Although these are general guidelines regarding seasonal patterns, please be advised that the weather can vary dramatically throughout your trip. We strongly recommend dressing in layers, as this is an effective method of compensating for the wide variations in temperatures.
Passport and Visas: Your Passport should be valid and well within its expiry date, with several unused visa pages remaining. It is also important to have a Return Ticket. Entry Visas are needed for most African countries, but when your Safari is being planned, you will be notified should a Visa be necessary. You will also be provided with suggested packing lists to assist you in bringing only what is required and useful for your safari, since luggage space is obviously limited.
We recommend bringing Cash, either in US$ Dollars, Sterling Pounds or Euros. Travellers’ Cheques are NO LONGER WIDELY ACCEPTED in East Africa. PLEASE NOTE: Due to massive amounts of fraud coming out of Nigeria, only the new US Dollar bills are accepted by most establishments – these are from 2002 series onwards. Personal cheques can be useful for shopping for specialised things, for instance jewellery, furniture etc. Most establishments also accept Visa or MasterCard Credit Cards. There is normally no restriction on the amount of currency that may be imported, except for South Africa. Please note that personal expenditures, gratuities, airport taxes and visa fees are not included in your safari.
Most of the lodges throughout Africa have either a conventional phone or a satellite phone. All our camp units have a satellite phone available for clients use so communication is now possible no matter where the destination. Before you depart, we will ensure that you have all relevant contact details should anyone wish to contact you whilst you are on Safari.
Email and Internet
Most camps and lodges now have some form of email and Internet capability, including most of our mobile camps (as long as there is cell phone coverage). This is either in the form of Wifi so you can use your own devices or it may be a desktop computer guests can have access to, keeping you in touch with work, family and friends at home.
All our destinations use English as the primary language. Should you require a guide or a translator who is proficient in other languages, please give us plenty of notice and we can arrange for this.
As no formal clothes are needed, it is recommended that you keep your luggage to the basics. Army camouflage uniforms or army hats are forbidden in most of East Africa. For safety and space reasons on the charter aircraft, there is a 23kg (50lbs) limit on luggage per person. (Please see clothing list). If your safari utilizes scheduled flights getting into bush strips, then the luggage allowance is 15kg (33lbs) per person, maximum. We recommend that you pack in a duffel bag or other soft bag, as this helps when loading and unloading the planes and vehicles.
• 1 Polar Fleece/sweater – medium weight
• 2 Pair long trousers/slacks/chinos/jeans
• 2 Long sleeved shirts and short sleeved cotton shirts
• 2 Walking shorts or skirts
• 1 Jacket or Parka/Rain shell (as it can be cool in the mornings and evenings possibly with some rain)
• 2 T shirts
• 1 Bathing Suit
• 4 Pair (min) Socks & underwear
• Hat/Cap for sun protection
• 1 Good walking shoes (Running/tennis shoes/cross-trainers/Merrels are fine). Heavy Hiking boots are not necessary
• 1 Docksiders (optional); Tevas also another option for warm climates
• Toothbrush and paste
• Shampoo & conditioner if you have a favourite – otherwise it is provided in the rooms at our camps and at most lodges
• Sunglasses, good quality preferably polarized/UV filtered, as tinted fashion glasses are not good in strong light
• 2 x Eye glasses if worn, as some people have problems with contact lenses and dust
• Sunscreen/ Suntan Lotion
• Basic Medical kit – (Cold/flu remedy, Asprin or Paracetamol, band aids, Immodium, Anti-histamine cream and Piriton for those who suffer from allergies)
• Disposable moist tissues
• Insect repellent, preferably the lotion rub on type for the body as the lodges tend to supply the spray
• Zip lock bags
• Camera, batteries and chargers* see under Photography
• Razor and shaving cream
• Appropriate toiletries
Laundry is done daily in camp and lodges, dried and returned to your tent the same afternoon, depending on the weather. The lodges have daily laundry, and all the high-end ones do not charge for the service. The camp and Lodge staff will not wash ladies underwear due to local traditions but laundry soap is provided.
