Why should I choose A-Way-To Africa Safaris?
Because we are enthusiastic to introduce people to the wonders of Kenya and Tanzania. Because we will listen to what a client says, instead of just talking to them. Because we know what it is like to try and plan a safari and suddenly realize just how daunting a task it can be. Because we know that for some, a trip to Kenya and/or Tanzania may be the realization of a dream come true, and we want to share in that joy.
Why should I go to Africa now?
Despite the efforts of many wildlife and community development organizations, the simple fact of the matter is that poverty in Africa threatens the wildlife and natural habitats. Humans are encroaching on the natural habitat of wildlife. Poverty gives rise to poaching. Despite valiant efforts for a peaceful coexistence between man and wildlife, the reality is that the current relationship is tenuous at best. Kenya and Tanzania are among the forefront of African countries working to ensure the rhythm of life remains, and not become a thing of the past.
Do I need a visa for travel to Kenya and/or Tanzania?
Is it safe to travel to Kenya and/or Tanzania?
The continent of Africa is huge. It is three times larger than the United States and it is larger than the U.S., China and Europe combined! If something happens in one country, rarely does it affect what happens in a neighboring country. Security and safety is, and should be, a concern not only for travelers, but tour organizers as well. We are in constant contact with people who live and work in Kenya and Tanzania and carefully monitor situations that could, in any way, affect our clients.
What kind of food can we expect to be served and can special dietary needs be met?
Every attempt will be made to meet any special dietary need, but you must make us aware of special needs well in advance of your trip. Breakfast usually consists of fruit and cereal, eggs, bacon or sausage, toast and beverages. Lunch is usually comprised of cold meats and salads with bread and a choice of cheese, or a buffet of pasta dishes and quiches. Dinner can be a buffet offering a wide array of choices including beef, chicken and pork, or a set three- to four-course meal. Most people are surprised and impressed with the quality of food while on safari.
What about drinking water and ice cubes?
We recommend you do not drink water from the tap or use ice cubes, though many upmarket properties now do use bottled/purified water for ice cubes. You will need to ask if ice cubes are made with bottled or purified water. Bottled water is provided by the camps/lodges and this should be used to drink, brush your teeth and take medicine. Additional bottles of water can be purchased at a nominal cost.
Will I encounter snakes, flying insects and spiders?
Spiders, snakes and other insects play a vital role to the Kenyan and Tanzanian ecosystems. It is highly unlikely you will see – let alone have an encounter with – a snake. We have seen more snakes in our gardens here at home then we ever have on safari.
What kinds of immunizations are necessary?
The Centers for Disease Control has a very helpful section on travel to East Africa on its website at www.cdc.gov/travel. We cannot emphasize enough how important it is for you to speak with your doctor before getting any shots. Some health insurance companies will reimburse the costs of travel immunizations. Antimalarial medication is highly recommended, and again we urge you to discuss with your doctor which would be best for you. Plan ahead for getting your vaccinations, as some require more than one injection. The island of Zanzibar recently implemented a rule that travelers arriving from yellow fever endemic zones (which include Kenya and mainland Tanzania) must show proof of a yellow fever card upon arrival. However, the checking of cards seems spotty at best. If you do not have a yellow fever card and are traveling to Zanzibar, we do recommend you obtain a certificate of exemption in case you are asked. If traveling to both Kenya and Tanzania (not just transit time), you must have a yellow fever card.
What kind of luggage should I bring?
It may not look glamorous, but a large duffel-type of luggage is your best bet. A rolling duffel is fine. We cannot urge you enough to NOT use hard-sided luggage. Those who use internal flights will be limited to 15kg (or 33 pounds), including photographic/video camera equipment. Many areas of Kenya and Tanzania are very dusty, so we recommend you use plastic bags that close securely at the top to protect your photography/video equipment/clothing.
What kind of clothes should I bring?
Practical and comfortable clothes are the “haute couture” of Africa. One of the best investments you can make is “convertible pants,” which have zip-off legging. Bring khaki or neutral colored clothing and a sweater or fleece cover-up for the cool mornings and evenings. Many camps/lodges in Kenya and Tanzania offer laundry service (except for women’s “smalls”) for a relatively nominal price.
Is English spoken in Kenya or Tanzania?
English and Swahili are spoken in both Kenya and Tanzania. Communication should not be a problem. While it may not be necessary, we recommend you learn a few phrases of Swahili. Trying phrases like “asante sana” (thank you very much), “hujambo” (how are you?) and “habari gani” (what’s happening?) will do a lot to elicit a smile from your guide and camp/lodge personnel.
What if something happens and I need immediate medical attention?
