Frequently asked questions
How do I book a safari?
Please contact us by e-mail and let us know when you would like to travel, how many people will be travelling and ages of any children and if you have any specific destinations or interests in mind. We will contact you to make sure we fully align with your requirements so we can design your unforgettable journey.
Once we have created a draft itinerary, we will then check availability with the various lodges and camps (this usually takes around 24-48 hours), and if space is available, we will make a provisional booking in your name and send you a full proposal, including a detailed itinerary and quotation. There is no obligation on your part at this stage. This is merely to prevent the space from being booked by another party while you are making your final decision.
Together with you we will tune the draft itinerary until you are completely satisfied that it meets your needs perfectly. Provisional reservations are then confirmed on receipt of a non-refundable deposit.
How do I pay for my safari?
Payments can be made by wire transfer. Upon receipt we will e-mail you a receipt and confirmation.
Can we bring our children with us on safari?
Families have a great opportunity to bond, communicate and interact with each other, while learning so much about the flora and fauna around them. To encourage more families to travel, some of the camps are outfitted with family rooms so children are able to sleep in their own room adjacent to their parents.
There are also a number of great lodges and camps in Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania that allow children under the age of eight. We are happy to work with you in finding a suitable safari for you and your children.
When is it the best time to travel to Africa to view wildlife?
In East Africa (Kenya and Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda), exceptional wildlife viewing can be experienced during the dry seasons from January to March and June to October. On a typical year with normal weather patterns the migrating wildebeest and zebra herds will be in the Serengeti in Tanzania from December to June, in the Maasai Mara in Kenya from July to October and travelling between the two areas during the other months.
In southern Africa (Botswana, South Africa) the best wildlife viewing is during the dry season period from May through October each year with July, August, and September being the most desirable months in terms of climate and temperature.
Wildlife viewing is, in part, predicated on the amount of surface water available. During the rains (December through March in southern Africa and April/May and November/December in East Africa) wildlife is scattered as there is abundant surface water to drink (puddles, waterholes, perennial rivers). Once the rains end wildlife congregates around remaining surface water (pools, lakes, and large rivers).
Please note that travel during southern Africa's 'green season' (November through April) and East Africa's short rain months (November and December) does have some advantages. The bush will be lush and green and many wildlife species will have newborn in tow. Dust, which can be a nuisance during the dry season, is greatly reduced and night-time temperatures are milder than during the dry winter months. The Victoria Falls are in full spate (heaviest flow) during the period January through June. Lastly, during the 'green season' many northern migratory birds visit Africa making the region an ornithologist's paradise!
How does to East Africa compare to Southern Africa?
Kenya's Maasai Mara National Reserve, Amboseli National Park and Tanzania's Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, as well as several other wonderful national parks and wildlife conservancies in East Africa, offer a spectacular wildlife-viewing experience, especially if a visit can be timed to witness the annual wildebeest migration. In addition, the tribal and cultural experience on offer in East Africa is unrivalled anywhere in the world.
Southern Africa and its private game reserves, on the other hand, are renowned for exclusivity and privacy which allow guests more intimate encounters with wildlife.
Most of the leading camps and lodges in Botswana and South Africa are located in privately owned concessions reserved solely for a very small number of guests staying in the camps at that time. This provides total exclusivity, with camps and lodges ranging from three tents to a maximum of ten tents. Private game reserves are less prevalent in East Africa, although there are a excellent wildlife conservancies in Kenya which offer the same level of privacy and exclusivity.
Do I need a visa?
All countries in Africa require that you be in possession of a valid passport with an expiration date no less than six months from your final departure date from that country.
BOTSWANA - Visitors with Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, HKBNO/HKSAR, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, UK, US and most EU passports DO NOT require visas or may obtain visas on arrival. China Nationals need a Visa to Enter Botswana
KENYA - Visitors with Malaysia (30 days) and Singapore passports DO NOT require visas to enter Kenya. Most Asian passports, Australia, New Zealand, EU, UK and US passports are required to purchase an E-Visa online in advance of travel. According to the government an application should be done at least 7 days in advance and visitors can stay for up to 90 days with e-visa
MADAGASCAR - All visitors to Madagascar are required to get a visa to enter the country. Besides getting visa from an embassy or consulate in advance, foreign visitors can also obtain visa online or on arrival. In addition, they must hold a passport valid for 6 months and return or onward ticket.
