Frequently Asked Questions

Frequent Questions

Yes - within reason. Your safety and security in the cities and towns is mostly a matter of common sense - take the precautions you would take in any city around the world: do not carry large amounts of cash, do not walk alone at night, leave your passport/airline tickets in your hotel safe, do not leave tempting valuables unattended or in full view etc. In the case of safety whilst on safari...be assured that the safari camps/lodges where you will be staying make every effort to ensure your physical safety from wild animals, both whilst in camp and on game activities. They are extremely experienced in this regard and take extraordinary precautions to ensure your safety at all times.

What is the best time of year to go on safari?

You can travel to Africa at any time of the year - there will always be somewhere where the game viewing is good. So if the time of year you can travel is dictated by work or other reasons, don't worry! Depending on the time of year we will suggest avoiding certain areas - mostly for reasons of seasonal weather or game movements. The high season is generally considered to be July, August and September but this certainly does not mean that this is always the best time to visit a particular area. Certain events, like the the annual wildebeest migration, may dictate when you should visit a particular area or, in areas like the Luangwa valley, the safari season may only start in May and end in November (although in recent years some operators have started offering safaris in the 'emerald season' from December through April). If you are interested in something more specific, like birds, then you will want to choose the wetter summer months when the migrants have arrived a much nesting is taking place. Canoeing, walking and horse riding all have their 'best' times of year. We are here to guide you.

How much will a safari cost?

How long is a piece of string? One thing that must be said about a safari to Africa - it is certainly not the cheapest holiday around! You will need to budget from around US$350 to $650 (and upwards) per person per day as a minimum (but this does include all your transfer costs, accommodation, meals, park fees and activities). High or peak season prices are considerably higher than for the low and shoulder seasons. Some of the less frequented (or lesser known) game reserves and countries also offer better prices than the more 'in vogue' destinations (with less people). Certain countries, like South Africa and Nambia have a good choice of reasonably priced accommodation (and exchange rates help - most other African countries price themselves in US$). Let us know what you have in mind as regards your budget and we will do our best to find you the appropriate safari to suit (but without compromising on the experience).

Can children go on safari?

Yes. Whilst not all safari camps/lodges accept children under 12 years old, many do and a number offer children's programs and employ specially trained guides. There are a number of considerations to take into account when travelling with a family and we would recommend that you first read the section on Family Safaris on this website.

Why use an Africa travel specialist?

Let's face it, if you're sitting at home thinking about a safari to Africa for the first time, you can be forgiven for wondering where on earth to start, who to talk to and where and when you should go.

Perhaps more than any destination in the world, Africa demands the input of specialist knowledge and experience. You may have heard of the Serengeti and Masai Mara but what about the Selous, the Okavango Delta, the Kalahari, the Namib, Luangwa and Zambezi Valleys, or Ruaha, or Mahale to name only a few that you should consider? And then there are literally hundreds of safari camps and lodges to choose from - which ones will work for you?

Africa is not somewhere to take short cuts or point blindly at the map and say, let's try here honey! If you want to get the most out of your safari experience, then you need top talk to the people with the knowledge and the contacts to make it happen....of course, that's African Encounter!

How far ahead should I start planning my safari?

The earlier the better. Due to limited availability at the safari camps/lodges, many of which are only 8 to 20 beds, it is advisable to start your enquiries and planning at least 6 months prior to the time you plan to travel (and further out if you are looking at travelling in the high season - Jukly through Nov). This avoids any disappointment should you not be able to get a booking at a camp/lodge of your choice. Of course seats on flights can also be an issue and quite often it may take some time to book and secure all the different sections of your itinerary - from flights to accommodation to hire cars to activities etc...so the earlier you start the process tyhe better!

Will I need visas and vaccinations?

Many of the countries in Africa require visas - some exceptions are South Africa, Botswana & Namibia - but nearly all will allow you to get your visa on entry with little inconvenience (at the aiport on arrival or at a border post) - visas range from US$30 to US$50 per person. The only vaccination required ib some parts of Africa is Yellow Fever - it last for 10 yrs. That said, it is always adviseable to pay a visit to your GP (local Dr) to discuss issues like Hep B, Typhoid etc. You should also be aware that malaria is prevelant in certain areas and at certain times of the year - we can advise you on this.

What types of safaris are there?

Putting aside any 'special' interests you may have, there are a number of distinctions that you might like to be aware of:

Most safaris are, or have some component, that we refer to as 'fly-in' safaris. In order to eliminate long transfers (by road for example) between safari destinations or camps, and in order to access many of the more remote safari camps we choose to utilise air charter planes wherever possible. This has the added bonus of offering a birds eye view of such amazing spectacles as the Okavango delta, Zambezi river or assure waters of the Mozambique channel.

A mobile tented safari is, as the name suggests, a safari where your camp is moved from location to location as your safari progresses. The main distinctions here are that most mobile safaris are of a tented (bush-camp) nature, where the facilities are not permanent and must be erected for each safari. This lends the safari a more traditional and rustic feel. These trips also generally only have between 2 and 10 guests.

A true walking safari is one where you would spend a number of days purely walking between camps erected for the purpose (as per the mobile safaris above). In most cases you will NOT be required to carry your own camping gear! Walking is a great way to really get a feeling of your surroundings and has become very popular - but be warned, if you have signed up for a walking safari be prepared to do between 8 and 15 kms (6 - 10 miles) a day. However, guided walks are available at a number of camps and lodges as a morning or afternoon activity.

There are essentially 2 types of canoeing safari , one which offers only canoeing and is generally participatory (i.e. you help set up camp, cook food etc, plus, all the necessary camping equipment goes with you in the canoe), the other is more luxurious in that your camps are set up ahead of you (or may be established camps) and you are not required to carry any equipment in your canoes. These more up-market canoe safaris also offer guided walks and game-drives. Both types move downstream each day to a new location and are from 3 to 6 nights. Highly recommended.

Horse riding safaris are dedicated to the competent rider (although non riding spouses are also catered for) and focus on wilderness rides amongst wild game. If you have a love of horses there can be no better way to enjoy a safari to Africa.

Safari by train is also an option. Here your accommodation is on board a train and your sightseeing and other activities are conducted wherever you have scheduled to stop and has the added advantage of getting you from A to B!!

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