18 Apr What You Need to Know About Insurance, Visas & Vaccinations for Your Safari Holiday
Once you have planned your perfect safari holiday, it is time to get some formalities in order for your trip.
Before you start packing your bags you need to make sure you have all of your ducks in a row for fiscal, international, and medical security.
Insurance, visas, vaccinations are all very important when organising a trip to Africa.
Travel insurance can sometimes be forgotten, but it is a big necessity. This protects your material possessions, money and most importantly your health and wellbeing.
You need to get the best insurance you can afford.
If you have any existing medical conditions or are planning any adventurous activities then travel insurance is essential. Although having your personal possessions covered in case of damage or theft is valuable, coverage for possible accidents or health concerns is paramount.
Medical care in Africa is not free and be quite costly if you need medical attention.
Your insurance cover should provide:
- Full medical coverage
- Emergency medical air evacuation
- Repatriation cover
- Baggage and money insurance
- Travel disruption and cancellation
Picking out travel insurance can be a little tricky, talk with several different agents and do your research.
Be careful when picking a policy and make sure that it will cover the activities in which you are planning to participate. Some insurance policies do not cover everything, so use a website like Travel Insurance Review to make sure you are getting the best coverage for your trip.
Passports and Visas
A rule of thumb is to make sure your passport is valid for a minimum of six months from the date you plan to leave Africa and ideally should have a few blank pages for visa stamps.
You can get many visas at the border of African countries, but check requirements with consulates and embassies for the most up to date information. Some prerequisites change quickly and without notice.
Here is a quick overview of the requirements you need for each country:
Most nationalities, including UK, USA, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand passport holders require a visa to enter Kenya. You can apply for a visa online at eCitizen.
Take note that the visa process can take up to 7 working days, so have this taken care at least a few weeks in advance if you plan to visit Kenya.
Similar to Kenya, most nationalities, including UK, USA, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and South African passport holders require a visa to enter Tanzania.
You can get a visa that is valid for 3 months on arrival or in advance from your local Tanzanian embassy..
Passport holders from the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand will be charged a visa fee at the border into Malawi. The cost is $50 for a 7 day transit visa and $75 for a 90 day single entry visa.
Please contact your local Malawian Embassy for further information.
Passport holders from most of the common nationalities, require a visa to enter Zambia which can be obtained upon arrival.
Again here most nationalities with passports will also require a visa to enter Zimbabwe which can be obtained upon arrival or in advance from an embassy.
The joint Zimbabwe/Zambia UNIVISA system allows you to enter both countries using this dual visa, which is valid for 30 days.
Most passport holders do not require a visa to visit Botswana for up to 30 days.
To visit Namibia for up to 90 days, most passport holders do not require a visa to visit.
Check the special requirements for parents travelling with children under the age of 18 with the South African High Commission or the South African Department of Home Affairs. Other than that, the common nationality passport holders do not require a visa to visit South Africa for up to 90 days.
Tourists can usually get a single-entry visa valid for 30 days on arrival but it is highly recommended that you obtain your visa prior to travel, as Mozambique visa regulations change frequently and without notice.
Most nationalities, including UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia do require a visa.
Most common nationalities require a visa to enter Uganda. If you are looking for multiple entries to Uganda, this requires a 6-month visa.
Most nationalities require a visa for Rwanda, including USA, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and South African passport holders. You need to apply online for your visa three days before arriving in Rwanda.
If you are travelling, we will advise you and give instructions on how to apply for the visa. Payment is made at the border.
Last, but certainly not least, is getting your vaccinations in order for your trip.
Ideally, you should have your itinerary lined up before getting your vaccinations. Depending on where you visit and what you do, you may need extra jabs or boosters for your health and safety.
Some things to consider:
- The time of year you are travelling
- To what country or countries you will be visiting
- Where you are staying (i.e. lodges, private house, bush camps, etc)
- How long you are staying
- Your general health and age
Here is a list of the common vaccinations you may need when visiting Africa. To work out exactly which inoculations you need, you should contact your general practitioner (GP), local health centre or check government recommendations.
- Hepatitis A is given as a series of 2 shots, 6 months apart.
- Hepatitis B is a generally given over 6 months but may also be given on an accelerated schedule over 21 days.
- Yellow Fever vaccination must be given at least 10 days before your arrival and you must have proof of vaccination (International Certificate of Vaccination) otherwise you will not be allowed to travel to and from some countries.
- Typhoid Fever is common and the Typhoid vaccine is the best protection against this infection.
- Polio vaccine or a polio booster is needed if you are travelling to Kenya, Nigeria. Check requirements for other countries in Africa in advance.
- Meningitis or meningococcal meningitis is a risk in some countries so the best protection is vaccination.
- Malaria is a common and universal threat in Africa. Ask your doctor to prescribe medications to prevent Malaria.
- Also, to avoid contracting other mosquito-related diseases make sure to use mosquito repellents and a mosquito net whenever possible.
The most important advice for getting vaccines is to never leave it until the last minute! As you see some of these are best when issued 6 months apart, but you need to notify your GP at least 8 weeks in advance when possible.
For specific health advice based on country or region, take a look at the following 3 websites:
- National Travel Health Network Centre (NaTHNaC)
- Centre of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- The NHS – Fit For Travel
We can’t stress enough that you need to get your vaccinations done well in advance of when you are due to travel. As soon as you know when, where, and for how long you will be visiting Africa you need to contact your GP.
Making sure you are healthy throughout the trip and healthy upon returning home is extremely important for a successful safari. Going to Africa will surely give you memories to last a lifetime, by taking the proper precautions when planning your trip, you will ensure those memories are nothing but good ones.
Over To You
Have you been on a safari holiday and have some more recommendations with regards to planning before you went abroad? Leave us a comment below!
Still deciding where to go, or need some help planning your adventure? Contact Migration Safaris for a free consultation and our friendly and helpful team will give you all the advice you’re looking for.
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