Safari, Gorillas & Beach

What's Included Trip Notes Introduction

Dossier Last Updated: 19-09-2017

Tour Code: AFSG

Duration: 21 nights / 22 days

Joining City: Nairobi

Departure City: Stone Town

Nearest Joining International Airport: Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta Intl Airport (NBO)

Nearest Departing International Airport: Zanzibar Abeid Amani Karume Intl Airport (ZNZ)

Price From: US$4,159

Please check this document just before departing in case of last minute changes to your tour.

About this tour

  • Type of Travel: Overland Truck
  • Group Size: Average 16-20. Maximum 34.
  • Recommended Age: 18-65
  • Physical Rating: Africa3
  • Country: Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania

What you need to know

  • The Gorilla Trek is extremely popular so we recommend booking this tour at least three months in advance. Your Gorilla Trek and Permit is included in the cost of this tour
  • If you visit the Masai Mara and Serengeti between July - September you may witness the great Wildebeest Migration as they cross the Mara River. Please note that the migration is dependant on weather and vegetation requirements for the animals.
  • The first day of your tour is simply an arrival day with no pre-organised activities. You will meet your Tour Leader at 18.00 for the pre-departure meeting. In order to allow time to relax and see some of the sights you may wish to add pre-tour accommodation.

Itinerary

Day 1 to 1 - Arrive Nairobi

Many travellers use Nairobi as a stop off point on their way to other parts of Eastern Africa, but there are many activities in the city that may appeal such as visiting orphaned baby elephants or the giraffe centre where endangered Rothschild giraffes are protected and bred.

Optional Excursions

Giraffe centre- KES1000pp (excluding transportation), The Flip Flop Recycling Company – free (excluding transportation) • Karen Blixen Museum, coffee garden & cottages – KES2000 and free entrance to the bar (excluding transportation). • David Sheldick Elephant Centre - KES500 (excluding transportation). Only open 11am -12am when feeding.

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels at Kenya Comfort Hotel or similar

Day 2 to 2 - Kigali

After breakfast this morning we transfer to Nairobi Airport to take our flight to Kigali, Rwanda’s capital. Kigali is the largest city of Rwanda, and is a large cultural and commercial hub.

Kigali has had a turbulent past and was the scene of the Rwandan Genocide which you will learn more about tomorrow. In the recent years, it has transformed and is now one of the most attractive cities in Africa with pretty boulevards, tasty restaurants and a lively atmosphere. On arrival the rest of your afternoon / evening is free to relax.

Please note: For tours departing on the 23rd December from Nairobi there will be an itinerary change due to restricted opening times of the Rwandan Genocide Museum. This museum will be closed for the full day on 25th December and will operate limited opening times on 24th December, therefore it may not be possible to include the visit on this departure date. Tucan Travel will try to arrange a suitable time for this excursion, however please note that this cannot yet be guaranteed.

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast(s)

Day 3 to 3 - Lake Bunyonyi

After breakfast you will be collected from your hotel and taken on a private guided tour to visit the Nyamata Church Genocide Memorial, Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre & Hôtel des Milles Collines (Hotel Rwanda), where you will learn about the recent history of Rwandan Genocide and the mass execution of the Tutsi population.

We will make a brief stop for lunch before leaving the capital. We will pass through lush countryside, and rolling plantations, seeing many locals go about their daily lives before crossing the border into Uganda,our third country in as many days, where you will then be transferred to Lake Bunyonyi, arriving late afternoon

Lake Bunyonyi is our base for the next few days and will be the start point for our excursion to see endangered mountain gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. There are believed to be less than 800 mountain gorillas remaining in the world, and about half of that population live in this forest. To watch them in their natural habitat is a heart-stirring experience.

Please note: A yellow fever vaccination is required for those travelling between Uganda and Rwanda from all countries. Those travelling without a valid yellow fever certificate will have to pay $40 for a vaccination on arrival.

Approximate Travel Time:Four hours depending on the border

Included Excursions

Visits to Rwanda Genocide memorials and Hôtel des Milles Collines (Hotel Rwanda)

Accommodation

1 night(s) in tented camps at Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort or similar

Meals

1 Breakfast(s)

Day 4 to 4 - Lake Bunyonyi (Gorilla Trek)

Today can be quite a long day so make sure you pack enough water in your day bag to keep hydrated on your trek. To reach the trekking start point, we will be picked up early in the morning to head for the national park. Expect to trek for up to eight hours today as specialist guides go ahead of you, early in the morning and track the gorilla spoor and look for signs of the gorillas last movements. The distance you trek is unpredictable and varies depending on how active the gorillas are. Some will not move far from where the trackers left them the day before while others will travel long distances in the search for food.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a series of rolling hills with heavy foliage and trekking to the gorillas can often involve steep uphill or downhill climbs, sometimes on uneven and wet terrain. Hiking boots are important and you can rent walking sticks at an extra cost to stabilise your feet. The altitude in the forest is varied, with the highest point being 2607m above sea level and 60% of it being over 2000m. With this in mind, you might find hiking through the terrain slightly more difficult than at sea level. Your guides will keep you give you a detailed safety briefing before you depart on the hike and will reiterate key points shortly before getting close to the gorillas.

