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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Please Note: the following answers are general rules for most countries on the continent. For more specific answers you should consult your travel advice sheet given to you by your destination specialist upon booking or get in touch with your destination specialist by telephone on +44 1273 623 790 or email enquiries@journeysbydesign.com

What clothing should I wear on safari?

Safari clothing and eveningwear should be comfortable and casual – cool cotton and linens are ideal. Bright colours should be avoided for wildlife viewing. Note: Avoid wearing dark colours such as blue and black as it attracts the tsetse fly. In addition to this, mosquitos don’t like to be seen and so lighter clothing tends to repel them more than dark clothing. Also, please avoid wearing camouflage/army print as this is not acceptable in many areas.

For early morning wildlife drives and at high altitudes, when evenings and mornings can be very chilly, warm sweaters (e.g. fleece) and layering of clothing (e.g. vest) are recommended. Revealing clothing is not appropriate and offends local customs, and swimwear should be reserved for the beach and pool only.

Light cotton clothing (long sleeves for the evenings are not a bad idea), shorts and sunglasses with a hat is suggested in the warm lowlands. While in the highlands, medium weight clothing with a warm jacket (e.g. fleece) is appropriate. As mentioned, we recommend layering of clothing on safari as temperatures can vary through the day. Note: You should dress conservatively when in the larger cities, both inland and coastal.

During the rainy season, a light raincoat (e.g. cagoule) and a sweater is best for the evenings. Most camps will provide an umbrella and waterproofs when required.

What should I do about medication / vaccinations?

Many countries in East Africa require you show evidence of an up-to-date Yellow Fever certificate particularly if you are travelling from an infected area, therefore we recommend you have a Yellow Fever inoculation as a precaution and bring your certificate with you.

Polio and tetanus boosters should be up-to-date. Typhoid, Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Cholera, TB, and Meningitis inoculations are usually recommended.

As medical advice changes from time to time, your doctor and local travel clinic should be consulted about current information on health requirements and regulations. This should be done well in advance, as some injections need to be administered at least ten weeks in advance.

General
The incidence of HIV is much more common in Africa. Please be aware of this and take the necessary precautions.

In areas where there is a lot of sand, ensure you wear flip flops, open sandals or barefoot. Wearing shoes and socks will attract sand flies.

Malaria
Travellers to most parts of sub-Saharan Africa are strongly advised to take anti-malarial medication according to prescription recommendations, and to use insect repellents. Malaria is a serious disease, which is transmitted by infected mosquitoes. For further information, visit IAMAT.

You must take preventative medication and we strongly encourage you to seek the advice of your doctor. Journeys by Design staff use Malarone when travelling abroad. In addition, it is essential that travellers take all possible precautions to avoid this disease.

Remember that mosquitoes are most active during the evening and night:

– Wear light coloured clothing – mosquitoes don’t like to be seen
– Wear long trousers and long-sleeved shirts in the evenings
– Use mosquito repellents containing 35-50% DEET on all exposed skin
– Avoid wearing perfumes or aftershaves
– Check your mosquito net to make sure that there aren’t any holes
– Take your pills as prescribed and be aware if you are vomiting or have diarrhoea, because your defense levels may drop

If infection is suspected, medical advice should be sought immediately. Malaria is detectable with a simple blood screen and is easily treatable.

Can camps and lodges cater to my dietary / health requirements?

Most properties are extremely good at catering to all sorts of allergies and dietary requirements, but it important that you let us know of any requirements in advance, so we can make the necessary arrangements.

Will there be electricity and do I need to bring a plug socket adaptor?

Most countries in Africa have either round three-pin style, two pin European-style or square three-pin UK-style ranging between 220 and 240 volts. In most cases, camps and lodges will provide adaptors, but it is always best to bring your own just in case. For more specific information, please see the relevant section in your travel advice document, given to you by your destination specialist at the time of booking.

In some tented camps and lodges power is only available in the early mornings and evenings, and some do not have power in the rooms/ tents. There are also a few properties that do not have electricity in either the rooms or the tents. Torches are sometimes provided, but it is highly recommended that you bring your own. As most camps run on solar or a small generator, items like hair dryers cannot be used on safari as they will overload the system. If you need use of hairdryers we can provide further information of facilities on your specific itinerary.

Always remember to switch off your lights when going to dinner to save on solar energy (and to avoid attracting insects into the rooms). Where sockets are not available please hand all batteries that need charging to the management who will charge at the main station.

