This safari takes in the vast beauty of the Kruger National Park, the history, wildlife and natural wonders of Zimbabwe, the wilds of the Chobe National Park, the culture rich Malawi and the tropical island of Zanzibar. From South Africa’s powerhouse of Johannesburg to the Spice Island of Zanzibar, we travel from south to north through varying landscapes, experiencing adventure in the heart of Africa.
This trip begins in Johannesburg, South Africa and travels north through South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi and to Zanzibar, ending in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.
This trip departs from Johannesburg early on Wednesday morning. Should you wish to explore Johannesburg, an earlier arrival should be planned and accommodation booked through your agent SA Tours and Safaris.
Included Highlights: Kruger National Park, Blyde River Canyon, Great Zimbabwe Ruins, Gweru Antelope Park & Matobo national Park. Lake Malawi, Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar Ferry, Chobe National Park, Chobe Overnight Mobile Excursion, South Luangwa National Park.
Trip Code: JZ26
Pre Departure Meeting: Held at the Departure Point at 17h00 the day before your departure.
Departure Point: Mufasa Backpackers, 21 Fourth Road, Cloverdene, Benoni, Johannesburg
Check-In Time: 07h00
Departure Time: 07h30
Local Payment: US$770
Please Note: This itinerary should be used as a guide only and may vary from day to day depending on road & weather conditions, political situations and group decisions. All prices & Local Payments are subject to change. Due to Tourism Laws in some of the countries we visit, there may be a truck and crew change during the trip. Your arrival transfer and pre-trip accommodation in a dorm bed is included in your trip price. Should you choose not to make use of these, or in the event that Africa Travel Co was not updated with your arrival details, no refund will be paid for services not used. Please ensure you’ve received a copy of our pre departure information document with information on what to expect on this overland safari.
The staff and management look forward to welcoming you aboard and trust that you will enjoy your trip with us.
DAY 1: Johannesburg to Hazyview (L / D)
Leaving Johannesburg we head towards the Lowveld and our camp situated on the border of the famous Kruger National Park. On our way we pass through the southern section of the picturesque Panorama Route – famous for its breathtaking vistas. Our camp for the next two nights is a short drive from the Kruger Park and has some interesting local residents that include hippo, giraffe, zebra and impala .We spend a relaxing evening around the camp fire before our game drive tomorrow.
DAY 2: Hazyview (B / L / D)
Today we explore the amazing Kruger National Park. Covering 21 497 km2 - 60 km wide and over 350 km long, this conservation area has more than 146 mammals, 500 bird, 114 reptile, 33 amphibian & 49 fish species. 23 000 different types of plants have been recorded. We spend the day driving around the park keeping an eye out for these. There is the option of doing a night drive looking for a few of the nocturnal inhabitants or upgrading to a small vehicle for the game drive at an additional cost.
DAY 3: Hazyview to Polokwane (B / L / D)
Today we leave the Lowveld and head on the long, scenic drive to Polokwane. Along the way we stop off at some of the best scenery in South Africa, including the ever striking Blyde River Canyon and God’s Window. The many viewpoints of the Canyon, afford us excellent photo opportunities. Polokwane, capital of Limpopo, is the largest metropolitan complex in the north and a major economic centre. Its proximity to the neighbouring countries of Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland, as well as its convenient distance from the Kruger National Park and Magoebaskloof makes it a perfect gateway and good destination in itself. We set up our tents on the lush green grass of our campsite located outside of the city before enjoying a dip in the lovely swimming pool.
