FAQs

Accommodation

  • Usually. The Grand Ruaha Camp has free high-speed Wi-Fi via an internet satellite dish.

    Most of the other permanent lodges and camps we stay at also have free Wi-Fi. That said, our experience is that they are not 100% reliable, though improving every year. When the Wi-Fi has not been operational we have been able to use the lodge computer if needed.

    However, very few mobile camps have a satellite for Internet. Our mobil camp in the Serengeti does have satellite internet.

  • Yes, there are electrical outlets at all of the accommodations, including mobile camps.

    The electrical socket in Tanzania is the same as used in the UK (Type G). Guests from most of Europe and the USA will need an adapter. The outlets are 220 volts, so all devices that get plugged in to them need to indicate 220 volt or 110/220 volt. Most battery chargers and laptop chargers are dual voltage and accept 220 volts. Hairdryers from the USA will not work. You should bring at least one UK-style adapter for pre and post safari hotels, even though we keep many on hand to loan guests while on safari. The Grand Ruaha Safari Camp supplies all USA adapters and power strips.

  • Yes, we are happy to accommodate special diets. Fresh vegetables and fruits are part of all meals and additional efforts can be made. Please notify us in advance of any special diets, it is our pleasure to meet those requests.

  • The listed price of a safari is for a double occupancy room (two persons per room). However, single occupancy rooms are usually available for a single supplement charge which varies according to the venue and time of year.

Booking

  • Yes. We do not charge a fee for paying your deposit by credit card, however for the final balance we charge a 3% processing fee. We run our credit cards through Bank of America and you will get a receipt directly from them and an invoice from us confirming the payment.

    We also accept written checks (though they need to be issued with time for them to clear if making the final payment) and of course, we accept direct wire transfers to our Bank of America account.

  • We recognize that there are many safari operators to choose from.

    We do not compromise on our itineraries, guides, leaders, locations, accommodations or the equipment we provide. For those who put a high priority on capturing great wildlife images, we deliver through more and better opportunities in the most desirable areas. For guests that simply want a first-class safari to view wildlife and have a great experience, but are not interested in photography, we love that too.

    The founders of Grand Ruaha are professional nature photographers and have geared their safaris to provide the services, guidance and equipment that photographers and videographers need.

  • No, air travel from the US (or anywhere else) to Arusha or Dar es Salaam, Tanzania is not included. These flights are easily booked online, or through a travel agent. We can recommend an agent that we use for all our travels to Africa, who would be glad to assist in getting the best fare available.

    That said, the easiest and most efficient way to get from the US to Tanzania is with Delta as they are a partner with KLM and have flights that connect in Amsterdam for a non-stop KLM flight to Tanzania.

    All internal flights will be booked through Grand Ruaha and the price of these flights is included in all of our safaris packages.

  • The deposit paid for a safari is refundable within the timeline detailed in the safari contract. In short, the amount refunded is reduced the closer you get to the date of the safari. Cancellations made more than 6 months prior to the safari start date are fully refundable, between 6 and 5 months it is 50%, and cancellations less than 4 months (120 days) of the safari start date, the deposit is forfeited. The balance of the safari price is due in full no later than 60 days prior to the safari start date.

  • The fixed cost of delivering high quality safari is unavoidable. We could cut the cost of our safaris substantially if we filled the vehicles with 6-9 people, stayed in budget lodging, hired less qualified guides, paid the typically low wages to our hard working staff, limited the game drives, used old land rovers, and added filler destinations instead of spending all our time in the most desirable areas that are more expensive to access. Some operators do exactly that. We don’t.

    Grand Ruaha Safaris offers the high standards we would expect for ourselves. This is reflected in the overall experience you will have, in the images you will capture and in the memories you will bring back home.

Health

  • Yes, we are happy to accommodate special diets. Fresh vegetables and fruits are part of all meals and additional efforts can be made. Please notify us in advance of any special diets, it is our pleasure to meet those requests.

  • Each vehicle is equipped with a simple medical kit. More serious issues would need to be addressed at a clinic or hospital. This is a very important reason to have travel insurance, as it will cover the costs of an immediate evacuation by air to get you the best possible care. If you do not have insurance and require evacuation, the associated costs will be your responsibility.

  • It is important that you consult with your doctor about traveling to Tanzania. That said, the exposure to health risks where we operate is limited. Malaria presents the greatest potential health risk and antimalarial drugs are recommended. The antimalarial drug Malarone may be the best choice, again, consult your doctor.

    A Yellow Fever vaccination is required only if you are entering Tanzania from a Yellow Fever infected country, such as Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda. A Yellow Fever vaccination is not required when flying non-stop to Arusha or Dar es Salaam from the US and Europe.

    Other health risks are a non-issue if you drink bottled water only.

Photography

  • Whenever possible, try to transport all your camera bodies and most expensive lenses as carry on luggage. Putting these fragile and expensive items in your checked bags is a risky proposition unless packed in a hard-case. Quality bags are available from Tamrac (G32), Think Tank, and LowePro.

