Before You Go

You've chosen your adventure; you've booked it... What next?

Being prepared before you go travelling is important as it will ensure you have the right information. Acacia Africa provides all the pre-travel advice necessary for the preparation of your overland tour; from what to pack to how to carry your money. We've put together a check-list below of the things to consider before you set off on your adventure.

Remember, the earlier you think about preparing, the better. For example, visas and vaccinations may take up to 6 weeks to arrange.

Our detailed tour dossiers include a full itinerary, background information and optional activity costs. These can be downloaded, or are provided when your booking is confirmed.

Visa and Embassy Advice

General Advice

Make sure you know what visas you need and how to get them before you travel. Visa requirements vary with nationality and change frequently, often with little or no notice. You should enquire well in advance of your departure date with the appropriate embassy, consulate or visa authority about your destination's visa requirements. At least one month prior to travel seek confirmation from embassies or a visa specialist, that these requirements are still current.

For UK citizens, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) offers free up-to-date travel info: www.fco.gov.uk For other nationalities, there is travel advice on their own government websites. If your own government advises not to travel to the country you are planning to visit for any reason, check with you insurance company, as some policies may not be valid.

Travel Documents

Visas

Each nationality has different visa requirements and it is your responsibility to ensure that you have a valid visa. We will assist in any questions or queries that you may have and will also provide any documentation you may require to show proof of travel.

Some visas can be obtained on arrival and you need to ensure that you have US$ cash to pay for these. Other visas may only be obtained at an embassy or consulate prior to travel.

Some noteable examples are Malawi, Botswana and Nambia. Visas for these countries must be obtained prior to travel if a visa is required.

Please contact your agent or Acacia directly and please bear in mind that visa rules and regulations do change with little or no notice.

Passports

Please ensure that you pass on your passport information to Acacia prior to departure. Most countries in Africa require you to have at least 6 months validity past the date that you intend to return home.

You also need to ensure that you have one full clear page for each country that you are visiting and a double page spread for South Africa (two clear pages next to each other). Failure to adhere to these regulations may result in delays or refused entry at border posts.

Many contries in Africa do NOT recognise dual nationality / dual citizenship. As such you need to travel on an individual passport for the duration of your tour in Africa. It is not practical to leave one country on one passport and then enter the next on another passport.

If you are unsure regarding anything please contact your agent or Acacia

Travel Insurance

All Acacia tours requrie travel insurance and we do ask for a copy of your travel insurance policy to be shown to your tour leader prior to departure.

Acacia have teamed up with World Nomads Travel Insurance. Wherever you are in the world you can book your travel insurance online and have your documents emailed through to you.

Please dont forget to bring your documents with you as your tour leader will need to see them.

Travel & Accommodation Vouchers

After you have paid your final balance we will issue you, or your agent a travel voucher. You need to produce this at the start of your tour.

Your travel voucher serves as ticket for your tour and constitutes proof of payment for the tour. It will also contain other important information including any local payment information, local contact information and departure time.

If you have booked any additional services - transfers, pre or post tour accommodation - a voucher will be issued for each of these services.

Please ensure that you receive the Acacia issued vouchers from your travel agent and if you have any questions or queries please don't hesitate in getting in contact.

Money

Travellers Cheques

Travellers Cheques do give you the added benifit of more security than Cash. However they can be time consuming to change and can incur substantial fees.

If you are planning on carrying Travellers Cheques to pay your local payment with, please note that you will still need to cash the travellers cheques and convert them into Local Currency before purchasing US$ Cash - if you do this you will get stung twice with exchange rates and commissions.

Credit / Debit Cards and Forex Cash Cards

Most people choose to travel with a Credit or Debit card but this should not be relied upon.

VISA is the most widely accepted card and is recommended. Mastercard and American Express are accepted only in selected locations.

Some providers charge high fees for using credit and debit cards.

It is now possible to obtain Forex Cash Cards from Travelex as an alternative to your usual Debit or Credit Card.

Please note that all ATM's will ONLY dispense cash in local currency. You will only be able to draw US$ cash from ATM's in Zimbabwe.

Most activities are not payable by credit card, and where these are accepted there is a mostly a hefty surcharge.

Cash

Bring the majority of your spending money in cash in USD, Sterling or Euros. Generally US dollars are the easiest to exchange. If your tour remains within Southern Africa - South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Swaziland, Lesotho, and Mozambique - you may like to bring all your spending money in South African Rand and you can change the money before you leave your own country.

If you carry US dollar bills in East Africa please ensure they are clean, un-torn and post-2005. Anything else will incur a poor exchange rate or be refused. Your guide can advise you where it is best to change money into the local currency on your tour and how much you are likely to require. Some tours may require you to have money already changed after arrival in the airport. Please check your tour dossier.

Travel Health and Safety

Travel Clothing and Equipment - Nomad Travel Store

Travel Clothing & Equipment
Nomad have been kitting out travellers since 1990. Our ethos is the same today as it was then ? to ensure every traveller leaves with the correct clothing, equipment and medical supplies for their trip. Whether this is your first trip away or you simply want to update or replace your clothing or equipment, the Nomad staff will endeavour to supply you with the perfect item. Nomad also offer a free kit out consultation service simply book an appointment at your nearest Nomad store and clinic. It will save you both time and money in the long run! www.nomadtravel.co.uk. Tel: 0845 310 4470


Vaccinations
By allowing 6-8 weeks for your vaccination programme, you have time to fit in full courses of vaccines where required which provides you with the best possible protection against certain vaccine preventable diseases. If you don't have time to complete courses before you go, you risk travelling with little or even no protection against sometimes high risk diseases. All Nomad nurses are fully trained in travel health and use up to the minute information to ensure you are fully protected.

