Planning your Africa safari trip

About Us - Silverback Travel Company - Rwanda & Uganda Safaris, Tours

ADDRESS & CONTACTS

Silverback Travel Company
Entebbe – Kampala Road,
Kitala Entebbe

Tel: +256 (0) 753 151858
Mob: +256 (0) 778 364205
Email: travel@silverbacksafaris.com

Planning Your Africa Safari Trip

Frequently Asked Questions

Coming to Africa for a Safari Holiday can be confusing and daunting especially if you know nothing about how things are done in Africa and you have tried to search around the web for some answers.

Well, Silverback Safaris Travel Team has made your next Safari Holiday simpler by answering some troubling travel questions. Here are some of answers to your safari travel questions. If your question does not appear in here, please make use of the contact form bellow to contact us and we will answer you as soon as we can.

What Should I Know for Planning A Safari

Do I need a passport?

Yes! Most African countries require that you are in possession of a valid passport with an expiration date no less than six months after your return to the United States.

Travel Documents

  • Passport (with any Visas required for this trip)
  • Travel insurance including insurer details, 24 hr
  • Emergency contact telephone number
  • Flight tickets, e-ticket
  • Trip confirmation voucher
  • Photocopies of important documents – to be kept separately (we recommend you keep a copy at home as well and email a copy to yourself)

Do I need travel insurance?

Travel insurance is compulsory for all Silverback Travel Company travelers and should be taken out at the time of booking. At a minimum, your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, death, medical expenses, emergency repatriation and personal liability, with a minimum coverage of US$200,000. We also strongly recommend it covers cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

Currency Information

Travelers’ checks are not common practice anymore so it is a good idea to travel with a credit card and ATM card, or a bank issued ‘cash card’ specifically for travel. Having a couple of options will assure that you are covered if one doesn’t work. Visa cards are more widely accepted than Mastercard however both will work in most countries.

We recommend having access to money from a variety of sources – cash, credit & debit cards are all commonly used (Visa and MasterCard only).

I am concerned about the political stability of the country through which my trip will travel.

The safety of our passengers, leaders and operators is a major priority for Silverback Travel Company. With this in mind, we monitor events in each country and provide our clients with as much information as possible prior to their booking of the trip. At times there are risks which are out of the control of the company therefore the clients must decide whether to proceed with their trip or not.

Do you handle air tickets?

We work with a partner who is able to handle all of your air ticket arrangements. By purchasing tickets through our business parter, not only do you often receive reduced rates, we are able to be of assistance in the event that changes need to be made to your flights.

What airlines fly to Africa?

Many of the major world airlines such as Emirates, KLM, British Airways, Brussels, Egypt Air, Ethiopian Air, Lufthansa, Qatar, South African Airways, and Swissair fly into Africa several times a week.

Is it safe to visit Africa?

At Silverback Travel Company our number one concern is your safety. We continually monitor each country and region to make sure that you and your group will be in a safe and secure environment at all times. We actively discourage travel to destinations that we consider unsafe for any reason.

Petty theft can occur in Africa’s major cities as it does in most parts of the world. Visitors should take the same care as they would normally take in any other destination worldwide. Keep a close watch on handbags, wallets, and cameras when walking in crowded places. Avoid walking at night and place valuables in safe deposit boxes at hotels.

While at safari lodges and tented camps you are typically far removed from human settlement and crime is typically unheard of. We still advise that valuables be locked away in a room safe or kept under the supervision of the camp or lodge manager while on safari.

Silverback Travel Company has a great knowledge of each country that we tour in – not just its wildlife and attractions but also its unique cultures, economy and government, as safety issues often stem from these areas.

Do I need to bring a sleeping bag on a camping safari?

For a typical camping safari all camping equipment will be provided for you at the site. If you sign up for a camping safari with your own equipment then you should bring a sleeping bag, tent and other related items.

How far in advance should we plan and book our safari?

Most of the safari lodges and camps we recommend are small, exclusive and dearly sought after. To ensure availability we suggest planning and booking your travel arrangements at least 4-6 months in advance.

How Do I Plan My Adventure?

Silverback Travel Company is unique in that we personalize each and every tour to our client’s wishes. We spend a great deal of time communicating with our clients prior to their trip so that we can organize a special tailored trip that will go beyond their expectations. Our team is extremely knowledgeable on East African travel and knows the ideal places to visit, to the most scenic routes to take, and the most fantastic accommodation in the whole region. We look forward to planning your dream trip!

What Should I Pack for A Safari

Do I need a passport?

Yes! Most African countries require that you are in possession of a valid passport with an expiration date no less than six months after your return to the United States.

Which Travel Documents Do I need?

