Safari Joe

Safari Joe for the journey of a lifetime

Frequently Asked Questions - Safari FAQ's

FAQs - Safari FAQ's

The water in many cities and small towns is considered safe to drink, but we recommend drinking bottled water which is readily available at most supermarkets, camps and lodges (even we do not drink the tap water!).

A vaccination certificate is required for travel throughout East Africa with proof of your Yellow Fever Vaccination.  We recommend you seek professional advice from your doctor, travel nurse or medical centre a minimum of 5 to 6 weeks before your departure date. This is because for example some malaria prophylaxes need to be taken for several weeks prior to arriving in a malarial area

Our popular Adventure Camping Safaris (using dome tents) are designed to bring fantastic value by doing away with some luxuries but without compromising on the game viewing experience. Comfortable ground mattresses are supplied, however, you will need to bring your own pillow and sleeping bag, we recommend a rating of 2 Seasons sleeping bag.

The Mara eco-system and its wildlife extend far beyond the boundaries of the official Masai Mara National Reserve. The Reserve is not fenced and therefore wildlife freely roams around the entire Mara eco-system.  Therefore if your camp is outside of the Reserve you will be just as likely to experience the wildlife around camp as you would inside the Reserve.

Tipping is customary in Africa as it rewards and encourages good service. Tipping is at your discretion, Safari Joe will offer advice en route as to how much is recommended if you would like to offer a tip after receiving good service.

Yes, travel insurance is compulsory. You are required to purchase comprehensive travel insurance before travelling with us and provide details of your insurance upon arrival (or at the time of booking if known). Please ensure you know what you are covered for, there are a lot adventure activities that you may want to try while on safari which may not be covered by basic insurance.

Mobile/cell phone coverage across Africa is generally quite good and even some of the main safari areas have a service. Your phone company will be able to tell you what service is provided in the countries you are visiting. If you use your phone during your safari please respect other guests and do not use the phone during game drives or speak loudly on your phone while in camp.

Very few safari camps have Wi-Fi/internet available for guests. Some may have a mobile/cell phone signal through which you could access the internet (depending on your phone plan/provider) though this may be expensive. Most major hotels in cities and on the coast have internet (fees may apply).

We recommend that you leave the contact details of your accommodation as well as our mobile numbers with your friends and family so that we can assist should they need to contact you.

TAGS: emergency, family

Booking with Safari Joe is very easy, please go to the section Book Now and click on How to Book, this will explain the booking process which requires you to initially fill in an Enquiry Form and submit to us.  Once we have responded with the relevant information and you wish to go ahead with the booking, having read our Booking Conditions, just fill in the Booking Form submit this to us and pay your deposit.

Attacks on humans are rare. Most animals are wary of the sight and smell of humans and will flee rather than attack. While on game drives you will be escorted by your guide who is trained in assessing situations and avoiding danger. Wildlife can wander close to camps since they are typically unfenced, but every measure is in place to ensure guest safety. For example, guests are escorted around camp after dark in many cases.

Your passport should have one clear page for every country that you intend to visit with an additional two clear pages as well, for example if you are visiting three countries you should have five clear pages available. It is also important that your passport will be valid for a period of six months after the end of you safari.

Yes, the camps and lodges have power perhaps as solar lighting or a generator. The power may be switched off for part of the day or night. Your charger must be 220v. The required adaptor plugs are included in most international travel adaptor kits. For East Africa it is the British-style 3 rectangular pin plug.

Please do not offer sweets to children as with little or no dental care available it is best that they don't develop a sweet tooth. The village chiefs and elders request that you do not give gifts directly to children as this encourages begging, however, any school supplies or donations to our projects are most appreciated and will be assigned to the head teacher or designated person in charge.

While there are certain inherent risks involved in any travel the chances of being involved in an incident are very small. Your safety is our foremost concern and we constantly check updates by the official government security departments and agencies and monitor any situations that may arise.

In the unlikely event of illness or injury your driver/leader and most camp/lodge staff are trained in first aid procedures. Medical travel insurance is a necessity and we recommend that you purchase a policy with a supplemental benefit for emergency medical evacuation. There are good quality medical facilities in the larger towns and cities should you require medical attention while on your safari.

