Middle Africa

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Frequent asked questions

Below we reflect the most frequently asked questions. In case you would like more information, or if you have a question this list does not cover, please contact us.

Q. How do I book?
A. Once you have chosen your itinerary and sent / received back the quotation form you can contact us at info@middle-africa.com in order to confirm your booking. We will then complete the last details with you and sign the definitive booking form. You also will be required to send a pre-payment of EUR 500,-. Only after receipt of a duly signed booking form and the mentioned funds, your booking will be completely confirmed in written.

Q. What does the tour cost include?
A. Inclusion of items like meals, entrance fees for sights, transport, accommodation, tour leaders and drivers, local and specialist guides where required are detailed in each itinerary.

Q. Is there any additional payment? 

A. The costs of the tour are clearly outlined. There should be no additional payments, except for minor personal expenditures. Usually the groups put together a mutual fund for buying water, fruits, or lunch/dinners not included. It can happen that an unexpected visit takes place and a small fee must be paid (or entrance fees for cameras which are never included). We are always talking about small amounts that must be taken into account. Your itinerary will clearly indicate though what’s included or not.

Q. What will the weather be like where I am going?
A. Central-West Africa is a tropical and sub-tropical area. Depending on the area it will be hot and humid or hot and dry during the day. Be aware that in certain areas temperatures can fall in the evening and night so do bring a jumper and a jacket along as long trousers. Both a cotton sleeping bag as a warmer one are recommended.

Q. Can I charge digital camera or other batteries on my trip? 

A. Electricity in CW Africa is 220v. The nights we are lodged in a hotel the possibility for charging exists (as long as there are no electricity cuts). There will not be many other opportunities for which we advise to bring spare ones or economize your batteries at the most. Be so kind not to leave any batteries behind but bring them back home where you can deposit them in a special container.

Q. What facilities are at the campsites? 

A. Most campsites that we use do not have shower or washing facilities. Sometimes there is a river where we can get washed though. At the home stays the families will provide buckets of (warm) water. All the hotels have showers. We do recommend bringing dark coloured clothing that does not show up as much dirt, and is also quick-drying. We mostly combine camping with hotels for which you will be able to shower – and or wash clothes.

Q. How many people will be on my tour? 

A. It depends on the type of tour you choose and where you go. The usual number of travellers is between 6 and 8, however depending on the routes there can be up to 10-12.

Q. What sort of people travel with you? 

A. People of all kind and age travel with us. There usually is a large number of solo travellers along with couples and friends touring together. Some are more experienced than others, but all share the spirit of adventure.

Q. Am I suited to group travel? 

A. Some of our travellers have never been on a group tour before. It will depend on your needs and expectations as an individual. If you think you are not a group traveller, we can offer to take a private tour, alone or maybe with 1 or 2 friends.

Q. How and what should I pack? 

A. We recommend bringing as less luggage as possible. A frameless backpack or duffel bag is the most suitable type of luggage to bring. We do not recommend suitcases or framed backpacks, as they are difficult to carry and take up valuable space on buses and 4x4. A small day-bag pack is recommended as usually there will be some trekking and 1-night stays in the bush or with a local family. Each passenger is responsible for their own bag so pack what you can carry. Remember to leave space for the inevitable souvenirs bought en route. In case you want to donate school material or medical device, please contact us before in order to find a suitable destination.

Q. What should I pack?
A. Light weighted cotton clothes, preferably dark coloured. During the day it will mostly be warm and if around in a jungle area or near the beach it can be rather humid. Bring some long trousers and long sleeved t-shirts and a jacket (for night-fall against mosquitoes and eventual fresh evenings). Bring your toiletries in small packages, a cotton sheet and a warmer sleeping bag, a thin sleeping mat in order not to lay on the ground when camping, comfortable hiking shoes, flip flops, quick-dry towels, a wrapper, your medicines, a small lantern, as nights here can become very dark, toilet paper, sun glasses and an additional pair of normal glasses (in case you wear), a travel guide and a notebook, your (video) camera and a dose of good humour.

Q. How do we travel? 

A. Depending on the type of tour, transport will vary according to the terrain and is part of the fun of the trip. It will range however, from local buses to trains, canoes, minibuses to 4wd vehicles. This variety provides excitement and interest and creates a more authentic experience. There are also coach free days where you will be able to experience local transport options or walk through the cities seeing the sites and absorbing the local culture.

Q. What is expected of me on a trip like this? 

A. In order to make the most of your tour we ask all clients to participate as much as possible in any activity organized. Flexibility and understanding are key elements and an open mind will introduce you to the local delights of the area you are travelling through as well as allow you to enjoy the tour to its fullest.

Q. Am I expected to tip the tour leader, driver or local guides? 

A. Tipping is not expected however, when the local guide/driver has provided an enjoyable and knowledgeable service a gratuity will be gratefully accepted. If you are concerned about the amount to give discuss this with your tour leader who will offer advice. Alternatively the group can put what each feels is sufficient in a kitty to be given to the guide at the end of the day/tour.

Q. Is there an age limit on your tours? 

A. All our trips are open to fit, healthy and adventurous open minded individuals. You do not have to be super-fit, age is not important; it's the attitude that counts.

Q. Is the itinerary of my tour likely to change? 

A. All itineraries are suggested only. It is not likely that we will have to make any changes to the suggested tour, but the arrangements are planned many months in advance and it can happen that due to unexpected happenings (weather, road works, and festivities) occasionally changes may be made. Middle-Africa reserves the right to do so at any time if needed. The tour leader is always conscious of everybody’s views, but sometimes he/she will have to make an unpopular decision and your understanding will be appreciated in these circumstances.

