Frequently Asked Questions
Thanks for visiting our Frequently Asked Questions page. This page is here to assist you in finding the answers your looking for quickly. Jackson’s African Safaris fully prepare you for your safari experience. If you can’t find the answer to the question you have, please use the contact form to your right and we will be in touch with you shortly.
- Is it safe?
- For all Jackson's African Safaris guests, safety is our principal concern, whilst on any safari and activity. All activities are planned carefully ensuring your safety is considered. However, wild animals can be unpredictable and therefore any activity associated with them carries an element of risk. Walking in the bush, driving in wildlife areas and canoeing on rivers for example is a specialist exercise and guides are trained and licensed specifically for these activities. Firearms are carried as a precaution when walking. We remind visitors that the essence of every activity, on all safaris, in all places, is to provide a thrilling experience and never fear or discomfort.
We relate safety in Africa to that of driving your car, riding a motocycle, or flying a plane, the risk is a calculated one. In our opinion the risk is far out weighed by the thrill of being on safari in the African bush.
- How does your organization affect the local wildlife and indigenous cultures that we are to encounter on the Safari?
- Jackson's African Safaris chose as a company priority to support camps, lodges and operators that are actively seeking eco sensitive tourism with an emphasis on low impact travel. For example, during any of our walking safaris there is no need for vehicles. Our interaction with animals is intimate and our respect for them paramount. Never do we intend stressing an animal or negatively impacting on the environment.
Jackson's African Safaris makes every effort to practice a strong level of ethical decision making while making choices with clients. We are currently in the process of starting to work with STI (Sustainable Travel International) in the hope this parntership will help give us a stronger focus on what we feel is very necessary; a plan keep our wild places intact, and to be available for our future generations to enjoy.
We feel morally obligated to take responsibility for our actions that effect your decision making in regards to 'green' choices. We will make a commitment to educate you during your safari planning, so you understand how we are making decisions that make a difference - please feel free to ask us more... and please 'get involved'... your decisions can and do make a difference. The laws of supply and demand are real.
We are sensitive to the fact that the very nature of some safaris take little or no concern for people or places they make contact with. It is this concern and awareness that I wish to help positively influence in the safari industry by working with small and often family run companies/lodges where we can personally make our feelings and opinions known. In these circumstances you are not just a 'number' but a person who can take away knowledge and spread the good word in that we have the ability to control our impact on all aspects of the environment and the local people while conducting a tour. In large scale tours this is not easy as no ownership is instilled in the guides or employees (or at least rare).
An example: A guide has been asked to show the guests a leopard. Rules say in this park guides can't leave the road - The guide to make the guests happy and to ensure he gets a good tip drives off road to follow the leopard? What should the guide have done? What would YOU support? These are tough questions - We need to act sensibly if we are to visit these sensitive areas. What do you wish your great grand children to see? It is suggested you question your guides while on safari, for you as a guest can have a great influence on the long term effects of tourism in Africa.
By traveling we have already made a decision we are going to have an impact on the environment - So it is our goal to ensure the choices we make with you are as senstive as possible. We are happy to discuss this further with anyone should you have questions. We believe it is our moral obligation and personally important to us to see we do our part.
- Do you employ local staff?
- Jackson's African Safaris has formed over many years relationships with local operators, drivers, guides and companies - All are local and all familiar with their local environment.
You will have time to talk with members of our teams throughout your journey and get to know them and their way of life and their ways of seeing the world.
- How do I get to Africa?
- Africa as many of you will know is a BIG continent, with presently 53 independent countries in (or on the continent) of Africa.
With our clients traveling from so many different countries internationally, we have developed under our 'Information' tab above, an 'Airlines and Africa' page. This page contains tips and suggestions of what airlines and routings you may need to consider for your desired safari destination where we operate.
- A 25% deposit secures a booking.
Balance to be in our account 60 days prior to safari start date. A late payment can result in your accommodation getting released.
Custom designed tours require a 50% deposit.
On request of a booking an account # will be provided to make a direct deposit or wire transfer to our account - Most banks and trusts can perform this procedure. All trips are listed in US$. NB The US$ is the most widely accepted currency other than local currency within Africa.
Note all bank charges are the sole responsibility of the payee not Jackson's African Safaris & Vintage Destinations.
- Cancellation penalties
- 1. Any cancellation of a booking by a client or agent, must be in writing and shall only be effective upon its acknowledged receipt by the company. The date on which the company receives the correspondence or a company recognized agent, will determine the cancellation charge, if any.
2. Cancellation charges will be incurred as follows:
All cancellations must be made in writing to Jackson’s African Safaris & Vintage Destinations. Cancellation of your safari will result in the loss of your deposit. After 90 days, cancellation fees are as follows:
90-75 days 50% of tour total price
74-31 days 75% of tour total price
after 30 days 100% of total tour price – No refunds under any circumstances.
Trip cancellation insurance is recommended. There is no refund should you leave the safari early for any reason and no refund for any unused services.
Written cancellation required: Note – Special cancellation fees may apply for 3rd party bookings.
Please see our companies full 'Terms & Conditions' for more details.
- Tipping guides and staff
- Tipping is a very subjective and personal affair, but the standard scenario is to leave a tip for staff at a lodge or camp.
You might want to tip seperately a guide assigned to you whilst on safari, we suggest $10 per day, per person, for the combined staff tip. If you are on an escourted tour with just one guide you would normally divide this between the local places you are staying and your personal guide/tour leader. Again, your feelings are what count. If you are not happy - pay nothing - This is after all a tip to say you have done a good job.
Do ensure wherever you go that the tip DOES get shared with all staff who work behind the scences and not just the guide working with you personally, by depositing this into the 'staff' tip box. If you are tipping your guide, this should be given directly to your guide.
