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Trafalgar Small Group Safaris Know Before You Go

FLYING

1. HOW MUCH BAGGAGE CAN I TAKE?

Baggage restrictions to Africa depend on the airline with which you are flying. This is usually one checked bag per person not weighing more than 20kg. Carry-on luggage is limited to one piece per person.

If you are flying on small charter aircraft within Africa, further restrictions will apply. Please check with Costco Travel for more information. Baggage guidelines will also be sent to you with your final documents.

For example, luggage restrictions on most Botswana safaris with light aircraft transfer flights is 20kg total in soft bags – including your hand luggage.

In addition, safari vehicles also have luggage restrictions, for example in Kenya and Tanzania there may be a limit of 15kg total in soft bags – including your hand luggage.

2. CAN I EARN FREQUENT FLYER MILES?

You may be able to earn frequent flyer points on some of our flights. Once you have your air tickets booked, please advise Costco Travel of your frequent flyer program so we can advise you if points are available and will assist in providing the information to the airline. Remember to keep all boarding passes and copies of your tickets in case of any issues, as these are proof that you have flown.

3. MAY I USE MY POINTS TO UPGRADE TO BUSINESS CLASS?

If you are interested in purchasing an upgrade to business class we can offer great business class rates.

ON SAFARI

1. WILL I BE IN AN OPEN SAFARI VEHICLE AND IS IT SAFE?

Open safari vehicles may be used where permitted. Restrictions exist in National Parks and regulations vary by destination. Wherever you choose to safari, the safari vehicles provide great wildlife viewing and are very safe as long as you take heed of your guide’s instructions – no standing in the vehicle and no loud talking or shouting. Remember that we provide small group safaris, so you will have ample space within the vehicle.

2. DO I NEED TO WEAR SAFARI COLORS?

You do not need to restrict your clothing to safari colours or earth tones, but it is suggested that you avoid very bright colors. Either earth tones or other subdued colours would be recommended while on safari.

3. SHOULD I BRING BINOCULARS?

Many lodges and guides will have binoculars in the vehicles, but it is a good idea to bring your own if you can afford the weight in your luggage.

4. SHOULD I BRING INSECT REPELLENT?

Many small private lodges will provide insect repellent in the rooms but some of the larger lodges in East Africa and South Africa do not. In any case it’s a good idea to bring your own especially if you have sensitive or allergic skin and know which product you can safely use.

5. CAN I BRING CHILDREN ON SAFARI?

Minimum age requirements are different on safari, for the safety of all guests. Children under the age of 6 are rarely accepted at lodges and it is not recommended to bring young children on safari. If they are accepted, they will not be allowed to go on game drives and will have to be left at the lodge under the care of a babysitter or guardian, usually at an additional cost. Some lodges will allow children 6 and over to go on game drives, other lodges only allow children over the age of 12. It is best to check with Costco Travel as to which lodge is the best for you to consider.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

1. IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL TO AFRICA?

If you follow government protocols and the guidelines set forth by your local guides when in Africa you will feel totally safe.  Some areas you visit will be quite poor by our standards and it is thoughtless to flash money or jewellry. Leave jewellry at home and carry only small amounts of cash. Leave valuables and passports in the hotel safes or with lodge managers.

Be confident knowing that our Africa based associate tour companies and hotels provide us with a strong presence in Africa and with our local offices in Africa providing 24-hour emergency assistance and having personnel on hand to deal with any issues that may arise, our clients can feel safe and secure in travelling with us.

You will find the people very friendly, helpful, and eager to please. The beauty and tranquility of the land, the magnificent wildlife, and the hospitality of the people will all contribute to a lifetime of memories!

2. WHAT CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT GOVERNMENT TRAVEL WARNINGS AND ADVISORIES?

We keep updated on all travel advisories and should a new travel warning come into effect prior to your travel date, we will notify you. However, we suggest that you check on the following website for further information.

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

3. IS THE WATER SAFE TO DRINK?

In many parts of Africa the water is perfectly safe but because this depends on location, we do suggest that you drink filtered water, which is readily available from your hotels and lodges.