Each National Park varies with its exact schedule, but we generally follow a typical pattern with two game drives each day. The morning may begin with a hot drink and light snack before the first drive which starts at or just after sunrise. There are great opportunities to see wildlife at this time since it is still fairly cool and animals are most active. The morning drive usually ends by late morning with guests returning to the camp for breakfast/brunch.  Guests generally relax at the camp for the middle of the day. This is because the animals are quite inactive during the heat of the day - seeking shelter in the shade. Guests have lunch and enjoy the camp facilities or some properties offer short walks.The second game drive will follow afternoon tea in the late afternoon and perhaps end at a scenic point to view the sunset. Some camps offer night drives after this. Guests later return to the camp for drinks and dinner.

The Adventure Camps are a budget option with guests bringing their own sleeping bags and towels and accommodation is in dome tents with a mattress on the floor. Each camp site has its own ablution block with a toilet, safari shower and wash basin. The Adventure Camps are suitable for those who don't mind "real camping" and can put up with some degree of "roughing it". Apart from the accommodation in simple dome tents, the meals and the guiding are at the same standard as the luxury tented camps and game drives are in 4x4 safari vehicles.
Eco-camps and smaller tented camps have large insect-proof tents some with en suite facilities including safari shower and flush toilets. They give a more authentic safari experience but the tents are comfortably furnished with proper beds and you don't need to bring your own sleeping bag!
Safari lodges have guest rooms similar to a hotel with en suite bathrooms. The safari lodges and bigger tented lodges can be more "touristy" and being larger establishments they can be a bit impersonal. They suit those who prefer to have the infrastructure and facilities of a hotel and most have swimming pools and extensive grounds and gardens.
The boutique lodges and camps can be very stylish and smart in terms of design and decor, often with very spacious rooms and even going so far in some cases as having plunge pools for each room.

The preferred currency for all African countries is the USD $ and as always the golden rule cash is king applies. Travellers cheques are of course the safest way to carry your funds although they can sometimes be more difficult to change and attract larger commissions when changing. ATMs are the easiest way to withdraw local currency and can now be found in every major city and town, however we would strongly advise that you do not rely on them and that you always have a back-up of cash. We recommend that you bring as much US dollars cash as you feel comfortable carrying, with a minimum to cover your entire visa and optional excursion costs. Please be aware that notes older than the year 2004 are no longer accepted along with notes that are torn, have been written on or are in bad condition. You will need to have some local currency for use on safari.

For our private and tailor made (bespoke) safaris we can cater for between 1 and 40+ people.  For our scheduled safaris we operate with a minimum number of 10 people on the Group Camping Safaris in our Expedition Trucks, and a minimum of 2 people on the Land Rover Luxury Camping Safaris, these safaris are ideal for people traveling on their own, or with a partner or friend. By being a small group you will get to know your fellow traveling companions quickly forming friendships that can last for life.

This is probably the most frequently asked question of them all, and is probably the hardest one to answer. There are so many different variables such as your destination, the season you travelling in and what you are going to be doing while in Africa. Have a look at our weather/temperature charts for the area that you are intending to travel in as a guide on temperatures and rainfall. Remember to pack some long sleeves/trousers for destinations where you'll encounter conservative attitudes to dress. For further packing hints have a look at our Packing List under the section “Before You Go. As a wise man once said, pack what you think you will need and then half it.

Luggage should be kept to a minimum, especially if you will be travelling via light aircraft. In East Africa the limit is typically 15 kg per person. This should be in soft bags as opposed to hard suit cases. On road safaris the weight and size allowance is not as important but you should still try to bring as little as possible. For game viewing it is best to wear beige, brown, khaki or green coloured clothing so the wildlife is not alerted to your presence. Camouflage clothing is not permitted in some countries. See more details on our recommended Packing List.

The food available on safari is of great quality and with an international style. Breakfast items may include cereals, fruit, yoghurt, toast, eggs, bacon and sausages. Lunches may include sandwiches with cheese, cold meats and salads and fresh fruit; on drive days this will be a packed or picnic lunch. Dinners may include soups, pasta, rice, meat & fish dishes with lots of fresh vegetables.  Dinner on our Adventure Camping safaris is prepared under the night sky with a varied menu that can cater for any dietary requirement. Please remember to fill in your special dietary requirements on our booking form so we can arrange things in advance.  We also will be able to experience traditional African food along the way; this is a very important part of your Safari to Africa! Three meals a day are provided whilst on safari and included in your safari price on all Safari Joe trips. Please refer to your specific tour dossier for a breakdown as each trip does vary.

