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Safari FAQS

Safari FAQS - Karagwe Tours and Safaris

1. I am interested in a Safari? What is my next step?

You can book a proposed itinerary from our website. These trips offer the convenience of a pre-set itinerary and a fixed price, with flexible scheduling. Travel dates are up to you. We only organize group and private Safaris. This implies that only you and your travel partner(s) will be on the trip. There will be only you on the transfers, the Safari vehicle and the tours. This provides you much flexibility on where to stop and finding your preferred animals. Or you can start from scratch and work with us to develop a totally customized itinerary and schedule. We are enthusiastically open to side trips, detours, special needs and special plans. For a booking we need an advance payment of 30% of the tour price, the remaining balance you can pay here at arrival. After receiving your advance payment (or the proof of payment by e-mail) we will start to book all services to you. After confirming all services we come back to you with the confirmation voucher.

2. What is your cancellation policy?

– Up to 30 days before departure: Penalty of 20%
– Up to 21 days before departure: Penalty of 50%
– Less than 14 days before departure of no show: Penalty of 100%

3. What does the trip price include?

· Full board lodging (3 meals a day) on Safari, whether in hotels, lodges, tented camps, mobile tented camps, or bush camps as specified in your itinerary
· Entirely your park and game reserves fees, counting conservation fees
· Unlimited game drives in our safari vehicles-window seat guaranteed
· All inside-country transfer as stated in your itinerary, whether by vehicle or bush plane
· One of our experienced in-country safari guides
· Excursions, as specified in your itinerary
· Unlimited bottled water in our safari vehicles

4. What is not included in the trip price?

· International airfare
· Any expenses incurred in conjunction with this trip while in your home country
· Cost of obtaining required passports or Visas: Tanzania US$50pp, Kenya US$50pp
· Airport departure taxes: Tanzania/Zanzibar domestic departure tax US$5pp one way, Tanzania/Zanzibar international departure tax US$25pp – payable direct in cash on departure (If it is not yet included in your ticket). There is a new ‘security fee’, for domestic flights being 1 US$ per person, for international flights 8 US$.
· Travel Insurance: Please make sure that you obtain convenient travel insurance in your home country
· Excess baggage fees. Note: Baggage is restricted to 33lbs/15kgs for domestic flights, per person in a soft-sided bag on all charter flights
· Medical expenses, meals or activities not specified or indicated as optional
· Gratuities to drivers/guides/tour leaders. Note: Tipping is discretionary based on services provided; Tipping guidelines are: $10 per day for professional safari guides/tour leaders; $3-$5 per day for camp staff, e.g. waiters, housekeepers, which is a communal tip that is shared among the staff); porters – $1; driver/guides – $2-$5); restaurant waiters/waitresses – 10% of bill; hotel housekeeping – $2 per day.

5. How does our pricing work?

Our trips use tiered pricing based on logistics. Getting people into remote areas where the best game viewing exists is more costly when there are only two people in the Land Rover, rather than four or five. Economies of scale outcome in lower rating for four or five people traveling together as disparate to pricing for a couple traveling alone. As well, the logistics of moving gear around for a walking safari with numerous bush camps is more complicated and costly than a trip that involves simply staying at a lodge. Our pricing structure is tiered so you pay for the costs of your safari and don’t subsidize other groups. Our trips have no hidden costs. We don’t quote you a low price and then tell you that, in addition you have to pay your park fees or that in-country transportation is extra. When we quote you a tour price it includes almost everything while you are in the state. The few items not included like gratuities, passport and Visa fees, and beverages are set forth above. Our trip prices range over a wide scale. The price depends on:
· The number of people traveling in the group
· Whether your in-country transportation is by bush plane or Land Rover
· Whether you choose to stay in lodges or smaller tented camps
· How remote you want to go
· Whether you want to view game from a mobile tented camp
· Whether you need to take part in walking safaris that involve remote bush camps
· We will be able to work with you to bring your safari within your budget range

6. How far in advance do I need to book?

There is no limit. Though, flights into Kenya and Tanzania are inadequate and we find that there can be problems getting seats on British Airways or KLM if you attempt to schedule less than two months ahead of time. Highest seasons also book up as far as nine months ahead of time. Mid to late December is a busy time in both Kenya and Tanzania. Outside of peak seasons, you should have no worry on booking if you schedule your safari at least six to eight months in advance.

