Although we will continue to give you advice right up to the day of your departure here is some information to help you plan the initial stages of your safari.
THE MAIN REGIONS
For travel purposes Africa can be split into the following areas. Travel between these areas is usually more difficult than staying in one area. The majority of this website focuses on the first two of these areas (East and Southern Africa) as these are the best areas to visit.
East Africa: Tanzania is a main destination (with the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Mt Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar). Rwanda and Uganda are popular for their gorillas, whilst Kenya is famous for the Maasai Mara and its private game areas.
Southern Africa: Zambia is the best place to visit Victoria Falls, Botswana has excellent game viewing in the Okavango Delta (but no coast), South Africa has a little bit of everything. Mozambique has an excellent coastline and diving.
Northern Africa: The main countries to visit are Egypt, Morocco and Ethiopia. Three distinct interesting ancient cultures, however not at its most stable at the present time.
West Africa: A culturally diverse set of countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Burkino Faso, Benin, Togo, Ivory Coast, Congo and Liberia but frenetic, with poor infra-structure and hard to travel around.
Central Africa: Countries like Chad, Sudan and Central African Republic – there aren’t many travel options here at the moment.
Please contact us for further information regarding safari planning.
GOOD TO KNOW
East Africa spans the Equator and has a pleasant, tropical climate. There are two rainy seasons (the Short Rains in November and the Long Rains in April/May). The long rains especially can disrupt travel plans. The coast is wetter still at this time. Average inland summer temperatures are 30 C but in the highland areas it is several degrees colder and the coast is warmer.
- Southern Africa has its summer in October – March and its winter in June – September and there is a more marked seasonal temperature difference than at the equator- especially the desert areas like the Kalahari. There is one long rainy season from November –March. The South-West coast has a colder, wetter climate than the South-East coast (due to different oceanic currents) and the interior is a lot drier.
- East Africa
December to February usually have warm dry weather which makes for good wildlife viewing. The wildebeest migration is usually quite accessible in the southern Serengeti and they calve in February which adds to the viewing interest considerably. The coast may be too hot at this time of year. August to October is cooler but still dry, the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti is in the north (requires an extra flight to reach) and often crossing the Mara River which can be an amazing sight.
- Southern Africa
A trickier question to answer than East Africa due to the geographic diversity. The rains are November – March. This is also the summer time. This leads to some suggestions…
- The Kalahari is cool and dry but green in April/May
- Kruger is very dry in September so good for game viewing
- Victoria Falls is spectacular after the rains in February-June but easier to see and do some activities in the rest of the year
- Whale Watching in South Africa is best June – November.
However this is only a very rough guideline – we will give more detailed information for specific trips
- Dress is casual with natural colours.
- Light layered clothing is generally advisable with a fleece or sweater for the evenings.
- Bring a pair of sturdy, light, waterproof walking shoes plus a comfortable pair for the beach or around the lodge.
- A light waterproof jacket is useful.
- Sunglasses, sunscreen and a wide brim hat are essential.
- Pack lightly – on internal flights in small aircraft the weight restriction is usually 15Kg.
- We will provide detailed clothing suggestions to suit your chosen safari.
- While the countries we recommend are generally politically stable and relatively safe (particularly compared with some other African countries), it is recommended that you are still vigilant with your belongings.
- It is inadvisable to carry large amounts of cash, as quality hotels and lodges around the country accept major credit cards, however you will need a reasonably large amount so keep it safely.
- ATM facilities are usually available at airports and major towns.
- Euros, pounds sterling and US dollars can be exchanged at banks and numerous bureau de change.
- Most visitors will need to a visa to enter the countries they are visiting – usually available in advance from the embassy in your country or on arrival at the border (only US dollars are accepted). If you can it is best to get them in advance.
- Voltage is 220-240 volts and the plugs are usually the same as the square 3-pin plugs used in the UK, (however an adapter is advisable wherever you are from).
- Some safari camps have limited electricity but almost all have facilities to charge cameras, phones, etc.
- It is important to check with your health travel advisor for the vaccinations currently required and which anti-malaria pills are most suitable for you.
- In addition to your normal medication, assemble a simple first aid kit to cover pain relief, minor cuts and grazes as well as an insect repellent and an antihistamine for soothing reactions from insect bites.
- A Yellow Fever certificate is often required but the rules on this change regularly (for older people it may be possible to ask your doctor for an exemption)
- Over 1000 different tribal languages are spoken in Africa (some counts put the figure at 3000) but English is used in most tourist places. In Tanzania – especially on the coast – Swahili is more dominant. In Rwanda and parts of West Africa French is still the official language for commerce. South Africa has 11 official languages but English is the main one used for commerce. Many of the languages are similar – either from the Bantu set of languages (eg Swahili) or the Nilotic (eg Maasai)
Each country has its own currency but many are not available on the international market, therefore it is best to bring US dollars with you. Dollars are accepted in most major tourist lodges and hotels. There are ATMs and banks but they aren’t always working or in your area so bring a reasonable amount with you as well. ATMS will give you local currency. It is a good idea to change some into the local currency once you are in the country. Travellers Cheques are not accepted in many places so these aren’t such a good idea as they once were.
The physical geography of Africa has effected its people and cultures, nation building and the evolution of its wildlife – including humans.
The deserts of North Africa kept sub-Saharan Africa free of European and Arabic people and animals for millennia. The mountains of Ethiopia kept it independent and distinct. The jungles of the Congo basin kept the people of West Africa culturally separated from the East.
However the Great African Rift Valley – where East Africa is slowly splitting from the rest of the continent has the biggest effect of all. It creates mountains, valleys, lakes, volcanic eruptions, jungles, grasslands and semi-deserts. This created fertility and diversity which allowed a huge array of species and habitats to develop which became the driving force for a new set of intelligent hominids to evolve. The lions of the Serengeti shaped your brain!
The destinations and itineraries on our website can all be tailored to suit your needs. We’d be happy to help you with any questions, please simply click on the contact us button below.