An African safari can be a truly magical experience, with the chance to see some of the most famous animals in the world in their native habitat.
But whilst the gorillas, lions and hippos can be enthralling, you need to make sure you take good care of the practicalities too.
Paying for the bulk of your trip whilst you are in the UK is highly advisable, but there will be some costs which you have no option but to pay for after you arrive.
We take a look at the sensible payment options and how you can manage your expenditure whilst on an African safari.
Part of the cost of an African safari is the daily food provided, plus camping equipment and local charges and road tolls.
This is not normally included in the cost which can be prepaid, and will normally need to be paid directly to the driver after your arrival. This won’t include the cost of bottled water or refreshments throughout the day so you will need to budget for this too.
The money paid to the driver is often known as a ‘local payment’ and this will normally need to be paid in cash. Local currency is the normal way to do this but US dollars, UK sterling and Euros are typically recognised too.
As part of a safari trip, you may stop off at certain towns along your route. This enables visitors to experience a different side of African culture as well as purchase souvenirs too.
Although it’s not guaranteed, many towns have an internet cafe which visitors can use too. Online payments systems can be a nice alternative.
This reduces the amount of cash you need to carry, which is a very significant advantage.
Taking credit cards
You will be able to use credit cards at a number of destinations along the route, and this is a particularly secure way of paying for goods.
Credit cards often offer protection for items which get stolen, and if the card itself gets lost, you can quickly and easily stop the thief from being able to use it.
Most safari organisers suggest that travellers carry two separate cards just in case something happens to one of them.
A common problem which can arise is a stop being placed on the use of the card. This is an anti-fraud measure which bank and card issuers often use if they spot that a credit card is suddenly being used in an exotic location. To prevent this happening to you, give your card issuer a ring before you leave and let them know you are going on a safari. This should virtually eliminate the possibility that your card will be stopped.
You will find various ATMs in Africa and you will be able to use your card to withdraw money, preventing you from having to carry too much at the beginning. But remember you will receive your cash in local currency and there are likely to be hefty charges for cash advances plus the exchange rate used is normally particularly poor.
Travellers cheques remain a good way to carry money whilst you are travelling on Safari in Africa, combining the convenience of cash and the security of credit cards.
Travellers cheques – sound as a dollar
Don’t forget to also take the receipt that you were given when you purchased the travellers cheques; many places will ask to see this before accepting them. For this reason, always carry your receipt separately to your travellers cheque to make sure if they are stolen they won’t be useable, even before you have a chance to cancel them.
An African safari can offer you the holiday of a lifetime but you won’t want those memories marred by the hassle of losing all of your money. Take advantage of using internet payments when you can and carry the minimum cash possible so that if the worst does happen, you won’t be left out of pocket.