7. When is the best time of year to visit Tanzania?

Let’s start with when it’s raining season: November, April and May. During those month Safaris are possible, and it is by far not raining every day. Even if, then only for a few hours. But it can get hard if you want to visit remote places. The mass Migration moves from Kenya into the Serengeti in Tanzania in December, January, February, and March. This can be a remarkable time to travel in Tanzania. Climate changes are triggering some changes in the timing of the migration, so check with us if you are interested in traveling on the edges of the normal migratory months. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t great game viewing at other times. Off-peak season can be a very relaxing time. The lodges are less crowded and the game reserves not involved in the migratory pathways have as much game as normal. It’s all a matter of what you want. Check with us if you have specific time frames in mind for your travel and we can help you plan where to be so you get the best possible game viewing experiences.

8. What kind of weather can I expect on Safari?

Greatest part of East Africa is savannah, similar to the high plateau, semi-desert areas of Colorado or New Mexico. Altitude ranges from 3,000 to 7,000 feet. Obviously Kilimanjaro climbers will experience much higher elevations. Temperatures during the day range from 75 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Nights are cool with temperatures dipping as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit in some areas (Ngorongoro Crater, for example). Even though you will be traveling near the equator, please take our packing recommendations seriously and take along a light jacket or sweatshirt, sweater, and a fleece pullover. Moreover, bring something warm to sleep in at night. Humidity is low. If you don’t travel close to the rainy season, it frequently doesn’t rain.

9. What kind of safari vehicle do I need to be in?

On all our safaris we make use of specially designed and converted Toyota Land cruisers. We have put a lot of thought into adapting them to the rugged African bush, the rough conditions and the bumpy roads, providing maximum comfort and at the same time ensuring the best safari experience for our guests.

Our safari vehicles have large sliding windows and pop-up roofs, offering excellent views and giving our guests fantastic opportunities for safe and undisturbed photography while on game drives.

In Kenya we normally use minivans in game drive viewing with pop-up roof. These take 6 passengers in 3 rows so each has a window seat. The mini-van has dominated the scene in Kenya for a very long time – both for the usual airport to hotel transfers and for the safaris into the parks and reserves.

10. Clothing

We recommend that you bring light casual clothes, please bring khaki clothing, sunglasses, sunscreen, hat and insect repellent if you go on safari. In the evenings it can get rather chilly, particularly in the desert areas and in the months of May-August, so take a sweater and a windbreaker. Assured 5-star hotels need a smart dress code for dinner. Packing list for Safaris or Kilimanjaro hikes

11. Electricity

Tanzania uses 220 Volt, but you will need adapters. Most hotels have adapters obtainable. On our Safari vehicles you can recharge your phone and cameras. We also have small transformers in combination with the cigarette lighters; please let us know in advance if you would need this. Particularly on camping Safaris there is no other way to charge than the cars electricity.

12. Food and drinks

The food is outstanding and you will find a good mix of African, European and International cuisine. Fresh vegetables, seafood and meats make it an excellent culinary experience to travel here. South African wines are sold everywhere, and are superb. Tap water is not drinkable in most areas only bottled water should be consumed. Prices of beverages (depending on hotel/location): bottled water 1,5 l: 1 – 2 US$ soft drinks: 1 US$ beer: 1.5 – 2.5 US$ glass of wine: 3 – 4 US$ bottle South African wine: 15 – 25 US$

13. What kind of medical care do I need before I go to Tanzania?

Before you depart for an international destination you should look up your physician. You will also need to decide on a malaria prevention medication. It is advised to take malaria prophylaxis. Please see also Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Yellow Fever vaccination since 1.1.08 If you traveled before arrival to Tanzania in an yellow fever endemic zone, then vaccination for Yellow Fever is since 1.1.08 obligatory again. The Yellow Fever Endemic Zone include the following Countries: Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote D’Ivore, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Niger, Chad, Central African Republic, Togo, Benin, Sao Tome and Principe, Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, United Republic of Tanzania, Angola, Zambia, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Somali, Sudan and Equatorial Guinea, Panama, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana and Bolivia Travelers who happen to be on transit in any of the Yellow Fever Endemic Countries will be exempted from the requirement of inoculation against Yellow Fever; Transit means remaining at the Airport under the Management of Airport Authority awaiting travel connection. YELLOW FEVER VACCINATION ON ARRIVAL AT JRO is provided at entry points free of charge for 2008, later it’s 50 US$ per person. Other vaccinations like hepatitis, tetanus are recommended.

14. Visa

Tourists from most countries need a Visa for them to enter Tanzania. All visitors can purchase a Visa at the point of entry. You need a passport valid at least half a year, and to pay 50 US$ cash. It is most of the time only a 30 minutes procedure but can take longer if there are several arrivals at a time. American citizens need to pay 100 US$, and get only a multiple entry Visa (since September 2007). If you intend to fly to Nairobi and then travel on to Tanzania, remember that you may also require a multiple entry Visa to enter Kenya, even if it is only for a few hours. The Visa for Kenya and Tanzania is 50 US$ per person for each country (except of American citizens, see above).