DAY 4: Polokwane to Musina (B / L / D)
After a quick replenishing of our stocks we begin our journey north toward Zimbabwe. We have a long, relaxing drive where we get to sit back and enjoy the ever changing scenery. Tonight we’ll camp near to one of the hottest towns in South Africa, Musina, at the hot water spring resort – Tshipise. Situated between the rolling hills, the resort is well known for its natural hot water springs. Once we’ve set up camp, you’re free to enjoy the pools, walking trails or various other activities on offer here. DAY 5: Musina to Masvingo (Zimbabwe) (B / L / D) Today we enter Zimbabwe - a beautiful country rich in soul, culture and tradition. We make our way to the town of Masvingo - on the outskirts of the Great Zimbabwe Ruins. This was the greatest medieval city in sub-Saharan Africa, built by an ancient highly skilled civilization. The name Zimbabwe is derived from this ancient city and means “great stone houses” in Shona. The most notable artefacts found at the ruins were the 8 Statues of stone birds carved out of soapstone. Wander around these amazing ruins, before setting up camp at the foot of the hills.
DAY 6 & 7: Masvingo to Gweru (B / L / D)
Leaving Masvingo, we continue our journey north to Gweru, in Zimbabwe’s Midlands. Here we stop over at The Antelope Park. It is said “you have not been to Zimbabwe until you have visited the Victoria Falls… and the Antelope Park.” A wide variety of game viewing opportunities are available in this area inhabited by lion, elephant, giraffe and obviously numerous antelope! We have the unique option to walk with lions, ride or swim with elephants, view game from horse back or from the back of a vehicle. We guarantee Antelope Park is a place you’ll never forget!
DAYS 8: Gweru to Bulawayo (B / L / D)
Leaving Gweru, we head to Bulawayo - Zimbabwe’s second largest city. Bulawayo is noted for its exceptionally wide streets, which were originally designed to accommodate a full span ox wagon. The city also still retains much of its British Colonial character, evident by the many buildings maintained as heritage sites by the Bulawayo City Council. Interesting places to visit are the Natural History Museum, the National Arts Gallery and the Mzilikazi Arts and Crafts Centre, which employs over 70 people.
DAY 9: Bulawayo (B / L / D)
Today we visit Matobo National Park, one of the last strongholds of both the black and the white rhino. This park is also well known for its high concentration of the elusive leopard and majestic black eagle. Rock paintings are to be found too, providing evidence of the ancient San inhabitants of this area. Cecil John Rhodes (after whom Rhodesia was named) asked to be buried at the top of one of the sacred hills, (although there is some controversy over whether he will stay!) We spend the day exploring this unique geological, ecological and historic area.
DAY 10: Bulawayo to Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) (B / L)
Leaving Bulawayo, we head to Victoria Falls. Named after the famous World Heritage site and Water Falls, the town of Victoria Falls is situated on the Zambezi River and surrounded by the Victoria Falls National Park. Our campsite is conveniently situated in the centre of town, and within walking distance of the adventure booking agents, restaurants and shops. A 20 minute walk down the main road takes you to the entry point to view the falls, which are situated between Zimbabwe and Zambia. Victoria Falls, or Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders), was named by David Livingstone on his explorations, and is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. At 1700 m wide and around 100 m high, this is the world's largest sheet of falling water and a memorable sight on any African Safari! After our adventure activities briefing (see price guide at the end of this document for options), the afternoon is spent relaxing at the campsite’s swimming pool, viewing the Victoria Falls, or exploring the many sights and delights of this town!
DAYS 11 & 12: Victoria Falls (B on both days)
The next 2 days are spent relaxing or participating in a myriad of Optional Excursions. Some of our fellow passengers will leave us in Vic Falls, to be replaced by new passengers joining us for the next leg of our trek. OPTIONAL Excursions include elephant back safaris, horseback safaris, walking with lions, a visit to the crocodile ranch, boat cruises and golf at The Elephant Hills Resort. Adrenalin junkies can bungee from the Victoria Falls Bridge connecting Zimbabwe and Zambia or abseil down the Batoka Gorge - neither activity is for the faint hearted! All year round, flights in fixed wing, micro light and ultra light aircraft or helicopters provide an aerial perspective over this magnificent World Heritage Site. White water rafting on the Zambezi is world class. Beside the excitement of the Grade 5 rapids, there are the "floats," where there is time to admire the scenic cliffs and the occasional wildlife on the riverbanks.
