General African FAQ
We run 6 – 10 exclusive small group adventures each year. The rest of our adventures are custom made, private itineraries.
Our small group adventures are capped at 12 people to ensure you have an intimate experience. Minimum group size is 6 and average is 8 – 10.
A 10% deposit is required to secure your booking. The remaining balance can be paid in 4 equal instalments at 180, 120, 90 and 60 days before departure.
Yes. After you register, please contact our team to discuss paying your adventure off weekly or monthly. Your 10% deposit cannot be paid in installments, this is required to secure your adventure.
Comprehensive travel insurance is compulsary for everyone travelling with Adventure Out Loud. You will find all the information you need to know about purchasing travel insurance, including links to recommended providers, under the tasks section within your itinerary. The task section will appear once you register and pay your deposit.
Travellers arrive from all over the world to begin our tours. As such, it is not possible to include international flights in our prices. If you would like us to book your international flights, please contact us for a quote.
Independent travellers must be at least 18 years old. If you are under 18, you must be accompanied by an adult or have prior approval from us. There are no upper age limits, however we may ask you to obtain approval from a travel doctor if you are over 55 or have pre-existing medical conditions. Our Family adventures are open to children aged between 6 and 17.
If you are travelling by yourself, you will have the option to share a room with another adventurer of the same gender. Most tours have an optional single supplement if you’d prefer not to share. Where sharing is not possible (i.e. because there is only one bed per room, etc.), single supplement pricing will be built into the marketed tour pricing.
A full list of your hotels can be found in your itinerary, including links to their website where you can find their contact details and address to include in your visa applications. If your family requires contact information, or in case of emergency, please have them phone +61 432 822 652. If our office is closed, please refer to the emergency numbers included in your Trip Details document.
You will find a packing list specific to your adventure in the tasks section within your itinerary. The task section will appear once you register and pay your deposit. This packing list can be downloaded in PDF and used as a checklist.
Requirements for travel visas vary widely depending on your nationality and your destination. You will find all the information you need to know about visas, including links to apply, under the tasks section within your itinerary. The task section will appear once you register and pay your deposit.
We cannot apply for a visa on your behalf, however, we are happy to help and you can email us questions or give us a call anytime.
Joining late or leaving early may be possible depending on which tour you want to join. To find out more, talk to one of our African experts by calling +61 432 822 652 or emailing [email protected] before booking your adventure.
Yes! Airport transfers are included for most tours and one of our guides will personally meet you at the airport when you arrive.
Yes. Simply talk to one of our African experts by calling +61 432 822 652 or emailing [email protected] to add additional accommodation.
Tips are not included in our tour prices. Tipping is entirely at your discretion and whilst it is often recommended, it is not mandatory. You will find more information about tipping in the pre-departure info pack you will receive once you pay your deposit.
Planning an African Adventure
Each of the 54 countries have their own currency. We recommend you bring USD cash which we will help you convert to the local currency so you can purchase souvenirs, drinks, meals, etc. You will find all the information you need to know about purchasing USD and how much you should bring under the tasks section within your itinerary. The task section will appear once you register and pay your deposit.
ATMs are not readily available during your adventure. Where possible, we try and take you to locally owned shops, attractions and hotels to ensure the money you spend stays local. As such, most do not accept credit card payments and you will be required to pay with cash. We recommend you still bring a credit card for emergencies.
Generally, most people working in the tourism sector in Africa will expect a tip. This means you should expect to tip your guides, drivers and restaurant and hotel staff. The amount you tip varies across different countries. A tipping guide for each destination is included in the tasks section of your itinerary. The task section will appear once you register and pay your deposit.
Yes. Africa is made up of 54 independent countries and most, including all the countries we travel to, are safe to travel. From our experience, Africans appreciate and protect tourists. They love immersing you in the culture and are proud to show you their country. If you are concerned about your safety, you may like to join one of our small group adventures. Each is led by an experienced Western guide who has lived in the country you are exploring and who will be with you 24/7.
Public healthcare is basic in most African countries. Each year it improves however medical centres and hospitals are often under-staffed and under-resourced. There are a number of reputable private clinics and hospitals and in the event you need treatment, this is usually where our team will take you.
