African Safari

OVERVIEW:

1. INTRODUCTION

2. PRE-TOUR INFORMATION

2.1 Vouchers

2.2 Airport transfers and hotels

2.3 Day tours

2.4 Local currency & payments

2.5 Departure Points

2.6 Passports and Visa requirements

2.7 Departure briefing

2.8 Indemnity

2.9 Visas

2.10 Age policy

3. PAYMENT & QUESTIONS

3.1 Payment & Deposits

3.2 Contacts & Support

4. WHAT TO BRING

4.1 The essentials

4.2 Luggage

4.3 Clothing

4.4 Personal Medical Kit

5. HEALTH

4.1 Insurance

4.2 Hygiene

4.3 Dehydration

4.4 Sunstroke/heatstroke

4.5 Inoculations/Vaccinations

6. CLIMATE

7. ARRIVAL

7.1 Airport Transfer Service

7.2 What if I am not met?

7.3 Lost Luggage

8. ON TOUR

8.1 Camping Equipment

8.2 Facilities

8.3 Participation in Camp Duties

8.4 Language

8.5 Food and drinks

8.6 Smoking

8.7 Local Laws and customs

8.8 Personal Safety

8.9 Wildlife / canoeing / mokoro / game walk safety briefing

8.10 Game drive briefing

8.11 Spending money

8.12 Zimbabwe Currency Warning

8.13 Airport and Harbour Departure Taxes

8.14 Photography

8.15 Video Cameras

8.16 Battery Backup

8.17 Binoculars

9.  TIPPING STAFF

10. FLEXIBILITY

1. INTRODUCTION   (top)

Please read this document before your our departs. It contains important information about our safari. This will give you an idea of how to prepare for our safari and what to expect. If you have questions please don’t hesitate to ask.

2. PRE-TOUR INFORMATION   (top)

2.1 Vouchers: Before you depart, please read your tour voucher carefully and make sure all details are correct. All of the information that we have received regarding you will be on the voucher. If you do notice a wrong time, date or flight detail, please let us know so we can have correct details.

 

2.2 Airport Transfers & Hotels: We provide airport transfer service from the airport to your the hotel. We reserved your room at the Cresta Sprayview Hotel. Staying at this hotel not only saves you the hassle of getting to the safari departure point on time, but makes the final briefing before the safari can be given to our whole group at one time, and we can get on the road as soon as possible.

 

2.3 Day Tours: If you arrive in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and have time to spare, we can arrange any of the dozens of activities available in Victoria Falls. The activities and tours are safe and informative and relatively inexpensive. See Vic Falls Activity Guide.

 

2.4 Local Currency and Payments:
2.4.1 Visa and MasterCard is widely accepted and our recommended form of payment.

2.4.2 Zimbabwe accepts US dollars. Bring small denominations only, $1, $5, or $10. Converting US currency to the Zimbabwe Rand should be done in small quantity and sparingly.

2.4.3 Botswana requires conversion of US Dollar to their Pula. We can do this in Kasane after passing through the border.

2.5 Departure Points: Unless special arrangements have been made the following will be departure points:
Cresta Sprayview Hotel

Reynard Rd, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Phone: +263 13 44344

(Two guests per room)

 

2.6 Passports and Visa Requirements: All travelers will require a valid passport and sufficient blank pages for any visas required and for the entry/exit border stamps. Generally 1 blank page per country to be visited. Please check that your passport is valid for 6 months after the end of your safari. If you are in possession of two passports, please ensure that you use the same passport for the duration of you tour.

 

2.7 Departure Briefing: At the time of departure there will be a short meeting to discuss the tour and inform you about the day’s activities. Please bring your tour vouchers and insurance policy. You will also be asked to fill out our indemnity form. This is also an ideal time to bring up anything that you are not sure of or that we should be aware of i.e. allergies, medical conditions etc.

 

2.8 Indemnity: All guests travelling with Conserve Our Wild are required to sign an indemnity form before joining the tour. These forms will be handed out and collected by on the morning of departure.


2.9 Visas: It is the sole responsibility of the guest to ensure that they have the required visas to visit Zimbabwe and Botswana. This tour requires the purchase of a double entry visa for Zimbabwe and Botswana, please take note of this when applying for visas. Visas are purchased with Customs at Victoria Falls International Airport, A double entry Visa costs approximately $45. 

Always be courteous, polite and patient at the border posts or when dealing with police or local authorities. Being impatient or arrogant will only cause problems and delay your and the groups passage.