Day 13: Victoria Falls to Chobe National Park, Botswana (B / L / D)
We head out from Victoria Falls to the border crossing to Botswana. Once we’ve completed the border formalities, we continue to the town of Kasane, situated on the banks of the Chobe River. The Chobe River forms a border between Botswana and Namibia and Zambia and is the main water source to the Chobe National Park. After lunch, we have time at leisure to relax. In the afternoon, we leave for our Chobe National Park Overnight Mobile excursion – an overnight experience in the wilds of the Chobe National park. Chobe is one of Botswana’s premier game parks, renowned for its large elephant herds. Spend the afternoon in search of wildlife while we game drive to our camp within the park where we spend the evening surrounded by the night-time noises of the local wildlife. Look out for the rare Sable and Roan Antelope on your game drive, with their majestic backward slanting horns, or try keep a count of the Lilac Breasted Roller’s that swoop by! After our night in the bush, we head out early to continue our search for wildlife, before packing up the camp and heading back to Kasane.
DAY 14: Chobe National Park to Livingstone (Zambia) (Brunch / D)
Once returning to the camp at Kasane, we get back on our truck and continue to the town of Livingstone. This afternoon we have the opportunity to view The Falls from the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, Zambia or partake in a sunset boat cruise on the Zambezi River. Another fantastic photo opportunity!
DAY 15: Livingstone to Eastern Zambia(B / L / D)
An early morning start sees us head north through southern Zambia. As we drive, we pass through a few of the villages and towns of Zambia along the way. Prosperous during the copper boom in the 60’s, Zambia was able to build infrastructure at the main mining and farming communities. After the fall of the copper industry, the country was left virtually bankrupt and existing infrastructure was left to fall to ruin. Due to foreign investment and a rise in the mining industry, Zambia is today once again starting to prosper. The difference is evident in the cities with the availability of foreign stores, banks and imported cars, while the villages and smaller towns are still to catch up. Our campsite is home to some local wildlife including the largest antelope – Eland.
DAY 16: Eastern Zambia to South Luangwa National Park (B / L / D)
This breath taking park is situated on the Luangwa River in the Eastern part of Zambia, and it is the southernmost of three national parks in this region. South Luangwa was founded in 1938 as a game reserve, 1972 was the year it was declared as a national park, and today it covers over 9000 kilometres squared. Animals such as Giraffe, buffalo and Elephants can be found in abundance. The Luangwa river is home to many a hippo and croc.
Day 17: South Luangwa to Chipata (B/L/D)
From Luangwa we head north east on the old ‘East Road’ to a beautiful little campsite located just 10 km before the Zambia/Malawi border. In the days of old, the route from Cairo to Cape Town passed through Lusaka and it’s along this route to Malawi we travel today. While today is mostly spent driving, we do cross the impressive Luangwa River Bridge which is heavily guarded due to its close proximity to the Zimbabwean & Malawian borders. We’ll also stop off to purchase some fresh produce and coal from the local sellers along the way.
DAYS 18 to 20: Chipata to Lake Malawi Beaches (Malawi) (B / L / D)
Leaving Zambia we cross into Malawi, the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’. We stop off in the capital, Lilongwe, a small city distinctively divided into the old town and the new administrative centre. Malawi is a landlocked country with 20% of its total area made up of beautiful Lake Malawi. We camp first at the central Lake, and then in the northern area over the next 3 days. Spend the days learning the game of bao from the locals, scour the markets for a bargain or simply relax on the pristine beaches. Malawi’s temperate climate allows for swimming in the clear blue fresh-water lake all year round. Explore the beautiful shore where you’ll happen upon the local fishermen sorting their catch. Traditional fishing techniques are still practiced and to appreciate their boating skills, try to paddle a dugout canoe yourself! At night you’ll see the ‘fairy’ lights of the fishermen out on the lake. The various beachside campsites along Lake Malawi’s shores offer many optional Excursions including a variety of water sports, horseback rides and a visit to the local village and school (see pricing guide at the end of this document).
