African Safaris are without doubt one of the most soul enriching experiences on Earth.
Africa is a dream for many folks but a place on earth that every person should visit at least once in their lives. In the true sense of the word we are blessed to live in Africa and call it our home. African Safaris are our way of life and we have travelled extensively to all regions thus giving us first hand and unrivalled knowledge and experience. We have been designing “Tailormade African Safaris” for our clients around the World since 1994.
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Things to Know before you go on your African Safari
Taga Safaris Africa welcomes you and looks forward to hosting you on your African journey. In order to ensure that you have the best experience possible, please read the following information carefully together with the information provided on the specific country or countries that you will be visiting. Should you have any additional questions or require clarification, please contact us.
BOOKING CONDITIONS AND ACCEPTANCE
Please ensure that you are aware of our booking conditions. Taking this journey with us implies your acceptance of these conditions.
ACCOMMODATION CHECK IN AND OUT TIMES
Times may vary depending on the establishment but generally speaking for hotels, check in is after 14h00 and check out is by 10h00. At most safari lodges and camps, the rooms need to be vacated by noon but this will be re-confirmed once you are in camp. Where possible, lodges and hotels will assist with your requirements but if you wish to guarantee an early arrival or a longer stay in your room, we recommend you arrange and pay for this in advance to secure it. At Wilderness Safaris or Wilderness Adventures lodges/camps, the air transfer flying window is usually between 11h00 and 14h00, unless guests are departing on an earlier scheduled flight, and check out is timed accordingly. Use of your room until such time as you are scheduled to depart for the airstrip/airport for onward transfers will be arranged where possible, bearing in mind this is subject to availability and therefore not guaranteed.
All visitors to southern Africa require a valid passport together with onward travel documents and sufficient funds for the duration of your stay. Please ensure you have sufficient blank VISA pages (not endorsement pages) in your passport, with at least two consecutive/side by side blank pages. Our recommendation is 3 pages (or even 4 if you are travelling through more than one country on your journey). If there is insufficient space in the passport then entry into a country could be denied. All passport holders should verify with their travel agent or relevant consulate concerning visa entry requirements. If you are extending your journey to other countries, please establish entry requirements for those countries as well. Applications, costs and relevant documentation are the responsibility of the traveller. Please ensure that you have all necessary visas prior to departure from your home country (unless these can be obtained on arrival) as WE CANNOT BE HELD LIABLE if entry is refused.
Travel in southern Africa is normally conducted in English and it is therefore beneficial for guests to have knowledge of English and be able to communicate in that language – for safety reasons and also compatibility with fellow travellers.
There are a few basic health matters that require care and attention. The following points are recommended guidelines only – please consult your doctor and also check with your health department/travel clinic prior to departure from your home country, in the event there have been changes in the health regulations of the country you are visiting.
Malaria within South Africa’s borders is encountered mainly in:
- northern and eastern Mpumalanga
- northern KwaZulu-Natal,
- and the border areas of the Northern and North West provinces.
Outside of the South African borders it is found in:
- the lower lying areas of Swaziland,
- in Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe,
- most parts of Botswana,
- northern Namibia.
Malaria prophylactic recommendations for southern African travellers:
Expert opinion differs regarding the best approach to malaria prophylaxis. It is important to bear in mind that malaria may be contracted despite chemoprophylaxis, especially in areas where chloroquine resistance has been reported. Both chloroquine-resistant and normal strains of malaria are prevalent in Africa.
Please remember that the best precaution is the preventative kind:
- Avoid being bitten by using mosquito repellents liberally. Wilderness Safaris provides a locally made repellent but please bring your own as there may be skin sensitivity.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers/slacks in the evenings.
- Please use the mosquito net over your bed where supplied/available.
- Where provided, please use the insecticide supplied to kill any mosquitoes that may have flown into your room.
- Mosquito coils are also effective.
- If you are a SCUBA diver, please consult your doctor regarding the use of Larium in conjunction with diving.