Your time with the gorillas is restricted to one hour. This is to safeguard the gorilla families and prevent excessive human contact. You can admire the animals and take photos so make sure your batteries are charged and your memory cards empty. Once your hour is up, you will begin the climb out of the forest. Your guides will take you to the nearest road where a 4WD should be waiting to take you back to camp.

Included Excursions

Guided Gorilla Trek (including permit)

Accommodation

1 night(s) in tented camps at Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort or similar

Meals

1 Breakfast(s)

Day 5 to 5 - Lake Bunyonyi

Today you will have a free morning to relax and recuperate after your trek. Alternatively if you wish to explore the area a little more, then you can opt to visit some of the locals in nearby villages, take a swim in the lake or walk up to some of the amazing viewpoints which overlook the lake.

Lake Bunyonyi is around 29 kilometres long and 7 kilometres wide, dotted by 29 islands. Look out for Uganda's national bird, the crested crane, among the 200 other bird species in the area.

In the afternoon we will board our dugout canoes and cross the lake to head to the Batwa pygmy village and school. The school was set up by an ex tour leader with the assistance of two passengers to help the local community and pygmy children integrate into Ugandan society. The cost of this included excursion goes directly to the school and donations of school supplies are always welcome. After visiting the village we will take the canoes to another island to enjoy a delicious buffet dinner before arriving back at our resort later that evening.

Included Excursions

Boat trip on Lake Bunyonyi & visit to a Pygmy Village

Optional Excursions

Guided visit to meet locals and participate in local customs – US$5

Accommodation

1 night(s) in tented camps at Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort or similar

Meals

1 Breakfast(s), 1 Dinner(s)

Day 6 to 6 - Kampala

After experiencing the beautiful scenery, spectacular wildlife and welcoming local communities of Lake Bunyonyi, we will be transported to meet our custom built overland expedition vehicle in the town of Kabale. From here we will make our way to Uganda’s capital, Kampala. En route to Kampala we will be passing townships and local markets and will also make a stop at the equator to get that all essential picture of you with one foot in the Southern and one foot in the Northern Hemisphere! The equator has some of the best opportunities to purchase souvenirs in all of east Africa.

Approximate Travel Time: 11 hours to Kampala with stops for lunch and at the equator.

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast(s), 1 Lunch(es)

Day 7 to 8 - Jinja

After breakfast we head to Uganda’s National Museum in Kampala to learn about the cultural heritage of Uganda before making our way towards the source of the mighty Nile River.

Jinja is known for being the adventure sports hub of Uganda and offers world-class white water rafting on the Nile River as well as quad biking and mountain biking. There is plenty to entertain you in this buzzing town!!

For those who want a more relaxing experience you will have the opportunity to relax in tranquil surroundings, go for a refreshing swim in the Nile, or perhaps take a walk through the local villages or visit the markets depending on the day of the week.

Approximate Travel Time: 2-3 hours depending on traffic.

Included Excursions

Kampala National Museum

Optional Excursions

White water rafting grade 3 & 5 Half day/full day – from US$115 • Kayaking from US$85 • Tandem kayaking – US$140 • River boarding – US$140 • Mountain Biking hire – from US$15 • Guided tours – from US$30 • Sunrise and sunset yoga by the River Nile – US$5 • Fishing - from US$80

Accommodation

2 night(s) in tented camps at Nile River Explorers or similar

Meals

2 Breakfast(s), 1 Lunch(es)

Day 9 to 10 - Naivasha

Today we head to Lake Naivasha where we will spend two nights. Here you will have a full free day to explore the area and chose from many of the optional activities on offer .

Explore the nearby Hell's Gate National Park on foot or by bicycle on a half day tour. With no predators present this is one of the few parks in Africa where you can enter on foot and walk beside wildlife such as giraffe, zebra, gazelle and warthogs to mention a few while taking in the amazing scenery that surrounds you. Don’t miss a walk through the beautiful and impressive Hell’s Gate Gorge and see why it inspired the stampede scene in Disney’s Lion King.

You can also visit Elsamere, the former home of the late Joy Adamson, who became famous for her relationship with the lioness Elsa in the film Born Free.

