AFRICA TRAVEL TIPS

For ages, tipping has remained to be something of a tradition on safari. This having been well said, it is not compulsory in Africa and always remains at your discretion.

Should you wish to show your appreciation to guides, drivers, camp, and lodges staff, an amount of your choice can be added to your bill upon departure from each property, or placed in a gratuities box (where available). This money will then be distributed among all the staff. Alternatively, you may prefer to personally thank – and tip – any staff members you feel went that extra mile to ensure your safari experience was a memorable one.

Staff are usually extremely hard-working and proud of their contributions, and very appreciative when they receive a gratuity and a personal note of thanks. This is an effective way to acknowledge the great job they’re doing and what a positive effect it had on your experience in Africa.

When To Go

Before coming to Africa for your safari, one of the biggest queries is when? When is the question that we ask most and also guests ask us most about the best time to come to Africa.

As much as Africa is amazingly a year-round destination, there are still genuine concerns that must always be addressed. Due to its vastness, different climates and so diverse landscapes, wildlife, and experiences, it means you can always have a thrilling African getaway, no matter what time of year you choose to travel.

However, if you are following your special interests or a particular passion then, when you would want to visit Africa will be critical to us for you to get the best experience out of Africa. For example; if you are birder, you would love to visit when most of the migrant birds are in Africa and the same goes for wildebeest migration that will require you to be in the right place at the same time.

At Oluokos, we appreciate every season as it provides opportunities for witnessing different aspects of the wonder of nature in Africa. To us, it’s not just a case of matching up your holiday expectations with the right locations and times but also billed to ensure that you are well informed about local wildlife movements in Africa, especially during this era of the climate change

What's Your Travel Style

At Oluokos, we don’t cut corners nor do we sugarcoat our destinations so that we convince you. We’re more than happy to hear more from you regarding your preferred style of holiday. Your travel group matters too alongside other aspects like when and money.

Our experienced designers have worked effortlessly to ensure that you’re never limited to the traditional travel style. Our safaris menu allows you to mix and match what suits your holiday quest.

At Oluokos, we believe that going on holiday is easy especially when you choose to work with our experienced designers. They are not only designers but also accredited destination specialists who understand the inside out of this ever-dynamic industry.

Cost Implications

It is well believed that an African holiday is a lifetime holiday, so it’s no surprise that the question we’re asked most by our guests: “How much does our safari cost?”.

Based on our pure value-added experiences and just like the safari experience itself – still varies greatly. This is mainly attributed to the season, country, or even the region you’ll be traveling in. And, just like any sort of holiday, the cost will depend on a range of other things, including your accommodation, activities to be taken and the length of your safari.

To be honest, we’ve organized shorter, cost-friendly safaris costing around U$ 1500 per person, right up to pure luxurious trips costing in excess of U$18000. All these come with different levels of travel, accommodation, and a bunch more experiences.

Oluokos Signature has longstanding relationships with our well-reputed suppliers and we are always in a position to get the best properties at special rates.

With this in mind, it means that you’ll pay the same price or even less than if you would book the same holiday directly with these accommodation properties.

It’s worth being reminded that COVID-19 has affected many businesses since its outbreak in the year 2019. As we plan for our next trips and start to recover from the pandemic, it’s important to do so safely and with as little stress as possible.

All travelers have questions and concerns about post-COVID travel, and at Oluokos Signature, we share the same concerns with you. For this very reason, we’re here to help. Please, find a summary of travelers’ most asked questions regarding travel safety, bookings, cancellations, and the new protocols you need to know about so you may remain informed and confident about booking your responsible holiday experience with us.

Do I need to be fully vaccinated to travel with Oluokos Signature?

At Oluokos Signature, the well-being of our travelers is our top priority. That’s why we’re updating our vaccination policy to require all travelers on our holidays to be fully vaccinated to travel with us.

As well as keeping our travelers safe, a core principle of how we operate is protecting the communities we visit. It’s vital that we make sure those communities also feel safe, and that we all minimize, as much as possible, anyone’s chances of traveling with, picking up, or passing on COVID-19. This is part of operating responsibly – especially in the less developed countries with populations that are more vulnerable or have low access to vaccines.

Additionally, many venues around the world are now requiring proof of vaccination for indoor activities such as dining in restaurants or visiting museums. At Oluokos Signature, we want everyone who travels with us to have the best experience possible.

Your final vaccine dose must have been administered a minimum of 15 days prior to the start of the trip. We will continue to monitor the local requirements and update the policy accordingly.

