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Overview

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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some answers to the questions we receive the most about our services.
If we missed anything, please do not hesitate to contact us. We’ll be happy to help

You should be in possession of a passport valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay in Africa with at least six spare visa pages. If you do not already have a passport, apply for one early.

Australian passport holders currently require visas for Zimbabwe, Zambia (issued on arrival at a fee), Tanzania and Kenya, as well as many Central, West and North African countries.

Africa is a friendly continent. However, as with any city/town, please do not wander around at night in town, be very careful when shopping, and place high value items in a safe if leaving them at your hotel. Precautions like these and a little common sense will mean you can spend more time relaxing on your holiday.

The sooner the better! 9-12 months in advance is ideal. Africa books out extremely quickly, and this will this give you a greater chance of booking the accommodation you want.

You will always leave wishing you spent more time on this splendid continent! As it is a considerable journey to reach Africa, we recommend at least 10 nights to truly make the most of your trip. However, it depends which areas you visit and how many you wish to explore. Considerations include how remote your destination is, whether you are travelling by road or light aircraft and how often you want to stay in one place.

For most trips to Africa, the following vaccinations are recommended: COVID-19, Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Meningitis, Hepatitis A, (maybe Hepatitis B for longer visits), Polio, Diphtheria, Cholera, Tetanus and Malaria. Whilst these vary depending on the countries visited, length of time away and the type of accommodation and transport used, we do recommend that these and your other health needs be discussed with your doctor or specialist travel medical centre. We can advise you on the most suitable health precautions to take in relation to your itinerary, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you have the appropriate vaccinations and documentation.

The choice of the correct camera equipment and film will determine the quality of your photographs on the trip. For good photography of birds and animals, a good SLR camera and telephoto lens is necessary. A zoom lens can be extremely useful on safari and the minimum recommended size is 200mm. Consideration should be given before traveling with any lens bigger than 400 mm as most interesting shots are taken using hand held equipment. The new high-resolution digital cameras are outstanding and give great quality images, especially if you are using a digital camera body, which takes normal camera lenses. Camera bodies like the Canon D60 and 1D are superb. The advantage of digital photography is that one can get instant feedback and adjustments can be made in the field to your techniques to ensure that your photographs are the quality that you would like.

Colour reversal film (slides) will give far better quality than prints. The guides have found that they are getting the best results using Fuji film. Fuji has brought out a good high-speed film that gives good colour with very little grain (less so than any of their competitors). This is especially useful when using a big lens in low light situations. The guides’ personal preference is the slower film (either 50 or 100 ASA) as this gives almost perfect quality for normal light. However, you may consider going to 200 ASA for a larger lens in low lighting conditions. The Fuji 400, we believe is giving great results too. The only disadvantage with the low ASA film is that you need a tripod for the early morning and evening shots.

Important: bring spare film (although it is available in most camps/lodges) and a spare camera battery.

When on safari, a lightweight, versatile wardrobe is most suitable. The weather fluctuates between extremes of heat and cold, meaning layers of clothing are the best option. Please note that bright colours and white are not advised whilst on safari.

  • Sunglasses
  • Golf shirts, t-shirts and long-sleeved cotton shirts
  • Shorts/skirts
  • Long trousers/slacks
  • More formal attire for your stay at prestigious city hotels or on one of the luxury trains
  • Underwear and socks (sports bra recommended for game drives as the roads can be bumpy and uneven)
  • Good walking shoes or boots
  • Swimming costume
  • Polar fleece or warm parka jacket
  • Scarf and gloves for the cold winter months
  • Light rain gear for summer months
  • Camera equipment and plenty of film
  • If you wear contact lenses, we recommend that you bring along a pair of glasses in case you get irritation from the dust
  • Binoculars
  • Newman’s bird book if you are a keen birder.
  • Personal toiletries (basic amenities supplied by most establishments)
  • Malaria tablets (if applicable)
  • Moisturizing cream and sunscreen
  • Insect repellent e.g., Tabard, Rid, Jungle Juice
  • Basic medical kit (aspirins, plasters, Immodium, antiseptic & antihistamine cream etc.)
  • Tissues
  • Visas, tickets, passports, money etc
  • Waterproof/dustproof bags/cover for your cameras.

Tipping is not compulsory. If, however, you want to tip because you have received good service, we have enclosed a brief guideline to assist you:

Camp, Game Lodge and Specialist Guides

If the guide has done a good job, we recommend US$5 per guest per day for travel to Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe and R50 per guest per day for visitors to Namibia and South Africa.

The General Safari Camp / Lodge Staff

Here we recommend about US$3 per guest per day for safari camps in Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe and R30 per guest per day for safari camps in Namibia and South Africa. This should be placed in the communal tipping box to be distributed equally amongst all the staff at a later stage.