It is recommended that you purchase larger currency notes (i.e. US$100 and US$50 bills) from an exchange vendor or bank in your home country. Larger notes will receive better exchange rates in Africa when you convert to local currency. USD currency notes MUST be printed after 2006 and must not be ripped or damaged in any way.
Some laws in Africa are different to those in your home country. We advise you understand the local laws before you visit and recommend you check the Smart Traveller website for up-to-date notifications. Here are a few common differences:
Single-use plastic bags are illegal in some countries. For example, in Kenya, possession of a single-use plastic bag may incur a penalty of up to $40,000 and 4 years in prison.
Cash restrictions may limit the amount of cash you can carry in and out of their country.
Women’s, children's and animal's rights are not the same as in developed countries.
The possession of pornographic material is often illegal.
Homosexual activity is illegal and penalties may include imprisonment.
Penalties for drug offences are severe and include lengthy imprisonment.
Photography around military zones, military assets and of military personnel is prohibited.
Serious crimes, such as treason and murder, carry the death penalty.
Penalties for some crimes, including rape and robbery with violence, include corporal punishment.
Travellers are often prohibited from working or volunteering without a valid work permit.
Destroying local currency is against the law.
Smoking in public places may be banned and fines and imprisonment may apply.
Possession of ivory, even in the form of jewelery purchased outside of Africa, is strictly prohibited.
Distributing religious material in public without a licence is illegal.
Visitors are also encouraged to remember that some Australian (or your home country) criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography and child sex tourism, apply even while you are overseas.
Kilimanjaro Tips & Tricks
When you trek Kilimanjaro with us, our team of experienced guides will personally check your gear the day before your trek. We do this to make sure you have the right gear to ensure you will be comfortable, warm and safe during your trek. If you need extra gear, we will take you to a hire shop.
Hiring gear in Tanzania is cheap and easy and it is a good way to cut costs. There are a few essential items you should not hire which are clearly highlighted in our packing list and in our blog: Essential Kilimanjaro gear you must buy. To find out more about hiring your Kilimanjaro gear, read our blog: Everything you need to know about hiring your Kilimanjaro gear.
At a minimum, you should be able to complete 1 hour of high-intensity exercise before your trek (i.e. a 1 hour run or gym class). Alternatively, make sure you can comfortably trek for 4 - 5 hours on consecutive days by attempting a smaller multi-day hike before your trek.
You should start training at least 6 months prior to climbing Kilimanjaro.
The best way to train for Kilimanjaro is to focus on conditioning the muscles you will be using during your Kilimanjaro trek. The best way to do this is by doing multi-day treks, walking up and down stairs and building your leg, glute, core and back muscles. It is important to avoid injury by not pushing too hard, gradually increasing your training sessions, and regularly stretching or doing yoga to stay flexible.
No! Fitness will help ensure you are less sore during and after your trek but it does not guarantee success. Kilimanjaro is more about effectively acclimatising to altitude than fitness.
Altitude sickness is a result of the air getting thinner as you ascend, making it harder to absorb as much oxygen as you easily do at sea level. As your oxygen levels decrease, your body starts to prioritise essential functions, by shutting down other functions, in order to survive. To find out more, read our blog: What is altitude sickness?
Headache, nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, dizziness, sleep disturbance, fatigue, lethargy or breathlessness are a few of the common symptoms.
The best way to prevent altitude sickness is to purchase a 7 or more-day Kilimanjaro trek. Adding extra days gives your body time to acclimatise by producing more red blood cells. To find out more, read our blog: Everything you need to know to manage altitude sickness on Kilimanjaro.
Acetazolamide (Diamox) can be used to reduce the effects of altitude sickness and periodically help breathing. We recommend you consult a doctor before taking Diamox as some people are allergic. Painkillers can also be effective in easing your headache, but they won’t treat the condition.
"It is better to prevent altitude sickness than to try to treat it. Therefore, you should always follow these golden rules:
- If you feel unwell, you have altitude sickness until proven otherwise.
- Do not ascend further if you have symptoms of altitude sickness.
- If you are getting worse then descend immediately."
Unless you live somewhere that is above 2,500m, you can’t effectively train for altitude. The best way to increase your chances of successfully summiting Kilimanjaro is to give your body time to acclimatise. This means buying a 7 or more-day trek. Altitude gyms and masks may help but they are expensive and there is no scientific evidence to prove they work.
