With the return of rains in the Masai Mara, Mara river has shown signs of life, soon there is plenty of food for everyone, the wildlife, and crocodiles of Mara river
There are several reasons but the main ones are:
We are born and bred in Africa and passionate about our continent
We have a great family atmosphere and we love to look after our guests
Our pricing is competitive and honest and we will never overcharge you
We deliver a high level of personalized service with professionalism and efficiency
Our response times are superb and we have a high level of expertise
Our driver/guides continue to receive rave reviews
We provide complimentary soft drinks and snacks in Kenya and Tanzania while you are on safari – this will really save you a few dollars
We know it’s your special holiday and we will take care of you like no other company, period!Are your customers raving about you on social media? Share their great stories to help turn potential customers into loyal ones.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
IS AFRICA SAFE FOR TRAVEL?
Africa consists of fifty-four countries, each with its own unique political systems and ideologies, cultures and beliefs, and landscapes. This means each country in Africa differs and so do the safety levels. Generally, the countries that are considered safe for travel are the ones that usually have been on brochures. You will not find Angola or Congo on the brochures. However, more recently, a country that has been popular in the past, Is Zimbabwe, although it is now suffering from severe political instability, yet you may still find it being offered as a tourist destination in the brochures. We believe that certain parts of Zimbabwe are relatively safe for tourists, such as Mana Pools, Lake Kariba, Victoria Falls and Hwange. However, because of the unpredictability of the situation the best way to judge is to look at your Government’s advisories for each country that you plan to travel through, although some of these advisories do tend to be over-cautious. At Fish Eagle Tours, we are constantly monitoring the areas we operate in and we will advise you not to go to any African country where you could face a dangerous situation. Your safety is of great importance to us. We will change your program or, otherwise, cancel a trip with full refunds should we assess that your tour will face possible safety problems. We did this for several clients during the brief 2001 pre- and post-election riots in exotic Zanzibar which has now returned to normality.
Africa is a beautiful continent with a lot to offer – incredible wildlife and birdlife, richly-textured cultures, true wilderness, peerless landscapes, mighty waters, unique flora and fauna and, above all, gentle and welcoming people. It is where you will have the greatest adventure of your lifetime. No other continent equals Africa in that respect. Although safety is of paramount importance, you will not enjoy the sheer thrill of being only yards from a bull elephant unless you take some risk. Africa and its heritage are worth the risk.
WHAT ABOUT SECURITY?
Generally, tourists in Africa are probably safer than in Rio or New York. You are probably safest when visiting game parks and countryside. There have been very few incidents of tourist buses being held up and the visitors robbed off their belongings. When they do occur, the government and the wildlife departments usually tighten the security in the concerned areas. Our vehicles are equipped with radios or mobiles and are in constant touch with the head office or rangers.
The main cities are where the crime rate is normally rated high although some cities are more crime prone than others. For example, Johannesburg is now considered one of the most dangerous cities in the world, yet if you keep your wits about you, just like you would in Rio or New York, and learn about the trouble spots in advance, you will be safe there. Many Johannesburg residents complain that the press always tends to exaggerate the crime situation there. It is very difficult to judge who is correct but our advice would be that:
You avoid the known trouble spots within any city
Take guided tours and excursions where possible
Use chauffeur driven cars where possible
Don’t travel long distances at night on your own
Keep your cars and windows locked
Avoid walking in the streets with lots of cash and valuable during daytime or night time
Leave your jewellery at home
Use the hotel safe and obtain a receipt
Take a taxi at night
Ask your guide, hotel or locals for advice before you embark on any little expedition.
If threatened do not resist. Give away whatever the muggers demand.
After taking all the usual precautions, do not be afraid to explore the cities. Despite the hardships they go through, Africans are friendly and gentle by nature and love interacting with visitors. We encourage you to meet the local people and talk to them.
WHEN SHOULD I TRAVEL?
Africa has become an all year round destination. The weather patterns have changed considerably in recent years and it is no longer true that the rainy season of the past will recur at exactly the same time or with the same force. Rains have become rather sporadic, and we have managed to conduct successful programs in the cheaper off-peak, rainy season. So don’t be deterred by the climate charts.
