Planning your trip
This trip planner has been created to help prepare you for your upcoming adventure. We have tried to anticipate questions you might have concerning what to bring, health concerns, weather, etc. If any of your questions remain unanswered, please don’t hesitate to call.
What To Bring
The climate is hot and dry, and the water in the Zambezi River is relatively warm, so for the most part, you will live in shorts and a t-shirt. For sun protection and to help keep you cool while on the river, we recommend a long sleeve button down shirt made of a light colored, light and quick-drying fabric. September and October are the dry months so there should be very few mosquitoes to worry about. There are certain dining rooms in Victoria Falls that require “smarter” attire – for men, long pants and a button down shirt, and a dress for women.
• Safari clothing: cotton button down shirt, Khaki trousers & shorts – the best colors are those that blend in with the Bush, don’t scare away the animals
• T-shirts, white or earth colors
• Comfortable walking shoes or boots
• “Smart Casual” attire for Hotels
• Sweater or fleece for cool mornings
• Comfortable clothing for camp
• Long sleeve quick-dry shirt
• Quick-dry shorts
• River sandals (Tevas, Chacos or similar)
• A carabineer
• Waterproof sunscreen
• Sunglasses & straps
• Insect repellent
• Toiletry kit
• Wide brimmed hat, strap
• Flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries
• Camera, extra memory, batteries
• H20 bottle, cup, Iodine crystals
• Toiletry kit
• Small 20 liter dry bag for stuff, Zip lock Bags.
Tents are provided but optional. It is usually hot and stargazing is great under the Southern Cross! Most people just sleep out on a ground cloth. However, a tent for privacy is provided.
• Power Bars or similar energy bars. (One per day)
• Gatorade powder packets to help mask the taste of iodine treated water (10 liters worth)
• A good book
• A journal and pens
• Cards, fun & games
• Music, or instruments
• Bird book
Additional things you might consider bringing:
If you like strong coffee, perhaps bring a pound of gourmet grounds. When you are in duty free, you might pick up your favourite bottle of spirit for the rafting trip. We provide reasonable amounts of wine and beer. Bring clothes that you are planning to discard and trade in for curios in Vic Falls. For example, trade old T-shirts for fine woodcarvings. Also, the fishing is quite good. A telescopic rod and reel with some spoon spinners and a steel leader will allow you to land some feisty Tiger Fish!
Essential Travel Documents
Your Passport – If you do not have a passport, apply for one immediately because the process can be lengthy. If you do have a passport, find it and check the expiration date. Make a photocopy of the photo page of your passport and carry it separately from your passport. If your passport is lost or stolen, a photocopy will help the local consulate speed up authorization for replacement.
Check your passport for blank pages. If you do not have a least two blank pages in your passport, we recommend that you apply to have additional pages added.
Please do not pack your passport in your check-in luggage. You may be asked for your papers not only upon departure but a various times during your trip.
Visas – Visa costs can often change at the last minute. It’s best to have adequate US cash on you in small denominations. You should also check the country’s embassy / consular website before leaving your country.
Entry requirements: A passport, return ticket, and adequate funds. Canadians and Americans are required to pay visa fees at point of entry.
Kaza Uni-Visa Important Notice
With effect December 2016 the Kaza Uni-Visa will be reinstated.
The Governments of the Republics of Zambia and Zimbabwe are pleased to announce the re-launch of the Kavango Zambezi Trans-Frontier Conservation Area (Kaza) Uni-Visa on 21st December 2016.
The Uni-Visa is only available at the following ports of entry:
The Uni-Visa will be issued at a standard fee of US$50. Guests must have US$50 cash available for payment in the event there are no credit card payment facilities at the port of entry.
Validity – the Kaza Uni-Visa will be valid for 30 days and act as a multiple entry visa as long as you remain in Zimbabwe and Zambia i.e. clients can cross into Zimbabwe/Zambia as frequently as they like within the 30 day period.
It also covers those who visit Botswana for day trips through the Kazangula Borders, however, it will not be valid if staying in Botswana overnight. In this case, you would need to purchase a new Visa.
Citizens from 40 countries listed below shall be eligible for the Kaza Uni-Visa obtainable at the eight (8) ports of entry as stated above.