Due to our location at Lake Naivasha you may awake to some unusual sound effects in the morning; it is often possible to hear hippos wallowing in the lake’s fresh water

Approximate Travel Time: Approximately 14 hours to Naivasha

Optional Excursions

Lake Naivasha boat trip – KES6000 (price dependent on number of passengers) • Elsamere visit – US$10 (transport not included) • Green crater lake hike half day – US$45 • Hells Gate National Park bicycle tour– US$55. The national park has no animals dangerous to man, making it a safe place to go hiking, rock climbing and cycling.

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels at Crayfish Camp or similar

Meals

2 Breakfast(s), 1 Lunch(es)

Day 11 to 12 - Masai Mara National Reserve

We depart Naivasha early, after breakfast and drive to our lunch spot where we will exchange our expedition truck for 4WD safari vehicles before continuing on to the Masai Mara Nature Reserve. On arrival we get straight into our first game drive in one of the world's most famous and expansive wildlife reserves.

Covering over 1,500 square kilometres and providing habitat for thousands of animals, the Masai Mara Nature Reserve is deservedly one of Kenya’s most popular safari spots. Animals present in the reserve include the big five (lions, elephants, Cape buffaloes, leopards and rhinoceros), various grazing mammals which attract carnivores such as cheetahs, hyenas and jackals, and over 500 recorded species of birds. We stay just outside the park in permanent tents, enjoying a buffet dinner in the evening.

The following morning we leave camp early for a second game drive, visiting the mighty Mara River. During the annual Great Migration, this is the setting for the thunderous display of thousands of wildebeest crossing the river while canny crocodiles lie in wait. At any time of year, the river is vitally important to the ecosystem and a good spot to view animals. You will also have the opportunity to visit a local Masai village, learning about the vibrant, semi-nomadic herders’ way of life and join them in a local dance.

Included Excursions

Game Drives in the Masai Mara Nature Reserve

Optional Excursions

Hot air balloon over the Masai Mara National Reserve – US$450 per person

Accommodation

2 night(s) in tented camps at Miti Mingi Eco Camp or similar

Meals

2 Breakfast(s), 2 Lunch(es), 2 Dinner(s)

Day 13 to 14 - Nairobi

Today we leave the incredible Masai Mara behind and head back to Nairobi. We will arrive back mid-late afternoon and you have the evening free to relax and reflect on the incredible experiences you have had over the last few days.

Returning to Nairobi gives you the chance to experience some of the activities around the capital city you may have missed first time around. You may wish to enjoy a meal at the famous African buffet restaurant called Carnivores, where meat is served from Masai spears until you can eat no more and raise your flag in surrender!

Approximate Travel Time: Four hours to Nairobi

Optional Excursions

Giraffe centre- KES1000pp (excluding transportation), The Flip Flop Recycling Company – free (excluding transportation) • Karen Blixen Museum, coffee garden & cottages – KES2000 and free entrance to the bar (excluding transportation). • David Sheldick Elephant Centre - KES500 (excluding transportation). Only open 11am -12am when feeding.

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels at Kenya Comfort Hotel or similar

Meals

2 Breakfast(s)

Day 15 to 15 - Arusha

Crossing the border into Tanzania, we make our way to Arusha. It is here that we will prepare to enter the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater. Arusha is a busy, bustling town with WI-fi, coffee shops, banks and many other modern amenities. You will stay here for the night, leaving your belongings with the truck and taking only an overnight bag on your included excursion to the Serengeti NP and Ngorongoro Crater.

Approximate Travel Time: Six hours depending on the border

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels at Charity Hotel or similar

Meals

1 Breakfast(s)

Day 16 to 17 - Serengeti National Park & Ngorongoro Crater

A place that needs no introduction, the Serengeti National Park is the most famous safari destination in Africa. We’re picked up after breakfast and taken by 4WD to the national park. The afternoon is spent game driving to our campsite, located inside the national park to maximise our time and wildlife viewing opportunities. Before we reach the Serengeti plains, we’ll stop for a stunning vista overlooking the Ngorongoro Crater, the largest unbroken, unflooded caldera in the world. The vast 300 square kilometre crater stretches out in front of you in a kaleidoscope of blues and greens and it’s not until you spot the barely discernible grey speck of an elephant that you truly grasp its scale.

Every safari is unique and you will never know what’s in store for you until you arrive. Among the hundreds of species in the park, you may encounter zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, buffalo, lion, cheetah, leopard, hippopotamus, hyena, elephant, vulture, monkey, warthog, gazelle and impala. Each season offers a different highlight.

Our second day in the park is a full day of game driving, trying to spot the more elusive members of the animal kingdom before heading to our campsite on the rim of Ngorongoro Crater.

