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Some travellers look to safari in search of serenity and refreshment. Others seek adventure and indulgence. It’s entirely your choice – each and every Micato safari is as varied and glorious as the hundreds of awe-inspiring creatures you’ll encounter. If this is your first time, or even if you’re a seasoned safarier, you’ll naturally have questions and queries. For your convenience, our safari experts have assembled some frequently asked questions and answers to help you begin your journey.
Please click the question and the answer will expand beneath. If we’ve missed something, contact us and let us know how we can help. We love to talk safari!
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.
Each magnificent Micato itinerary is its own unique experiential gem – we offer a variety of lengths, distances, styles of accommodation, and focus. Some (such as many in East Africa and Botswana) are bush-based and thrillingly wildlife-y, others combine the exciting cultures found in African citylife with the raw beauty of its wildlife and landscapes (such as in South Africa). Rest assured, each and every Micato safari is expertly curated to put you in touch with the authentic spirit of the region. If you have questions about which tour may be right for you, feel free to call us at 1-800-MICATO-1 — we’re here to help you discover – or indeed, create – your very own consummate safari.
In Kenya and Tanzania, daytime temps commonly hover around 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit and, throughout the year, this deeply comfortable climate seldom varies. Elevated altitudes keep temperatures moderate, with slightly cooler morning and evening air that can call for a sweater or jacket. 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, the drier bush country is warmer, and sea-level Zanzibar is quite tropical.
Southern Africa experiences more noticeable changes in its seasons. April through November is winter, when day-time temperatures reach a fresh 60-75 degrees with little rain. During the height of the Southern African summer (December through March), temperatures are warmer and some rain may fall, producing a lush-green wonderscape in the bush. Each of the seasons, whether slightly warmer or cooler, ensures thoroughly agreeable weather for your safari activities.
The herds can be found amidst the short grasses of Serengeti National Park from November to May. From January onward, wildebeest, zebra and Thomson’s gazelle alternate between the woodlands and plains depending on the weather.
In May, as the grasses dry, herds begin the roughly 500-mile Migration. They move north, and by June they congregate in the more lush plains of Kenya’s Maasai Mara. This is where they generally remain 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 once more….
Your Micato Safari Specialist can help you maximize your opportunity to see this remarkable natural phenomenon.
We are experiencing unprecedented demand at Micato and strongly recommend booking as far ahead as possible. Two years in advance is a good point of reference, though we always do our best to accommodate the needs of our travellers so we encourage you to reach out as soon as the idea strikes and we’ll get started.
Visas are required in advance of travel to Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania, while visas are purchased on entry for Zimbabwe and Zambia. For U.S. and Canadian passport holders, visas are not required for travel to South Africa, and Botswana.
Details on how to obtain your visas as well as a “visa kit” will be delivered to you in plenty of time before your departure. Naturally, we also work with travellers who are not U.S. or Canadian citizens to obtain visa information specific to your citizenship.
Yes, absolutely. All Micato safaris are professionally escorted, ensuring complete freedom from the little (sometimes not so little) worries that can accompany travel. The round-the-clock presence of a Safari Director on all our East Africa safaris, backed up by our 24-hour in-country Concierge Teams and multi-continental staff — to solve problems, to anticipate wrinkles – is crucial in providing our guests with the freedom to enjoy your time on safari. In East Africa, travellers enjoy the services of a dedicated and expert Safari Director, as well as a Driver Guide – for the entire duration of your trip. In Southern Africa, a professional Tour Leader accompanies groups of six or more, in addition to the services of a Game Ranger plus a Tracker while in the bush. These delightful individuals have been carefully selected not only for their bottomless knowledge and their renowned good company – their presence assures your seamless VIP passage through hotels and airports, in addition to many rewarding 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 and Cape Town’s One&Only hotel.
In keeping with our commitment to personalized service and exclusive arrangements, a Micato safari is always small and intimate in size, purposely limited to avoid any “big-group” feel. Our intimate, luxury African safaris comprise, on average, 12-14 travellers.
For those wishing to make their safari a more select affair, choosing a private safari turns one of our established departures into a safari strictly for your own family and friends — and departs and concludes on the dates of your choice. This is just one of the dizzying — near limitless, in fact — array of options available with our Custom and Private Classic Safaris. See more about the Three Ways to Safari with Micato here.
We are right where you need us to be. Our offices are located not only in the beating heart of New York City (5th Ave and 26th to be exact) but, crucially, we operate fully staffed HQs directly in the regions where we safari – in Kenya’s bustling capital Nairobi and the very happening metropolis of Cape Town, South Africa. The benefits for our guests are real: no remote head offices situated in inconvenient time zones, and no trying to reach decision-makers who are physically (or indeed culturally) removed. Micato has a large staff of professional, local personnel on-hand 24-7 to anticipate and fulfill your every wish – allowing our guests to concentrate on the joys of safari-ing.
