Useful Info - Africa

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Battery charging

Some people choose to bring camcorders, digital cameras, i-Pods, mobile phones & other appliances. Such equipment needs charging from time to time. It is suggested you bring along a transformer and adapter. If in doubt, check with an electrical retailer before you depart that you have the right combination for your trip. If you are on one of our overland camping safaris you will be able to charge your appliance from time to time at powered campsites. Sometimes, we get requests from people wishing to charge their appliance through possibly the cigarette lighter inside the truck cab. Charging of small appliances is at the discretion of crew. It is also a good idea to buy a power pack before you go, this charges through a USB and is perfect for when you are without power for a few days!

 

 

Health

Please consult your doctor/health clinic for the relevant vaccination requirements for the countries through which you will be travelling.Typhoid, Hepatitis A and B, Meningococcal meningitis, Diphtheria and Tetanus are all prevalent in much of Africa and while it is not compulsory to be vaccinated against these, all precautions should be taken to prevent them. Please be aware that some vaccinations need to be administered several weeks before departure, and some vaccinations cannot be had at the same time as others, therefore leave plenty of time (at least 6 weeks before departure), especially if you will need a yellow fever vaccination. Vaccination procurement remains the responsibility of the traveller and not that of on the go.

 

Yellow Fever
Most countries you visit will require a Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate if you’ve been into an area that’s infected. If you are visiting Kenya, Tanzania or Zambia, or have recently visited an Yellow Fever region in the world you must have a yellow fever vaccination. You will not be allowed on the ferry to Zanzibar if you don't have a Yellow Fever Vaccination card and some of the countries in Southern Africa will not let you in without a card if you are coming from a Yellow Fever endemic area. It is strongly advised to have a Yellow Fever Vaccination if you are visiting any East African countries. Remember to bring along your International Vaccination card as proof of your vaccinations.

 

TIP: We advise you to bring a copy of your yellow fever vaccination certificate, which you store away from the original, just in case you lose it. All travellers wishing to partake in the gorilla trek excursion will be required to present their yellow fever vaccination certificate to the park’s officials prior to their trek.

 

Malaria

Malaria is endemic in most parts of Africa. It is your responsibility to take precautions against catching it. First and foremost, don’t get bitten! Wear long sleeved shirts and trousers when mosquitoes are most active - early in the morning and evening! Use plenty of insect repellent with a high level of DEET on any exposed areas – neck, wrist and ankles! Consult your doctor prior to leaving for Africa so that they can prescribe suitable anti-malarial medication.

 

First-aid

All of our vehicles carry a basic first aid kit that is used in emergencies. Passengers will be asked to replace any item they use. We would therefore strongly advise you to bring your own medical kit, which you’ll be able to get at any reputable medical store.

 

Personal first-aid kit

You should also pack your own first-aid kit, for treatment of common ailments such as nicks and grazes, insect bites, upset stomachs and diarrhoea. Consider taking items such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen, throat lozenges, anti-diarrhoea medication such as Lomotil or Imodium, antiseptic ointment or powder, rehydration powders, multi-vitamins, Band-Aids, gauze dressings, sunscreen and dont forget any personal medicines used regularly such as oral contraceptives, Ventolin inhalators etc.

 

 

Climate

 

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

 Nairobi

25 26 25 24 22 19 21 21 24 24 24 23

 Capetown

26 26 24 22 21 18 17 18 18 21 23 24

 

Average Max Temp °C

 

There are two distinct seasons in East Africa - wet and dry. The dry season is the most popular time to travel because the grass is short, the water sources are fewer and far between and naturally wildlife tends to concentrate around it. In East Africa the dry season occurs roughly between December through March and again from June through October. For the rest of the year, bright and sunny days are punctuated by light showers and tropical downpours. The temperatures are warmer and the landscape is lushly regenerated. Rarely does it rain continuously day and night. Milder temps and higher humidity is experienced in Zimbabwe, Botswana and parts of Southern Africa during the rainy season which runs from January through March. Meanwhile, rain is very minimal in Namibia and also south at Cape Town with mild to very hot temperatures. From April through December, days are usually warm and sunny, with cool to very cool evenings. It will be necessary to drink plenty of water and keep the body hydrated, don a hat, apply sunscreen and gravitate towards the shade until your body becomes acclimatised. After the sun sets in Africa, the night air can suddenly become very cool and temperatures can reduce by as much as 10 - 20degrees Celsius. It is a good idea to pack a long sleeved top and long pants to keep yourself warm during cooler evenings, when undertaking early morning or evening game drives, visiting the Ngorongoro Crater which can get very chilly and also to protect yourself from insects.

 

 

The Annual Migration

The Migration follows a general pattern, however being wild animals, the exact location cannot be guaranteed. Here is a guideline as the the pattern they have been following in the past years. We also recommend you read up on this if your trip is planned around this amazing event!

