Destination Tips

Back To Africa: Two Months And Counting, Preparation Begins (Travel Tips)


Is there anything better than to be longing for something, when you know it is within reach? ~ Greta Garbo

There’s nothing better than looking forward to a new trip and I am thrilled to announce that I will be returning to Africa in June. Woot!

I’ve been wanting to get back since the moment I left, and last week I took a deep breath and pulled the trigger.

I’ll be traveling again with the Wild Eye team, this time in the Timbavati game reserve in South Africa, and then the Amboseli National Park in Kenya.

I had such a great time and learned so much about wildlife photography last September when Wild Eye hosted me for their Great Migration Photographic Safari, that I wanted another “session”,  so to speak, before I went elsewhere. The timing and price were right so I signed up, this time on my own.

To say that I am wildly excited is a huge understatement.

Next begins the preparation process while working and keeping my giddiness at bay before my head explodes from anticipation. Focus Susan. Focus!

First up:

Travel Insurance: I never go on trips like this without travel insurance. I cannot stress how important it is. Even if I didn’t care about being reimbursed for my travel expenses – which I do because I’m not independently wealthy – I would never go on safari and not have medical/evacuation coverage. It would be the definition of bad news to get sick or injured in the bush and not be able to get to a city with appropriate medical care.

There are many companies that offer travel insurance, and if you’re traveling soon and need a little help figuring out which plan to purchase, check out this article from Condé Nast Traveler. You can also compare various plans and read reviews of providers at Insure My Trip.

I’ll need to get a visa: I won’t need a visa for South Africa, since my stay is under 90 days, but I will need one for Kenya. Since it takes time to process, it’s one of the first things that I am going to tackle. I could wait until I arrived in Nairobi, but I hate waiting in lines after a zillion hours in the air, and I know that I’ll just want to go straight to my hotel. It’s not difficult but it requires a little effort so I want to start early so that I am not rushed.

Steps for getting a Kenyan visa:

  1. First I’ll have to fill out the appropriate paperwork online then print it out and sign it.
  2. I’ll need to provide a letter from the Wild Eye team confirming my itinerary. (Got that yesterday – check!)
  3. I’ll have to include a $50 cashiers check which means a quick trip to the bank
  4. I’ll need to send them my passport. (btw: If your passport has a while before it expires but your pages are almost used up, you can have more pages added for a  fee. It’s a bit of a pain – it took two weeks for me to get it back, so make sure to plan accordingly.)
  5. Get two passport photos taken – thankfully there’s a Fedex/Kinkos down the block that can take the picture and print the copies out in about 15 minutes.
  6. Put it all together and mail with a paid, self-addressed return envelope – I highly recommend some form of shipping that you can track (I use Fedex) – and voilà, I should get my passport back, with visa, about two weeks after I mail it in.

There’s a lot more to do: Think about what lenses to bring; read up on Timbavati and Amboseli; get my gear in order, and so on… I’ll post more about it as I move through the process.

Any wonderful travel tips you’d like to impart for my trip? I’m all ears!




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10 replies »

  1. Ah, lucky you, looking fwd to your thoughts when you come back! Enjoy this rich experience. I’m in love with south aFrica dn would like to visit more of the African continent. I have complied some stories so far at placed them here but i am very grateful for such tips. Another one from me: hope you have a good zoom for your camera – always useful in the wild. Safe travels!

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