DAY 21: Lake Malawi to Iringa (Tanzania) (B / L / D)
After a relaxing 4 days, we leave Malawi, entering Tanzania through the border post at Songwe. Winding our way through the beauty of the Tukuyu tea and banana plantations, we head towards Iringa where we spend the night in the beautiful rustic ‘Farmhouse’ campsite famous for its Amarula Hot Chocolates and its steamy showers!
DAY 22: Iringa to Dar es Salaam (B / L / D)
This morning we head off early and make our way to Dar es Salaam. We pass through the Mikumi National Park where it is possible to view a range of wildlife from the roadside, totally impervious to the passing traffic. Today’s drive time is extended due to the heavier amount of traffic heading in to the city, but the sights and sounds of Dar’s vibrant outer suburbs are sure to keep you entertained. Look out for the colourful shop-fronts with their sometimes humorous ‘catch phrases’. On arrival in Dar es Salaam, we make our way to our lovely seaside campsite and prepare for our departure to Zanzibar the next morning.
DAY 23: Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar (Optional) (B)
A ferry from Dar es Salaam takes us to the "Spice Island,” where we have the option to spend the next 3 nights. Zanzibar is steeped in history and was one of the major starting points for most East African explorers in their quest for new lands. New passengers may join us to replace those that’ll leave us at the end of our excursion to Zanzibar.
PLEASE NOTE: Accommodation and Meals are for your own account whilst on Zanzibar, as it is our experience that passengers prefer to explore the island on their own, and in accordance with their own budget. The Trip Leader joins you and can arrange your accommodation, while meals can be enjoyed from a wide selection of restaurants. There are also a wide variety of optional excursions on offer – please see the price guide on the end of this document for more details. For those not opting to visit the island of Zanzibar, the next 3 days are spent at leisure at the beach campsite in Dar es Salaam. There are various optional excursions available from the camp including diving, snorkelling and fishing trips. The driver and cook remain behind in Dar es Salaam during the excursion.
DAYS 24 & 25: Zanzibar
History aside, Zanzibar offers a wealth of experiences for the visitor. Today the quiet streets of the old Stone Town still retain their Arabic influence, from the Medina-like shops to the palaces of the Sultans, who founded their vast empires on the spoils of the slave and ivory trade. The island is famous for its spices and an excursion around a spice plantation is always a fascinating experience. Other options include a trip to the beautiful beaches and giant tortoises of Prison Island, a full day scuba dive in Nungwe or a fishing trip in a traditional dhow. Mopeds are available for hire if you’d like to explore the more remote areas of the island. Zanzibar is a seafood lover’s paradise. Numerous restaurants offer a great variety of the freshest catch from the ocean - crayfish being a popular speciality. Alternatively, mingle with the locals for dinner at the Forodhani Gardens seafront market, where delicious, inexpensive seafood is on offer.
DAY 26: Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam
Leaving Zanzibar in the afternoon, we return to the mainland arriving back to camp in the late afternoon, or early evening. On arrival, where we exchange addresses and part ways, having just experienced a trip of a lifetime!
Inclusions & Exclusions
What’s not included?
International flights, Airport departure taxes, Departure transfer, Visas, Meals unless otherwise stated, Travel Insurance, Laundry, Personal Items, and Tips.
Local Payment: US $ 770
Why pay local payment?
Local payment is compulsory and is paid in cash to the trip leader at the start of your trip and is used to cover the daily US dollar expenses of running the trip and includes, amongst others, game park entrance fees, camping fees, tolls, entrances and food. We ask that you bring along your local payment contribution, if applicable, in US$ cash, as this is the easiest currency to exchange in Africa.
Includes: Meals, activities and accommodation as per itinerary.
