OUR SAFARIS: THE PRACTICALITIES
YOUR SAFARI WITH THE KILI EXPERTS: THE PRACTICALITIES
What’s included in the price of your safari
The following is included in our published safari prices:
- – all necessary movements and transfers from your hotel in Arusha, via the venues on your safari schedule, and back to your Arusha hotel again.
- – all safari costs, vehicle use, salaries of support staff, food and mineral water, and National Park and Game Reserve entrance fees.
- – full-board basis accommodation as stipulated in your safari overview with respect to your chosen accommodation grade
(For tips on your safari, count on paying about US$15-20 per day to the driver for all of you, not per person.)
In other words, apart from tips and drinks at the lodges (you will be supplied with mineral water during the safari), everything else is covered for the duration of the safari.
What to bring
Compared to getting ready for Kili, packing for a safari is a cinch.
Unless you book some trekking on our safari, your trip will basically involve spending most of your time bouncing around in the back of a car – so you need to dress appropriately for this. It can get hot, of course, so your attire will largely consist of T-shirts and shorts. But it can, on occasion, also get rather chilly, particularly in the evenings – so make sure you pack a fleece or two too.
Large Holdall As with your trek, you need two bags: one (large) that carries your clothing etc that you won’t need that day. And…
Daysack, 25-35 litres. This second one is for personal use while you’re on safari, so you can keep those items you may need that day (suncream, sunglasses, camera etc) readily to hand.
If you’re on a multi-day walking safari (eg around the Ngorongoro Highlands) then you’ll also need a waterproof rucksack liner and/or a waterproof rucksack cover too. (Remember that plastic bags are banned in Tanzania so you won’t be able to use bin bags/shopping bags.)
If you staying in lodges and permanent tents on your trip, you won’t need to worry about sleeping equipment. If you’re camping, however, then you’ll need to bring a sleeping bag. IF you’re climbing Kili with us too then it makes sense to just bring the one bag, which should be rated to -10C (to keep you warm on Kili). But it you’re only taking a safari with us, a +5C -rated bag should be fine.
Note that, as with Kili, sleeping mattresses are not required – we provide these for you.
– Sweat-wicking T-shirts / vests
– Fleece. It can get remarkably chilly on safari.
– Lightweight walking trousers or shorts.
– Waterproofs. It depends on the season, of course, but usually it doesn’t rain that often on safari. But when it does, the downpour can be very heavy.
– Malaria Tablets
– Sun cream.
– Toothbrush, toothpaste & deodorant
– Wet-ones, wet-wipes, travel wipes, or similar
– Kleenex tissues in plastic travel pouches or toilet paper
– Hairbrush / comb
– Sanitary products
– Lip salve with UV protection
– Cash in US dollars. You won’t need much – remember that your safari accommodation is on a full-board basis so you really only need a little cash for alcoholic drinks (not usually covered by ‘full-board’), tips (see bel0w) and souvenirs.
– Credit Cards (for eventualities only & obtaining extra cash from ATMs – though after you leave Arusha you won’t see many cash machines)
– Travel Insurance Documents
– Vaccination Certificates (probably not required on safari).
– Camera/film or Digital Camera with memory cards, batteries & charger
– Sunglasses with UV-filter lenses
– Spare Contact Lenses and fluid, if worn
– Head torch with spare batteries
– Water bottles
– Ear Plugs (in the event of attempting to sleep near barking dogs)
– Mobile phone/smartphone. There is signal reception in much of the national parks and safari areas.
Beginning your safari
You can expect to be collected after breakfast from your hotel by your guide and support team (if joining a camping safari).
Following pick-up, the journey to your first safari venue will vary from just 40 minutes or so (for Arusha National Park) to around four hours if going direct to Ngorongoro on your first day, or if doing a day trip to the crater. Our drivers know the roads intimately and tend to drive very confidently – but please don’t feel inhibited from letting the driver know if you feel that his driving is uncomfortably fast and you wish him to drive slower. His brief is to maximise your enjoyment of the experience – and that usually means spending as much time as possible in the parks themselves, hence the haste at the start of your safari.