The gratuity of lodge staff and camp crew is not included in the price of your safari. Our general recommendation is to tip in accordance with the level and quality of service provided. As a guideline we recommend about US$10-15 per guest per day for the general camp lodge staff. This does not include your professional guide if you have one accompanying you. A reference for the professional guides is around $50-80 per guide per day. In restaurants and for taxi drivers the customary tip is approximately 10%. Tipping in US$1-5 bills for porters and waiters at lodges is greatly appreciated, so it is advisable to bring some US$ notes in smaller denominations with you.
Our safari vehicles are fitted with roof hatches for unobstructed viewing of wildlife, but often a better photographic angle is obtained from a lower view-point. We provide sand or bean bags for use as camera rests. For game and bird photography, a telephoto lens of between 200 and 400 mm is strongly recommended. Our safari guides are familiar with many camera systems and can often assist with their operation or with advice on how to get the best pictures. Make sure that you are thoroughly conversant with all your equipment before coming on safari and that you have an ample supply of storage cards and spare batteries and lens papers with you. Out of respect for the local cultures, seek the advice of your Guide before photographing people. Note that certain Government, military and police buildings (including airports in a lot of African countries) may not be photographed. Camera batteries can be recharged at all Lodges and Camps.
One or two camera bodies with a +/- 28-70mm, a +/- 80-200/300mm zoom and, for close-ups and birds, a 400mm lenses. Wide angle and macro lenses are also useful for the enthusiast. An ultra violet filter should be fitted to each lens. A polarizing circular filter is advisable on a wide angle. There are some good 1•4 teleconverters which are suitable for zoom lenses that work very well. Bring a flash for campfire and tent scenes if your camera does not have one built in. Remember to bring spare camera batteries and chargers. Most of our vehicles have inverters built in, so we can charge batteries on the fly.
If you would like to take video, please ensure you bring a recorder with good Optical Zoom features, as well as spare batteries, plus the charger. The local mains supply is 220/240 volt, 50 Hz, so please ensure the charger is dual power – both 110 Volt and 220/240V. Allow for a minimum of two spare batteries for operation away from the vehicle, plus at least four to six hours of space in your camera’s storage card.
Binoculars are essential. Each person should have his or her own pair to avoid the annoyance of passing them around when something exciting happens. The best field binoculars are lightweight with central focusing and good light-gathering capability. Do not get them too powerful (unless you have good binocular experience) as these are hard to hold steady: 7 × 50, 8 × 40 or 10 × 32 are excellent sizes. Avoid the zoom and auto focus variety if possible, as clarity is often poor.
Electricity is 220 Volts AC, so please ensure your appliance chargers are dual voltage – both 110V & 220/240V. If they are not, please bring a converter to suit. Both round and rectangular three-pin plug sockets are in use in Africa (round in South Africa, and square in East Africa, except Rwanda which is round). For the mobile-tented camps we do not have individual electrical outlets in the tents, but great attention is given to aesthetic and practical lighting, which runs off an inverter system.
The vehicles we use are closed 4 × 4 Land Rover and Toyota Land cruisers specially modified to ensure maximum comfort. Roof hatches or high open sides ensure that guests are able to have good game viewing, but also the comfort of being able to escape from the elements if desired. The lodges on privately owned land tend to do their game drives in open four-wheel drive vehicles, and while this enables all-round visibility one can expect a lot more dust and cold mornings/evenings so bring a warm jacket and hat.
'West With the Night’ – Beryl Markham
'The Tree Where Man Was Born’ – Peter Matthiessen
'The Shadow of Kilimanjaro’ – Rick Ridgeway
'Out of Africa’ – Isak Dinesen
'The Flame Trees of Thika’ – Elspeth Huxley
'The Man-eaters of Tsavo’ – J A Hunter
'African Silences’ – Peter Matthiessen
'I Dreamed of Africa’ – Kuki Gallman
'The Green Hills of Africa’ – Ernest Hemingway
'Africa: Biography of a Continent’ – John Reader
'White Mischief’ – James Fox
'The Constant Gardener’ – John Le Carre’
'No Picnic on Mt. Kenya’ – Felice Benuzzi
'The Shadow of Kilimanjaro: On Foot Across East Africa’ – Rick Ridgeway
'Facing Mt. Kenya’ – Jomo Kenyatta
'Nine faces of Kenya’ – Karen Blixen, Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway & Richard Leakey
'Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story’ – Daphne Sheldrick