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African Safari Holiday Is A Lifetime Experience - Go On Safari At least Once In Your Life Time

May 27, 2008
Africa is an area of outstanding natural beauty. And it is also uniquely different. For first time visitors,the difference can be shocking after leaving your cherished comfort zone.

It is important to be prepared for your trip long before you set off. Long trips are hard to plan and it is impossible not to forget something important in your plans however meticulous you are. The only thing you can do is to hope that whatever you forget is not too serious. This human nature should not stop you from making sure everything has been worked out.

Here are some Travel tips and advice for the everyday Safari traveller. Take a look and add this to the often tired holiday-check-list that you might have already. Here are a few truths; Africa is mostly warm, but nights can be very cold. There are few places with seasonal sub-zero degrees especially mountain tops. Public transport is not reliable in terms of time keeping. Many of them run on unscheduled trips. Those that do are premium services, but still ridiculously cheap. Traffic rule enforcement can be lax. Drive as if you are the only sane person on the road.

It is not true that people are savages who don't value human life-just because you see those violent clashes on TV. The continent has its own share of thugs and zealots. It is not true that those poor women selling handicraft through the windows of the safari vans are vagabonds, that is the propaganda from the van drivers who are paid commission by directing you to more established safari dealers. You will be doing them a great favour to buy from them rather than buy from the rich kiosk owners strategically placed in convenient locations.

Here are a few things to remember. Always keep mobile phones and valuables like jewelry out of sight. They tend to attract the wrong kinds of people. Some street criminals snatch these items for sale. Travel light and keep your luggage close at hand at all times and in sight if possible. Make sure you have contact numbers for the people involved in your safari trip: your family, your safari hotel, your tour agent, the foreign office and the local police. On buses and trains, try sitting near other people in a busy carriage. Don't walk in alleys alone. Actually keep within the Central Business District of all major cities such as Nairobi and Kenya. Rural villages and towns are very safe because everybody is known to each other. If you lose something, the local leaders will apprehend the culprit.

Telephones are expensive and rare. It might help for you to carry your mobile phone. But I advise you to buy a local Pay As You Go phone the moment you land. It is cheaper to use the local phone than getting charged 10 times more by using your phone abroad. Once you buy, text your friends and family and tell them you have a new phone. Make sure the phone is charged at the hotel before you go and buy an extra top up voucher. In most countries, Pay As You Go are very cheap. You can get one of these cheap models for as little as 40 dollars, line and air time included. Texts from East Africa to UK cost about 20 pence per text. But it is about 80 pence if you use a UK connected phone.

There are other news sources that you can read before you depart for your destination. The starting point is to visit the Government's Foreign office to see if there is any travel advisories. Sometimes the advisories can be too general and not reflect the true picture on the ground. For example, whereas tour operators might be going about their business even when there is a political issue like the recent political fighting, the Foreign Office hoped to lift the advisory only after the whole scenario has been sorted in the street and in parliament. A shrewd traveller could have easily picked this time to travel because beds were empty at great discounts - almost free in fact.

Understandably so, the Government is slow to approve such situations because they fear backlash if something happened. There are many sites detailing the current news, current events, exchange rate, language, history, customs, types of food, art and festivals of the world's countries, at least one of which will have something for you. Besides, The Web can help you find the best deals on safari flights, accommodation or complete package safari holidays. Instead of spending time searching for a holiday, users can use the web to get the perfect holiday deal sent to them.

Most banks and travel agents now offer currency services and you can expect to pay around one or two percent of the total amount in commission. When thinking about a destination, think about whether you want hot or cold weather, something relaxed or active. Check that your credit card or travellers checks are accepted by the banks at your destination. Banks are only in major towns. There are accredited Foreign exchange Bureaus in countries such as Kenya and they do give better rates than hotels and Banks. But be careful, conmen and street money changes are many.

If you are web savvy, keep a diary or a safari blog of your holiday travels. Keep the family informed where you are. Keep a copy of the signed and valid passport, and a visa and copies of the itinerary, if required, with a family friend. Give them emergency numbers too.

Lastly, always check your overseas medical insurance coverage and ensure it is adequate. If you have money, there are world-class medical facilities available including the flying doctor. I am not proud of this but I must say that, contrary to myths, these facilities do exist although poor locals can not afford them.
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