General Information

What to wear and bring
Where will we be staying? Safaris and children
Flights, passports, visas What about the food? Safari vehicles
Currency and money Wildlife likely to be seen? Considerations and
Travel/health Insurance What time of year to go
Medical matters How long should we go for? What’s the balance between game viewing and relaxing?
Security and safety What will it cost?
Is it dangerous? What activities can we do? Conditions

What to wear and bring

Most people take too many clothes on safari! We supply a complete packing list (appropriate to country, time of year and activities) on full payment of booking but please note the following.

Although you are normally allowed around 20kg on international flights, many safaris include light aircraft transfers which have strict weight limitations. It is therefore best to restrict your baggage to 12kgs (or 26lbs) - including carry on items - or be prepared to leave certain items at your arrival hotel if you are moving on to a beach destination. Remember that laundry services are available at most camps and lodges.

Space on safari vehicles may also be limited so use a soft-sided roly-poly type bag, as hard-sided cases are not popular! Dust is a big factor in most of Africa so you may want to place your clothes in a black bin liner inside your bag.

Tough, loose fitting, lightweight, breathable - ideally cotton - clothing is best. Choose neutral colours like brown, green, khaki or grey for the bush, but not camouflage and avoid bright colours.

Bring tough, worn-in walking shoes with good grip and tread plus stout sandals or tennis shoes and possibly flip flops for the shower, pool and beach.

Essentials include sunglasses, wide-brimmed sunhat, high SPF sun creams, lip cream and sun block, binoculars, small torch or headlight, camera with lots of film and spare batteries, insect repellent and anti-malarial protection.

Take a basic first aid kit and your personal medicines. Items such as shampoo, toothpaste, sun cream, medicines and film are expensive in Africa and hard to find in the bush so carry adequate supplies with you.

Things for bartering or for giving to local children (pens, pencils, crayons, paper, books, T shirts, magazines etc) are usually welcomed - but only bring them if you have space!

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Flights, passports and visas

International Flights

We do not hold an ATOL license so do not arrange or book international flights. The airline business is fiercely competitive, flight prices are seasonal, some of our clients fly in from abroad, some have substantial frequent flyer vouchers that they want to use and frankly you can usually get a better deal going direct or online yourself. We are happy to give advice and recommendations on routing options and we work with a fully ATOL protected flight booking agent who are licensed to sell flights with scheduled international airlines such as BA, SAA, KLM and Virgin.

Direct flights from the UK are possible to many of the countries where we arrange safaris and there are clear advantages to this in terms of time saved, comfort and convenience. With most safari countries there is only a +2 or +3 hour time difference, so jetlag isn't normally an issue. Direct flights vary from around 9 hours (Kenya) to 10 hours (Johannesburg, SA) and a maximum of 12 hours (Cape Town, SA). Certain airlines and countries offer day or night flight options, at least on one of the legs, so it is worth considering the different options to suit your group.

Passports and Visas

British citizens require full 10 year passports for the safari destinations we feature and passports must be valid for at least 6 months after your date of return. Children must now have their own passport.

For passport-holders other than British, contact us or your country's Embassy/High Commission for up-to-date requirements on visas and passports.

Check you have 2-3 blank pages for entry/exit stamps. Take a photocopy of your passport and keep it in a separate place in your baggage (so if your passport goes missing you at least have the details at hand).
Visas can normally be purchased in advance or on arrival in those countries that do require visas. Frankly, unless those countries make the process more convenient, rapid and friendly to obtain visas in the UK, it is worth leaving it until arrival. Visa requirements change from time to time so check the current status (with us or the relevant Tourist Office/High Commission) well before you travel. You will need to complete a form - which sometimes requires details and dates of previous visits - and have the necessary cash, photos and a destination address.

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Currency and money

Travel with some British ££ and especially US$ in small denomination notes. Most tourist items are priced in US$ and they are universally accepted in Africa. Try to exchange money early on arrival and get small denomination local currency for tipping, drinks, souvenirs and other incidentals.

Most major credit cards are accepted in hotels/lodges and all major currencies can be changed in city centre banks.

Traveller’s cheques are now rarely used and if you take them try not to have high value cheques as these can be difficult to change - especially in more remote lodges.

Exchange rates vary considerably and regularly. All major banks and currency conversion websites give daily rates (see our links).

Travel and health insurance

It is absolutely essential (and a condition of booking) that you are adequately covered by medical and personal accident insurance for the duration of your safari and receive all the required vaccinations.

Simply Safaris cannot be held responsible or liable for theft, loss or damage of money, luggage or personal belongings, nor can we be liable for personal accident, injury or illness. We recommend that you are insured as soon as you book your safari (as this ensures that your deposit is protected) and that your cover includes trip cancellation as well as accident/health insurance while you are on safari and repatriation back home.