Malaria is transmitted by a very small percentage of female Anopheles mosquitoes. They are mainly active in the early evening and throughout the night. Malaria transmission is at its highest during the warmer and wetter months of November through to April. From May through to October the risks of acquiring malaria are reduced. There is also less prevalence in remote areas where our camps are situated; nonetheless, you need to consider taking preventative measures. There is a six to seven day minimum incubation period before symptoms present themselves. If you become ill on your return, while still on prophylaxis or even once you have stopped taking them, ensure that your doctor does everything to establish that your illness is not malaria. Malaria can be prevented if you are sensible and take basic precautions. There have been very few cases of our guests contracting malaria in our more than 20 years of operation. It is inadvisable for pregnant woman to visit malarial areas as malaria infection during pregnancy can be detrimental to mother and child.
Tsetse flies occur in large areas of sub-Saharan Africa including parts of northern Botswana and Zambia where Wilderness Safaris operates. They look similar to other large flies except that when perched, both wings are held folded directly over the other above the abdomen and they have a long proboscis extending forward from a large head. They are best known as the carrier of trypanosomiases – causing sleeping sickness in humans which can be fatal but is easily treated and cured. Not all Tsetse flies transmit all variations of the disease and in the Wilderness areas of operation they are regarded more as an irritation (the bites are sharp) than as a serious threat. Enormous efforts have been made in the eradication of Tsetse flies in various countries and sleeping sickness has now largely disappeared from southern Africa. The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that very few cases have been reported in Zambia since 2005 and none in Botswana from where it has long been absent. The disease is easily treated with modern medicine and in the unlikely event that symptoms are recorded after a visit to an area containing Tsetse flies we recommend that a doctor be consulted. These symptoms can present a few weeks to months after a visit and begin with fever, headaches and pains in the joints followed by dramatic swelling of the lymph nodes. If left untreated these symptoms can evolve to cause anaemia as well as cardiac and kidney disorders before the sleep cycle is disrupted by alternate bouts of fatigue, insomnia and sleep.
What precautions can I take against tsetse fly bites?
The most important precaution is to be aware of tsetse flies and what they look like. In order to differentiate them from other flies look closely at the wings. If they are held closed and overlapping over the abdomen it is likely that it is a species of tsetse fly. Other characteristics include a long, defined biting proboscis. While on game drive or walks, being aware that they occur in wooded areas rather than out in grasslands or on the plains can help with when to be vigilant against tsetse flies. Generally brushing the flies off your body once they have landed there is enough to prevent getting bitten. This can be a challenge in areas of high fly density, but these are avoided wherever possible by the guides. The colour of clothing worn can be helpful (see below) and while in camp keep your tent or room closed to insects. The insects are tough and easily survive a gentle slapping.
What clothing should I wear to avoid attracting tsetse flies?
Dark coloured clothing is generally more attractive to tsetse flies since the majority of their host species are dark colored large mammals such as buffalo. Wearing long-sleeved neutral coloured clothing is probably the best approach. It is possible for the flies to bite through light clothing and some people do wear heavy fabrics to avoid this.
If I get bitten and get infected or have an allergic reaction how can I treat the bite and how common is this?
Infected tsetse bites can be treated by simply applying an antihistamine cream to the bite area. This will ease the itch which is commonly associated with insect bites of this nature. Allergic reactions are not at all common and should this occur, it can be treated with any of the antihistamine tablets available off the shelf and kept in our camps and vehicles.
Ticks occur the world over and are well known ecto-parasites. The most obvious species in the savannah regions of Africa are the ‘hard ticks’ which attach themselves to their hosts to feed before they either fall or are brushed off. Ticks are also well known as carriers of diseases that affect both animals and humans, and in southern Africa this is referred to as tick bite fever. Symptoms of this disease present after a 5 to 7 day incubation period and include fevers, headaches, malaise and even a skin rash, but effects can vary dramatically from person to person. A dark black mark usually results at the site of the infected bite and is a helpful diagnostic. The disease is easily treated with antibiotics although this is not always necessary. After walking in the bush with your guide it is best to brush your clothes down and to examine your body for ticks, taking care to remove these entirely without leaving the biting mouth parts behind in your skin. Anti-tick sprays such as Bayticol can be very effective against ticks and wearing long pants will prevent many bites.
Already required when visiting countries like Congo, Kenya, Tanzania and others in Africa, it was communicated at the end of August 2011 for implementation from 1 October 2011, that proof of Yellow Fever inoculation is required when any visitor to Zambia returns to South Africa. This is currently not a requirement for visiting Zambia but if both Zambia and South Africa are included on the same itinerary, even if in transit on flights, you will need to have this as it is a requirement for entry into South Africa. Time: Inoculations must be had at least 10 days before travel, as it is not effective within 10 days.
