General Information for Visitors to East Africa
Things to know about your safari...
Accommodation and meals on safari
All accommodations are of a high standard. Rooms in hotels and lodges are singles, doubles, triples and suites. Most of the properties offered for our packages have lounges, bars and restaurants, with some having swimming pools as well. The smaller lodges will need to know of any special dietary requirements beforehand, to enable them to make the necessary arrangements.
On safari, meals are provided on full board basis (except where specified), with breakfast, lunch and dinner provided.
City hotels are on bed and breakfast basis.
Beach properties have a range of meal plans offered, from bed and breakfast to all inclusive.
A few of the activities and lodges have age restrictions.
In Uganda, children below the age of 15 are not permitted to view the gorillas or on chimpanzee treks.
In Kenya, children below the age of 8 are not permitted at Entim Mara Camp
Let us know if you are travelling with children, and we can advise on which properties are child-friendly.
Airport departure taxes
Airport departure taxes are generally prepaid on your ticket. However some airports still levy a service charge for departure on international and domestic flights. Therefore, it is recommended to have some extra currency with you on departure.
Banking hours are generally from 0900 until 1600 hrs Monday to Friday, and 1000 until 1230 on Saturday. Most hotels, lodges and foreign exchange bureaus change money outside these hours.
Much of East Africa is considered to have the perfect climate, with generally warm sunny days, minimal humidity and cool evenings. Temperatures vary with altitude. The climate along the coast is tropical, being hot and humid most of the year round. The highlands can get quite cold in the evenings.
We recommend that you do not drink tap water, and stick to bottled or boiled water only.
Hotel check-in / check-out
Check-out time at most hotels and lodges is at 1000 hrs. Check-in time varies between properties, but is usually at around 1400 hrs. Early check-in and late check-out can be requested at a few properties subject to availability of rooms, but can only be guaranteed if rooms are reserved from the evening before.
Luggage on safari
Luggage should be kept to a minimum as space in vehicles is extremely limited. One main lightweight bag and an overnight bag are more than adequate. Most city hotels have space for storing luggage while on safari. On scheduled air safaris where light aircraft are used, the luggage allowance is limited to strictly 15 kg. per person in soft bags (i.e. no hard shell suitcases). On charter air safaris, the amount of luggage depends on the aircraft type and group size, and is communicated with passengers at the time of making reservations.
Park entrance fees and conservation fees are included in some safari packages, and payable direct for others. Please go through the package details to see if park fees are included or not.
Protect your camera from dust on safari. A lens hood and ultraviolet filter are also advisable. A 200 mm to 300 mm telephoto lens is recommended for game and bird photography. Digital camera memory cards and batteries may not be available even in large towns. Hence it is recommended that you carry these items with you. National parks do not charge for personal cameras and movie recorders. However, there may be a charge for using commercial camera equipment in some places.
If taking a gorilla or chimpanzee tracking safari, it is important to note that flash photography is strictly not permitted when in the presence of the gorillas or the chimpanzees.
When staying in the larger East African cities, as with most major cities, security precautions must be taken. Use safety deposit boxes, carry only small amounts of cash and do not wear much jewellery in town. Avoid walking at night, use taxis instead.
When on safari, keep any valuables in safety deposit boxes provided in your room. Should your room not have a safety deposit box, leave the items with the lodge manager for secure storage.
The roads are generally in good condition. Four-wheel drive vehicles may be required for upcountry journeys, especially to the national parks. The type of vehicle offered will be provided according the route and number of clients, on a chauffeur driven basis. If driving to a national park for game drives, we will provide you with a custom fitted four wheel drive safari vehicle, with pop-up roof for ease of game viewing. If flying to a national park, game drives will be taken in customised safari vehicles, with open or pop-up roofs for ease of game viewing. If taking a safari which does not include game drives (for example a gorilla tracking safari), we will provide you with a regular four wheel drive vehicle.
3 pin square plug used in East Africa
Waterbuck at Queen Elizabeth National Park (Uganda)
Black-winged Stilt at Lake Manyara (Tanzania)
Cotton, linen dresses, light slacks and short sleeved shirts are recommended. Carry a warm sweater as nights can be chilly at high altitudes. The emphasis is on informal wear, but some restaurants and clubs require gentlemen to wear jackets in the evening, with the ladies dressed accordingly. (If formal wear is a requirement in your itinerary, we will inform you accordingly.) Comfortable walking shoes, swimsuit, a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen lotion, flashlight, binoculars, insect repellent and an alarm clock will complement your safari gear.
For gorilla tracking expeditions, we recommend a raincoat, long-sleeved shirt, trousers and hiking boots.
There is normally no restriction on the import of foreign currency. However, receipts should be retained for all currency transactions. US Dollars cash is the most widely accepted form of payment. Well known credit cards are widely accepted in Kenya, but to a lesser extent in Uganda and Tanzania. Global Interlink is a worldwide partner for Visa, MasterCard and American Express.
Visitors are advised to purchase travel insurance prior to commencement of their journey. Global Interlink can offer a range of inbound and outbound travel insurance policies.
Visa and health regulations
Visa requirements may vary from time to time and between countries, and should be checked with the nearest tourist office or diplomatic mission. Health certificates may be required, but these vary with country of origin and so should be checked with the relevant authorities. However, yellow fever vaccination certificates are recommended for travel to and within East Africa. Malaria is endemic in many parts of Africa, and so precautions should be taken. Anti-malaria medication should be started prior to arrival.
It should be noted for those who wish to view the gorillas and chimpanzees, that anybody with a communicable disease will not be allowed on the trek.
Electricity in East Africa is 240 Volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second. If you travel to East Africa with a device that does not accept 240 Volts at 50 Hertz, you will need a voltage converter. It is recommended that you carry a three pin square adaptor (type G) or a travel plug to charge any electronic equipment, as plug sizes may vary from the type your equipment uses.