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Visa Information

Visas

Travellers of most nationalities need visas for some, if not all, of the African countries. Most of these can be obtained at the land borders when travelling through Africa, or alternatively at the airport when arriving. It is essential that you check the visa requirements for your nationality of each country before you arrive in Africa. You will find general visa information specific to each country in our destination guide, but visa requirements and costs change frequently so it’s always best to get up-to- date information before you travel. Our consultants can advise you and visa requirements are included in our pre-departure information. Most visas obtained whilst in Africa must be paid for in cash in US$, so you need to bring dollars with you from your home country.

Passports

All visitors to Africa must be in possession of a full passport which is valid for at least six months after the finish date of a trip. It should have plenty of empty pages, particularly if you are doing a longer trip as you will collect a bunch of visas and stamps. It is advisable to allow at least one blank page for each country you are visiting. If your passport is almost full you may find yourself unable to complete the tour. Getting a new passport in Africa is extremely difficult, so always keep your passport safe. You should also take photocopies of it with you and keep these separately from the passport. When travelling in Africa, do not keep any other paperwork, such as your vaccination certificate inside your passport. When crossing borders, only produce paperwork on demand. Do not offer it to the customs or immigration officials, or they may decide they want to see it from every member of your tour! When crossing borders your tour leader will often be able to take the passports for the whole group and do all the border crossing procedures on your behalf. At borders, listen to what the tour leader tells you, turn the stereo off, and remember that border officials do not take kindly to you entering the border post with no shirt or shoes on!

Travel insurance

It is essential that you have travel insurance obtained in your home country for any trip to Africa. You will not be permitted to join a tour without it and your tour leader will request contact details for the insurance company at the beginning of the tour. Your policy should cover you for personal accident, medical costs, and loss, damage to, or theft of personal belongings. Ideally the policy should include repatriation in the event of a medical emergency back to your home country. You should carefully consider a policy that specifically covers adventure travel if you plan on doing many of the optional adventure excursions. Most policies limit the value of personal baggage and belongings, so if you have expensive camera or video equipment, you may want to consider extra cover. Read your policy carefully. Travelling overland in Africa does not require you to look like you do at home. Leave behind your jewellery and the expensive watch, and don’t bring your best clothes – they will only get trashed!

Health & Other paperwork

You need to have an up-to-date vaccination card. It is essential that you consult your doctor or travel clinic a few weeks before coming to Africa for advice on what vaccinations you need for the countries you are travelling through. At some border crossings you will be asked to produce your vaccination card, and in some countries officials particularly want to see proof of a yellow fever vaccination. In some East African countries, when changing money, some banks or bureau de changes want to see the proof of purchase receipt for changing traveller's cheques. This is the piece of paper you are supposed to keep separate from your traveller's cheques in the event they get lost or stolen! Although you have to take both the traveller's cheques and the proof of purchase receipt to the bank at the same time, try to keep them separate somehow. All vehicles have safes on board, so lock away your air ticket for the duration of the tour, and only get it out if you are required to reconfirm your flight before you fly. Take photocopies of all your paperwork and keep these separately somewhere. Some travellers scan copies of their passport and other documents and send them to a personal email address that can be accessed in Africa.

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