Food on a camping safari
Catering for vegetarians on safari
We are often asked whether we are able to cater for vegetarians. We are, and we estimate that vegetarians comprise some 10% or so of all our guests, so this is a very usual request.
We do not operate set menus and conversely, our cooks are at liberty to prepare their own favourite choices of meals, which we find encourages flare and diversity.
Dinner protocol on safari
Guests’ preferences vary and there are no fixed customs over meals. Solo travellers will often want the guide to join them for dinner whereas honeymoon couples will usually prefer to eat alone. We ask guests to please therefore be very frank, clear and confident with your guide in expressing your own preferences, day by day, such as ‘Tonight Marco, I think Jim and I will take dinner alone’ or ‘This afternoon would you like to join us for lunch, Ayubu?’.
The following are the recommended daily amounts to tip your personnel on safari:
1. Drivers are usually tipped between USD 20 and 30 a day
2. Cooks & assistant guides are each usually tipped between USD 10 and 15 a day
3. Local specialist guides are usually tipped between USD 20 and 40, depending on how difficult their work has been.
We use both Land Rovers and Land Cruisers. The roof is specially modified to enable it to lift upwards and lock. This enables passengers to stand up and look out of the roof in all directions. Vehicles will often have additional shock absorber mounts installed and stiffer than normal suspension springs, which make the vehicle more robust and capable of carrying the requisite weights, but often results in a slightly bumpier ride, of which you should be aware.
Private vehicle occupation and flexibility of movement
Our Tanzanian safaris are designed for small groups and most vehicles will be occupied only by people who know each other and have booked together – unless it has been agreed beforehand with each party.
A private safari allows a great deal of flexibility. If you enjoy certain aspects of a safari more than others, such as birdwatching or finding elephants, you can advise your driver and he will prioritise the things that are important to you. Or if on some days you fancy a steadier pace or wish to stop off en route to see something un-prescribed, you have the liberty of requesting your driver to do this.
Some of the realities of off-road driving in Africa
The fact of the matter is that four-whee-driving in laden vehicles on rough African roads – particularly on adventurous routes off the beaten track – is mechanically very demanding, and minor breakdowns should be anticipated as fairly normal occurrences. And this applies equally to our safaris also, not merely our budget-oriented competitors.
On the average safari lasting more than two days and venturing beyond Lake Manyara, safari-goers should realistically anticipate at least a punctured tyre, and on longer safaris should not be overly disappointed or surprised if their itinerary is further disturbed by a small handful of un-planned events. Additionally, the East African safari circuit relies on a ‘Good Samaritan’ principle, whereby if we find a fellow driver from another company in difficulties, our drivers are trained to ask your permission to pause and offer assistance.
Some breakdowns and mechanical failures are unavoidable when on safari
Expeditions in the African bush contrast significantly with normal off-roading experiences in your home country where, typically, an off-roading weekend excursion requires minimal weight to be carried and will involve a couple of hundred miles of good roads and perhaps only 20 – 50 miles of mud and loose stones. The substantial weights and distances on very rough, dusty, weather-beaten roads on the safari circuit cause frequent damage to shock absorbers and suspension springs. What’s more, the roads wear down expensive tyres in a matter of several weeks, and place difficult-to-anticipate stresses on many engine parts and fuel transmission components. Constant vibrations will also work many things loose, and despite good maintenance practice, problematic door-frame fittings, window winding mechanisms, and windscreen wiper motors are typical issues that frequently arise and which you should please be aware of.
All this said, serious breakdowns seldom occur on our safaris and realistically one need only expect the occasional small problem and punctured tyre. Our drivers are generally very adept at resolving such scenarios, and with the ‘Good Samaritan’ support structure on safaris, breakdowns can easily be taken in stride and to date have never impinged on security.
|Our safaris: Table of contents|
|The parks of the Northern Circuit|
|Accommodation on safari|