For Tanzania safaris we have recently started including Flying Doctor’s tourist membership and are moving toward that trend with Kenya itineraries as well. The Flying Doctor’s Society of Africa operates a 24-hour air ambulance from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport. They will get you from wherever you are to the closest, best medical facility, usually Nairobi. Flying Doctor is air ambulance only and does not include any accrued medical expenses. The likelihood of you having to use this service is practically nonexistent. And if you don’t, your membership fee is used to provide medical and health care services to the poor in remote parts of East Africa. It is a win-win situation. https://www.flyingdoctorsafrica.org/membership/
What about tipping?
Tipping is at your discretion and should be based on the level of service you get from not only your guide, but camp/lodge staff as well. The general guideline for tipping of safari guides is $15-$20 per day, per vehicle – not per person. For camp/lodge porters, the guideline is $1 per porter. Many camps/lodges have “staff tip boxes,” where money placed in the box is shared equally by all camp/lodge personnel.
Should I bring US currency, travelers cheques or credit cards?
Many camps/lodges do not accept credit cards. For the few that do, Mastercard and Visa only. If using a credit card, keep in mind a 5-9% surcharge (if not more!) will be applied in addition to any international transaction fee levied by the credit card company. This all adds up to some hefty fees. We recommend you bring cash in $1’s, $5’s, $10’s and $20’s. US dollars are widely accepted, though $50 and $100 bills are not. Traveler’s checks are NO longer widely accepted in Tanzania or Kenya. We also recommend upon arrival in either country, getting some local currency. If anything, it does make for a great souvenir.
Should we fly from location to location or drive?
Driving from location to location is certainly less expensive than flying. Roads in rural areas, especially en-route to game parks, are unpaved, extremely dusty and bumpy. This is not being said to dissuade you from driving from park to park. Instead, it is being noted as a reality of safari travel. An advantage to driving from location to location is that you have an opportunity to stop along the way and perhaps have encounters with local people that you would otherwise not have. Flying, on the other hand, affords you more time for game viewing. Personally, we like a combination of flying and driving.
What about my overall comfort?
There will be some inconveniences, which is par for the course when traveling in Africa. Some airlines will not run exactly on schedule, roads can be rough and vehicles may experience problems. This is, after all, Africa! If you want paved roads, a guarantee of seeing a lion or rhino and everything to run like clock work, you should rethink a safari and instead go to Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida.
Should I get travel insurance?
A trip to Africa can be perceived as an investment. As such, you should do whatever you can to protect your investment. Travelers insurance can be expensive, so we suggest you shop around for the best price. A-Way-To Africa Safaris is not in the business of selling travel insurance.
Aside from wildlife viewing, what other activities are available while on safari?
You can do virtually anything while on safari in Kenya and/or Tanzania. Golfing, mountain hiking, chimpanzee trekking, horseback riding, hot-air balloon rides, scuba diving and snorkeling along the coasts, and fishing are some of the activities you can take part in. Both Kenya and Tanzania have miles and miles of pristine beaches with very comfortable accommodations. A trip to the beach is the perfect end to a safari.
Do you charge a preparation fee?
That seems to be the trend among many safari planners, but we do not charge a preparation fee.
Do you handle air arrangements to and from East Africa?
No we do not. Many travel agents would be happy to assist you with air from the United States/North America to East Africa. We work closely with a travel agent here in New Hampshire who has helped many of our clients with their international air legs, and have no qualms recommending her services. If you would like her contact information, simply let us know.
What type of electrical power will I find in East Africa?
First and foremost, please remember that when out in the bush, electricity is a luxury and should not be taken for granted. Most tented camps and lodges use generators that run specific hours, generally turned off after midnight and not turned on again until early morning. Solar power is increasing in popularity but, again, do keep in mind there may be times electricity is not available. Make sure to bring a flashlight, and extra batteries (pre-charged in case there is no power) for all electrical/digital cameras, etc. In Kenya and Tanzania, the electricity supply is 220 / 240V AC, 50 Hz. If you use electrical appliances that are not compatible or at least dual-voltage, you should bring your own converter and adapter plugs. Camps/lodges will help as much as possible to ensure your electrical needs are met, but ultimately it is your responsibility to be prepared.
When should I start planning our safari?
You can start planning your safari whenever you want. Our first trip ever to Kenya and Tanzania took us over a year to plan! To ensure you get accommodations you want, rather than having to settle for what is available, we recommend planning and booking a trip a year in advance of your proposed travel period. Some areas that are especially popular during specific months, have limited accommodations and they fill up.
Why do prices given from A-Way-To Africa Safaris seem higher than other’s?
We believe our prices are very competitive, considering the quality of service and attention to detail given to our clients. We just don’t look at operator brochures for ideas on itineraries, pluck one out and then hand it over for your consideration. We take the time to communicate, make changes to an itinerary, re-price that itinerary … it all takes considerable thought, energy and knowledge. On average, it takes three or four drafts of an itinerary before it is “just right.” We will not compromise quality for lower prices. It is as simple as that.