East Africa straddles the equator and is known as a "year round destination" which can be visited anytime. The hottest months are late January to end of March while the coolest are July and August. There are two rainy seasons, known as "the long rains", between late March and early June and the "short rains" during November and December. Global weather patterns are changing and sometimes the rains fail completely in some parts and there is a period of drought or there may be heavy rains outside the normal rainy season. However when it rains it tends to be mainly at night or in the early morning which means there can still be sunny days in between. Many safari camps close during May when the long rains are at their height, as the tracks and roads get muddy and it may not be possible for the vehicles to take visitors on game drives. During the hot months of January to March conditions can often be dry and dusty and the animals may congregate near water-holes so that there is excellent wildlife viewing. Just after the rainy seasons, in June or again in December, many of the animals have their young to coincide with the better grazing from new grass following the rains. The wildebeest migration moves into the Mara between July and September and this is when many visitors come to Kenya and the parks can get more crowded with safari tourist vehicles.

Many of the major world airlines including Kenya Airways, British Airways, Air France, KLM, Lufthansa and Swissair fly several times a week from Europe. From North America, airlines including American Airlines and Delta offer services that connect via Europe. Other airlines include Emirates, Qatar, Egypt Air, Ethiopian Airlines, South African Airways, Turkish Airlines and Air India. Use our simple Online Flight Search facility to quickly find the latest availability and prices.

There are many varied parks and reserves from which to choose each has its own unique reasons for visiting, be it a special topography or rare wildlife species. Where possible we recommend combining two or three parks in order to see a broad range of landscapes and animals. Some private reserves/conservancies are able to offer night game drives and walking safaris plus they offer the advantage of having few other safari tourist vehicles sharing the land. Please refer to our Parks & Reserves section for information on individual areas.

Single supplements are available on our private and tailor made safaris so please specify this when filling in our safari questionnaire so we can include this in your safari price. While on one of our Adventure Camping safaris you will be sharing a tent with someone of the same gender. Two pairs of hands for erecting and packing up the tent is handy, don't panic if you do find yourself in a tent on your own as your fellow travellers and Safari Joe crew will always lend a helping hand.

Visa requirements of course will vary depending on your nationality and the countries that you intend to travel to. Visas in most East African countries can be obtained at your point of arrival (except Rwanda) but all must be paid for there in USD $ cash. Have a quick look at the Visa chart on our website but please remember of course that this is to be used as a guide only and we recommend you also contact either a visa service, or contact each country's embassy individually for the latest information. Obtaining the correct visas is your responsibility and if you don't have the correct visa for your destination(s) you may miss out on all or part of your safari.

On our scheduled departures your driver/guide will be at the departure accommodation to meet and greet you the day prior to the safaris departure and later in the day he/she will conduct a short briefing. The time for the briefing will be posted in the accommodation lobby along with a local contact number of your driver guide for any emergency questions. On our tailor made and private departures an airport pick up is available and arrival details will be taken at the time of booking. If you are on either a tailor made or private safari and do not want to take advantage of an airport pick up your driver/guide will meet you at you departure accommodation the evening before departure. On all our safaris your departure accommodation details can be found on your Safari Joe travel voucher.

TAGS: driver, guide

Many visitors are surprised to find that on safari there are often not as many bugs as there are in their home countries and frequently they tell us that they did not even see a mosquito on safari! However this is Africa and there are certainly many tropical insects but most are quite harmless to humans and some of them are actually very interesting! The tented camps/lodges normally provide mosquito nets in the guest rooms and your tent is insect-proof with built in mosquito netting, zipping doors and sewn in groundsheets. As for snakes, there are many species of snakes in East Africa, most of which are harmless to humans. Snakes are not often seen as they avoid being in the open where people are walking about and will almost always try to get away and to hide if they sense human footsteps approaching. Your guide may spot a snake and point it out from the safety of your vehicle when on a game drive but they are rarely seen in the grounds of the camps. If you do see a snake, do not approach it - simply give it a wide berth and tell your guide or a member of staff at the camp. If left alone at a safe distance, snakes do not pose a danger.

TAGS: camping, lodges