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Organised vs Do-It-Yourself Safaris

Both are fun and doable but the choice must not be based on your budget as DIY costs can spiral upwards based on several factors. DIY offers more freedom and is a good option in some parts of Africa. On the flipside an organised safari allows you to just relax and concentrate on the wildlife and the comforts of the lodges / camps, whereas on DIY chances are that you will be constantly on the job attending to some or other burning issue. Also, its not recommended you embark on DIY safari all by yourself as you may need local knowledge to get by if you are lost or if you have a punctured tyre inside the reserve. Its best to have a local guide for company.

Best Parks
There is no such thing as a ‘best park’. Each and every park offers a unique experience in terms of wildlife, topography, climate, etc, and its best to enjoy nature for what it is whilst you are there. A game drive can be tough going depending on the season and the wildlife, but this can also change within a few hours. So stick it out and keep looking and you will find there’s still plenty to see in each park. The best park is the one you are visiting – that’s how you start to enjoy your safari!

Children on Safari
Kids love spotting animals as long as everybody else is enjoying it too. We have had kids from 5 years old who haven’t troubled their parents over a Kenya – Tanzania all road 18 day non-stop safari – so stop worrying. However, keep in mind the precautions. Certain lodges / camps bar kids below the age of 7. Even for older kids there are restrictions to movement which must be under adult supervision at all times. Where younger kids are allowed, pl also note that baby food and nanny assistance is not available on safari and all preparations must be made in advance.

Differently Abled travelers
There are certain camps and lodges that are geared to take care of differently abled travelers. Differently abled travelers must inform us about their needs and preferences at the time of organizing the itinerary and before bookings have been made to avoid disappointment as no changes may be possible at the last minute.

The best time to go on Safari
There are 3 seasons for safari. The peak season is during the annual wildebeest migration (July-Oct) and during Christmas-New Year, and even around the Easter holidays. June is high season. Due to the long rains in Mar-Apr, these are the low season months until the end of May. The short rains in Nov again make it a low season. If budget is an issue then May-June and even Nov can be rewarding in terms of wildlife as well as staying in normally higher priced lodges / camps. The long rains are avoidable as waterbodies can overflow and disrupt roads and bridges causing detours and waste of precious safari time.

If you are part of an organised safari (highly recommended for first timers) you won’t need to carry much cash with you, as your agent would have included your accommodation, meals, game drives and park fees in the invoice. So you would need to spend only for personal use like drinks and curios etc, which can all be purchased with credit cards these days (tel lines permitting!). If you’re on a DIY safari, you need to ensure you have sufficient money to cover for your expenses. While ATMs are present in most big towns and cities, they may not be available while you are on safari. It is recommended to carry most of your money in Travellers Cheques and credit cards instead of hard cash. Whatever you do, pl keep your cash out of sight especially when its not to be used. Its better to be safe than sorry.

Tipping is common and expected during safari, especially by driver guides, porters and waiters.

Park Fees
The rate for park fees depends on the park, season and on the location of the lodge ie., whether it is inside or outside the park. The rate for children is usually 50% of the adult rate. As the fees can change without notice its best to check at the time you book with us.

How to pack for a Safari & other information

Pack as lightly as possible, preferably within 15 kgs per person, especially if you are taking a bush flight. You can pack everything you need for a 7-10 day safari in this weight – see our safari checklist below :

  • Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate
  • Passport (pl check validity and min 2 blank pages for visa / immigration stamps)
  • Airline ticket
  • Visa fee
  • Driving license
  • Travel Insurance that covers trip cancellation, medical, medical evacuation, interruption insurance, baggage loss, etc.
  • Vouchers for all hotels and lodges
  • Itinerary and local contact details
  • Foreign Exchange
  • Travelers with past and ongoing illnesses should carry their medical history so that in case of an emergency the correct medical attention is given.
  • Light coloured clothing is recommended. Light wind cheater or jacket or fleece, trousers, long sleeved shirts, cotton t shirts, hats, scarves, handkerchiefs, balaclava, sneakers, flip flops, formal wear and formal shoes (in some lodges), bathing suit, small rucksack, shower proof anorak, water-proof trekking boots for trekkers, sun glasses, binoculars, sun block, lip balm, moisturisers, insect repellents, sting spray, contact lens solutions, small tissue packs, handi-wipes, water purifying tablets and sanitary products, digital camera with zoom, handicam, mobile phone, rechargeable batteries, chargers, USB’s, etc.
  • Baggage for bush flights is restricted to 15 kg per person. Luggage must not be hard top. Large suitcases of dimensions greater than  24’ x 17’ x 7’ may not be allowed on flights, and passengers may have to leave heavy luggage behind. Strollers are highly recommended.
  • It is advisable not to wear noticeable jewelry eg. Gold chains, wedding rings, expensive watches, etc.
  • Tap water is unsafe for drinking, unless boiled or filtered. Mineral water is usually provided in vehicles and in rooms; if not it is advisable to purchase a few bottles immediately on arrival.
  • First aid kit is normally available with the guide in the vehicle or at the lodges, but it is advisable to carry some iodine solution in case of bleeding.
  • Please do not carry food items that can spoil easily as the same cannot be discarded at will. Please do not litter esp in the reserves as stiff penalties may be levied. Kindly dispose waste at the hotel / lodge.
  • During game drives, it is forbidden to step outside the vehicles except at designated areas under supervision, due to the presence of wild animals. At all such times the onus of responsibility is on the individual, and neither the agent, park, guide or tour leaders will be responsible for any eventuality. Similarly, feeding of animals and birds is strictly prohibited. Pl do not try and touch the animals as they are wild and can cause serious injury.
  • Packed lunch will be provided to those wishing to opt for a full day game drive – however this must be communicated to the lodge within the cut-off time the previous evening. Pl check with reception on this.
  • To combat the effects of a tsetse fly bite, it is recommended to carry an antihistamine and an anti-itch lotion / moisturizer for immediate relief.
  • Carry a book in case you like reading or pick up a book on African bestsellers from our list below.

