Essential Holiday Information Guide
After your booking is confirmed we will send you our ‘Essential Holiday Information Guide’ which contains specific information about your Confirmation Invoice, Holiday Packages, Extra Services, Flight Information, Payment Summary, Final Payment Invoice, Final Holiday Information and Joining Instructions. Our guide also includes the following ‘General Information’ which relates to booking a holiday with us, and should be read in conjunction with our booking conditions.
For many of our scheduled holidays we produce a comprehensive dossier. This document contains an overview of the holiday, pricing information, a detailed day by day itinerary, a map of the itinerary, essential information specific to the holiday, details of the included accommodation, how to book and some important information.
Practical Travel Information
Please ensure you read our Practical Travel Information dossier for each country you intend to visit on your holiday. These should provide answers to most of the questions you might have about travelling in that country on our holidays. We include detailed information about weather and seasons, local time, money and expenses, national park fees, tipping, health advice, electricity and plugs, travel advice, national holidays, visa and passport requirements, and suggested packing.
If you have advised us of any special requests we will have noted them on your invoice. These will be passed on to our suppliers who will try to facilitate them. Unfortunately we cannot guarantee that your requests will be met, but we will do our best. If you have made a request that is not noted on your invoice, or have any additional requests, please let us know as soon as possible.
Packing & Luggage Allowance
Regulations about luggage allowances and what you can and can’t pack in your bags are changing all the time. The baggage allowance for most tours, safaris and holidays that we operate is 44lb (20 kg) per person, plus hand luggage. This is the weight stipulated by most airlines, although this does vary. For African safaris and holidays that include flights on small light aircraft, plus on certain trips in 4×4 vehicles, the baggage weight allowance may be 33lb (15 kg) per person. Details will be provided with your final holiday information. During your holiday you are responsible for your own luggage.
At the time of writing, there are no restrictions on the amount of currency you can take abroad with you, either in cash or travellers’ cheques. However, there may be some restrictions on local currencies for certain long haul destinations. More details about currencies and money are included in our Practical Travel Information dossiers.
No matter how careful you are things can go wrong on holiday. Your luggage could be lost or damaged; you might fall ill or need to fly home in a hurry. You may even need to cancel your holiday before you’ve even left home. The cost of an accident, illness or theft can be covered by taking out travel insurance. It is therefore a condition of booking a safari or holiday with us that you are fully protected. If you have arranged your own policy please supply to us the name of your insurers, the policy number, and their 24-hour emergency contact number, before your departure.
Airport & Flight Information
If we have booked your international flights we will advise you of flight timings and routes. These are based on current or anticipated schedules and may change as the time of your departure approaches. We will notify you of all changes we become aware of. Final timings will be sent about 2 weeks before you travel. Please refer to our booking conditions for further information.
Any airport taxes and security charges which are payable in advance and therefore form part of the scheduled air ticket have been included in the price of your flights. These include the UK Airline Passenger Duty and various overseas airport airline charges where applicable. At some African airports, there are also various passenger charges and departure taxes which must be paid locally in cash. Where we are aware of these we will notify you. Details of which airport taxes are included and which will be payable by you directly are provided on the dates and prices page of each holiday on our website.
Travel to the Airport
Due to the chance of airline schedule changes before your departure, we recommend that you leave the booking of any travel arrangements to your UK departure airport until you have received your final travel documents and flight details (with the exception of booking regional connecting flights). Please allow plenty of time to get to your departure airport. If you are travelling there by car, check the weather conditions, traffic news, and allow extra time to park your car and make your way to the terminal.
Check-in at the Airport
We strongly advise that you check-in for your flight as follows:
- Connecting flights within the UK: 90 minutes before departure.
- Connecting flights within Europe: 2 hours before departure.
- All long-haul flights to Africa: 3 hours before departure.
Need Help at the Airport?
Please do not hesitate to ask the airline’s representatives or airport staff if you need any help or information.
