Are you about to plan an African Safari? Is it your first time in Africa? Looking for the best African safari tips? To help you plan well the perfect trip, Oreteti Safari, gathered up a few quick and easy steps to crafting an African safari. If it is your first to time Africa, we know how hard and tough it is first to imagine and second to know what to include and not to include as you prepare for a lifetime adventure. As experts in this field, our job is to advise our clients not only to plan but we will be there for them and help them on every step of their journey. As we hear always people saying, "It's better to be safe than sorry." At Oreteti Safari, we have experienced this only too well. That's why we want to equip you with some of our tried and true Safari Travel Tips. They will help you plan a safari without any trouble along the way.
These are things to consider while planning your Safari to Africa:
1. Travel insurance
As tour operators, we love to advise our clients on the travel insurance that they have to consider while planning for their African Safari. It would be a mistake to travel to Africa without travel insurance. Anything can happen on your trip while you are in Africa. After confirming your travel plans, take out travel insurance. We advise that you consider a plan that covers cancellation, medical illness, emergency evacuation and associated hospital treatments. Remember to take your travel insurance emergency phone numbers and your policy number/details with you.
Most of the African countries are safe and they are used to hosting tourists. We know, Your personal safety and security are mostly a matter of common sense. Taking precautions is always upon you. Do not walk around with a chunk of cash; just carry enough for you (see below for more information on Cash, Credit Cards & ATMs).
- Carry your cash (plus passport and other travel documents) in a money pouch hidden under your shirt. Keep it out of sight or stowed in your camera bag or knapsack (which should remain in sight at all times).
- Keep a close watch on your personal bags when walking in crowded areas (airports, markets, restaurants and on the street).
- Do not walk alone at night. Make sure you get escorted by your host/locals
- Leave your passport, airline tickets and cash in a safe place (the hotel/lodge safe) when venturing out.
- Keep tempting valuables (including phones, cameras, wallet pouches, and handbags) out of sight. Lock them up in the room safe or hand them to management.
- If not
necessary to carry your jewellery, just leave it at home
3. A long-sleeved shirt
The best safari shirts are going to be those made to combat harsh environments. They need to be durable, lightweight, resistant to the sun, quick to dry and have the ability to protect against bugs. Also, colour selection is another criterion to consider, avoid bright colours which may attract your attention while you are in the park, colours like white, blue, black and camouflage. Any other bright colour avoids it while on a safari. Colours to wear include Khaki, brown and tan, Khaki brown and greens, dark browns and greens.
4. A couple of t-shirts/undershirts
A pair of trousers/shorts, Light sneakers/sandals/flip-flops, Swimming suit for lodge pools, Headwear (preferably a broad-brim, bucket hat or billed cap), Sunglasses, Sunblock SPF 40+ or higher, Mosquito repellent, Bandanna or light scarf against dust, Camera + Reserve camera batteries, A warm hoodie or a light jacket (in some parks before and after sunset the temperature can fall dramatically)
5. Cash, Credit Cards & ATMs
Carry a combination of cash (preferably US$ for most countries and Rand for South Africa) and at least one credit card. Traveller's cheques (checks) are not widely accepted in African countries (i.e. Tanzania ) anymore. The United States Dollar remains the most widely accepted, followed by the Euro and Sterling. A very important Travel Tip relates to money. Take at least US$150 to $250 per person/per week in cash from home. Visas secured on arrival must be paid in cash and in the exact amount. Some countries do not accept US bills dated before the year 2000, due to suspicions of counterfeiting.
Credit & Debit cards
Most establishments accept international credit cards. Use them as a method of payment wherever possible. It makes sense to carry more than one brand of credit card as not all types are accepted by all outlets/hotels. On the downside, credit card companies do not offer the best exchange rates going around and will often add a foreign transaction fee for good measure!
Credit cards in Africa carry attract a surcharge - up to 5% in some cases, and possibly more! Be sure to ask about any surcharges before you hand over your credit card.
Important Travel Tip: Most banks and credit card companies advocate that you advise them before you travel overseas. This is so that their credit card monitoring systems do not suspend your card when they detect any unusual purchases. Such purchases will trigger the suspension of your card and leave you with embarrassing consequences. Also, be cautious of providing your credit card details when travelling. And do not let your card out of your sight when paying your bill.
In Africa, ATM machines supply only local currency and you may need an international PIN code. Be sure to check with your bank/credit card facility at home about how this should work. Not all ATMs in Africa will accept every credit card type. VISA has the best coverage in Africa. Use an ATM at a bank, so if your card is retained for any reason, you can go in and get it back. Don't rely on ATMs as your main source of cash while on safari!
6. Electric appliances
For your computer, Ipad/tablet, telephone and power bank, you need to consider the type of adapter/plug you should bring. Electricity in Africa is all 220 -240V/50Hz AC. Those of you from North America must bring an adapter for the proper plug configuration and a converter.
Not all safari camps and lodges have electrical outlets in the tents/rooms but they always have a place where you can recharge your camera/video and phone/iPod batteries. Some camps run their generator at certain times of the day so be sure to check with the manager when you arrive. A number of mobile safari operators have inverters in their vehicles, so you can charge your camera/video batteries on the move.
7. Mobile (cell) phone & internet access
Mobile (cell) phones coverage here in Africa is at a great capacity, and even Wi-Fi is generally available, or you can subscribe to the local tour operators for a data plan, a week a month or the time you are expecting to spend here and you can always hotspot your laptop and stay connected. Is not something to worry at all even though may not be at a speed you are used too at home. We can generalize by saying; that communications in Africa are not what you are accustomed to at home. We also advise you to check with your service provider that your phone is registered for international roaming (and check that the phone you have is compatible with the networks in Africa. Wi-Fi is also offered at safari camps/lodges and hotels also.
Drink bottled water. You are always safe drinking the bottled water that is readily available at all the camps and lodges. Carry a bottle of water with you at all times including on transfers between camps.
Take note: Africa may be hot than many of the places in Europe and the USA, dehydration may take place regularly and it's a real danger on safari. Drinking water should not leave your side.
9. Expect bumpy and dusted roads
The bumpy road and dust can be expected during a safari, so prepare yourself to enjoy this adventure. In the winter months (June to October), the game reserves can be extremely dusty. Contact lens wearers should bring eye drops and eyeglasses, to avoid eye irritation. Clean camera and video lenses regularly and store them in a camera bag, while on safari.
Most African countries have stringent exchange control regulations and it is illegal to enter or leave the country with anything other than nominal amounts of local currency. To avoid problems, do not exchange too much money into local currency at any one time. There is normally no restriction on the amount of foreign currency that may be imported.