2.10 Age Policy: We allow children 8+ years old with accompanying adult.

3. PAYMENTS & SUPPORT   (top)

3,1  Checks are payable to: Conserve Our Wild

Please mail payment to: 

Conserve Our Wild 
1279 W Palmetto Park Rd, #27-2355
Boca Raton, FL 33486-3301

3.2  Support Contacts

USA Contact: Howie Minsky phone/text (727-276-0400) or email Howie@ConserveOurWild.com

AFRICA Contact: Phone/text Yvonne Zulu (+263-712-740-742) - Tip: use WIFI for calls while in Africa.

4. WHAT TO BRING   (top)

4.1 The essentials: Remember to bring the originals and leave a photocopy of your passport, air tickets, vaccination certificate (if applicable) and travel insurance with someone at home. Cash and/or travellers cheques – keep a note of the serial numbers of your cheques and also the emergency contact numbers and keep these details separate from the cheques themselves.

 

4.2 Luggage: Space in a safari vehicle is limited and we ask you to limit yourself in what you bring. Most people make the mistake of bringing too much in the way of clothing. Below is a guideline of what to bring:

• 1 bag not exceeding 50 pounds per person. We recommend a soft sport type duffle bag. Hard suitcases are bulkier and not recommended but acceptable.

• 1 small day pack or backpack in which to store spare clothes, cameras and other personal effects.

• Sleeping bags are not required but may keep you warmer if needed. Please be aware that September is in the dry season but is a fickle month for temperature and can be cold or warm.

• Money Pouch. A small body hugging flat money pouch to keep your money, passport and airline tickets out of sight.

• Camera

If unsure of what camera to purchase I  recommend one of the following:

Camera Recommend 1: Sony - DSC-HX400 20.4-Megapixel Digital Camera - Black - BestBuy $399.99

This is my current camera which got National Geographic to contact me and request to review my wildlife children’s books for publication. They said my photos were stunning!

Camera Recommend 2: Sony - DSC-H300 20.1-Megapixel Digital Camera - Black - BestBuy $178.99

• Camera storage - I recommend bringing two 64gb SD cards and two or more spare batteries

• Battery backup power supply - I recommend the Anker PowerCore 20100mAh - Ultra High Capacity

Power Bank with 4.8A Output, External Battery Pack. It has two ports. Amazon $49.99

• Binoculars

• Water bottle (minimum 1 litre).

• Flashlight and spare batteries.

• Headlight and spare batteries (recommend Dicks Sporting Goods Lifegear STORM PROOF 260 Lumen Headlamp for $9.99) or similar. It requires 3 AAA’s. Recommend bringing 15 AAA’s for fun use without worrying about power running out.

• Notepad and pen.


 

4.3 Clothing

Bring comfortable, casual “wash and wear” clothes. Recommend earth tones of greens, greys, blues. Bright bold colours and white are not suitable for game viewing or bush wear as they attract insects and the attention of animals. Please do not bring camouflage or military style clothes as they can cause problems with local authorities. You will be unable to wash clothes during the safari. Below is a “guideline” list:

• 6 T-shirts

• 3 pairs of shorts

• 2 pairs of long casual trousers / jeans

• 1 light cotton dress / Sarong for women

• 1 Bathing Suit

• Jersey & waterproof windbreaker

• Warm Jacket!! (This is very important during our winter months)

• Sun block, sunglasses and hat

• Socks and underwear

• A pair of walking/running shoes and a pair of sandals

• Insect repellent (recommend two OFF! Active Sweat Resistant Insect Repellent - 6 oz can $4.68 Walmart) works great and smells like oranges.

• Personal toiletries (including biodegradable soap) Please bring a set of casual evening wear for restaurant visits – please note that some hotels/restaurants do not allow T-shirts or jeans.

Please dress appropriately for border crossings, village and market visits – ie: no bare feet, no bare chests, no bikinis and no hats.

 

4.4 Personal Medical Kit: All of the guides carry a comprehensive medical kit on tour, which is available in emergencies. We recommend that you take along the following:

• Bandaids • Anti-septic spray or cream

• Cotton wool • Sterile dressings

• Tweezers, small pair of scissors • Painkillers

• Lip-balm • Anti-diarrhea pills & laxatives

• Anti-nausea tablets • Anti-analgesic tablets / cream

• Eye drops • Re-hydration powder

• Anti-malaria tablets • Any other medicines that you regularly use

 

5. HEALTH   (top)

If you have any medical conditions that your tour leader should be aware of, please bring these to his/her attention during the tour departure briefing or, if of a personal nature, please make sure that you advise your tour leader at some stage on day 1 of your safari. This is important for your tour leader to know in case a situation arises where knowledge of asthma or allergies such as penicillin, special medication,

medical conditions such as epilepsy, high blood pressure or heart conditions may help us assist you.