Passport & Visa Requirements
Please make sure that your passport has at least six months to run from your date of travel. It should also have at least three clear pages free. If you need to apply for a new passport, you should allow plenty of time. Further information can be obtained from the UK Home Office Identity & Passport service website www.ips.gov.uk or call them on 0300 222 0000. Visas are required for entry into many African countries. Further information can be found on the visa page of our website or in our Practical Travel Information dossiers.
It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of all necessary travel and health documents before departure. All costs incurred in obtaining such documentation must be paid by you. We regret that we cannot accept liability if you are refused entry on to any transport or into any country due to any failure on your part to carry correct documentation.
Entry requirements for British Citizens may differ to those for British Subjects, British Dependent Territories Citizens, British Nationals (Overseas Citizens), British Protected Persons or any other British Passports. Please check your passport carefully and if you are not specifically a British Citizen you must check passport and visa requirements with the Embassy or Consulate of the country or countries you are travelling to or through.
Once At Your Destination
When you arrive at your destination, you’ll be met by one of our local representatives or your holiday tour (or safari) guide. They’ll be around (or contactable by phone) to offer help, advice, support, and to ensure that your holiday runs smoothly.
Unhappy About Anything?
If there’s anything that you’re unhappy about during your holiday, you must tell your tour (or safari) guide or our local representative straight away. We won’t consider any claims for compensation if we weren’t given the opportunity to put things right on the spot.
Emergency Support Service
In the event of an emergency, and if our local supplier’s duty manager isn’t contactable for any reason, you should call our emergency number. This is manned by one of our very experienced operations staff – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You’ll be sent details of this service with your final holiday information.
Specific advice for each country can be found on our Practical Travel Information dossiers or on our website. Generally speaking, when travelling anywhere in the world, a mix of credit/debit cards and cash works well. You’ll need your PIN for withdrawing cash from ATM’s abroad. You may like to consider a travellers’ cheque card, which acts like a prepaid debit/credit card and can also be used at many ATM’s. Funds are guaranteed if the card is lost or stolen.
One of the safest ways to carry cash in Africa is in a money belt worn under your clothes. Don’t keep all your cash in one place – keep some in a pocket, some in your wallet and the majority in your money belt. Always take extra care when taking money out in public and at ATM’s. Avoid bum bags – they instantly mark you as a tourist. In Africa US dollars are almost always the most useful currency to take, with Euros now increasingly accepted.
Travel in Africa
You should bear in mind when travelling in Africa that many of its countries are developing nations. They do not have the same level or quality of infrastructure that you find in the UK, Western Europe, North America or Australia. Roads may be poorly maintained with pot-holes or consist of sand, dirt or rough stony tracks, which sometimes make for a long day (or several long days) travelling. Supply of public utilities (power, water, communication) could be unreliable or non-existent. Building standards and final quality of the finish may fall well short of the western world. Service levels may be basic. The local attitude to time and punctuality will vary from country to country. Seemingly basic tasks can seem to take forever. You may see local people existing in what appears to be extreme poverty and very primitive living conditions. Travel may be through vast wilderness areas with minimal emergency or rescue services available.
Whilst all of the above points paint a picture of the reality of travel in much of Africa, for many travellers they are the very reason why they travel to Africa. If you travel with an open-mind, a sense of humour, a flexible nature and an appreciation that travel in Africa may be tiring, then you should enjoy an extremely rewarding (and educational) holiday experience.
Travel Safety & Advice
Staying safe on your travels is a matter of common sense and simple precautions. Many African countries are safe to visit, but even well-known places have some spots where you need to exercise greater care. For the latest information on safety, security and general travel advice for any country you intend to travel to we recommend that you consult the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) website www.fco.gov.uk.
If you are the victim of crime, obtain a police report and notify your insurance company as you may be entitled to compensation. If something does happen then first report the crime to the local police and get a report from them. Make sure that you get a reference number to use on any insurance claims.
Inform your bank/credit card issuer if your travellers’ cheques or credit cards are lost or stolen. Ask your bank to transfer emergency money for you to use or ask a friend/relative to send a Western Union or Moneygram cash transfer. Contact our local representative, agent or your tour/safari guide for advice.