Clients will be directed to the dedicated counter where the special visa shall be issued – the visa is for holiday purposes only and not for business purposes.If someone wants to enter Zambia or Zimbabwe whose Nationality is not listed above then normal (current) specific Zambia /Zimbabwe visa/entry requirements apply.
All current visa processes for both countries are still available and in operation however generally the Uni-Visa will be more cost effective & efficient for a tourists requirements.
For further details please do not hesitate in contacting us, or please visit www.kazavisa.info, e-mail Zambia Tourism Board: firstname.lastname@example.org or Zimbabwe Tourism Authority email@example.com
No Visa is required for US citizens – only a passport.
Travel and Evacuation Insurance
Travel insurance that includes medical emergency evacuation is mandatory in order for you to take part in this expedition. You must provide proof of purchase of evacuation insurance prior to the trip. You may call Travel Insurance Service at 800-937-1387 or visit their website at http://www.travelinsure.com/what/imedhigh.htm?32931.
Coverage for baggage loss, medical protection, trip cancellation, trip interruption is highly recommended. When selecting a policy please make sure you are very clear about what it will and will not cover. No travel insurance covers all scenarios. Proof of insurance will be required prior to your trip.
You will be flying in and out of Victoria Falls International Airport (VFA). The first day of the trip is an arrival day. The last day of the trip is your departure day. Be sure to email your entire flight itinerary and we will arrange an airport pick-up.
*There is an airport departure tax, payable in US dollars.
You should bring plenty of US dollars. Crisp, clean, new bills are best. Small bills come in handy for tipping hotel staff, taxis and buying small things off the street. ATMs are readily available and the easiest way to get cash.
Travelers Checks are not recommended, as they are difficult to cash. A money belt worn under your clothes is highly recommended.
We suggest you check with your family doctor at least 2 months before your trip to find out the latest requirements for shots when traveling to Africa. Recent information on required vaccinations can be obtained by calling the Centers for Disease Control international travelers hotline at 877-394-8747. You can access their website by directing your browser to http://www.cdc.gov/. You should particularly look into the following vaccinations:
• Hepatitis A or Immune Globulin (IG)
• Yellow fever
• As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria, measles, and a one-time dose of polio vaccine for adults.
Malaria is a serious disease that is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito. Symptoms may include fever and flu-like illness, including: chills, headache, muscle aches, and fatigue. Malaria may cause anemia and jaundice. Malaria, if not promptly treated, may cause kidney failure, coma, and death. Malaria can often be prevented by using anti-malarial drugs and by using personal protection measures to prevent mosquito bites. However, in spite of all protective measures, travelers may still develop malaria. Travelers who become ill with a fever or flu-like illness while traveling in a malaria risk area and up to one year after returning home should seek prompt medical attention and should tell the physician their travel history.
Malarone is the drug of choice for Malaria prevention as it has fewer reported side effects than other drugs and, according to various studies, is more effective.
In addition to using drugs to prevent malaria, travelers should protect themselves from mosquito bites by wearing clothing that covers most of the body, using bed nets, and applying insect repellent to exposed skin, particularly between dusk and dawn. The most effective repellents contain the active ingredient DEET. When using DEET, follow these precautions:
• Always use according to label directions.
• Use repellent only when outdoors and wash skin after coming indoors.
• Do not breathe or swallow repellent or get it in the eyes.
• Do not put repellent on wounds or broken skin.
• Adults should use DEET at a concentration of 30% to 35%.
• DEET should not come in contact with rubber elements for they will melt.
For greater protection, clothing can be soaked in or sprayed with permethrin. Permethrin will repel insects for several months. Repellents containing DEET, and Permethrin can be purchased in hardware, camping, and military surplus stores.
Although it takes a little extra caution when drinking fluids in Africa, it is essential to stay well hydrated. We advise that you not drink any of the tap water in most of Africa. Bottled water is fine to drink and can be ordered at most restaurants. When ordering sodas, it is best to request them without ice as the ice can be made from tap water.
If you are wary of getting sick, then play it safe and eat only cooked foods or fresh fruit that you have peeled yourself. The best hotels and restaurants have high standards for hygiene and food preparation. In general, stay cautious, eat what appeals to you and trust your senses.