There is a tipping culture on Kilimanjaro and your support crew will expect that you tip. To find out more, read our blog: How much do I tip on Kilimanjaro. We will provide a tipping guide which clearly outline how much you should tip when you join one of our treks.
Here are a few of the ways we keep you safe on Kilimanjaro:
- We only offer 7 - 10 day treks that include additional acclimatisation days, anything shorter is dangerous and should be avoided.
- Our head guide, Robert Woiso (Bobby) has been climbing Kilimanjaro since 2005.
- We have a safety over summit policy and we will not risk your safety, or the safety of our team, to summit. We will turn you around before it becomes dangerous and uncontrollable.
- Our team inspect every participant’s equipment before we begin our trek. Where required, we will find and hire additional equipment to ensure you’re safe.
- Our guide and porter team is experienced at managing altitude risks and keeping you safe.
- Our team has a direct line to the Intensive Care Air Ambulance and they carry oxygen that is easily accessible in case of an emergency.
- We complete twice daily vital health recordings to monitor your symptoms.
- At the start and end of each day we discuss the following day and what is required of you so you are well informed.
Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre has a team of highly qualified doctors who are experienced with treating patients suffering from altitude sickness. Equally important, the hospital is clean, modern and safe. Visiting a hospital is a back-up plan though, when you travel with us, our goal is to ensure we manage your alittude symptoms so that you don't need to go to hospital.
Safari Must Knows
The Great Migration can only be seen in the Masai Mara (Kenya) and the Serengeti (Tanzania). The Masai Mara is best from Jul - Sep when the wildebeest cross the Mara River. Calving season in the Southern Serengeti from Jan - Feb is also incredible.
The three best places to safari in Africa are Tanzania, Kenya & Botswana. See below for more about each.
Simply put, the Serengeti makes Tanzania the best place to safari. Tanzania has two distinct safari circuits, the Northern and the Southern.
The Northern Circuit is home to the infamous Serengeti & Ngorongoro Crater and is the most popular and easiest to vist. The Northern Circuit also has better game viewing opportunities, particularly due to the Great Migration and the high concentration of big cats and other exotic African animals in the Serengeti. You can also visit Tarangire (famous for large herds of elephant) and Lake Manyara National Parks (famous for tree-climbing lions) or Olduvai Gorge (one of the most important paleoanthropological sites in the world). The Northern Circuit is the best option for your first safari or if you are on a budget.
The Southern Circuit is much quieter and is more challenging to get to. It's isolation and the fact that the animals in these parks are less accustomed to tourists, arguably create more authentic safari experiences. This area is also home a few animals that you won't find up North, including wild dogs. The Southern Circuit is a fantastic option if you have already been on a safari before or if you are looking to avoid the crowds.
Kenya is most famous for the Great Migration, which you will find in the Masai Mara from Jul - Sep each year. The Masai Mara also has the highest concentration of large cats in Africa.
Kenya has a number of other superb safari parks including:
- Amboseli (where you can capture a picture of an elephant or giraffe with Kilimanjaro's snow-capped peak in the background)
- Tsavo (Kenya's largest national park, famous for large hers of elephant)
- Lake Nakuru (best for flamingo & rhino)
- Hell's Gate (famous for "Pride Rock", the inspiration behind the Disney hit Lion King)
- Samburu Game Reserve (famous for an abundance of rare species of animals such as the grevy zebra, reticulated giraffe, somali ostrich, beisa oryx and gerenuk)
Kenya has 54 national parks and game reserves and is undoubtedly one of Africa's best safari destinations.
A Botsawan safari is truly unique. Home to the Okavanga Delta, Chobe National Park and Moremi Game Reserve (to name a few), Botswana is one of Africa's best safari destinations. One of the things we love most about safari in Botswana are the secluded campsites where you are the only tourists. Botswana is generally more expensive than Tanzania & Kenya, which means it usually draws a more mature crowd. The extra expense is truly worth it for a private campsite without another tourist in sight and some of Africa's most unique game viewing opportunities.