If you are insured through your credit card/bank account do check that there is adequate cover and if you are undertaking pursuits such as white-water rafting, bungee jumping, climbing or scuba-diving, make sure the cover is suitable.

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Medical matters

Simply Safaris do not give detailed health advice - you should consult your doctor or health clinic well before you are due to travel - but there are a few things you should consider. We also have a number of websites to direct you to that are experts in their field (see our links ).

Prevention is better than a cure. Avoid close contact with animals to eliminate the risk of bites, check sleeping bags/bedding/shoes just in case a snake or creepy-crawly has wandered in, cover up in the midday sun unless you want to fry and cover ankles/feet/arms at dusk to avoid bites from mosquitoes.

Malaria is the biggest problem. Anti-malarial tablets are highly recommended for travellers to all safari destinations plus insect repellant containing DEET. Use mosquito coil burners or electric mosquito plugs at night.

Treat water with caution. Most hotels/camps/lodges supply clean water in flasks for drinking and brushing teeth and bottled water is widely available for purchase. Otherwise avoid drinking water from taps, rivers or lakes unless it is purified or sterilized. Avoid ice where possible. The Bilharzia parasite is found in many lakes and rivers in Africa so it is best to not swim in them.

Immunisation and Vaccination. Seek advice from your doctor or specialist travel clinic. Check that you are up-to-date with tetanus, typhoid, polio, diphtheria and hepatitis A vaccinations. Cholera inoculation is not required but some countries may insist on a Yellow Fever certificate even if you have not recently travelled to an infected country. For long trips in remote areas you should consider rabies and hepatitis B vaccinations and meningitis immunization is occasionally required for certain areas.

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Security and safety

Your individual safety is our primary concern and certain procedures are explained when you arrive which should be followed while staying in remote camps in East and Southern Africa - most of which are unfenced. Much of this really is common sense. Armed nightwatchmen are normally on hand to escort you to/from your tent at night to stop you encountering any dangerous animals. While out on game viewing activities - particularly walks - always listen to the guide/ranger.

Children over 12, as well as being priced as adults, are welcomed in most lodges in East and Southern Africa and those between 6 and 12 in some, more family-oriented camps/lodges. Some properties have specific family accommodation and special child-based activity programmes. Check with us for further details.

Otherwise, the usual security precautions apply. Don't flaunt jewellery, money, cameras and expensive watches. Keep a tight hold on bags in built-up areas. Avoid walking in unlit places at night. Be polite but firm in refusing hawkers if you have no intention of buying from them.

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Is it dangerous with all the wild animals?
All safaris involve an element of risk as you are in close proximity to wild animals which can be unpredictable and potentially dangerous and most camps/lodges are unfenced. However you are always accompanied by trained safari guides while out on safari and normally armed night watchmen patrol the camp at night. You are very unlikely to encounter poisonous or dangerous snakes, insects and bugs. Most camps give safety briefings on arrival and some require guests to sign an indemnity form. At all times, heed the advice of the guides and under no circumstances wander away from designated picnic areas, your safari vehicle or the main areas of the lodge/camp.

What’s the balance between game viewing and relaxing?
On a ‘typical’ day on safari you will enjoy 2 game viewing activities. Depending on the country, one will be early - around 6am to 9am - returning for breakfast, and the other will start around 4pm after the worst of the heat of the day, returning around 7pm. In between there is plenty of time for resting, showers, painting, bird watching in camp, lying in a hammock with a book, cooling off in the pool or taking a nap.

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Where will we be staying?
Accommodation will be in hotels, lodges and permanent or mobile tented camps – it’s your choice (and, to an extent, dictated by your budget). They are always comfortable, clean, safe, well located, often with exceptional views and attentive personal service. The standard and degree of luxury varies widely according to your budget. With the tented camps, think more ‘Out of Africa’ than your childhood boy scout camping trips. Sleeping under canvas maintains the atmosphere of a traditional safari and is certainly the authentic way, but nowadays there are modern comforts. Beds are comfortable, tents are spacious and walk-in and each has its own en-suite bathroom with a shower that may be open to the sky.

What about the food?
It’s one of the wonders of safari life how such amazing, varied and wholesome meals can be produced in the bush. There is a delicious selection of fresh produce – meat, fish and vegetables with a variety of exotic fruit and fresh bread and cakes. Breakfast is usually a mega blowout cooked affair, particularly welcome after an early morning game walk or drive. Lunch is usually buffet-style with cold meats and salads. Fresh cakes and cookies arrive with tea before the afternoon game drive and then a 3 (or 4) course meal is served in the evening.

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What wildlife are we likely to see?
This depends entirely on where you go, the time of year and luck! It is still possible to see the ‘Big 5’ – elephant, lion, leopard, rhino and buffalo – in one day in several parks. As anywhere in the world, the wildlife is wild and unpredictable and while there are never any guaranteed sightings, we have a good idea of what you should see in each place you might visit. If you are keen to see a particular animal or bird, please speak to us and we will tailor your itinerary accordingly.