Safe Travel Tips
- In African cities, always check which areas are regarded as unsafe, and stick to areas where there are plenty of people.
- Always take taxis back to your hotel after dark, especially in an unfamiliar city, and avoid poorly lit streets.
- Keep an eye on your valuables at all times. Use an out-of-sight security wallet, do not leave your bag at your feet and be extra careful when drinking alcohol.
- Avoid standing out like a tourist too much. Walk with purpose and try to blend in.
The prices on our website are based on the occupancy of a twin or double-bedded room by two persons. It may occasionally be necessary to accommodate you in a different (but equal) standard of hotel, lodge or tented camp to that featured on the itinerary. If this is known before departure, we will, of course, advise you.
Be aware that single rooms are not as large as twin-bedded rooms. For single room options please refer to the relevant holiday dossier or web pages for availability.
If you specifically request a smoking room we will try to book one for you, but cannot guarantee that one will be available. As many hotels, lodges and tented camps are non-smoking, smoking rooms may be unavailable.
Smoking is not allowed at any point in time on board any of the vehicles or aircraft we charter for your holiday. We hope that smokers will understand our reasons for this decision. You can of course enjoy a leisurely smoke during regular breaks.
Country-specific health advice is detailed in our Practical Travel Information dossiers for each country.
Before You Travel
We strongly advise all travellers to visit their local Travel Health Clinic or GP at least six weeks before you travel to check if you need any immunisations or other medicines (e.g. anti-malarial tablets). For longer trips it is also a good idea to visit your dentist and optician before travelling.
Check with the embassy of the country you are visiting that the medication that you are taking is legal. Find out if you will need to take a doctor’s letter with you. Pack enough supplies of any medication you regularly take into hand luggage. Also take any prescription documents with you. Keep medication in its original packaging for easier identification.
You may need booster shots for any standard vaccinations you have had previously, or new vaccinations. For some African countries a yellow fever vaccination (and proof of vaccination) maybe required for entry.
Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol to minimise the chances of becoming dehydrated when flying. Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a relatively rare but potentially fatal condition associated with flying. It occurs when blood clots form in the legs due to prolonged immobility. To avoid it try to do some simple exercises in your seat and move around the aircraft when you can.
At Your Destination
Follow the travel health advice you received from your doctor and remember that any problems are likely to be made worse by dehydration, tiredness or excessive alcohol consumption. Allow yourself time to adjust to new time zones, climate changes and the inevitable changes to your diet.
Medical Kit Checklist
A small medical kit can be invaluable on your travels. If your kit includes scissors, tweezers or syringes, do not carry it in your hand luggage on an aircraft. The following is not an exhaustive list, rather some things you might consider taking with you: Plasters; bandages; gauze; sterile needles and syringes if visiting developing countries; antibacterial cream; antiseptic cream; diarrhoea medication; oral re-hydration solution; paracetamol; throat lozenges; decongestant; antifungal cream; travel sickness or anti-nausea tablets.
Healthy Travel Tips
- Be safe in the sun. Avoid excessive sunbathing and wear a high factor sunscreen, hat and sunglasses.
- Stay hydrated – be sure to drink plenty of water. If the local tap water is unsafe to drink, buy sealed bottled water to drink and brush your teeth.
- Be cautious with street food in developing countries. Make sure your meal is freshly cooked by watching the vendor cook it while you wait.
- Avoid biting or stinging insects, including mosquitoes, by wearing insect repellent and covering up in the evenings.
- Consider taking daily multi-vitamins to supplement your diet.
- Listen to your body – travelling can be tiring, so make sure that you take time out to recover when you need it.
Many African countries have a majority or high proportion of Muslims. Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims. During Ramadan, Muslims fast during the day then feast at night. If you travel to a Muslim country during this period it is considered highly impolite to eat, drink or smoke in public during daylight hours. You should be aware that levels of observance of Ramadan will vary in different countries and cultures. Some restaurants will close or operate amended opening hours during Ramadan. In many countries, restaurants that cater to tourists should open as usual. Business hours may become shorter in the day. Seek local advice on arrival from your tour guide, local representative or hotel.
