If you’re planning a safari to Africa, be as prepared as possible. We’ve outlined some of the most important African safari tips.
Visa requirements vary for each African country. However, we do cover those that pertain to trips we’ve done, especially since it’s probably going to set you back in US Dollars.
In Tanzania generally, you can get your Visa as you arrive at the airport at the passport control/immigration kiosks.
In Uganda just like Tanzania, you have to pay for a Visa as you arrive at passport control/immigration at the airport.
In Kenya again, you have to pay for a Visa as you arrive at passport control/immigration at the airport. Fortunately, if you’re connecting directly through Nairobi (i.e. not going through passport control to get to your next flight), then you won’t be paying for additional Visas nor for multiple-entry Visas for this purpose.
In Egypt unlike the East African and Southern African countries, you don’t have to pay for or apply for a Visa when you arrive in Cairo. You just fill out the standard immigration forms, wait in line, show your passports, and you are on your way.
If you’re doing any border crossings by car, I’m sure similar rates apply. I can easily see a road transit between Nairobi, Kenya and Arusha, Tanzania as being a pretty common example.
Because of the risk of malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, and other mosquito-born illnesses, some countries require you to show proof of vaccination.
You also buy malaria pills and try to follow directions as much as possible. Tanzania and Egypt checks for Yellow Fever Certificates.
WHAT TO BRING
Comfortable Shoes – Africa region’s outdoor activities revolve range from tropics to mountains to deserts. This works for most situations, but hiking boots may be needed for more rugged pursuits in places.
Lots of Memory or Film or Portable Hard Drive – the first and third items are for digital photographers. In any case, you’ll be taking heaps of photos and you’ll want to make sure you can bring all your photos home.
Africa encompasses numerous countries each with their own currency. Naturally, we’ll confine these countries only to those we’ve visited for our waterfalling purposes. Visit to Africa is that the US Dollar was accepted almost everywhere.
Zambia: The currency is the Kwacha. Even though the US Dollar had fallen quite a bit to this point, many services, food, and commodities were still quite reasonable. Similarly, accommodations are reasonably priced (maybe a bit cheaper) as well relative to what you can buy in the US, but don’t expect the same amenities.
Tanzania: The currency is the Tanzanian Shilling (Tsh). Generally, food and souvenirs are pretty reasonably priced compared to comparable purchases in the US, but there is some two-tiered pricing going on where tourists pay much more than the locals for the same thing. Changing money back and forth from Tsh to Dollars and back is generally not a problem (though you will lose in the exchange each time).
Kenya: The currency is the Kenyan Shilling (Ksh).Food and curios cost a bit more here, but if you’re on an organized safari, chances are you’ll be eating at a Serena Lodge where it’s mostly western food and the price is included in the overall cost of the safari. Changing money back and forth from Ksh to Dollars and back is generally not a problem (though you will lose in the exchange each time).
Egypt: The currency is the Egyptian Pound (L.E.). Like Kenya food and curios cost a bit more here than other African countries and are probably in line with what we’d expect to pay back home. Changing money back and forth from L.E. to Dollars and back is generally not a problem (though you will lose in the exchange each time).
Rwanda: The currency is the Rwandan Franc (LWF).
South Africa: The currency is the South African Rand (ZAR).
Uganda: The currency is the Ugandan Shilling (UGX).
Deciding on your accommodation in Africa can take up a lot of planning time. If you’re on a tour your lodging will usually be booked for you, but it’s also nice to know if the hotel you’re staying at has a good reputation. In some African destinations you may not have a lot of choice of accommodation. I add to hotel content regularly, so check back often.
GMT –The East Africa GMT is +3 hours
In South Africa GMT is +2 hours
In the Western Africa they are at the Greenwich Mean Time.
Kenya’s climate varies across the country, from the tropical humidity of the coast, the dry heat of the savannah or semi-arid areas and the cool air of the highlands.
Temperatures in these areas are fairly constant year round with an average of 27°C (80°F) at the coast, 21°C to 27°C (70°F to 80°F) in the hinterland, while in Nairobi and the highlands over 5,000 ft, the daytime temperatures normally range between 19°C and 24°C (66°F to 75°F).
Most parts of the country experience two rainy seasons: the ‘long rains’ falling over a ten week period between April and June, and the ‘short rains’ over a five week period between November and December.
Rain may occasionally fall outside of the normal rainy seasons. In the highland areas north of Nairobi it may get chilly at night or in the early mornings – especially June, July, August when temperatures are cooler – so it is recommended that visitors pack some items of warm clothing.
The climate of East Africa is rather atypical of equatorial regions. Because of a combination of the region’s generally high altitude and the rain shadow of the westerly monsoon winds created by the Ruwenzori Mountains and Ethiopian Highlands, East Africa is surprisingly cool and dry for its latitude.
South Africa has a lovely temperate climate with plenty of sunny, dry days. The main factors influencing conditions are altitude and the surrounding oceans. Temperatures drop by about 6°C for every 1000m you climb (or 3.5°F per 1000ft).
The east coast is on the Indian Ocean, which has a warm current. The west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with a cold current. South Africa experiences winter and summer in opposite times as Europe and North America and they correspond to the dry and wet season in most of the country, except for the Western Cape.
The rain tends to fall mainly at night and is usually a short and heavy tropical downpour.
Kenya –The official languages of Kenya are English and Swahili. English is the language of big business, higher education and government. Most bills presented to the National Assembly, for example, are drafted in English. Swahili, a Bantu language, is almost universal in small-scale trade and the media and schools through primary education.
It is closely connected with urban life and with certain occupations. Television broadcasts and print materials are in Swahili and English. Radio broadcasts may be heard in Swahili, English, and various African languages.
Tanzania- The official languages of Tanzania are English and Swahili. Swahili is widely spoken throughout Tanzania; in Zanzibar, it takes a different form, and is called Kiunguja.
Although Swahili is a Bantu language in origin and structure, it has borrowed and incorporated words from Arabic and English. Swahili is the language used by the media, government, literature, and business. English, since its use is for the most part restricted to post elementary education, is the language preferred by the educated elite.
Burundi –The primarily languages of Burundi are Kirundi (official), French (official), and Swahili (along Lake Tanganyika and in the Bujumbura area).
Rwanda-The nation’s official languages are French and Kinyarwanda; Swahili is commonly used in commerce. Kinyarwanda is part of the Bantu sub-group of the central branch of the Niger-Congo language family.
It is closely related to Kirundi, the language of Burundi. Kinyarwanda-Kirundi speakers comprise the third largest group of all the Bantu languages. All Rwandans speak Kinyarwanda, but there is some variation in pronunciation. The forms spoken by the Tutsi and Hutu are very similar.
Uganda – Uganda’s official language is English, which is spoken by most educated Ugandans. The three major indigenous language families are Bantu, Central Sudanic, and Nilotic. Swahili and Luganda are also widely spoken.
South Africa -South Africa has eleven official languages: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tswana, Tsonga, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu. Fewer than two percent of South Africans speak a first language other than an official .Most South Africans can speak more than one language.
Most English speaking visitors to South Africa will be able to travel the length and breadth of our beautiful land and interact with many people in English very easily.
This is due to the fact that the majority of people here can speak some level of English, often at a very high standard even if it is not their first language. Road signs, airport and train station directional boards and information sign posts etc are almost always in English.
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