Looking through online queries about East African safaris, here are the frequently asked questions and their answers from Hitch A Hike Team.
Note that your final itinerary includes comprehensive documents with very relevant information in which every effort is made to cover all of the essentials. During the planning stages no question is too odd to ask. So please make sure all your questions are logged in and answered before you set off for the trip.
Yes, of course!
East Africa is a popular destination with most of its features featuring commonly on television, literature and stories about Africa. There’s a lot to it too. With some very dodgy spots and conversely totally safe areas. It holds huge and fascinating cultural diversity within both modern cities and barely inhabited wild places.
It’s these wilderness areas in which we prefer to spend most of our time on safari. Where you find very few people across a wide range of habitats from arid and seemingly barren deserts, through savannas and forests, tall mountains and deep valleys. Most of these spaces are private reserves, conservation areas, National Parks and in some cases World Heritage Sites. These are protected wild spaces. Where the wildlife and local habitats are afforded the most protection – usually from the human specie.
So whilst any East African safari activity should be regarded as potentially hazardous the key to it all is the quality of the Professional Guides, scouts and rangers who’re responsible for keeping you safe and unlocking the secrets of the African bush on safari.
We constantly monitor local conditions wherever we operate in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda or Uganda. We also abide by recommendations and guidance offered by government bodies both in our client home territories (eg Wildlife Authorities & Immigration bodies) and within East Africa itself.
Our travellers are expected to take their own sensible precautions whilst travelling and to follow all legal instructions given by hosts and guides whilst on safari.
Here, stay informed.
If you’re a first-timer to East Africa then choose between either Kenya and Tanzania or Uganda and Rwanda.
Kenya and Tanzania are renowned for the great annual migration in Tanzania‘s Serengeti and Kenya‘s Masai Mara. This is all about volume. Loads and loads of wildebeest, gazelle and zebra moving in a year round migratory sweep across the plains. There’re other exceptionally good areas in East Africa where there might not be so much volume but there’s lots of variety.
If you’re seasoned in Africa then you’ll know that there’s no shortage of exceptional opportunities elsewhere in East Africa, in Uganda and Rwanda’s rainforests and in some hidden enclaves. It’s only in Uganda or Rwanda (ruling out DRC for its unsettling insecurity) that you’ll meet the endangered mountain gorilla and no where else. If you want to enjoy both the savanna and the jungle forest drama, take on Uganda and Rwanda for choice – see our safari tips.
That actually depends on what you want to experience and where you decide to go on safari. That’s because the seasons and regional weather conditions have a big effect on habitats and all manner of wildlife.
We often talk about the “dry season” when games tend to concentrate near water sources. Game viewing is generally easiest. Dry weather means that remote areas are usually more accessible by road. This is usually from June to October.
We also talk about the “wet” or “green season” when we tend to have more rain about. This coincides with the “short rains” in November and the “long rains” in March to May. Wild game is generally dispersed, game viewing often more difficult and some of our better and remoter areas are inaccessible.
Then there’s the “high season” in July, August and September. This coincides with traditional summer holidays for northern hemisphere guests. There’re more travellers (and tourists) about. Safari prices are generally highest.
We also have a “low season”, also a “shoulder season” when fewer guests are about. Prices are reduced too.
Then we have the “secret seasons“. When wildlife and other conditions are particularly good. When there’re fewer visitors about too.
If you’re clear about what you want to experience and/or you’ve decided on where you want to go then selecting the best times to go on that particular safari is easy!
There’s no set price for an African safari.
Every safari that we run is custom and tailored to your needs, time-frame and budget. The price will depend on where you travel to, when you travel, the lodging standards that are chosen, the duration of your stay at different spots, the connections between each and the needs for permits and entry fees.
Oh yes you do—speak to your doctor before you travel. Get accurate and current advice on inoculation requirements and any recently recognised medical precautions that may be necessary. Make sure you’re covered for common infections like Malaria and yellow fever.
It’s easy to get muddled for choice, even if you’re seasoned in Africa. But Hitch A Hike makes it so simple for every traveler. Let’s see how.
Refine your own interests. It could be ticking off a short list of large mammals on the one hand to a finely selected list of bird species on the other. It might be landscapes or cultural experiences, even a mix of the lot. Get a clear picture of your interests.
Choose your destination or multiple places to go to. Then narrow down even further. East Africa’s destinations are separated by vast distances. Then our better safari spots are often remote from the well known entry points like Entebbe, Kigali and Nairobi. You could save a lot of time and money taking sensible advice on logistics and connections. Narrow down your destinations.
Get your timing right. Seasonal changes have a significant effect on game movements and the location of big herds. Big crowds too! Prices on safari change depending on season. “High season” when lots of travellers are about and prices are highest isn’t always the best time to be on safari! It depends on where you go and what your interests are.
Ahh, booking can’t get any simpler with Hitch A Hike. We basically cover 3 steps.
You’re set to go!
Travel Insurance is a condition of carriage with us. We recommend that you take out the policy at the time of booking in order to cover you against any eventualities. We currently dont provide travel insurance to our travellers but talking to one of our consultants will help you acquire full details of international medical insurance and travel protection plans together with some basic travel insurance tips.
Of course, yes! We too live in the connected world you know.
You’ll certainly have good coverage in all major cities and airports en route into our safari areas. All network providers have international roaming arrangements but you ought to check rates with your own provider in case you need to investigate better roaming charges.
Most city hotels offer complimentary WiFi. But things change in the remoter safari areas.
Expect very patchy cellular coverage if you’re mobile and more than 20 km from a major town. All permanent safari camps have emergency comms systems whether that’s satellite phone or better. They might even have an internet connection – but it could be very slow, very intermittent and largely inaccessible to guests sometimes. Some camps in the remotest places have no network coverage but do have excellent satellite broadband.
In some cases, coupled with a strict “digital-detox” policy so that WiFi access is available only in private places away from other guests and communal areas. If you absolutely must have internet access then please advise us up front as this could influence safari plans.
Yes my dear!
Where only one parent is travelling with a minor you’ll be expected to provide legal consent for the child/children to travel almost anywhere in the world. Formalities for travelling with children in Africa can be onerous. You must check into this detail with your consulate and ensure that you have all appropriate documents.
Where only one parent is accompanying, parental or legal consent for the child to travel (eg an affidavit from the other parent, a court order or – if applicable – a death certificate) is required. There are other requirements for children travelling unaccompanied or with adults who are not their parents.
Read this great notebook entry: How to take children on African safaris
Ha ha ha. Yes, there are some funny questions that even we don’t have answers to, like:-
If you have a question you think we have an answer to that can help you craft a great East African Safari, please ask away in the comment section of write to us. We’ll be glad you asked and eager to give you a straight answer. Thank you for reading our page, don’t forget to check out our East African Safari packages..