East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Uganda)
In Eastern Africa there are two rainy seasons - from mid-March to end-May and from mid-October to end-November (till mid-December in Tanzania). In Uganda, however, the rains may fall throughout the year. After the rainy seasons the grass grows taller and this makes it difficult to spot game. Therefore, traditionally, the best times to travel to East Africa are between July and October (this is also the time for the annual wildebeest migration in the Masai Mara) and between January and March (the wildebeest are now in Tanzania and giving birth). We have, however, managed to do many successful safaris in the rainy-season and you should not be discouraged to try it. s have questions, you have answers. Display the most frequently asked questions, so everybody benefits.
IS A WILDLIFE SAFARI THE ONLY KIND OF SAFARI?
Actually not. Africa Ultimate Adventures can offer you the following types of safari;
Luxury journeys – the best of Africa
Classic Safaris- excellent value for money
The choice is vast and we can design an itinerary that covers your interest areas comprehensively.
HOW MANY DAYS DO I SPEND AT EACH PLACE?
We advise our clients to spend a minimum of two nights at each lodge or game park, unless the lodge is used as a transit stop for one night. For our luxury journeys, we recommend a minimum of 3 nights or even 4 nights. Our clients usually add a beach safari or an adventure safari extension to the wildlife safari, frequently in different countries, while many of our clients prefer to fly to their destinations.
DO I TRAVEL BY LAND OR AIR WHEN ON SAFARI?
Although more expensive than land safaris, air safaris are much more comfortable, transport you to your lodge/camp significantly more quickly and offer spectacular and unrivalled views of the African landscape. For our Luxury Journeys, flying to destinations is an integral part of the safari. At the airstrip, you will be met on arrival by your driver/guide in his safari vehicle. He or she will conduct all the game drives during your stay at the lodge/camp. If you cannot afford a full flying package, then we can easily design one that combines a flying safari with a land-based safari.
SHOULD I DO THE SAFARI IN A MINIBUS/CRUISER OR A 4X4 VEHICLE?
Many safaris enthusiasts will not use anything but a 4x4 vehicle simply because to them it is the only appropriate form of transport for a ‘real’ safari. While we agree that 4x4s give that authentic safari feel and are indeed essential for bad roads and during the rainy season, we do not see any reason why a minibus cannot be used for most safaris, especially where roads are in good condition. They have their advantages – they are cheaper to use and faster and more comfortable than the 4x4s. In our luxury journeys we use mostly 4x4s and light aircraft for internal transport, while in our classic safaris we use the minibus and, occasionally, a light aircraft. We will recommend you all the right options; however, the ultimate choice remains yours. We can deliver any form of transport that you desire for your trip, including horses, mules and camels.
Our vehicles are maintained to a very high standard and are equipped with up-to-date communications equipment (UHF or VHF radio or mobile phones) that is linked to the head or associate offices or ranger posts/lodges on a 24hour basis. Each vehicle is specially designed for the safari with a roof hatch that allows our clients to enjoy an excellent viewing position for the wildlife, and a comfortable suspension system that reduces the discomfort on bumpy roads. Some 4x4 vehicles may also be open on all sides, especially in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Zambia.
WHAT LODGES / HOTELS DO I CHOOSE?
At Africa Ultimate Adventures you will find an unparalleled range of accommodation in game parks and private ranches, cities, beach resorts, special interest areas and areas of outstanding beauty. By offering over 400 properties, we provide you with superior choice to design your holiday your way. Our luxury journeys into Africa bring you the very best of Africa – the most stylish of hotels, the most charming and luxurious of lodges, delightful homesteads, authentic fixed and mobile camps and wonderful game viewing. Our classic and adventure safaris include classic accommodation that is of a very high standard while our budget accommodation comprises mainly of semi-luxury and standard camping.
We can help our clients select the ‘right’ accommodation for their trip provided they let us know about the quality of safari they would like, their interests and their budget. We can combine classic tented style accommodation with luxury homesteads to create a superb adventure for you. Our consultants can really help you make the right choice. We are in the process of providing detailed description, photos and prices of all the accommodation that we offer through our web site. At present you can find all the information of our luxury accommodation on our web site while our classic and budget accommodation will be uploaded onto our site by end of 2001. Our ultimate goal is to provide extensive information on the facilities that each hotel/lodge offers and rate each hotel according to several criteria.
WHAT SHOULD I BRING WITH ME?
