A basic guide to East Africa Travel
THIS NOTICE IS ISSUED WITH EFFECT FROM 09th Sept 2022. GENERAL TRAVEL REQUIREMENT
The main points of entry to East Africa are Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Entebbe and Kigali. There are daily flights into each of the main airports in these cities from London, Amsterdam, Zurich, Brussels, Dubai and Johannesburg.
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
Dar es Salaam International Airport or Kilimanjaro Airport
Air Tanzania/ Precision Air
Entebbe International Airport
Kigali International Airport
International Airport Departure tax equivalent to US$ 40 per person is payable on departure from some international airports. As this varies from country to country, please check with us on the prevailing amounts prior to your flight departure if not already included in your ticket.
Most nationalities require visa to East African countries and most can be attained at your point of entry. There are always countries that are exempt from visas or that need special clearance so we recommend you to check on the going fee with your local embassy before travel.
All travellers to East Africa are required to have yellow fever inoculations. This needs to be done at least 10 days before you leave home. Malaria is prevalent in all East African countries. Please contact your doctor for advice before travel as most malaria tablets need to be taken up to a week before travel.
You should pack the minimum, since it is fairly easy to get your laundry done. Cotton is bets when it is hot. You should take short and long sleeve shirts (to protect yourself against mosquito bites), slacks and shorts. You may need a jacket for cooler evenings or if you will spend any time in the highlands. It can get chilly in Nairobi at night, and it is definitely nippy on the rim of Ngorongoro Crater. Naturally if you are going to do any mountain climbing you need the appropriate equipment. Don’t think that because Mt. Kilimanjaro is near the equator, it will be warm there! In terms of photography, in order to take good wildlife pictures, you will need a SLR camera and 200 mm lens at minimum. A wild angle lens is also nice to have for panoramic shots. If you are going to have two lenses, I recommend having a camera body for each, since there is dust everywhere particularly in Tanzania, and the wildlife tends not to wait for you to switch lens. You should take plenty of film with you before you leave (about a roll per day), especially if you want high quality film. Film is available throughout the country, but only your basic Kodak Gold and only in the main cities. Additionally, you do not know anything about the conditions it’s been stored in.
Baggage space on safari is restricted to one medium suitcase per person , plus hand baggage (private safaris where there are less than seven persons in the vehicle are not subject to this restriction). Small duffel bags are however comfortable to travel with. A baggage weight restriction of 15 kg per person applies on air safaris. Where very small aircraft are used this may be reduced to 10 kg.
While the East African countries all have their own currencies, most tourist attractions are priced in US Dollars. Our recommendation is to take US Dollars with you for spending money and visa costs and change small amounts into local currency if need be. The official currency is the Kenyan/Tanzania and Uganda is Shillings, Franc in Rwanda although United States Dollar is also accepted.
In most of the East African countries, banks are open from 0900hrs to 1500hrs Monday to Friday. Some branches open on Saturdays from 0900hrs to 1200hrs. Many banks are now equipped with 24-hour ATM machines.
Accommodations have been carefully selected in each area and it provides the most friendly and pleasant surroundings to match the general atmosphere, which we feel is such an important part of our tour. In East Africa, we have accommodation that can cater for any possible budget, taste, interest or preference. Hotels, hostels luxury tented camps, guesthouses, resorts, campsites, backpacker lodges, village home-stays and more can be found.
VISA and MASTERCARD are widely accepted for tourist services across East Africa. There’s usually a 5% mark-up on top of the price as establishments are charged a fixed percentage of their transactions.
The four countries lie in a zone which is called East Africa Time, or EAT. The zone is three hours ahead of UTC (UTC+30), which is the same as Moscow Time and also the same as Eastern European Summer Time.
Major stores, tourist services, offices and museums open from 8.00am to 5.00pm in large towns though offices often break for lunch. In rural areas and out in the bush small shops can be open at almost any hour. Souvenirs to take back home can include wood and soap stone sculptures and carvings, ciondos (sisal baskets), beadwork and tribal regalia, masks, textiles and gemstones set in unique jewelry pieces.
Although hotels and lodges include a service charge, it is customary to tip porters, waiters, taxi drivers and safari drivers/guides.
Drinking water from the tap must be considered risky. Hotels and lodges usually furnish safe water in a thermos flask in guest rooms. Bottled mineral water is available in every hotel and supermarkets.
Membership of the Flying Doctors Society is strongly recommended. In the event of an accident or sickness while on safari, anywhere in East Africa within a maximum of 1,000 km’s of Nairobi the society will fly patients by air ambulance to Nairobi, for admittance to hospital.
Kenya – Kiswahili is the lingua franca while English is the official language. In addition, most Kenyan tribes have their own language.
Tanzania – Swahili, the language spoken by vast majority of Tanzanians, is the most widely understood language in Africa after Arabic.
Uganda – English is the official language while Swahili is the second official language.
Rwanda – The official languages in Rwanda are Kinya-rwanda, French and English.
Normal precautions as in any other destination worldwide should be taken. Visitors are advised not to leave cash and valuables in the hotel rooms but to make use of safe deposit boxes and safes. One should never carry large sums in cash and women should keep a tight grip of their handbags in crowds or busy streets. Jewelry snatching is quite common in city streets. As in all major cities walking alone or in small groups at night should be considered a hazard and avoided. Reliable taxis are available at all the principal hotels. Taking photograph at airports, near military installations, of policeman, the president, the national flag, the State House, state lodgers, soldiers, prison and prisoners etc. its prohibited. Before photographing local people, permission should be obtained and fixed price agreed. Seek the assistance of your driver/guide in this matter.
Post – East African countries have a good postal service for both local and international post. Many shops in tourist lodges and hostels sell stamps.
Telecommunications/Cell Phones – We have mobile networks I most areas of East Africa. You can roam on the various networks and local line sim cards are easy to obtain in any country. Cost for telephone calls from hotels worldwide are generally high so please check the rate before making any calls from your hotels/lodges.
All the member states of East Africa have good internet service providers. Many hotels and lodges offer email and internet services. In most towns, there are plenty of private business centers and cyber-cafes offering email and internet access.
Our grid is based on 240Volts and 3pin socket British Style. Note that in some areas especially on safaris in Lodges/Camps, electricity supplies may be operated at certain times during the day and at night may be switched off after 11pm or midnight as these supplies are using generators.
The multicultural nature of the population is reflected in the international cuisine and dietary needs are easily accommodated.