BEFORE YOU DEPART FAQs
Will my cell phone while on an East Africa safari adventure?
For your cell phone to work internationally, you’ll most likely need a cell phone which uses a “GSM” network which is most widely used globally. In the U.S. AT&T and T-Mobile operate GSM networks while Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and several smaller carriers such as U.S. Cellular use the “CDMA” network which has less worldwide coverage than GSM. You’ll want to check with your service provider regarding international coverage and make sure you understand exactly what you’ll be charged for making calls and, if you have a smart phone, for using data (email/internet). Rates can be extremely expensive and we’ve heard horror stories of travelers returning home to find unexpectedly large bills for using their phone while traveling. Due to this, we generally recommend you unplug and don’t use your cell phone while traveling. Your guides will be able to give you the best options for calling home and loved ones can contact you using the local phone numbers we provide on your final itinerary or ENSI’s 24-hour emergency number.We recommend reviewing CNET’s World Phone Guide for more information on international cell phone coverage
Do you East Africa safari tours include international airfare, Do you have the recommendations for the best routing and airlines for travel in East Africa?
International airfare is not included in our prices for East Africa safaris. If you are going on safari in Tanzania, KLM is the best carrier as they are the only carrier who has non-stop flights into Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) outside of Arusha where most of our safari tours commence. If you are flying to Nairobi, Kenya there are many options including KLM and British. For flights to Kigali, Rwanda KLM has daily non-stop flights from Amsterdam, many other airlines connect through Nairobi. To Entebbe, Uganda, Brussels Airlines has non-stop flights from Europe and many other airlines connect through Nairobi. Most of these airlines are partner airlines with U.S. carriers so you may be able to use airline miles or book your entire flight itinerary through a U.S. airline.
Can i create a custom safari of East Africa?
Positively, our safaris can be customized to focus on birding, photography, wildlife, gorilla and chimpanzee tracking or other general interests of the participants. Actually nearly all itineraries are developed based on the desires of our clients. Our safaris provide the perfect safari for individuals, families, couples and we are happy to cater to special interests and requests.
Is internet service available on your East Africa adventure tours?
For major cities (Arusha, Nairobi, Entebbe, Kigali) some lodges or major hotels do have internet access but it is slow and not reliable. Outside of major cities you may find an internet connection but its speed will likely be extremely slow and frustrating. Plan to unplug while on an East Africa safari!
Can i drink the water when traveling in East Africa?
Tap water is generally unsafe in East Africa and it’s recommended that you drink only bottled water which is widely available and relatively inexpensive. Bottled water is provided in the safari vehicles for all of our game drives and in the bathrooms at the lodges for brushing your teeth.
What is the electrical current in East Africa?, will i need a plug adaptor?
Electricity is supplied at all lodges and at most permanent tented camps, however it is not available at mobile camps. Generators are run during the day to recharge video or digital camera batteries. In lodges and hotels (where it is available) electrical current is 220 or 240 volts and the outlet is a type-G British three-pin rectangular pronged plug. You will need a plug adapter and a converter may be required for some American devices, while others like computer, camera, cell phone are usually can handle up to 240 volts. Make sure to double check the voltage requirements of your device and bring a converter if necessary.
Can i use credit or debit cards while on East Africa safari?
You can use a credit card to pay for extra hotel charges in Nairobi, Entebbe, Kigali and Arusha, but it’s difficult to use a credit card outside of major cities. Remember that charges will be in local currency so your credit card company may charge you a fee in addition to a poor exchange rate. Local currency of USD is the easiest form of payment in East Africa followed by a Euro and a British pound.
If am asingle traveler, do i need to pay a single supplement if am willing to share accommodation??
If we are able to pair you up with another single traveler willing to share accommodation then there will be no additional single supplement. However, if we are unable to find a suitable match prior to your trip departure then the single supplement fee will apply.
What is the local currency in East Africa?
In Tanzania the local currency is the shilling (TSH) and the exchange rate to the U.S. dollar is around 1,500:1. Kenya’s currency is the Kenyan shilling (KSH) and the exchange rate to the U.S. dollar is around 80:1. Rwanda’s currency is the Rwandan franc (RWF) and the exchange rate to the U.S. dollar is around 600:1. Uganda’s currency is the Ugandan shilling (UGX) and the exchange rate to the U.S. dollar is around 3,500:1. Ethiopia’s currency is the Ethiopian birr (ETB) and the exchange rate to the U.S. dollar is around 17:1. U.S. dollars and credit cards are accepted at many of the hotels and lodges however the exchange rate is generally not as favorable compared to an exchange bureau. How much cash you will need on hand depends largely upon where you are going and how much time you will be in country. For a typical 10-14 day safari we recommend brining at least $300-600 USD total per person and exchanging $100-300 USD per person into local currency at the airport or at an exchange bureau in one of the major cities.
Is East Africa a good destination for family safari?
Yes, travel to East Africa can be incredibly rewarding for families. We provide excellent kid friendly guides and try to limit the amount of time spent in a vehicle on all of our family safaris in East Africa. There are always opportunities for stops along the way to interact in local communities and visit markets or schools. For families with children 7 years and up, Tanzania and Kenya are excellent introductions into East African culture and wildlife while Uganda, Rwanda and Ethiopia are recommended for children 10 years and older.
Will i need any vaccination, immunization or special medication for an East African travel?
Certain medications and/or immunizations are recommended or required for travel to East Africa. Yellow fever vaccination is recommended but not required unless you are traveling in between more than one African country. Malaria is known to occur in Tanzania, and malaria prophylaxis is also recommended.
