Frequently Asked Questions Kruger Safaris
FAQS FOR OTHER SAFARIS ON REQUEST
Q1: Q1: Why do you think I need to come on safari?
A: Well, probably you donít need to come on safari, you want to. And why would you want to come on safari? Well simply to experience something that no other continent can offer you, a chance to experience wild African animals and birds in their natural habitat interacting with other animals and birds, itsnothing like going to a zoo where animals have become habituated to their surroundings and seldom give you a glimpse into their normal behavior. Apart from that a safari experience is essentially relaxing, a chance to get out of the city, come to the bush and relax, watch the sun set and rise the next morning, listen to birds and animals. Not worry about anything other than, will you finally get to see that pride of lions today that were making so much noise last night. You see a safari is not a necessity to most people but a need that often gets our customers coming back for more and more.
Q2: Why Outlook Safaris? Whatís different about your product that would make me go with you?
A: We cater predominantly for smaller groups and focus our attention on personal and professional service. We will depart on any day of the week. We depart and end in Johannesburg which means you donít have to try arranging a shuttle down to the Kruger or trying getting a connecting flight to the area to start your safari. We will pick you up from your hotel on the morning of departure and drop you off again on our return. We donít send our clients off to the restaurants in the Kruger as we believe in adding that extra touch by preparing meals for our guests ourselves, under the stars.We find this to be a far better alternative as we can let you taste our traditional South African meals and weíll even throw in a bottle of South African wine, complimentary to you of course.Our guides are highly trained, experienced and passionate about their work and cannot wait to share their wealth of information to you.
Q3: You say you start and end your safaris in Johannesburg!!! Is it not a dangerous city to stay in?
A: Like almost every other city in the world, Johannesburg has its areas where you should not go and its areas where you are perfectly safe to walk around. If you would like, you can stay at Outlook Lodge which is in a good area or we can recommend a hotel close to the airport where you will be fine for the evening before your safari starts and when it ends on our return. Donít be paranoid about staying in Johannesburg it is honestly not as bad as people make it out to be. Hey we live here in Johannesburg and to tell you the truth, we love it here!
Q4: You talk of "game" all the time, what does this word mean exactly in the context of a safari?
A: When Africans talk of ďgameĒ in the context of a safari or tour we are talking about wild animals in general. For example a game drive refers to a drive in a vehicle searching for wild animals. Where does this word come from? Who knows!
Q5: Are mosquitoes a problem in the Kruger National Park and can I get malaria?
A: Malaria is not a major concern when on safari.Most people are genuinely surprised at how few mosquitoes are around, even in the middle of our rainy season in December. The Kruger does fall within a malaria area and therefore malaria can be contracted in the park, this is however a rare occurrence and clients really do not need to be worried about malaria when coming on safari with us, just use an insect repellant and follow the advice of your doctor.
Q6: Should I bring malaria prophylaxis and spray for the safari?
A: Our recommendation is that you consult your local GP for prophylaxis regarding the Kruger Park, mosquito sprays can be bought in the park so it is not essential to bring along your own, save space in your luggage for other more important items.
Q7: Weíre going on safari into the bush, can I get hold of personal items, drinks etc. whilst on safari?
A: Yes, the Kruger Park is extremely efficient and well run and all major camps have shops where essential items and even gifts, books and videos can be purchased. Some of the more remote camps do not have shops but your guide will stop at a major camp during the course of your safari enabling you to purchase essential items.
Q8: Your safari does not include lunches; can we buy our own lunches in the Kruger?
A: Yes, along with shops, all major camps have restaurants where lunch can be bought; this may range from a full meal to a toasted sandwich.
Q9: What type of clothing do I need to bring with?
A: Most of the safari is spent driving around in our vehicles so clothing is not a big issue with regards to colors, styles etc. We recommend short pants and shirts during the day with sandals. Winter can get chilly and we do include a sunset drive on our safaris so it is important to bring long pants and a jacket with. We do encourage guests to go on walks, in such cases walking boots, hats and neutral (khaki) colored clothing is essential.
