Pre-Departure Information | Gorillas to Cape Town
FLIGHTS, CONNECTING FLIGHTS AND HOTEL ACCOMMODATION
When booking flights, [if starting and ending in different cities] ask for an open jaw returns to where your start and returning from where your trip ends. It may be cheaper to book your airline tickets through a travel agent than direct with the airlines. It is easy to find prices for flights online, through various search engines (Expedia Skyscanner etc) and direct with airline websites. You need to fly into your city of departure at least the day before your tour leaves, a morning on the day of departure will normally be too tight a connection.
The best way to arrange your hotel and airport to hotel transfer is to book your hotel online with the hotel and at the same time book a transfer from the airport to the hotel; it’s convenient, safe and economical way to handle your first hours in a new country.
Accommodation general – all accommodation and transfers should be paid locally, not to the African Trails office. The rates advertised below are subject to change, so use as a guide only
Trips Departing Nairobi, Kenya
FLYING INTO NAIROBI
If you would like the security of an airport pickup, provide us with your flight details at the time of booking – cost $US30 per taxi, payable locally. As you exit customs your driver will be holding a sign with your name.
IN NAIROBI WE DEPART FROM
Kenya Comfort Hotel – Muindi Mbingu Street, Off Monrovia Street, Nairobi, Kenya
Call:+254 722 608 865, +254 733 608 865 Email: email@example.com
Book your stay at Kenya Comfort Hotel online by following the link to options and prices
WIFI and laptop/phone charging
Trips Departing Cape Town, South Africa
FLYING INTO CAPE TOWN
Airport pick up R250, book this with Ashanti Lodge
Shuttle bus R7, but you have to change buses in town
IN CAPE TOWN WE DEPART FROM
Ashanti Lodge Backpackers Gardens – 11 Hof Street, Gardens, 8001, Cape Town, South Africa
Tel: (+27-21) 423 8721
Book Ashanti Lodge online through link http://www.ashanti.co.za
Dorm R300/320, Single, Twin & Double R620/1,100
Trips Departing Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
FLYING INTO VICTORIA FALLS
Take a taxi from the Airport Transfer Costs: £30. Your transfer person will be at the immigration exit holding a sign with your name on it. Victoria Falls International Airport (VFA) is 20kms from Victoria Falls Township. $US and SA rand are the official currencies in Zimbabwe. Don’t change money or use CC’s at the airport.
IN VICTORIA FALLS WE DEPART FROM
Shearwater Explorers Village, Stand 1756, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Tel:+263 13 40509-11 Mobile: +263 773 496 695
Room Prices; Chalets from $60 PP Sharing B&B, dome tents from $25 PP sharing.
Facilities; reception, bar restaurant, pool, close to restaurants and internet.
This trip starts in Victoria Falls on Sunday morning, then departs Victoria Falls on Monday morning, giving you a full day to explore the falls. Should you wish to explore Victoria Falls extensively, arrive earlier.
Trips Departing Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
FLYING INTO DAR ES SALAAM
From Julius Nyerere International Airport to Kipepeo Campsite is a one hour taxi ride. We can arrange a transfer on booking. A number of people actually join the trip in Zanzibar, a short flight from Dar.
IN DAR ES SALAM WE DEPART FROM
Kipepeo Campsite – Plot 4, Mjimwema, Kigamboni, Dar es Salaam
Tel: +255 (0)754 276 178 or +255 (0)713 757 515
On the beach, a short drive and ferry ride to Dar es Salaam
Beach Banda, Shared Bathroom, Single $20, Double $30.
Raised Chalets, Private Bathroom, Single $65, Double $85, Triple $115, includes Full English breakfast
Trips Departing Johannesburg, South Africa
FLYING INTO JOHANNESBURG
To book transfers we require the flight details/number/airline, and arrival time.
IN JOHANNESBURG WE DEPART FROM
Doves Nest, 78 Gladiator St, Rhodesfield, Kempton Park. Dove’s Nest Guest House is near O.R. Tambo (Johannesburg) International Airport with an airport transfer and shuttle service, in Kempton Park. Free airport shuttle service to and from O.R. Tambo Airport some 3 kilometers away.
Trips Departing Kampala, Uganda
FLYING INTO KAMPALA – ENTEBBE AIRPORT
After immigration control and customs you will find exchange bureaus. The best way to get to town is to book a transfer with Red Chilli – costs about $40.
IN KAMPALA WE DEPART FROM
Red Chilli Hideaway – Nakawa, Kampala, Uganda
Tel: +256 (0) 414 223903. Mobile: +256 (0)772 509150
www.redchillihideaway.com If you would like to stay at the Red Chilli, book through the link.
