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Safari Newsletter Dated March 25, 2015
Dear Vacations To Go Customer,
Today's newsletter is filled with tips for anyone gearing up for a
safari in Africa for the first time, with a few good reminders for those
considering a return trip.
The first step in planning an African safari is to decide where to
There are organized safaris in three distinct African regions, and each
offers a different experience. Some itineraries concentrate on a single
country while others combine two, three or more countries into a single
trip. Here's a look at the three regions.
has the largest concentrations of animals, world-famous Serengeti
National Park and Kilimanjaro, Africa's tallest mountain. In Tanzania's
Olduvai Gorge, Drs. Louis and Mary Leakey discovered 2 million-year-old
bones and tools from what some believe were the earliest humans. My
family's first safari was in Tanzania, during the
The world's entire population of mountain gorillas (less than 900) lives
in a mountainous region split by Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. A few years
ago, we were able to observe these magnificent animals up close in the
Rwandan side of the Virunga Conservation Area.
offers game viewing on foot and in boats (in addition to open-air
vehicles), unique species of birds and amazing Victoria Falls. My family
and I visited Zambia and Botswana on safari several summers ago, and we
were thrilled with the game viewing from dugout canoes in the Okavango
Delta and from the backs of lumbering elephants along the Zambezi
(the country) is unique in that safaris are
frequently combined with a cosmopolitan segment to form a very diverse
vacation. Game reserves feature the continent's most deluxe safari
lodges, and it's easy to add time in the beautiful city of Cape Town or
the scenic Garden Route stretch of the southern coast.
for a complete list of possibilities.
Once you've chosen your destination, it's time to consider safari
, which can be roughly classified as budget, first class or
deluxe -- in ascending order of cost and quality. Factors in classifying
a safari include quality and location of accommodations, quality and
number of included activities, size of the group and the level of
offer price-conscious travelers a way to explore
the African continent without breaking the bank. Budget safaris may
feature modest accommodations and are offered by
stay at more comfortable, full-service hotels
and lodges and have more inclusions than budget trips. They are operated
are even more upscale and inclusive, and groups
are smaller. You'll stay in the finest accommodations and enjoy gourmet
dining and personal attention throughout. Deluxe safaris are offered by
Abercrombie & Kent
Adventures by Disney
(the company I chose for my Southern Africa trip),
Natural Habitat Adventures
(the company I chose for my Uganda and Rwanda trip -- it also has
itineraries categorized as first class), and
(the company I chose for my Tanzania trip).
Once you've decided on your destination and safari operator, you must
determine what documentation is required
for each of the
countries you'll be visiting. Passports valid for at least six months
beyond the end of your trip are required for all safari destinations but
South Africa, which requires that the passport be valid for at least 30
days after the date of departure.
Travelers should make sure that there are enough pages in their
passports for visas and immigration stamps for all countries that will
be entered on the itinerary. Kenya, Zambia, Namibia and South Africa
require that travelers have at least two blank, unstamped pages in their
passports (the State Department recommends that all travelers going to
or from Namibia via South Africa have at least six blank pages). Visas
are required for U.S. citizens for travel to Kenya, Namibia, Rwanda,
Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
Next, it's essential to visit a doctor who specializes in travel
or the travel medicine department of a local hospital to
learn about health issues in your destination. Certain immunizations are
required, and others are highly recommended. It's best to make this
visit well in advance of your trip, as some health threats require a
series of inoculations over time, all prior to travel.
Now it's time to shop for safari essentials
. Some items to
consider are the right camera and lens for wildlife photography,
binoculars and clothing suitable for safaris. Blue and black clothing
attracts insects; earth colors of tan, green and brown are preferable.
Clothing coated with Permethrin will discourage most flying and crawling
insects, including malaria-carrying mosquitoes. Outdoors outfitters such
as REI usually carry shirts and pants that are pretreated; some are sold
under the BuzzOff brand. You also can find Permethrin at these types of
stores to coat the rest of the clothes you plan to take.
For our gorilla trek in the mountains of Rwanda, we tested our hiking
boots to make sure we could wear them blister-free for long hours. We
also treated the boots with extra water repellent. A small daypack is
good for carrying camera equipment and water, and a light rain jacket
may be in order for some safari destinations.
Finally, many African safaris involve one or more flights on small prop
planes with strict luggage weight restrictions. I've been known to pack
for a big trip in 15 minutes, but the fear of having to leave some of my
freshly poisoned safari clothes beside a dirt runway somewhere caused me
to do the unthinkable before my first safari -- "practice" packing.
Something to consider as you make your final preparations for what is
sure to be an unforgettable adventure.
Top 10 Africa vacations
1) Southern Explorer
10 days with African Travel
Begins in Cape Town and ends in Johannesburg with visits to the Cape
of Good Hope Nature Reserve, Kruger Private Reserve and Victoria Falls.
Save up to $2,900 per couple.
Starting at $6,235. Departures from
April 9 through December 17, 2015.
& Wildlife of Uganda & Rwanda
, 10 days with G Adventures
Begins in Kampala and ends in Kigali with visits to Kibale National
Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Volcanoes National Park.
Starting at $2,449. Departs July 18, September 19, October 17 and
December 19, 2015.
3) Namibia Getaway
15 days with Intrepid Travel
Begins and ends in Windhoek with visits to Fish River Canyon,
Sossusvlei and Etosha National Park. Starting at $2,765. Departures from
May 2, 2015 through December 17, 2016.
4) Kruger, Cape Town & Falls
13 days with G Adventures
Begins in Cape Town and ends in Livingstone with visits to
Johannesburg, the Kruger National Park area and Victoria Falls. Starting
at $3,499. Departures from April 18 through December 19, 2015.
5) Kenya Private Safari
10 days with Monograms
Begins and ends in Nairobi with visits to Amboseli National Park,
Samburu National Reserve and Masai Mara National Reserve. Save $300
Starting at $4,049. Departures from May 23 through
December 26, 2015.
6) Tanzania: The Serengeti
, 10 days with Globus
Begins and ends in Arusha with visits to Tarangire National Park,
Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park. Starting at $4,159.
Departures from September 16, 2015 through March 9, 2016.
7) Wilds of Botswana & Victoria Falls
11 days with Monograms
Begins and ends in Johannesburg with visits to the Central Kalahari
Game Reserve, the Moremi Wildlife Reserve and Chobe National Park.
Receive $200 per couple in air credit.
Starting at $4,409. Daily departures from May 24
through December 27, 2015.
8) Kenya & Tanzania Wildlife Safari
12 days with Abercrombie & Kent
Begins and ends in Nairobi with visits to Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti
National Park and Masai Mara National Reserve. Save up to $3,000 per
Starting at $8,495. Departs October 13 & 20, November 3 and
December 8, 2015.
9) Uganda & Rwanda in Depth
11 days with SITA Tours
Begins in Entebbe and ends in Kigali with visits to Murchison Falls
National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable
National Park. Starting at $8,945. Daily departures from April 9 through
December 31, 2015.
10) Stars of South Africa
16 days with AmaWaterways
Begins in Cape Town and ends in Johannesburg with visits to Chobe
National Park, Victoria Falls and Greater Kruger National Park. Starting
at $11,695. Departures from April 24 through November 6, 2015.
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