|Stella Point with Mt. Mawenzi in the Background|
One of the most often asked questions by clients traveling to Africa is “will I need travel insurance?” The answer is always YES and we cannot stress the importance of obtaining adequate insurance prior to traveling. Why is travel insurance critical? For places such as Kilimanjaro, where altitude sickness is common, it is critical to have ample medical and repatriation coverage prior to departure. Further, if you are planning on traveling with an organized tour where deposits and prepayment are required, it is strongly recommended to purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance within 21 days of departure. Your visa requirements are easy to obtain but something you must not overlook. For traveling to Tanzania you will be required to obtain a visa from the local embassy by providing: an application, a valid passport, two photos, a self-addressed stamped envelope, visa fees, proof of travel, and a bank statement to prove sufficient funds. Additionally, should you make a stop into another country, such as Zambia, Uganda or Zimbabwe, be sure to check with their department of foreign affairs for the appropriate paperwork.
With Africa, inoculation requirements are higher than most parts of the world. For example, a Yellow Fever Certificate is a compulsory requirement for entry into Tanzania. Also, ensure your childhood vaccines (e.g. Tetanus/ Diphtheria) are up to date. Additional requirements for travel to Africa to climb Kilimanjaro or go on a Safari might include:
• Hepatitis A: recommended for Kilimanjaro and Safari
• Tetanus, Diphtheria: All travelers should have a booster dose within the last 10 years.
• Anti-Malarial drugs (e.g. Doxycycline or Chloroquine or Malarone): Any of these medications might be considered. In relation to altitude sickness, you may consider conversing with your doctor the approach to minimize the effects of altitude sickness. You may wish to discuss:
• Acetazolamide (Diamox) for prevention of altitude sickness
Please consult your physician prior to taking any of these medications and be sure you understand the appropriate dosages for each.
Prior to traveling to an international destination be sure to understand the local currency and the appropriate exchange rate. It is recommended that you exchange a small amount of funds prior to departure since airport rates do not offer the ideal exchange. Further, inquire about specific credit card use and whether large bills are accepted in your destination country. For example, the Tanzanian Shilling can be exchanged at any Bureaux de Exchange, rate of $1 USD = $1,303.00 TZS, with traveler’s checks and major credit cards being accepted. When traveling away from major city centers, such as to Mt. Kilimanjaro or a safari, we recommend carrying cash on hand since the use of credit or check is typically unavailable.
Finally, while these tips are general, and can apply across the board to any international destination, for seamless and safe travel I recommend checking, understanding and researching the area in which you will be exploring. Additionally, for any international adventure program I always request a copy of my clients passports, travel insurance, and drivers license to keep on hand in case of an emergency. Further, leave a list of you contact information whilst on the trip and where you will be throughout. Following these pre-trip suggestions will make your once in a lifetime climb or safari the perfect escape from your everyday life and provide a chance to immerse yourself into a new world.
5 Things To Do Before You Go
1 Obtain Travel Insurance at least 21 days out
2 Apply for appropriate visas
3 Get your inoculations early
4 Make copies of your passport and drivers license
5 Provide a list of your contact details throughout your adventure
Kevin Jackson is the owner of The Southern Terrain, an elite adventure training and guiding organization in San Diego, California. To learn more about their global adventures, or corporate development programs in San Diego, call (858) 309-2311 or e-mail at email@example.com