Frequently Asked Questions
FAQS means Frequent Asked Questions. Below please find most of the questions normally potential travelers ask when planning for a trip.
Qn 1. AM I INTERESTED IN A SAFARI? WHAT SHOULD BE MY NEXT STEP?
Ans. We organize both Private and Group Safaris. That means, on a private safari, only you and your travel partner(s) will be on the tour - There will also be only you on the transfers and in the safari vehicle. This gives you much flexibility on where to stop and tracing your favorite animals. Group Safaris may involve people from different localities who do not necessarily know each other – it is a collection of Travelers. Those who book as a group will travel by themselves as they wish – Our Company has dedicated so much flexibility on this to suit client’ s needs.
You can also start from the scratch and work with us to develop a totally customized itinerary and schedule. We are enthusiastically open to side trips, detours, special needs and special plans.
For a booking, we need an advance payment of 50% of the tour price, the remaining balance should be payable in four weeks before arrival. The advance payment needs to be wired to our account in Tanzania. With the reception of your advance payment (or the proof of payment by e-mail), we will start processing the booking for all the services for you. After confirming for all the services, it is our policy that we send you copies of the confirmation receipts for your safari, also in advance.
Qn.2 WHAT DOES THE TRIP PRICE INCLUDE?
• Full board lodging (3 meals a day) on Safari, whether in Hotels, Lodges, Tented Camps, as specified in your itinerary
• All your park and game reserves fees, including conservation fees
• Unlimited game drives in our safari vehicles-Window Seat guaranteed.
• All in-country transportation as specified in your itinerary, whether by vehicle or bush plane
• One of our experienced in-country safari guides.
• Excursions as specified in your Itinerary
• Unlimited Bottled Water or any other soft drink during game drives.
Qn.3 WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE TRIP PRICE?
• International airfare,
• Any expenses incurred in conjunction with this trip while in your home country,
• Cost of obtaining required passports or visas: Tanzania US$50pp, Kenya US$50pp. You will get the Visa at your arrival point; your passport needs to be valid at least half a year. American citizens need to pay 100 US$, and get only a multiple entry visa (since September 2007,)
• Airport departure taxes: Tanzania/Zanzibar Domestic Departure Tax US$5pp one way, Tanzania/Zanzibar International Departure Tax US$ 30pp - payable direct in cash on departure if it is not yet included in your ticket. There is a new security fee, for Domestic Flights being 1 US$ per person, for International Flights 8 US$,
• Travel Insurance. Please make sure that you obtain a convenient Travel Insurance in your home country,
• Excess Baggage Fees. Note: Baggage is restricted to 35kgs/77lbs for Domestic Flights, per person in a soft-sided bag on all Charter Flights,
• Medical expenses,
Gratuities to Driver Guides/ Tour Leaders. Note: Tipping is discretionary based on services provided. Tipping Guidelines: The following guidelines are generally accepted practice (per person): $ 5-10 per client per day to a Driver Guide, Porterage: $ 1-2 per person a day, Dining: $ 1-2 per person a day.
Qn.4 HOW DOES OUR PRICING WORK?
Ans. Our trips use tiered pricing based on logistics. Getting people into remote areas where the best game viewing exists is more costly when there are only two people in the Land Cruiser /Land Rover, rather than four or five. Economies of scale result in lower pricing for four or five people traveling together as opposed to pricing for a couple traveling alone. As well, the logistics of moving gear around for a walking safari with numerous bush camps is more complicated and costly than a trip that involves simply staying at a lodge. Our pricing structure is tiered so you pay for the costs of your safari and doesn't subsidize other groups.
Our trips have no hidden costs. We do not quote you a low price and then tell you that, in addition you have to pay your park fees or that in-country transportation is extra. When we quote you a trip price it includes almost everything while you are in-country. The few items not included like gratuities, passport and visa fees, and beverages are set forth above. Our trip prices range over a wide scale mainly depending on the following:
• The number of people traveling in the group,
• The number of days a trip covers,
• Whether your in-country transportation is by bush plane or a vehicle,
• Whether you choose to stay in Lodges or Tented Camps,
• Whether you want to participate in Walking Safaris and/or Cultural Tours.
We can work with you to bring your safari within your budget range. Most of our trips are suggesting Itineraries, but you can vary them as you want. Let us know what your budget is and we will do our best to design a trip that gives you the experience you want within the budget you set.
