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Frequently Asked Questions

What To Know Before You Go On Safari




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.




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. 

Our CEO Lucille Sive is an expert when it comes to backing on safari. For more tips, view our suggested packing list




1. Is it safe to travel to Africa?

If you followour guidelines you will feel safe. Some areas you visit can be 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 provide us with a strong presence in Africa. Advisors and guests have access to a local Guest Services team availble 24 hours, 7 days a week to deal with any issues that may arise.

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 or view our Travel Alert page. 


3. 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.


4. 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 assistance.




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 meals be available and take that into account?

The information provided to your African Travel specialist 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 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.




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,  guide or lodge staff?

Please see our Tipping Guide


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 also an excellent purchase.


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,  Zambia and Zimbabwe, you may need to pay in cash for purchases at local shops.



It is best to avoid the use of single-use plastic bags altogether when you are packing for an international flight, especially for Africa. This will avoid possible delays and any penalties regarding this issue. Eliminating single-use plastics from our daily lives, creates a more sustainable travel industry!


Botswana Plastic Bags 

Visitors are encouraged to practice restraint on the use of plastic bags, and to use try and use alternatives that aren't as harmful to the environment and to wildlife.


Kenya Plastic Bag Ban

The use, manufacture and importation of all plastic bags is  illegal.  Travelers arriving into Kenya with plastic bags, including duty-free plastic bags, will be required to leave them at the airport under the new rules.


Rwanda Plastic Bag Ban

Rwanda has a ban the manufacture, use, importation and sale of plastic bags, and any and all forms of plastic bags are confiscated before entering the country.  When you arrive in Rwanda at Kigali airport you will see a large sign reading, “Use of non-biodegradable polythene bags is prohibited”.


Tanzania Plastic Bag Ban

The sale and use of plastic bags is banned throughout Tanzania, and travelers to Tanzania are advised not to bring any plastic bags into the country (including zip-lock bags). We recommend that each traveler bring a fabric tote bag for use in the country.



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Call 1-800-421-8907 or fill out our questionnaire and submit it to a specialist to plan a trip.


Safari Questionnaire

CST #2071444-20