The Hotel has; a swimming pool, bar restaurant, internet, shuttle bus to town.
Trips Departing Windhoek, Namibia
FLYING INTO WINDHOEK
If you would like the security of an airport pickup provide us with your flight details at the time of booking – There is a good shuttle service from the airport to the camp which we can book.
IN WINDHOEK WE DEPART FROM
Urban Camp, 2 Schanzen Street Windhoek
Tel: +264 61 244251 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Book your stay at Urban Camp online by following the link to options and prices
WIFI and laptop/phone charging
Pre Departure Meeting: Held at the Departure Point at 17h00 the day before your departure.
TOURS START 8.00AM FROM THE HOTEL OR CAMPSITE
Included in the trip price & Local Payment – The tour cost and local payment includes transport in a fully equipped expedition vehicle, road taxes and tolls, services of the driver-leader, use of camping and cooking equipment, campsite fees, entrance to gameparks as specified and two meals a day while on the truck. So in towns or places where the vehicle will be parked up, although the kitchen will be available for you to cook with, food during this time will not come out of the Local Payment. Generally at lunchtimes we eat at small cafes or restaurants where you can try cheap and tasty local food. If no local food is available we eat on the truck.
Local Payment – Payable $US dollars cash. Please pay this to the crew on departure. Travellers cheques, cards, or other forms of payment are not accepted.
Not included in the trip price and local payment – The price does not include flights, visas, side trips, lunches and meals out. There are a number of optional side trips that you can choose from and pay for on the route.
Buying your flight – when you buy your flight, don’t go just on price alone, check conditions and flexibility. Take into consideration that you may be buying your flight well ahead of time and the nature of your trip you are doing. It’s worthwhile paying more to have a flexible flight with a better airline, one that flies frequently to your destination.
Return flight – Although it is our intention to finish the trip on the finishing date, in case of delays en route you should allow a couple days at the end of the trip before you fly out.
Visas – Please see the Visa page. All visa prices are approximate and can change without notice.
Washing – Most of the time you can wash every day and at campsites, you can do your laundry or often have it done for you quite cheaply.
Email – Can be collected frequently – many campsites have wifi.
Drinking Water – Though we have drinking water on the truck to ensure your good health we advise you drink bottled water which is cheap and readily available.
Camping – Tents and roll mattresses are provided and the tents have sewn-in floors and mosquito netting. You will need to bring a sleeping bag & sleep sheet. Get a cheap mosquito net in Africa if you want to sleep outside of your tent. If you start your trip in Nairobi or South Africa you can buy camping gear at the local department stores. All campsites have good ablution facilities & bars, and some have restaurants, shops and internet facilities. About half the campsites have upgrades to hut or cabins, for an extra charge.
Accommodation at the end of the trip – There are numerous cheap backpacker hostels, so no need to book. Your crew can help with this.
Time Zones – East & Southern Africa are on the same time up to 3 hours ahead of GMT. West Africa is normally on GMT. North East Africa is one or two hours ahead of GMT.
Language – English is the predominant second language on route and Swahili is also spoken extensively in East Africa.
Insurance – Deposit and balance & Insurance – Once you are booked, your deposit and balance (within 90 days of trip departure) are non-refundable. Insure yourself when you book for the full time your away. You must have travel insurance. We only carry passengers on the understanding that, in most African countries through which we travel no passenger or vehicle liability is available. Take out insurance when you pay your deposit for the tour or for flights so that you are covered for cancellation. Make sure you bring your policy. If you travel without insurance and you have a problem you could incur massive bills.
Medical coverage is the most important part of your insurance, loss of belongings less so. For UK, Australian and NZ residents, we can point you in the right direction for insurance if you contact us. For other nations, it is best to search online – there are some good online insurance companies catering to US, Canadian and European residents.
Yellow Fever – You should be vaccinated against Yellow Fever to travel in East and Southern Africa and will need an International Vaccination Certificate to prove this when we cross borders. Vaccinations are now valid for life, so it is a good vaccination to have on your health card to enable you to travel after having been to Yellow Fever regions.
World Health Organisation [WHO] list of countries Yellow Fever risk with immunisation recommendations.
WHO map of malarial areas in Africa
Inoculations – Consider being vaccinated against; Typhoid, Rabies; Hepatitis A & B, Tetanus, Polio and Meningitis. Your doctor or medical centres with travel educated doctors can give medical advice and vaccinate you.