Traveling to Africa is going to be a big change on your body. Despite the many precautions we all take to stay healthy, occasionally one may experience diarrhea. The major problem associated with diarrhea is fluid loss leading to severe dehydration, so it is important to maintain plentiful fluid intake. Avoid caffeine and alcohol because they further dehydrate you. The best drinks are weak tea, mineral water, and caffeine-free soft drinks. Although ideally it is best to let diarrhea run its course, on a paddling trip this is uncomfortable. You may want to bring an over-the-counter medication to minimize your discomfort or talk to your doctor about prescribing an antibiotic for traveler’s diarrhea such as Cipro. We also advise that you carry your own supply of toilet paper, as some of the restrooms in Africa may not have TP.
If you take prescription medications that you need to bring, be sure to have a plentiful supply and the doctor’s prescription in case something happens to them. Along those lines, it is best to carry medications in your carry-on bag in case of lost luggage. If you wear prescription glasses or contacts, we advise that you bring a spare set.
Electrical current in Africa is 220 volts AC.
Although the locals are a warm, friendly, fun-loving people, poverty and therefore thievery, is a problem. Always keep your wits about you and be aware of your surroundings. When with other people, watch out for each other. Large crowds are prime locations for pick-pocketing to occur. Keep your money in a money belt or hidden pouch that you wear around your neck and under your shirt. When purchasing items, do not pull out lots of money. We advise that you leave all valuable jewelry, including fancy watches, at home. Thieves often work in pairs or groups – one tries to distract you (i.e.: by squirting food or paint on your clothing) and in your ensuing confusion, another one makes off with your belongings.
Our trips are designed for people who enjoy the out-of-doors, rather than for fitness fanatics. Still, they are active holidays. Age is unimportant when it comes to your ability to do the rafting, paddling, and hiking-the more important consideration is your physical condition. If you haven’t attempted the kind of exercise levels required by our trips within the last couple of years, please be aware of the sort of trip you are taking. It’s an active one, and you will enjoy it more if you have been doing some exercise before you go. Activities that involve aerobic conditioning, such as swimming, walking, jogging, squash, and tennis are great for overall physical conditioning.
No previous river experience is required. Your guides will give you an orientation to expedition practices and teach you all the basic skills that you will require to enjoy the different aspects of the trip. Our prime consideration is to provide you with a trip that is as safe and comfortable as possible while still maintaining the integrity of a wilderness experience.
On our trip, we will be travelling through environmentally sensitive areas. Our excursions are designed to promote an understanding of the delicate ecosystems that make this area unique, while preserving their fundamental integrity. We ask participants to share our concern for the environment by practicing low-impact touring in this sensitive area.
R.O.A.M. operates on a “leave-no-trace” policy, meaning we travel in a self-contained manner, carrying in what we require and carrying out all garbage and human waste. We believe the survival of the natural environment and the wildlife it supports depends on establishing an economy beyond simple resource harvesting. Our goal is to immerse our clients in Africa’s vast natural beauty, which, in turn, supports eco-tourism as a viable, economic choice.
The tipping of guides is entirely discretionary, and we feel strongly that gratuities should not be offered to them if they lead anything less than a great trip. However, we expect that our staff will do a great job in making your trip memorable and, when they do, it is not uncommon for our travellers to offer a gratuity. The staff very much appreciates it.
We are often asked what is appropriate. In general, we have found that when our travellers offer a gratuity, it is in the range of a “thank you” to 15% of the trip cost per person. But again, tipping is entirely at your discretion.
Please let us know if you are having a birthday or anniversary on the trip. We will also need to know of any medical or dietary requirements that you would like us to consider in planning your trip (i.e. if you are a vegetarian or vegan, or if you have any food allergies.). Please note this on the Guest Registration Form (be specific as to what your needs are) and return it to our office at least 60 days before your trip. If you are booking your trip less than 60 days before departure, please make sure you’ve discussed any special requests with our office.
Recommended Reading / Viewing
• Out of Africa, I. Dineson (or rent the video))
• River Gods, R. Bangs)
• The power of one, the movie.)
• Don’t lets go to the Dogs tonight – Alexander Fuller
• Just now = Pretty soon, or later
• Now now = Immediately, on the double!
• Make a Plan = I don’t quite know yet
• Kun-Jhani = Good morning
• Siya Bonga =