When you put down a deposit for any Wildland Adventure, our destination expert Program Directors will provide detailed information about health precautions and possible immunizations for travel to your destination. Wildland Adventures’ staff are not licensed medical professionals, however, we do know the exact areas, environments and conditions under which you will be traveling, all of which can affect the relative risk of exposure and help you make a decision concerning immunizations and prescription medicines.
All travelers should consult their physician or a travel health clinic and refer to the Center for Disease Control website for complete information on health considerations in your destination.
What are the visa and passport requirements for travel to East Africa?
A current passport valid for up to 6 months after the return date of your trip is needed to travel anywhere in East Africa. U.S. citizens also need a visa for entry into Tanzania, Kenya or Uganda. No visa is required for entry into Rwanda.
It is highly recommended to acquire your visa prior to arrival. The standard 90 day tourist visa is valid for up to one year from the date of issue and applications and directions may be found at the respective Embassy’s website. For additional assistance or express service we recommend Generations Visa Service which is a third party visa obtaining service.
What is the weather like in East Africa and what should i pack for my safari?
Weather in East Africa varies greatly depending on the regions in which you are traveling. The coast of Kenya and Tanzania is relatively hot and humid year round, especially January to March. At higher elevations and in mountainous regions temperatures are very pleasant year round ranging from 70-85º with little humidity. This includes Arusha, Nairobi, the Ngorongoro crater or gorilla trekking in the Virunga Mountains of Rwanda or Uganda. However many people underestimate how cool East Africa can be, especially during the winter months of June to August. Prepare for temperatures that can drop down to 40ºF in the evenings and much colder if climbing Mt. Kenya or Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Many layers of light breathable quick dry clothing is the best way to stay comfortable as you travel through the different ecosystems of East Africa. A waterproof jacket or poncho is also a key item for your day pack. If your safari mainly includes driving, then normal shoes will suffice. However if you are planning to do any walking safari’s or trekking, then full hiking boots are the way to go. The most common complaint we get about weather is that it was colder than expected in the mornings and evenings so remember to bring a mid-weight jacket and possibly a hat and gloves for early morning game drives, particularly in June and July.
Is gorilla tracking in Uganda or Rwanda difficult?
Yes, it can be relatively difficult. Tracking gorillas can be a hike of 30 minutes to hours, depending on where the gorillas are last seen. Mountain Gorilla habitat is from is above 1500 m asl, and you will be basically hiking through forest rather and also to some extent on maintained trails but these trails may not last for long before you divert to where there’s no maintained trail. If you’re planning on tracking mountain gorillas we recommend that you be relatively fit. Consider hiring a porter at the site to carry your gear and bags, bringing leather gloves so that if you slip and reach out for a branch it won’t matter if it’s thorny.
What about night game drive on safari in East Africa?
Most National Parks do not allow anyone to be out after sunset, the official closing time is usually 6:30pm, at which time you’re expected to be back in camp or at least on your way back. However there are some parks in Uganda offer night game drives like Lake Mburo, Kibale National Park, Kabwoya wildlife reserve and Semliki wildlife reserve.But also, there are a few lodges that run night game drives outside National Parks and we include these as part of our itinerary whenever possible. Night game drives usually last for 2 hours beginning just after sunset or after dinner. These give us an opportunity to see a variety of nocturnal creatures such at honey badgers, reptiles, bush-babies, porcupines, genets, nightjars and owls.
What type of cuisine shall we eat on safari in East Africa?
A great deal of a good selection of international cuisine, including vegetarian choices; Fresh fruits and vegetables, tasty desserts, and hot beverages are available. Breakfast portions are sufficient, with adequate of coffee and tea. At times when we are out for birding and game viewing or en-route, we will bring boxed lunches with us for a picnic. Depending on the lodge meals may be buffet or plated.
What is a typical day on Ensi's East Africa tour?
National Parks and wildlife reserves are open from morning to sunset. We love to maximize our time in the field wildlife, so we usually take an early breakfast and head out at 6:30 for our morning game drive, returning late-morning for full breakfast. Early morning gives us a better chance of finding nocturnal species such as leopard or cats at a kill and wildlife is most active in the morning. Lunch normally begins at 12:30 and a short rest period for both participants and wildlife. At 3:00pm we head out for our afternoon game drive returning around 6:30. We have dinner at 7:00 and complete our checklist within that time. Prepare for a great deal of excitement!
What is the best season to travel to East Africa
Climatic cycles East Africa are characterized by wet and dry seasons; In Kenya there are two wet seasons – the long rains from late-March to mid-June and the short rains from late-October to mid-December. In Northern Tanzania the wet season tends to be between December and April or May. Uganda, which is generally wetter than Kenya and Tanzania, experiences two wet seasons, April to May and October to November, but in the north it is from April to October. Wildlife tends to be easier to see during both wet and dry season.
However, the wet season offers fewer travelers, green savannas triggers breeding activity for many species. For wildebeests migration viewing favorite times are in February viewing hundreds of them giving birth to calves and predators are preying on the new born babies alsoat the end of February, right as the wildebeest are giving birth to hundreds of calves in the Southern Serengeti, and mid to late June as the migration is moving northwards, the dry season is starting and the landscape is still green. Please book early for February in particular for this life time experience.
is it safe to travel to East Africa?
It is safe to travel to Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda (East Africa), as long as you take reasonable precautions. Don’t wander around a campsite alone at night while staying at a tented camp in the Serengeti. In Nairobi you should take the same precautions that you would in any large unknown city. Don’t walk around at night alone, and check with the gatekeeperor a game scout about areas you should avoid.