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    Many of the trips that we offer include multiple interconnecting flights. These vary from conventional wide-body aircraft, all the way down to small, four seater aircraft. In this section we discuss some of the issues around air safety. The levels of air safety in even the most remote countries, to which we offer trips, are remarkably good. Safaris in many areas are primarily facilitated by light aircraft, so there are often small aircraft carrying guests daily. These flights are statistically very safe, as the aviation companies which operate them are monitored by government bodies to international standards. Due to the sheer number of daily flights, there are occasionally accidents, which are sometimes serious. The fact that these incidents are usually reported in the international media is an indication of how rarely they occur. It is estimated that the chances of being involved in such an incident is around 1 in 40,000. The obvious way to eliminate such risk from your safari would be to avoid flying in small aircraft altogether and instead travel by road. But in truth, road travel in most countries is far more dangerous. If you are really concerned, insist on flying in twin-engined aircraft, which are far more reliable statistically. If you feel concerned about this issue, then do bring it up when you first get in touch and we will plan your travels accordingly. There are many great safaris where flights in small aircraft can be minimised or even eliminated completely.
    Attacks on humans by animals is naturally a concern for many travellers, if not all. Visiting wilderness areas that have large mammals who have the ability to do harm can lead to concern. However, through decades of minimal impact viewing of wildlife, animals have become used to the presence of vehicles as well as the sounds and smells of humans, at close proximity. If you are visiting a well known safari lodge or camp, you will be exposed to extremely well-trained, professional guides and trackers who spend their lives safely showcasing wildlife to guests across the continent. The risks Serious injury caused by large animals when out on safari is extremely rare, but it does happen. There is around one fatal animal attack every two years, most often involving camp staff, but sometimes involving guests. It is estimated that the chances of being involved in such an incident is around 1 in 80,000. For each fatal attack, one should assume that there are other less significant incidents. Refer to the section below on how to mitigate these risks. Be aware The safari world has developed a code of conduct which serves to protect both animals and guests. When you arrive at any lodge where this type of risk exists, the hosts will give you a full safety briefing to ensure that you are aware of what risks may be present. It is essential that you understand these rules and stick to them at all times. If you do, then you should have very little to worry about. If at any time you feel that you have not received an adequate safety briefing, please mention this to the lodge manager or your guide. If a swift resolution is not found, then you should contact us immediately. At no time should you feel unsafe in your surroundings. Liability waivers At most lodges you will be required to sign a liability waiver, which is usually worded in such a way to minimise the chance for you to seek compensation in the event of an incident occurring. By signing, you acknowledge the risk that are posed to you and you take full responsibility for exposing yourself to those risks. If you refuse to sign such an indemnity, the implication is often that is that you will not be able to stay at the said lodge. It is important to understand this before you confirm your safari. If you are particularly concerned about this, then please ask us to get copies of the liability waivers from the camps you intend to visit before you book, so that you can read through them in advance. If you decide to go through this process between booking and travelling, then any resulting changes to the trip may be liable to cancellation and/or change fees. On walking safari The highest levels of risk are usually encountered when out on a walking safari. It is absolutely essential that you only undertake this activity in the company of a suitably competent guide with a walking qualification. Walking guides who are resident at a particular lodge would have gone through a rigorous training and qualification process. In most areas these guides will be armed, although this is not necessarily always the case. In some areas, the parks authorities do not permit camp guides to carry weapons, but instead oblige them to take an armed park ranger along each time they operate a walking safari. These rangers are employed by the national parks or conservancies and are not under the employment of the lodge or camp. It is absolutely essential that, whilst out on walking safari, you follow the instructions of your guide to the letter, from start to finish. Around camp It is possible, although rare, to have dangerous encounters with animals whilst in and around your camp or lodge. In locations where the risk is considered to be higher, it is commonplace for guests to only move around the camp in the company of a guide or guard, especially in the dark. It is very important that you stick to the camp rules, which will be explained to you during your arrival briefing.
