All the answers you’ll need
Frequently asked questions for travel in Africa
As you prepare for the adventure of a lifetime in Africa, we hope our answers to these frequently asked questions will help you on your way.
FYI because there’s so much you’ll need to know, we’ve divided the frequently asked questions into four sections. If there’s anything else you need, just give us a call.
The planning process
When should I start planning?
In a nutshell: the sooner the better. Africa is a very popular destination and popular camps book out quickly. The earlier you start planning, the wider your choice of safari accommodation will be. Booking 9-12 months in advance is ideal, especially if you want to travel during school holidays. If you’re travelling as part of a larger group of family and friends, we definitely recommend allowing at least 12 months. That said, we are rather good at putting together last-minute safari holidays in a matter of days – our record at Encompass Africa is seven hours!
When is a good time to go to Africa?
You can have an incredible holiday in Africa at any time of the year. It all comes down to where you want to go and what you want to experience. We can suggest brilliant destinations for any time of year and help create the perfect itinerary for you. Read more about when to travel here.
What types of accommodation do you offer?
We have access to a vast range of accommodation, from chic safari camps and lodges, boutique hotels, owner-run B&Bs, exclusive-use safari properties and island resorts to private houses, adventure mobile camping, glamour mobile camping and more. Read more about accommodation in Africa here.
How many countries should I aim to visit?
We believe in quality over quantity. You’ll have a much better experience if you focus on one or two countries, rather than trying to cram multiple places into one trip. Otherwise you’ll end up spending all of your time getting from A to B, rather than enjoying things on the ground. We specialise in Southern and East Africa, and your time and money will be best spent focusing on one or the other. For example, Namibia combines easily with Botswana in Southern Africa, while gorilla tracking in the Congo, Rwanda or Uganda combines wonderfully with a classic safari holiday in Tanzania or Kenya in East Africa.
How much time should I allow for my safari holiday?
It all depends on the countries and regions you wish to explore (Africa is huge!), but in general we recommend a minimum of seven to 10 nights if you’re flying all the way from somewhere like Australia, Singapore or New Zealand. On average, our guests travel for two weeks, including flight time. We do our best to maximise your time by carefully considering every aspect, such as flights that avoid ‘dead nights’ in airport hotels. You might find you’ll be travelling between regions by light aircraft rather than road transfers – this is by necessity in remote areas and also by design – nothing beats an aerial perspective of Africa and it means even your transfers will form part of your adventure.
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How much does a safari holiday cost?
Hmmm, how long is a piece of string?! The cost can vary greatly as there are so many variables – such as where you want to go and for how long, the types of properties you want to stay in and the inclusions you seek. It’s like asking someone, “How much is a trip to Australia?” – someone wanting to go backpacking and camping for a week is going to get a very different answer to someone who wants to spend a month in five-star accommodation in Sydney! This is the reason our trip planners always ask upfront what you’re comfortable spending and then tailor the absolute best holiday to suit your budget. Read more about safari pricing here.
I’m a solo traveller – do I have to pay single supplements?
At Encompass Africa we understand how frustrating (not to mention, expensive!) single supplements can be, and do our best to assist. Many of our group tours allow solo travellers to share a room with a fellow traveller (if they’re willing), while others don’t charge single supplements at all. We also have a list of properties throughout Africa that don’t charge single supplements (or very minimal fees) at various times throughout the year, and these all-important dates. Simply chat with one of our trip planners and they’ll let you know the best way to fulfill your dream to travel to Africa without having to fork out for the dreaded single supplement!
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How does the planning process work?
It all starts with a conversation. We love to get to know our clients – and we need to know you so we can plan a holiday that’s perfect for you! To create a picture of your dream trip we’ll ask some questions, both practical and out-of-the box. Then, drawing upon your answers and our inside knowledge of Africa, we’ll create incredible itinerary options just for you, and present them to you in digital form (or a PDF or printout if you’d prefer). From there, we’ll adjust, refine and add in even more layers and details to create the ultimate travel schedule tailored just for you.
Can I make changes to this initial itinerary?
Absolutely. We encourage you to be open about everything in the proposal – what you love and what you’re not sure about. The beauty of our service is that we’ll refine and tweak it until you’re 100% happy and ready to finalise your booking.
Can I meet with you in person?
Yes – we’d love to see you! Our head office is in Brisbane and we love hosting guests, so please do come in for a cup of coffee and a chat. Together we can map out the concept for your holiday. We also have a team member in Sydney who can meet with you somewhere central and offer the same great planning service.
Will I need a passport for my trip?
Yes. Every holiday booked with Encompass Africa requires a passport. Your passport will need to be valid for at least six months from the date you return home. So, for example, if you plan to return from your trip on 30 September 2019, your passport will need to be valid until at least 30 March 2020. You’ll also need two blank pages for each of the countries you’ll be visiting.
What about visas?
It all depends on your passport and where you’re travelling to – every country in Africa is different. Read more about visas here
Can you organise my travel insurance?
Yes, we can help you with every single step of your holiday, including travel insurance.
Just ask your Encompass Africa trip planner and they can book you through Allianz or Covermore. Read more about travel insurance here.
See below for our other FAQ sections