MAURITIUS - Citizens of most countries do not need a visa or may obtain a visa on arrival to Mauritius for tourism purpose.
RWANDA - Visitors of all nationalities can obtain visas on arrival. Since the introduction of the eVisa in January 2018 the Immigration Service in Rwanda urges all eligible travellers to apply for the eVisa. The embassies and high commissions no longer process visa applications.
SOUTH AFRICA -Visitors with Singapore, Australian, Japan and most of European Countries DO NOT require visas for visits of up to 90 days. Malaysia and Thailand and South DO NOT require visas for visits of up to 30 days.
TANZANIA - Visitors with Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore DO NOT require visas to enter Tanzania. Most Asian, EU, UK and US passports may obtain visas on arrival. Holders of an approved Tanzania Visa are required to enter the United Republic of Tanzania through one of the following ports of entry: Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA), Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA), Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (AAKIA), Namanga border, Tunduma border or via sea.
UGANDA – Visitors with a Singapore passport don’t need to apply for a visa. Most Asian and European visitors must obtain a visa on arrival to Uganda or from one of the Ugandan diplomatic missions. All visitors must hold a passport valid for 6 months.
**The above requirements are subject to change by the relevant authorities at short notice. We recommend that you check your visa requirement with us before finalising your booking.
South Africa, Kenya, and Tanzania have several consulates in Asia that service most Asian countries. If required, we are able to assist you in obtaining visas.
What is the weather like in Africa?
In general the climate is as near perfect as you can get with dry season daytime temperatures with sunny blue skies. Daytime temperatures average 20 to 25 degrees centigrade.
In East Africa climate variations are determined by altitude, but in essence the area is dry except for the months of April and May, during the long rains, and November, which is the short rainy season. The Central Highlands and Rift Valley have a pleasant climate, averaging about 20 degrees centigrade with cool nights. June and July are the coolest months in East Africa and temperatures can be very chilly at night and first thing in the morning, particularly in areas of high elevations such as the Ngorongoro Crater.
During the southern African winter period from June through August, early morning and night-time temperatures in some areas can drop close to freezing or even just below in exceptional cases. However, don't let this dissuade you from a safari at this time of year, as by mid-morning temperatures are back in the low to mid-20s and warm enough for shorts and a short-sleeved shirt.
In southern Africa rains occur sporadically during the period December through March with the dry season stretching from April through October/November.
Does Runway 86 – Heaven in Africa handle air tickets?
Runway 86 will handle all of your domestic and regional flight arrangements within Africa through our direct partnerships or with other reputable travel agents in the region.
We can advise you on the best flight options but we advice you to book your international flights directly at the airline, a specialized booking site or IATA certified agent.
What type of travel insurance do you recommend?
All clients are required to purchase a comprehensive travel insurance plan before departure. This should cover you for events such as trip cancellation, delay or interruption, lost or delayed baggage, emergency accident, sickness and evacuation, 24 hour medical assistance, traveller's assistance, and emergency cash transfer.
Guests travelling with RUNWAY86 in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda or Burundi will be signed up for a Flying Doctors Society of Africa evacuation coverage for life threatening evacuations to Nairobi Kenia during their travel, under the terms and conditions published on their website www.flyingdoctorsafrica.org. Should it be required to evacuate, it shall be the Guests’ responsibility to ensure sufficient medical and travel insurance cover is in place to cover in-hospital medical expenses and associated costs once admitted to hospital in Nairobi Kenya.
Please contact us for advice on travel insurance.
Should I bring Cash or travellers checks? Are credit cards accepted?
During your safari, you will need very little spending money as all meals, drinks and booked activities are included in the cost of your safari.
Before or after your safari, in cities like Arusha, Nairobi, Cape Town or Johannesburg, you may need to pay for lunches, dinners, and drinks when you are staying at hotels, as this will normally be on a bed and breakfast basis. Bills can be settled by cash, travellers checks, or by credit card (accepted at most lodges, camps and hotels).
Credit cards may be used in large towns and at restaurants and shops, with MasterCard and Visa being most accepted. However, the use of credit cards may be restricted in small towns and country areas.
Automatic teller machines (ATMs) are situated outside most banks in large cities in Africa, and international credit cards often can be used to withdraw currency. However, please do not rely on ATM machines for all your local currency needs and it is advisable to exchange some currency before arrival.