    The costs of travel in Africa can be very substantial, especially for safaris. Whilst most travelers are primarily concerned about the quality of their trip, elevated price levels can become a major issue for many. Our primary concern is to tailor-make trips that are ideal for our guests. A big part of this is trying to find the correct lodges and logistics to make it as enjoyable and pain-free as possible, whilst meeting our guests’ budget constraints. We are in the business of planning bespoke safari travel and in doing so, this allows us to manage your budget to the best of our abilities. We can modify the cost of a trip by varying dates and durations, swapping out the various components in a transparent and clear way. Escape Safari Co. operates in the middle to high-end safari market. Unlike most specialist safari companies who commonly offer only one level of cost options, we work very hard at maintaining a wide range of lodges and transport providers. This is so that we can accommodate an unusually broad range of budgets. To get an idea of some of the experiences we offer and the costs involved, please get in touch with us. We work directly with our guests to plan each safari and custom make each trip to suit their needs. Price guarantee: It is very important to note that there are no compulsory fees for our services. We are remunerated by the safari operators in Africa to provide you with a first-class trip building service. It is all part of the complete, one-stop service that safari guests should be able to enjoy. This means that you work with a genuine safari expert to build a superb safari free of charge! The best way to determine the price of a trip is to make an enquiry with us. It is never too soon to get in touch and often, it is much easier if we get involved during the formative stages of your planning. When you contact us, all you need to do is give us some vague indication of what you would like to do and how much you would like to spend. We will then come back to you with a handful of suggested trips showing a range of different options and prices. Payments: Upon confirmation of your safari, we are required to take an upfront fee in order to secure accomodations in lodges. Our payment guidelines are below: 35% on booking 65% 90 days from travel If you make a booking within 3 months of travel, then we are obliged to ask for 100% payment on confirmation of the booking. We try to offer as broad a range of payment options as possible in order to minimise the charges you pay to us and to your local bank. Payments can be made by credit/debit cards or by direct bank transfer. Please note that we are not permitted to accept any payments in cash. All trips are priced in Rands and/or USD. Wire Transfers: USD bank wire transfers will incur no charges from us. Please be aware that your bank may levy an international transaction fee. USD debit/credit card: Please note that there will be an added 4.5% charge from us to cover the amount charged to us by the credit card companies. Your provider may also levy an international transaction fee.
    The cancellation of a trip is a rare and unfortunate event, which can be a difficult scenario for everyone involved. With safaris being booked so far in advance to secure the accommodation and arrange flawless logistics, these long lead times can lead to inevitable chances of cancellation. Upon booking your safari, we will send you documentation outlining our cancellation policy, which is clear and concise. This circumstance, while never easy, is something that does occur and for that reason, the necessary procedures are in place to assist as best we can. During the booking process, Escape Safari Co. are obliged to pass on substantial cancellation charges to the relevant lodges and suppliers, these charges naturally increase as the safari date draws closer: 0 to 60 days: 100% 60 to 90 days: 55% 90+ days: 35% Please note that certain items like gorilla and chimp permits are 100% non-refundable. The most common reason for cancellation is ill-health of those traveling or close relatives. Under such circumstances, charges can usually be claimed back from your travel insurance.
    The safari industry in Africa has come a long way with regards to dietary knowledge and understanding individual requirements. At almost every camp you visit, you are able to enjoy delicious cuisines that can be modified to meet your specific needs. Upon confirmation of your safari, Escape Safari Co. will send our guests a Guest Information Form that will ask a range of questions pertaining to your specific needs and requirements. There is a dietary section in that we encourage you to complete to the best of your abilities. Once we receive this, we will pass this information onto the various lodges so that they are aware of your needs and are able to plan and cater for you. Some of the most well-known dietary issues are: Gluten-free Diets (Celiac) Wheat-free Diets Lactose and Dairy-Free Diets Vegan and Vegetarian Diets Low Carbohydrate, High Fat Diets like Banting Carbohydrate Free Diets like Keto Allergies that can be avoided: Peanuts Wheat Gluten Eggs Dairy Fish and Shellfish Seeds and Spices These are just a few of the issues that we have been exposed to in the past but the more information you provide, the better we can assist in ensuring your needs are met.
    Most parts of Africa are likely to be less prepared for caring with disability than we have come to encounter elsewhere. Many parts of remote Africa make it challenging to get around in a wheelchair. However, with this being said, we are able to ensure that the lodges you visit will be able to accommodate your needs so that you can enjoy the same experience that all guests do. If you require assistance in any way, there are always plenty of helpful hands. We have personally met and guided guests living with various disabilities. Each one has enjoyed their respective experience without any issues. If you are concerned that a disability might restrict your ability to travel, the best thing to do is contact us. Please be explicit about your particular circumstances and we will work with you to build the trip of a lifetime.