The vaccine provides immunity against the disease for 10 years. You receive a Yellow Card which you have to carry with you when you travel. Failure to produce the card during travel could result in penalties by immigration or refusal to enter the country.
Pregnant women, HIV Positive, anyone undergoing Chemotherapy or with a suppressed immune system. You still need to go to a clinic/medical practitioner for a consultation and to be given an exemption certificate which will still allow you to travel without having had the injection. Babies under the age of 9 months and people over the age of 60 can qualify for an exemption also, but this is at the discretion of the medical practitioner.
What is Yellow Fever?
Yellow Fever is a viral illness for which there is no cure, but there is an effective vaccine which will prevent it. It is transmitted by a day-time biting mosquito. The Yellow Fever virus is found in certain areas of Africa, Central and South America.
Yellow Fever symptoms:
The illness develops within six days of being bitten by an infected mosquito, and the onset is usually sudden: fever develops, with headache, body pains, and most often nausea. Jaundice develops with a bleeding tendency, coma and death.
Travellers immunized against Yellow Fever are issued with an internationally recognized vaccination certificate for inspection by immigration officials. The international health regulations concerning Yellow Fever are unequivocal, and unvaccinated travellers may face denial of entry, or even quarantine in certain circumstances. This strict control is maintained to ensure that both the individual traveller and the broader communities are protected against outbreaks of this disease.
It is very important that you drink plenty of water especially during the warmer months. It is generally recommended that guests drink at least 2 to 3 litres of water per day to limit the effects of dehydration. This excludes tea, coffee and alcoholic beverages, which act as diuretics and can therefore, actually contribute to dehydration. Generally, water throughout southern Africa is safe to drink directly from the tap. However, bottled or filtered water is readily available, so please do not allow yourself to become dehydrated.
For those guests with specific dietary or religious (i.e. kosher) requirements please ensure we are notified prior to arrival. We can accommodate most reasonable requests but need advance warning to do so.
You need to notify us of any medical condition you may have prior to your arrival. This includes any allergies e.g. bee stings, nuts, shell fish, etc.
It is a condition of booking with us, that the guest has the correct comprehensive travel and medical insurance to cover themselves, as well as any dependants/travelling companions for the duration of their trip to southern Africa. This is the sole responsibility of the traveller. This insurance should include cover in respect of, but not limited to, the following eventualities:
- emergency evacuation expenses,
- medical expenses,
- repatriation expenses,
- cancellation or curtailment of trip,
- damage/theft/loss of personal luggage, money and goods.
Taga Safaris Africa will not take responsibility for any costs, losses incurred or suffered by the guest, or guests’ dependents or travelling companions. This is with regards to, but not limited to, any of the above mentioned eventualities. Guests will be charged directly by the relevant service providers for any emergency services they may require, and may find themselves in a position of being unable to access such services should they not be carrying the relevant insurance cover.
It is compulsory to have full medical, emergency evacuation and repatriation cover for the full period of time that you are travelling.
Cancellation and Curtailment:
If for any reason you cancel a trip close to departure date, you could lose the entire cost of your trip. Should you have to leave before your holiday is finished, we cannot refund you the cost of the portion of the package you do not complete. In the eventuality of this happening, insurance may cover you, depending on the reason for cancellation and curtailment.
Luggage & Money Insurance:
It is advisable to take out luggage and money insurance especially if you are carrying a lot of cash or expensive camera equipment. You should always carry such equipment as “carry-on” luggage. Do not put anything of value including any vital medication in your checked in baggage!
If you anticipate an insurance claim upon your return, be sure to document as accurately as possible any accident, injury or loss. Doctor’s notes and police reports will aid any claim.