  • Passport (with any Visas required for this trip)
  • Travel insurance including insurer details, 24 hr
  • Emergency contact telephone number
  • Flight tickets, e-ticket
  • Trip confirmation voucher
  • Photocopies of important documents – to be kept separately (we recommend you keep a copy at home as well and email a copy to yourself)

Which Type Luggage Should I Carry?

Suit case, Soft luggage, backpack or bag with wheels and straps, daypack

Tell Me About The Money?

  • Money (US dollars, British pounds, or Euros in large notes)
  • Credit cards
  • Travelers’ checks (optional) – keep a note of the serial numbers of your traveler’s checks and also the emergency contact numbers.
  • Money belt or pouch

Weather protection?

  • Light Raincoat (optional) or waterproof light jacket
  • Waterproof bags for rain protection while walking

Camping?

  • Inner sleep sheet
  • Ground sheet (or polythene sheet) if you think you’ll be sleeping under the stars.
  • Warm sleeping bag (3 seasons)
  • Head torch/lamp

Footing?

  • Hiking boots (if necessary)
  • Comfortable walking shoes with good grip
  • Sandals/flip-flops/dressier shoes for evenings out
  • Hiking poles/walking sticks (if needed)

Travel Accessories

  • Comfortable daypack to carry your personal needs during the day
  • Personal audio player/Portable games/playing cards (optional)
  • Reading material
  • Cloth/reusable shopping bag to reduce plastic bags
  • Torch/flashlight
  • Electrical adapter for the country you are travelling to
  • Binoculars
  • Mobile Phone
  • Camera equipment/ Film or memory cards/Spare batteries/charger

What is Safari Accommodation Like?

Up market safari lodges, tented camps and hotels in Africa provide world class accommodations. Rooms have proper beds with mattresses and duvets, en suite (attached, in room) flush toilets, and showers with hot and cold running water. Other commonly found amenities include mosquito netting, fans, lamps, purified water, and wardrobes. For those looking for the ultimate in luxury there are numerous properties where you can find presidential suites.

Adventurous travelers may partake in budget or mid-range tours where facilities are slightly more limited. For mid-range tours clients will sleep in private, comfortable accommodation typically in a lodge or canvas tent, en suite. Budget safaris and tours may include camping with ones own equipment or the equipment provided by the campsite.

Such accommodation typically has shared bathroom/showers and communal meals. These types of tours are for those people who are looking for an exploratory experience, staying in the natural environment.

Will I be able to recharge my camera, phone and other batteries?

Yes – at nearly all hotels, lodges, and permanent tented camps you will be able to recharge your camera and video batteries either in room or in the main lodge. We recommend that you bring your own plugs – plugs C and H for east and southern Africa. Please make sure your electronic equipment switches automatically from 110 to 220 electricity (most do – it will say on the plug or in the manual). If they do not switch automatically a converter will be needed.

Do cell phones work on safari? What about satellite phones?

Tri-band and quad-band cell phones work in most major African cities and towns however you must check to ensure your service provider has an agreement with the local provider. Also check rates as these can be up to US $3 per minute.

If your phone is unlocked it is possible to get a SIM card and use your cell phone in East Africa with a local phone number. Cell phones may have service in some national parks. Often times they may not work at many safari lodges and camps in Africa as there are few cell phone towers.

Can we have our clothes washed while on safari?

The majority of safari lodges and camps offer complimentary laundry service (some charge a small fee), however please note that undergarments are often excluded.

Do I need to bring a sleeping bag on a camping safari?

For a typical camping safari all camping equipment will be provided for you at the site. If you sign up for a camping safari with your own equipment then you should bring a sleeping bag, tent and other related items.

Visas and Passports

Do I Need A Passport?

Yes! Most African countries require that you are in possession of a valid passport with an expiration date no less than six months after your return to the United States.

Do I need travel insurance?

Travel insurance is compulsory for all Silverback Travel Company travelers and should be taken out at the time of booking. At a minimum, your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, death, medical expenses, emergency repatriation and personal liability, with a minimum coverage of US$200,000. We also strongly recommend it covers cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

Travel Documents

  • Passport (with any Visas required for this trip)
  • Travel insurance including insurer details, 24 hr
  • Emergency contact telephone number
  • Flight tickets, e-ticket
  • Trip confirmation voucher
  • Photocopies of important documents – to be kept separately (we recommend you keep a copy at home as well and email a copy to yourself)

Do you handle air tickets?

We work with a partner who is able to handle all of your air ticket arrangements. By purchasing tickets through our business parter, not only do you often receive reduced rates, we are able to be of assistance in the event that changes need to be made to your flights.

