1. How long has African Travel, Inc. been in business?
Celebrating its 40th year, African Travel, Inc. has been in business since 1976.
2. Are you bonded?
African Travel, Inc. shares the coverage available under the USTOA $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program with other affiliates of The Travel Corporation who, as an Active Member of the USTOA is required to post $1 Million with USTOA to be used to reimburse, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the USTOA Travelers Assistance Program, the advance payments of African Travel, Inc. customers in the unlikely event of The Travel Corporation bankruptcy, insolvency or cessation of business.
Furthermore, understand that the $1 Million posted by The Travel Corporation may be sufficient to provide only a partial recovery of the advance payments received by African Travel, Inc. Complete details of the USTOA Travelers Assistance Program and a list of affiliates may be obtained by writing to USTOA at 345 7th Avenue, Suite 1801, New York, New York 10001, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting their website at www.USTOA.com.
The financial security of the operator of your choice is of paramount importance. To ensure that our customers travel experience is even more secure, African Travel, Inc. is bonded by US$20 million with The Travel Corporation.
3. Who is The Travel Corporation and how is it affiliated with African Travel, Inc.?
The Travel Corporation, a family-owned group of companies, is a highly successful international travel group with over 25 award-winning brands including Trafalgar Tours, Insight Vacations, Contiki and Red Carnation Hotels, including African Travel, Inc.
For more information on The Travel Corporation, click here.
Know about flying to Africa!
1. How much baggage can I take?
International Airline luggage regulations vary between airlines and destinations. As a rule, there is a maximum check-in baggage allowance of 44 pounds per person (economy class). Business and First Class passengers are allowed considerably more luggage. There is, however, a special policy for passengers originating in the United States. Most airlines allow 2 pieces of checked in luggage not to exceed 50 pounds each. Please check with your African Travel, Inc. safari specialist or your international air carrier for more specific, updated details. It is recommended that you pack lightly, using a soft sided bag.
If your itinerary includes travelling in small safari planes anywhere in Southern or Eastern Africa, luggage space is very limited because of the small cargo hold compartments on these aircraft. For instance, in Southern Africa, luggage is limited to 44 pounds per person, including photographic equipment and carry-ons. For East Africa, luggage is limited to a maximum of 33 pounds including photographic equipment and carry-ons.
There are luggage storage facilities at some airports. In most cases, there will be an extra cost associated with storing or transporting excess luggage.
Know about safaris!
1. Will I be safe in an open safari vehicle?
The safari vehicles are very safe as long as you adhere to your safari guide’s instructions, e.g. no standing in the vehicle, no loud talking and no shouting.
2. What colors should I wear?
While out in the bush you will find that neutral and subdued colors are best as they blend in with the natural surroundings. Avoid very bright colored clothing.
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 your luggage weight allows it.
4. Should I bring insect repellent?
Most camps will provide insect repellent; however, it is a good idea to bring one along which you know will agree with your skin.
5. Can I bring children on safari?
Children under the age of 6 are rarely accepted at lodges. If 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. Some lodges will allow children 6 and over to go on game drives and other lodges only allow children over the age of 12. Please check with your African Travel, Inc. safari specialist to find which lodge is best to consider your needs.
Know about health and safety!
1. Is it safe to travel to Africa?
If you follow these guidelines you will feel totally safe. Some areas you visit will be quite poor by our standards and it is thoughtless to flash money or jewelry. Leave jewelry at home and carry only small amounts of cash. Leave valuables and passports in the hotel safes or with camp managers.
Our Africa based travel partners (tour operators and hotels/lodges) provide us with a strong presence in Africa. Our local offices in Africa provide 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.
Throughout your trip, 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 the memories that will stay with you forever.
