Safari Information and Advice

Tailored Safari Specialists

We create life-changing safaris just for you. We’re a passionate bunch of experienced safari-goers keen to share our deep understanding of this addictive continent we call home. We live here, in Africa, and have been doing this for more than 10 years. M.E.L.P Cargo safaris is about knowing when and where to go, and with whom. A few weeks too early / late or a few kilometers off course and you could miss the greatest show on Earth. And wouldn’t that be a pity?

Health and in site


Malaria is not to be taken lightly. Certain factors influence the risk of contracting malaria. For example low-lying equatorial swamp will be high-risk all year round, a dry montane plateau set at a subtropical latitude will probably carry no risk at all, and places falling between these extremes often show a marked seasonal pattern – medium to high risk in the wet summer months, low to no risk in the dry winter.

You can also lessen the risk by avoiding being bitten. Wear long sleeves, trousers and socks and douse any exposed skin with a good mosquito repellent shortly before it gets dark (the anopheles mosquito is active at dawn and dusk), and always sleep under a net.


The African sun is very strong and harmful. Use lots of sun block and a hat – particularly if you are on foot, in a boat, or in an open vehicle.

That tan may look good for a few days after you get back from safari, but is a high risk for everybody – especially fair-skinned people. caring sun blockers maybe of benefit to you.


It is very important that you drink plenty of water to limit the effects of dehydration, especially during the warmer months.

Note that tea, coffee and alcoholic beverages act as diuretics and can actually contribute to dehydration. Ask your lodge manager if tap water is safe to drink. Most lodges and mobile safari operators provide bottled water.

When is the best time to view wildlife?

Wildlife is best viewed during dry seasons when there is less vegetation to hinder your view and when animals congregate near water sources.

The dry months are generally more popular with safari goers, although this is partly because it coincides with the long northern hemisphere summer break.

Prime game-viewing months tend to be May to October. On the other hand, most animals have their babies during the wet seasons, when there is more to eat and drink. Babies are cute and great to watch and predators hunt very successfully at this time because the young animals are easy to catch.

Bird watching is generally better during the wet summer months, when many birds are breeding and very vocal and visible and when the migratory birds are present.

Certain wildlife areas are very seasonal – in other words certain animals move in and out depending on the availability of water and food – while others have more sedentary animal populations (sometimes because they are fenced in).

Photography is arguably better during the wet months because the air is clear (no dust) and the colours are more vibrant. Resign yourself to the fact that your camera equipment will get wet in the wet season and in the dry season it will become covered in dust.


Africa is a huge continent, with climate that varies from Mediterranean to equatorial. Expect low-lying areas to be hotter and more humid and high-lying areas cooler.

Geographical features such as mountains and lakes can affect weather patterns by bringing more rain and wind.


Africa is a huge continent, with climate that varies from Mediterranean to equatorial. Expect low-lying areas to be hotter and more humid and high-lying areas cooler.

Geographical features such as mountains and lakes can affect weather patterns by bringing more rain and wind.East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Uganda, Rwanda, DRC, Ethiopia and far northern Zambia)

This area is close to the equator and so seasonal fluctuations in temperature are largely insignificant. Expect generally warm weather, although temperatures can drop significantly during and after rainy weather, and at night. Temperatures will vary between 20 to 40 degrees Celsius.

The main rainy season is from April to May, with a lighter second rainy season from mid October to December. Neither rainy season should influence your travel plans although you should pack rain gear during those times.

Coastal areas are hot and humid throughout the year with December to March being uncomfortably so.

Typical Safari Day.

The exact make-up of your day will depend on what activities are on offer, but most safari days look something like this:

  • Early morning wake up with tea/coffee and biscuits, or a light continental breakfast.

  • Morning game drive – usually for about 3 to 4 hours.

  • Late morning breakfast (brunch) or early lunch

  • Siesta (some people choose this time for bush walks or excursions to nearby villages)
  • Mid-afternoon tea and cake

  • Late afternoon game drive with sundowners and snacks, often ending up as a night drive (with spot lights) – usually about 3 to 4 hours

  • Dinner and fireside drinks

Travel insurance is vital for travel anywhere in the world.

Make sure your insurance package includes cancellation or curtailment of the safari, emergency evacuation expenses, medical expenses, repatriation expenses, damage/theft/loss of personal baggage, money and goods.

Passports, visas and paperwork

International visitors require a passport that is valid for at least six months, together with onward travel documents.

Passports should have a minimum of 2-4 clean pages per country visited, for visas and entry/exit stamps (some visas take up a full page).

All passport holders should verify with their relevant consulate concerning visa entry requirements. Visas are the responsibility of the traveller.

If you are extending your journey to other countries, please establish entry requirements for those countries as well. Please ensure that you have all the necessary visas prior to departure (unless available on entry).

If you intend to drive a vehicle in Africa please make sure you have a valid international driving license and vehicle ownership papers. Make sure you have a vaccination certificate for yellow fever.

Keep copies of your documents and vital information as well as a few passport photos in your luggage, and leave a few with friends at home (passport, insurance docs, bank and credit card details, travellers cheque numbers, 24 hour emergency contact number, contact details of relatives or friends).

Accommodation types
Accommodation comfort levels
Baggage restrictions

The selection of accommodation options is vast, ranging from straw huts to ultra-luxury hotels and lodges, and your choice will be influenced mainly by your needs and budget.

City Hotel/Guesthouse/B&B, situated in or near main cities or airports, often used for overnight stays or as a base for day excursions..

Country Hotel/Lodge, situated in rural areas, often located on large properties or farms..

Game Lodge – situated in or near game reserves or remote wild areas..

Bush Camp/Fly Camp. These small camps are often situated in very remote areas and often set up in areas that are inaccessible during the rainy season, resulting in the camp being totally broken down and rebuilt each year..

Mobile Tented Camps are erected for a limited period, after which they are broken down. They are generally erected in game reserves for specific wildlife encounters (such as the migrations on the Mara in Kenya) or as part of an overland or walking expedition.

Most accommodation options that we offer have en-suite and private bathrooms/toilets, hot water, clean bedding, good food and well-stocked bars with ice – unless otherwise stated. Don’t expect television and a bar fridge in your room, although certain establishments may provide them.

Expect the following broad comfort levels:
Rustic – This is no-frills accommodation and usually in very remote areas. Large tents or reed/pole huts are the norm, as are pit toilets and bucket showers. Water is often heated over a fire. Furnishing is basic but caters for all your needs.

Comfortable – Comfortable furnishings, running hot and cold water, flush toilets.

Luxury – Comparable to 4- and 5-star hotel standards.

Deluxe – A clear rung above Luxury. Furnishings and attention to detail tend to be noticeably superior. Staff members often outnumber the guests.

Many lodges are accessed via air and weight restrictions on these small aeroplanes are a 12kg to 15kg soft bag for all luggage, including camera equipment. Treat these limits seriously.

Let us know if you have excess luggage weight or if you personally weigh above 100kg – you may need to pay a premium.

Keep clothing to a minimum as the style is casual and there is most often a daily laundry service.

Use soft luggage so that it can be stowed easily in the luggage hold of small aeroplanes.