Wiring money , visa questions,yellow fever questions

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Apr 15th, 2004, 12:42 PM
  #1
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Wiring money , visa questions,yellow fever questions

Hi,
A couple of questions about my upcoming trip
I'm about to send my first deposit (25%) to my tour operator, Vintage Africa. There was no mention of credit card payment in the request for the deposit money, just banking transfer info to wire transfer money I assume. Is this normal?

Also, I have noticed on this site many people wait until arrival to get visas. We are going to Kenya, Tanzania, and Zanzibar. My operator suggested getting the visas here, but I need photos and must send my passports. Is it truly easy to do on arrival? It seems like it would be. Do I definitely not need pictures if I do it there?

Lastly, I'm guessing that I don't need the yellow fever shot. Info. is somewhat unclear, is it just suggested or must you have it and have proof.
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Apr 15th, 2004, 01:09 PM
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sandi
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It is not unusual when dealing direct with a tour operator in Africa that they want wire transfers, and if they haven't said anything about credit cards - then it's wire transfers.

As far as the Visas for both Kenya and Tanzania - if it's easy to do in the States, then do it, but many people don't want to send their Passports thru the mail - don't blame them. And yes, in both Nairobi on arrival you can get your Visa, as you can get your Visa if arriving at Kilimanjaro. Or when crossing the border between both at Namanga, you can get either Visa (current cost USD$50 each). I know that if obtaining the Visas stateside you have to include a photo with the application; have not seen any mention of the need for a photo if obtaining in-country (hey, they have your face on the Passport). Suggest you contact the embassies in Washington DC for clarification of photo requirement in this instance:

Kenya: www.kenyaembassy.com / 202-387-6101
Tanzania: www.tanzaniaembassy-us.org / 202-939-6125

As to the Yellow Fever - the cdc site isn't really all that clear; the gov't of Kenya says only if you're coming from a Yellow Fever country; the cdc says you should have it regardless. However, if you decide "not" to have it and are crossing the border at Namanga, one country or the other won't let you in without it (even if it appears that the border people aren't looking for the "yellow" booklet, they are - you don't want this to happen to you, putting a crimp into your holiday. Remember - this is another country and may be making up the rules as the situation suits them.

So I would strongly recommend you get the inoculation - sure it's expensive and not covered by insurance, but once you have it, it's good for 10-years. For the Yellow Fever, especially, check for a travel clinic affiliated with a teaching hospital, or a public health clinic in your area (the latter might be less expensive). At the same time you should discuss with the tropical desease specialist, the other inoculations recommended - Hep A, Tetanus (both also good for 10-years), and, of course, your Malaria meds.

Hope this helps.
 
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Apr 15th, 2004, 07:13 PM
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I would just throw this out for consideration: when we arrived in Nairobi, we had our visas already in hand. It was late (10 p.m. or so) and after traveling almost 24 hours, we were glad to just zip through customs and get to our hotel for some sleep. The vast majority of travelers, however, did not have their visas and opted to fill out the forms there at the airport. Well, while we were going through customs and getting our luggage, some people were still filling out the forms or now waiting on what was now a very, very long line to go through customs. If you send your passport in the mail via certified/registered mail and with insurance, there should be no problem. My philosophy is if you have weeks or even months to prepare, why not just get the visas over and done with???? One less thing to do have to do enroute! As Sandi said, a deposit is very normal as is wiring over the money and as for yellow fever vaccination, why not? Isn't it better to be safe than sorry?
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Apr 16th, 2004, 07:29 AM
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Thanks. I downloaded the forms from the embassy so I can fill them out ahead of time, but it is true, having acquired them before is one less worry, especially since I'm travelling with a 9 year old and as you said, arriving fairly late.

Any other suggestions from those who have done an East Africa safari on what to bring or do ahead of time to make the trip as smooth as possible?
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Apr 16th, 2004, 10:16 AM
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It's my understanding that Tanzania requires proof of Yellow Fever immunization for entry at any point.

But maybe I didn't read the fine print....
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Apr 16th, 2004, 10:24 AM
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Cronen: Forgive me, but I cannot recall your itinerary and who (aside from your child)else you are traveling with ... but one thing you might want to make sure you bring with you is a small plastic "zip-loc" type of bag with powder laundry detergent. This would be in case you are at an accommodation that does not include underwear in the items they will clean. At several of our stops in Kenya and Tanzania, we were told that everything BUT underwear would be washed. So we (my husband and I) ended up washing our underwear by hand. FYI.
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Apr 16th, 2004, 12:02 PM
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Great tip. I would have never thought of that, since everyone says don't bring a lot of clothes because you can get them washed and dried at almost all the lodges, I would have assumed underwear was included! That is the one thing I want clean!

Any more feedback on the yellowfever vaccination? I can't find a definitive policy anywhere, including the CDC. I know I should just do it to be safe, but I have read it can have side effects and I'm worried about my daughter.

I'm going with my husband, and 9 year old. We are crossing into Tanzania fin Namanga.
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Apr 16th, 2004, 01:48 PM
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If you're crossing at Namanga, then you most definitely need the Yellow Fever Inoculation. As far as your child, check with the pediatrician (for all required inoculations and malaria meds - child who is probably more current on various inoculations than the parents [or any adult] and if the pediatrician feels the child, for whatever reason shouldn't have a particular inoculation (Yellow Fever specifically)- contact both embassies and "speak" directly with someone about this and what alternative there is or what documentation you need as to "why no shot/s". Be sure to have the embassy/ies confirm the conversation/s by fax or email.

Any inoculations will have to be obtained at minimum 3 weeks prior travel. The Hep A will require 2 shots, the second between 6/mo. to 1-yr after the first. However, there is a new combination Hep A/B (believe called "twinix") just to be aware and for which I believe there is more than 1-shot. And, of course, the Tetanus. I had my shots on separate occasions, and had no reactions to any; my partner had all on the same day and but for a sensitive arm for a day or two, that was it.

Yes, it would be nice to have our "wares" laundered, but they don't do these; either do your own, or like me (I don' go on holiday to do laundry), bring enough for the entire trip. The lodge/camps will do laundry for a small fee each item, but since laundry is mostly line dried, be sure you turn over your items on a sunny day! Arrange for laundry only at a stop of two or more days.

If there are any further questions, know we're here to assist.
 
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Apr 17th, 2004, 07:47 AM
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Thanks Sandi, you are a wealth of information. I'm sure I'll have more questions as the June 25th approaches.
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Apr 17th, 2004, 09:04 AM
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Regarding yellow fever vaccination, I understand now that there is a rare, but extremely serious side effect of this vaccine -- multiple organ failure, which frequently leads to death. As I said, it is rare. On the other hand, yellow fever itself is about 30% fatal, if you get it. Not a clear cut choice.
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Apr 18th, 2004, 05:13 PM
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Visas - I got it at NBO, it took about 5 minutes. I still had to wait for my luggage before I could proceed, so maybe the few that had visas got through immigration, but they were still waiting with me for luggage.
$50 - no problems, no pictures, 5-15 minutes TOPS.

Yellow Fever - It's not that you need it in Kenya, but many countries will not let you in after they see the Kenyian visa in your passport without the cert, for up to a year after. In my case I had a stopover in Hong Kong on the way home, and without the cert, I would not have been allowed in. Hong Kong and many countries require the cert after you travel to "hot" zones. In Singapore they also looked at the cert, although I'm not sure if it is mandatory. US does not require it upon return.
To read more about it from a source, read this:
http://www.who.int/ith/countrylist01.html
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