    Please note that while international flights wil allow more weight, small planes for internal flights within Tanzania will usually limit your total weight to 20kg, and may charge an extra fee for excess weight.

    Tip: A way to circumvent some weight restrictions is to wear a vest and put some gear in. The Domke vest can hold a lot of gear; +20lbs and save the day.

  • This depends on two things: the file size of the images from your cameras (jpeg and raw files differ vastly), and the number of images you anticipate taking. While the latter can vary substantially, the likely range is from 2,000 images for the entire safari, to well over 2000 per day for many people. We have had many photographers take over 40,000 images on a 10-12 day safari.

    We recommend that guests shooting jpegs with consumer point-and-shoot cameras take at least two 32GB cards to cover their needs (we usually have extra cards to loan out if needed). And bring a high capacity flash (thumb) drive for storage.

    If you are shooting Raw files with a large megapixel/high speed cameras, your total memory needs can add up quick — from 500GB to +2TB — depending on the length of the safari and how aggressively you shoot. Shooting any video from your DSLR will double or triple the memory needs. If you fall into this category of high memory use, several high-speed 64-256GB memory cards and a couple 2TB drives or even two 4TB drives may be needed. Keep in mind that when shooting high volumes downloading speed becomes an issue and the faster the storage drive, memory cards, card reader and computer ports, the better. Consider a bus-powered 2 drive Raid 0 via Thunderbolt and back-up drives or, better yet, SSD drives.

    We usually have extra memory cards (CF, SD, CFast) to loan if you run short.

  • Yes and yes. The images represented on this site are available from the respective photographer, or their agency. Please inquire if you would like to purchase a print or are interested in using an image. Please note that all images on this site are protected by copyright law.

  • We will be able to get very close to many animals, at times just a few feet away. We will always take into consideration what is the best distance for our photography (closer is not always better), and more importantly, we do not want to stress the wildlife. We always give additional distance to shy animals, and especially cheetahs with cubs as we do not want to interfere with their ability to hunt successfully.

  • It would be very unlikely that you would not see the big five: elephant, rhino, cape buffalo, lion and leopard. If the Ngorongoro Crater — the only reliable place to see the black rhinos — is in your itinerary, you may well be in for an extra treat.

  • This can vary: from the best you can afford to the one you already have. Here are three different levels of camera equipment for consideration.

    1) Any of the superzoom point-and-shoot cameras. These are easy to use, have a zoom range from wide angle for landscapes to over 500mm on the long end. Image quality is only fair but that is adequate for many. Neither an iPhone nor iPad is going to get the job done on a safari and we’ll loan you something better if that’s all you have.

    2) Mid range options include any recent model consumer DSLR or mirrorless from Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji, Pentax, etc. Frankly, all modern camera bodies are quite capable. Here choosing the right lenses is more important than the body. If you want to get some great images of both landscapes and wildlife, we recommend having a range of focal lengths from 24mm to 400mm.

    3) High end: This category of equipment is by far the most expensive and heavy to transport. That said, using the top model bodies and big prime lenses will produce substantially higher quality images. For instance, if you shoot Canon, having two bodies and three lenses like the 24-70mm, 70-200mm, and 200-400mm is an awesome kit. Throw in an ultra wide and a 600mm f4 and you are in heaven. Renting a high end lens is an excellent option for a safari.

    Note: If your a serious photographer, please consider having at least two cameras in case one fails, and to have more focal lengths covered without having to constantly change lenses.

  • Unless otherwise stipulated, you are responsible for bringing your own camera equipment. We are however, a company made up of photographers and offer all inclusive private safaris where all photography equipment is provided. We have many of the items that are hard to travel with; tripods, mounts, heads etc. and they are available for use by all our guests. Please see the details of what is included on the offered safaris – and let us know if you have any special gear requests.

Requirements

  • Yes, there are electrical outlets at all of the accommodations, including mobile camps.

    The electrical socket in Tanzania is the same as used in the UK (Type G). Guests from most of Europe and the USA will need an adapter. The outlets are 220 volts, so all devices that get plugged in to them need to indicate 220 volt or 110/220 volt. Most battery chargers and laptop chargers are dual voltage and accept 220 volts. Hairdryers from the USA will not work. You should bring at least one UK-style adapter for pre and post safari hotels, even though we keep many on hand to loan guests while on safari. The Grand Ruaha Safari Camp supplies all USA adapters and power strips.

  • Yes, a passport (valid for at least 6 months beyond your travel dates) and a visa are required for US citizens traveling to Tanzania.

    Tanzania visas are usually purchased upon arrival at the airport in TZ. The good news is we provide VIP visa service to all clients arriving into Kilimanjaro International Airport. The fee for a visa is US$100 and must be paid with a 2006 or later bill (protection against counterfeit bills, we suppose).

    You can also get a visa from the Tanzania Mission in NYC prior to leaving the USA, and most likely from any of the Tanzania Missions or Embassies around the world.

  • Yes, we are happy to accommodate special diets. Fresh vegetables and fruits are part of all meals and additional efforts can be made. Please notify us in advance of any special diets, it is our pleasure to meet those requests.