If your on an upmarket luxury safari, a 10US$ tip per day to your personal guide, from each person on your safari would be considered normal. And US$5.00 into the camp staff box. If your on a budget travel safari, these rules would change to about 5US$ and US$2.50. Again, this is all down to personal choice. Remember, most African safari guides are paid per day, what most people from the west consider an hourly wage. In Tanzania for example a guide is generally paid around 15USD for a days work. These guides make a living mainly from their tips. Please feel free to ask us about more detail on the ethics of wages for guides and what factors are at play. Knowing the facts is very important.
- Group sizes and age restrictions
- Jackson's African safaris design only custom safaris, designed for just you and your group. This does not make them more expensive than group safaris. Often they price less than a group safari as we get very good rates from our providers.
We now have some yearly set-departure feature safaris & tours lead by professional photographers and wildlife specialists that are open to booking by the general public.
There are some activities and some camps that do have age restrictions. This can be due to safety; eg walking in the bush is not suitable for those under 12 years of age. Gorilla treking is for those 15 years of age and older.
Some camps are adult only. We are very familiar with the needs of children and know well the family friendly camps. Designing a family friendly safari is easy, just as it's easy designing a tour for adult orientated camps with no children. This is our work - designing a tour that is right for you and your family/party. When in doubt, ask an expert!
- Waiver & release of liability
- The whole purpose of Jackson's African Safaris & Vintage Destinations designing your safari for you is to create a rewarding and memorable experience and not subject you to discomfort and danger.
However, we will require you to sign (or your parent/guardian if under 18) the Terms & Conditions to acknowledge acceptance of the terms set out. You will need to fill out separate forms for each accommodation you stay at during your safari and some specialist activities may also require the same. e.g. Bungy Jumping, Power boat rides etc. It is simply that we all need to acknowledge that wild animals can be dangerous and unpredictable. It is also that we need to acknowledge that people, especially if from a culture different than our own, and especially from one that is impoverished, can also be unpredictable, and that Jackson's African Safaris can not be held responsible for the behaviour or wild animals or other people.
Please read our Terms & Conditions page in detail on this website.
- What is included and excluded in my safari price?
- For each safari Jackson's African Safaris creates, the details of what is, and is not included, is listed on the itinerary. If ever in doubt, ask! We practice a 'zero surprise' policy where we wish to ensure you fully understand what will be extra if anything, as most safaris include everything except personal purchases. Our success is based on 'no suprises'. Feel free at anytime to check on these details as we design your tour.
People are mislead all the time by tour prices. e.g. In Kenya park fees daily from August 2011 onwards are between 60.00 and 80.00 US$ per person per day. If these park fees are to be paid by you directly on top of your tour price it makes a BIG difference. If something sounds to good to be true - it generally is. People often think they have found the same safari for alot less, to find out later while on safari there are just so many ways, that companies can cut costs down, to allow themselves to sell the safari at such a low price. Restricting the amount of fuel drivers can use, spending lots of time at curio stops during safaris, rather than quality time in the parks, are just the start of many cost saving strategies. One of the best questions to ask yourself on each itinerary you look at, is how much actual time do I actually have inside the park, excluding travel into and out of the area? Sadly, it often just comes down to a few hours for many safaris. The safari industry is cut-throat when it comes to business. And as we just said, two safaris that look the same at two varying prices are not likely to be the same - actually impossible. This is when the cheaper safari becomes a 'surprise'...
Jackson's African Safaris wants you to know without doubt, that we will take every care to educate you through the design process in how everything is priced so you understand what your paying for, what your getting and knowing in detail, if anything is extra. Transparency, integrity, trust.
- Health & fitness
- Jackson's African Safaris plan custom tours to suite the abilities, needs and desires of all members of your group. Generally groups are made up of 'you' and 'your family/friends', so it is easy for us to ensure we have everyones needs met in the safari 'design' process. On a group departure where you don't know your group members, it's important you know what you have signed up for, in regards to your level of health and fitness. Our consultants will be asking lots of questions, to ensure you have made the very best choices possible for yourself.
Malaria prophylactics are encouraged, as is any personal medication that one could require once on safari. Personal medical insurance is essential. Visiting your travel doctor is one of our first instructions to you upon booking your safari.
We do offer tours for those with special needs. When required vehicles and accomodations are chosen that have wheelchair access and have all the needs required for a successful safari for someone with a physical challenge. Please ask us for more details, as we operate gameviewing vehicles designed for wheelchairs and other special options for kidney dialysis, oxygen users and for the hard of hearing and loss of sight.
We work closely with you during your preperation period, so you are fully prepared for your safari upon departure.
- What to bring?
- A detailed suggested packing list will be sent upon booking. The atmosphere in all places we stay is informal, so casual neutral coloured clothing is both practical and acceptable. Depending on which destinations you have chosen the months of September to December generally require cool clothing, with long, loose clothing for evenings. From May to August it can be quite cool at night and in the early mornings, so warmer clothing is advised. But again - we will advise you based on your tour what you need to bring and be aware of.
We advise that guests bring a good pair of lightweight walking shoes for the walking safaris and for around camps where the African 'bush' can certainly be dropping it's thorns and spikes on the footpaths you walk upon. At night is it advisable to wear full cover shoes.
A good pair of binoculars and an adequate supply of film/memory cards/batteries are also recommended for those with cameras. On all days except some walking Safaris, electricity is generally provided via generator or mains. Different African countries utilize different socket types. Please ensure you have the correct ones for the coutries you will be visiting.
Upon booking and at about 60 days before departure we send you a complete packing list.