Qn.5 HOW FAR IN ADVANCE DO I NEED TO BOOK?
Ans. There is no cut-off. However, flights into Kenya and Tanzania are limited and we find that there can be problems getting seats on British Airways or KLM if you try to schedule less than two months ahead of time. For Peak Seasons also book up as far as nine months ahead of time. Mid to late December is a busy time in both Kenya and Tanzania. Outside of Peak Seasons, you should have no trouble booking if you schedule your safari at least six to eight months in advance. Always liaise with us for advise.
Qn.6 WHEN IS THE BEST TIME OF YEAR TO VISIT TANZANIA?
Ans. Any time is the best time to visit East Africa, Tanzania in particular (Please see remarks at the end of each Itinerary –Safaris 2010. Tanzania is a year round destination. Due to its close proximity to the equator there are only subtle climatic variations throughout the year.
Climatically, Tanzania is always wonderful, though you might have to avoid rains from mid April to end of May to climb Kilimanjaro.
Let’s start with when it is the rainy season: December to April. During these months safaris are possible, and it is by far not raining every day. Even if, it is only for a few hours and much localized. But it can get hard if you want to visit remote places. This is also the peak season for tourism in Tanzania and the best time to see thousands and thousands of Wildebeests, Zebras, et cetera, and a swamp of calves on the greenery Southern Plains of the Serengeti. This is another spectacular time to travel to Tanzania generally.
Climatic changes are triggering some changes in the timing of the migration, so check with us if you are as well interested in traveling on the edges of the normal migratory months. This doesn't mean that there isn't great game viewing at other times and places. Off-peak season can be a very relaxing time. The lodges are less crowded and the game reserves not involved in the migratory pathways have as much game as normal – please note that there is a resident population of animals of all kinds above the migratory species. It's all a matter of what you want. Check with us if you have specific time frames in mind for your travel and we can help you plan where to be so you get the best possible game viewing experiences.
Qn.7 WHAT KIND OF WEATHER SHOULD I EXPECT ON SAFARI?
Ans. Most of East Africa is savannah, comparable to the high plateau, semi-desert areas of Colorado or New Mexico. Altitude ranges from 3,000 to 7,000 feet. (Obviously Kilimanjaro climbers will experience much higher altitudes.) Temperatures during the day range from 75 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Nights are cool with temperatures dropping as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit in some areas (Ngorongoro Highlands, for example). Even though you will be traveling near the equator, please take our packing recommendations seriously and take along, a light jacket or sweatshirt, sweater, and a fleece pullover. Additionally, bring something warm to sleep in at night. Humidity is low. If you don't travel near the rainy season, it usually doesn't rain.
Qn.8 WHAT KIND OF SHAPE DO I NEED TO BE IN?
Ans. You get to choose the activity level of your safari. Traditional Four-Wheel Drive Vehicles require little or no physical activity, although you can add all kinds of active adventures to your safari, including an afternoon walking safari, a morning horseback ride, or a boating adventure. Our Walking Safari, and Kilimanjaro Climb, is quite active. These trips include 6 to 10 walking days. Each walking day involves 3 to 6 hours on foot, with a vehicle shadowing the group so you can walk as much of that time as you want and ride the rest of the way. On these trips, you also spend some time in a traditional safari vehicle, but these are definitely for people who want to be more active.
Qn.9 WHAT TYPE OF CLOTHES SHOULD I PACK FOR SAFARI?
Ans. For Safaris here we recommend that you bring light casual clothes such as Khaki. In the evenings it can get rather chilly, especially in Desert areas or higher altitudes and in the months of June-August, so bring a Sweater/Pullover and a Windbreaker. Certain 5-star Hotels require a smart dress code for dinner. In the same pack, remember your sun cream, lotions, sun glasses, and a pair of binoculars, a Hat and Insect Repellent.
For MOUNTAIN CLIMBING, the following items are used as a guideline, that you bring:
Sunglasses/Snow Goggles, Rucksack & day pack, 3-4 season sleeping-bag, Insulation pad, Balaclava or woolen hat, Long sleeved shirt, Several pairs of socks, Gloves, Waterproof trousers & Jacket, Warm Sweaters, Anorak/Raincoat, Gaiters, Water-bottle, Wooden Walking Stick, Hiking Boots, Pair of light Walking Shoes, Warm Scarf, Toiletry requirements, Flashlight with Batteries, Sun Protection Cream, Small First Aid Kit, Lip Salve, A Whistle and some Plastic Bags. Our Company can also provide these items on request.
