Africa Travel Tips
Most hunters who travel to Africa get to see the airport and the country from the air in a charter plane or domestic flight, or from the road if they drive to camp. That is just how it is when you have so much hunting to cram into a short trip.
Under the care of your PH or outfitter from arrival to departure and residing in your exclusive hunting camp, you are rather insulated from getting a true flavour of the country you are visiting.
Should you get out and about a little, even if it's a night or two in a hotel in town, this Africa travel advice may be useful, particularly for a first time visitor.
- Unless you are a seasoned traveller in Africa, be prepared for a bit of a culture shock. Right from the moment you arrive at the airport you will be hit by the heat, the bustle and six million porters wanting to grab your bags.
- Have your airport/hotel or hunting camp transfers already arranged by your outfitter and hopefully, with a minimum of delay you can jump into a waiting air conditioned vehicle. You can avoid the hassle of battling to find a taxi and negotiating a reasonable fare when you are exhausted after a longhaul flight.
- Try to your leave your natural inclinations for speed and efficiency at home. Almost every aspect of life in Africa is slower than you are probably used to and it does no good to get stressed out if things don't happen right on schedule. You'll likely get used to it in a few days.
- Get used to possible power and water failures.
- Some people are concerned about their personal safety and theft of their possessions when they visit Africa. Just apply the same precautions for anywhere - don't carry valuable items openly, try not to look too much like a tourist, use street smarts and keep aware of your surroundings, especially at night. Be very aware of your possessions in crowded areas which may be frequented by pickpockets.
- Respect the local cultures and dress appropriately. Keep the swimwear for the pool or at the beach. Ask permission before taking photographs of local people. Don't take photographs of any military installations, police stations, airports, border crossings or similar buildings. You may get arrested and your camera confiscated.
- Try to appreciate the differences of protocol/manners among local people compared to what you are used to at home. Local people will always try to give an answer to a question rather than admit they don't know. Local estimates of distance or the time it takes to get somewhere are somewhat flexible. If your tracker says it is 'not far' to walk to where the eland hang out, be prepared for a 30 minute hike or a 6 hour death march!
- Feel free to indulge in some friendly bartering in market places. Stay polite and firm and back out graciously rather than rudely, if you consider the price too high.
- The safest form of money to carry is traveller's cheques, however they may be hard to exchange in remoter places and can have high commission rates.
- Cash in local currency or US$ is always necessary for smaller transactions like shopping, game park entrance fees, airport taxes etc.
- Credit cards are fine to use in South Africa. In other countries only the larger city hotels and shops may accept credit/debit cards. ATMs will only deliver cash in the local currency.
- When you travel Africa don't flash the cash! Be discreet and have smaller amounts of money handy in a pocket when purchasing something rather than pulling out a wad of notes from a wallet.