safe and what is not. You drink filtered water provided in the rooms or stick to bottled water wherever possible.
Apart from some of the bush camps and mobile safaris, all accommodation has some form of permanent electricity, albeit sometimes erratic and often switched off between 23.00 hours and 05.00 hours. The supply is generally 220-240v, and plugs are three-pin square or round, so it is a good idea to bring an adaptor if needed. If you have a video camera, make sure that the battery charger is of the same voltage, otherwise you will need a transformer.
Hotel Check In/Out Times
Rooms are generally not available for occupation until 1300 hours. Check out is normally around 1000 hours. Guaranteed early check in or a day room, is sometimes available at an extra charge.
Adequate travel insurance is a condition of booking. Ensure that all persons take out full insurance to include medical, repatriation and baggage damage/loss charges etc.
English is widely spoken in all cities and tourist areas, however other European languages are less commonly understood.
Meals and Drinks
Today, food on safari is usually above people’s expectations. The day starts with pre safari tea/coffee and cookies, then back to the lodge for a cooked American-style breakfast, with lots of tropical fruit and juices. Lunch is normally buffet-style, with hot and cold dishes, and dinner generally features silver service, in the dining room or ‘boma-style’, around the campfire. Alcoholic spirits, beer or wine are readily available.
Take enough film and spare batteries with you, as both are usually very expensive. Also, bring a dust-proof bag to cover all equipment. For good bird and animal photography, a 200mm lens is the minimum recommendation. A good polariser is also useful for bright conditions. You will see many incredible sights and some fascinating subjects to photograph, so here are some basic rules to abide by.
Africa is no different from anywhere else, just follow the common-sense rules. Remember that excessive displays of jewellery or cash will attract undesirable elements. Do not leave valuables lying around, so use room safes or leave valuables with the hotel/camp manager for safety.
Most city hotels and larger camps have international communication facilities. However, please make sure of the charges before using, as costs can be as much more than normal rates. Some remote accommodations do not have telephones and can only be contacted at certain times of the day, by radiophone.