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Tips For Your Journey
HOW DO YOU MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TRAVEL TO AFRICA?
Many of our clients are well travelled, but have either never been to Africa, or never been on a safari before. We want you to get the most out of your holiday, and so we hope that the following information will be useful to you in preparing for your trip, and once you are there:
Dress as you normally would, and dress comfortably. People often think that since they are going to Africa they need to look as much like Dr. Livingstone as they possibly can, but it is far more important to be comfortable and warm than to have a hat in the right shade of khaki or look like a 1930's hunter. If you avoid anything, avoid bright patterns, which can distress animals, or blue, which can attract Tsetsi flies in regions where you find them. It's often better to go for natural colours, simply because they can pick up a little dust without looking too grubby. Take some warm clothes with you, especially on trips in winter, the peak game-viewing season. At this time of year it can be quite cold out in the early mornings, and some thick socks and a good set of boots together with some warm layers can go along way toward making your morning game drive a comfortable one. Then, once the sun goes down it can cool off quickly, and you may be on the back of an open-topped vehicle enjoying a night game drive in the best possible conditions, but you don't want to be cold in the wind.
Don't worry about lions or leopards jumping into your vehicle or attacking you, it is extremely unlikely that they will. However, for you to be safe, when on game drives and in the vicinity of animals it is important not to stand up or to isolate yourself from the group and vehicle as a whole. Talk at lower volumes and don't call out to animals, try get their attention, or feed them. The animals that you will see on a game drive are wild, roam free, and have the instinct to hunt for food naturally, and we shouldn't interfere with that.
Be very careful of smoking on game drives, the bush is often dry, it ignites very easily, and fire spreads very quickly through the dry bush. On a good safari trip you will be hundreds of kilometers away from any kind of fire station.
Overall, we select great locations with very experienced game rangers and guides for you, and you can't go wrong following their advice. They're also there to help you, so feel free to ask them questions.
WHAT TO PACK?
Pack light. Your whole trip will be easier. If your trip involves travelling in a light aircraft, as most of our safaris do, it is important to remember that the luggage restrictions on these aircrafts are a lot more stringent than on your international flight into Africa. These restrictions are for your own safety and are in order to prevent light aircrafts from flying overweight. Please adhere to your luggage weight restrictions - normally 15kg or even 12kg - and pack your luggage in soft bags. Hard suitcases are great for cities and large modern airports, but can cause you problems in a safari trip.
There are a few clever things that you can pack that are easily forgotten, although you will also be able to buy some items there:
- Binoculars - yes, the lodges and the vehicles do provide them, and yes, you will be better off having sole use of your own pair such that you don't miss anything waiting for another few guests to finish with them first. Go for magnification between 8 and 10.
- Camera - take a camera that you are comfortable using. Telephoto lenses are great for wildlife photos, but we suggest that you be experienced in using the lens that you take with you to avoid unwanted surprises, such as shakes. Bring a lens cleaning kit if you can. Take an extra memory card.
- Camera Bags - Take a light-coloured waterproof roll-top bag for your camera equipment if you can. Black ones heat up your equipment, and the roll-top will keep any dust out.
- Eye drops - especially if you wear contact lenses or have eyes that could be sensitive in drier slightly dusty conditions
- Mosquito repellent
- Sunscreen - Especially if you are combining your safari trip with some time on the beach, but even if you are not. The sun is "hotter" in Africa, and your skin will burn faster there than it does in Asia.
For security reasons, we advise our guests not to pack any valuable such as cameras, iPads, computers or jewelry in their checked luggage when travelling on flights to, or around, Africa. Prevention is better than cure, and it is simply safer to carry them in your carry-on luggage. We will not be able to be held responsible for any losses, and advise you to ensure that you are adequately covered by your travel insurance in this regard.
At Robert Mark we believe that tipping is dependent only on good service. We also aim to send you away with experienced guides and staff that should deliver fantastic service.
Tipping is at your discretion. If you wish to tip and are unsure of how much to tip, as a general rule game rangers in Southern Africa would be tipped around R200 - R300 per couple, a day.
Many game lodges will have an established system for ensuring that any tips to lodge staff such as wait or kitchen staff are well distributed. When they do, we would recommend following their advice.
WHEN YOU RETURN
Some of our guests return from their holiday with excellent stories, and photographs. If you would like these to get seen, and wish to publish these online in our forum for guest photographs or on our blog, please let us know and we will be glad to assist you.
We would also like to hear whatever feedback you can give us from your trip, in order to bring you the best possible product in the future. We would even like to hear about the staff at the lodges you stayed at - please feel free to let us know when somebody has gone out of their way to make your holiday that little bit more special.
||The Game Drive Experience
||Recommended Safari Reading