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Your safety

Your safety

Your safety is our concern

The overwhelming majority of our travellers to Africa have truly amazing trips with very few issues. Take a look at more than 5,000 of our travellers’ reviews to understand what they have experienced, in their own words.

We work very hard to achieve this high quality of service. We travel to Africa regularly, inspecting and staying at camps and lodges that we book. We have usually stayed in the rooms and tents – and experienced the activities – before we recommend them to you. This personal experience is crucial: it enables us to help you decide what’s going to be right for you.

We retain industry-leading, dedicated travel health and safety consultants who work on our behalf, regularly monitoring the fundamental standards of the properties that we most frequently recommend to our travellers.

Crucially, we keep our ears to the ground, aided by excellent local contacts, to help us anticipate any changes or issues. We are helped in this by our passion for feedback, which we collect from our many travellers and share transparently with our website users.

Despite the best laid plans, however, very occasionally issues do crop up. We can plan your itinerary carefully around your needs and have some of the best people in the business to look after you, but we can’t predict everything. No trip is without its element of risk and Africa is no different. If you encounter any problem, then you can rest assured we’ll work hard to help you, working closely with our networks in Africa to help solve any issue for you as quickly as possible.

Urgent concerns are responded to swiftly and when you travel to Africa, you’ll have the personal contact details of our senior team members available 24/7/365, including our Managing Director.

In the extremely rare case of a medical emergency, we retain the services of a top Africa-based company that specialises in emergency medical situations. Their job is to step in to provide immediate medical care, including emergency evacuation by aircraft where necessary. Their specialist medical teams are empowered to expedite whatever measures are required, whilst liaising with your own medical insurers. In such a rare eventuality, this essential backup provides real peace of mind.

Wild environments

In taking a trip to Africa, you acknowledge that it involves risk. Many of our trips spend time in wild, uncontrolled environments. Wild animals present threats, plants and insects can pose risks to your safety, and things may even drop out of apparently harmless trees – so please don’t touch any of them, however innocuous they may seem. While all of these risks are your responsibility, you can minimise them by following the advice of your hosts and guides.

Most of our camps in Africa are unfenced. Dangerous, large animals will often come into camp, moving around in between the various pathways, rooms and buildings. Always remain vigilant and don’t hesitate to request a guide to escort you when walking around your camp. Most camps insist on guests being escorted at night and you should never venture out of your tent after dark without being accompanied by a member of staff.

Most safari lodges and camps will give you a safety and orientation briefing when you arrive. Be prepared to listen carefully and take heed of such briefings – if you can’t do that then we’d advise you against travelling to Africa.

Many will also require you to sign a record of the briefings that you have been given and some will also include a personal indemnity. That said, the contract for your holiday is between you and Expert Africa, so nothing you sign in Africa can absolve any camp or lodge from its responsibilities.

Children & infants

We arrange many Africa trips for families with children, and they can be hugely rewarding, life-affirming experiences. Multi-generations trips, where an extended family might fill a small safari camp for a truly private experience, can be particularly magical. But whatever the size of your family, we’ll always guide you to make the best choices possible – and help you to select camps which will welcome your family warmly.

Of course children, especially younger ones, can act unpredictably and many won’t fully understand the risks that they’re taking in an unfamiliar environment. Hence interactions with animals, both large and small, can be particularly dangerous.

So if you travel with children then you will need to be constantly vigilant and closely supervise them at all times – taking full responsibility for their safety. Neither Expert Africa, nor any of our colleagues in Africa, can accept responsibility for any accident which befalls a child unless caused by our own negligence.

Theft & insurance cover

Theft is a problem in many countries and opportunistic mugging can also be prevalent in cities. It is your responsibility to take sensible precautions. Theft from safari camps and lodges is exceedingly rare, and they usually provide electronic room safes or lockers for peace of mind. We recommend you always use these to store your valuables.

On our self-drive itineraries, never leave anything of value in an unattended vehicle. Most travel insurance policies exclude claims for such thefts unless the items are in a locked boot/trunk. Check your policy before you travel for precise details as most will stipulate exclusions and maximum limits on claims for stolen items.

If you wish to take valuables overseas, then it is often easier to get good insurance cover for them under your household insurance than under a travel policy.

Driving in Africa

Most areas where we operate self-drive holidays do not require 4WD/4x4 vehicles, or off-road driving. Standards of signposting vary, however, and many roads may at times have livestock and wild animals crossing them and children playing on them. You must drive carefully and conscientiously to avoid an accident, especially on gravel roads. Speeding on gravel is very dangerous and you should never exceed 80kph (50mph). Driving at night is dangerous and always to be avoided.

Please read our page on Driving tips & techniques if your itinerary includes any self-drive sections.

Local representation

Expert Africa offers specialist, tailor-made itineraries designed for more independent and experienced travellers. We do not have agents or representatives everywhere. We do, however, have close contacts in every country which we deal with, and in some countries we have a local agent.

Medical emergencies

Expert Africa retains the services of a specialist, emergency medical company based in Africa. They will step in to assist you if you have any medical need. They work across Africa, in every country to which we send travellers, partnering with some of the better safari camps as well as Expert Africa.

For relatively minor issues, they have doctors on call who will give medical advice over the phone to our travellers in Africa. You just need to call them and tell them that you’re on an Expert Africa trip.

More serious situations are thankfully very rare, but for these they offer commensurately more assistance. They should be the first people you contact in a real medical emergency. They can then intervene to organise emergency treatment and even emergency medical evacuations using air-ambulances.

Having the coverage of comprehensive medical insurance covering you for all of your time in Africa with us is so important that we make this requirement of booking with us. But even with this, the extra coverage of our emergency medical team offers huge peace of mind. You can be sure that in a real medical emergency, our specialist partner will act first, coordinating medical and evacuation teams across Africa, even as they liaise with your insurance company.

Our experience tells us that this is the best way to get a fast response: nobody wants an emergency intervention delayed because their insurance company at home was slow to respond.

Safety standards & regulations

Safety standards and regulations overseas are often different to what you’re used to at home. Monitoring, enforcement and compliance with local regulations is a matter for the authorities in each country. Liability requirements also vary from country to country, as does the responsibility placed on an organisation by local law. You should therefore take all precautions to protect yourself and your party while you’re travelling in Africa.

In particular, you should always familiarise yourself with fire escape routes and the safety guidance for any wild areas you visit. We also recommend you review the advice given by your country’s foreign ministry on any country that you are visiting, both just before you book and just before you travel.

A few facts of life

We work very hard to ensure that our website, and the printed information that we send to our travellers, are as current as possible. However, with well over 10,000 pages on our website, covering a continent where things can change by the hour, we accept that not everything will be bang up-to-date.

We strongly recommend that before you book with us you read all of the information about your trip which we’ll send to you, as well as the information on our website about your destination, including the latest travellers’ reviews of places where you plan to stay. If you’re unsure of anything, please speak to your specialist consultant at Expert Africa. Our team have extensive knowledge of all the countries in our programme.

Please bear in mind that it is impossible to qualify every statement in our literature and on our website. Arrangements in Africa are seldom set in stone. If you travel to Africa, you need to accept that things don’t always work the way they would in your home country. If you want a totally predictable trip, don’t go to Africa. The finer details of your itinerary will always depend on local circumstances, and you may sometimes have to adapt your plans.

People in Africa often have very different ways of life than you might encounter in your home country. Their circumstances and cultures demand your respect. We are sure you will have a superb trip. But, if you do experience irritations or inconveniences, try to be patient and understanding. Gracefully accept that you cannot expect things in Africa to be the same as they are at home.

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