Dietary requirements

Those with special dietary requirements must inform us at the time of bookings as to their preferences. These days most lodges and even remote camps are able to arrange for varying palates, with advance notice. However, pl note that at the last minute it is possible that some conditions cannot be met for obvious reasons. Vegetarians need not worry as there are plenty of options. Most lodges provide a buffet breakfast and lunch and a set menu for dinner. Camps usually provide a set menu meal at all times.

Trekking on Mount Kilimanjaro

This is serious business and although it’s a trek and not a climb, nevertheless Kili (5896m) is 2/3rd the height of Mt Everest (8848m) and while it can take three weeks to reach a similar height on Everest, a Kili trek can be completed in 5-8 days depending on the chosen route and time for acclimatization, which is a must especially if you are not a regular climber. Above 5000m, you have to manage with only 50% of your regular oxygen intake and therefore the risk of going up too fast and getting acute mountain sickness (AMS) is always there. There are various routes up to Kibo’s Uhuru Peak, some more scenic than others, whilst others are more difficult. The popular routes are Marangu, Lemosho, Rongai, Umbwe and Machame. The best time to trek is during the dry season from June to October and December to February. The night temperatures on the mountain are sub zero and therefore it is recommended to be well clad. Most of the trekking equipment can be hired locally in Arusha. You need to bring your own water-proof trekking shoes. 

Be a responsible traveler

Whether you are on safari or on a trek, please be a responsible traveler. Avoid littering, use toilets where available or bury your waste, travel light, avoid using soap and detergents at water courses, be as quiet as possible on safari (keep that mobile phone always on silent!), do not let kids out of your sight, never step outside the vehicle on a game drive unless you have the guide’s approval, respect local people and their customs, avoid taking photos of people and places without checking first, keep your cash safely out of view, be liberal with tips as many services cannot be quantified or invoiced, and try and leave a minimal impact on the environment. Some of the areas you are visiting are the last vestiges of the wild on our planet and we must do all we can to preserve that.


The epicentre of the disease which has impacted the lives of so many people is further from the safari belt of East and Southern Africa than it is from mainland Europe. There have been no cases of Ebola reported from east and southern Africa. All countries and airlines in Africa are taking necessary steps to safeguard their populations. The livelihood of millions of Africans depends on the tourism and wildlife industry and it would be a death wish for the wildlife itself if the world were to avoid visiting the Ebola free countries. Certain lodges are now offering 100% cancellation insurance if a safari were to be cancelled due to an outbreak of the disease in their country, which is a very positive development. Even though we have no lodges of our own in Africa, we strongly urge people to freely visit the non affected regions. They will do well to check the travel advisories of their respective countries before making their travel bookings.

International terror groups

There have been a spate of terror attacks in Nigeria and Kenya in recent months by various terror groups. In east Africa the problem exists on Kenya's border with Somalia and on the coast, and here foreigners must be wary. There have been no reported attacks near any of the popular wildlife reserves. Travelers are requested to check the travel advisories of their respective countries before making their travel bookings.

The best time to go on safari

Due to the seasonal impact on wildlife movement, there are certain seasons that offer more when it comes to the overall wildlife experience. However, much depends on the rains. In East Africa, the peak tourist season is from late June until October, coinciding with the annual wildebeest migration in the Serengeti - Masai Mara ecosystem. The period around Christmas and New Year is also peak but that is more to do with the festive season than wildlife movement. However, there is still plenty of action even in the non-peak months. Infact, what people generally associate with the migration is a river crossing where they can see crocodiles feeding on the migrating animals - but this spectacle is entirely dependent on luck, as some years the migration is early and some years it is late. Wildlife in many national parks is not impacted by the wildebeest migration and large numbers of animals remains year round. In Botswana, where the Okavango Delta comes to life for a few months each year, there are two distinct seasons. Animal densities fluctuate in the summer and winter months. In June / July, the Delta is flush with water so activities are water based, while in the dry season the concentration of animals around waterholes is the highest. There is a sizeable zebra and gemsbok migration that takes place in the Central Kalahari in the summer season. Accommodation rates plummet in the low season everywhere and one can get excellent value deals then. Always check with your agent before planning your trip!

Recommended Books on Africa

  • The Man Eaters of Tsavo by Col R J Patterson
  • Green Hills of Africa by Earnest Hemingway
  • The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Earnest Hemingway
  • West With the Night by Beryl Markham
  • Born Free by Joy Adamson
  • The Flame Trees of Thika by Elspeth Huxley
  • Out of Africa by Karen Blixen
  • Among the Elephants by Iain and Oria Douglas-Hamilton
  • I Dreamed of Africa by Kuki Gallman
  • MO by Mohammed Amin
  • Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
  • The Last King of Scotland by Giles Foden
  • The White Maasai by Corinne Hoffman
  • The Scramble for Africa by Thomas Pakenham
  • The State of Africa by Martin Meredith
  • The Lunatic Express by Charles Miller
  • Cry of The Kalahari by Mark & Delia Owens
  • Unbowed by Wangari Maathai
  • The Zanzibar Chest by Aidan Hartley
  • Whatever You Do, Dont Run! and Dont Look Behind You! by Peter Allison

There are plenty of excellent books on flora and fauna which are especially handy while on safari!

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