Neither Taga Safaris Africa, Wilderness Safaris, Wilderness Air, Wilderness Adventures nor any person, agent acting for, through or on behalf of said companies, will be liable for any loss or damage whatsoever arising from any cause whatsoever and without restricting the generality of the aforegoing shall particularly not be responsible for loss or damage arising from any errors or omissions contained in its brochure or other literature, loss or damage caused by delays, sickness, theft, injury or death. In addition the Company shall have the right at any time at its discretion to cancel any safari or the remainder thereof or make any alteration in route, accommodation, price or other details and, in the event of any safari being rendered impossible, illegal or inadvisable by weather, strike, war, government or interference or any other cause whatsoever, the extra expenses incurred as a result thereof shall be the responsibility of the passenger. The Company may at its discretion and without liability or cost to itself at any time cancel or terminate the guest’s booking and in particular without limiting the generality of the aforegoing it shall be entitled to do so in the event of the illness or the illegal or incompatible behaviour of the guest, who shall in such circumstances not be entitled to any refund. The person making any booking will, by the making of such booking, warrant that he or she has authority to enter into a contract on behalf of the other person included in such a booking and in the event of the failure of any or all the other persons so included to make payment, the person making the booking shall by his/her signature thereof assume personal liability for the total price of all bookings made by him/her.
It’s sensible to take some basic precautions whilst travelling anywhere in the world. Below are recommendations that we feel hold true for travel in general and which we thus suggest are followed during a southern African itinerary – they apply mostly to travel in the major cities and towns but elements are also relevant for stays in camps in conservation areas. Learn about your surroundings. Ask the Tourist Information Officers, Hotel Staff and local residents about areas to avoid. It is advisable to lock your luggage with a suitable lock or at least with cable ties when flying both locally (within South Africa or to neighboring countries) and internationally. As an additional precaution we suggest that check in luggage is shrink-wrapped. Please do not check-in any valuables. Valuables and any chronic medication should be kept in your carry-on luggage. Always drive with your doors locked and your windows closed, with handbags/parcels/valuables stored out of sight in the boot/trunk of the car. Keep mobile phones, wallets and cameras well hidden and avoid wearing expensive jewellery. Never leave your luggage unattended (e.g. don’t leave handbags under tables, on the backs of chairs or on restroom hooks). Please report any stolen property and/or any incident involving your safety and security to the establishment where you are staying. Separate your cash and credit cards and don’t carry all your cash with you. Avoid counting cash in the open. Do not allow strangers to assist you in your transactions at automated bank teller machines (ATM’s). Store any valuables, travel documents (passports/airline tickets) and additional cash in your hotel’s safety deposit box or camp safe. Keep your room locked at all times and hand in room keys or cards whenever you leave your hotel. Take note of and abide by any warnings posted in public areas and parks.
Should your journey with us include any non-scheduled airline flights, please be advised that we offer two types of air transfers – either a sole use air transfer (where your party has exclusive use of the aircraft for that particular flight sector) or a shared air transfer (where your party share the aircraft with others). A brief description follows:
Shared Air Transfers
Unless specifically requested to do otherwise, we will automatically book you onto the shared air transfer, which may entail stopping at other airstrips en route for other guests to board/alight. It is possible that one party may be split up and have to travel on different aircraft to their destination, although all efforts will be made to avoid this. When we package an itinerary using shared air transfers, we book the aircraft and pilot through licensed charter companies. This portion of your trip might therefore be sub-chartered. All the flight times between lodges are arranged a few days before the flights take place to avoid endless schedule changes. The lodge or camp where you are staying will be advised of your departure time the day before travel and will ensure that you are at the airstrip on time. We cannot be more specific about the timings of these air transfers as the charter companies are compelled by safety regulations to service their aircraft every 100 hours which could result in arrangements having to be rescheduled at the last moment. At certain times of the year it may be necessary (for safety reasons) to transfer you during the cooler times of the day, in early morning or late afternoon only. Any changes requested or made by the travellers will be at a considerable extra cost.
Sole Use Air Transfers
If specifically requested, sole use air transfers will be booked for your trip at an additional cost. This service means that you and your party are the only passengers on that specific flight transfer leg. This could allow more flexibility on luggage restrictions depending on the number of guests and the size of the aircraft – please clarify this with your us. Sole use air transfers also allow for more flexibility of flight timings which are to be arranged at the time of booking. Please note that late changes to the timings at the request of the party cannot always be accommodated nor can the original arranged flight times be guaranteed. This is as a result of unforeseeable delays such as scheduled flight delays, bad weather etc. Aircraft used for sole use transfers are also used to carry guests before and after your flight. Please note that if combining shared and sole use air transfers, then the specified luggage restriction for shared transfers will apply.