Please note: Sleeping mats are provided but you will need to bring your own sleeping bag

Included Excursions

Game Drives in the Serengeti National Park

Optional Excursions

Olduuvai Gorge – 27,000TS or US$18 • Masai Village- US$10 •Hot Air Ballooning with champagne breakfast – US$550 (cash payment) or US$565 (credit card payment)

Accommodation

2 night(s) assisted camping

Meals

2 Breakfast(s), 2 Lunch(es), 2 Dinner(s)

Day 18 to 18 - Arusha

After camping on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater our final morning game driving is spent inside the crater itself - a good place to spot black rhinoceros, elephant and lions.

This afternoon, we return to stay in Arusha and reunite with the overland truck.

Included Excursions

Morning Game Drive in the Ngorongoro Crater

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels at Charity Hotel or similar

Meals

1 Breakfast(s), 1 Lunch(es)

Day 19 to 19 - Stone Town

Today we are bound for the enigmatic, intoxicating Isles of Zanzibar. After breakfast we will transfer to Arusha Airport to take our flight to the paradise island.

On arrival at our hotel in Stone Town you are free to explore the labyrinth of walled streets, winding alleys, bustling markets and grand crumbling architecture. This UNESCO-listed Stone Town has changed little over the past 200 years. If you enjoy shopping then there are plenty of crafts and colourful souvenirs to be purchased here. Admire the intriguingly decorated elephant-proof doors before sitting down to watch the sun set with a fresh juice, cold beer or cocktail. If the thought of fresh seafood gets the taste buds tingling, make sure you check out the excellent night market on the promenade which serves a feast not to be missed!

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast(s)

Day 20 to 21 - Nungwi Beaches

Today we leave the charming Stone Town and head to the idyllic beaches of Nungwi where we will spend the next two nights. En route to our paradise beach we make a stop at one of the many spice plantations where we can discover the abundant plants that flourish in this verdant, tropical environment and sample spices picked straight from the source. We will also visit a small village, having the chance to interact with the locals and experience their kind hospitality; here we will enjoy a traditional lunch cooked by community.

Continuing on we will arrive at our beach location where you can indulge in a cocktail or two while we watch the sun set over the crystal clear Indian Ocean. The next day you have a free day. Snorkel with colourful marine life or simply kick back and soak up the sun. This beautiful setting will certainly provide you with a chance to relax and unwind after being on the go!

Included Excursions

4-day Zanzibar Island excursion,Guided Tour of the Spice Plantations & lunch at a local house.

Optional Excursions

Dhow sunset cruise – US$25 (depending on numbers) • Snorkelling – From US$45 • Scuba diving – From US$60

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels at Nungwi Inn or similar

Meals

2 Breakfast(s), 1 Lunch(es)

Day 22 to 22 - Depart Stone Town

Your adventure of a lifetime comes to an end today. If you have a late flight or have lengthened your stay by adding post tour accommodation you will have more time to explore the sights.

Please note:This tour will end at Nungwi Beach. If you wish to travel back to Stone Town early in the morning with the rest of the group who will be continuing on tour, then you can join them on their transfer back to Stone Town this morning. If you wish to depart from Nungwi later that day or have chosen to extend your stay, then you will need to organise your own transport back to Stone Town or the airport. You can do this by either pre-booking a departure transfer or arranging this locally at an additional cost.

Meals

1 Breakfast(s)

What's Included

Excursions & Activities

  • Visits to Rwanda Genocide memorials and Hôtel des Milles Collines (Hotel Rwanda)
  • Guided Gorilla Trek (including permit)
  • Boat trip on Lake Bunyonyi & visit to a Pygmy Village
  • Kampala National Museum
  • Game Drives in the Masai Mara Nature Reserve
  • Game Drives in the Serengeti National Park
  • Morning Game Drive in the Ngorongoro Crater
  • 4-day Zanzibar Island excursion
  • Guided Tour of the Spice Plantations & lunch at a local house.

Accommodation

12 night(s) in hotels, 7 night(s) in tented camps, 2 night(s) assisted camping

Transportation

Overland Truck, flight(s), 4WD

Meals

21 Breakfast(s), 5 Dinner(s), 9 Lunch(es)

Other

Tucan Travel tour leader, Tucan Travel driver

What's Not Included

  • Spending money – budget for meals, snacks, drinks, limited souvenirs, laundry, tips and any extras
  • International flights to/from the start/end of your tour and departure taxes  
  • Tips on included excursions, visas, travel insurance, personal items and single rooms.  
  • Optional excursions - On each trip, you may find there are some excursions that are not included. This might be because they are not to everyone's taste or there may be various options of differing value to choose from. More information on the excursions we recommend is listed under each day of your itinerary though prices may vary. If you are after something in particular, don't hesitate to ask your tour leader.
  • Airport transfers and pre and post tour accommodation

About this tour

On this tour you will be mainly travelling on board our custom built Tucan Travel truck staying in mainly locally owned hotels with some camping in certain destinations.