For more information see below.

We would also like to remind our travelers that they will also need to comply with specific requirements imposed by airlines and/or governments that may differ from the above.

What is Oluokos’ Full Vaccination Policy?

These are the minimum that we expect you to follow:
– You must be fully vaccinated to travel with us.
– Fully vaccinated travelers must have proof of vaccination showing they received their last required dose at least 15 days before the start of the trip.
– Proof of vaccine must show the traveler’s full name and must match the name on the passport or any other recognized travel document. Proof of vaccine can be in either printed or digital format.
– In the event you are unvaccinated or are unable to receive vaccination, we will work with you to postpone your trip until you have been vaccinated.

Our dedicated team of experts are always on hand to help on the phone or email if you have any questions about traveling with us, need help with an existing booking or want any more info.

What happens if I test positive on my pre-travel PCR test?

If you are required to present a PCR test to travel to your destination of choice and you test positive on this test you should self-isolate and delay travel. You will be unable to join your trip with a positive PCR test and we recommend you contact your local health department and health care provider.

How can I prove that I have been vaccinated?

You will be asked to show an authentic COVID-19 vaccination certificate (electronic or paper showing the date and time of the vaccination(s)) with the final dose given at least 14 days before the start of your trip, to your Expedition Leader upon arrival and before joining the trip. We recommend taking a picture of any paper vaccination certificates in case of loss of the original.

Do I need to quarantine before joining your safari?

Eastern and Central African countries are all following different protocols, and guidelines are constantly evolving. We continue to monitor and adapt our operations to changing country regulations. If you are traveling to a destination that requires a quarantine period, you will be responsible for arranging accommodations, as well as the cost associated with the extended stay.

Wearing mask even when vaccinated

At this time, you will need to wear a mask whenever you are advised and it is mandatory to do so. You are requested to comply with local travel requirements, which your Trip Manager will clearly explain to you.

Our vehicles are always cleaned following strict protocols, but should you wish to wear a mask while traveling on board, you are welcome to do so.

We would like to advise that airlines and some establishments may not accept washable cloth masks but only medical masks.

PCR testing compliance even after receiving vaccination?

Depending on the airline you travel with, you may be required to show proof of vaccination and/or testing, and similarly the destination you are traveling to may have specific requirements about the vaccine and/or testing. Oluokos Signature requires all travelers to be fully vaccinated to travel on our trips so whilst you may only be required to take PCR tests to travel to your trip start point, this will not replace the Oluokos Signature requirement for proof of full vaccination.

Before embarking on your Africa safari there are quite a number of things to put in order, but nothing’s more important than ensuring your passport, visa and health requirements are all sorted out.

Start planning early so you’ve got plenty of time to take care of the following:

Passports

All nationalities except Kenyan citizens booking a holiday with Oluokos Signature require a passport. Your passport must be valid for at least six months from the date you returned home. You’ll also need two blank pages for each of the countries you’ll be visiting.

If you’re not a Kenyan citizen, other regulations may apply – we encourage you to check with the nearest embassy of the country or countries you intend to visit. Please note that for certain trips, Oluokos Signature will need your passport details before we can accept your booking. And if you have to renew your passport after you’ve booked with us, it’s important that you provide us with the new details as soon as you have them.

Visa Requirements

Visa requirements vary from country to country and also depend on which passport you hold – you are responsible for securing any visas for your travels with Oluokos Signature. We advise that you check with the nearest embassy of the country or countries you intend to visit. We’re always here to help if you have any questions while completing visa forms.

Vaccinations and other prescriptions

We recommend you visit your specialist travel doctor at least two months prior to departure. This will allow time for any necessary vaccinations and medication. Please be aware, if you’re visiting Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, or DR Congo a yellow fever vaccination is compulsory.

Your doctor may also recommend other vaccinations, depending on where you’re traveling (please remember to take your itinerary with you), but these will be at your discretion. Keep in mind that some vaccinations and tablets take time to become effective, so it’s vital that you follow instructions. Yellow fever injections, for example, need to be administered a minimum of 10 days prior to entering any country that requires this vaccination.

Please note that you are responsible for obtaining appropriate vaccinations and taking all appropriate precautions for the countries to which you’ll travel. Should you fail to do so, Oluokos Signature cannot be liable in the event of any illness or injury or if your travel or entry is denied. Be sure to also carry a supply of any regular medication, along with a copy of the script from your doctor for any prescription medicine. And keep all medication in your carry-on baggage!

