If this is your first time on safari, you probably have countless questions. To get you started our safari experts have assembled a list of frequently asked ones.
You can click the question’s title and the answer will expand below. And if we’ve missed one, just drop us an email and let us know what we missed.
Africa is truly a year-round destination for luxury safari travel. No matter when you are planning to travel, you will find a place in Africa that is perfect for that time of year. Generally, though, dry season is the best time for game-viewing—and this takes place at slightly different times in different parts of Africa. For East Africa, the dry season is generally from July through October, while in Southern Africa it is a little longer: April through October. Please keep in mind that these are the peak seasons, so it is essential that you book well in advance during these months.
Our itineraries vary in length, distance covered, and focus. Some (such as in East Africa and Botswana) are more wildlife-intensive, while some have a more balanced view of African cities, wildlife and landscapes (such as in South Africa). Rest assured, each and every Micato Safari is amazing, and each puts you in touch with the true spirit of the region you are visiting. If you have questions or aren’t sure which tour to choose, feel free to give us a call at 1-800-MICATO-1 — we’re happy to help you find (or create!) the safari that’s right for you.
Visas are required for entry into Kenya and Tanzania. Visas for entry into Zimbabwe and Zambia can be obtained upon arrival. For U.S. passport holders, visas are not required for travel to South Africa, Botswana, and shorter stays in Zanzibar.
Information on how to obtain your visas as well as a “visa kit” will be sent to you in plenty of time to obtain your visas before your departure. We will work with travellers who are not U.S. or Canadian citizens to obtain visa information specific to your citizenship.
East and Southern Africa enjoy glorious climates and both can accurately be called year-round destinations.
In Kenya and Tanzania, a blissful 70 degrees Fahrenheit greets the day and rarely does the temperature vary throughout the year. The elevated altitudes keep temperatures comfortable, even calling for sweaters and jackets every evening and morning. Temperature variance is determined more by region than by season: upcountry areas such as Mount Kenya and the Aberdares at 7,000 feet can be cool, while the drier bush country is warmer and the sea level regions of Mombasa and Zanzibar quite tropical.
Southern Africa experiences more noticeable changes in its seasons. April through November is winter—when daytime temperatures are a fresh 60-75 degrees with little rain. During the height of Southern Africa’s summer (December through March), temperatures are warmer and some rain may fall, making the bush lush and green. Every season, whether slightly warmer or cooler, offers thoroughly agreeable weather for all safari activities.
Generally, you should count on early mornings and evenings on safari to be chillier than expected throughout Africa—especially if travelling during May, June, July and August when you’ll be quite happy to have packed a heavy fleece or lined jacket.
In many cases, you won’t need any immunizations at all! For example, no immunizations are required to enter Kenya if arriving from the United States, Canada or Europe. We will address topics such as immunizations and general health considerations prior to your safari, however, please consult your local immunization clinic before you travel. It is always wise to carefully assess your health requirements before travelling abroad.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend a malaria prophylactic (just to be on the safe side—contracting malaria is highly unlikely). You may also wish to review the CDC guidelines at http://www.cdc.gov/ or by calling 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747).
We recommend contacting your physician well in advance of your departure to discuss these suggestions.
Yes. Micato’s established departures are escorted to enhance your enjoyment of the journey. In East Africa, travellers enjoy the services of an expert Safari Director, as well as a Driver Guide. In Southern Africa, a professional Tour Leader accompanies groups of six or more, in addition to a Game Ranger plus a Tracker in the bush. These delightful individuals have all been carefully selected to be representatives of Micato Safaris. Not only will they be your friends, teachers and companionable fellow travellers, but their presence also guarantees seamless passage through hotels and airports, plus delightful days on tour and in the bush. Your Micato team also includes a Personal Concierge available twenty-four hours a day by phone, and in person at Nairobi hotels.
The herds can be found amidst the short grasses of Serengeti National Park from November to May. From January onward, wildebeest, zebra and Thompson’s gazelle alternate between the woodlands and plains depending on the weather.
In May, as the grasses become dry, the herds begin the roughly 500-mile Migration. They move north, and by June they are in the more lush plains of Kenya’s Maasai Mara. This is where they generally stay until October.
Anticipating the short rains—and the promise of mineral-rich grasslands that this entails—the herds begin their trek down to the Serengeti along an eastern route. In November and December, they arrive to intensely green savannahs and woodlands where they stay until the cycle begins again…
Your Micato Safari Specialist can help you maximize your opportunity to see this remarkable natural phenomenon.
We are also pleased to include all gratuities during your safari, including those to your Safari Director, Tour Leader and Driver Guides, as well as tips for the wait staff for meals in lodges and restaurants where meals are included, and the luggage porters at all airports, hotels and lodges. More information is provided in your pre-tour documentation.
In general, the expenses you will need to anticipate are passport and visa costs, immunizations, and personal expenses such as phone calls and souvenirs.
There are no “business centers” per se at bush lodgings — it’s rare to find a camp or lodge offering a computer for guest use, though computers with internet are available in many hotels in Nairobi and Cape Town. Internet cafes also are available in various cities.
And for those wishing to keep in virtual contact with the world while on the go, Micato safari vehicles throughout Africa provide complimentary Wi-Fi to guests.
Most smart phones can be used internationally, but guests should be aware of the expensive data roaming fees that can accumulate while travelling.
If you have one of the newer phones it may work in parts of Africa, depending on your service provider. U.S. cell phones using AT&T and T-Mobile will generally work in urban areas such as Nairobi, Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Remarkably, there is even cell service in many remote areas of the bush of East Africa. Coverage in the more remote parts of Southern and East Africa can be spotty, however, as well as in the area around Victoria Falls. If you subscribe to Sprint, Verizon or another mobile service, ask your service provider specifically for a phone that will work overseas. Cell phones are also available for rent at the major airports-rates are reasonable, and you pay for calls made.
International roaming service is not automatically enabled on cell phones, even if subscribing to one of the services above. You will need to contact your service provider and ask them to activate the international feature. Also visit the web site of your carrier to get up-to-date information on coverage and options.
In keeping with our commitment to personalized service and exclusive arrangements, a Micato safari is always small and intimate in size—carefully designed to avoid any “big-group” feel. Our most intimate safaris have 12-14 travellers, and we never have more than 18 on any programme.
And for those guests who wish to make their safari a more private affair: we can turn one of our established departures into a safari just for your family and friends—and even depart on a date of your choice. This is just one of the dizzying—seemingly limitless, in fact—array of options available with our Custom and Private Classic Safaris.
In addition, the pilots who fly these planes have often spent their lives in the bush—in fact, many learned to fly before they had learned to drive! They are eminently qualified, and usually founts of information about Africa.