Group Size

There is a maximum of 34 travellers with an average group size of 15-24. For more information about our trucks please click here

Local Payment

The Local Payment helps us to keep your tour price as low as possible. It is a non-refundable, fixed amount which is paid to your Tour Leader in US dollars on the first day of your tour and goes towards its smooth running. The money is put straight back into the local economy, often to small suppliers in remote locations without banking facilities. Having this flexibility means we can stay in out-of-the-way places which benefit you as well as the local community.

The local payment amount is found on the tour price page and will be printed on your invoice and tour voucher. You are required to pay the local payment that is current at the time of your tour’s departure. This amount may change throughout the year and we advise clients to check your specific tour page on our website for the current amount if you are unsure about this. It can be very difficult to obtain US$ in some South American and African countries and virtually impossible in others, so we recommend organising your local payment before you arrive for your tour.

Please note: The local payment must be paid in high denomination notes only (100s, 50s, 20s). The notes must be crisp with no tears or markings and should be no older than 2005.

Joining your tour

Your joining location is:

Kenya Comfort Hotel
Muindi Mbingu / Monrovia Street (opposite Jeevanjee Gardens)
Nairobi

Tel: (+254) 734608866
comfort@kenyacomfort.com
www.kenyacomfort.com/index.php/kchhome.html

Arriving in Nairobi

Ensure you have your onward flight ticket, tour voucher and travel itinerary on your person when arriving at immigration. We recommend that you obtain some Kenyan Shillings at Nairobi International Airport. There is a Barclays bank and ATM on your left hand side as you exit the arrivals area. The ATM is available 24 hours and Barclays are open 6am-10pm. There is also the Taipan FX bureau which gives a better rate if you are changing cash or travellers cheques; they are open 8am-5pm daily. At both Barclays and the Taipan you will need your purchase receipt if you are changing traveller’s cheques.

Airport Transfers

Airport transfers are not included in the tour price and must be booked separately in advance through Tucan Travel. If you have booked an airport/hotel transfer with us, please look out for someone with a sign which has your name, Tucan Travel, or both after exiting the customs hall.

If you have booked an arrival transfer with us and you are going to be delayed by more than two hours, you must advise us of the delay at least six hours before arrival. If we are advised in time, we will make every effort to reschedule your transfer and your driver will be asked to wait for two hours after your new expected arrival time. However, if we are not made aware of any change, the driver will only wait for two hours after the original scheduled arrival time and after this point it will be up to you to arrange transport to your hotel at your own expense. Please contact us on the emergency contact address below if you are likely to be delayed.

Making your own way

If you would prefer to make your own way to and from the joining hotel, you can book transport though them and they will provide a transfer for between US$20 and US$40 for up to six people. Airport taxis in Nairobi can work out to be expensive.

Gorilla Trek

This tour includes a visit to the endangered mountain gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (Uganda). The cost of this excursion is included in the price of the tour and permits for the excursion are limited and need to be purchased beforehand. In the event that no permits are available, you will be refunded the full cost of the excursion. You can read important information on how to book the Gorilla Trek permit here: https://www.tucantravel.com/travel-highlights/africa-highlights/gorilla-trek

Batwa Pygmy Village & Local School

We also include a visit to the Batwa Pygmy Village & Local School which was set up by two past Tucan Travel passengers to help integrate the local pygmy children into Ugandan Society. While Tucan Travel donate money towards the community, many passengers want to do more to help the families after visiting. The school needs exercise books which your tour leader can help you to purchase beforehand in Kabale if you wish to assist, or you can bring items from home - children's clothing is especially appreciated.

Age Limit

On our Worldwide Adventures the minimum age is 16. For passengers who are taking children under the age of 18, please note that in Botswana and South Africa, you will need to be able to provide a certified copy of their full unabridged birth certificate upon entry into the country. As advised by the foreign office; if the child is travelling with one parent or with another adult, the parent or parents who aren’t present will need to provide an affidavit giving their consent for the child to travel.

Emergency Contact Details

In the unlikely event of an emergency you can contact the number below. Please bear in mind that your tour leader or other crew members should be your first port of call.

Africa Destination Manager: +44 (0)7775 532808

Keeping in Touch

Wifi may be available at some hotels, but the quality of internet in Africa is of varying quality and is often unreliable. If someone needs to contact you urgently during your tour, the best method is to contact our office who can pass a message on to the tour leader.

