What passport/visa documents will I need?

All people travelling to the east African region require a passport that is valid for six months beyond the intended length of stay. The entry requirement for any traveller entering Kenya and Tanzania is a minimum of two blank pages in their passport. Don’t forget to bring your yellow fever health card as they will check it carefully at the border. Always check with the appropriate authorities before starting your trip.

Am I guaranteed to see the migration in action?
As a visitor to a national park, you are never guaranteed to see anything. It’s not a zoo. In reality, there is no such single entity as ‘the migration’. The wildebeest are the migration — there is neither a start nor a finish to their endless search for food and water. The only actual beginning is the moment of young wildebeest’s birth taking place in Ndutu (see p.41).

There is a little predictability about the migration, but the key factor is the weather and the cycle of seasons. However, don’t count on these time periods, as climate change is causing animal behaviour to become less predictable.

Do safari camps/lodges have water and power?
No matter where you stay, there will always be access to water and electricity. If you’re in a luxury lodge you have nothing to worry about, and even the most remote mobile bush camps have surprisingly functional setups. The tent might be equipped with a simple ‘bush shower’, consisting of a solar shower bag, but the water will be heated. Bush camps are often run by a generator that is turned off at night, so it’s a good idea to charge your batteries before going to bed. Most safari vehicles will have chargers, giving you the chance to top up your batteries during the game drives.

In Tanzania and Kenya the power sockets are of type D and G. The standard voltage is 230V and the standard frequency is 50Hz. Your need for a power plug adapter depends on the power plugs used in your own country.

What are the vehicles and guides like?
Vehicles are usually Toyota Land Cruisers or Land Rovers, as they are best suited to the terrain. For larger groups, 4WD buses are mostly used because they are more convenient for grouping people together in one vehicle.

Most of the drivers are full-time safari guides. They have been trained in customer service, wildlife knowledge and environmental issues. They are always familiar with the routes and knowledgeable of the area’s geography. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s a good way to get to know your guide, and it’s his job to teach and make you feel comfortable.

Will I have a chance to interact with local people?
Many of the trips provide opportunities to visit local Masai villages and interact with the local people. However, if your itinerary does not include these visits, you can always check with your lodge. Most places provide organised tours to the villages. For a relatively small fee you can go on a half day tour, often with a Masai guide who knows the people. He can explain their culture and way of living, acting as a translator for your questions. Included in the fee is also the opportunity to take pictures. If it feels a little staged, that’s because it often is. Many of these tours are tourist traps with Masais dressing up and performing just for your visit.

Can I take my children on safari?
A family safari is a wonderful way to learn and grow together. But don’t forget to check with your lodge before booking anything, as some of them do have age limits. Most camps have good facilities for children and the vehicles are comfortable, even for long, hot drives. But most of all, letting your children experience real animals in the wild is much more rewarding than looking at them in a zoo. They will make memories that last forever and hopefully gain a deep and valuable interest in nature.

Will I have to carry lots of cash?
Despite being in some of the remotest places on Earth, most camps, lodges and hotels can accept payment by credit card. On safari, almost all major expenses (all meals, activities and often drinks) are covered in the costs of accommodation.

Aren't wild animals dangerous?
There is always a degree of danger when viewing wildlife. The behaviour of wild animals cannot be guaranteed. However, most animals are frightened by the sight and smell of humans. Rather than attack, they’ll flee (unless cornered or provoked). Attacks on humans are rare.

While on safari you will be accompanied by licensed guides who are well trained and armed with an amazing understanding of the wildlife with which they share their lives on a daily basis. At your tented camp or lodge it is not uncommon for wildlife to wander through, since camps and lodges are typically not fenced. Never venture outside your accommodation at night without your guide. Always consult with your guide when in doubt.

What food is served on a safari?
The food served at most up-market safari lodges and tented camps is of the highest quality available. Gourmet cooks bake fresh bread and prepare soups, salads and meals fit for tables at top restaurants.

Your day normally starts with tea and biscuits before your morning activity. Returning to your lodge or camp late morning, brunch is served. Expect cereals, fruit, bacon, eggs, sausage and toast to be offered, alongside salads, quiches and cold meats. Before your afternoon activity, tea and light snacks are served. Dinner consists of an appetiser followed by meat, fish and pasta dishes served with assorted vegetables and sauces. Dinner is followed by coffee (or tea), cheeses and gorgeous desserts.

Is the water safe to drink?
It is wise to only drink bottled drinks, which are readily available. Ask the waiter to open it in front of you, as they may try to reuse the container at some of the larger, lower quality lodges. In addition, don’t swallow water during a shower and use purified water for brushing teeth.

Is there internet access while on safari?
Internet access is available at most large lodges and camps, sometimes for a small fee. Unfortunately, it is very slow and sometimes doesn’t work at all. When on safari you’re not likely to be able to get a signal. But don’t worry — in emergencies, your guide will be able to communicate with the lodge and with other vehicles. Think of a safari as a chance to unplug.

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