Travel Insurance

At Oluokos we believe that Travel Insurance is essential for any holiday, no matter what your destination.

We insist that all of our guests are covered by insurance for the duration of your time away, and recommend you take out a policy as soon as you’re ready to book.

Here in East Africa, the medical system is not free and good hospitals are not cheap – if you’re staying at a remote safari location, they’re not close either, so even getting to one can be not only expensive but a nightmare.

Choosing the right travel insurance provider for an African safari holiday is not a decision you should make purely on price – always consider the quality of coverage first.

We’re sorry to say that we don’t accept any booking without the Travel Insurance proof. Kindly consider this as a must-have requirement for your booking at Oluokos Signature.

Other Health Considerations

At Oluokos Signature, we value your health and safety and we’ll ask questions to ensure that we understand your abilities and any medical conditions that might affect your itinerary. In an ideal world, you’ll be in reasonably good health and in a position to participate in activities without assistance.

Should you need assistance with activities, it’s important you let us know well in advance so we can make necessary arrangements. If you have any existing medical conditions or any food allergies, you’ll need to advise us no later than 30 days prior to arrival for your safari. Please, it’s a great idea to carry a basic medical kit on any overseas trip – you can pick up most items from your local chemist, but just be sure to check that they’re all okay to take onboard and into the countries you’ll be visiting.

Eastern and Central Africa are awash with diverse and stunning accommodation options to call home while you are on safari. Our choices of accommodation range from the classic tented safari camps and exclusively exemplary luxury lodges, to the hidden boutique hotels, fully inclusive resorts, and private homes that are tucked away off the popular tourist routes. Whatever your taste is, we are sure that, the accommodation options are not limited to our taste of clients.

Our experiences have been crafted to offer truly unforgettable memories. We have designed them in an aspect that allows our guests to enjoy the mix of sleeping under canvas in a remote location before getting spoilt at a luxury city hotel or touching noses with an elephant at one of the luxurious wildlife camps. The detailed accommodation is provided on each itinerary so you’ll never get bored with amenities and each destination.

From the experience that we have gained over the years, we are happy to share that we have sampled numerous properties in East Africa. The ones we recommend to our guests are our favorite places and have been handpicked by us because we know they meet our average criteria of selections.

Most of these facilities are responsibly run and cater to just a reasonable number of guests. Oluokos accepts that getting absolutely away from the crowds is high on every guest’s safari wish list. Having this as our number one golden rule, an inspection of our preferred accommodation choices continue on a regular basis to ensure the highest standards are maintained year in, year out.

Available Options

Permanent Safari Camps

Our selected tented safari camps or bush camps are enormous, fully equipped with most of the expected amenities and they incredibly come with a high level of comfort. Although the quality varies in some are more rustic while on the other hand others will blow you away with their elegance and luxury.

Luxury Lodges

Our choice of lodges is tucked away in sensational locations, where our favorites not only blend into the environment but also value and practice sustainable tourism as much as they value the comfort and satisfaction of their guests. If you’re staying in a lodge, expect a permanent construction built using materials such as stone, wood, bricks, and thatch. Most rooms will have en suite bathrooms with running hot and cold water plus all the other creature comforts you’d expect in a luxury hotel, including, in many cases, air conditioning, plunge pools, wifi, and much more.

Private Houses and Villas

To ensure that you enjoy your safari experiences beyond the parks, reserves, and community-owned wildlife sanctuaries, our choices of accommodation in East Africa also offer unmatched exclusive-use private houses and homes, for the ultimate in privacy and seclusion. These can be found from cities and mountains to islands and beaches – and, of course without losing the touch of the safari experience. Our selections of houses have been creatively handpicked and they are set in locations that command some stunning views in East Africa’s pristine locations.

At Oluokos, we take you on a very different and unique African safari. When it comes to exceptional, authentic wildlife experiences, our experience stands out as second to none. We have chosen to shift away from the traditions of game-viewing activities by offering our guests a wide range of variations according to destination, wildlife behavior, migration trends, and the season. This allows us to share with our guests’ experiences as crafted by our finest in-house Experience Designers.

Below, please find how we handle our day on safari:

Early Mornings

This presents the best chance to see wildlife when temperatures are cool and animals are still interestingly, very active. The price that you must pay here is to wake up early! The wake-up call will be between 5 am and 6 am for a quick snack of tea, coffee, and biscuits. The morning can be freezing in these early hours so dress warmly but also in layers, so you can peel off clothes as you warm up.