Money

Your spending money should cover some meals, optional excursions, souvenirs, drinks, laundry, border and airport taxes and any visas obtained locally. We provide guideline prices for optional excursions in the itinerary to help you budget, but ultimately the amount you will need to budget for your trip very much depends on your individual requirements. We recommend bringing extra money to cover emergencies or unexpected situations.

It can be difficult to obtain US dollars in Africa, so please ensure you obtain enough cash to cover your visas and optional excursions before you travel. Local operators do not accept any notes that are marked, torn or older than the year 2002 and you may have difficulty exchanging these notes elsewhere in Africa, so please check your cash carefully at the point of purchase. While bank cards provide a very good way to access funds overall, it is not recommended to rely on them as your sole source of funds as cash machines do not always work and may not be available in remote locations. Carry a mix of cards and cash with you, including notes in small denominations.

Tipping

While tipping is part of the culture in Africa, you should not feel obliged or pressured to tip. A gratuity of 10% of the total bill is recommended in restaurants. Gratuities are usually expected for local guides on included and optional excursions. Tips are also appreciated by Tucan Travel tour leaders at the end of your tour and we recommend an average of $2-$4 per person per day for the duration of your tour. This is only if you feel that their service was up to standard and is completely at your own discretion.

Packing List

The best advice when packing is to travel light and leave space for souvenirs in your bag.

Luggage

We recommend a frameless backpack or a sports type shoulder bag as they are less bulky and easier to handle than rigid suitcases or framed backpacks. Hardcase/Hardshell suitcases are not suitable for our tours and are not recommended. Generally you luggage is kept in the overland truck or your tent, but in some major cities and towns you will be staying in hotels and hostels and you will need to be able to carry your bag some distance. Tucan Travel takes no responsibility for damage to your luggage while on tour.

In addition to your main bag, you will need a small daypack for your everyday excursions. Try to keep this bag as light as possible and make sure that all main sections of your bags can be padlocked. This daypack should have enough room to carry food and snacks for long hikes and treks and space to carry belongings for overnight excursions.

Please note: For tours where internal flights are included, luggage regulations are subject to the local airline. Luggage restrictions may be a maximum of 15kg. You will have to pay for any luggage charges above 20kg.

Sleeping Bags and Mats

Sleeping bags are essential on any Africa Worldwide Adventure that include the following:

Serengeti & Ngorongoro, Tanzania
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Etosha National Park, Namibia
Sesriem, Namibia

Sleeping mats will be provided by Tucan Travel however a sleeping bag liner is also a good idea to keep your sleeping bag clean and to use as a sheet when the weather is hot. The weather in Africa can be varied and is not always as warm as you may think, especially in areas that are at higher altitude, so a warm sleeping bag (3-4 season) is recommended.

Therm-a-rest self inflating mattresses are comfortable and provide protection against the cold ground, while foam roll mats are compact, inexpensive and have similar features. Avoid air mattresses as these can be bulky and puncture easily.

Clothes and Footwear

We recommend packing lightweight and durable clothes. Nights can be cold at higher altitude (Serengeti National Park and parts of Kenya) and in southern Africa in winter, so it is a good idea to bring at least one pair of warm trousers plus several thinner sweaters / fleeces which you can layer. Please avoid military or camouflage-patterned clothing as it can cause problems and in some countries may be illegal.

Good, comfortable walking shoes are essential. These do not need to be expensive boots, but they should have good ankle support and grip, be worn in and ideally waterproof.

When on safari, wear neutral colours to increase your chances of watching animals in their natural environment. Avoid blue or black clothing - these colours attract tsetse flies which deliver a painful sting. White clothes often do not stay that way for long and clothing will likely get dirty, so it is best to bring clothes that are easy to wash and that you won’t mind getting ruined.

Essential items:

  • A lightweight water/windproof jacket with hood
  • East to pack wide-brimmed hat of cap
  • Towel - you will need a towel for most overnight excursions and while camping
  • Swimwear
  • Sandals or thongs/jandals/flip flops

Suggested items:

  • Sunglasses
  • Head torch or flashlight
  • Lip balm, sun block with high UV factor
  • Wet wipes
  • Plenty of spare memory cards for your camera
  • Travel games, cards and a couple of paperbacks
  • Toilet paper (best to carry a roll with you at all times and/or tissues)
  • Small medical kit with diarrhoea remedy, rehydration salts, antiseptic cream, sterile dressings, plasters, bandages, pain-killers, safety pins etc.
  • Plastic bags for waterproofing
  • Inflatable pillow
  • Binoculars
  • Insect repellent (DEET 35% min) and bite cream
  • Antibactarial hand clensing gel
  • Ear plugs and sleep mask
  • Travel sickness tablets
  • Hard drive or USB stick to back up your photos
  • As gifts for local children - pens, coloured pencils, small notepads. To discourage a begging mentality we recommend that you try to give these gifts at schools or childcare centres rather than on the street.