Q. Can I get more detailed information about my tour? 

A. Middle-Africa will hand over a detailed dossier on every trip along with a pre-departure pack with information on such things as visas and meeting-up points.

Q. Are the tours physically demanding? 

A. It depends on the type of trip you undertake. Some tours require more walking than others or more hours to be travelled in the mini-bus / 4x4 (for example to get to Dzangha-Sangha). The majority of the tours are well within the capability of any healthy individual.

Q. Am I required to take malaria tablets? 

A. Please consult with the Tropical Disease departments in your country in order to get properly informed on suitable prophylactic for the area you are travelling to. Please note that no prophylactic offers 100% protection so other precautions such as covering up in the evenings and using insect repellents are anyway recommended.

Q. What vaccinations am I expected to have before travelling? 

A. Each country has its own visa and health requirements for which we recommend you check with local embassies for visa requirements as all regulations are subject to change at late notice. Please consult with your local doctor/travel clinic for up to date information on which vaccinations are required for the area you are travelling to. Each traveller is responsible for getting the right vaccinations and certificates on time. The same can be requested upon arrival to a country.

Recommendations for West Central Africa are: 
Typhoid; Hepatitis A; Tetanus; Polio; Meningitis and Rabies.
Yellow fever is obligatory when travelling to large part of West Central Africa.

Q. How much spending money should I expect to take with me? 

A. Depending on the trip we suggest passengers budget for between EUR 12,- / 25,- per day for personal expenses, including souvenirs, evenings out, snacks and (alcoholic) drinks etc. Be aware that some countries will be more expensive than others so spending can vary. In this part of Africa, Travellers Cheques can be difficult and expensive to cash and it won’t be easy to find ATM’s around (if any it can be very expensive to withdraw funds). The money is best carried in cash EUR which can be easily changed on airports, markets etc (the tour leader can assist you here).

Q. Do I need travel insurance? 

A. Travel Insurance is compulsory for all tours. All passengers must be insured to cover personal accident, medical expenses, cancellation, curtailment and repatriation. No passenger will be allowed on tours without suitable insurance. We can eventually offer such insurance for you in case needed.

Q. What advice can you give me in regards to photography whilst on tour? 

A. Taking pictures to reproduce the memories of travelling is part of the tour and can be great fun. Take care of cameras by keeping them in a sealed bag when not using them to avoid the dust and weather getting to them. We do ask that photos are taken with the utmost respect, as some of the local cultures we pass through are camera shy. Kindly request upfront if pictures may be taken. Also enjoy and interact with the locals without taking pictures all the time. Be aware there may also be areas where photos/video cameras are forbidden such as border posts, airports, military installations as well as some bridges, dams, historical sites and museums. Listen to your driver and tour leader when they point these areas out otherwise you may find yourself in an unpleasant situation or even lose your camera.

Q. Whilst on tour, what facilities will be available for me to communicate with home?.
A. Email/Internet cafes can be found on most routes and are the cheapest way to communicate with family and friends. Some connections can be slow and in remote areas it is still fairly difficult due to regular electricity cuts. Phoning from abroad is expensive wherever you travel and often lines are bad.

Q. What essential documents do I need to bring with me on tour? 

A. Valid Passport – must be valid for up to 6 months after you return from your tour. Keep a separate photocopy.
Tour Voucher and Dossier
Vaccination certificate.
Travel insurance. Keep a separate photocopy
Cash and Traveller’s Cheques, Keep numbers and proof of purchase separate
Flight tickets
Emergency contact numbers for T/C’s, banks, insurance, family contacts.

Q. How safe are my belongings and valuables whilst on tour? 

A. Some hotels have safes either behind reception or in the rooms. Please note that all items placed in these safe boxes are done so at the individual’s risk, Middle-Africa takes no responsibility for such belongings. Do not take unnecessary valuables with you and avoid wearing conspicuous jewellery. In crowded areas make sure all bags are zipped and keep your hands in your pockets to avoid pickpockets. A concealed money belt is the best way to carry belongings when travelling to meet the group or when out site-seeing.

Q. Can you cater to my dietary and medical requirements? 

A. If you have any food allergies or if you are a vegetarian please inform us at time of booking and your tour leader before hand. If you require any specific foods which are only found in certain health shops please take a supply with you as we cannot guarantee these in areas of limited supplies. Please inform us when booking of any medical conditions that you may have, so that we can cater to any requirements and advise the Tour Leader.

Q. Can you give me more information on the accommodation I am to expect whilst on tour? 

A. All tents, when camping, are two man tents with plenty of space, sewn in ground sheets and mosquito netting. Camping is done in remote areas (so called “bush areas”) and there are no showers, western style toilets, clothes washing facilities, electricity or so. These are limited to once or twice.

Q. What food and drink can I expect on tour? 

A. There will always be a breakfast (continental one in the hotels and simple ones while camping or at the home-stay families). Lunch will be a cold pick-nick (bread, fruit, eggs, honey or marmalade etc) or a quick stop at a road restaurant. Dinner will depend on where we are. If near the beach, a fresh roasted fish might be found. In the restaurants you will be able to order mostly soup, rice, beans, chicken, plantain or other veggies and of course fruit. If camping there will be pasta or an easy to be prepared meal.