    Most African countries require visitors to have at least six months between the date of entry into the country and the expiration of their passport. You will also need to have sufficient empty pages in your passport for stamps and visas. We recommend at least six empty pages in your passport in order to have a smooth travel experience. Visa requirements for each African country vary and we will ensure that we arrange these according to your itinerary. Most African countries allow guests to attain an entry visa upon arrival. Some are at no charge but others do come with a small visa cost. Escape Safari Co. will identify where guests will need these and ensure sufficient allowance is made for this in our costing. Another concern in many African countries is that of child trafficking. Due to this, many countries require children under 18 years of age to travel with the original copy of their birth certificate, listing the details of both parents. Another requirement is for both parents to be present when the child enters a country. Should one parent not be travelling, we will ensure that the correct paperwork is in order prior to travel.
    Tipping is common across Africa and guests on safari are often in a challenging position when it comes to gratuities. Amounts to tip and whom to tip can often be unclear. At Escape Safari Co. we will provide our guests with all of the relevant information regarding tipping procedures and amounts. It is important to note that a gratuity is not expected by staff but rather a gesture to individuals who have made your stay memorable. When travelling to Africa, you will meet many people from guides to lodge staff, butlers, porters, polers, pilots and more. Escape Safari Co. will ensure you are informed of whom to tip and indicate what is a gracious amount. Tips can be given in local currencies or in USD, GBP or EUR, so be sure to carry small denominations with you on your safari.
    It is essential that international travellers have suitable medical cover in their travel insurance to cater for the full costs of evacuation, treatment and repatriation. In most cases, medical care and any associated evacuation is privately provided and needs to be paid for, so please do be sure that you have suitable proof of insurance on you at all times.
    Malaria is an infectious disease caused by a parasite transmitted by mosquitoes. Symptoms are typically flu-like and include symptoms like fevers, headaches, nausea and aching limbs. It is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions, including much of sub-Saharan Africa but with the notable exceptions of most of South Africa and Namibia. Almost all travellers visiting Africa on short to medium length safaris are prescribed anti-malaria pills by their doctor. These do provide a high level of protection as well as other important practical measures that can be adopted to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Top tips to avoid being bitten: Sleep under a good mosquito net. Use the insect repellents provided in the lodges and spray your body thoroughly. Focus on the parts of your body where your clothes touch your skin, especially around the ankles. (Peaceful Sleep is the most common brand in Southern Africa). Wear long trousers and sleeves at dusk and dawn to cover your skin. (This is when mosquitoes are most active). Avoid leaving the lights on in your suite/room/tent as this will attract mosquitoes at night. Contraction: Malaria is transmitted by the bite of an infected female anopheles mosquito. Even people who are taking malarial prophylaxis pills can contract malaria, either by encountering a strain that is resistant to the drugs, by missing a dose or losing a dose due to vomiting. There is much information online about Malaria and its risks but if you are interested in knowing more.
    Ebola is a family of rare but very serious viral diseases, which have attracted much attention due to the severity of associated symptoms. These include severe influenza-type symptoms that become more serious as the disease progresses. However, the hemorrhagic symptoms of bleeding from areas such as the eyes and ears only occur in less than 10% of all cases. These diseases originate in the forests of tropical equatorial Africa and were initially thought to have been spread by primates. New research indicates that bats are now the most likely natural reservoir, with transmission via their faeces into the food chain. The largest recorded outbreak of Ebola took place during the second half of 2014, primarily in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea in West Africa. This outbreak was very serious for local people and caused a huge amount of disruption in those countries. In 2014, there was much press about the Ebola outbreak, which in turn, caused a great deal of worry among guests travelling to Africa. This epidemic caused huge damage to the economic growth of many African countries that suffered due to a decrease in inbound tourism. Within the safari industry, there were great losses too as well as negative impacts later on. This was especially true for conservation due to non-travel and cancellations by guests. The numbers of people going on safari during that period fell by around 50%, even though none of the safari countries hosted a single case of the virus and places like Nairobi and Johannesburg are further away from and less connected to the affected countries than the likes of Paris or London. Currently, the situation is extremely stable and therefore the chances of a guest ever catching Ebola whilst on safari are virtually zero.
