Saturday, December 6, 2008

Departure checklist


Flight arrangements

Make your flights ASAP. You can usually pick a seat 90 days from departure. This is done on-line and can insure an aisle or window.



Get one right away. If you have one already it needs to be valid for at least six months after your trip. Always, always, always keep it on your person.



Your visa is included in your safari and will be taken care of ahead of time. When you get to the Kilimanjaro airport, you will be greeted with VIP service and speedy customs.



You will need to contact the Center for Disease Control (CDC). In Maine, it’s in Augusta. Their contact info is:

Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention
286 Water Street
State House Station 11
Augusta, ME 04333-0011

General Information / Receptionist: 287-8016


Once you make an appointment I recommend asking about:

Hepatitis A and B

Yellow Fever (personally, it’s a must have)

Boosters for tetanus-diphtheria, and measles


Many travelers only get the Yellow Fever, it’s between you and your doctor.

You should also get a complete physical examination as well as see your dentist for a check up if you haven’t recently. When you see your personal physician, you might want to ask for a prescription of Cipro, (for stomach)

a prescription for a painkiller, in case something happens when we are far away from the nearest medical facility AND Malaria pills (another must). The CDC will probably take care of the Malaria script. You’ll need to ask about the different types of meds for Malaria. The side effects vary.




Travel Insurance

Please get some! This is an added expense but well worth it. I would NEVER spend as much as you are and not have it. There are many policies out there. Some include emergency evacuation, luggage allowances, and complete reimbursement to you in case of family emergencies of hardship if, in the end, you can’t make it on the trip. is a good place to start.


Medical Insurance  

You should definitely look into whether or not you are covered while abroad.

If you are not covered, you may want to look into getting some insurance. There is an organization, Flying Doctors’ Society of Africa,

that covers you for evacuation to Nairobi. Membership is around $50. If you are the really cautious type, this might be an option you can look into. Unique Safaris stopped providing this service as it was used only twice in eighteen years and nowadays the air evacuation is very good and Nairobi feels closer than ever.



Tanzania uses the Tanzanian shilling. However, the American dollar is welcome everywhere except the most remote village. Exchanging money is not necessary unless we are advised to do so by our guides. We can change a small amount of money at the lodges before heading to remote bush villages.

It’s a good idea to carry at least fifty, one-dollar bills for tipping. Credit cards are accepted at the lodge gift stores and the Cultural Heritage Center (large shopping spree at the end.) You should also carry enough money to settle your bar bill and laundry tab in camp. Alcoholic drinks are similar in price as in the US. Laundry is around $5-$7 a day if you have things washed everyday. Do not bring bills larger than $20. And make sure the money you have is not marked or torn. Always, always, always, keep all of your money and credit cards on your person. Bottom line? I suggest bringing $350-$500 cash to cover all tips, laundry and bar tabs that aren’t at lodges. This will also provide you with enough cash to purchase souvenirs in remote areas. Again, credit cards can be used at lodges.