15. Photography

Some of the happiest travelers I have met are those that don’t take a camera with them and just enjoy what they see, but most people want a record of some of the fantastic sights along the way. You will get equally close to a lot of the wildlife animals, but the best 35 mm camera with a 75-300 zoom lens will surely aid you take some pronounced shots. It is constantly best to buy your film before you travel, since film here is expensive. 100 – 200 ASA is the best speed for general photography here. However it can get bright, you might want to be able to get some action shots and the higher speed film will be supportive. Some people also like to use 400 ASA for fast moving wildlife and evening shots. A beanbag is much better than a tripod for photos from the car. A cable release is useful to get shots without camera motion.. Remember to bring extra batteries for your camera equipment. 

16. Tipping on Safari

Our general recommendation is to tip moderately – in accordance with the level and quality of service provided. The following guidelines are generally accepted practice (per person): Safari guide(s) – US $10 per day; Cook US $7, Camp staff – US $3 – $5 per day, as a pooled tip to be shared among the housekeepers, waiters, bartender, etc. For porters and waiters at hotels and for taxi drivers in cities, the customary tip is approximately US $1. (Tipping in US $1 bills for porters and waiters is greatly appreciated). The traditional tip to safari guides or camp staff is not included in the price of your trip but is totally discretionary. Beware of dishonest people who try to pressure extra payment from unwary passengers just for shuffling their bags around. 

17. Money Matters

The component of local currency is the Tanzania Shilling (TSh). American dollars in cash or travelers cheques are suitable in most places around town (note: AMEX Traveller cheques are often not accepted). Credit cards are accepted only in big hotels, and if you do manage to find a place to use them there will usually be a surcharge of at least 10%. Please note not to bring US $ notes issued before 2002, as they are not accepted here! In Arusha, Dar and Zanzibar there are ATM’s where you can get local currency with your Visa or MasterCard.
Please click here for actual exchange rates of the local currency TSH Shilling

18. What are the luggage restrictions in Tanzania?

Most scheduled flights have a luggage restriction of 20kg which is standard in Africa. Luggage on charter flights is restricted to 15kg per person and must be carried in soft bags only. Excess luggage can often be stored with our suppliers at their offices in Arusha.

19. Does Tanzania have the Big Five?

Yes, although it can be hard at times to see rhino, given their scarce status and shy nature. Click here for more information about Tanzania’s wildlife.

20. Will our guide carry a rifle with them?

The rangers on safari walks in the private parks will carry a firearm. However, these are only used in the utmost of extreme circumstances, if in the unlikely event, safety comes into question. Guides and driver guides in the national parks do generally not carry rifles with them.

21. Can I bring my children on safari in Tanzania?

Yes. Many lodges in Tanzania do accept children and children of virtually any age are welcome on game drives because in East Africa all of the game drives in the national parks are done in closed vehicles with pop-up roofs (as opposed to open vehicles in Southern Africa). We do recommend if you are traveling with children that you travel by air as opposed to by road because distances by road are long, the conditions bumpy and the whole experience is quite trying when traveling with young ones. Click here for more information about family safaris

22. Is it safe to drink the water?

No. We recommend that you drink bottled water which is readily available at all of the lodges and hotels.

23. Is it rude to barter or haggle at the local markets?

No. Haggling is not rude and is often expected. Find out what there is to buy in Tanzania.

24. What is the standard of accommodation like in Tanzania?

A 5 star in East Africa is often similar to a 4 star in Southern Africa. For more information on accommodation in Tanzania we can provide the links just ask us.

25. What can one expect to pay for accommodation in Tanzania?

This varies drastically depending on where you are staying and the level of luxury and exclusivity you are looking for. For lodge accommodation, one can expect to pay anything from $250 (US Dollars) per person per night upwards. The upper limit for extremely up-market accommodation in Tanzania stretches up to $1,200 per person per night. The cost of accommodation generally includes all meals. At certain lodges it will include various activities and certain drinks as well.

26. What kind of activities can one do in Tanzania?

This varies greatly depending on where you are traveling. In the national parks, one goes on game drives during the day in closed vehicles with pop-up roofs, but no night drives or walking are permitted for safety reasons. In the private conservancies, many lodges offer both day and night drives as well as safari walks. Game drives in the private reserves are also sometimes in open vehicles.

27. Do i need to sleep in town before the safari?

We usually recommend sleeping at least one night in Arusha (North) or Dar es Salaam (South) before the safari. This is because the safaris start early (9am) and if you arrive much later you will lose valuable time. Besides, even if you arrive early, a day in Arusha is good for orientation, to rest and even to prepare for any flight delay or luggage loss.

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