  • It is important that you consult with your doctor about traveling to Tanzania. That said, the exposure to health risks where we operate is limited. Malaria presents the greatest potential health risk and antimalarial drugs are recommended. The antimalarial drug Malarone may be the best choice, again, consult your doctor.

    A Yellow Fever vaccination is required only if you are entering Tanzania from a Yellow Fever infected country, such as Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda. A Yellow Fever vaccination is not required when flying non-stop to Arusha or Dar es Salaam from the US and Europe.

    Other health risks are a non-issue if you drink bottled water only.

  • No, but we highly recommend it. These policies are very affordable and offer peace of mind against lost luggage, lost passport, trip cancellation, airline issues, medical emergencies and more.

    We are partnered with two highly regarded insurers to cover your needs. TravelGuard for general trip coverage offers some special rates and streamlined policies which have been tailored for our safaris. We also partner with Ripcord for the highest rated medical evacuation insurance. You are welcome to shop from any insurance carrier of your choosing or connect with one of our partners.

    We include a basic medical evacuation insurance policy in the price of all our safaris.

Safaris

  • Probably 50% of the time. Tanzania has 3G service in all the bigger cities, but is limited to Edge signals in the more remote areas. It is hit or miss whether you will find a signal in the Serengeti or Ruaha, but it will work some of the time. We do have a Cell Signal Booster at the Grand Ruaha Camp providing good reception in the lodge.

  • Yes. We do not charge a fee for paying your deposit by credit card, however for the final balance we charge a 3% processing fee. We run our credit cards through Bank of America and you will get a receipt directly from them and an invoice from us confirming the payment.

    We also accept written checks (though they need to be issued with time for them to clear if making the final payment) and of course, we accept direct wire transfers to our Bank of America account.

  • Our Classic Safaris are offered in the manner that many companies throughout Africa conduct their safaris, whereas guest of the camp or lodge share a vehicle on all game drives. The game drives have a set schedule; departing early in the morning and usually returning to camp for the mid-day hours, and then another game drive in the late afternoon until sundown. They are offered on a per night basis which is appealing to those who do not have the time for longer safaris, and those who are happy to share the experience with other guests.

    Our largest vehicles could be configured for 10 guests, but we limit it to a maximum of 7 in bucket seats, assuring comfort and room to move around when taking pictures.

  • A private safari features a private 4×4 vehicle and guide for the duration of your adventure. It includes a private suite/tent at all accommodations, and private dining. While this is most often booked by couples, it can also apply for a single person or for a private group of 12. If booking a private group you will have the option to decide the number of persons per vehicle.

    A private safari is more personal, private, intimate, romantic, tailored and luxurious.

  • Our workshop safaris all lead by an accomplished photographer who will assist and teach the participants. The level and amount of formal instruction varies by safari theme and by leader. Many participants are professional photographers themselves, and are just looking for great shooting opportunities, camaraderie with other pro photographers, and the savings of a package-priced photography-focused safari.

    Beginner photographers will benefit greatly from the guidance of the safari leader and, typically, from the other participants as well. We try and be specific on the amount of formal instruction provided, or what specific skills the leader brings. Workshops based at our Grand Ruaha Camp will include the most post-processing instruction as that is where we have the most space, time and equipment for it.

    Tour leaders are shooting also, but their priority is to help and assist guests with their photography and they will rotate which vehicle they are in to spend time with all participants.

  • Our safaris will definitely put us in close proximity with wild animals. We will remain inside our vehicles at all times and generally the animals pay little attention to us or move away. Any aggression is vary rare, however it is impossible to guarantee the actions of wild animals. It is important to follow instructions from your guide, and to use the provided escorts while moving around outside the lodges and camps at night, as wildlife may be passing through the area.

  • In general, driving off road in the bulk of the Serengeti National Park and all of Ruaha National Park is strictly forbidden. Exceptions to this rule include some areas defined as “low use” which we may spend time in.

    The Ngorongoro Conservation Area does allow for off-road driving but not within the Ngorongoro Crater itself. Special ‘Filming Permits’ allow greater access for areas otherwise closed and are available on select safaris. Please note: these special permits are expensive and require additional time to obtain.

Transport

  • In general, driving off road in the bulk of the Serengeti National Park and all of Ruaha National Park is strictly forbidden. Exceptions to this rule include some areas defined as “low use” which we may spend time in.

    The Ngorongoro Conservation Area does allow for off-road driving but not within the Ngorongoro Crater itself. Special ‘Filming Permits’ allow greater access for areas otherwise closed and are available on select safaris. Please note: these special permits are expensive and require additional time to obtain.

  • No, air travel from the US (or anywhere else) to Arusha or Dar es Salaam, Tanzania is not included. These flights are easily booked online, or through a travel agent. We can recommend an agent that we use for all our travels to Africa, who would be glad to assist in getting the best fare available.

    That said, the easiest and most efficient way to get from the US to Tanzania is with Delta as they are a partner with KLM and have flights that connect in Amsterdam for a non-stop KLM flight to Tanzania.

    All internal flights will be booked through Grand Ruaha and the price of these flights is included in all of our safaris packages.