Frequently Asked Questions
When is the best time of year to go to on an African safari?
Each season has its pros and cons, so it’s really a matter of personal preference and your schedule as well as those of your traveling companions. For families with kids, summer and the winter holidays are popular.
A lot of folks tell you that the best time of year to go on safari is during the winter (June, July, August in the Southern Hemisphere) or during the dry season. The rationale is that because there is much less foliage and much less water around, animals must congregate near water holes and are less hidden by grasses and shrubs. While this is true, the summers offer the wonderful spectacle of lots of new born and very young animals, because the lush grasses and new growth on the trees means there is plenty of food – so that is when many animals give birth. You may get some rainfall but the sight of this new life is wondrous to behold.
In addition, one of the great advantages of our safaris, is that you have expert trackers and rangers. So even when denser foliage and plentiful water make it more difficult to find animals, our experts can take you off road in search of the animals – and in most cases find them!
How long does it take to fly to Africa?
Flying time from New York City, Washington DC, or Atlanta to either Southern Africa or East Africa (the major safari regions) is around 16 to 17 hours.
Can I bring my kids on safari?
Many safari camps welcome children over the age of 8. But to be safe, check with Heritage Africa when making an inquiry. These rules can sometimes be waived by booking smaller camps exclusively for a multi-generational party.
What animals will we see?
There are more than 1,100 species of mammals and over 2,600 species of birds living in Africa. Among those we usually see are rhinos, elephants, giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, gazelles, lions, leopards, cheetahs, and crocodiles.
Can I interact with animals?
On our safaris, you can observe and photograph most African animals up close; but remember they are wild, not tamed, and not to be petted. At elephant and cheetah sanctuaries, the animals are usually more used to people and you can have some interaction with them.
Is Africa in general and a safari in particular safe?
Most countries in Southern and East Africa are relatively safe – peaceful, democratic, and economically stable.
Where will we stay?
On a Heritage Africa luxury safari, the camp and lodge accommodation are like a 5-star hotel in the middle of the bush. Rooms are comfortable and air conditioned with modern indoor toilets. You’ll sleep on fine linen sheets and cool off in the pools. Wi-Fi service keeps you in touch with friends and colleagues via voice, e-mail, or web via your mobile, tablet, or laptop.
Is the water safe to drink?
Yes. In South Africa, the water is very potable. In other regions, Heritage Africa supplies you with filtered and bottled water that is as safe to drink as the water that flows from the tap in your own home. Use the pure bottled water to brush your teeth.
How about the food – safe to eat?
It is safe to eat food at the lodges and camps.
What are the passport, visa, and other entry requirements?
You need a valid passport. Most African nations require a visa but it is easily gotten at the airport or port of entry when you arrive; we tell you what you need for your trip.
What kind of electrical adapter do I need?
If you’re unsure what adapter to buy or where to get it, Heritage Africa can show you how to get the right one for your trip.
Do I need travel or other insurance?
Obtaining travel insurance is highly recommended for all travelers. “Baggage and money insurance” covers damaged or lost cash. Health insurance should have full medical, emergency evaluation, and repatriation cover for the period of time you are away.
What immunizations and vaccinations do I need?
Heritage Africa can advise you on what immunizations, vaccines, or medications you will need for the countries you are visiting. In most cases, you will need anti-malarial pills.
What other health precautions should I take?
The camps provide mosquito netting and repellants because some mosquitos carry malaria. You may wish to consult your doctor before you leave on your trip about anti-malarial treatment.
Can I go on safari if I am disabled?
Wheelchair users do have safari options. However, you MUST notify Heritage Africa in advance whether anyone in your party is disabled in any way. Inquire up front about any special situations or needs you may have.
How far in advance must I book our safari?
Availability of high-end safari lodges and camps is extremely limited. They are small and often fill up months in advance. The earlier we can book your rooms, the sooner your African adventure can begin!
How do we get around in Africa?
While on safari, most of the time we transport you in open-back 4X4 Land Rovers or Land Cruisers. In most cases, you would fly between different safari lodges or camps.
Do Africans speak English?
Throughout Southern and East Africa the main business language is English. If you speak English, most people will understand you. All of our guides and rangers speak English.
What currency and credit cards should I carry and how much?
Most African safari camps accept MasterCard® and Visa®. ATMs are widely available in the cities, so you can get local currency easily there. In almost all African countries the U.S. dollar is accepted.
How physically fit must I be?
The amount of physical exertion can vary with the trip we customize for you. It can range from mostly going on exciting safari drives to a little mild walking; more vigorous and adventuresome physical activities are available if desired..
Can I drive myself in Africa or use public transportation?
With Heritage Africa, we take care of all your transportation needs, so you do not have to rent a car. You can only rent and drive a car in South Africa if you have a valid International Drivers Permit and License. South Africans drive on the left side of the road. Public transportation in South Africa is unreliable.
What should we pack?
Dress in loose, casual, and comfortable clothing. All the lodges allow casual dress while dining. Bring a lightweight jacket for cool nights, travel size toiletries, sunscreen, sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots, insect repellant, and a sun hat. We give you a packing list based on your destination.
What is the weather like?
Summers are warm to hot and winters are mild but can be very cold in the morning and evening.