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There could well be some specifics that are appropriate for your safari and this will be indicated to you when we get down to the details of the safari with you. This list is what I see as some of the basics that you should consider when packing and preparing for your trip.
Travel Documents - Please refer to the links below to check what documents and inoculations are required before travel and do this well in advance as some of the papers do not come through very quickly.
PLEASE NOTE:- Botswana has followed South Africa in having very specific requirements for children travelling there. Please click on the following link for more information:- http://www.botswanatourism.co.bw/travel-advisory
Cash - It is always difficult to know exactly what to bring but I would always recommend that guests have at least US$500.00 with them in small notes ( $1 , $5 and $10 ) Any more than that is at your own discretion when it comes to tipping, shopping. etc, bear in mind that nearly all expenses are covered in the price of your trip, Credit cards are also not always useable, except in the larger centres and big airports.
Binoculars - Another subject that there is much to talk about. My contribution to this is that personally I use 8 x 32 binoculars and they work well for me in most conditions and I would always recommend you getting the best quality that you can and waterproof if possible, as cheap binoculars borrowed from a friend for the trip will not let you see what you could potentially be looking at.
Medical - In camp and on my person I always have a first aid kit, however any personal medications that you need should be bought by yourself and bring enough for the trip as it is likely they will not be available. Prophylactics are essential and you should get medical advice on these before travelling. Essential also is a good sun cream and bug spray.
Travel and Health Insurance - Most safari camps and operators will insist that you have travel and health insurance prior to travel - what we recommend is that your health cover has you covered for the country you are travelling to and includes a remote evacuation cover. For the Travel Insurance we suggest you take this out shortly after booking your safari and buy the insurance that has a cancellation " for any reason " clause. Often a safari is booked a good many months ahead and you never know what might happen to you or your family in the time leading up to your safari. Often the deposits are non refundable and the closer you get to your safari travel date reduces any possibility of a refund for the safari. So if you do have a drama prior to your safari it is a relief to know that you will not be out that money as well. I think the saying of insuring what you can't afford to lose applies here.
Tipping - This is something expected and relied on by the staff in all the safari camps and countries, we will send you specifics prior to travel as to what is relevant in that country and the currency to use. But as a rough guide, budget on approximately US$20 per guest per day, which is in general handed over at the end of your stay and distributed amongst all camp staff and some specifically for the guides. But please remember that you are not obligated to do this and is dependant on what you feel is the effort and level of service you have received.
Bags - On most safaris you will be transferred between the various destinations in light aircraft which have strict baggage restrictions ( you cannot pay for excess luggage on the bush airstrip! ). They are also limited with space so soft canvas type bags are recommended. If you are going on to other destinations that require more elaborate clothing then in some cases a plan can be made to store this luggage and get it to you at the end of the safari. This should be pre- arranged.
Cameras - There are books written on this subject so for those that are experienced photographers there is little I can tell you except that you should be prepared with your equipment to guard against dust as many of the roads are very dusty, also bear in mind that when you are walking it can get uncomfortable carrying a big heavy lens around. Tripods also are not always very practical and in general a plan can be made if you need to steady your camera. For the less experienced there are some very good digital cameras available today but you should make sure that the optical zoom not the digital zoom is at least 6x or more or your camera will only really be suitable for scenery and people photographs. I personally use what is called a “Crossover Camera; I find it very versatile and good for most safari conditions.
Clothing - This is at your own discretion but remember that in nearly all camps a laundry facility will be available so you don’t need to carry two weeks worth of clothes. Colours to avoid are white and any very bright colours. In general a light jacket for night time and early mornings will be necessary, 3 x long sleeved shirts, 2 x T shirt’s, 3 Trousers (zipped on legs is very convenient.) a broad brimmed hat, underwear, comfortable walking shoes and socks.
Useful links to use when choosing your destination:
Power outlets for charging batteries in Africa.