4. DO I NEED INOCULATIONS?

This will depend on where you will be visiting. We suggest that you check with Costco Travel or on the following website for the most up to date information:

https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/

5. DO I NEED MALARIA MEDICATION?

Most areas in Africa are malarial areas. Costco Travel will let you know if you are visiting a non-malaria area. Otherwise, we strongly advise you to consult with your physician prior to the commencement of your holiday, for information on precautions against malaria.

In addition, some countries require proof of Yellow Fever vaccination, please ask Costco Travel if this applies to your itinerary.

6. WILL SOMEONE BE AT THE AIRPORT TO MEET US ON ARRIVAL?

Yes, you can feel secure in knowing that we arrange for a “meet and greet” for all our Costco Travel clients. With our local offices in Africa providing 24-hour emergency assistance and having personnel on hand to deal with any issues that may arise, our clients can feel safe and secure in travelling with us.

7. SHOULD I GET TRAVEL INSURANCE AND WHAT IS THE COST?

This is a requirement from suppliers on our small group safaris in Africa. Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption and Medical Insurance – are mandatory requirements from suppliers in Africa – proof of insurance must be provided before bookings are confirmed. It is your personal responsibility to ensure you have sufficient insurance coverage for the entire duration of your travels. Costco Travel will be able to direct you to more information.

FOOD

1. WHAT KIND OF FOOD CAN I EXPECT TO EAT?

Throughout Africa the food is generally excellent. In South Africa, expect excellent seafood. South Africa has great chefs with world class restaurants, and meals are like what you would expect at home. Produce is fresh and locally grown. In East Africa, there is a great diversity of cuisine to please any palate. We have never had anyone tell us they went hungry while on safari.

If you are interested in trying local delicacies, African restaurants and menu choices are abundant.

2. I HAVE ALLERGIES AND DIETARY RESTRICTIONS. WILL I BE ABLE TO FIND MEALS THAT TAKE THAT INTO ACCOUNT?

As long as you provide Costco Travel with your dietary restrictions, we will ensure that the lodges or restaurants we arrange for you will be notified in advance. When on your own for meals, you should have no problems getting food that accommodates your needs as long as you are specific in your request to your servers.

3. HOW MUCH MONEY SHOULD I ALLOW FOR MY MEALS?

At the vast majority of safari lodges and camps all meals are included in the price of your safari. City stays in South Africa usually only include breakfast. Meals are very reasonable when compared to prices in the UK. 

In South Africa, a really outstanding dinner may cost you ZAR750 per person. That’s roughly £35 and we would easily pay more than that in the UK! For simple lunches allow ZAR300 per person (about £15).

Beer is about ZAR20 (£1) per bottle and wines start at about ZAR100 (£5) per bottle in a restaurant.

MONEY MATTERS

1. WHERE IS THE BEST PLACE TO EXCHANGE MONEY?

We suggest you get local currency on arrival at your first destination at the bank / exchange bureau or ATM.

2. WHAT CURRENCY WILL I NEED?

South Africa – South African Rands

Botswana – US Dollars

Zimbabwe – Zimbabwean Dollars at local shops (US Dollars generally accepted at Lodges)

East Africa (Kenya and Tanzania) – US Dollars 

3. HOW MUCH SHOULD I TIP MY DRIVER OR GUIDE?

The following is only a guideline and tipping is always at your discretion. 

Camp and Game Lodge Guides / Rangers

ZAR 120.00 or US $8.00 - $10.00 per guest per day

Camp and Game Lodge Trackers

ZAR 80.00 or US $5.00 per guest per day.

Porterage ZAR 15.00 or US $2.00 per bag.

Transfer and Touring Driver / Guides

Transfer: ZAR 20.00 or US $2.00 per person 

Half day tour: ZAR 50.00 or US $5.00 per person

Full day tour: ZAR 100.00 or US $10.00 per person

Restaurants: 10% to 15% on meal accounts

4. WHAT IS THE SHOPPING LIKE IN AFRICA?

Shopping varies according to destination. Generally African handicrafts such as leather goods, wooden carvings, sculptures, paintings, bead work and woven articles are popular purchases. Jewellry is an excellent purchase in South Africa.