What time of year should we go?
This depends on whether the safari is the main reason for your trip, how long you want to go for, how much you want to see, whether you are bringing children and which part of Africa you visit. Generally, the popular times for East Africa are mid-December-March and June to early October. For South Africa, May-August is the best game-viewing period but if you want to visit Cape Town you may wish to visit during their summer between November-March. With so many factors to consider – flight availability and prices, rain, heat, length of grass, volume of tourists, wildebeest migration timing, volume of spray at the Victoria Falls, whalewatching, bird migrations, flower seasons – it’s best to speak to us before committing to dates!

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How long should we go for?
A ‘how long is a piece of string’ question! Much depends on how long you have available, your budget, if you are flying direct or via somewhere else, if you are thinking of a fly-in or drive round safari, if you want to absorb the local culture, if you want a beach extension after your safari etc.

What will it cost?
This also varies hugely depending on the type of accommodation, length of stay, time of year, location, whether you book an exclusive vehicle, whether you choose a fly-in or drive round safari, how many in your travel group etc. A tailor-made safari is not necessarily more expensive than a set departure group safari.

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What activities can we do?
The traditional safari is vehicle-based with some short walking optional excursions but there are many choices available. Water-based activities include sunset cruises, canoeing, white water rafting and mokoros. There’s ballooning, diving, hiking, climbing, gorilla or chimp trekking, horse riding, sailing, fishing, quad biking, cycling, golf, elephant-back rides and much more! It’s really up to you how active or relaxed you want to be.

Safaris and children
A safari is a wonderful experience for many children but doesn’t suit all. Generally, malarial areas are not recommended for very young children. They also tend to not enjoy long game drives so we primarily recommend non-malarial areas of the Eastern Cape and the north-west of South Africa. Many lodges now specifically cater for children. Some lodges have age limits – commonly 12 is the minimum. Most walking safaris are not suitable for under 16’s. Please check with us which lodges are recommended for families and those which welcome children.

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Safari vehicles
The type of vehicle varies according to the country, park and activity being undertaken. There is now a wide choice of 4x4 and safari minivans. All are prepared for optimum game viewing. The local conditions in Southern Africa are more suited to open vehicles so all-round visibility is much better. Minivans are commonly used in East Africa. Most vehicles carry radios, full safety equipment and coolboxes for cold drinks. Be prepared for some long distances on dusty, gravel roads which are often bumpy and pot-holed!

Considerations and expectations?
A safari is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many so it’s worth planning your trip in some detail to ensure you have the best experience possible. You need to ask yourself what you really hope to see, how comfortable you want to be, how important is a swimming pool and hot and cold running water, do you expect flush toilets or will a ‘long-drop’ suffice, will you cope with sun, dust, bumpy tracks, long drives, bartering for your souvenirs with the locals. Africa is still not well-equipped to cater for the disabled or those with severe ailments or specific dietary requirements. It is a continent with a lot of people who are materially poor. You need a sense of humour and will be rewarded with an incredible and often life-changing experience.

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Upon booking, a non-refundable deposit of 25% of the safari cost per person is required. Final payment is due 8 weeks prior to departure. Full payment is due immediately for all bookings made less than 8 weeks prior to departure. Payment of deposit indicates acceptance of the following terms and conditions.

Our prices exclude international airfares, travel insurance, entry visas, airport/departure taxes, optional excursions plus all personal expenditure such as tips, laundry (where not included), telephone calls and souvenirs.

Cancellation Fees
•  More than 60 days prior to departure 25% (non-refundable deposit) is forfeited
•  21 - 60 days prior to departure 50% of the total price is forfeited
•  Less than 21 days prior to departure 100% of the total price is forfeited
You must ensure that you are adequately covered for cancellation and curtailment insurance.

Price Guarantee
Simply Safaris Limited guarantee the price of safaris booked upon receipt of final payment. We will endeavour to honour the prices quoted before final payment despite minor currency fluctuations, changes in park fees, increases in air charter prices and fuel costs and accommodation due to rerouting by ground operators and other factors. Airfares booked directly are subject to the prices and conditions imposed by airlines and are not guaranteed by Simply Safaris Limited.

Simply Safaris Limited will under no circumstances be responsible or liable for loss, damage, delays, accidents, injury or death to any person, luggage or property due to circumstances beyond our control. All safaris are subject to the conditions of the airlines, lodges, restaurants and other contractors involved. See full responsibilities and liabilities on our Booking Conditions.

Responsibility of Passengers
All travel documents (once issued), visas, vaccinations, international airfares and anti-malarial drugs are the client's responsibility. The client must also check that they hold a valid 10 year passport prior to departure. The client warrants that they will take out adequate medical, travel and cancellation insurance prior to commencement of travel.

Full T and C s are available on the Booking Form which can be downloaded here.

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