 

5.1 Travel Insurance: All travellers must be in good health to undertake a safari, as no medical facilities are readily available in the remote places that we visit. It is mandatory for all travelers to take a fully comprehensive travel insurance to cover medical expenses, emergency travel with repatriation assistance and personal accident.

My recommendation for travel insurance is: World Nomads
We recommend the Standard Plan for approximately $80

The Explorer Plan offers premium coverage for approximately $110

Visit www.WorldNomads.com for an instant online quote

NOTE: Enter both Zimbabwe and Botswana for your destinations

Enter insured dates from dates of USA Departure to USA Return

 

It is your responsibility to ensure that you acquire adequate insurance before trip. Travel insurance cannot be purchased once you have left your country of origin. If your travel insurance is provided with the credit card payment of your travel arrangements, please check the policy carefully to ensure it provides adequate comprehensive insurance cover as detailed above for travel of this nature. We recommend obtaining a travel insurance quotation from your travel agent or insurance broker.

 

5.2 Hygiene: Attention to hygiene is extremely important. Being ill while traveling is not fun and can affect the group’s tour. Regardless of any or all of the inoculations you may have, it is still common to have some sort of stomach upset at some stage of your tour in Africa. This is seldom serious, usually being a reaction of the body to a different environment and different foods. One usually recovers after a couple of days. If symptoms persist however, or are of a serious nature, you must inform your tour leader and seek medical advice as soon as the chance arises. Remember to try and:

• Not drink water from uncertain source,

• Not have a drink with ice made from uncertain source,

• Not eat food that may have been contaminated by flies,

• Not eat food prepared by unclean hand and served uncooked,

• Not eat food cooked but then has come into contact with raw meat or uncleaned cutlery.

 

5.3 Dehydration: In hot and humid areas your body can lose a lot of water. Dehydration also occurs when you are suffering from Diarrhea. The best way to avoid dehydration is to drink plenty of fluids – preferably water rather than soft drinks. In most countries you can obtain “rehydration salts” or “electrolyte solution”. Although these do not taste great, they restore the salts lost by your body.

 

5.4 Sunstroke/heatstroke: It is easy to underestimate the strength of the African sun – particularly when you are busy sightseeing. Until you have become acclimatized you should try not to overdo it and if you go out during the hotter parts of the day, cover up and wear a hat (preferably wide-brimmed). Use a sunscreen or sunblock that is appropriate for your skin type and reapply often. Drink plenty of fluids – far more than you would normally do at home.

 

5.5 Inoculations/Vaccinations: Please ensure that you have all the recommended inoculations by your travel doctor. Also be aware that the proposed itinerary requires a certain level of physical fitness, so please ensure that you are medically fit before you embark on your tour in Africa. Inoculations and vaccinations must be obtained in advance, prior to departure of the safari. It is not possible to obtain inoculations/vaccinations whilst on Safari.

 

6. CLIMATE ZIMBABWE/BOTSWANA   (top)
This Central region of Southern Africa is subtropical and generally warm and mild / humid. September is usually cool and dry with average temperatures of: Night: 50F and Daytime: 80F


 

7. ARRIVAL   (top)
7.1 Airport transfer service: Upon arrival at Victoria Falls airport and after clearing Customs and Immigration please look for your drive who will be carrying a sign with your name or our name Conserve Our Wild. If you do not see your driver immediately, do not worry, he/she is probably attending to other clients and will be with you as soon as possible. He/she is instructed to wait until all passengers arriving on the same flight (or at the same time) have arrived, then escort you all to the vehicle.

7.2 What if I am not met?: If you have not made contact with our representative 20 minutes after clearing Immigration & Customs, please contact Yvonne Zulu (+263-712-740-742) or Howie Minsky phone/text (727-276-0400) for help.

7.3 Lost Luggage? If you discover upon arrival that your luggage is missing, or has arrived incomplete, you should report this immediately to the information desk in the baggage hall before clearing through immigration. The airline staff will be able to tell you what the procedures are for reclaiming your luggage and advise you on any forms that may need to be filled in and stamped. If you experience any problems in dealing with airport/airline officials your Tour Leader will be happy to assist you.

However please remember that lost luggage is a matter between you and the airline/airport authority and the recovery of your luggage is your own responsibility and at your own expense. Please inform us if you are missing baggage so that we can help where we can.

