Preparation & Packing?
- What to Pack
- Money & Tipping
- Insurance, Passport & Visas
- Health, Sun & First Aid
- Vaccinations & Malaria Prevention
International Airlines do lose or mislay luggage from time to time so we suggest putting any essential items such as a change of clothes/malaria tables/chronic medication in your hand luggage too.
Please read below our suggested ‘Packing List’. This is not an exhaustive list but is based on what our past guests have mentioned.
- Subdued safari colours such as khaki, green, beige and neutral colours (dark blue and black clothing is not practical during game drives but can be worn at the lodges & camps)
- Shirts with long sleeves for a chilly evening and even in summer: as protection from the sun & mosquitoes
- Golfshirt/T shirts
- Shorts or light skirts
- (Safari) trousers for evenings and cooler days
- A fleece or thick sweater is recommended for early morning and evening game drives
- Lightweight waterproof jacket
- Swim and beachwear.
- Comfortable walking shoes (running/tennis shoes are fine).
- Jackets or ties are not required nor any special dress code when dining in lodges & restaurants.
- We suggest that ladies do not wear shorts in cities, particularly in Muslim areas. The same applies for public areas on the coast of East Africa.
- Swimwear is fine on the beach or around the pool, but not appropriate in town. Topless sunbathing is prohibited.
Medication & Toiletries
- Sunblock with high SPF. Hat, moisturizer and lip-salve are all essentials.
- Personal toiletries
- Malaria tablets if applicable – please seek advice from your physician or local travel clinic.
- Basic medical kit containing plasters, travel sickness tablets, antiseptic cream, antihistamine cream, pain relieving tablets for headaches, indigestion tablets, eye drops, medication for upset stomachs, rehydrate sachets and after-sun moisturizer. If you have any allergies i.e. insect stings, or an asthma condition, please make sure you bring enough of your required medication with you.
- Strong insect repellent.
A good quality pair of sunglasses (tinted fashion glasses are not good in strong light). If you wear contact lenses, bring enough solution & a pair of glasses in case your eyes get irritated.
Photographic & Optics Advice
- A good camera with zoom function. 300 mm lenses are adequate for wildlife photography.*
- We recommend you bring plenty of memory cards/film and batteries.
- A dustproof bag ensures your camera is safe from the dust whilst on safari.
- A pair of binoculars will enhance your game viewing experience and although your guide will have pairs available to use, you may wish to bring your own. We recommend 8 x 40 as an appropriate specification.
- A small flashlight – although flashlights are available at each of the Elewana Collection of lodges and camps.
230/240 volts AC, 50 Hz. Plugs are square 3-pin, fused or un-fused in East Africa, in South Africa they are round 3-pin. We normally travel with a travel adapter, which you can buy at any airport/travel shop before leaving for Africa.
*Please note: Be sure to bring plenty memory cards, film and batteries as these are not readily available. We put our equipment in plastic Ziplock bags as this keeps them safe from the fine dust you’ll encounter whilst on safari. Please don’t forget to ask permission before taking a photograph of any African resident. There could be a charge for this.
In East Africa, even though you could get away with only carrying USD cash, it’s not that handy. Change some money (or draw money out of an ATM) upon arrival for small purchases whilst on safari and to give tips. Don’t bother trying to get local currency before you depart, it’s difficult and the exchange rate is not great. In South Africa we suggest that you definitely draw ZAR (South African Rand) or change some USD cash into ZAR, as the USD is less frequently used than in East Africa.
Most hotels and lodges accept Visa and MasterCard, note that a surcharge is normally charged. Bring USD cash, and some in small denominations. Note that it’s a normal practice in East Africa to give a better exchange rate for larger denominations than for small ones. Only bring bills dated after 2010.
It is customary to tip 10% of the bill at all restaurants and 10% of the fare to taxi drivers. It is also the custom to tip local guides/rangers. We recommend that you tip your ranger/guide about USD 6-10 per person per day. So if your travel party is 4 people, tip your ranger/guide between USD 24-40 per day. Butlers about USD 5 per person per day.
It is imperative that you have adequate travel insurance organized before leaving for your African Holidays. The free insurance you receive with your credit card is NOT adequate in our opinion. Ensure that your travel insurance covers at least hospitalization, medical emergency evacuation, cancellation, curtailments of arrangements and lost luggage. If you travel with lots of camera equipment, a laptop, Ipad or other, ensure that you take out proper cover before leaving home.