B-Breakfast L-Lunch D-Dinner
Personal travel insurance is compulsory to join all of our trips. All clients require adequate Travel Insurance. Medical Insurance is not sufficient. This should include, at least, comprehensive medical cover including the cost of airlifting you to a specialist hospital. Make sure that you will be covered when participating in Adventure Activities, like white water rafting. We recommend you make sure your possessions are covered for both theft and damage. We also recommend you cover yourself for Cancellation and Curtailment Fees if you are unable to travel due to sudden illness, airline strikes, etc. NB: A copy of your Insurance Policy must be handed to your Trip Leader at the start of your trip. Activity providers can refuse participation of activities, if the correct valid Travel Insurance is not provided. Travel insurance can be purchased via SA Tours and Safaris. Please enquire with our consultants for further information.
Thank you for choosing Africa Travel Co. for your African adventure. The following information is provided to assist you in preparing for your trip.
All of our trips are camping trips. They are designed with people who have an adventurous spirit in mind, who‟d like to visit East, Central and Southern Africa, but only have a limited time frame. The nature of overland travel is such that it is generally better suited to the young (and young at heart), but we do not impose an upper age limit.
We provide all cooking and camping equipment, with the exception of your sleeping bag & mat on all of our trips.
Transport is on specially converted Mercedes or MAN trucks that are completely self-sufficient - carrying all the necessary equipment, passenger's luggage, fuel, fresh water and food stocks. In addition, all Africa Travel Co. vehicles carry a range of spare parts and the driver is well versed at fixing common faults. Before each truck begins a trip it will have been thoroughly serviced and overhauled, but it is comforting to know that in the unlikely event of a breakdown the necessary spares and experience are available.
Accommodation on our trips is in two person dome tents with mosquito nets over the door and window areas, a sewn in ground sheet and a separate flysheet.
The only exceptions to the above are our NN7 Kilimanjaro Climb and our VV10 Best of Botswana that are operated by local suppliers. The accommodation & transport for these is specified in the relevant trip information.
Passengers are expected to participate in all aspects of the trip. This means pitching and dismantling your own tent and, on a roster basis, helping with the daily chores such as cooking, washing up and truck cleaning. On all of our trips we have a Safari Cook, although we do ask you to assist in the food preparation and shopping. Bargaining in the local markets and helping produce a meal for between 10 and 30 people, can be great fun. The advantages of group travel are achieved when the group works as one. Sharing the responsibility for the roster duties, as well as the packing and security of the vehicle, equipment and belongings will help to make the groups collective experience an enjoyable one.
2. BEFORE YOUR TRIP
PRE-DEPARTURE MEETINGS AND DEPARTURES
The Pre-Departure Meetings usually last for approximately one hour and are a great opportunity for you to meet your fellow travellers. The meetings cover a range of topics and important information that should make you feel a lot more comfortable with how your trip will operate as well as ways for you to maximise your experience. Please make every effort to attend this meeting or advise your travel agent or Africa Travel Co. directly, if you know you will be unable to attend.
PASSPORTS AND VISAS
It is your responsibility to ensure you have all the correct documentation to complete your trip. The Trip Leader cannot stop or alter a trip because you don‟t have the correct paper work. Your passport must be valid for at least six months after the end of your trip. You should have at least one blank page for each country to be visited. TIP: We advise you to bring a photocopy of the first 4 pages of your passport, which you store away from the original, just in case you lose it. Most visas, for most nationalities, are obtainable on arrival at each border. However, you must check with each consular office of each county we visit prior to your departure as to what the visa requirements are. Make sure you check this, way in advance of your departure, so that, if required, you have enough time to get them. This is completely your responsibility. For more information please see: http://www.projectvisa.com/.
