Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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!

Safari Planning


What is the best time to go on an African 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.

What is the weather like on an African safari?

East Africa and Southern Africa enjoy warm, dry climates. Both regions can accurately be considered year-round destinations.

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.

When is the Great Migration in East Africa?

The timing of the Great Migration in Kenya and Tanzania can vary because it is heavily dependent upon the weather—specifically rain that brings the new grasses upon which wildebeest graze. If you want to witness this natural marvel, it’s best to talk to a Micato specialist regarding the best time to plan your trip. In general, though, the following is accurate:

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.

How far in advance do I need to book a safari?

Demand for bucket-list Micato Safaris is always high so we strongly recommend booking as far ahead as possible. Our Safari Specialists always do their 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 whether you are looking to travel this year, next year or even the next.

Do I need visas for safari in East Africa or Southern Africa?

Visas are required in advance of travel to Tanzania; Kenya’s equivalent to a visa, an Electronic Travel Authorisation, is also required in advance. Visas for Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Rwanda are easily purchased upon arrival. For U.S. and Canadian passport holders, visas are not required for entry to South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia.

Details on how to obtain your various travel authorisations as well as an accommodation confirmation 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 and travel requirement information and facilitate the application process.

What is the minimum age for children to go on safari?

At Micato, children are welcome on any of our Classic Safaris and Private Classic safaris. Of course, we’re happy to custom design an entirely bespoke Custom safari specific to your family’s interests, ages and timeline – whether that includes a private pool for fun-filled splashes, playing soccer in a village, dancing with Maasai or sleeping under canvas beneath the stars, our safaris can usually be tailored to accommodate any age. Depending on which country you wish to visit, arrangements and facilities can vary and some camps have age restrictions for young children, but many do not. We outline further inspirations for families on safaris over here and would welcome the opportunity to speak with you further about your family plans. Please call us at 1-800-MICATO-1 to discuss which safari is right for you and your family.

What if I need to cancel my safari?

Cancellations received by Micato 120 days or more prior to departure are subject to a cancellation fee of 20% of the total retail tour rate; 119– 60 days prior to departure is 50% of the tour rate; Cancellations received 59 days or less are subject to a 100% cancellation fee. Trip cancellation insurance is strongly recommended. Different cancellation terms apply for Custom, Private Classic journeys, or Extensions. See our Terms and Conditions for more detailed information.

About Micato


How long has Micato Safaris been in business?

Micato Safaris has been delighting guests with unique luxury safaris to Africa for 60 glittering and award-stealing years. We’ve been exploring, indulging and safari-ing since 1966, sharing the splendours of our ancestral home with wide-eyed first-timers and seasoned bush-lovers alike. (Just ask filmmaker Spike Lee or actor Michael J. Fox – to peek at a few more of the downright famous folks who’ve joined us, visit our Familiar Faces or Testimonials pages.)

Does Micato offer escorted African safaris?

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 African 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, guests enjoy the services of a Micato Safari Director, 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 many Nairobi hotels and Cape Town’s One&Only hotel and Johannesburg’s Saxon Hotel.

What is the average group size on a Micato safari?

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.

How many guests travel in a Micato Safaris’ vehicle?

No matter which safari you choose, Micato vehicles are always comfortable with excellent sightlines, custom configured for the unforgettable things we will see in the bush. In East Africa, your vehicle will have no more than six passengers. In Southern Africa, vehicles are larger so there may be up to nine. If you would like a private vehicle for just your party, simply let us know when booking your safari and we will be happy to arrange.

Where are the Micato Safaris’ offices?

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.

What makes a Micato Safari different?

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) and daily laundry service. Because that’s just the beginning, we invite you to browse many more ways a Micato Safari is different from any other.

How does Micato Safaris Give Back to the communities?

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. 

What is Micato’s One for One Commitment?

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. 

On Safari


What is included on a Micato safari?

Just about everything. It’s a point of honour for us to ensure you are free – thoroughly and unfetteredly free – to enjoy your safari. That’s why each Micato Safari includes all transfers, all meals, all laundry services, Wi-Fi where available, bottled water, soft drinks and even local beers and wines.

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.

What sort of food can I expect on an African safari?