Passports are required by all foreign visitors and must be valid for 6 months after you return home. Please make sure that you have at least two blank pages available for each country you intend to visit.
Any important travel documentation: leave a copy at home and bring a copy with you. Keep your originals somewhere safe (i.e. on you) and your copies somewhere else ( i.e. in your main luggage). We have found in the past that in the unfortunate circumstance that you lose your passport or so, that a copy helps greatly with receiving an emergency travel document.
Visas can be a bone of contention. In the past we used to recommend getting your visas before arrival (check with the embassy in your country whether you do or don’t require a visa, and if you do, whether you can obtain it at the border). It is just as easy, and less time consuming, to pay cash for your visa (in USD) upon arrival in Tanzania and Kenya and most nationalities do not have to pay to enter South Africa.
However, it is imperative that you check visa requirements with relevant embassies/consulates before travelling as it may vary according to your nationality. Bold Travel cannot be held responsible in case of any delays due to immigration issues. It is each traveller’s own responsibility to ensure he/she obtains the correct documentation to enter the country.
Please note that South Africa has strict regulations when it comes to one parent/adult travelling with children. You will need the consent from the other parent. Ensure you check this before you sett off.
Note that although Zanzibar is part of the Union of Tanzania, it remains an independent country so passports and a Tanzania visa are required even for a day visit. However, if you obtained a Tanzanian visa upon entering Tanzania Mainland, you don’t have to buy another one when entering Zanzibar. You might be asked to show an onward ticket upon entering any country in Africa.
Most airlines hand out immigration forms before arrival. When asked for a local address where you will be staying, please fill in the address of the first hotel you will be staying at, this is indicated on your personalized itinerary.
We do not recommend drinking water from the tap whilst in Africa. Mineral water is available in all shops, restaurants & lodges.
Use mineral water too for brushing teeth.
Life on safari can be tiring from time to time. A different climate, different food & water could lead to dehydration so we strongly recommend that from the day you set foot in Africa, that you drink more water than you are used to.
The sun is strong so please wear a hat & apply sunscreen frequently.
Most hotels and lodges are equipped with a First Aid kit but we would still recommend that you bring a small airtight container with a few well-chosen articles, such as:
Plasters, travel sickness tablets, anti-septic cream, anti-histamine cream, pain relieving tablets for headaches, indigestion tablets, sunscreen, eye drops, insect repellent, medication for upset stomachs, re-hydrate sachets and after-sun moisturizer.
If you have any allergies i.e. insect stings, or an asthma condition, please make sure you bring enough of your required medication with you.
If you are on chronic or special medication, put some in your hand luggage and some in your main luggage. Bring more than you need for your African Holidays. This way if you lose any luggage i.e. your hand luggage, you still have the medication which you put in your main luggage.
Tanzania and Kenya fall into the Yellow Fever region in Africa. It is imperative for all travellers to obtain a Yellow Fever vaccination no less than 10 days prior to travel. Your country of origin and other African countries like South Africa will also deny re-entry without the vaccination, after you have been to a country with Yellow Fever. Please ensure you obtain your vaccination prior to travel.
If you for medical reasons you cannot have a yellow fever vaccination, ensure your doctor gives you a signed letter in English which you can show upon entry.
Malaria is prevalent in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa, more in some areas than in others. Please consult your physician or travel clinic before you travel to Africa for advice on precautions against malaria.
The best way to avoid malaria is still to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are most active at dusk & dawn so cover up at that time and put lots of mosquito repellent on. Don’t forget your ankles.
What’s the weather like?
Don’t underestimate the temperatures on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater during June, July and August, it can be very cold then.
Most of the rain falls in March, April & May and in November. Generally temperatures are pleasant ranging between 15ºC (59ºF) – 26ºC (78ºF) during the day; sometimes rising above 30ºC (86ºF) in the warmer months.
The south of the country, including Cape Town and the Garden Route, has a more temperate climate and gets rain during the winter months, from April to October.
Temperatures range from close to zero in the mornings in Joburg to a good 40 degrees in the Karoo. With all these differences, when is generally the best time to travel? Cape Town and surrounds is best to explore between November and March. The safari destinations around Kruger are not that affected by the different seasons so you can enjoy a safari throughout the year.
…even more answers to FAQs…
Travel tip no 1: Always carry a few days or a weeks supply of prescription medicine in your hand luggage – should your main baggage be lost or delayed, your medicine is with you.