LUGGAGE ON SCHEDULED FLIGHTS
Scheduled airlines in southern Africa generally carry a weight restriction of 20kg (44lbs) per economy class traveller, and 30kg (66lbs) for business class. Please ensure that you comply with the applicable restrictions – further details regarding number of luggage pieces and exact dimensions for a particular carrier can be obtained from your ticketing agent. Please note when combining scheduled airline flights and air transfers (as specified below), then the smaller restriction of the two will apply unless alternative arrangements have been made for the storage or separate transfer of excess luggage. It is very important that you do not put anything of high value (personal or financial value) in your checked in baggage as luggage can be tampered with and valuables removed. This includes, but is not limited to, jewellery, cameras, video equipment, reading glasses, sunglasses, laptops, or other computer/electronic equipment, medication (especially chronic medication), etc. Please also lock your luggage with a suitable lock to deter opportunistic theft. In the event of your luggage being delayed or going missing, we would like to recommend that you pack a change of underwear, a clean T-shirt or similar, plus essential toiletries and medication into your carry-on/hand luggage to minimise the inconvenience experienced by this loss or delay.
Luggage that goes missing on scheduled flights is beyond the control of Wilderness Safaris, and/or the airline concerned. The relevant airport controls what happens to passengers’ luggage from when it is checked in until it is put on/taken off the aircraft. As mentioned above, please ensure that your essential items on hand to see you through the first couple of days while we try to assist with the recovery of your lost baggage.
LOSS OF ARTICLES
Please note that we cannot accept any responsibility for the misplacement of any articles whilst on your travels. Naturally, we will endeavor to reunite you with your misplaced items but please bear in mind that logistics may not always be favourable for the return of articles without incurring costs. If you do require the item/s to be returned to you, please note that any costs incurred in this process will be for your own account.
If travelling to camps and lodges on our safaris you will meet up with other guests who are from different parts of the world and who are of various ages. To get the most out of your safari experience, cooperation and harmony between you and your fellow guests is essential. Should any guest behave in such a manner that it affects either the enjoyment or safety of other guests, that guest will be warned and if need be, taken off the safari.
Our safari vehicles are usually open 4×4 vehicles and are designed for guests to have all round visibility. There are some exceptions to this in order to accommodate certain environmental conditions such as excessive dust and/or heat, or in temperate climates such as Chelinda on the Nyika Plateau in Malawi where they may use closed vehicles with viewing hatches.
Subject to availability and camp dependent, private activities and guide can be arranged at an additional cost. If you elect not to take up this option, please note that you will be sharing activities such as game drives, boat trips, walks etc. with other guests and we would appreciate acceptable behavior accordingly.
SELF DRIVE GUESTS
Please note that you are responsible for all necessary paperwork needed and relevant costs, particularly with regard to border crossings. In addition to carrying fuel/spare parts/additional tyres where necessary, you must also carry a satellite phone (north of the border – Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe) or cellular/mobile phone (in South Africa) as well as be covered by comprehensive travel insurance as per our booking terms and conditions. Should you get lost, stuck or break down, it is not the responsibility of Taga Safaris Africa, Wilderness Safaris or Wilderness Adventures to recover or search for you. Having said that, if you do require assistance, please call the Wilderness Safaris Emergency number and we will do everything possible to help you in hiring someone to recover/assist you. All costs incurred will be for your own account and Taga Safaris Africa, Wilderness Safaris or Wilderness Adventures cannot be held liable for any delays or missed services. Whilst conducting your own self-drive itinerary, there are many factors beyond our control. Taga Safaris Africa, Wilderness Safaris or Wilderness Adventures will therefore not accept any liability, responsibility or claim for compensation, for any incident or accident involving you (the client), your vehicle and/or any third party.
While visiting remote areas or national parks and reserves, the roads could be rough and bumpy and occasionally we will travel “off road”. It is possible that injuries may occur – if for example a hidden pothole is struck. Wilderness Safaris, their staff members, associates and agents cannot be held liable for any accidents or any damages.
WALKING IN PARKS AND RESERVES
We will walk where possible but this is often determined by the local area and country or reserve regulations.
Walking is at your own risk as it can take you close to dangerous wild animals.
RESPECTING WILDLIFE & SAFETY WHEN STAYING AT SAFARI CAMPS/LODGES
Safety is of utmost concern to us and we request you take note of the following guidelines:
- The wild animals are not like those found in theme parks – they aren’t tame.
