What do you need to know?
We understand that an African safari is no easy trip to plan; factoring in your budget, where to visit, how long to travel for, what to pack, what vaccinations are required and more questions you may have.
Frequently Asked Questions to help you understand safaris before you book your dream vacation. We’re also here to help answer your questions, get in touch.
What should I pack?
Essentials: passport, bank cards/money, visas (for each visited country), PCR Tests (if applicable) and covid-vaccine passport, contact phone number or local SIM for emergency and pass your itinerary to family/friends in case of emergency.
Clothing: think layers and natural colours – windproof/waterproof jacket, fleece, sweatshirt, comfortable trousers/shorts, short sleeved shirts & long sleeve shirts, sleepwear (nights can be cold) and swimwear (should your camp have plunge pools to cool off or for any beach extension to your safari – we can organise that too!).
Shoes: Light tennis / walking shoes for everyday use, sandals / flip-flops and closed shoes for evenings.
Health: sun protection (hat, sunscreen), any prescribed medicine, general painkillers, face wipes and regular sanitisation (it can be dusty on game drive).
Equipment: camera, phone or other recording device (you don’t need a professional camera but you may like to hire one for your trip should you like to obtain better images), spare batteries and memory cards, lens cleaner (it can be dusty, protect your equipment), binoculars.
Luggage/Laundry: most local flights between cities and safari destinations/camps allow luggage weight limits of 15-20 kgs in soft sided, non-wheeled luggage. Budget safaris typically do not have laundry facilities. Luxury camps will often provide laundry included in your price.
Power: plug adaptor for your devices. Note: many safari camps are run on solar or generator power and have no charging capability in guest rooms, or capacity for the use of electrical items such as hair dryers, electric razors. Please consider what you need, can amend and can do without on safari.
Is there WiFi?
Many safari camps either have Wifi in main guest areas or within guests’ tents. Wifi coverage can be intermittent due to the remote location of safari camps. There are also safari camps with no Wifi, either because of the size of the camp or camp type such as mobile camping, or purposeful to help ensure that travellers truly escape into nature.
We will happily advise you, should you prefer to have Wifi or not, and which camps and destinations may be right for you.
Should I tip?
Gratuities for your safari guides and camp staff are highly recommended based on your experience on safari. Typically between $3-8 per day for camp staff (cleaners/waiting staff) and $5-15 per day for guides.
Is Africa safe?
In general, yes. Like with most countries, there are areas we strongly recommend that you avoid (less touristy areas, suburbs, exploring on your own at night). There can be dangerous situations for tourists when travelling to major cities, so we recommend and in fact, always organise pre-arranged transfers from airports and hotels with trusted suppliers.
What vaccines are required?
Please consult with your doctor or medic before travelling to ensure proper medical advice. In general, malaria is prevalent in many safari destinations. Yellow Fever has been prevalent in central and western Africa, however eastern African countries and Southern African countries do not have Yellow Fever as a health advisory – unless travellers are specifically coming from – or who are in airport transit for more than 12 hours within – a country with risk of Yellow Fever transmission.
Covid-19 vaccines are now required for many international travel routes, with countries requesting proof of vaccination. Being safe and responsible is encouraged, not just to protect you and loved ones, but to help ensure tourism continues and the economic benefits that help fund communities and wildlife conservation, continues. Please consult your health care provider for up to date requirements. Better Safaris will also assist in advising of requirements for your destination of choice.
As of November 2021, many countries require a Negative PCR Test Certificate for entry for tourists. Better Safaris will advise when booking, which countries require a Negative PCR Test Certificate.
Is a safari safe? Click here to read about going on safari during Covid-19.
What are the current rules for travelling with children to South Africa?
If travelling with minors, please ensure that you are familiar with the new South African Child Visa requirements. If you’re uncertain, we recommend you check with the Department of Home Affairs or contact your nearest embassy / consulate before travelling.
How do I get from the airport to the safari camp/lodge?
We will always take care of you. All ground transfers from your arrival airport to your accommodations are arranged as part of our safaris. We can even arrange overnight hotels to help you prepare for your arrival or departure home.
Are meals included in my safari?
In most cases, yes. Rate inclusions range from fully inclusive (all meals and drinks), to meals only (and drinks additional). The only exception is self-drive vacations.
Are there vegan and vegetarian options?
Yes. Eating a vegan way of life or vegetarian (or other) is EASY on safari. In fact, it’s possibly the most vegan friendly travel option, with private chefs in safari camps, local produce and excellent flexibility to care to any food choices.
Both Paul and Karen have been vegan for several years.
Will I see the animals I want to see?
Our experience and knowledge of Africa helps ensure that we arrange safaris that cater to your dreams. Sometimes it’s difficult to guarantee animals sightings, dependant upon seasonal changes and animal behavioural patterns – so please bare in mind, this is the natural world in all of it’s unpredictable beauty!
Do I need a professional camera?
Definitely not. Great photos is about being in the right place at the right time. Great photos and videos are constantly being captured on modern cell phones and compact cameras. If you’d like great quality images, then yes, bring a DSLR camera + lenses (70-200 and 100-300mm are great options for wildlife photography, 400-600mm for birding).
Hiring camera equipment is also an option for your safari. We’re happy to assist with camera + lens hire.
How far in advance should I book?
Last minute special offers are fantastic – contact us today if you plan to travel soon.
In general, safari camps can get booked well in advance; 6-18 months in advance is a good gauge of when to book, to guarantee availability at your ideal camps/locations.