Q: What happens if there is a medical emergency on safari?
A: In the unlikely event of illness or injury our driver-guides 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. In the event of a medical emergency an aircraft can be dispatched to lodges or camps. There are good quality medical facilities in the larger towns and cities should you require medical attention while on your trip.
Q: What is a safari shower / “bucket” shower?
A: Safari / bucket showers are common in mobile or tented camps where there is no permanent plumbing. They are an effective yet environmentally friendly way to shower where water is at a premium and provide plenty of hot water to wash comfortably.
Generally there is an en suite private shower stall within your tent with a “rainfall” style shower head at which you can control the water flow. Outside the tent there is a large waterproof bag or bucket which is filled with about 10 to 15 litres (5 US gallons) of hot water before being raised with a pully / rope system to either connect to the shower pipe or fill a cistern. The water is delivered at the ideal temperature so it is best to use it as soon as it arrives. Staff typically fill the showers at a pre-arranged time of day, or you simply need to give them a few minutes’ notice so they can get it ready.
Q: What type of programs do you offer?
Our programs include Individual Departures, consisting of safari itineraries which have been designed with inherent flexibility. Nothing is written in stone. The focus is on well paced, low density tourism with an emphasis on a singular experience. While some of these departures offer multiple levels of luxury, you can be assured only the best hotels with proper ambiance and location are suggested.
Unique to African Travel, our definition of a Small Group Departure is one that operates with a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 12 guests. We bring together like-minded travelers who enjoy meeting and sharing their experience. The group dynamic can provide an energy and exchange that, for many, is an enhancement that is missed when not in the company of other adventurers. Dates chosen for our Small Group Departures are for the most popular travel periods with wildlife and weather in mind.
Q: What is the major difference between Eyes On Serengeti. and the other companies?
We have a very dedicated, experienced staff, with over 15 years of travel expertise, who have in-depth knowledge of the destinations included in our tours. All of our tour programs are designed to be flexible to accommodate deviations which the traveller may wish to incorporate in the tour. Our staff of safari experts will be happy to custom-design a program to any of the areas in East Africa. We have enduring and successful relationships with our vendors, giving us the opportunity to offer competitive prices.
Q: In what type of vehicle will I have game drives?
A: If you are booking a fly-in (air) safari your safari game drives will be operated by your chosen camp / lodge. Various types of vehicles are used for game drives, so do check with your sales consultant which type your chosen accommodation uses. These drives may be shared with other guests – typically maximum 6 per vehicle – and there may be the option to upgrade to a private vehicle.
If you are booking a road safari in Tanzania you can choose between a 6 seater safari vehicle or a closed-sided 4×4 vehicle – both have pop-up roofs giving passengers great photo opportunities. We always recommend a 4×4 safari vehicle in preference to the vans – it is worth the extra cost to be in a real safari vehicle and not in the vans favoured by some of the cut-price tour companies!
At some of the camps when you do game package/shared game drives are taken in specially-adapted 4×4 safari vehicles with open sides, perfect for viewing wildlife and taking photos. These have 3 rows of seats behind the driver / tracker and take a maximum of 6 guests, so everyone is guaranteed a “window” seat. More details of our safari vehicles can be seen on this link
Q: How safe are we from wild animals if we sleep in a tent or go out in open-sided vehicles?
A: Attacks on tourist visitors by wild animals in Africa are extremely rare and almost unheard of when on safari with a reputable company and experienced guide. Most animals are wary of the sight and smell of humans and will flee rather than attack but you should never attempt to approach animals yourself unless you are being escorted by a professional guide. While on game drives you will be taken out by expert guides who are highly trained in assessing situations and avoiding danger. They will avoid causing stress to wild animals and can read the signs. Guides in some countries carry firearms but the key thing is they should always avoid putting guests into a dangerous situation. Wildlife can wander close to camps and lodges and pass through the camp after dark since they are typically unfenced, but every measure is in place to ensure guest safety. For example, in unfenced camps guests should be escorted around camp after dark by staff who are familiar with the behaviour of wildlife. Sleeping under canvas in a tent in the wilds of Africa, surrounded by the sounds of the African bush is a memorable experience!
Q: Will there be lots of bugs and creepy-crawlies? Do we need to bring mosquito nets? And what about snakes?
A: Many visitors are surprised to find that on safari there are often not as many bugs as there are in their home countries in summer 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 in the country but most are quite harmless to humans and some of them are actually very interesting! During the rainy season there are often more insects in evidence especially after a shower of rain. The lodges normally provide mosquito nets in the guest rooms but in the tented camps these are not needed if the tent is insect-proof with zipping doors and sewn in groundsheets. The important thing is to leave the lights switched off when you are out of the tent and always keep the doors zipped shut. Most people on safari do not even see an insect in their lodge room or in their tent. If you notice a gecko (small lizard) in your lodge room, these are common and absolutely harmless so they can just be ignored, especially as they eat mosquitoes and bugs. 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 lodges or 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.
Q: What is a typical day on safari?
