ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
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.
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.
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.
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.
Countries that require Yellow fever certificate of vaccination:
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.
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.
Travelling on safari in most areas of Africa includes short flights in a light aircraft. Statistically, these flights are very safe and the aviation companies which operate them are monitored by government bodies in line with strict international standards. However, due to the sheer number of flights, there are occasional accidents, these can be serious. The fact that these incidents are usually reported in the international media is an indication of how rarely they occur.
At Escape Safari Co. we are able to provide private charter services for guests on their safaris. This makes use of a private aircraft (Pilatus PC12) for the duration of your trip with us. Alternatively, we make use of well-known aviation companies that supply light aircraft flights to get guests to their chosen destination.
Eliminating the flying portions of any safari may seem safer, but it will force guests to spend lengthy amounts of time on the road, which could represent a greater risk in itself. There are also many destinations that are only accessible by air.
For more information about air travel on safari or for a detailed brochure on the recommended Pilatus PC 12, please get in touch with our team.
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)
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
PASSPORTS & VISAS
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.