Here are some general guidelines that can help you when going on safaris:
1. Personal safety – in any place that you travel to, you must ensure your personal safety.
• Do not bring huge amounts of cash.
• Your passport, cash, and other travel documents should be in a pouch under your shirt or stuffed in your daypack or camera bag.
• Watch your personal bags closely while walking in jam-packed places, such as on the streets, restaurants, markets, and airports.
• Do not walk alone in the evening.
• When going out, consider your cash, passport, and airline tickets in the lodge or hotel safe.
• Do not bring any jewelry during your travel. It is best to leave them at home.
• Valuables, such as your camera, handbag, wallet pouch, and mobile phones, should be kept hidden, and definitely not in your car hire, tour bus, or back seat. Make sure also that you do not leave them in your room at safari lodges or camps.
2. Travel insurance – obtain travel insurance as soon as your travel plans are confirmed so that you will be covered if there is an unexpected or unfortunate event that happens before your safari trip.
3. Reminder to your Credit Card Company and bank – most credit card providers and banks encourage you to inform than before travelling abroad so that their monitoring systems will not suspend your credit card when they discover any strange purchases (paying for flights, rental cars, and hotels) that happen on holidays. Sometimes, these purchases could trigger your credit card suspension and result in embarrassing moments.
Be careful when providing your credit card information while you are on a trip as well. It is unfortunate that other people can obtain your credit card number without your knowledge (when paying for accommodation at hotel desks, rental companies, shops, etc.). When you pay your bill, do not let your credit card out of your view.
4. Water – remember to only drink bottled water because water from other sources may not be safe. You can obtain bottled water in all your safari lodges and camps. On all of your tours, make sure that you have bottled water with you. When you feel uneasy about the quality of water in the place you are staying in, you can ask any of the staff. For emergency use, you can also bring along water purification tablets with you.
5. Tipping – this is a common dilemma for a lot of tourists in a foreign country, including safari trips, business travel and cruises. Tipping is not expected if you are going on a safari trip in Africa, but it has become conventional. The gratuity to safari camp staff and guides is not part of your total tour price and it is also completely optional.
Keep in mind that what might be a small amount to you could be substantial to a local staff and it will be definitely taken with gratitude.
Most safari camps have a tip box located at the reception area, which covers the unnoticed services, such as for the people who work in the kitchen and person who cleans your room.
When tipping, do it moderately and according to the quality and level of service given and, of course, only if you are happy with the service that you get. Here is your guide, which is an accepted practice in general:
• Transportation/Driver – US $10 and above per day
• Private safari guide – US $25 and above per day
• Camp staff – US $10-$20 per day (this will be shared among waiters, bartenders, housekeepers, etc.