LUGGAGE AND WHAT TO BRING
As a guide, we recommend you keep to your airline's restriction – no more than 20 kg. The truck has limited luggage space, so we recommend you bring along a backpack (preferably with built-in frame) and a day bag. We do not recommend large suitcases. Most people make the mistake of bringing too much. Clothes should be easy to wash and dry, but avoid nylon and other synthetics as they can be very uncomfortable in hot weather. Please remember that Africa can be much colder than you might expect, particular at night and in the early morning, so pack accordingly.
Suggested list of what to pack:
-PASSPORT & photocopy
-VACCINATION CERTIFICATE & photocopy
-TRAVEL INSURANCE POLICY & photocopy
-MONEY & AIRLINE TICKETS
-underwear & socks
-2 long sleeved shirts or blouses
-spare contact lenses & solution / spare glasses
-3 – 4 short sleeved shirts or t-shirts
-sleeping bag & mat
-2 pairs trousers or 1 pair & 1 skirt
-1 – 2 pairs shorts
-torch & spare batteries
-small sewing kit
-washing soap for clothes
-water/wind proof jacket
-clothes line & pegs
-comfortable walking boots or trainers
-small scrubbing brush
-sandals or flip-flips
-sealable plastic bags
-1 set of smart clothes & shoes
-camera & spare batteries/charger
-extra memory card/film
-universal plug adapter
-music (our vehicles are equipped with stereos)
This information and the itinerary we‟ve given you, are intended to serve as guidelines only. Each trip must be flexible to allow for all variables that are beyond our control - such as adverse road conditions, complications caused by the weather, unstable political situations, etc. Our trips generally run as planned, and you‟ll, more than likely, get see everything listed, if not more.
Please Note that any trip travelling via Nairobi or Victoria Falls and any trip where we‟ve added another truck to a departure date because of passenger demand, may have a Truck and/or Crew change.
As already mentioned, conditions in Africa are constantly changing and we can therefore not be held responsible for disruptions and delays that may cause you to miss your connections. We recommend that you allow 1 to 3 days after the completion date of your trip before flying out.
3. HEALTH & WELFARE
MEDICAL / HEALTH
All of our vehicles carry a basic first aid kit that is used in emergencies. Passengers will be asked to replace any item they use. We would therefore strongly advise you to bring your own medical kit, which you‟ll be able to get at any reputable medical store.
Suggested contents include:
-plasters / sterile dressings
-anti-histamine tablets / cream
-water purification tablets
-anti diarrhoea remedy
-sun screen / after sun lotion
-moisturiser / body lotion
Malaria is endemic in most parts of Africa. It is your responsibility to take precautions against catching it. First and foremost, don‟t get bitten!!! Wear long sleeved shirts and trousers when mosquitoes are most active - early in the morning and evening! Use plenty of insect repellent with a high level of DEET on any exposed areas – neck, wrist and ankles!!! Consult your doctor prior to leaving for Africa so that they can prescribe suitable anti-malarial medication. For further information see http://www.alib.co.za/aftrip/malaria.html.
Please consult your doctor / immunisation centre for the relevant vaccination requirements for the countries through which you will be travelling. Most countries you visit will require a Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate if you‟ve been into an area that‟s infected. Your home country will also probably need the Vaccination Certificate if you‟ve been into an infected area. Typhoid, Hepatitis A and B, Meningococcal meningitis, Diphtheria and Tetanus are all prevalent in much of Africa and while it is not compulsory to be vaccinated against these, all precautions should be taken to prevent them. TIP: We advise you to bring a copy of your yellow fever vaccination certificate, which you store away from the original, just in case you lose it. All travellers wishing to partake in the gorilla trek excursion will be required to present their yellow fever vaccination certificate to the park‟s officials prior to their trek.