5. CAN I PURCHASE WINE?

South Africa produces some of the world’s finest wines so if you are a wine lover we suggest you have a box shipped to you. The UK has restrictions on how much can be brought in duty free (18 litres of wine is one limit).

6. CAN I USE A CREDIT CARD?

In most cases Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted. For travel to Zimbabwe, you may need to pay in cash for purchases at local shopping outlets.

7. CAN I GET THE VAT I PAID FOR MY PURCHASES REIMBURSED?

Yes in South Africa, provided the value of each invoice purchased exceeds ZAR 50.00 and the total value of all items exceeds ZAR 250.00 You must have a valid passport, valid tax invoices and must produce the goods if requested. The invoice must stipulate that it is a VAT invoice and show the amount charged. Follow this link for more information: http://www.taxrefunds.co.za/

PASSPORT AND VISA REQUIREMENTS

1. DO I NEED A VISA, AND WHAT ARE THE PASSPORT VALIDITY REQUIREMENTS?

Depending on the countries you will visit, visas may be required. Passports must have blank pages available, and may need to be valid for up to 6 months past your planned travel dates. Current requirements are as follows:

South Africa:

  • Visas: United Kingdom passport holders do not require a visa for South Africa for a visit of less than 90 days.
  • Passports: Please ensure that you are in possession of a valid passport with at least TWO BLANK PAGES marked “VISA” and that this is valid for at least 6 months after your intended return date from South Africa. In accordance with South African government regulations, boarding will be denied should you not have the correct number of pages in your passport.

Zimbabwe:

  • Visas: United Kingdom passport holders require a visa for Zimbabwe. It is no longer possible to get a visa from the Zimbabwean Embassy in London. Most visitors use the visa on arrival service. The current cost is $55 US Dollars for a Single-Entry Visa and $70 US Dollars for a Double Entry Visa. Take enough cash in US$ with you in small notes to pay for your visa at the airport. You can also obtain your visa on-line at: https://www.evisa.gov.zw/home before traveling.
  • PASSPORTS: Please ensure that you are in possession of a valid passport with at least TWO BLANK PAGES marked “VISA” that it is valid for at least 6 months after your intended return date from Southern Africa.

Botswana:

  • Visas: United Kingdom passport holders do not require a visa for Botswana for a visit of less than 90 days.
  • Passports: Passports must be valid for at least 6 months after your intended return date from Southern Africa. Passports should have at least THREE BLANK PAGES marked “VISA” in addition to blank pages needed for other countries you may be visiting on the same trip. (You will need an additional two blank pages marked VISA for South Africa if visiting South Africa)

Tanzania:

  • Visas: United Kingdom passport holders require a visa for Tanzania.
    Tanzania has introduced an ‘e-visas’ system through which applications can be submitted and approved online in advance of travel. It is no longer possible to get a visa from the Tanzanian High Commission in London.  To apply your visa online visit the Tanzania Immigration website at the following link: https://eservices.immigration.go.tz/visa/
  • PASSPORTS: Please ensure that you are in possession of a valid passport with at least THREE BLANK PAGES marked “VISA” for entry to TANZANIA. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months after date of return. If you are visiting other countries, please establish entry requirements and have additional blank visa pages for those countries as well.

Kenya:

  • Visas: United Kingdom passport holders require a visa for Kenya. From January 1st, 2021 visas will not be issued on arrival, they have to be obtained on-line prior to arrival into Kenya. The cost of the visa currently is £74.95 per person and the document is sent to you by e-mail after approval.  To apply your visa online visit the Tanzania Immigration website at the following link:  evisa.go.ke 
  • Passports: Please ensure that you are in possession of a valid passport with at least TWO BLANK PAGES marked “VISA” for entry to KENYA. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months after date of return. If you are extending your journey to other countries, please establish entry requirements for those countries as well.