Southern vs East Africa
Southern Africa has adapted to its visitors needs and most who are involved in the tourism industry put a lot of effort into ensuring that guests have an incredible all-round experience while visiting. You will find most of your home comforts here and be very surprised at how easy it is to find your way around – especially with English being widely spoken throughout all Southern African countries. The infrastructure is sound and travelling in these areas is “comfortable”.
East Africa is a more “rustic” and “basic” and they rely heavily on the popularity of their National Parks and the abundance of wild life. It would not be uncommon to go without a hot shower, share a bathroom, spend many hours on the roads if weather conditions are bad, buy your own drinking water…etc, but once you’ve discovered the magic of the people and witnessed the spectacular natural beauty of the herds of animals moving across the plains, everything else will become irrelevant.
Both crew members are trained and qualiﬁed guides, but only one may be tour leader (either the driver or the courier/cook). Although our guides are qualified for the work they do, please remember they are human too. Adventure tours place enormous demands on our guides due to the nature and duration of the tours. Working 18 hours a day, week after week would place a strain on anyone so please don’t be quick to judge them and rather have a quiet conversation with them if you feel that there is an issue. Guides do this job because they love Africa and want to share it with our guests so please treat them with respect and decency and you will get the same in return.
It should also be noted that guests often hold guides responsible for things that are out of their control, so please be fair to them, the guides are not personal servants, butlers or maids and may be handling a lot more than you are aware of.
Sometimes our tour leaders and drivers have to make a decision with regards to health, safety, security and circumstances beyond their control. This may not always be a popular decision but as far as possible, your guide will take into account the wishes of the group as a whole, but your understanding and patience at these times will be much appreciated. Sometimes both crew members will need to discuss the matter together, this means that you’ll not always have someone in the back of the vehicle to answer questions and remark on certain locations. For anything that you would like to know or have explained, please ask the guides so they may assist.
In terms of the information that is provided on tour, some guests prefer more information, others prefer less so if you feel that you’re not receiving enough information, or that you’re receiving too much, please let the guides know so that they can do something about it. It is always easier to sort this out on tour than to complain about it afterwards.
The Tour Leader has complete authority on tour and his/her decision is final however you do have our emergency contact number if you feel that you’d like to speak to someone in the office too.
On some of our tour departures we have German translators who are there to help guests who are not confident in speaking English. Please keep in mind that these translators are often foreign students and are sometimes not acquainted with the tour. They are not guides and are only there to help along with the communication between the guides and guests. They are not specialized in tour guiding nor are they professional interpreters. They will do line by line translations directly from the guide to the guest.
In Africa tipping is not compulsory. Tipping in restaurants is usually 10% for good service and more if you feel that you received exceptional service. You do not normally tip taxi’s and we provide specific information with regards to tipping certain groups such as the porters on Kilimanjaro and the polers in the Okavango Delta for instance. This information is in your tour dossier under “Optional Activities” or under “Tipping on Tour”.
Our guides do work hard, but they are also paid industry standards for this work. Our Crew can be tipped if you feel that they have done a good job and/or gone above and beyond the call of duty.
If you feel pressured by a crew member to tip please do not hesitate to report this to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please use this address for any other feedback you have from your tour with us. At the end of the tour you will be provided with a confidential feedback form where you are encouraged to rate the tour, service, and experience with Nomad. We use this feedback extensively in our efforts to improve our tours and we really do appreciate receiving this information from you at the end of the tour. You’re more than welcome to email it to us if you’d prefer not to hand it to your guide, however please do let them know that you’ll be emailing it if you intend on doing this.
Travelling in a group offers many advantages and allows you to share the experience with like-minded fun-seekers! It’s also a cheaper and more secure way to explore an unfamiliar continent. Making friends with your fellow travellers will certainly help you make the most of your tour and an open mind may sometimes be necessary as we have a range of cultures and nationalities on our trucks.
The guides are there to ensure that the tour runs smoothly and this includes the group dynamic. If you feel that someone is behaving in an unsociable way the mature thing to do would be to mention this in a non-confrontational way to the individual. If you do not feel comfortable with this please speak to our crew.
You are travelling in a truck together and the best way to avoid petty conflict is to follow the Guide’s schedule with regards to keeping the truck and environment clean and tidy at all times, the fastest way to lose friends on tour is to leave your smelly hiking boots all over the place.
In all honesty, it is very rare that we have passenger conflict on tour and we feel very lucky that the Nomad guests have always been like-minded and considerate people and we hear far more stories about people making friends for life (as well as meeting future husbands and wives) than we do about the very rare unsociable passenger problem.
An average day on tour
The days usually start early and end late, although a lot of time is spent travelling, we do cram a lot into every day. Expect some frustrations, you are in Africa and things don’t work that well sometimes. Coming on tour with an open mind, flexible attitude and realistic expectations will ensure you have a great time.
An average day on tour begins around 6am and departure is after breakfast at around 7am. There are some mornings that need a very early start to reach our next destination, or to photograph a spectacular African sunrise – it’s all part of the adventure. Prepare yourself for the worst, especially in winter when days are shorter. We lose approximately 5 hours of daylight in Winter so it may happen that you’re setting up your tent in the dark or that some optional activities are not available then.
We usually take a lunch-break en-route and depending on the distance to be covered, afternoons are often spent relaxing or exploring the lay of the land. Usually every few days, we will spend a couple of nights at one venue to break the travel routine.