Health, Safety, & Insurance
Your health and safety are our number one priority! We proactively manage health and safety risks before, during and after your adventure and we have developed and implemented a range of safety policies and procedures to ensure you have a memorable and safe adventure. Here are a few examples:
- We have built a team of professional local and Western guides who have extensive experience living and guiding in the regions you are exploring.
- We avoid major tourist attractions, shopping malls and areas that might be a target.
- We stay in local boutique guest houses that aren’t known for accommodating Westerners. This also ensures profits stay in the communities we visit rather than heading overseas to a large international company.
- We perform a detailed risk assessment for every activity and every adventure. This assessment is updated throughout the adventure and itineraries are kept flexible to ensure activities, or entire adventures, can be canceled or amended where an unacceptable risk is identified.
- We keep groups small and manageable (max 12 people).
- We only use providers who we trust and have previously built a good relationship with over many years.
- We carry all of the necessary insurances.
- We check all of your gear before you start you Kilimanjaro trek and we complete an altitude scorecard twice daily during your trek.
If you’d like to know more, book a call with our founder, Nate. Nate is our head guide and will gladly answer any of your questions.
Our guides are trained in First Aid and will be able to help with minor injuries or illnesses. If your condition is more serious, we will take you to the closest reputable medical clinic or hospital for treatment. If your condition is very serious, you may be required to be evacuated to another country, or even back to your home country. You will be required to personally cover any costs associated with your treatment and/or evacuation and it is mandatory for you to purchase comprehensive travel insurance to protect you against this unlikely event.
It's important that you receive the most accurate and up-to-date travel and health information for the region you are visiting by booking an appointment with a certified travel doctor at least 3 months before departure.
When visiting your doctor, you should let them know which specific countries and regions you are visiting by printing your itinerary and giving them a copy. At a minimum, you will need proof of your Yellow Fever immunisation to enter most African countries and to re-enter Australia. We also recommend you bring medication for malaria and travellers diarrhea at a minimum.
Travel medicine is very specific and we highly recommend you see a certified travel doctor. If you don’t have a travel doctor, you can find one on the Travel Medicine Alliance website.
"Yes, but we do not recommend this for two reasons:
- We cannot guarantee the medicine is authentic.
- Most of your itinerary is in remote areas, many hours’ drive from a pharmacy/hospital.
You should aim to bring all the medication that you think you might need during your adventure with you. If you need to interrupt your adventure to visit a hospital or pharmacy, you will be responsible for covering any additional costs."
Malaria is prevalent across most of Africa but not on Mt Kilimanjaro, or other areas above 2,500m.
"To minimise your risk of catching malaria:
- Discuss malaria prevention medication with your travel doctor.
- Sleep under a mosquito net, wear long sleeve clothing and use mosquito repellent."
Tap water is NOT safe to drink in Africa. Bottled and boiled water will be provided for you during your adventure.
Yes! A risk assessment is performed for every activity and before each adventure. This assessment is updated throughout the adventure. We also keep itineraries flexible and activities are canceled where there is believed to be any unacceptable risk. On occasion this may include canceling an entire adventure if we believe that this is necessary.
No! Many of our adventurers have allergies. Meals are freshly prepared and our team takes every precaution to ensure food is not cross-contaminated. If you are anaphylactic, we recommend booking on a tour that is led by our Founder, Nate. He has experience with allergies and can take care of everything to ensure you have a hassle-free holiday. Please contact us if you would like to discuss futher.
Making a Difference While Traveling
We’ve partnered with Mwembe to make it easy for you to sponsor and donate.
Mwembe is registered with the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission, giving you peace of mind that your money is being used correctly. Mwembe is run by a team of experience volunteers so they can keep overheads to a minimum, Mwembe only take a 2% admin fee, so you can donate with confidence, knowing that your hard-earned money is making a huge impact to the people who need it most.
We strongly believe in empowering local people to solve their own problems. By partnering with grassroots, local charities, we’re providing local communities with the skills, training and resources they need to solve the issues they face every day. Initiatives we currently support include: education of children, youth and young adults, animal conservation, women’s empowerment initiatives, entrepreneurship training and micro-financing.