First Aid & Medication

All Acacia Overland vehicles are equipped with a first aid 'Trauma Kit'. This is intended for use in an emergency and contains the necessary items to administer first aid.

The kits do NOT contain any personal medication such as painkillers, anti-histimine etc and you should bring a small personal medical kit.

Antiseptic ointment or spray (spray is better), cotton wool, sterile dressings, crepe bandage, band aids, scissors, tweezers, tape, antibiotic powder, painkillers, lip salve, sun block, insect repellent, water purification tablets, hypodermic needles and syringes, anti-malaria tablets, anti-diarrhoea tablets, and a good supply of re-hydration powder sachets.

You may wish to consult your doctor or vaccination clinic as regards a broad spectrum antibiotic (for skin and/or bowel infection) as there are occasions when you cannot obtain these locally. Don't forget a supply of any prescription medicines you usually use (asthma etc).

Vaccinations

We strongly advise that you contact your local travel clinic or doctor well in advance of travelling as you may well need vaccinations prior to travel.

Some countries require a yellow fever vaccination certificate for entry. Failure to provide one may result in denied entry or the requirement to get the vaccination at the border.

Zambia and South Africa have recently (Aug 2011) updated their requirements. Please contact us for the most up to date information.

Malaria

Malaria is the most common serious ailment affecting both residents and visitors to many parts of Africa. Seek professional medical advice as to if you need them and which anti-malarial tablets are most suitable for you. The tablets will probably offer good protection but you must also remember to use a good mosquito spray to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Our tents have mosquito nets in the vents and it is not generally necessary to bring a separate mosquito net unless you plan to sleep outside 'under the stars' (in which case you are recommended to bring one).

What To Pack

Spectacles / Contact Lenses

Take a spare pair of spectacles and/or contact lenses if worn. Some people have trouble with contact lenses and dust and we therefore suggest you bring spectacles to avoid any possible problems. We also recommend that you take your spectacle prescription as it is possible to have lenses made in the larger cities should the need arise.

The majority of well known brands of contact lenses are available in South Africa at reasonable prices

Toiletries

Toilet bag, towel, small mirror, razors, shampoo, soap, wet wipes, toothbrush and paste, moisturiser, sun screen lotion, sanitary napkins. Most supplies can be replenished en route but not all western brands may be available.

Clothing - Overland Tours

You will be on the move quite a bit so we suggest that you pack lightly. The lockers we provide on the overland trucks are about 70 litres (H:330mm, L:700mm W:540mm) and this is the only space for storage so please keep your luggage to this size.
Please note that we recommend you pack for warm days and cool nights. Even in summer the evenings can cool down quite a lot.

Our overland tours require that you bring your own sleeping bag. We provide your tent and sleeping mat (tents have built in Mosquito nets.)

Gorilla trekking:
The terrain is quite difficult and we suggest you bring comfortable, rugged hiking boots. You may want to bring gaiters as well. The area can be muddy and slippery especially if you are trekking in the wet season. The items of clothing you wear for trekking may not come back in their original state so bring clothing you do not mind getting dirty/wet. Neutral colours will need to be worn for this trek.

Itemized list for overland tours:
Waterproof jacket/pants (if traveling in rainy season)
Sleeping bag/small pillow
Fleece/warm top
Small towel
Swim wear
Sun hat/sun block/sunglasses
Shirts long and short sleeve
Hiking/trekking pants
Hiking boots/sturdy walking shoes
Flip flops/thongs/Jandals/slops
Short/long pants
Smart outfit/dress
Underwear (girls include a sports bra)
Watch (alarm clock)
Water bottle
Pocketknife
Flashlight/head torch (bring extra batteries)
First aid kit
Toiletries (supplies for most things can be replenished enroute but Western brands may not be available)
Spectacles/contact lenses (there can be sometimes a lot of dust, if you wear contacts we suggest you bring glasses for these days on tour.)

Most people make the mistake of bringing too much! Clothing you bring should be easy to launder and hard wearing. There will be an opportunity to do washing at most campsites.
Acacia is working with a registered NPO in Cape Town called SAVE (South Africa Volunteer experience.) This organization helps assist, develop and uplift the local disadvantaged communities in and around Blouberg, Cape Town. Our office is located in this area and we are helping by donating any items left behind on our trucks. If you bring too much and want to make a donation please let your tour leader know.

General

Most general items can be carried and stored in your main bag, but a lockable day pack/bag is essential for those items required during the day. Try to keep your luggage to a minimum, and remember to keep to your airline's weight restriction (normally 20kg or less). Note some tours have luggage weight limits - check your tour dossier.

Your luggage will be dependent on the type of trip you are taking, but a holdall, a soft bag on wheels or a rucksack are ideal for adventure travel when luggage is carried in vehicles. As a rule, hard cases should only be used on centre based trips (ie. dive tours or city stays). Your tour dossier has advice on luggage type.