Depending on the holiday, we are able to offer reductions for private groups of 10 or more people. Please contact us for a quotation stating the holiday name you are interested in and size of your group.
Extend Your Holiday
If you choose to extend your holiday and spend a few extra nights in your final destination/accommodation, we can assist with any arrangements. An administration fee is payable as detailed in our booking conditions. This does not include the cost of any extra accommodation, transport or services of local guides/representatives. Individual extended stays are usually unescorted.
Children and Family Holidays
Travelling in Africa with your family is an extremely rewarding experience. We have meticulously planned and created a selection of holidays specifically designed for families with young and teenage children. Our Family Adventure, Family Safari and Family Beach holidays operate mainly during school holiday periods, and on special request. Typically we have shortened the length and duration of driving days on tours that involve road travel. We include accommodation with swimming pools where possible. Itineraries tend to be more active and provide entertainment, education and stimulation for kids and parents alike. For details of whether our other holidays are suitable for children, please refer to the ‘Holiday Suitability’ section on our website, which is found under the ‘Essential Info’ page of the holiday. Please note that certain lodges and camps in Africa do not accept children below a certain age. The supervision of children on our holidays is the responsibility of their parents or guardians.
Customers with Special Needs
The disability Discrimination Act 1995 states: “The Act makes it unlawful for a service provider to discriminate against a disabled person by refusing to provide any service which it provides to members of the public.” We interpret this law to apply to services provided in the UK and not those provided in Africa. However, we believe in trying to make our African holidays as accessible to as many people as possible.
It is your responsibility to tell us before you book whether you have any special needs or medical conditions, which might affect your ability to take part on our holidays. We will then do all we can to make reasonable adjustments to your holiday itinerary and services to accommodate you. Due to the fact that most of our holidays are booked on a private charter basis this provides flexibility for adjustments. In case we cannot make any necessary adjustments we may have to refuse your booking.
We will assume, unless you tell us otherwise, that all members of the party are in a good state of health to participate in the holiday. Please let us know immediately should your own personal health situation change (or any of your travelling companions) after you have booked. Please note that in Africa wheelchair access ramps in lodges, hotels and tented camps in many locations are rare. If you do require a wheelchair to be pushed, we would expect you to travel with a companion who can assist you.
Action if Unable to Participate
If you do not advise us of any special needs or medical conditions, and we find ourselves in the position where you are at your departure airport or have arrived at your destination and are unable to participate fully, then we reserve the right to:
- Organise extra assistance or make any adjustments so you can continue with the holiday, and pass on the costs of doing this to you.
- Arrange your return to the UK (only if we booked your flights), and pass on the cost of doing this to you.
We very much hope that our clients will be completely open, honest and upfront with us so the above situation does not occur. However, we do reserve the right to take action in the interest of your health and safety, and the health and safety of our staff and other customers, should we need to.
A reasonable level of fitness is required for our African holidays as some walking can be involved. If you are in any doubt about the suitability of any of our holidays please check with us.
Celebrating Special Events?
If you are celebrating a birthday, wedding anniversary or simply want to make your African holiday extra special, why not indulge in a bottle or two of Champagne, a bouquet of flowers or an once-in-a-lifetime experience, such as a balloon flight? Please let us know as we will be very happy to assist.
What Our Prices Include
Details of which services are included in your holiday and which are not included (and will be at your own expense), are provided on the dates and prices page of each holiday on our website.
We have taken great care to ensure that the holiday details on our website are correct. Please bear in mind, however, that the availability of certain services may vary. This could be for a variety of reasons: Hotels need maintaining, swimming pools must be cleaned, staff trained, roads resurfaced and vehicles serviced. Certain outdoor facilities, such as cable cars can be affected by weather or lack of demand. Any optional excursions will, of course, operate subject to demand and weather conditions.