Should we purchase local currency?
US dollar or Euro cash or travellers checks may be changed into local currency at airports and banks. Small denomination notes are best (US $1, $5, $10, and $20) as change is often not available for larger notes. Always keep your receipt so that when you depart you may change your money back to US dollars or Euros.
Please note that the majority of establishments, banks and money changers in Kenya and Tanzania no longer accept US dollar currency of any denomination printed before the year 2000. Some establishments have recently been known to only accept notes printed after 2003.
What type of clothes should I wear on safari?
Luggage should be kept to a minimum. With a few exceptions the luggage limit on light aircraft flights throughout southern Africa is a total of 20 kgs / 44 lbs per person for check-in and carry-on luggage combined. For East Africa the luggage limit is a total of 15 kgs / 33 lbs per person. Bags should be soft-sided. We are regularly asked by the airline companies to remind our clients to ensure their luggage does not have hard sides and has no built-in frame or wheels. Some airlines are particularly strict about this. The dimensions of the door of the luggage compartment on some light aircraft are restricted is size and soft-sided bags will allow the pilot to more easily load and manipulate your luggage into the confined area of the luggage hold.
These luggage restrictions sound very little but bear in mind the following:
- All safari camps and lodges and hotels provide fresh towels and basic toilet amenities.
- Laundry can be done on a daily basis (and for many camps this service is included in the tariff, although hotels do charge a nominal fee).
- Mainly casual clothing is required.
As no formal clothes are needed on safari we recommend that you limit your luggage to the basics. More formal attire is usually required only when staying in the more prestigious city hotel establishments or on any of the luxury trains. On a wildlife safari, casual clothing is the order of the day.
What kind of camera equipment should I take?
For close-up photography of birds and animals, a good SLR camera and telephoto lens is necessary. The minimum recommended size is 200–300 mm, and a zoom lens can be extremely useful on safari. Consideration should be given before travelling with any lens bigger than 400 mm as most interesting shots are taken using hand held equipment.
Don’t forget to bring lots of digital storage and enough spare batteries
Can you describe the tented camp accommodations we can expect?
All tents and rooms are fitted with large deluxe beds (with mattresses and duvets), en-suite (attached, in room) flush toilets, basins and showers with hot and cold running water and good lighting (mostly 12 volts). There is always a fresh supply of towels, face cloths, soaps, shampoos and body lotion. Certain camps have an additional and optional outdoor shower or bath 'under the stars' to bring you even closer to nature. The camps are sprayed on a regular basis with environmentally friendly chemicals effective against mosquitoes. Our partners have a remarkably good record in this regard.
Other amenities include mosquito netting, lamps, bottled mineral water or purified water in carafes, insect repellent, flashlights, wardrobes and ethnic furnishings.
Staying at a luxury tented camp allows guests to enjoy the comforts of a room with the unforgettable sights and sounds of the African bush. Most luxury tented camp rooms consist of very large walk-in tents (most often larger than hotel rooms) with wooden doors or Velcro/zippered entries to keep insects out. Walls are canvas with large roll-up viewing panels. Inside you will enjoy a proper bed (a queen/king or two twin beds depending on your preference) with pillows and duvets, bed side tables, dressing table, wardrobe, throw rugs or full carpeting, inverter generator or battery powered (solar) lighting, en-suite (attached, in room) shower with hot and cold running water, flush toilet, and basin. Some tents even include baths. You will definitely not be 'roughing it'.
Is it safe to visit Africa?
Travel to Africa is as safe as travel around Asia, Europe, the Middle East or North and South America.
Like all big cities in Asia, Europe and the United States, petty theft can occur in Africa's major cities and towns. Visitors should take the same care as they would normally take in any other destination worldwide. Place valuables in safe deposit boxes at hotels and be alert and streetwise at popular tourist sights.
During your safari, at lodges and tented camps, you are far removed from human settlements and crime is virtually non existent. You will be comforted to know that we have a 100 per cent track record in this regard.
What vaccinations or medicine do we need before travelling?
There are a few basic health matters that require care and attention.
For East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda) health concerns and inoculations are the same as those for travel to the Indian subcontinent or Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia.
