Travel Guidance

DOCUMENTATION

Passport/Visa

- See country specific visa/entry requirements listed under each country below​

- Make sure your passport has enough blank Visa pages for your whole trip. Please note: endorsement pages at back of passport do not count as Visa pages.

- The expiration date must be at least 6 months from your return date

Traveling With Children Under 18?

 You need to travel with your child’s original Unabridged birth certificate or certified copy of Unabridged birth certificate.   (A Certified copy will have a raised seal or a stamp from a notary. An Unabridged birth certificate identifies the parents of the child.)

This is a requirement for South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia.

Insurance

- Comprehensive travel Insurance is required; containing such coverage items as: coverage for trip cancellation and interruption, baggage delay, emergency evacuation and travel medical expense.

- Travel with a copy of your travel insurance. Most policies provide helpful phone numbers to provide support with regard to your benefits in the event of a medical emergency, baggage loss, or flight delay or cancellation.

Please note: If you have any issues while traveling that may result in a travel insurance claim (flight delay, delayed/lost baggage…); obtain documentation from the airline, tour operator, etc. at the time of the incident.

Proof of Vaccination

- Remember to bring proof of vaccination or whatever documentation you have relative to vaccinations for your trip.

PLASTIC BAG BAN
In their world leading efforts to protect the environment, Kenya, Rwanda, and Botswana have begun enforcement of regulations to ban all use of plastic bags across and within each country.  We expect other African countries to follow suit.

In supporting this new environmental law, we would like to notify all our guests that travelers refrain from using any and all forms of disposable’ plastic carry bags. This would include plastic being found in both the guest's main luggage as well as hand luggage to prevent any inconveniences on arrival.  The fines and jail time set out as punishment for violations are targeting manufacturers and importers of plastic bags, not your average tourist travelling with their personal belongings in a Ziploc bag. Luggage may be searched on entry and any kind of shopping bag (like your local grocery store type bags) will be taken away, so best not to put your shoes in one of these bags. It is our current understanding that the quart size Ziploc type bags often used for toiletries remain acceptable.

Please kindly note that when guests purchase duty free goods before entering these countries, they will be required to leave their duty-free plastic carry bags at the port of entry.   
 

MONEY MATTERS

- U.S. Dollars are fine to use for tipping. You can often use them shopping in tourist areas as well. If using to shop, any change you receive will likely be in local currency.

- Tips – On safari we recommend $25 per person per day -- $10 or $15  to your guide (depending on if you have a tracker with you), $5 to your tracker, and $10 to the camp staff. In city hotels $1 a bag.

- Only in cities will you likely have access to withdraw cash from an ATM.

- Credit & Debit Cards: if your card has a PIN, memorize this for your trip. Call your bank to inform them when and where you will be in Africa. If not informed, charges may be denied which can become a hassle to sort.

- Currency: Travel with currency printed in 2009 or more recently and that is in good condition. Old US dollars with small portraits are not accepted. Smaller bills are helpful and maximize flexibility but because you tip at the end of each camp stay you can use some bigger bills to reduce the wad you travel with; a few singles are helpful; 5’s and 10’s are most versatile.

GENERAL HEALTH TIPS

- Be sure to think about general medications you need like Advil, or allergy pills, etc. If you take any prescription medications keep them in the original containers and make sure they are packed in your carry on.

- Are your prescriptions up to date?

- Do you have enough medication for your whole trip? Please note that when traveling with any medication, it must be in its original container.

- If blood circulation is a known issue, you may want to bring compression socks for air travel.

- Consider bringing sleeping pills to help you sleep solidly on the long flights at beginning and end of your travel.

- Stay hydrated as you travel. Packing a refillable water bottle is suggested.

- At camps, bottled water will be provided to you for drinking and brushing your teeth. You may want to take a bottle back to your tent after dinner to ensure ample drinking water supply for the night.

HEALTH PREPARATION

It is advised that you visit a travel clinic as they will be most familiar with what vaccinations, medications, precautions are necessary specifically related to your itinerary. A primary care doctor will often follow what is listed by the CDC which potentially leads to over-vaccination and to prescriptions provided which may not be necessary. Your itinerary dictates whether or not you will be in areas of exposure to potential risks in a country.

**Only a properly trained medical professional can advise on what is currently needed thus the following are merely observations of advice we have personally received from the travel health clinic. Please do not consider this information a replacement for your own visit with a professional.

- Malaria – though risk is low you are most often considered to be within a malarial area and you should take precautions. Most travel clinics recommend Malarone as a one pill a day prophylactic that is least likely to give you side effects. Larium (mefloquine) is commonly still prescribed, especially by non-travel doctors because it is cheaper. We have had clients take Larium with no issues but it is renowned for producing vivid dreams, which are not always good for some people. Because of the greater percentage of people who have a bad experience with Larium, we encourage you to discuss Malarone or other alternatives with your professional.