- Most of the safari camps are unfenced and dangerous animals can (and do!) wander through the camps. Many of the animals and reptiles you will see are potentially dangerous. Attacks by wild animals are rare but there are no guarantees that such incidents will not occur. Wilderness Safaris, their staff members, associates, agents, or their suppliers cannot be held liable for any injuries caused during an incident involving the behavior of wild animals.
- Please listen to the camp staff and guides. The safety precautions need to be taken seriously, and strictly adhered to.
- Never walk 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 also unsightly plus environmentally-unfriendly.
- Never attempt to feed or approach any wild animal on foot. This is especially important near lodges or in campsites where animals may have become accustomed to human visitors.
- Refrain from smoking on game drives. The dry African bush ignites very easily, and a flash fire can kill animals.
COMMUNICATION IN THE CAMPS/LODGES
It has been a conscious decision by Wilderness Safaris to avoid internet access at our safari camps for guests. We believe that the beauty of being away in the Wilderness is the very fact that you are not in contact with your office or the outside world! What is the point of visiting our remote locations to experience the bush, desert and wildlife in these wonderful areas, but then still being completely “attached” to civilization? We want our guests to have new and different experiences and one of those is the liberating feeling of not being contactable or involved in work or the affairs of the world, something most of our guests comment positively on. Of course if there was a problem we would get messages to and from guests – we have been doing that for years very successfully. Ultimately, we are trying to keep our footprint as light as possible and we strive to offer an environment free from the stresses and strains of everyday office or home life. Telecommunications in the urban areas are however easily accessible but please note that the safari lodges and camps you may be visiting could be located in very remote parts of southern Africa and often do not have telephones. An increasing number of guests are bringing satellite and iridium phones with them on safari.
As most people come on safari to “get away from it all”, we feel that we must set guidelines on the use of any phones when on safari as follows:
- Please ensure the ring tone is kept at low volume to avoid disturbing other guests.
- Please use your phone in the privacy of your room and not in any of the common areas: dining room, bar/lounge area, or on any of the vehicles or on game drives.
It is not always possible to rent satellite phones in the various regions, although this can be arranged at O.R. Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg). Our recommendation is to pre-book this in advance.
GENERALLY NOT INCLUDED IN THE COST OF YOUR JOURNEY WITH US
Personal expenditure, meals in major cities, insurance, drinks, gratuities, airport/departure taxes, park fees, conservation levies, entrance fees, visa fees, new government taxes, fuel increases etc. Please consult your itinerary or check with your agent for the specific details of what is included and excluded from your arrangements. Scheduled/commercial flights are also generally excluded unless otherwise arranged.
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 or Game Lodge Guides, Specialist Guides and Butlers – We recommend US$10.00 per guest per day.
- Mokoro Paddlers and Trackers – We recommend that each paddler receive US$5.00 per guest per day and that camp/lodge trackers receive US$5.00 per guest per day.
- The General Camp / Lodge Staff – We recommend about US$10.00 per guest per day for safari camps. This should be placed in the communal tipping box to be distributed equally amongst all the staff.
- Porterage – We recommend about US$2.00 to US$3.00 per guest per movement. Some lodges have slightly different gratuity schedules, but these are usually stipulated clearly in the camp’s collateral.
- Transfer Driver – We recommend about ZAR20.00 per guest for the driver.
- Touring (excluding Camp/Game Lodge) Driver and/or Guides – For half day tours we recommend about ZAR50.00 per guest and for a full day tour we recommend ZAR100.00 per guest.
- Safari Guides/Trackers at Game Lodges – We recommend about ZAR120.00 per guest per day for the guide and ZAR80.00 per guest per day for the tracker.
- Porterage – We recommend about ZAR15.00 per guest per movement.
- Hotel/Guest House/Game Lodge Staff – We recommend about ZAR50.00 per guest per day for hotel staff i.e. housekeeping etc
- Blue Train and Rovos Rail – Cabin attendant ZAR100.00 per guest per day Waiter, Dining Car ZAR75.00 per guest per journey
- Restaurants/Hotels – 10% is customary on meal accounts if you are satisfied with the service.
We would like to emphasize that tipping is definitely not a requirement but should be undertaken only by choice and dependent on service received. Whatever you believe to be appropriate will be appreciated by the staff you have met.