Q10: In your itinerary you mention you include a night drive, what is this exactly?
A: Night drives are undertaken by guides working for the Kruger National Park. You go out with the guides in the evening in an open vehicle searching for nocturnal animals such as hyena, hippo, leopard etc. The drive usually lasts about 3 hours. You are able to see the animals because they take powerful spotlights, which are bright enough for you to even take photos.
Q11: What type of camera equipment is necessary?
A: Tough question, we recommend a digital or SLR camera, something with a decent zoom. Most people are truly amazed at how close we get to animals in the Kruger so your standard point and shoot camera will work but if you want those real close-up shots with high detail then something more substantial is necessary. Ideally a wide-angle lens of about 28mm and a zoom lens of 70-300mm will be more than enough.
Q12: Everyone talks of Africaís Big 5, what is this exactly?
A: The Big 5 is actually a hunting term, used to describe Africaís 5 most dangerous animals to hunt on foot in the bush. These animals are lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino. Photographic safari companies have adopted the phrase to include in their marketing strategies, as it is a huge draw-card for visitors visiting our country and its national parks.
Q13: Will we see the Big 5 on a safari with Outlook Safaris?
A: It is very possible but never guaranteed. It must be remembered that we are visiting a wildlife park spanning20 000 square kilometers andthe size of the country of Israel and itís not a zoo. We are usually lucky enough to find most of the species that people wish to see on safari. Winter (May Ė August) is generally better to see wild animals and we are more successful during this time of the year, however donít think we wonít see animals in the summer. The Kruger is famous for its huge diversity of animals and the only guarantee we can give you is that you wonít be disappointed in the experience.
Q14: Are children allowed on your safaris and what do they pay for a safari?
A: We do accept children, of all ages in fact, however as children have different needs we generally do not mix families with children with other paying clients and they usually travel alone with their guide which does mean they have to book a private drive. We often get families on our safaris, the kids have a great time and our guides also enjoy their enthusiasm. Children under 12 years will receive a 50% discount on the price of a safari.
Q15: How do we pay for a safari and what forms of payment do you accept?
A: Our payment structure is quite simple, really. You e-mail, fax or call us, telling us when you want to go on safari as we do depart on any day that is convenient for you, as long as there are 2 or more people. We will then invoice you for a deposit of 50% to secure and guarantee your booking. We then only require the outstanding amount 50 days before departure. If you cancel during this time we have a cancellation policy that we will forward to you before you make any payments to us. We accept money transfers or wires, Visa, MasterCard and also American Express. We do not accept cash on the day of departure, sorry, itís too much of a risk for us, what if you decide not to come!! And donít tell us!!! Donít laugh it has happened.
Q16: What guarantees do I have that you will arrive on the day of departure?
A: Unfortunately this is an area where some people in the past (not with us, of course) had unpleasant experiences. The best we can do from our side is to send letters of confirmation and let clients know which associations we are registered with to confirm our legal status as bona fide tour operators in South Africa. These associations are partly there assist international travelers to protect themselves by only using reputable operators of good standing. Outlook Safaris is a member of SATSA (Southern African Tourism Services Association), we are corporate members of FGASA (Field Guides Association of South Africa), and members of Skal. These associations will not allow you membership unless you can prove that you are fully compliant with the laws governing tourism in South Africa. So if you are shopping around for the best priced safari, ask the operator if they are members of any of these or other associations. Having said that, it is not a legal requirement to be a member of any organization or association and it does not mean that if a company is not registered then they are illegal; it just gives us credibility and hopefully gives you a bit more peace of mind. Donít worry!! I promise you weíll be there :-) The fact that we even raise this issue must give us some credibility.
Q17: What interesting encounters have you and your guests had on safari with regards to wild animals?
A: Aaah, now that is something that is reserved for late nights under the stars, beside a crackling fire, sipping a glass of South African Cabernet whilst listening to the roar of a lion not far off in the bush. We have travelled Africa far and wide and have these stories but keep them for our VIP clients whilst on safari, in other words, you.