Avoiding mosquito bites at night is the best preventative. Come prepared with a deet based bug spray and have clothes that cover you at dinner at night if bugs are a problem. Ankles seem to be a favored area if not treated. You can also treat your clothes with permethrin prior to your trip. This can be purchased at any Army surplus store or online. It aids in the repelling of mosquitos and other insects.

- Hepatitis A – This is an important shot to have for almost any international travel. If you have traveled abroad previously you may well have had this and if you had a series of 2 it is good for a very long time so you may be all set. If not, you will need it.

- Polio & MMR Boosters – Likewise, you may have received this vaccination previously. It is believed that the risk is very low. Follow the recommendation of your professional.

- Typhoid – This can be administered as a liquid, which lasts for 5 years.

- Tetanus – You need to be current on your tetanus shot so get a booster if you are due.

- Yellow Fever – This is required if you are arriving from a country that is affected. *CDC List-Countries at Risk for Yellow Fever -https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2018/infectious-diseases-related-to-travel/yellow-fever Because regulations related to Yellow Fever have been changing so frequently, we highly recommend you travel with proof of Yellow Fever vaccination. The vaccination is now good for life.

- Cipro or other Anti-biotic – you should pack an Imodium type product for any traveler’s diarrhea issues. This said, a travel doctor will most often provide you with a prescription for an anti-biotic to treat any persistent issues.

- Medicated Eye Drops – If you wear contacts, as a precaution, we recommend you ask your doctor for a prescription eye drop to treat eye infections.

FLIGHTS

Regional Bush Flights
- Aircrafts for these flights can range from small Cessnas (especially in Botswana) to 12 seat caravans, to bigger crafts that might hold up to 40 passengers. These are shared charters so you may be joined by other passengers going to the same parks but not necessarily the same camps. On some routes there may be additional stops to pick up and/or drop off passengers thus all times are estimates.

- NOTE: Passenger weight limit on bush flights is100kg/220lbs per person.

Southern Africa -Total Luggage weight limit is 44 lbs. (20 kg) in a soft duffle like bag without wheels. This luggage weight limit includes your carry on.

East Africa -Total Luggage weight limit is 33 lbs. (15 kg) in a soft duffle like bag without wheels. This luggage weight limit includes your carry on.

PACKING

Luggage - Strategy is to pack light.

- Southern Africa ie. South Africa, Botswana, Uganda, Zambia, Namibia, and Zimbabwe-- Total baggage weight limit for bush planes is 44 lbs. (20 kg) per person. This luggage weight limit includes your carry on.

- East Africa ie. Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and Mozambique-- total baggage weight limit for bush planes is 33 lbs. (15 kg) per person. This luggage weight limit includes your carry on.

- Luggage dimensions should not exceed 25cm (10 inches) wide, 30cm (12 inches) high and 62 cm (24 inches) long.

- Limit to two bags. Your primary bag needs to be a soft duffle like bag and preferably, without wheels so it can be mashed around to fit into the small aircrafts.

- Second bag is your carry on; a back pack or something of the sort for camera and other essentials.

- Think about what needs to go in the carry on. Be sure any medications and valuable electronics, jewelry, passport etc. are in your carry-on bag. Do not pack anything irreplaceable in your checked bag. With this, if your checked bag is lost or delayed, you will have your vitals with you. If you have room, keep a change of clothes in the carry on just in case.

- Laundry service is often available so you can send out clothes frequently. During camp orientations you will be advised of the process. Most camps do not launder under garments and thus provide detergent for you to do so yourself.

- Hairdryer- We recommend you do not pack a hairdryer. Any accommodation that can handle the voltage will provide a hairdryer.

Technology- we encourage the following

- Wi-Fi - do not expect to have internet access while at camp.

- Cell phone - check with your local carrier. Texting is usually your best option while travelling. Though do not expect coverage while at camp. Camp is always reachable for emergencies.

Clothing – General Notes

- It’s good to wear neutral color clothing on activities (especially walks), tan, brown, khaki, and greens are all very good. Avoid dark blue and black as they may attract biting insects. Other colors are fine in camp. It is not an absolute must to wear neutral colors on game drives, though we think it nice to blend into the environment.

- Wicking material – quick dry and cotton are best.

- No Camouflage – it’s associated with military which is considered negative in Africa.

- Avoid dry clean only clothing- your laundry may be coal ironed and occasionally synthetics get damaged.

EXTRAS

- Some folks like to bring notecards from their home towns, or stationary in which to put the tips. It’s not necessary, but can be a thoughtful connection with the staff (you’d be amazed how connected you feel after a few days).

