Basic safari questions

Aug 28th, 2019, 09:13 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 284
Basic safari questions

We leave next week for our trip to Vic Falls, Botswana and the Cape. A good friend has recently returned from Africa-trekking to see the gorillas with brief stop in Zimbabwe. He had money stolen from his room. How does one best secure valuables and passports etc.? It is impossible to travel without a significant amount of cash given that the ATM's (Zimbabwe in particular) run out of or do not have cash. I do not like the idea of carrying everything with us on game drives and boat trips. What do the rest of you do?

Another basic question: bathroom stops on game drives....what provisions are made for those?

pirouette is offline  
Aug 28th, 2019, 02:35 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,096
My passport is on my body 100% of the time. A money belt is your friend for this. Anything can happen when traveling and not having it could prove problematic. (From needing it as a proof of ID in a shop to having it on your dead body if you’re kidnapped and left for dead in a ditch...hey, it happens!). I would never, ever leave the passport in a hotel room, not even a five star in the safest place in the world.

I’ve left my Kindle, iPad and camera in my tent on safari, but in my locked luggage or day bag, not out in the open. I’ve never known anyone to have anything stolen, it’s actually not that common. I do tend to stay in very small tented camps though, not hotels or large lodges. Not sure if that makes a difference. As you can imagine, reports of theft at a small camp could really ruin it.

Just how much money is a significant? For safari you really only need cash for tips and small expenditures, which shouldn’t be a lot, certainly not in the thousands, maybe the low hundreds (US$). I exchange US cash to local currency and carry that with me out to where the camps are. If I were spending time in a city with an ATM I’d just take it out of the ATM as needed, but generally I’m only in a city for an overnight before I head out to safari. That money stays with me also, never left in a tent or lodge room. Again, either in my camera bag that is always with me while out on a game drive or in my money belt.

For bio breaks on game drives, the guides have to go too so usually everyone gets out and take turns going. If you need to go at other times, you can just ask to stop. From there you either go behind the vehicle or the guides will find you a nice thick bush to go behind (checking it at first for predators, snakes, etc.) and you go there. If you think you’ll need it, bring the almost-finished ends of your toilet paper at home (or buy travel sizes) and a paper bag to toss it in when you’re done. And learn to check wind direction! ;-)
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