While on safari all the camps will have a plan to charge camera and computer batteries but what they might not have is the right adaptor that connects your cables to their outlets. We therefore recommend that you have a look at this and buy the right adaptor prior to travel as it will most likely not be available in Africa. Below is a list of countries and the adapters you will need for each of them.
Botswana: Electric plug M, 230V, 50Hz. Electric plug G (but rare).
Travelling to Botswana we recommend you that you have an electrical plug M. Electric plug M is technically known as BS 546 (South African 15 A/250 V). It has been adopted as the standard plug in South Africa. The Type G electrical plug is the British three-pin, but is rarely found in use in Botswana.
Kenya: Electric plug G 240V 50Hz.
Travelling to Kenya you will need to use electric travel adapter G also know as the standard British 3-pin rectangular blade plug or the “13-amp plug”.
Malawi: Electrical plug G. 230V and 50Hz.
Safari Travellers travelling to Malawi should make sure that they have electrical plug G. The Type G plug is commonly known as the 13-amp plug, and technically known as the BS 1363 (British 13 A/230-240 V 50 Hz earthed and fused).
Mauritius: Electrical plug C & G, 230V and 50Hz.
Mauritius travellers will need to ensure that they have either or both type C & G plugs. Type C plug is commonly known as the Europlug and is technically known as the CEE 7/16 (Europlug 2.5 A/250 V unearthed). The Type G plug is commonly known as the 13-amp plug, and technically known as the BS 1363 (British 13 A/230-240 V 50 Hz earthed and fused).
Mozambique: Electrical plug C, F & M. 220V and 50Hz.
With your travels planned to Mozambique, you want make sure you know where about you are going in Mozambique to ensure you choose the right plug(s). Type C plug is commonly known as the Europlug and is technically known as the CEE 7/16 (Europlug 2.5 A/250 V unearthed). Type F plug is also known as the “Schuko” plug in German. The Type M plug is found especially near the border with South Africa, including the capitol, Maputo. The M plug is technically known as BS 546 (South African 15 A/250 V).
Namibia: Electric plug M 220v 50Hz.
Safari travellers going to Namibia need to use electric travel adapter M which is the same for South Africa.
Seychelles: Electrical plug G, 240V and 50Hz.
When travelling to the Seychelles, the Type G plug is used. It is commonly known as the 13-amp plug, and technically known as the BS 1363 (British 13 A/230-240 V 50 Hz earthed and fused) or the standard British 3-pin plug.
South Africa: Electric plug M 220/230V 50Hz. In some areas plug C & G.
Electric power plug M has the official name of BS 546. Type M is a “15 A/250 V” version of electric plug D: 220/230V 50 Hz. Note that electric plug M is larger than D, thus plug D is not compatible in South Africa.
Tanzania: Electric plugs D & G 230V 50Hz.
Travelling to Tanzania you will need to bring both the electric travel adapter D and G. Electric plug D has the official name BS 546 (5 A/250 V earthed). This plug is commonly used in countries colonized by the British. Plug G also known as the standard British 3-pin rectangular blade plug or the “13-amp plug”. The official name is BS 1363 (British 13 A/230-240 V 50 Hz earthed and fused).
Zambia: Electric plugs C, D & G 230V 50Hz.
Going on safari in Zambia we recommend you to bring all of the above electrical travel adapters. Electric plug C is commonly known as the “Europlug” but the official name is CEE 7/16 (Europlug 2.5 A/250 V unearthed). This plug is used throughout continental Europe, Middle East and much of Africa, South America, former Soviet countries and Central Asia.
Zimbabwe: Electrical plug D & G. 220V and 50Hz.
When travelling to Zimbabwe, they use plug D & G. The technical name for the Type D plug and receptacle is the BS 546 (5 A/250 V earthed). It is also known as the Old British Plug. The Type G plug is commonly known as the 13-amp plug, and technically known as the BS 1363 (British 13 A/230-240 V 50 Hz earthed and fused).