For southern Africa (Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique) there are no required inoculations and health concerns are the same as those for travel to some parts of South East Asia, Eastern Europe or the Caribbean.
No matter where you travel in Africa (except in malaria-free areas in South Africa and Kenya) a course of anti-malaria tablets is recommended.
There are no other health issues that one needs to be overly concerned with. We strongly recommend that you visit your local travel health specialist in your home country for further professional advice.
Are there any foods we should avoid? What about drinking water?
Although drinking water provided in all the safari lodges and camps is purified and safe to drink, bottled mineral water is readily available and included in the cost of your safari.
It is perfectly safe to eat the food served in the lodges and camps as the chefs take great care to ensure that fresh produce and ingredients are used and that meals are prepared in a hygienic manner. During lunch we serve food custom prepared for you in the lodge you stayed in the night before.
What type of vehicles are used on safari for wildlife viewing?
East Africa operates via covered-top 4x4 Toyota Land Cruisers and many safari camps are starting to use open vehicles In southern Africa, as the camps are generally located in private concessions, you will be using open 4x4 Land Rovers almost exclusively during your safari.
Is there electricity at the safari lodges and camps?
Electricity in Tanzania, Kenya, Botswana, South Africa, and in most of the continent is 220/240 volts. Most safari lodges and camps are not connected to an electrical supply. Solar lighting (backed up by batteries) is common, with many lodges having a generator, which runs part of the day (morning and late evening when guests are out on their activities).
All safari camps and lodges will be able to provide some means of recharging your batteries. If there are no power points in your room or tent, as is often the case in many mobile or tented camps, then there will be sockets you can use in the camp office. Many camps and lodges have the plug adapters, but we recommend that you bring your own to be safe. Do not forget to bring the specific charger(s) for your equipment with you, as these will not be provided.
What types of food are served on safari?
The food served at all of the safari lodges and tented camps in our portfolio is of the highest quality. At certain lodges, gourmet cooks bake fresh breads, and produce soups, salads, and entrées that could easily grace tables at top restaurants around the world.
Meals are international in flavour with soups, salads, cold meats, pasta dishes, meat and fish dishes, breads and other starch.
We prefer to use camps and lodges that opt for good, wholesome home-style cooking at elegantly set dining tables (sometimes under the stars, sometimes under thatch or canvas) where guests can discuss and debate the day's events with their guides and fellow guests.
For lunch during your game drives we serve you a hot lunch, prepared for you in the lodge you stayed in the night before. We will serve your lunch in one of the designated picknick Area’s.
Can I have my clothes washed while on safari?
Most safari lodges and camps offer a complimentary same day laundry service (as the clothes are normally air dried this will depend on the weather). Please note, however, that due to local customs and especially in small camps in remote areas where washing machines cannot be used and the laundry must be done by hand, you may be asked to wash your own underwear. In this case, environmentally-friendly washing detergent will be provided in your room. The camp manager will make this clear to you during your initial briefing on arrival.
How much are we expected to tip at the safari camps and lodges?
A minimum of US$ 10-20 for each guest per day is usually the advised amount for your guide or ranger.
For the lodge or camp staff there is typically a communal tip box, which is shared amongst the staff members at the end of each month. As a rule of thumb you can tip the general staff around US$ 10 for each guest per day (this is excluding your guide's tip).
Will we be expected to pay additional park fees once we arrive at the safari camps and lodges?
Park fees are included in the overall trip cost of your itinerary.
Are there opportunities to meet with local people or visit real African villages?
There are many opportunities for cultural interaction! East Africa contains one of the most diverse tribal and cultural heritages in the world. Kenya and Tanzania offer guests an unrivalled cultural experience from the different tribes in Kenya and Tanzania. Your guides, trackers, waiters and other employees in most of the East African safari camps we use are from the indigenous tribes. We are able to arrange visits to authentic villages and settlements where you can observe and participate in celebrations, rituals and day to day tribal life – the options are endless.
Please note that unlike in East Africa where wildlife and tribes live side by side in harmony, most of the safari camps and lodges in southern Africa are located in remote wilderness areas far from human settlement and thus offer no formal cultural interaction with local villages. However, you should note that all of the camps we use employ locals from the area. Your guide, tracker, waiter, chef and cleaning lady will be from the area and will be very interested to discuss their culture and way of life with you during your stay.