We only partner with charities that we have personally visited, that we trust and that we believe are making a meaningful impact in their local communities. By only partnering with charities that our team personally support, donate to or sponsor at, we can be sure funds we send to them are spent in the right way. Our charity partners are also expected to transparently report how funds are spent and have effective governance, procedures and policies in place.
Education empowers young people to solve their own problems. It is a hand up, not a hand out, and we believe it is one of the most effective ways to fight poverty in Africa. Educated Africans have higher paying jobs, fewer chidlren and can afford to support their family's education & healthcare needs. They are also less likely to vote for corrupt politicians and more likely to stand up for their rights.
Education is also a basic human right and we are not ok with 111 million African children missing out on an education each year.
"Girls often miss out on education in Africa. Many are married shortly after puberty, meaning their husband’s family benefit from their education, not their parent’s family. Because education is expensive, some parents think it is a waste of resources to educate their daughters and prefer to spend the money on educating their sons.
We believe that every child has a right to an education and do not discriminate based on gender. We are proud that at least 50% of the students we’ve sponsored through school are girls and we believe education education is particularly important for girls because it empowers them to make their own decisions about when they will marry and have children. It also provides them with financially independence and freedom."
Under the tasks section in your itinerary, you will find an option to personally sponsor a student through school. Simply follow the instructions to select the student you would like to sponsor and to set up your weekly, monthly or annual payment.
Yes, sponsorship options are available to everyone and you can find out more here.
We ask that you commit to sponsoring for the duration of your sponsor student’s education, or a minimum of 3 years. We understand that circumstances change though and if a child’s sponsorship is discontinued, we do our best to find a replacement sponsor for the child to ensure their education continues.
"As a sponsor you will receive:
- An initial picture profile of your child and an introduction letter (via email)
- End of term or year report cards for your sponsored child along with at least 2 letters per year (sent via email)
- Regular newsletters and updates from the charity sponsoring your sponsorship student through school
- Invitations to all fundraising or charity events in your region"
Our students love receiving letters, emails or videos from their sponsors. For child protection purposes, all correspondence is required to be sent via the sponsorship team for. You will receive further instructions once you confirm your sponsorship.
Yes! We love taking our adventurers to meet their sponsor student, AND more importantly, your sponsor student would love to meet you. Simply talk to our team of African specialists to organise your visit.
We do not encourage gifts because the best gift you can give is to keep a disadvantaged student in school. It may just change their life forever! If you’re visiting and want to bring a gift, please keep gifts small and practical and do not bring electronics as most families don’t have reliable electricity. Printed photos of you, your family and friends are one of the best gifts you can give. Throw in a stick of Blu-tack and your student will love putting your photos on their wall so they can remember you. Sending gifts is also tricky due to the unreliable post in Africa and the high risk of theft.
We are very transparent with our reporting, as are all of our charity partners. As part of your adventure, we take you to visit the charity you are supporting and meet the student you are sponsoring. This way, you can experience the difference you are making and see the impact your money is having in the life of a young African student.
All donations & sponsorships go directly to the charity you selected. Adventure Out Loud does not take any commissions, charge any administration fees or finders fees. We also do not handle donations, you pay them directly to our charity partners. To support our charity partners in keeping overheads to a minimum, we donate 50% of our profits to fund their operating costs so more of the money you donate can go directly to making the impact you want it to.
You work hard for your money and expect it to be used effectively. We expect the same which is why we are extremely selective with the charities we support.
During Your Adventure
We recommend that you keep your passports and cash out of sight in your locked room, preferrably in a locked bag or cupboard. You should also have a copy to carry around with you and save a copy online (i.e. in your email or on Google Drive, etc.). Cash should be hidden in multiple locations to avoid the risk of all of it being stollen at once.
To minimise the risk of becoming ill during your trip, we recommend that you:
- Drink bottled water
- Wear footwear at all times
- Have regular showers
- Use hand sanitiser before and after you eat
- Avoid eating uncooked food, particularly washed salads and food from unknown vendors
- Use mosquito repellent, malaria treatment medication, sunscreen and appropriate clothing.
Our adventures are all inclusive. This means that all of the big items are already covered in your adventure fee (i.e. accommodation, activities, transport, most meals, etc). We recommend you budget US$50pp/day to cover other incidentals such as tips, visas, souvenirs, drinks, etc.