Frequently Asked Questions
Booking Your Trip
Your chances of encountering any problems while on a guided African safari are minimal. Astellar Travels ensures we’re always on top of our game as far as risks are concerned, and we’d never risk endangering our guests. However, we cannot take responsibility for your belongings. It’s always a sensible idea to keep your valuable items safely stored, particularly when traveling through urban areas.
Astellar Travels prides itself in publishing factually correct and accurate information about all our destinations. We also strive to ensure all our documentation and correspondence are as accurate as possible.
Depending on what you want to do, you can visit Southern and East Africa any time of the year. Cape Town, for example, has its rainy season from June through August, and although conditions might be wet during this time of the year, it’s the best time to see Great White Sharks breaching. Game viewing activities are possible year-round, but the bushveld is denser and hotter during the high summer months from December through to January. If you’re particularly interested in the Great Migration, the best time to travel is from late June to October.
Before You Depart
The weight restriction for luggage is generally 22 kilograms (44lbs). This is less than many U.S. luggage limits, and for some fly-in safaris and island trips, regulations are even tighter. But rest assured that in most cases, you really need less than you expect. Even luxury African lodges are pretty casual, but Astellar Travels will advise on your travel needs according to your itinerary.
It’s always advisable to ensure you have medical insurance in place before any international travel
We recommend the following to ensure you’re as comfortable as possible in the great outdoors:
- Long trousers
- Fleece jacket or warm sweater
- Waterproof windbreaker
- A wide-brimmed gat
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Sun protection (including SPF for your body and lips)
- Insect repellent
- Spare batteries for your camera
This varies depending on which country you plan to visit. We provide all our guests with detailed information on the countries they are visiting well ahead of schedule. It remains the responsibility of the guests, however, to consult with local embassies or consulates to ensure the correct visa prerequisites are in place.
Many East African countries require travelers to get the Yellow Fever vaccine before entering their borders. Still, please check with your healthcare provider to make sure which immunizations you’ll need to travel.
Majority of East African countries are malaria areas. As you might be aware, Malaria can be a fatal disease. Please consult with your doctor to determine which prophylactics you can take for the particular destination you’re traveling to.
If you’re heading to the bush, it’s wise to keep in mind that ticks are present in early spring and throughout summer, but tick bite fever is treatable. Bilharzia is a common problem in many rural regions of Africa. Still, it is improbable that our guests will be swimming in rivers where this parasitic disease can be contracted. As a precautionary measure, we advise our guests to have their doctors administer routine tests for a month or two after travel. As for any travel precautions, it’s always best to consult with your physician about your travel plans if you have any preexisting medical conditions. If you currently use any medication, please ensure you bring a sufficient amount for the duration of your trip, as medications might be hard to get hold of in certain areas.
On Your Trip
Africa is home to various potentially dangerous species of insects, snakes, scorpions, and spiders, but the good news is that very few visitors encounter them. Snakes are, for the most part, shy and stay clear of populated areas. Lodges and camps almost always have insect repellent in their rooms. When walking in the bushveld, always wear closed-toe walking shoes, socks, and long trousers as a precautionary measure.
Your guide will always brief you on safety measures regardless of whether you’re in a game viewing vehicle or exploring the area on foot. All wildlife should be treated as potentially dangerous, but as long as you adhere to what your guide tells you, there is little to worry about. Wildlife tends to be less intimidated by human presence at hides, camps, and viewpoints. However, it is still essential to remember that you should never tease or corner wild animals as it may lead to unpredictable responses and potentially dangerous reactions.
If you’re embarking on a safari experience independently, it’s essential to stay on top of local news. Enquire about unsafe areas, specific codes, dress, and behavior with your hotel. Never carry your valuables openly, and if you’re taking your wallet and passport with you, keep them in
a travel wallet or buttoned-down pocket.
Passports and valuables should preferably be stored in the hotel safe. Most urban shops and hotels accept credit cards like Visa and MasterCard, but if you’re visiting local markets, you’ll need cash to pay. Only take what you need and keep your money stored safely when out and about, never carrying more cash than you’ll need for the day.
Yes. Wireless access is widely available in urban centers, especially via cellular networks like 3G, 4G, and 5G. Coverage varies depending on which country you’re visiting, but connections are often available at all major lodges, hotels, and resorts.
If you have a GSM-enabled mobile phone, it will function within the local networks. There are some East African countries where coverage is less extensive, but it tends to be good and stable in urban centers.
The general rule of thumb is 10 to 15 percent of your total restaurant or room service bill. Tips are also given for services like taxi rides, hotel porters, and guiding. Rangers and trackers are particularly reliant on tips to supplement their income. Although you are not obligated to tip them, gratuities are greatly appreciated.
Africa has a warm, sunny climate, so it’s always advisable to wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen, even during the cooler winter months. The African sun is noticeably more potent than what American and European guests might be accustomed to, so it’s advisable to always protect your eyes as well by wearing high-quality sunglasses on your safari.
The water in all major East African cities and the handpicked selection of Astellar Travels camps and lodges is safe to drink. If you prefer to do so, bottled water will also always be available.
There will be plenty of opportunities to see the Big Five consisting of elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards, and buffalos. You’ll also encounter a range of other animals at the parks and lodges Astellar Travels recommends. These include antelope, hippos, crocodiles, a variety of
primates, reptiles, and more than 400 different species of birds. East Africa is also home to an incredible diversity of plant species.
Your Astellar Travels guide will be waiting for you at the airport as you make your way into the country.
Other Common Questions
They use 220-240 volts, 50Hz in East Africa, and in general, the power is provided through a three-pin so they use 220-240 volts, 50Hz in East Africa, and in general, the power is provided through a three-pin socket. These regions also make use of a smaller three-pin socket. You’ll need an adapter for your electronics, though, but most hotels and airport shops sell adapters for foreign plugs.
Every country in East Africa speaks a different language, and there are many regional variations to the languages as well. In East Africa, English and Kiswahili tends to be the most commonly spoken language (or at least the most widely understood), unless you’re in a very remote area.
Most East African countries will have foreign exchange services at hotels and lodges where you can exchange currency. Still, most major credit cards (Visa and Mastercard) are accepted, except for AMMEX, which is not widely accepted.
Only children over the age of five years are allowed on safari. But many lodges are happy to accommodate younger children. In fact, we have arranged many safaris that turned out to be exceptional educational experiences for children. If you’re traveling with your family, Astellar Travels can recommend lodges that cater specifically to children.
You will always be in the hands of experienced and highly trained rangers and trackers. In addition to considerable knowledge and expertise, rangers are also armed with requisite weapons, and your safety remains their most profound concern.
Of course, we would be happy to cater to your needs.