Passport - Must be valid for a minimum of 6 months from the trip’s return date. Separate passports for children are recommended but they may also travel on their parent’s passports. Please check directly with the consulates regarding children’s passports. A copy of each passport should be carried separately.
Visas - Required for some countries. Visa regulations can change so please obtain current visa information directly from appropriate consulates. A few countries issue visas on arrival but these are more costly and could involve long periods of waiting at the airport. Apply for appropriate visas well in advance, e.g. multiple-entry visas for multiple visits to a country.
Driving License - Although not required if not driving, it serves as a useful identity card. Carry a valid International driving license if a car it to be driven or hired. However, some countries and car-hire companies accept EEC licenses.
Tickets - Always re-confirm return flights at least 72hrs prior to departure - we will be glad to help our clients. Airport tax is payable in many countries on domestic and international flights on departure. Some countries require the tax to be paid in US dollars while others accept local currencies. The regulation on airport tax changes frequently so please check at the airport on arrival what the airport departure tax is and what currency it can be paid in.
Medication and Health
Visitors on special medication should carry ample supplies at all times. It is also advisable to carry wrist tags, physician’s instructions and address, and prescription details for emergencies.
Health Certificates - all visitors partaking in walking, trekking, climbing, rafting or other physically demanding activities require their physician’s letter that they are fit for the planned activities. Visitors should also be aware that African roads can be dusty, bumpy and physically demanding.
First Aid Kit - Although our vehicles and Lodges usually carry a First Aid Kit, it is advisable that each family carry their own. The kit could include sterile injections, plasters, gauze dressings and tape; alcohol swabs; antiseptic cream; anti-fungal powder; antihistamines; antidiarrheal agents; pain killers; antibiotics; children’s medicines; burns creams; rehydration powder; thermometer. Aspvenin is suction device useful for insect and scorpian bites.
Eyewear - because of the dust, contact lenses are uncomfortable during game drives. For visitors wearing prescription glasses, we recommend clip-on Polaroid lenses or prescription sunglasses. Also carry extra pairs of glasses.
Other necessities - Carry plenty of sun block, lip balm, moisturizers, insect repellents, sting spray, contact lens solutions, small tissue packs, handy-wipes, water purifying tablets and sanitary products. Emergency dental kit is optional.
Currencies - It is best to carry more travelers’ cheques than cash. US Dollars and Pound sterling notes and traveler’s cheques are easy to exchange. American Express, Thomas Cook, Visa or Citibank cheques are popular and easier to replace if lost or stolen. Euro cheques and other currencies are not widely accepted in shops and hotels. Cheques or cash can be converted to local notes at the airport, hotels or banks. Cash should be kept with you in a safe pocket or locked up in secure safes. In Namibia and Botswana it is more difficult to exchange traveler’s cheques so you may want to carry more cash.
Credit Cards - Major credit cards are widely accepted by shops, restaurants and hotels. American Express is less accepted than others. A few shops may charge a surcharge for accepting cards. Credit cards are not accepted by market traders or government institutions so visitors should keep some local and foreign notes with them at all times. Petrol in South Africa can only be paid for in cash. Have appropriate addresses ready for replacement cards.
Valuables - Expensive and heavy jewellery is not recommended as it attracts unnecessary attention.
General - Pack lightly and leave ample space in your bags for the shopping. Pack plenty of cotton T-shirts, short and long- sleeved shirts, socks and under garments. Also pack linen or drill shorts, trousers and jacket. A jumper, formal jacket and tie, formal dress, bathing suit and a light shower-proof anorak are recommended. Light hats, scarf, handkerchiefs that protect your head, neck and nose are essential. A pair of lightweight sandals, walking boots and formal shoes is recommended. There is no colour code but keep to earthy colours, especially on walking safaris.
Beach holiday - snorkeling equipment, plastic beach sandals, and swimming aids and toys for little children are recommended.
Walking Safaris - Best to wear a light jacket and trousers for protection from tall grass and prickly plants. However, these can get uncomfortable later on in the day so always ask the guide what sort of terrain will be covered on the walk before deciding on the dress. Thick cotton tracksuits are sometimes better. Light walking boots are recommended. A small rucksack, shower-proof anorak, first-aid kit and bottled water are useful.