What airlines fly to Africa?

Many of the major world airlines such as Emirates, KLM, British Airways, Brussels, Egypt Air, Ethiopian Air, Lufthansa, Qatar, South African Airways, and Swissair fly into Africa several times a week.

Internet, Electricity, and Phone Carriers

Can I access Internet or Wifi while on safari?

Internet access is typically available at most city hotels or nearby cafes. The majority of safari lodges and camps do not have internet access (only some do).

Will I be able to recharge my camera, phone and other batteries?

Yes – at nearly all hotels, lodges, and permanent tented camps you will be able to recharge your camera and video batteries either in room or in the main lodge. We recommend that you bring your own plugs – plugs C and H for east and southern Africa. Please make sure your electronic equipment switches automatically from 110 to 220 electricity (most do – it will say on the plug or in the manual). If they do not switch automatically a converter will be needed.

Will I be able to access electricity while in Safari?

Electricity in east and southern Africa 220/240 volts. Some safari lodges and camps are not connected to a main electrical supply and instead use a generator or inverter for electricity. Solar lighting (backed up by batteries) is also common. Lanterns also provide light at night. In most areas you will not be able to use a hairdryer or electric shaver.

What if a family member has to get hold of us about an emergency back home?

The vast majority of hotels in Africa has telephones and can be easily reached. In an emergency we suggest client’s friends and family contact our office so we may assist.

What if a family member has to get hold of us about an emergency back home?

The vast majority of hotels in Africa has telephones and can be easily reached. In an emergency we suggest client’s friends and family contact our office so we may assist.

Meals, Drinks and Special Diets

Which types of food are served on safari?

The food served at most up-market safari lodges and tented camps is of the highest quality. Gourmet cooks bake fresh breads, and produce soups, salads, and entrees that could easily grace tables at top restaurants around the world. Meals are international in flavor with soups, salads, cold meats, pasta dishes, meat and fish dishes, and breads.

Your day will often include tea and coffee and a light breakfast before your morning activity, a late morning brunch or early afternoon lunch, then a hearty dinner which may consist of an appetizer followed by meat, fish and pasta dishes served with assorted vegetables and sauces.

Are there any foods I should avoid? What about drinking water?

In the vast majority of cases it is safe to eat ALL of the foods offered by lodges and camps as they take great care to ensure that food is prepared in a healthy manner. If you are really worried about contracting a “stomach bug” don’t eat raw vegetables such as salads, avoid ice cubes in drinks (however many places use purified water for ice cubes – simply ask if you are concerned), and eat only fruits that have thick skins which are peeled (pineapples, mangoes, bananas, etc).

In most East African countries it is wise to drink only bottled water. In addition refrain from swallowing water during a shower and use purified water for brushing teeth if you choose. Bottled water is always readily available.

What drinks are available on safari?

On most safaris drinks are not included in the all inclusive daily rate and you must pay for these separately. You will be able to find a full menu of drinks at most locations. This includes water, soda, juice, wine, spirits, and beer.

What about special dietary needs (vegetarian, diabetic, no spicy foods)?

Special diets are not a problem as long we know your needs in advance.

Other Questions

How do I find out about the visa requirements for the trip I am interested in?

We always recommend that passengers check with their local embassy regarding information on visas. Embassy websites in your home country will always have information about requirements, visa costs and will provide the required forms. East Africa has recently begun using a single-tourist visa, which will make it simpler for tourists to enter Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya.

What are the medical and vaccination requirements?

Please see your local physician or travel doctor for details and advice about current vaccination requirements. As a precautionary measure we recommend Hepatitis A & B, Typhoid, Polio, Meningitis, Rabies, Yellow Fever and to take Malaria medication while traveling.

Personal Health

  • Small First aid kit
  • Personal medication/prescriptions
  • Prescription glasses / Contact lenses and solution
  • High protection sunscreen (25+), Lip balm/lip salve
  • Hat/wide brim hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Insect repellent
  • Antihistamine/insect bite cream
  • Antibacterial gel/wipes
  • Travel vaccination certificates
  • Anti-malaria pills (if recommended by doctor)
  • Anti-diarrhea pills (consult your doctor for more detailed advice)

Who is Silverback Safaris?

Silverback Travel Company is a tour company that specializes in all things Africa. Our focus is on high quality, tailored tours and safaris for all types of clients.

We offer scheduled group trips or if you prefer we would be happy to arrange a personalized safari to fit your wildest dreams – this is our real passion!

We are an international team who are dedicated to making your experience in Africa the best it can be. We know Africa intimately since each member of our team has lived and worked in Africa.

Do you provide references from people who have gone on safaris with you?