It warms up pretty quickly if you’re doing a walking safari, but should you get chilly on a 4×4 game drive or boating safari; the vehicles and vessels are always packed with blankets.

From our morning wildlife viewing, a beautiful breakfast or brunch will be waiting for you when you get back to camp/lodge.

Midday - Early Afternoon

When you get to the camp or lodge after a morning game activity you can relax and escape the heat of the day for a couple of hours before. This is the time to read a book, visit a souvenir shop, take a siesta, swing on a hammock, cool off in the pool, or indulge in a spa treatment. This is the hottest time of the day, so we recommend you copy the animals by taking it easy. Later, at around 3 pm, you might have another little snack before heading out on an afternoon wildlife drive.

If you’re feeling super active after lunch is a great time to spend with the camp/lodge conservation team or get an insight into African life with a visit to a local village.

Late Afternoon - Early Evening

Wildlife drives in the afternoon are amazing because the light is so fantastic. And as the day cools down, the wildlife becomes more active again – predators start to stir and their prey prepares for another nervous night in Africa’s wilderness. Apart from well great wildlife-viewing opportunities, sundowners do complement the day too!

On our way to the camp, we will stop at a picturesque spot and admire a beautiful African sunset. Arriving at the camp/lodge just before dark, in good time for a shower before pre-dinner drinks.

Back at the camp or the lodge, it’s dinner time, so you won’t miss out! This may be even be served al fresco, under that incredible African sky. Afterward, you might care to share stories and over drinks around a campfire with fellow guests.

Please note that once it starts to get dark on a game drive it’s not safe to stop for any “bush loo relief”. So make sure you stop before the sun sets or you’ll have to hold on until you return to camp or the lodge– which might be some distance away!

Night Game Drives

For those staying at a private reserve, it’s likely you’ll be offered the chance to head out on a night-time game drive. Don’t miss this unique opportunity. It’s a completely different perspective of Africa’s bush and will round off your safari experience absolutely.

Heading out into the endless bush, the only lights you’ll see will come from the stars in the sky, your vehicle’s headlights, and a spotlight. This will be held by the expert tracker sitting at the front of the vehicle, constantly on the lookout for wildlife.

Thanks to their knowledge, instinct, and brilliant eyes, you might get to spot nocturnal creatures such as chameleons, owls, leopards, and, if you’re really lucky, perhaps even a pangolin or aardvark. Then it’s back to camp to enjoy a hot drink before falling asleep to the sounds of the night and dreaming of your next promising day on safari.

We always recommend to our guests to consider this experience at least one night drive, but be aware that it can be cold and, in terms of animal action, slow. It’s more about the pleasure of spotting nocturnal creatures, and the sounds and serenity of the night than the daytime wildlife drive.

TIPPING & GRATUITY

For ages, tipping has remained to be something of a tradition on safari. This having been well said, it is not compulsory in Africa and always remains at your discretion.

Should you wish to show your appreciation to guides, drivers, camp and lodges staff, an amount of your choice can be added to your bill upon departure from each property, or placed in a gratuities box (where available). This money will then be distributed among all the staff. Alternatively, you may prefer to personally thank – and tip – any staff members you feel went that extra mile to ensure your safari experience was a memorable one.

Staff are usually extremely hard-working and proud of their contributions, and very appreciative when they receive a gratuity and a personal note of thanks. This is an effective way to acknowledge the great job they’re doing and what a positive effect it had on your experience in Africa.

Tipping Etiquette

  1. We advise you to travel with small envelopes so you can distribute tips discreetly
  2. Feel free to include a short personal note of thanks with someone’s tip if they’ve been particularly impressive or very helpful
  3. Tip guides, porters and trackers separately to camp or lodge staff. The best time to tip them is during your last safari activity or on departure if they’re taking you to an airstrip or other drop-off point
  4. When tipping general camp staff, do it in one single tip. Place it in the tip box that’s usually located in the reception area or somewhere central. This tip money will then be divided among all camp or lodge staff.
  5. Never accept help from anyone at an airport unless they’re in uniform and bearing identification.
  6. You’ll find it very handy to carry a generous amount of small US dollar and Kenya shillings notes for tips, so you don’t have to worry about accessing change
  7. There should be no obligation for you to pay more than what you’re comfortable with, or to tip at all if you’re not happy with the service. And don’t compare your tipping with what others are doing. There is no right or wrong and it should always be done out of gratitude for the service provided.

Please, don’t hug us to yourself. Share us out!

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