 

  • December to February: Serengeti region: Wildebeest "smell rain", graze and in February give birth
  • March to May/June: Lake Victoria region: Animals follow rains along Western Corridor to Lake Victoria region
  • July to August: Mara region: Animals head East to the Mara region for grazing.

 

Lake Nakuru is known for its fantastic Flamingo colony.

 

 

Security

The biggest problem seems to be petty theft - including the usual pick pocketing and bag snatching. Unfortunately, perceived as wealthy, tourists do stand out in their bright clothing with matching rucksacks. The trick is to carry just a small amount of cash and leave anything of value in the on board truck safe. Cameras are an obvious exception. You can’t go on an expedition without your camera. We do suggest you carry your passport on your person for official identification, or better still a photocopy of the data pages. The truck features an onboard safe for valuables such as money, passport, and air tickets. We also recommend that you use a money belt. Also do make sure any valuables are covered by relevant insurance.

 

 

Money

How much you spend depends largely on individual tastes and often how much you eat, drink or shop. You need to allow for expenses such as drinks, snacks, small entry fees, border visas, occasional meals out, postage, the odd souvenir and accommodation and meals when you’re away from the truck - for example on Zanzibar (on expeditions that visit this island). Some days, you may spend very little. Other times, you may spend more.

 

Budget for optional excursions separately. Most have to be paid for in US Dollars cash. You’ll also need to pay the local payment in US Dollar cash. Credit cards are virtually useless outside main cities. Please do not rely on debit card - ATM's in Africa tend to be few and far between and do not always accept debit cards.

 

CASH IS KING in Africa!

Bring your funds in clean, unmarked US Dollars in a variety of denominations. If travelling in East Africa, please ensure that US Dollar notes are minted post-2003, as it will be difficult to change US bills that were minted prior to 2003.Whilst travellers cheques are a good backup, it can be extremely difficult to change at times so do not rely on these as your main source of funds. There are some optional activities you will need to budget for, please check individual go guides for more details. Some are inexpensive, some are more expensive and appropriately priced for the level of inclusions. Details for all popular activities are given, in order that you correctly budget for those optional activities that suit you. Not everyone fancies the idea of bungying off Victoria Falls!

 

Local Payment

On our overland camping safaris and our semi participation lodge safaris we have a local payment which forms part of the overall cost of the trip. It is to be paid in cash to the trip leader on day 1 or 2 (dependent upon the trip) and includes amongst others, game park entrance fees, camping fees (if applicable) and food. By splitting the trip cost you stagger the payment for your trip. Your local payment contribution is payable in USD cash, as this is the easiest currency to exchange in Africa (NB. World in One Country & Botwana Untouched local payment is to be paid in ZAR - South African Rand.) Please note that due to exchange rate fluctuations and possible rising costs of park entrance fees, which are beyond our control, local payment amounts may be subject to change.

 

 

Food, glorious food

On our overland camping safaris the safari cook generally does the cooking on a trip, although we do ask that you participate in the preparation of meals on a rota basis. Meals and menus will vary depending on what produce is available locally but you will be ensured of three healthy square meals a day when on the road. We purchase fresh food from markets and roadside stalls along the way, which is supported by a bulk buy of goods bought prior to departure. In the towns and cities there is the optional alternative of sampling the local restaurants.

 

From time to time, there’ll be a group meal, which is paid for individually. Additionally, it may sometimes prove tempting and convenient for you to have a snack-attack in the form of purchases from shops, markets and gas stations en route. Naturally, snack-attacks are a personal expense!

 

 

Water

While our overland expedition vehicles do carry drinking water, you’ll need to pack your own personal water bottle and will be responsible for purchasing you own personal daily drinking water supply. Clean water is a luxury to many in Africa, but is readily available in most towns. If headed to an area where there are few shops or supplies, your trip leader will advise if it’s necessary for the group to purchase additional personal supplies.

 

 

What to bring

This list is intended as rough guide for when packing. Aim to travel light! Remember to make room for local purchases.

 

  • Rucksack and Sleeping bag (essential on our overland camping safaris), wash bag inc. toiletries and a day pack rucksack.
  • Water bottle, medical kit, money belt, pocket knife (don’t pack it in hand luggage when flying), torch, high factor sunscreen & lip balm, DEET based insect repellent, small sewing kit
  • 1 pair sturdy walking boots, 1 pair sandals/trainers
  • 2 pair shorts, Laundry bag for soiled clothes, 1 warm sweater/fleece, , 3 or more tee shirts, 2 long sleeved tops, 1 pair long trousers/jeans, towel and swimwear, waterproof anorak/windbreaker
  • Writing material or travel diary
  • Binoculars, camera, plenty of film, spare batteries
  • Hat and sunglasses
  • Gloves if doing the gorilla trek.

 

 

A seldom seen leopard cup in Kruger National Park - seeing one of these is a true highlight of our S

 

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