Laundry

Most campsites and towns have laundry and drying facilities, but these are often basic with laundry done by hand and hung outside on a line. For this reason drying clothes can be tricky in the wet season. Many hotels have laundry service but they are generally expensive, so it is best to do most of your laundry whilst at campsites. Hotels generally do not allow guests to wash and dry clothing in their rooms.

Electricity supply

The power supply in Africa is approx. 240 volts; electricity is often provided by a generator and can be erratic. In Zambia, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Malawi electricity is 240 volts and the sockets are the three pin rectangular British-style. In Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, sockets are either two or three pin, and round or flat. We recommend bringing a universal plug adaptor with you. You can also charge your iPods, MP3 players, laptops, cameras, etc using power boards aboard the overland truck, while travelling.

Bathrooms

In some countries it is customary to leave a gratuity of 20-50 cents when using public conveniences. An attendant may collect this or a dish/box will be left out. Our vehicles do not have toilets on board for hygiene and logistical reasons. This may mean roadside toilet stops on travel days and our crew always try and stop in isolated areas with as much privacy as possible if this is necessary.

Health, Fitness & Safety

Vaccinations

It is important to consult your doctor or travel clinic in good time before your tour departs to determine what vaccinations you require. You may need several vaccinations and/or malaria tablets and you should be aware that some inoculations require more than one visit and can take several weeks to administer. Always carry your International Certificate of Vaccination with your passport.

For areas with malaria, make sure you pack sufficient prophylactics for the duration of your tour and the incubation period after. Some countries prevent entry for travellers without a valid Yellow Fever certificate. This must be acquired before departure and takes ten days for your body to build up a resistance. This certificate must be taken with you on your tour with a photocopy stored somewhere safe.

Pack a Medical Kit

A medical kit is handy for minor wounds and ailments. In areas with limited or dubious medical facilities, an emergency medical kit containing sterile syringes is also advisable. By law our staff are not allowed to administer first aid or give drugs to travellers, so please be prepared with your own supplies.

If you are taking medication, please ensure you bring an adequate supply and a letter from your doctor to avoid potential issues at border crossings.

Fitness & Suitability

This is a participatory tour involving camping and with basic facilities at times. Disruptions are likely, and while your tour leader will make every effort to ensure your trip runs smoothly, patience, a sense of humour and willingness to get involved are essential ingredients for a successful and happy overland group.

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions please let us know at the time you book or as early before departure as possible. Depending on the severity of the condition, you may be asked to produce a medical certificate from your doctor approving your participation in this tour. While this would only happen in very exceptional circumstances, if we consider you incapable completing this tour or you have concealed an existing medical condition which is affecting your ability to participate in the tour of Tucan Travel reserve the right to turn you away without reimbursement.

Safety & Security

Africa is generally very safe, even more so in a group. Reasonable precaution is advised; do not bring valuable jewellery or watches (even fakes can catch the eye of a thief), do not walk by yourself at night, heed your tour leader’s advice and always keep an eye and a hand on your camera and bags in public places. Tucan Travel cannot accept responsibility for any valuables left in safe deposits in hotels or in our vehicles.

Age Restrictions

Our Worldwide Adventures are recommended for people between the ages of 18 - 65. For those who wish to travel with children, or who are aged 65+ please see our Tailor-made tours. Our group tours can be very fast paced and travellers might be required to walk long distances, often in the heat. Please read through our Tour Suitability page or contact a member of our Reservations Team if in doubt.

 

 

Documents

Passport

Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months after you have finished your tour with sufficient blank pages for visas and immigration stamps. Photocopy your passport, leaving one copy at home and taking one with you on tour. If you lose your passport while on tour, you will be responsible for any expenses incurred such as extra accommodation and transport while replacing your passport and will not be entitled to a refund of any unused portion of your tour.

Tour Documents

Before you depart you will be issued with some travel documents for your tour and separate travel documents for any extra services such as airport transfers and pre/post tour accommodation. Please print these out and bring them with you. These Tour Notes are updated regularly, so we recommend checking our website for the latest version just prior to the start of your tour.

Final Balance

The balance for your tour is due no later than 60 days prior to the start of your tour and no tour documents will be issued until this is received. In addition please send the following details at least 60 days before you depart:

  • Passport number, date of issue, date of expiry, nationality and place of issue
  • Your full name and date of birth
  • Flight arrival details in your starting city
  • Special requirements, e.g. special dietary requirements or allergies

Please let us know if you are travelling with another person on the tour but have made separate bookings and we will endeavour to make suitable rooming arrangements.