4. WHILST ON YOUR OVERLAND TRIP
OUR OVERLAND SAFARI VEHICLE’S
All of our trucks are either Mercedes Benz or MAN trucks that have been designed, modified and built to ensure your safety and comfort. All our vehicles carry full cooking and camping equipment, cassette players, exterior and interior lighting, long-range fuel tanks and 300 to 400 litre water tanks. (Bring along an adapter to connect your CD / MP3 players to the cassette player.) They have either all forward facing seats or a combination of forward and backward facing seats with little tables between. A few of our trucks have a few side facing seats right in the front of the truck, but the rest of the truck has forward facing seats. Keep in mind, bench seating often faces inwards, so while you can communicate with your fellow travellers, it‟s not advantageous for game viewing and photography. Our trucks have soft cushioned seats. Our fleet of overland trucks have fitted windows that slide to open.
We cannot stress enough, the need for you to be alert whilst travelling in Africa, as petty theft is common. Don't bring any unnecessary, expensive jewellery with you. Keep an eye on your belongings, at all times. There is a safe on each truck where we suggest you store your travel documents and money. We recommend you photocopy all of your travel documents, which you keep separately from the originals.
Vehicle security is a part of trip life and is one of your roster duties. The vehicle should never be left unattended, except when we are staying in a guarded campsite.
Although every precaution will be taken, neither Africa Travel Co, nor its agents and employees can accept any responsibility for anything deposited in the safe or left on the vehicle.
Only you know to what extent your spending habits will tax you! Africa is not as cheap as a lot of the travel books would have you believe and as such we would recommend that you allow for between U$30.00 to U$35.00 per day for things like bottled water, snacks, drinks and curios. This obviously depends on how much of curio shopper and drinker you are!!! You will also have to budget for any Optional Excursions you‟d like to do.
We advise you to bring your spending money in both cash preferably in US dollars. Credit Cards are not widely accepted. If you‟re travelling in East Africa, U$ notes should be clean, un-torn and printed after 2001. Larger denomination notes attract a better exchange rate, but we suggest you bring along a mix of both small and large denomination notes. You may need to change only a small amount to tide you over in a country and you should try to get rid of each country‟s currency before you leave that country as you won‟t be able to change it anywhere else! Your trip leader will advise you on when & where to change to local currencies.
Please budget accordingly for any of the optional excursions listed for your trip. While we do list a guideline to the prices for these, they may increase without notice by the local operators.
Gorilla Trek: Please familiarise yourself with our document on trekking procedures and costs for the excursion. This can be downloaded from our website, or on request from our office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are often asked about gratuities. These are always at your discretion, of course, and then only for, at least, satisfactory service. If you found the service to be unsatisfactory, you are obviously not obligated to leave a tip.
However, we would ask that you let us know (on our Client Feedback Form) in what way the service was unsatisfactory so that we can rectify the problem for future clients. The tips below are a guideline only. Scale your tips according to your satisfaction – average service should equate to an average tip. Local guides (like the rangers when gorilla trekking and the polers when in the Okavango Delta), between U$5.00 and U$7.00 per day. Assistants to the guides, (like bushwhackers when gorilla trekking and camp assistants when in the Okavango Delta) between U$4.00 and U$5.00 per day. Others who have provided a service (like housekeeping staff when staying in lodges for a few days), about U$2.00 per day. When eating out, satisfactory service usually warrants a tip of about 10% of the total bill. For the Kilimanjaro Climb – please refer to the tipping guide provided on your trip dossier.
ATC camping trips have 3 crew members - your Driver, Trip Leader and Safari Cook. Your Driver & Cook are generally
Kenyan, Zimbabwean, Namibian or South African. They have a wealth of experience and are more than happy to share it with you. Your Trip Leader is generally African, European or Australasian. They have travelled through Africa, either independently or as a passenger. Most of our crew have been on the road for a number of years and have vast experience in running successful trips throughout the route we travel. NB: Your Trip Leader is not a “Tour Guide” in the normal sense. They are not experts in all aspects of the culture, history and wildlife of each area. They are employed to ensure the smooth running of your trip. That said, all of our crew have a passion for Africa and have acquired much knowledge of each area, which they‟ll happily share. For more in-depth information there are usually books on board the truck for your use, but if you have a specific interest like bird watching for example, consider buying one of the guides listed at the end of this document.