Qn.10 WHAT MEDICAL CARE DO I NEED BEFORE I COME TO TANZANIA?
Ans. Vaccination requirements change from time to time. Before you leave for an International Destination we advise you consult your physician or health department for information on the latest health precautions. You will also need to decide on a malaria prevention medication. It is advised to take anti - malarial drugs before, during and after a visit to East Africa and if you are prescribed for medication, please ensure you have enough supply to last the duration of your stay. Also see your physician for details on risks and preventive medications. Currently, shots against Yellow Fever and Cholera are recommended but not mandatory.
Qn.11 WHAT KIND OF FOOD DO I EXPECT DURING THE TRIP?
Ans. Food is excellent and you will find a good mix of African, European and International cuisine. Fresh vegetables, seafood and meats make it an exceptional culinary experience to travel here. Special dietary requirements such as vegetarian or diabetic meals can be easily arranged with prior notice. A vegetarian or vegan may wish to bring along some alternative protein sources. South African wines are sold everywhere, and are excellent. Tap water is not drinkable in most areas, only bottled water should be consumed.
Prices of Beverages (depending on hotel/location):
Bottled water1 - 2 US$, Soft drinks: 1 US$, Beer: 2 - 2.5 US$, Glass of Wine: 3 - 4 US$, South African Wine: 15 - 25 US$ a bottle.
Qn.12 WHAT WOULD BE THE ACCOMODATION LIKE?
Ans. Wide range of accommodation is available to suit your budget, lodges, hotels, tented camps, and permanent camps to name a few. Most hotels are a nice blend of luxury, ambience, offering picturesque views. Once an inquiry is received, we provide you with a detailed list of accommodations available to suit your requirements.
Qn.13 DO I REQURE A VISA?
Ans. Visitors from most countries require a visa in order to enter Tanzania. All visitors can purchase a visa at the point of entry. You need a passport valid at least half a year, and to pay 50 US$ cash. It is most of the time only a 30 minutes procedure but can take longer if there are several arrivals at a time.
If you intend to fly to Nairobi and then travel on to Tanzania, remember that you may also require a multiple entry visa to enter Kenya, even if it is only for a few hours. The Visa for Kenya and Tanzania is 50 US$ per person for each country
Qn.14 WHAT ADVICE DO I NEED FOR PHOTOGRAPHY?
Some of the happiest travelers I have met are those who do not take a camera with them and just enjoy what they see, but most people want a record of some of the fantastic sightings all along on safari. You will get fairly close to a lot of the wildlife, but a good 35 mm camera with a 75-300 zoom lens will certainly help you take some great shots. It is always best to buy your film before you travel, because film here is expensive. 100 - 200 ASA is a good speed for general photography.
Though it can get bright, you might want to be able to get some action shots and the higher speed film will be helpful. Some people also like to use 400 ASA for fast moving animals and evening shots. A beanbag is much better than a tripod for photos from the car. (Each of our safari vehicles has a supply of 6 beanbags and pop-up or removable roof to make photography easier.) A cable release is useful to get shots without camera motion. Also, a flash can help with indoor and campfire shots. Remember to bring extra batteries for your camera equipment. Most people take 2 to 3 rolls of film per day whilst on safari.
If you bring a video camera, do not forget the tapes (very expensive here) and the recharging accessories. You can generally recharge the camera at the Lodges/Camps and from the vehicle. Tanzania uses 220 Volt, but you will need adapters. Most hotels have adapters available.
Qn.15 WHAT ABOUT MONEY MATTERS?
The unit of local currency in Tanzania is the Tanzania Shilling (Tshs). American dollars in cash or Travelers' Cheques are acceptable in many places around towns (Note: AMEX Travelers' Cheques are often not accepted). Credit cards are accepted only in big hotels, and if you do manage to find a place to use them there will usually be a surcharge of at least 10%. Please note that US$ notes issued before 1980 are not accepted here!
In Arusha, Dar and Zanzibar there are ATM's where you can get local currency with your Visa or Master Cards.