Mountains and Highlands - Temperatures in the mountains and highlands can fall below 10 Centigrade from late evening to early morning so a warm jumper is recommended. Many lodges have log fires in the dining/main sitting areas and some provide hot water bottles.
Early Morning - Early morning game drives are cool and crisp so a jumper or jacket and trousers are recommended.
Mid morning/afternoon - Whether on a game drive or not, it is best to be in light shirt and shorts. Adequate protection, however, is required from the strong sun. Apply sun block regularly all over and use a hat, scarf and sunglasses.
Late afternoon/evening - It gets chilly from early evening so take a jumper or a jacket along on a game drive. For dinner a long-sleeve shirt, jumper or jacket, trousers and thick socks help protect against insects and cooler temperatures. Always apply insect repellents all over, especially around ankles, ears, knees and knuckles.
Laundry - Clothes can be washed and ironed at most lodges and hotels.
Equipment - Photographic
Camera - A snapshot camera is recommended together with a zoom camera with full lens and filter kit. Bring lots of extra film (especially fast film) and spare batteries. Early morning and late afternoon provide the best light for wildlife photos. Keep the equipment as light as possible on walking safaris. Digital cameras are fun but have limited memory.
Video Camera - A small, light video camera is better, especially on walking safaris. Bring extra tapes and batteries. Batteries can be charged in lodges with the right adapter.
Binoculars - Light, powerful, auto focus binoculars are recommended.
Equipment - General
Small, powerful Flashlight - smaller ones travel better. Carry an extra battery set. Lights go out in most camps and lodges after dinner as the generator is switched off for the night. Lanterns or large flashlights are provided.
International adapter - carry an International adapter. Electricity supply is usually from 220V to 240V 3-pin, square/round, and plugs.
Hairdryer - Not all lodges provide a hairdryer so bring one along with an international adapter
Alarm Clock - Most places offer a wake-up-all, but it is still advisable to carry a small travel clock.
Entertainment - Sometimes the only way to keep in touch with current affairs is a handy short- wave radio with headphones. Large radios and blaring music are not welcome.
Reading Material - Always bring adequate reading material which may be given away to the appreciative lodge staff. Bird, animal, plant and marine-life books are recommended. So are guides, maps and phrase books. The trip will be much more fulfilling if some reading is done before departure.
Pocket knife and calculator - Always useful.
Games - a pack of cards and handy board games are useful
Food accessories - Decaf coffee/tea, herbal tea and sweeteners are not always available so carry small quantities with you.
Our Policy - All visitors must have adequate accident, baggage, trip cancellation, medical, medical evacuation and interruption insurance before the tour can begin. For dangerous activities such as rafting, canoeing, climbing, balloon safaris, gliding, walking and horseback safaris consult your insurers directly. Carry all insurance documents and emergency numbers on the trip at all times.
IS THE FOOD SAFE?
The food that is served in restaurants, hotels, lodges and camps is usually well prepared and safe to eat. The luxury properties serve superb cuisine that is of a very high standard. We would, however, recommend that you drink bottled water only, peel your fruit and avoid street food.
ARE THERE ANY INCONVENIENCES THAT I SHOULD BE AWARE OF?
Frankly, yes, but only a few.
Many African roads that you will travel on will be dusty and bumpy and can result in vehicle breakdown. At Vintage Africa we use only newer vehicles and, therefore, suffer fewer breakdowns than other companies. If you suffer from severe back problems then you may be uncomfortable traveling by road and we recommend that you use more of air transport for the safari. A blow-up or a cheap soft pillow is always a worthwhile companion in the vehicle. You can get rid of it at the end of the safari to make space for your purchases.
Visas are required for most of the East African Countries and have to be applied for well in advance. Most countries can issue visas on entry but the queuing time can be rather long. Please consult the embassies/consulates of the countries you will be visiting for the latest information.
You will have to get inoculations and medication from your doctor – recommended are yellow fever (no longer compulsory in Tanzania), Hepatitis, Typhoid, Tetanus and Polio. Protection against Malaria is also recommended (Malarone is the most effective).
WILL THERE BE ANY ADDITIONAL COSTS TO MY TOUR?