A: Each camp and lodge varies with its exact schedule, but generally safaris follow a typical pattern with two main activities each day. Activities are mainly game drives and guided walks, but in some locations can include game viewing from a river.
The morning may begin with a hot drink and light snack before the first drive / activity 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 activity usually ends by late morning with guests returning to the camp / lodge for breakfast / brunch.
Guests generally relax at the camp / lodge 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 or lodge facilities (lounge / hammocks / swimming pool etc) or some properties offer short walks or visits to a hide.
The second main activity will follow afternoon tea (drink / snacks, etc) 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 / lodge for drinks and dinner.
Q: Can we drink the water?
A: The water in many cities and small towns is purified and safe to drink, but we recommend drinking bottled water/drinks which are readily available at hotels, camps, and lodges.
Q: What type of food will we have on safari?
A: The food available at most camps and lodges is of good quality and with an international style. Breakfasts include cereals, fruit, cold meats, eggs, bacon, sausages etc and fresh bread. Lunches and dinners may include soups, salads, cold meats, pasta, meat & fish dishes and fresh fruits and vegetables. Larger lodges tend to offer a buffet selection. Smaller camps have a more personal service with guests dining together communally. Some properties can offer bush breakfasts, picnic lunches and dinners for an experience of dining in the wild.
Q: Do mobile / cell phones work on safari?
A: 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.
Q: Do the camps and lodges have Wi-Fi or internet access?
A: A few safari camps have Wi-Fi / internet available for guests and this is being introduced by more and more camps nowadays although slow download speeds may be frustrating. Some camps may have a 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 Nairobi and on the coast have internet (fees may apply).
Q: Is there power to charge a camera / video camera / laptop / iPad / phone?
A: Yes, the camps and lodges have power – perhaps as solar lighting and / or a generator. The power may be switched off for part of the day. At small camps and lodges you may not be able to use a hairdryer or electric shaver but batteries can be charged either in your tent / room or in a communal area. Your charger must be 220v or you will need to bring a transformer – though most electronic equipment now automatically converts from 110v to 220v. The required adaptor plugs are included in most international travel adaptor kits. For Tanzania it is plug type G (the British-style 3 rectangular pin plug).
Q: How can my family contact me if there is an emergency at home?
A: Most of the properties we offer have telephones and email so can be easily reached. Smaller (mobile) camps may use radio. We recommend that you leave the 24 hour contact details of our office with your friends and family so that we can assist should they need to contact you in an emergency. Our 24 hr emergency number is Tanzania +255-784-771471
Q: I am traveling alone .. can you advise?
A: We welcome single travelers on safari but there are some points to consider:
Many road safaris only operate with a minimum of 2 persons so you may need to be flexible with your choice of dates.
Internal flights also have a minimum passenger rule which is between 2 and 4 people, depending on the time of year. Eyes On Serengeti will always endeavor to book you on flights where others are already confirmed.
We do not offer to ‘pair’ people up at camp so you would need to pay a single supplement for single occupancy of double or twin accommodation.
A safari holiday is a great chance to meet like-minded people with shared game drives. At many camps, you can also enjoy the company of other guests at mealtimes.
Q: Are we expected to give tips to lodge staff and the driver-guides and is there any advice on the normal amounts?
A: Tipping at the safari camps is entirely at your discretion but as a guideline if you wish to give a gratuity then most guests give a tip on the last day in each camp equating to around US$5 to $10 (or TZS 10000) per guest per full day to the Driver-Guide (who will share this with the spotter if they are a 2 person crew) plus around US$5 to $10 per guest per night into the staff tip box for the rest of the staff. It may be difficult to obtain change or to exchange foreign currency at the smaller camps so it is best to plan ahead and have Tanzania Shillings for tips before starting a safari.
Q: Will I need to take US dollars in cash and how do I obtain local currency?
A: Some safari lodges and camps or rural hotels may not all accept credit cards and where they do they may add a surcharge, or for payment in US$ cash they may give an unfavourable exchange rate. So it is recommended that you obtain whatever local currency you may need on safari in advance by drawing cash from an ATM at the bank at the airport on arrival in Nairobi using an international VISA card with a PIN. ATM cash machines are also available in most major towns for cash to be obtained in local currency. If you take US dollar bills with you then please note that older bank notes dated before 2000 may not be accepted.
Q: Do I need to bring a sleeping bag / pillows for Adventure Camping?
A: Our popular Adventure Camping trips (using the smaller dome tents) are designed to bring fantastic value by doing away with some luxuries but without compromising on the game-viewing experience. Thick ground mattresses and pillows are supplied and sleeping bags can be hired (ask your sales consultant at the time of booking). Some clients like to bring their own sleeping bag – we recommend one that is suitable for mild temperatures – “10 degrees C” (where categorized by temperature) or “Summer” (where categorized by season). e.g. in Tanzania, the average minimum overnight temperature is 11 to 13 degrees Celsius. Also bear in mind the weight and packed dimensions for your convenience in carrying it with your luggage.