Due to circumstances beyond our control, like impassable roads or group safety, it may be necessary to make alterations to the planned itinerary. If this is necessary, the Trip Leader will discuss the issue with the group and alter the itinerary accordingly. The Trip Leader will obviously consider the wishes of the group, but there may be occasions where they have to make an unpopular decision. In ALL matters relating to the trip’s running, the Trip Leader’s decision will be final.
WHILST ON SAFARI
On the Kenya to Cape route (or vice versa), it is possible to stay in a secure campsite every night and there are few nights when a shower or a beer are not available - whether they be hot or cold, respectively, is another matter! Sometimes conditions can be challenging and if it‟s raining you‟ve still got to put up your tent. Africa is a vast continent so some of the drives can be long and there are a few patches of bumpy roads. There maybe a few hiccups in the itinerary when a bridge is washed away or there‟s a mechanical emergency. But, none of these will spoil your trip if you approach them with the right attitude and a sense of humour.
"TAKE ONLY PHOTOS, LEAVE ONLY FOOTPRINTS".
Africa is a diverse and unique continent with both a very beautiful and a very ugly side to her. Wherever possible, we try to let you experience Africa first hand so that you may get a better understanding of what makes her so unique.
We ask that you leave her as you find her. Respect the locals. Ask before taking a photo. You probably wouldn‟t enjoy suddenly being accosted by a group of tourists taking pictures of you! Some people believe that you take away their spirit when you photograph them, so ensure you show them the same courtesy you would appreciate, and ask for permission. Bargaining for curios is the norm. It is a great way to interact with the locals, but bear in mind they‟re trying to make a living, so don‟t bargain just for the sake of it. Be prepared to pay what you think the item is worth.
You will see some of the absolute poverty that grips much of the continent, but will amazed at how people with seemingly so little are able to triumph over their circumstances to come out on the other side with such a generous spirit. In many of the places you visit, you will experience begging in some form or another. Whether or not to give has caused many a heated debate. The answer is entirely personal, but consider the long term consequence of your decision. If you‟d like to distribute goodies, why not ask for permission to take a photo, a smile or a song from the kids and as payment you could let them have a goodie. Please bear in mind that while the kids in your hometown may find sweets a real treat, their moms and dads haul them off to the dentist regularly to get their cavities filled. Many of the areas you visit will not have access to dentists, so instead of sweets, why not bring along some fruit or pens/balls/old clothes/etc. which will be happily received by the kids but won‟t leave them toothless.
All passengers are required to obey the laws of the countries we travel through. Any passenger found in possession of contraband, non-prescribed narcotic drugs or firearms will be asked to leave the trip immediately, with no refund of the Trip Price.
Africa is a photographer‟s paradise. There will be a few opportunities to download your photos, but these will only be in the bigger centres. We therefore suggest you invest in an extra memory card with a high storage capacity so that you won‟t have to delete your precious memories. If your camera still uses film, bring along a good stock, as film can be scarce (and, when available, expensive). Consider bringing along a re-sealable polythene bag to protect your camera from the dust.
If you are visiting the gorillas, make sure you familiarise yourself with your camera settings as flash photography is not permitted. If you‟re planning on videoing your trip, make sure you bring along an extra battery as it isn‟t always possible to re-charge you batteries every day.
WARNING - Under no circumstances should you attempt to photograph government buildings (including borders), police, military personnel or any government official. It is not unknown for people to have cameras confiscated if officials even suspect a photo has been taken. If in doubt, ask.
CHARGING OF BATTERIES
Most of the camp sites have electrical points, so you should be able to charge your batteries every 3 to 4 days, provided they have electricity, which is not always guaranteed. We recommend you bring along 2 sets of rechargeable batteries as well as 2 sets of normal batteries, so you can be guaranteed of having working batteries.