UPON YOUR RETURN

- Only non-perishable (meat in a can is fine, but not vacuum sealed), not from the environment items may be brought back from Africa to your home. For example, you may not bring back a stone, a feather, a skull, a bone. You may buy items and trinkets.

Republic of the Congo

The Republic of Congo (also known as simply ‘Congo’) is often confused with its larger and more notorious neighbour on the other side of the Congo River, the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, travellers adventurous enough to venture into this smaller, more peaceful and lesser-known country, are rewarded with magnificent scenery complete with lush rainforests, breathtaking waterfalls, hidden lagoons, and towering volcanic mountains. This wilderness contains a profusion of fascinating wildlife including over half of the world's lowland gorilla population, large herds of forest elephants, and swinging troops of chimpanzees. The Congo’s dense forests are also home to several indigenous tribes, which have managed to retain their traditional way of life, almost entirely uninfluenced by Western civilisation. Must-see attractions include the Parc National Nouabalé-Ndoki and Parc National d'Odzala, two of the most pristine forest reserves on the African continent.


Banking and Currency

Currency

CFA (Communauté Financière Africaine) Franc (XAF) = 100 centimes. Notes are in denominations of XAF10,000, 5,000, 2,000, 1,000 and 500. Coins are in denominations of XAF250, 100, 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1.

Congo is part of the French Monetary Area. Only currency issued by the Banque des États de l'Afrique Centrale (Bank of Central African States) is valid; currency issued by the Banque des États de l'Afrique de l'Ouest (Bank of West African States) is not. The CFA Franc is tied to the Euro. However, US Dollars are the preferred currency.

The import and export of local currency is prohibited, except between countries of the Central African group. The import of foreign currency is unrestricted, although amounts over US$235 must be declared on arrival. Export of foreign currency is restricted to the amount imported.

Banking

Banking hours: Monday-Friday 06h30-13h00 (counters close at 11h30).

Diners Club and MasterCard have limited use. Hotels in Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire accept major credit or debit cards, although most prefer cash. ATMs are hard to come by but one bank in Brazzaville has an ATM.

Travellers cheques are sometimes accepted in larger cities but to avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in Euros or Pounds Sterling.


Travel, Transport and Getting Around

ECAir (www.flyecair.com) and Trans Air Congo (www.flytransaircongo.com) operate flights between Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire.

Both local and international car hire companies are represented in Brazzaville. An International Driving Permit is required. Roads are mostly earth tracks, sandy in dry season and impassable in the wet, suitable for 4-wheel drive vehicles only. There are around 1,200km (750 miles) of paved roads. Poorly marked army checkpoints, often manned by undisciplined soldiers, exist throughout the country.

Brazzaville has a minibus and taxi service. Taxis are also available in Pointe-Noire and Loubomo. Taxi fares have a flat rate and fares should be agreed beforehand.

'La Gazelle' train connects Brazzaville with Pointe-Noire on the Congo-Ocean Railway (journey time - 14 to 16 hours). Carriages are modern and comfortable.

Inland steamers ply from Brazzaville up the Congo and Ubangi. Rivers are vital to internal transport.



Food, Drink and Cuisine Advice

All water should be regarded as being potentially contaminated. Water used for drinking, brushing teeth or making ice should have first been boiled or otherwise sterilised. Milk is unpasteurised and should be boiled. Powdered or tinned milk is available and is advised. Avoid dairy products which are likely to have been made from unboiled milk. Only eat well cooked meat and fish. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled.

Congolese cuisine incorporates French, Asian and Arabic influences into more starchy, traditional African fare. Local-style restaurants usually serve chicken, fish and goat dishes accompanied by some variation of a cassava or maize-based staple.

The major urban areas have a number of French-style bakeries and patisseries, many of which are run by Lebanese immigrants. Indian and Chinese restaurants are also not uncommon. However, often the best food and atmosphere is to be found at a simple open-air roadside grill.

In Pointe Noire, the Atlantic provides some excellent seafood, while Congo’s bountiful rivers and their freshwater fish are the main source of protein for many Congolese in the hinterland.

Adding a 10% tip on hotel and restaurant bills is customary.



Climate and Weather

The Republic of Congo has an equatorial climate with short rains from October to December and long rains between mid January and mid May. The main dry season is from June to October.


Clothing and Dress Recommendations

Practical lightweight cottons and linens are recommended with a light raincoat or umbrella in the rainy season.


Electricity and Plug Standards

In the Republic of Congo there are two associated plug types, types C and E. Plug type C is the plug which has two round pins, and plug type E is the plug which has two round pins and a hole for the socket’s male earthing pin. The Republic of Congo operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz. If your appliance isn’t compatible with 230V electrical output, a voltage converter will be necessary.


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