Please make sure that you do not leave anything behind at any point on the tour or at the end of your holiday.

 

 


 

8. ON TOUR   (top)
8.1 Camping Equipment: We supply all the camping equipment. You may wish to bring a sleeping bag or additional blanket for possible cold nights. We provide:

  • 2 person dome tents

  • stretcher bed with mattress thick warm and comfortable

  • Linens, blanket and pillow.

  • Bath towels

  • Bush shower and Toilet are shared with full privacy.

  • Comfortable campsite chairs and tables

  • All plates, cups and cutlery.


8.2 Facilities: Safari camps are made in the bush and will have no permanent facilities. We will be completely self-contained and must carry all our own equipment, food and water. All of the garbage / rubbish must be removed from wild camping areas.

 

8.3 Participation: It is fun and convenient to travel with a group. Everyone is there because of similar attitudes and desires. Everyone is responsible for the chemistry of the group and for making the safari an enjoyable one.
If you have any special requirements, please let us know before leaving on your safari. Knowing before the trip if you are vegetarian or on medication or suffering from allergies will prevent misunderstandings from arising.

The tour leader is there for you and he/she will endeavor to make your holiday a memorable one. If there are any problems during your trip the tour leader is the most qualified person to help you solve them.

We ask you to help us preserve our countries in their natural state. Please do not drop or leave litter or throw rubbish out of your vehicle whilst travelling.

Please bear in mind that we will endeavor to run this tour according to our itinerary but due to the nature of the tour we are sometimes forced to make the occasional adjustment to the route or accommodation. Unforeseen circumstances due to problems with road conditions, weather, mechanical breakdown, punctures or accidents can delay and change the tour profile. Please also be prepared for long drives on certain days. Travelling in Africa is unpredictable, however, this only adds to the adventure of your safari!

 

8.4 Language: English is the primary language in both Zimbabwe and Botswana.
 

8.5 Food & Drinks: Three meals per day, unless specified in the itinerary. A rough idea of what you can expect:
- Breakfast: Cereals and milk or bread/toast, jam and fruit with coffee/tea or occasional cooked breakfast

- Lunch Buffet: Cheese, cold meats, fish, fruit, pasta salads and bread or rolls.

- Dinner Buffet: Potjies (stews), braais (bbq), stir fries, curries etc prepared on a wood fire or gas stove.

* Note that the main meal is served in the evening and lunch is always something light and picnic style.


8.6 Smoking: please do not throw your butts anywhere - an empty drink-can makes a good ashtray, or deposit them in the campfire. We have a NO SMOKING policy on vehicles and, in tents this is both for your safety.
 

8.7 Local Laws & Customs: You are required to obey the laws of the countries through which we pass. Please note that this includes the purchase and/or use of drugs or marijuana, which is illegal in all countries in Southern and East Africa. Any passenger found contravening such laws or putting other passengers at risk, may be asked to leave the tour immediately with no refund of tour fare.
Please remember that we are guests in each region that we visit, and it is good manners to comply with any local customs that we may encounter. At border posts it is very important that we are patient and polite to all border control officials; if we have a problem at the border it will influence the rest of the tour.

Also, it is only good manners to ask local people in traditional dress, if they mind if you take a picture of them. In most cases they do not mind, but often ask for a small donation, or that you send them a copy of the picture.
 

8.8 Personal Safety:
This is of concern when you travel anywhere and Africa is no exception. As with most cities Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and Maun, Botswana have a criminal element that tend to prey on the unwary tourist! Please use your common sense and take note of the following guidelines:

  1. Don’t walk alone in apparently deserted places, especially at night. Try to walk in groups whenever possible.

  2. Keep an eye out for bag snatchers and don’t have anything in your pockets to tempt a pickpocket.

  3. Do not carry large sums of cash with you.

  4. Keep a photocopy of your passport (first few pages), visas and air ticket separately from the original documents.

  5. Please do not bring unnecessary valuables such as jewellery and expensive watches.

  6. We advise using a thin, body hugging money belt to be worn under your clothing

  7. Although it can be traumatic and distressing to lose personal belongings, remember that almost everything can be replaced.

  8. When leaving the vehicle do not leave your daypack or any valuables in a visible position in the vehicle. Rather take your daypack with you or have it locked in the packing compartment or trailer.