2. What can you tell me about government travel warnings and advisories?
We keep updated on all travel advisories. Should a new travel warning come into effect prior to your travel date, we will notify you. However, for the most current information, we strongly recommend that you check on the United States Department of State website at https://travel.state.gov
3. Do I need inoculations?
We suggest that you check with your travel consultant or, for the most up to date information, check the Center for Disease Control website at http://www.cdc.gov
4. Is the water safe to drink?
Drinking water is safe in most areas, although bottled water is available for purchase in most places if you prefer. If there is not bottled water available and you do not want to drink the local water a club soda left open and gone flat is a good alternative.
5. Do I need malaria medication?
Most areas in Africa are malarial areas. Your African Travel, Inc. safari specialist will let you know if you are visiting a non-malaria area. Moreover, we strongly advise you to consult with your physician prior to the commencement of your holiday, for information on precautions against malaria.
6. Will someone be at the airport to meet us on arrival?
We arrange for a “meet and greet” for all our clients. With our local offices in Africa providing 24 hour emergency assistance.
7. Should I get travel insurance and what is the cost?
We recommend purchasing travel insurance. A comprehensive travel policy is available through our insurance partners. Your African Travel, Inc. consultant will be able to direct you to more information. Cancellation fees are charged by our suppliers and are beyond our control. Insurance will cover you for costly cancellation penalties, trip interruption and misconnection, and offer you protection in the event of illness or accident while abroad.
Know about food!
1. What kind of food can I expect to eat?
The food in Africa is generally excellent. In South Africa, Mozambique, Seychelles and Mauritius expect excellent seafood. South Africa has great chefs with world class restaurants, and meals are similar to what you would expect in the US. Produce is fresh and locally grown. In East Africa, meals at the lodges are often served buffet style, providing lots of options for all dietary preferences.
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?
Your African Travel, Inc. safari specialist will ask about your dietary restrictions. This information will be communicated to the lodges or restaurants which we have arranged for you. 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 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 US.
In South Africa, an excellent dinner may cost you approximately US$50 per person. For simple lunches allow about US$ 20 per person; Beer is about US$1.50 per bottle and wines start at about US$10 per bottle in a restaurant.
Know about money matters!
1. Where is the best place to exchange money?
It is recommended that you get local currency on arrival at your first destination at the bank/exchange bureau or ATM in the airport.
2. What currency will I need?
South Africa – South African Rands Botswana – US Dollars
Namibia – South African Rands Zimbabwe – US Dollars
Zambia – Zambian Kwach East Africa – US Dollars
3. How much should I tip my driver or guide?
The following is only a guideline. Tipping is always at your discretion.
Camp Guide/Ranger $15.00 USD per guest per day
Camp Tracker $10.00 USD per guest per day
General Staff $10.00 USD per guest per day
Hotel Staff (i.e. housekeeping) $3.00 USD per guest per day Porterage $2.00 USD per movement per bag
4. International Departure Tax
Several African countries levy an international departure tax payable only in U.S. Dollars (i.e. Zimbabwe US$35.00). Please ensure you have sufficient dollars “tucked away” and are able to pay the US$35.00 in cash. Please make sure you have this money available in the exact denominations as change in US$ is not always available.
At each border crossing and airport entry or departure point in Africa there will be a lot of redundant bureaucracy to deal with, lines to wait in, forms to be filled out, forms to be stamped, and documents to be scrutinized. Be patient, smile and answer all questions politely!! NOTE: If carrying cash, take only recently minted U.S. currency (after 2001).
5. What is shopping like in Africa?
Generally African handicrafts such as leather goods, wooden carvings, sculptures, paintings, bead work and woven articles are popular purchases. Jewelry is an excellent purchase in South Africa.
6. 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. USA has restrictions on how much can be brought in duty free, and anything over that amount will be charged import duties.
One American liter (33.8 fl. oz.) of alcoholic beverages may be included in your returning resident personal exemption if:
• You are at least 21 years old.
• It is intended exclusively for your personal use and not for sale. • It does not violate the laws of the state in which you arrive.
7. Can I use a credit card?
In most cases Visa, MasterCard and American Express are widely accepted. For travel to Rwanda, Uganda Zambia and Zimbabwe, you may need to pay in cash for purchases at local shopping outlets.