Will I be safe in Africa?

The areas we send guests to are all places that we feel safe enough to visit ourselves and with our families. We constantly monitor safety threats to all these areas through our global risk-monitoring service Drum Cussac. Having said that, going anywhere in the world, including walking down your own high street, comes with its own risks.

For peace of mind when travelling in Africa, our membership with Drum Cussac means our guests are supported both before and during travel.

Before travelling, a pre-travel email will be sent out to guests and a telephone support service made available, allowing guests to email or call the security operations centre to access expert advice on generic threats to travel security as well as specific country/area risk information.

During travel, our guests have the option to opt in for 24/7 telephone access to security advice as well as 24/7 response to security-related emergencies at no additional charge for the first two hours of a crisis. For more information on Drum Cussac, please see here or contact one of our destination specialists.

Can I travel if I’m pregnant or bring my baby?

This is up to your own and your doctor’s discretion. We recommend visiting non-malarial areas, of which there are many options in Africa. If you have the medical go-ahead, let us know and we can design something around a non-malarial safari dependent on the age of the baby and the rules of the camp.

Will we be met at the airport?

Since we are responsible for you from the time you get through customs at the airport, right up to the time you are dropped off again at the other end, we will always send a trusted representative of Journeys by Design to come and meet you. Different countries have different rules and, in some circumstances, we may be able to meet you on the ‘airside’ i.e. before you go through customs. Please consult your destination specialist for more information on this.

Will there be Wi-Fi at the camp that I am staying at?

Many properties do have Wi-Fi, while some do not for reasons that vary between their remoteness and their desire to not distract from the safari experience. Please visit our website or ask your designated Journeys by Design destination specialist for individual camp or lodge information.

How much cash should I bring for tips?

Tipping of your driver/guide/staff and other guides or helpers is not compulsory but is customary and will be left to your discretion. However, tipping can be an awkward area, so we have outlined what we think is suitable. Please remember that tipping amounts should be viewed in a local context and your average camp staff will probably earn about US$ 200 per month. Generally tipping breaks down into four main areas:

1. General Camp Staff
As a rule of thumb US$20 per person per day to cover all camp staff is acceptable. Lodges will normally provide you with an envelope for camp staff gratuities. This should be handed in on departure.

Smaller camps and lodges have a small communal tip box where you can leave your tips for the manager to sort out later. If they do not, then please give the tip to the manager, in full view of other members of staff, upon departure.

2. Your Guide
Again, US$20 per person per day for your guide is acceptable. Lodges will normally provide you with an envelope for guide gratuities. This should be tipped at the end of the safari and is dependent on how well you think that he or she has done his or her job.

If you are a small group or family, we suggest tipping no more than a total US$60 per day to the guide.

3. Incidentals such as additional guides, trackers, other drivers
No hard and fast rules here but if you assume that one day’s good work is probably worth about US$5 per person per day then you can’t go too far wrong. Restaurants and the like take the usual 10%. For porters and other minor assistance $2 would be very generous.

Occasionally you might be escorted by an armed park ranger, particularly if you are walking. A one-off US$10 tip would be well received as park staff are invariably poorly paid.

4. The Manager
We do not recommend tipping managers.

NB: Please view the above guides as an acceptable minimum if you have received adequate service.

Are there any luggage restrictions on safari?

As your itinerary will invariably involve at least one leg in a light aircraft, your luggage allowance is restricted to 15kgs (33lbs) per person including hand luggage and camera and photographic equipment. You are also required to take all your luggage in a soft-shell bag to fit it in the small hold. For this reason, it is also a good idea to carry any fragile, breakable items in your hand luggage with you.

The carriage of excess baggage is not permitted on these flights and this rule is strictly adhered to. As many camps and lodges provide laundry services, you are likely to not need too many changes of clothes. If you are travelling via private aircrafts, your luggage allowance may be more, and we will confirm this closer to your departure time.

Will I see wildlife on my trip?

By its very nature, wildlife is wild and so nothing can be guaranteed, but it is highly likely since the African wilderness is one of the best areas in the world for wildlife sightings.

WHAT IS WILD pHILANTHROPY?

Wild Philanthropy is our sister charity. It has been set up to deliver a travel-driven conservation investment model, which supports the people, wildlife and wilderness of Africa. We use travel to engage and educate potential donors. We invest in community-led ecotourism as a way to demonstrate how local communities can benefit from conservation. We provide grants to high-impact conservation and community projects.