In a word: exquisite. In a few more: sophisticated and downright delicious. (It’s worth noting that from the moment you arrive on your Micato Safari, each and every meal and snack, from the first lavish afternoon tea to the final candlelit dinner, is included. So too, are excellent local wines and beers.) In the bush, meats and fish, vegetables and fruits arrive daily, fresh from the rich farmlands and waters that surround. Our indulgent, sometimes downright opulent lodges offer both continental cuisine and local specialties, designed to appeal to a range of palates, from the conservative to the exuberant. In Nairobi, you’ll discover a medley of mouth-watering regional specialties, in addition to exceptional French cuisine, flavoursome Indian curries and ever-abundant fresh fish and game. South African specialties reflect the region’s Indonesian influences with mildly spicy Malay dishes particularly popular around Cape Town. All food served on a Micato Safari is of the highest quality and we are happy to work with you to ensure that any and all dietary requests are accommodated at every stop along the way.

What type of clothing should I wear on an African safari?

We love Meryl Streep’s blousy Out of Africa look as much as anyone. But these days safari clothing needn’t be so uniform – only comfortable and casual. Upon booking your safari, we’ll share a complete packing list to help guide you, but this safari primer from Executive Director Joy Phelan-Pinto will get you started. In short, khaki, olive, brown and tan clothing does increase your chances of seeing wildlife and simple layering accommodates the temperature swings during early-morning and late-afternoon game drives. On a Micato Safari, there’s ample incentive to avoid over-packing: as many internal flights have a luggage limit of 33 pounds, we happily include complimentary laundry service each day at all camps and hotels; and most importantly, you may want to save space for a little shopping for local African arts and crafts along the way!

Are the evenings formal on safari?

Evenings on safari are not formal – unless you so desire. Relaxed, comfortable clothing is the norm, and a simple wrap or sweater is all you need to luxuriate over a candlelit patio dinner or a sultry glass of wine under a starry African sky. As one guest recently shared: our safari camps are so naturally elegant they make everyone look gorgeous! In more cosmopolitan climes such as Cape Town and the Winelands there may be scope for a dressy dinner outfit and even a sparkle or two–but this too is entirely your choice.

What size aircraft will be used on the internal flights between game parks?

On each safari, we are pleased to include between three and six time-saving, thrilling-in-themselves bush flights. The aircraft we use are the finest available in the bush and their size varies according to the number of people who are travelling from a particular location. The pilots who fly these planes are eminently qualified and have often spent their lives in the bush — in fact, many learned to fly before they had learned to drive! There’s nothing so bewitching as the sight of an elephant herd seen from the comfort of your bush plane seat.

Can I use my cell phone while on safari in Africa?

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 if necessary.

Of course, Wi-Fi is available in most camps in the bush so messaging apps like WhatsApp and email communication are go-to means of daily communication for our guests.

Will Micato have someone meet me at the airport?

Absolutely. As Travel + Leisure says, “Micato treats its guests like well-loved, out-of-town relatives” and it is our pleasure to welcome you to our homeland. After passing through customs at your arrival airport, you will be greeted by a Micato representative who will escort you as swiftly as possible to the comfort of your luxurious hotel. (We don’t want to give away all the secrets but, rest assured, Micato’s award-winning service begins the moment you arrive.) Another small yet oh-so-significant perk: we take care of hurdles such as hotel check-in, speeding your way straight to where you’d like to be after a long journey.

Is there internet access at the safari lodges and camps?

Wi-Fi is increasingly available in most – but not all – camps, where it may operate in common areas but not individual tents, and in some cases not high-speed. For Micato travellers it is complimentary wherever it exists. For those wishing to keep in virtual contact while on the go, Micato safari vehicles throughout Africa provide complimentary Wi-Fi to guests – a feature which may be activated or unplugged according to your preference.

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.

Do I need to tip the staff when I am on safari?

There is no tipping on a Micato safari. We are 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.

What immunizations are required for safari in Africa?

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 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.

What if I need medical attention while on safari?

There are good quality medical facilities in Nairobi, and Micato founders Felix and Jane Pinto have lived there for so long that they (and Micato staff) have well-established relationships with the best physicians. In South Africa, Cape Town boasts world-class hospitals. In more remote locations of East Africa, you are assured of the services of the Flying Doctors—a group of well-qualified physicians who travel by aircraft throughout the bush to provide treatment and transportation in East Africa. Similar emergency medical evacuation services are available in South Africa and select lodges in Botswana. This assures Micato guests of prompt medical attention and air transportation in the unlikely event that an emergency should arise.

Should I purchase Travel Insurance for my African safari?

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.