Frequently Asked Questions
Most of our clients have a lot of questions when planning an East African adventure. We are here to help! Below are some of our most frequently asked questions to get you started. Our team will answer any other questions you have.
The answer to your question not here? Get in touch today and we will strive to help you in any way we can!
Seeing the wildlife on game drives and walking safaris is one of the most popular activities when visiting Africa. Other great options include mountain trekking, primate tracking, canoeing, white water rafting, cultural visits, historical tours, photography, mountain biking and sightseeing. At VEA we work closely with you to give you a truly tailor made experience, so please do see our packages as blueprint for your trip.
Residents of East Africa are generally friendly, warm and welcoming people. Most visitors find that they have very positive experiences and feel very safe on their travels. That said, as with all international travel, caution is recommended.
Valuables: Keep your money and passport with you at all times. Use caution at ATM’s. Leave your expensive jewelry at home; don’t check valuables in checked baggage.
Cities and Towns: Do not walk unescorted into remote or dangerous looking areas. Women, especially, should be careful to dress conservatively, carry little money or equipment, and to use caution. Be wary of people who try to help you too aggressively.
In the Bush: Never walk unescorted, especially in tented camps and lodges, especially at night. Wildlife could be anywhere. If you are camping in a tent with no toilet facilities, consider keeping an empty bottle or container and toilet paper in your tent for those late night emergencies.
For travelers on a VEA expedition, trip insurance is optional and comes at an additional cost. We strongly recommend that you purchase this insurance to protect your travel investment. Travel insurance can offer financial protection for trip cancellation and interruption, as well as assistance should you encounter travel delays, baggage loss, or require medical treatment while traveling.
East Africa is widely regarded as a fantastic year-round safari destination. Its temperate climate, seasonal migration, and abundant resident wildlife mean there is no single best time for a safari in East Africa. The most important thing to keep in mind when planning your East African safari is how the rainy and dry seasons influence the game viewing experience and how the rains drive the Great Wildebeest Migration.
In East Africa (Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania) the dry season is from late June to September. The region typically experiences two wet seasons. The main wet season lasts from April to early June, and there is a more sporadic wet season from October to December.
Generally speaking, the dry season is best for game-viewing, while the wet season is often better for birding and baby animals.
No, in fact, it costs less to book through us. Because of our buying power, we negotiate bulk discounts and, most often, our rate is slightly less than the normal rate at the lodge or hotel of your choice. We add no booking fees or credit card surcharge, and there are no hidden costs.
That means, for no extra cost whatsoever, you can make use of our local expertise and have us make all the arrangements on your behalf, ensuring a seamless trip for less effort and less money than if you book everything directly. And if something does go wrong during your stay at a lodge or hotel, you have someone in your corner to intervene on your behalf.
Most of East Africa is at GMT + 2 or 3 hours. There is no daylight savings in many countries.
Sometimes but not always. Mobile phone coverage is improving in many parts of Africa. But beware: roaming charges can be very expensive. Call your carrier prior to departure to get current rates. Many camps will not have reliable phone service.
Yes, internet and WiFi is widely available in East Africa but not always reliable or fast, especially in more remote locations. In cities, internet is usually available but some safari camps choose to remain free from connectivity and do not have internet services of any kind. These camps typically do this by design and to focus on unplugging and unwinding. If internet service is important during your stay, please inform us and we will do our best to accommodate you.
What type of money should I take to East Africa? Do I need to change my currency into local currency?
U.S dollars are widely welcomed across East Africa. Visitors should bring cash (newer crisp bills with no tears or markings, multiple, smaller denominations visit your bank early as sometimes it is difficult to get newer crisp bills) or traveler’s checks, although traveler’s checks are becoming more difficult to convert. Bring a credit card for emergency travel expenses or for larger souvenirs, but do not rely on it for daily use. Outside of East Africa, credit cards are not readily accepted although many tourist lodges and safari camps will take them. Surcharges are often imposed. ATMs are limited and not always reliable. We recommend changing a small amount of money into local currency upon arrival.
Visitors to African countries are required to bring a valid passport. Most African countries require passports to be valid 6 months after your return date and that it contains sufficient blank pages for visas and immigration stamps. You also may need a valid visa and health certificate. Visa regulations often change; we recommend you consult your nearest consulate or embassy for details.
All minors need a valid passport. When traveling with children under the age of 18, some countries may require additional documentation. Please ask us for details.
Do I need to get special inoculations for Yellow Fever or other diseases before visiting East Africa?
Some countries request that visitors have a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate. Most visitors also get inoculations for various diseases check with your doctor or travel clinic for more information. Visitors are strongly recommended to take malaria prophylactics. We also advise clients to take out comprehensive health/travel insurance. You can also visit the Centers for Disease Control website for recommended vaccinations.
CDC CONTACTS: (800 232-4636) http://www.cdc.gov
Destination list: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list.htm#b
Yellow Fever: http://www.cdc.gov/yellowfever/vaccine/index.html
Clinic Search: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellow-fever-vaccination-clinics/search.htm
In some places yes, but generally not. While visiting remote areas or national parks and reserves, the roads could be rough, bumpy and dusty and occasionally you may drive “off road”. Most safari vehicles do not have air conditioning.
Many major airlines fly to East Africa direct or through Europe. Airlines with good flights include KLM, Delta, American/British Airways, South African Airways, Kenya Airways, United/Swiss Air, Qatar Airways, Ethiopian Airways, Rwanda Airways, Uganda Airways, Tanzania Air and Emirates.
NOTE: Re-confirm your international flights 72 hours prior to departure as flight times are subject to change. If your flight is delayed, it is always recommended to get to the airport at your original scheduled time in case there are changes.
Yes, absolutely. We have a flight department who can book your flights from anywhere to anywhere and they are always happy to provide a quote.
You can choose whether you would like to pay in full or just pay a deposit at time of booking. The choice will appear at checkout. If you pay a deposit, the remainder of your tour will be due 90 days prior to departure or 90 days after your purchase, whichever comes first.