Visas

All countries have visa requirements that are subject to change at short notice. A general guideline for visa requirements is available here: http://www.tucantravel.com/before-you-go/visa-guide, but you must check with your local embassy or consulate for the very latest visa requirement information based on your nationality. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have all necessary visas for your tour. If you would like help applying for visas, we have recommended visa agencies on our visa page that we work with regularly.

Important things to check when applying for visas:

  • Does the validity of the visa cover the duration of your time spent in the country?
  • Do you require a single or multiple entry visa(s) for your tour?
  • Are you required to show additional documentation when you arrive in a country? (Examples include proof of onward travel and travel itinerary)

Some visas are only valid for entry within three months of the date of issue which means. If you are spending extensive time in a country before or after your tour, you must obtain the relevant visa during your tour. If it is necessary for you to obtain any visas en-route, please contact Tucan Travel or your Adventure Specialist and inform your tour leader at the start of the tour. If you do not have the appropriate visas, Tucan Travel will not reimburse any expenses incurred in acquiring visas or any unused portion of the tour.

It is best to apply for visas in your home country if possible. If applying for visas by post, please allow plenty of time before departure and send your application by registered mail. Postal applications tend to be given a lower priority than in person applications and can take longer to process.

Special Note: If you have dual nationality it is advised not to obtain different visas in different passports. Although this may sometimes be cheaper, you may encounter problems at border crossings if your exit stamps from one country are not the same as your visa for the next.

Travel Insurance Policy

Travel insurance is compulsory for all tours. You must be adequately insured for medical, hospital, baggage and personal expenses, any necessary extra travel (rejoining tour or repatriation) as well as curtailment and cancellation.

We strongly recommend that all clients carry a copy of their full policy document with them at all times, together with any certificate showing the policy number and emergency contact details. Your tour leader will also ask for a photocopy of your insurance document, so please take this to the pre-departure meeting at the start of your tour. You will not be able to commence your tour unless you can provide proof of insurance to your tour leader.

Document Checklist

  • Tour Documents & Documents for extra services
  • Passport (with photocopies of information pages and visas)
  • Tour Notes
  • Cash & credit/debit cards (best to take a mixture and more than one card in case one does not work)
  • Travel Insurance Certificate and photocopy for tour leader
  • Travel consultant's phone number and email address
  • Proof of onward travel, ie airline ticket

Optional Excursions

Optional excursions are not operated by Tucan Travel and while every effort is made prices may not be up-to-date and are intended as a general guide to help you budget for your trip. Prices for vehicle-based excursions such as game drives are approximate based on the number of participants and the actual price may vary depending on group size.

Sufficient safety equipment such as protective helmets and life jackets are sometimes not available or the standard may vary between destinations. Tucan Travel is unable to provide this equipment. This is particularly the case for activities such as horse-riding, caving, white-water rafting, bungee-jumping, canyoning and other similar optional excursions. If you intend to participate in an optional excursion you may like to consider bringing your own safety gear.

Excursions are run by a local operator or third party with both Tucan Travel and the Tour Leader acting as a booking agent only. Optional activities are not part of the tour and Tucan Travel’s booking conditions do not apply to them. It is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct travel insurance for the excursions you intend to take part in and Tucan Travel is not liable for any injuries incurred.

Responsible Travel

We work hard to ensure our tours are sustainably and ethically run. You can read our responsible travel policy and advice on how you can travel responsibly here: http://www.tucantravel.com/about-us/responsible-travel.

Meet Up

Our free Meet Up app, available on Facebook,  is an opportunity to chat with others passengers before you depart or keep in touch when you arrive back from tour. Information on the app is available here: http://www.tucantravel.com/before-you-go/meet-up

Extras Services

On many of our Group Tours, we spend one night in our arrival and departure cities. If you want to explore these cities more we can extra accommodation for you and airport transfers to ensure you catch your flight in time. We also have a Tailor-made Team who can design trips specifically for you, should you want something slightly different. See here: https://www.tucantravel.com/travel-styles/tailor-made-tours

Illegal Drugs

The possession or use of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our tours. When overseas you are subject to local laws and the penalties for breaking these laws can be harsh. In order to safeguard the interests of the group as a whole, our tour leaders have been instructed to insist that any person found with illegal drugs leave the tour immediately – without refund. The tour leader’s decision on this matter is final. If you need to carry certain drugs with you for purposes of medication, please inform your tour leader and ensure that you carry a copy of your prescription or letter from your doctor.