Requests for references are welcome – please inquire with one of our staff members and they can provide you with references: Travel@silverbacktravelcompany.com.

Who manages and guides the safaris?

We are travel company which offers a wide variety of African travel packages – some are group trips and some are tailor-made to suit our client’s specific needs.

Our team will coordinate and guide your entire trip from landing till departure and will work closely with you to ensure that all of your needs are met before, during and after your travel!

Cultural Interaction: Are their opportunities to meet with local people and visit African villages?

Silverback Travel Company prides itself on its tours which focus on discovering East Africa on a human scale. There are many opportunities for cultural interaction throughout our trips. We arrange tours to local schools, markets, and villages as well as experiences with Community Based Organizations as well as global exchanges in academic settings. Village visits may last a few hours or an overnight with a host family may be arranged.

In some cases guests may participate in daily chores such as planting crops, brewing beer, or carrying water. Some of the safari camps and lodges are located in wildlife rich areas far from human settlement and offer little cultural interaction with locals, however it is possible to take part in tour where you can experience both human society as well as opulent wildlife.

When is the best time to travel to Africa to view wildlife?

In east Africa safaris are best enjoyed during the periods mid December through the beginning of March and during the period June through mid October each year. Wildlife viewing is, in part, predicated on the amount of surface water available. During the rains (November through March) wildlife is scattered as there is abundant surface water (puddles, perennial rivers) to drink.

Once the rains end (mid March) wildlife congregates around remaining surface water supplies (pools, lakes, and large rivers). Please note that travel during southern Africa’s “green season”, November through April, does have some advantages.

The bush will be lush and green and many wildlife species will have newborn in tow. Dust, which can be a nuisance during the dry season, is greatly reduced and nighttime temperatures are milder than during the dry winter months.

How is the Wildlife?

Wildlife viewing in Africa is marvelous if you travel to the right destination at the right time! Each country has a safari season and during these months you will be able to travel comfortably and see tremendous amounts of wildlife.

How is the Birding?

Birding in Africa is spectacular, especially during the northern hemisphere winter when the northern migratory birds are present. From the flightless ostrich to tiny bee eaters, Africa is an ornithologist’s paradise!

What is the weather like in East Africa?

In general east Africa (Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania) temperatures are moderate throughout the year with average daytime temperatures around 70 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit or 25-28 degrees celcius. Evenings and mornings are often cooler dropping down to 60s or 50s Fahrenheit, or 15-20 Celcius in the more rural areas.

This region experiences dry weather during the months of June through October. There are two rainy seasons – the long rains which fall mid March through May and the short rains which arrive in mid October and continue until mid December.

Do people speak English in East Africa?

English is spoken widely throughout East Africa (with the exception of Rwanda). Southern Africa has many local languages however it is usually easy to get by with English alone. In Uganda and Kenya English is actually the national language along with dozens of local languages, while Rwanda speaks French, along with many local languages.

In Tanzania they speak predominately Swahili however it will be possible to find many people who speak some English.

How do we book a safari with you?

First you need to contact us by email: travel@silverbacktravelcompany.com. Please let us know when you would like to travel, how many people will be traveling, and the trip you are interested in. If you would like to arrange a tailor-made trip simply let us know your requirements and we will gladly make suggestions. With your input we can easily design a safari that suits your needs.

What if we have to cancel our safari plans?

All cancellations must be made in writing, signed by the client, to Silverback Travel Company and all trips may be subject to the following, per person, cancellation charges based on the number of days before trip departure that we receive your written cancellation request:

  • More than 60 days: Loss of deposit
  • Between 30 and 60 days: 50% of trip cost per person
  • Less than 30 days: No refund of trip cost

We require all travelers to purchase comprehensive travel insurance including trip cancellation and interruption coverage at the time of deposit.

Transportation – How will we get around in Africa?

While on safari you will be transferred between lodges, camps, hotels, and different national parks by road, boat and air. Air travel is the most convenient and preferred method of moving between destinations.

Depending upon your choice of safari you may travel by scheduled flights. The majority of commercial airlines use modern jet or turbo prop aircraft. Alternatively guests may fly aboard smaller single, or twin, engine charter aircraft seating 6 to 12 people.

What types of vehicles are used on safari for wildlife viewing?

In east Africa most safaris are conducted in closed Land Rovers, Super Customs, or other vehicles with seating for up to 6 passengers (all with window seats) with a guide and roof hatches for game viewing.

A small number of east African safari lodges / camps offer open sided 4×4 vehicles for game viewing. Wildlife may also be viewed from power boat (ski boat), river boat, canoe or pontoon boat (great for sundowners) depending upon the lodge or camp.

 

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