Hotel Staff

Please allow between R5 and R10 per guest per day for hotel staff, i.e., housekeeping etc.

Porterage

Here we recommend about US$1 per person per movement.

Mokoro Paddlers and Trackers

We recommend that each paddler and/or tracker in Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe receive US$3 per guest per day and that camp / lodge trackers in Namibia or South Africa receive R35.00 per guest per day.

Transfer and Touring Driver/Guides

Transfer: R10 per person

Half day tour: R25 per person

Full day tour: R50 per person

Blue Train and Rovos Rail

Cabin attendant R100 per person per journey

Waiter, Dining Car R75 per person per journey

Restaurants / Hotels

10% is customary on meal accounts but only if you are satisfied with the service.

Whilst these establishments offer an incomparable, authentic bush experience, they come with a few considerations. Situated in the wilderness, they are often unfenced, and animals of all sorts can (and do!) wander through the camps. Many of the animals you will see are potentially dangerous, however attacks are quite rare. Nevertheless, this cannot be guaranteed. African Travel Specialists, their staff members, associates, agents or suppliers cannot be held liable for any injuries caused during an incident involving the behaviour of wild animals.

Although this must be said, the camp staff and guides are there to keep you safe. A few tips to keep in mind are:

  • Please listen to the camp staff and guides. The safety precautions need to be taken seriously, and strictly adhered to.
  • Don’t go wandering off on your own without a guide – even to your rooms. After retiring to your rooms at night, don’t leave them.
  • Observe animals silently and with a minimum of disturbance to their natural activities. Loud talking on game drives can frighten the animals away.
  • Never attempt to attract an animal’s attention. Don’t imitate animal sounds, clap your hands, pound the vehicle or throw objects.
  • Please respect your driver-guide’s judgment about proximity to lions, cheetahs and leopards. Don’t insist that he take the vehicle closer so you can get a better photograph. A vehicle driven too close can hinder a hunt or cause animals to abandon a hard-earned meal.
  • Litter tossed on the ground can choke or poison animals and birds and is unsightly.
  • Never attempt to feed or approach any wild animal on foot. This is especially important near lodges or in campsite areas where animals may have become more accustomed to human visitors.
  • Refrain from smoking on game drives. The dry Africa bush ignites very easily, and a flash fire can kill animals.

You should take most of your money in travelers cheques in US Dollars, Pounds or Euro. It is strongly recommended that you carry some US dollars cash in small denominations, as well as credit cards such as Visa or Mastercard.

Why The Travel Specialists?

Established 1967

With 55 years of experience in the travel industry, feel at ease knowing that your holiday is tailor-made and crafted by professionals.

Owner Managed

A small premium business, The Travel Specialists seeks to craft exceptional memories. Owner managed, our consultants take a personal interest in all trips.

Responsible Tourism

Each tour is designed to ensure that economic, social and environmental benefits are maximised, and the costs are minimised.

24-Hour Emergency Assistance

Travel easy knowing that you have 24/7 support from our team of travel specialists, on whom you can call at any time.

Experienced Specialist Consultants

A passionate team of experienced consultants renowned for delivering a premium travel experience.

Custom Itineraries

Tell us more about your perfect trip and we’ll create a custom itinerary that is sure to delight and excite.

Amazing Experiences

Whether it is embarking on safari or witnessing the beauty of the breathtaking Taj Mahal, our team are committed to creating extraordinary memories.

Reputable Partners & Suppliers

We know you are looking for the very best, competitively priced travel experience and The Travel Specialists team are dedicated to delivering that.

Why The Travel Specialists?

Established 1967

With 55 years of experience in the travel industry, feel at ease knowing that your holiday is tailor-made and crafted by professionals.

Owner Managed

A small premium business, The Travel Specialists seeks to craft exceptional memories. Owner managed, our consultants take a personal interest in all trips.

Responsible Tourism

Each tour is designed to ensure that economic, social and environmental benefits are maximised, and the costs are minimised.

24-Hour Emergency Assistance

Travel easy knowing that you have 24/7 support from our team of travel specialists, on whom you can call at any time.

Experienced Specialist Consultants

A passionate team of experienced consultants renowned for delivering a premium travel experience.

Custom Itineraries

Tell us more about your perfect trip and we’ll create a custom itinerary that is sure to delight and excite.

Amazing Experiences

Whether it is embarking on safari or witnessing the beauty of the breathtaking Taj Mahal, our team are committed to creating extraordinary memories.

Reputable Partners & Suppliers

We know you are looking for the very best, competitively priced travel experience and The Travel Specialists team are dedicated to delivering that.

Get In Touch

Get In Touch

Contact Us

For tailor-made itineraries or enquiries…