8.9 Wildlife / Canoeing / Mokoro / Game Walk

Safety Briefing: Your tour leader will give you a comprehensive wildlife safety briefing when appropriate but we would like to point out a few things now. Your tour leader is a trained professional and is very knowledgeable on local conditions and animals – for yours and the animal’s safety PLEASE OBEY ALL INSTRUCTIONS FROM YOUR TOUR LEADER AND LOCAL GUIDES AT ALL TIMES.

From the outset it is important to obey all the National Park rules and regulations. Failure to do this may have serious consequences with wildlife encounters or the group being asked to leave.

Please DO NOT FEED any wild animal or pick any plants and flowers.

Remember that all wild animals are dangerous, please leave them alone, DO NOT attempt to get too close to them.


8.10 Game Drive Briefing: When on a game drive in an open 4WD it is very important that the noise in the vehicle is kept to a minimum and that there is no excessive or sudden movement as the animals pick up on this and move away, diminishing the chance for that perfect picture. On this note if you do see something exciting bring it to the attention of your guide quietly.

Please stay in the vehicle at all times, unless the guide specifically allows you to exit the vehicle. It is also important not to lean out and break the silhouette of the vehicle, as this will scare the animals away. Make sure that you have your camera, binoculars, sunblock, and something to drink with you before the game drive departs. For night or early morning drives in open vehicles remember to take something warm to wear.


8.11 Spending Money: It is best to carry your money in small denomination cash notes.
Major credit cards (Mastercard and Visa Card) are also useful for expenses such as restaurant meals and curio shops in major centres but may not always be accepted at smaller towns and markets. Small craft traders generally will accept US$ or local cash. We do not recommend traveller’s cheques as they are generally not accepted at most locations. You can certainly enjoy this safari without any need to spend additional money. Any cash you carry should be in denominations or $20 or less, for curios, drinks and own expense meals as per itinerary. Please also avoid bringing US$100 notes, as they may not be accepted.

8.12 Zimbabwe Currency Warning: With the failure of the Zimbabwean Dollar, the US$ is now currently used in Zimbabwe. We advise you to bring US$ cash or credit card (Visa or Mastercard). Please note: There is a shortage of available cash at the banks as well as in the ATM’s so please bring hard cash with you.


8.13 Airport and Harbour Departure Taxes: Most flights out of Africa (except South Africa) involve an airport departure tax which must be paid in US$ cash when clearing immigration. Please remember to have this cash available at the end of your safari. Amount is normally US$20 but this should be confirmed with your booking agent when collecting your airline tickets.


8.14 Photography: It is advisable to bring along enough film and batteries for your camera, as while they are available in larger cities, they can be very expensive. A 300mm telephoto lens is recommended for photography of animals and birds. Please note: You are not permitted to take photographs of border posts or military/ police posts. Doing so can lead to an unpleasant situation and even arrest. Please also always remember to ask permission before taking a photograph of the locals, it is a sign of respect. In most cases a small payment is expected. However some cultures believe that the camera steals their soul and we request that you respect and understand their beliefs.

 

8.15 Batteries: We recommend that you bring enough batteries for your electronic devices as well as a 12/24-volt cigarette lighter adapter for charging in the vehicle if necessary. (This will be at the discretion of the guide, as it will not be allowed if there is a risk of draining the batteries). The power supply of most of the countries you will be visiting is 220-240 volts.

8.16 Battery Backup/Power Supply - I recommend the Anker PowerCore 20100mAh - Ultra High Capacity

Power Bank with 4.8A Output, External Battery Pack. It has two ports. Amazon $49.99


8.17 Binoculars: A pair of binoculars is recommended. A small pair of 8x24 is suitable and compact for travel

 

 

 


9. TIPPING STAFF   (top)
Tipping our support staff is highly recommended and is provided in US Dollars. We recommend a tip of $2-$5 per day per support staff. There are three support staff giving $16 to $40 each. The total tip range for the combined three support staff is $48 to $120. This is a recommendation only.


10. FLEXIBILITY   (top)
Those who want to travel in Africa, and enjoy it, need a relaxed attitude. This a continent of continual change, exciting opportunities and amazing experiences. It is important to prepare for your trip thoroughly by reading one of the many travel books available.

The clock in Africa runs much more slowly than in America and sometimes things happen that you might not expect. Flexibility, patience and above all a sense of humour are essential. This trip is prepared carefully, but even so there may be surprises that cannot be avoided. If you are open, flexible and relaxed you will enjoy Africa and the trip of a lifetime.

I'm excited to experience the wonders of Africa with you. 

If you have any questions,  please contact:

Howie Minsky

Cell: 727-276-0400

Email: Howie@ConserveOurWild.com

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

© 2020 by Conserve Our Wild.