O3C Photographers Visiting Africa - We host tours to various countries in Africa each year and wanted to share some things we are frequently asked by guests as they prepare for their African journey with us.
Visit a travel clinic
One of the first things you should do is set up a visit with a travel clinic. If you are unsure of the travel clinics in your area, please contact us for recommendations. A travel doctor will advise you on any shots or medications you may require for your trip. It is a good idea to bring your travel itinerary to your appointment so the staff will know exactly what you will require based on the country and regions in Africa being visited. The timeline for this clinic visit should be approximately 2 months before departure.
Many African countries require a tourist visa to enter the country. In some smaller countries you can obtain them upon arrival, other countries you can apply in advance, and many offer an eVisa which you can apply for on-line before leaving. Please be careful when applying on the web that you visit the actual eVisa website for the country and not a third party website. Depending on the country a visa will cost between $25 and $75 CAD. For the specific countries we will be visiting we will advise you and send out links and information on applying for your visa. The timeline for visa applications is approximately 2 months prior to travel.
Check your passport
Check the expiry date of your passport. Make sure it is valid at least 6 months from your date of return and you have two blank pages in your passport for your tourist visa.
Insurance Medical / Trip Cancellation
If you are travelling with us on a tour that takes you out of your province or country please make sure you have reviewed your medical insurance. Note some countries now require proof of travel insurance before you are allowed to enter.
As your trip is an investment, consider taking out trip cancellation insurance. If you become ill or something happens to a loved one you may need to cancel your trip or need to return home early. Trip cancellation insurance means you do not have to worry if you find yourself in this situation. If you required medical or cancellation insurance let us know. We can advise and quote you on a policy that best suits your travel needs.
Most African countries are 220-240V. We will advise you on power adapters needed for the country(s) on you specific tour. Please note your computers and camera battery chargers are 120/220 compatible. You only require the power adapters. A power converter is not required. Most travel lodges and hotels provide hair dryers. Your hair dryer from home will not work.
Basic items to pack
Weather throughout Africa is quite different. We will advise you on basic items to pack based on the region of your tour. A general rule of thumb is to dress in layers. Shorts are fine, and jeans or slacks and a light jacket or sweater may be needed in the evening. Bring a good pair of hiking or running shoes that are already broken in. Wear your new shoes for at least three weeks before leaving to make sure your feet are comfortable. Sandals are also okay, but flip flops are not recommended. On some days we will be walking in long grass, or on sandy and gravel trails. On these days a closed shoe is recommended.
Bringing a wide brim hat is important to protect your ears and neck from the sun, as are sun glasses to protect your eyes. Sun screen and a bug repellent with Deet are good to bring with you as well.
Camera gear (see camera gear suggestions page)
We have created a general page on camera gear suggestions. For Africa and especially on safari we recommend a minimum focal length of 300mm. A 400-500mm lens is a better option. We need to keep a safe distance from the wildlife we are viewing and therefore a longer lens is needed.
A bean bag is a great item to pack on safari trips as tripods simply do not work when in a jeep. If you bring a refillable bean bag you can pack lightly for travel then get rice or beans to fill it once in Africa. Another very useful item to steady your camera on safari is a section of foam pool noodle to fit over the roll bars on the jeep or over the window ledges. Cut the pool noodle into 8-9 inch lengths and cut a slit down one side to the hollow centre. They are light and easy to pack.
Pack a pair of binoculars if you have room. Sometimes it's great to just put down your camera and observe.
Pre-travel at a glance check list
- • Check your passport expiration date - your passport must be valid six months past your return date
- • Review your travel and out of country medical insurance - you must have out of country medical insurance
- • See a travel doctor to review any shots you many require for our tour. (Take a copy of the itinerary with you)
- • Make sure you have filled your antimalarial medication and pack it in your carry-on bag
- • Other medications prescriptions etc should also be packed in your carry-on bag
- • Option - you can prepare an equipment list serial numbers etc.
- • Review your equipment insurance if needed
- • Check to ensure your tourist visas have been completed and you have your Yellow Fever Card
- • Call your bank for credit cards and debit card for ATMs to tell them you are travelling to Kenya & Tanzania
- • Set aside the appropriate amount of tip money required for the tour
- • Bring a copy of your travel insurance with you - usually a card with the policy number and phone number to call
- • Bug spray with Deet - a pump spray as opposed to an aerosol is best as it has to be in your checked luggage
We look forward to travelling and experiencing Africa with you.
O3C Current Tours