To paraphrase the Bard, letting us count the ways is easier said than done. After more than five decades of refining and redefining our safari-going craft, we can’t possibly cram in all the reasons here. Allow us to kick off with brief mention of Travel+Leisure awarding Micato the #1 World’s Best Safari Outfitter an unprecedented ten times; and World’s Best Value on every poll they’ve taken; and the only tour operator in Travel+Leisure’s Hall of Fame. Here, we like to flag the Pinto Family’s long history and established standing throughout Africa that enables “only with Micato” access to extraordinary people, places, and experiences. Don’t forget the no tipping, ever, plus the stress-relieving inclusion of having all meals covered (plus we’re delighted to include wine and beer as well as bottled water, and soft drinks). Because that’s just the beginning, we invite you to browse many more ways a Micato Safari is different from any other.
Our non-profit arm, Micato-AmericaShare, was founded over 35 years ago on the premise of giving back. Originally dedicated to helping populations in Nairobi, Kenya affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, AmericaShare has made a tremendous impact by providing a bridge between children and women in need and people wishing to make a meaningful difference in Africa.
The Micato One for One Commitment is another of our proudest ongoing enterprises: for every guest who safaris with us, Micato pays for an African child’s education.
Micato-AmericaShare has been working with the people of the Mukuru shantytown for a quarter century. The thriving Community Centre we built there offers myriad life-changing programmes for women and children. The Harambee Centre’s 25,000-volume library – Mukuru’s first lending library – is enthusiastically visited by thousands of children and adults every month.
Micato is also a major donor and proud supporter of Huru International, founded in 2008 by AmericaShare’s co-founder Lorna Macleod. Huru manufactures reusable sanitary pads—more than 2,200,000 to date—which are distributed in free Huru Kits to more than 300,000 girls in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.
On the way to the South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, some 1,500 makeshift households in the town of Red Hill now benefit from the Red Hill Library and Community Centre, a bright new library staffed with trained librarians, a computer centre, and a welcoming community meeting place. At Micato Safaris, we’re proud of making this learning centre available to the community – an achievement made easier by the generosity of our safari-goers. Our goals for the future: Bringing in IT professionals to train Red Hill’s teens and adults; a broad variety of new classes; more librarians; reaching our goal of 2,500 books and a dozen computers; further expansion of the Centre with a second floor, bringing more joy and learning to the Red Hill community.
If you’d like to know more about the ways Micato supports local communities, please visit the Micato-AmericaShare pages here on our website.
Micato’s One for One Commitment is, at its core, your commitment – a life-changing programme which flows from your decision to join us on safari. In a nutshell, Micato pays for an African child’s education for every guest who safaris with us.
A little background: A staggering 62,000 children in Nairobi’s Mukuru shantytown, ranging in age from six to sixteen, cannot attend school on a consistent basis. In principle, primary education is free in Kenya but, in reality, there are burdensome fees involved. Families are expected to pay for their child’s desk, uniforms, books, supplies, and term exams, as well as help cover the costs of firewood and salaries for lunch cooks – in short, much more than families living in extreme poverty could ever hope to afford.
And that’s not all. Tips are included. For your ease of mind, we are particularly pleased to cover all gratuities during your safari, including those to your Safari Director and Driver Guides, as well as tips for the wait staff for meals in lodges and restaurants, and the luggage porters at all airports, hotels and lodges. More information is provided in your pre-tour documentation.
In general, the only expenses you will need to anticipate are passport and visa costs, immunizations, and personal expenses such as phone calls and souvenirs.
Most smart phones can be used internationally, but guests should be aware of data roaming fees that can accumulate while travelling. International roaming service is not automatically enabled on cell phones. You may need to contact your service provider and ask them to activate the international feature and provide up-to-date information on coverage and options. Phones may work in parts of Africa, depending on your service provider. For instance, 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 cell service in many remote areas of the bush of East Africa. Coverage in the more far-flung parts of Southern and East Africa can be spotty, however, as well as in the area around Victoria Falls. Ask your service provider specifically for a plan that will work overseas. Cell phones are also available for rent at the major airports – rates are reasonable, and you pay for calls made.
There are no “business centres” per se at bush lodgings — it’s rare to find a camp or lodge offering a computer for guest use. Shared computers with internet service are available in many hotels in Nairobi and Cape Town. Internet cafes also are available in various cities.
Micato requires all travellers on our safari programmes to be fully vaccinated against Covid prior to departure for safari.
Beyond the Covid vaccine, no immunizations are required to enter Kenya if arriving from the United States, Canada or Europe. However, some countries (ie South Africa) require a Yellow Fever vaccination for those travelling from certain countries (ie Kenya). Similarly, travel to Rwanda requires Yellow Fever vaccination for travel from a country with risk of Yellow Fever virus transmission (ie Kenya) for travellers ≥1 year of age.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend a malaria prophylactic for travel to many areas in East and Southern Africa. (This, just to be on the safe side—contracting malaria is highly unlikely). We suggest you review current CDC guidelines at http://www.cdc.gov/ or by calling 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747).
Prior to your safari, we will address topics such as immunizations and general health considerations, however, we advise consulting your local immunization clinic before travel. It is always wise to carefully assess your health requirements before travelling abroad. We recommend contacting your physician well in advance of your departure to discuss these suggestions.
We wholeheartedly recommend that our guests have a policy that covers their trip, as travel insurance offers major advantages. Whether you purchase travel insurance for your Micato journey, as well as from whom, is entirely up to you.
We encourage our overseas guests to investigate travel insurance providers. To our U.S.-based travellers we highly recommend Trip Mate.