Malaria – There is malaria in the areas we visit. Malaria tablets offer only partial protection against malaria so avoid mosquito bites. Mosquitoes come out in the evening, wear long trousers and sleeves plus socks as mosquitoes tend to bite around the feet and ankles. Use insect repellent containing Deet. The use of repellents and covering up is as effective as the use of tablets, so by coupling both methods, you should be malaria free. In Africa buy a can of fly/bug spray to clear your tent.
Medical Kits – We carry First Aid kits on board for emergency use only. However, the crew is not entitled to recommend or prescribe any medicine. We advise a health check with your doctor and dentist before you start your journey and that you carry your own medical kit with you.
Spending and Money
For side trips and visas you need $US cash. Not having enough US$ cash is normally the biggest spending money problem people face on the trip. The problem is that though cash is handy, you could lose it. Bring US$ cash in new notes from the year 2006 onwards. Larger notes; US$50 & $100 give a better rate of exchange.
For general spending £20 ($30) a day is a good start, excluding side trips. This depends on how much you drink, eat out and the souvenirs you buy. The best way to bring money is 1/2 cash in US$ and 1/2 in money on your credit card.
Travellers cheques are hard to change in Africa
Credit cards – bring at least two credit/debit cards as one might be rejected by the cash machine. Tell your bank before you travel to stop them blocking your card. In East and Southern Africa, ATM machines are available about every three days. Visa credit and debit cards are better than MasterCard/American Express/ Maestro/Cirrus for acceptability.
Security in General – Take a money belt that fits under your shirt. Do not wear a bum bag around your waist, or a money belt that hangs from your neck. In certain problem areas, a passenger roster will be drawn up to guard the vehicle during the day. Don’t take non-essential items of value. If you lose your passport or etc, it is not always possible for the expedition to wait for you. We take no responsibility for such or for any belongings
On most borders, you can change excess leftover currency for the next country’s money.
Money Gram and Western Union – If you’re concerned about carrying cash and knowing the pain travellers cheques are to cash get someone to MoneyGram or Western Union funds to you as you travel on your trips. On their websites are the locations of their offices in Africa. MoneyGram International – moneygram.com or Western Union – westernunion.com
Side trips & optional excursions – Are paid for on the spot. All side trip prices are approximate and can change without notice.
Budget planner – Download this budget planner to help calculate the overall cost of your trip Budget planner
Photography – African authorities require that tourists do not take pictures of airports, railway stations or military installations. We are often in areas where locals are not used to being photographed and we ask you to show them every respect and courtesy.
Electrical Equipment – Mobiles, Cameras, Laptops – In most camps you can charge from the mains, so bring a travel adaptor plug, as outlet power points are mostly UK and Euro types. Most countries run on 220/240 volts. To extend battery time bring spare batteries. Discman/iPods/MP3’s & CD’s – An amplifier is provided in the rear of the truck for you to plug your Discmans/iPods into. Although the amp is powered off the truck, your Discman/iPod isn’t, so bring along extra batteries.
Mobile Phone – your phone can work abroad if you have roam facility. Coverage is good but incoming calls cost a lot. You can generally buy a local number in each country we visit.
Maps – To have your own map to follow the trip, for Southern Africa – Michelin map 955, West Africa – Michelin 953 and for North East Africa – Michelin 954.
Suggested list of clothing and equipment
The less you take the less you have to pack, wash, lug home and you’ll pick up extras along the way. There are lots of cheap second-hand clothes in the markets. It will be hot, cool and cold at night, so bring a variety of clothes and expect them to be well worn by the end of the trip.
PASSPORT & photocopy
VACCINATION CERTIFICATE & photocopy
TRAVEL INSURANCE POLICY & photocopy
MONEY, CREDIT CARDS & AIRLINE TICKETS
A backpack of or soft bag [can still have wheels] is better than a suitcase.
Simple medical kit – Re-hydration sachets available from any chemist
Insect repellent containing Deet eg Jungle Juice, Sun cream, Headache tablets, Plasters, Malaria tablets,
Toiletries and showering gear – You can buy toiletries in Africa
Clothes – Poncho or rain jacket, Shirts, Jeans/long trousers, Underwear, Sweatshirt/jumper
Shorts, T-shirts, swimsuit, Skirt,
Walking shoes, Sandals/flip flops/jandals/thongs, Socks
Small day-pack or bag to carry your daily items
Hat and sunglasses
Camera (in a protective case), spare batteries
Money belt or pouch to hold your passport and Vaccination book
Books, personal CD player and CD’s
Torch & batteries
The easiest and best way to travel is lightly. Most people bring too much luggage.