    Yellow fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease, transmitted by the bite of female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and other species. The only known hosts of the virus are primates. In most cases, the disease presents itself with fever, nausea, and pain that generally subsides after several days. In some patients, a toxic phase follows in which liver damage with jaundice can occur and lead to death. Because of the increased bleeding tendency, yellow fever belongs to the group of hemorrhagic fevers. Locations: Countries that require Yellow fever certificate of vaccination: • Kenya • Rwanda • Uganda • Tanzania* • Zambia* If you are travelling in or out of a yellow fever endemic country, then you may be required to show a certificate of vaccination. Countries are continually changing their entry requirements with regards to yellow fever certification. The best advice is to always carry your proof of vaccination with you or at the very least, a certificate stating that you are medically unable to have the vaccine. *The question of whether or not yellow fever is endemic in Tanzania and Zambia is in dispute but for practical travel purposes, the most important element of this debate is the issue of border control. Due to this, it is compulsory to bring vaccination certificates when travelling to these countries. Avoidance: Since the 1980s, the number of cases of yellow fever has been increasing, making it a re-emerging disease. However, a safe and effective vaccine against yellow fever has existed since the middle of the 20th century. Since no therapy is known, vaccination programs are, along with measures to reduce the population of the transmitting mosquito, of great importance in affected areas.
    At least a month before you leave for your trip, you should visit your doctor in order to check whether you need any vaccinations. The official advice for vaccinations changes regularly, so even if you have been to the tropics recently you should check in again with your health professional. Here is a list of the most commonly prescribed vaccines: Coronaviruses: As the covid-19 pandemic is ever changing, the rules and regulations related to entry into countries changes quickly. For this reason, as your trip approaches, we will revisit all of the entry requirements and advise you on the necessary entry requirements for the various countries you wish to visit, with respect to tests and/or vaccinations for Coronaviruses. Hepatitis A: Under brand names such as Havrix, Monodose and Avaxim, this vaccine comprises two injections given about a year apart. It can be given quite close to the time of departure and lasts for around 25 years. Tetanus, polio and diptheria: Now often given as a single all-in-one vaccine, Revaxis, which lasts up to ten years. Tuberculosis: Most people will have had the BCG injection as a child. It is in doubt whether it works in adults, so advice from clinicians varies considerably. Typhoid: The newer injectable typhoid vaccines such as Typhim Vi last for three years and are about 85% effective. Oral capsules such as Vivotif need to be taken over the course of a week or so and give up to five years protection. Yellow fever: This disease is endemic in most countries of western, central and eastern Africa. A certificate of vaccination is required at many borders. Check the section on yellow fever for more details. Preventative medicines In addition to these vaccinations, it's quite possible that you will need to take tablets to prevent malaria. Please visit your local GP for advise related to Malaria prior to travel. Less common vaccines The following vaccines are much less frequently recommended, but may be suitable for your trip: Hepatitus B: This vaccine is less commonly recommended, usually only for trips of two months or more, particularly when involved with children or contact with blood. Three injections are needed, which can be given over a three week period if time is pressing. Meningitis: This vaccine is usually recommended for longer trips, but increasingly for all travellers. Ideally it should be the version containing strains A C W and Y, but the A and C version is better than nothing. Rabies: This is only usually recommended for travellers on longer trips and to areas remote from healthcare facilities, especially for people working with animals.
    Ticks are small spider-like insects which usually inhabit areas of long grass, leaping onto larger mammals as they pass by in order to feed by sucking their blood. These are present in many areas across Africa. Sicknesses Remarkably, ticks bites experienced in the tropics are generally less dangerous than those in more northerly climes, with Lyme disease being much more common in North America and Europe. Ticks can transmit other sicknesses (most notably tick bite fever in South Africa), but these can generally be treated with anti-biotics. Prevention Ticks generally live in areas of long grass and hop onto their hosts as they brush past. The best way to avoid ticks is to avoid walking through long grass. However a more practical option is to dress appropriately, with long pants/trousers, gaiters and long-sleeved shirts. Treatment Ticks need to be removed from the body as soon as possible. If you are in an area where ticks are prevalent then it is recommended that you do a full "tick check" at a frequency which reflects the risk. Disclaimer We suggest that you always refer to a health professional when seeking medical advice.
    Not all of the countries that you may travel to will have the same high levels of medical facilities that you may have become used to back home.
    Generally speaking the medical facilities in most of the countries to which we offer trips are much more rudimentary and more sparsely distributed than in other parts of the world. As a sweeping generalisation, this is perhaps most true of Africa and least true of South America, with other regions lying somewhere in between.
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