Travel Tips

There are countless web sites, books and other resources filled with tips for travelers. This site is not an authority and does not claim to be. When we prepare for a trip we seek out authorities on the subject just as anyone should who is planning an overseas adventure. One useful web site is

REGISTRATION WITH EMBASSIES  The U.S. Department of State 's web site offers a link that you can use to register your trip. Being registered makes it easier for American authorities to find you in the event of a problem in the destination country, such as a weather disaster or other event.  I like to leave a detailed itinerary with family members when I travel.

Zim Cape Buffalo

PASSPORT Make sure you have your passport well ahead of your scheduled departure. You will need to send a copy of it weeks prior to your arrival IF you are using a rifle import service. Also, if you already have a passport, be sure it has enough remaining blank pages to satisfy the country you are entering. For example, South Africa requires six (6) blank visa/stamp pages. You risk being denied entry into the country if your passport is not compliant. US passport holders can have more pages added at no additional fee (unless expedited service is requested). See: Extra Passport Pages - U. S. Department of State.

U. S. CUSTOMS FORM 4457  This form is required when you apply for a import permit through an agency such as the South African Police. It serves as proof of ownership of your firearm. When Jim gets a new gun or camera, we make an appointment with the U. S. Customs Office at the nearest airport and declare these items on the form. Proof of ownership is particularly important when re-entering the US as you don't want to pay duty on an item you already owned prior to departing the US.

IMPORTANT PAPERS We like to make photocopies of all travel related paperwork. We each carry a set of copies of the following documents: passport photo page, trip itinerary, letter of invitation to hunt, and the US Customs form 4457 with our valuables declared. Copies are scanned and emailed to our Gmail account which can be accessed anywhere there is Internet. We also leave a set with a relative here in the US. Jim and Susan also carry an extra "unsigned" SAP 520 filled out and ready in the event something happens to the originals.

Zambezi Hippo

AIRLINES South African Airways offers flights to Johannesburg from Atlanta, Washington-Dulles, and New York. This is subject to change, of course.  (Delta also offers service to South Africa.) The short version of this trip is 15 hours with no stops. The long version is an average length of 18 hours and includes a stop over in Dakar, Senegal for refueling. This is an excruciatingly long time to be inside a metal tube with hundreds of other people.

We suggest:

  • Check out Seat Guru to view airplane seating diagrams. Some seats have a lot of leg room.
  • Purchase your tickets early and ask your booking or travel agent for specific seating.
  • Check in early at the airport. (Really early if you have firearms.)
  • As your departure date nears, call the airline and confirm your flight reservations. 

CHECKING BAGGAGE If we are flying a domestic carrier to reach an international airport (Dulles, Atlanta, New York), we check our baggage to that final US airport. Then we retreive our bags and take them ourselves to the international carrier we will be flying to Africa. With the international carrier, we check our baggage through to the final destination.

STUFF ON A PLANE It seems that the items/quanitites permitted onto a plane are subject to the whims of the TSA and can change at any given time. An updated listed of prohibited items and recommendations can be obtained by calling the airlines by visiting the TSA's web site for Permitted and Prohibited Items.

Addo Park Kudu

DOMESTIC CURRENCY, TRAVELER'S CHEQUES, FOREIGN EXCHANGE Safari operators may accept various types of payment methods, often times credit cards (often not Discover or American Express) or traveler's cheques are accepted. Some prefer cash, either US or their own currency. Check with the outfitter you are using to see which method is preferred.

Also, it is important to note that some countries in Africa won't accept older US bills. There seems to be a problem with the older notes being the most popular ones to counterfeit. If taking US money with you, make sure you get newer issue notes (2004 or newer).  Some businesses frown on traveler's cheques and others will refuse cash with markings on it. If you are carrying tip money for airport baggage handlers, etc. keep small denominations on you.

OTHER VALUABLES We never take any unnecessary valuables on our safaris. Diamond rings and other jewelry have no function on a hunting trip. There is always a risk of losing your valuables when your take them on a long trip. And since they serve no real purpose on a hunting trip, why take them at all? Further, if you have not listed your jewelry on your customs form 4457 prior to departing the country, you could be asked to pay duty on them when you return. If you take them, be able to prove you owned them in your country of origin.  

PHONE SERVICE There are a number of options available for international travelers who want to stay connected with friends and family. You can rent a satellite phone if you want guaranteed signal and are heading into remote areas. You may stop by a phone store (such as Vodacom in the International Arrivals section of the Jo-burg airport) and get a sim card for your personal cell phone if you anticipate being in areas with cell service. Or, you might prefer to rent a pay-as-you-go phone upon arrival.

Giraffe in Zim

SUNSCREEN We know that the African sun is intense so we slather on the sunscreen. Jim and I think of each of our African safaris as "the" trip of a lifetime. Neither of us would want to let the consequences of too much sun shorten our trip or our lifetime. We don't want to risk developing skin cancer later. And we certainly don't want to spend the last nine days of an expensive ten day hunt suffering from a serious sunburns. So sunscreen is the first item in the suitcase. 

MEDICINES (Don't run out.) We always make certain that any medications Jim and I are taking are in sufficient supply to get us well through the trip and beyond. We also research the area we are going to see if there are specific health concerns. Our family physician and the Atlanta, GA, CDC Office both provide us with the information we need regarding recommended immunizations and whether or not a malaria prevention drug is advised. 

Plan a trip

Interested in booking a hunting trip or a photo safari and don't know where to start? 

While we aren't currently booking hunts, we'll gladly point you in the right direction whether you are interested in plains game hunting, dangerous game hunting, a photo safari, or general sightseeing.

Contact us and we can connect you with a US booking agent, a travel agent knowledgable in Africa travel, or directly with safari operators in Africa that we personally have used and can recommend.

land of Contrasts

Africa is a continent of contrasts. You can follow the historic and beautiful Garden Route along the southern tip of the continent or opt for the vibrant activities of a thriving metropolis. You may desire to trek into the bushveld (with an experienced guide, of course) or luxuriate poolside in one of South Africa's lavish resorts. Whatever your taste, Africa satisfies.

trip of a lifetime

We love Africa - the land, the people, and the wildlife. We always find ourselves planning the next trip to Africa while still on our return flight to the US - as the memories, the sights and the sounds still resonate in our heads.

Resource guide

Click here for a resource guide listing forums, airlines, currency converter, etc. You can also download free pdf planning and packing checklists from the guide.


News: Kenya May Lose All of its Lions in 20 Years. ↑click here

Note: Kenya banned sport hunting in 1977. Sportsman are not taking the rap for this. Something else for sure. 

African Outfitters

Jimbah Safaris