FLIGHT CHECK IN TIMES
Due to newer, larger airports, increased volumes of passengers and heightened security measures we do recommend at least two hours prior for domestic and regional flights, and three hours prior for all international flights.
Please check with your airline or ticketing agent whether your onward flights need to be reconfirmed. This is your responsibility but we will assist where necessary.
Please find herewith a list of suggested items which should be used as a guideline whilst planning your trip. Please bear in mind that as mentioned above, there are luggage restrictions of between 15kg (33lbs) and 20kg (44lbs) (in a soft bag with no wheels, frames or rigid structures) on some light aircraft transfers and 20kg (44lbs) on most scheduled airline flights.
The weather in Southern Africa is generally pleasant throughout the year – warm to hot days, and cool to warm nights – with summer (September to April) being the hotter months. During our winter months however (May to August), it can get really cold at night and in the early morning, particularly when on safari, so we would like to suggest that you pack accordingly.
- Sun hat/bush hat.
- Headscarf/bandana – particularly for dusty dry regions.
- Golf-shirts and/or T-shirts – preferably with a sleeve to protect your shoulders from the sun.
- Long-sleeved cotton shirts. • Shorts and/or skirts – really short skirts are not practical for getting in and out of game drive vehicles.
- Long trousers/slacks.
- Track suit.
- Pyjamas – lightweight for summer and warm/thermal for winter.
- Underwear – on game drives the roads can be bumpy and uneven so a suitable bra may be required.
- Socks – thermal options are recommended for the winter months.
- Good closed walking shoes (running/tennis shoes are fine).
- Sandals – preferably low heeled or flat if you are going on safari.
- Swimming costume.
- Lightweight jersey or fleece in summer.
- Light rain gear or jacket for summer months.
- Warm jersey or fleece plus anorak or parka in winter.
- Additionally, a scarf, gloves and beanies/woollen hats for the cold winter months.
- More formal attire for your stay at prestigious city hotels or on one of the luxury trains.
- Good quality sunglasses, UV protected, preferably polarised. Tinted fashion glasses are not good in strong light.
- If you wear contact lenses, we recommend that you bring along a pair of glasses in case you get irritation from the dust.
- Southern African bird guide if you are a keen birder, e.g. Newman’s or Sasol.
- Personal toiletries (basic amenities supplied by most establishments).
- Malaria tablets (if applicable).
- Antihistamine tablets if you suffer from any allergies.
- Anti nausea tablets if you suffer from motion sickness.
- Moisturising cream and suntan lotion – SPF 30 or higher recommended.
- Insect repellent for body application, e.g. Tabard, Rid, Jungle Juice, etc.
- Basic medical kit (aspirins, plasters, Imodium, antiseptic cream and antihistamine cream, etc.)
- Tissues/Wet Wipes.
- Visas, tickets, passports, money, credit card, insurance details, etc.
- Camera equipment including spare batteries, chargers, film, flash cards, memory sticks, etc.
- Waterproof/dustproof bag or cover for your camera.
- BINOCULARS – we highly recommended that you bring your own pair for viewing both wildlife and birds. 8×40 and 10×42 are the recommended general purpose binocular specifications
Bright colours and white are not advised whilst on safari. Camouflage clothing is not recommended for travel in southern African countries (camouflage or military-inspired clothing is prohibited when travelling in Zimbabwe).
There may be a restriction on luggage limits on your safari – please ensure that you have the details from your agent according to your itinerary and ask your agent ahead of time if you would like details on the feasibility and costs of taking excess luggage with you on any of these restricted luggage safaris.
We recommend the following books for all travellers to southern Africa. We also include a list of recommended books appropriate to each specific region being visited in the pre-departure information for that country:
- Africa’s Top Wildlife Countries – Mark Nolting
- Behaviour Guide to African Mammals – Richard Estes
- Newman’s Birds of Southern Africa – Ken Newman
- Birds of Prey of Southern, Central, and East Africa – David Allan
- Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa – Chris & Tide Stuart
- Field Guide to Snakes and other Reptiles of Southern Africa – Bill Branch
- The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals – Jonathan Kingdon
- African Safaris – From Budget to Big Spending – David Bristow and Julian Harrison
- Wildlife of Southern Africa, A Field Guide – Vincent Carruthers
- Photographic Guide to the Trees of southern Africa – Braam van Wyk
- National Parks and Other Wild Places of southern Africa – Nigel Dennis
- Pocket Guide to the Night Skies of southern Africa – Peter Mack
We carry a set of reference material on all our vehicles. However, if you are a keen birder we recommend that you bring your OWN bird book.
