Why should I use a safari expert instead of booking the trip myself?
Designing an excellent safari takes care and thought. Combining unique experiences and thoughtfully chosen camps and lodges, together with flights and transfers is not easily done with a quick Internet search. Our personalized approach takes into account your preferences, the seasons, the destination, wildlife migrations, etc. to develop a safari that reveals the heart and soul of a region. This skill is the result of years of traveling to these remote locations and meeting and speaking to the people on the ground, and developing the capability and contacts to pull it all off without a hitch.
When should I start planning a safari?
As soon as possible! Peak travel times vary from place to place but are usually from June through December. Many safari camps are small and need to be booked well in advance to avoid disappointment. Air tickets should also be booked in advance to get the best possible fares. (see Travel Info page).
What is the best time to travel?
Many African destinations are enjoyable year round, but the answer to this question is mostly dependant on weather patterns in different regions. There is no hard and fast rule and we will be happy to advise you in this regard, depending on your priorities.
How much will it cost?
The cost of a safari depends on the type of accommodation, duration of stay and time of year. Our itineraries are custom designed and cater to most budgets. June through October is generally high/peak season.
Are rates all-inclusive?
Most safari camps offer an all-inclusive rate. This normally includes scheduled activities (game drives, walks, mokoros, boating), all meals, drinks, park fees and laundry service. City hotels are normally on a bed and breakfast basis. Optional excursions such as day tours, hot air ballooning, helicopter flights, scuba diving, etc. are at additional cost. Your itinerary will provide you with the exact details of what is and is not included.
What are the luggage limitations?
Due to light aircraft flights luggage restrictions apply in various countries, for example in Southern Africa a maximum of 44 lbs of luggage in soft sided bags is allowed per person (33lbs in East Africa). No hard suitcases can be transported as they physically cannot fit into the aircraft. These luggage restrictions appear minimal but bear in mind that the dress code on safari is casual and laundry is done on a daily basis in the camps.
What should I pack?
A packing checklist is sent to you with final documentation. As no formal clothing is needed throughout most of Africa, we recommend that you limit your luggage to the basics. More formal attire is usually required only when staying in the more prestigious city hotels or on any of the luxury trains. On an African safari, casual comfortable and mostly neutral colored clothing is the order of the day.
What is the daily routine on safari?
The normal routine is as follows: 5am wake up call, followed by tea and coffee and a light breakfast. Head out on a game drive with your guide for 3 - 5 hours, stopping along the way for a coffee break. Return to camp for brunch or lunch. Siesta, read and relax in the afternoon until 4pm high tea. Then head out again for another game drive, a stop for sundowners, and returning to camp in time for dinner.
Is the water safe?
Hotel, camp and lodge management will advise you whether or not the tap water is safe to drink. In many cases it is safe and visitors should not travel in fear of contracting an exotic disease from drinking the water or eating fresh produce!
What about meals?
Meals obviously vary from country to country and lodge to lodge. Generally, the more rustic camps opt for good, wholesome, home-style cooking at elegantly set dining tables (sometimes in a "boma" under the stars, or under thatch or canvas) where guests can discuss the day's events with each other and their guides. The more luxurious lodges offer dining that is truly exceptional. Meal times are geared around safari activities. Camps cater for vegetarians, but must be told in advance. You won't go hungry in Africa!
What is the age limit?
In some camps there is a minimum age requirement of 12 years, or children under 12 are allowed on condition that a private vehicle is booked for game viewing activities. Each camp is different, so please enquire. When booking a camp for exclusive use, there is no age restriction.
What about the safari guides?
The camp management and staff are committed to ensuring that each safari is a memorable experience and this includes going on safari with a guide who is dedicated, experienced, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. They are serious about a career in wildlife, excellent naturalists, keen conservationists, and quite a few are accomplished photographers.
Is there electrical power in the camps?
Some camps in remote locations have no access to regular electrical power, but may have a generator that produces 220V electricity, or they may use solar panels. There is electricity for charging batteries direct from the generator, but not for hairdryers or air conditioning. Overland or mobile safaris have no electricity - the traditional African experience! All electrical appliances in city hotels and lodges in most private reserves run on 220 volts.
Are the camps fenced?
Generally, camps are not fenced which means that animals do wander through. Please pay attention to the lodge manager's or guide's instructions to ensure your safety. Keeping your room door or tent flaps closed will keep you safe. Most camps provide flashlights, but some of the camping safaris require that guests bring their own.
What are the rooms and bathrooms like on safari?
Most guests don't want a conventional hotel room when they're in wilderness. Therefore many of the camps are tented or are under thatch with canvas walls. These rooms offer a safe sanctuary and every comfort, plus they have atmosphere - when a lion roars you can feel it! Fresh linen, towels, face cloths, lighting, soaps, shampoos, bug spray and laundry service are provided. Bathrooms are en suite with flush toilets. Some camps even have an additional outdoor shower or bath "under the stars."