On our scheduled departures, we have made every effort to include all costs, such as meals, transport, transfers, game park fees, soft drinks while on safari (most companies do not offer this). In some places lunch or dinner may not be included, as we do like to encourage travelers to try the local cuisine. The extras that you have to worry about are optional excursions (for example, balloon rides, and helicopter tours), visa fees, medication and injections, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature. Tips to your driver / guide are at your discretion (we recommend $10 per day per person). Any tips above and beyond what is included are also at your discretion.
In our Luxury journeys, beverages and many activities, which otherwise are optional on scheduled or classic tours, are also included. Our Luxury journeys offer unparalleled game viewing, guiding, experience and personalised service.
We can also offer private guides (at extra cost) with specialized knowledge and language skills should you require one.
WHAT IF I HAVE SPECIAL NEEDS?
AUA will gladly assist in selecting a tour that would be conducive to a special needs traveller. We can plan a tour for those who have physical limitations, dietary restrictions or require any other assistance. Do not be afraid to ask us.
SHOULD I JOIN A GROUP OR PLAN A PRIVATE SAFARI?
The advantage of a group safari is the opportunity to socialize and meet other travellers with similar interests. It also works out cheaper. A private safari, on the other hand, has great advantages for those who are serious photographers, require privacy and highly personalised service, want to do something different from the standard, want to spend extra days in a particular park or at a special lodge, want to celebrate special occasions, or want to incorporate their own ideas for the trip. Private or customized trips are successful because the participant plays an active role in planning the trip, as their ideas are incorporated with our professional knowledge of the areas. We find that more and more people are now turning to customized options.
CAN I TRAVEL WITH CHILDREN?
Africans love children and are especially helpful to mothers. There are certain camps and lodges in the national game parks which do not allow children and or infants under a certain age. However if you would like to travel with your children we can easily tailor make an itinerary by avoiding lodges with child restrictions. We have a lot of experience in planning family holidays
CAN I TRAVEL ALONE?
A safari is ideal for the single traveller. Both men and women travel as singles and find Africa a safe and friendly destination. Even when travelling as a single, Vintage Africa can always arrange meeting services at the airports with transport and assistance with check-in at your hotel. The only disadvantage for a single traveller is the dreaded single supplement. Although we do try and waive it for our clients, sometimes it becomes impossible, especially during the peak seasons. The single traveller should therefore try and travel in the off-seasons if they wish to avoid the supplement (not guaranteed but a single supplement in the off-season will be lower than in the high season)
DO I NEED TO TAKE HEALTH PRECAUTION?
At the time of booking you will be advised as to what health precautions are required and recommended for your trip. You will have to consult your doctor for the latest medical advice for the regions you plan to visit. If you are planning an active adventure then please ensure that you are fit for it. Some companies will require a written clearance from your doctor before they will allow you to participate on the trip. Please ensure that for mountain climbing, walking, white-water rafting and other adrenaline adventures you know your limits. If you have any medical condition that may affect you on the trip then please do let us know in advance.
We advise all clients to carry their own first aid kit. Please note that our drivers are under instructions not to administer any first aid or drugs (unless in a life threatening situation) as in the past their friendly assistance has led to opportunistic litigation.
When in Africa, most cities have at least one international standard medical institution that is used by the diplomats and we will always recommend the best institution to our clients in the event of an emergency. We advise all clients to take Emergency Evacuation cover (from your insurance company) and Flying Doctor’s cover (available from Vintage Africa). We also advise you to take out a comprehensive travel insurance policy.
WHAT TYPE OF DOCUMENTATION WILL I RECEIVE?
On receipt of your deposit, we will begin the booking process and in due course you will receive the status of your hotel accommodation and the trip. The balance of the trip cost must be paid a few weeks before the start of the trip, otherwise we may be forced to cancel the booking (Please read our terms and conditions). On arrival, you will be met by our representative who will present you with a detailed program, brief you on all the aspects of the trip provide general information, introduce you to your driver/guide and give you emergency contact numbers.
Different Tourist Circuits in Kenya can be combined or merged to make a wonderful safari experience.
Bellow are a few selected .
Samburu / Shaba Game Reserve
Lake Bogoria National Game Reserve
Lake Nakuru National Park
Masai Mara Game Reserve
A spectacular trek in the varied northern Samburu territory, from vast plateau through dense forest to desertic sand river bed. Then to complete your adventure: a traverse of Masai Mara.
Flamingos & geysers at Lake Bogoria Game