LUGGAGE ON AIR TRANSFERS
There are strict weight restrictions in place on any itinerary which includes light aircraft transfers for the following reasons:
- The aircraft are designed with a maximum bodyweight and luggage weight allowance.
- Most of our airfields are over 1000 metres above sea level and are located in the tropics, and therefore the permissible aircraft carrying capacity is reduced.
- The aircraft have physical space restrictions.
Some important issues must please be noted for air transfers with Wilderness Air charters and Federal Air:
Luggage, including camera equipment and hand luggage, is restricted per person travelling on seat rates, as follows:
- 15kg (33lbs) in Malawi
- 20kg (44lbs) in Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe
- 20kg (44lbs) in South Africa
Only soft bags will be accepted – no wheels, frames or rigid structures can be transported as they physically cannot fit into the aircraft. The maximum dimensions of the soft bags which can be accommodated are as follows: 25cm (10 inches) wide x 30cm (12 inches) high and 62cm (24 inches) long. Should your guest require a bag, we do have a supply of soft nylon carry-all bags at a reasonable cost. These bags are ideal for use on light aircraft and are the correct dimensions. Please keep in mind that the baggage compartments on the light aircraft are only 25cm high (10 inches), so the pilots must have the ability to manipulate the bag into the compartment. A collapsible wheeled luggage frame/trolley (separate to the bag) is allowed, as long as basic dimensions are similar to that of the bag.
Please inform us in advance if you weigh more than 100kg (220lbs) as additional weight allowance on the aircraft must be purchased for safety and comfort. The costs for this are calculated on request according to specific region and routing, and provides for a maximum of 70kg (154lbs) excess weight. These limits are applicable to guests travelling on a seat rate basis so may differ if guests have booked on a sole use or private charter option in which case the maximum’s depend on the type of aircraft and the number of passengers booked. These luggage restrictions appear minimal, however, please bear in mind the following:
- Most safari camps/lodges and hotels provide basic toilet amenities.
- Laundry can be done on a daily basis (many camps provide this service free of charge but some camps and hotels do charge a nominal fee).
- Mainly casual clothing is required. As no formal clothes are needed throughout most of southern Africa, we recommend that luggage is limited to the basics. More formal attire is usually required only when staying in the more prestigious city hotel establishments or on any of the luxury trains. On a wildlife safari, casual clothing is the order of the day. Please refer to our suggested packing list as a guideline.
Cancellation charges will be levied when guests cancel confirmed reservations. The costs of the cancellation fees will escalate the closer the guests cancel to their departure date. We are a long haul destination and most of our safaris are booked between six months and four months before departure. We therefore do not sell many beds in the last two months or so. Thus, our penalties begin and escalate from 8 weeks before departure, by which time the safari must be paid for in full. If a booking has been made less than 8 weeks prior to departure, the cancellation policy still applies.
Our cancellation policy is as follows:
- If a cancellation is made more than 8 weeks before departure then the guest loses his 30% (non-refundable) deposit – which must be paid over to ourselves.
- If a cancellation is made between 4 weeks and 8 weeks, the guest loses his deposit plus 30% of the total price. (i.e. the guests loses 60% of the total safari price.)
- If a guest cancels less than four weeks prior to departure, the guest loses 100% of the safari price. For Rovos Rail and the Blue Train the following cancellation policy will apply:
- If a cancellation is made more than 8 weeks before departure then the guest loses his 30% (non-refundable) deposit.
- If a guest cancels less than eight weeks prior to departure, the guest loses 100% of the safari price.
We do insist taking out travel insurance so that should you cancel a reservation you will be able to claim the cost back from the Insurance Company.
Our preferred method of payment is EFT (a Bank Transfer)
Credit Card Payments
We will email you a link to our PayGate Credit Card Payment System
Upon confirmation of a safari we require a 30% deposit in order to confirm and secure your safari for you. Balance of payment is then required 60 days before date of travel.
Mark Garzancich is co-founder and co-owner of Taga Safaris – African Safaris