Frequently Asked Questions
1) How much do I need to put down to secure my spot?
$250 per person.
2) How can I pay you?
Once we receive your BOOKING FORM a Square invoice will be e-mailed to you at the address on your form. it also allows you to pay with all major credit/debit cards. Square is widely used and secure. If you wish you can also pay by Paypal, Zelle, Venmo or check. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
3) Can I set up a payment plan?
Yes! Square makes it easier than ever for us to create a custom, zero interest payment plan. After your initial deposit please let us knowhow many payments you wish to make and when you wish to start. The final trip amount is due 45 days prior to departure.
4) What is the cancellation policy?
90% refundable until 120 days before departure
50% refundable until 75 days before departure
30% refundable until 60days before departure
Non-refundable 45 days or less before departure
No- shows are non refundable
5) When is the total amount due?
45 days before departure.
6) What is the group size?
16 Guests (Though it can be more depending upon the family groupings)
7) Can I book a single room, how does "double occupancy" work, what about a family room?
Please note that all AFE prices are based upon double occupancy, meaning two people sharing a room. If you are traveling solo, you have two options, to either be paired with another person of the same gender (in separate beds) but sharing a room or paying a single supplement to ensure a single room throughout the adventure. Our single supplement is $600 for each adventure, for the duration of that adventure (you can click this option on your booking form) but please do note: Single rooms are based upon availability, for places like our campground in the Masai Mara, trains in India or volunteer accommodations at sanctuaries, space is very limited, while we will do our best to ensure you a solo room, it depends upon our overall group configuration and size, so the ability to book a single spot is based upon availability. If you are a family traveling with minor children, we will arrange for family rooms, travel with young adults or teens, we will typically place them in the room or tent immediately next to their guardians room.
8) Do I need a VISA?
You will need to check the current VISA requirements from your departure country to the destination country of the adventure. Please note that AFE Will send out detailed e-VISA instructions approximately 6 weeks before departure.
Thailand- No VISA required
Kenya- ETA required- (electronic travel authorization)
Rwanda- VISA Required
Cambodia- VISA required (e-VISA)
Please be sure you have all of your documentation in order prior to your trip start date. AFE is not responsible for a guests failure to meet current requirements.
9) Will I be melting or freezing? What is the weather like?
Our destinations and schedules have been specifically chosen to be in typically moderate seasons, based upon their location. That being said, the weather is totally unpredictable the world over and you may experience extremes of heat, humidity, dryness, rain, cold. the best solution is to be prepared. Layers are always best, with at least 1 set of warm clothes ,1 set of lightweight clothing and some light rain gear. Remember that long sleeves and pants are recommended for areas where mosquitos are present. Please remember that in bush campgrounds in Kenya there is no AC.
10) Am I too old/young for this trip?
All of our trips are open to people over the age of 5 and younger than 85 (75 for Kenya/India). Guests with pre-existing medical conditions may require a doctor's approval before traveling with AFE.
Note on Minor Children: All children must be under adult supervision at all times.
11) Is an AFE Adventure appropriate for young people, teens etc?
It really depends upon the character of the young people. Everyone traveling with children or young adults/teens should note that menu items are pre-set with little to no flexibility, further Wifi and internet is spotty, there are no TV's in most hotels, camps and game drives may require very early mornings. If these are things that your young person would not tolerate, then you may want to reconsider an AFE adventure. Young people with a sense of adventure and an easy going nature, will have a life changing and wonderful time, but guardians need to be realistic about what their young person will enjoy.
12) What is the Minimum Fitness Level?
Please note that there is a minimum level of health and fitness required. All guests need to be able to walk 2 miles in hot, muggy conditions unassisted and be able to get up 2 flights of stairs. If you are not able to do either of these activities then perhaps a different trip would be more appropriate. AFE is not responsible for guests failure to be aware of the minimum fitness requirement. People with back, spine or neck problems should not travel to Kenya as the roads are poor and there is a lot of bumping. Guests who have serious, chronic conditions requiring frequent medical care should not book excursions to Kenya, India, Cambodia or Rwanda where we may be traveling several hours away from suitable medical facilities. Guests who have an undisclosed medical condition may be asked to leave the adventure with no right of refund if their condition will pose a danger to themselves or others. Please note that there is quite a lot of walking in Thailand/Cambodia. Guests will have an opportunity to visit all areas of the elephant sanctuaries on foot, further places like Ankor Wat and the temple tour in Chiang Mai are both walking tours.
13) Can I bring my significant other?
Absolutely! This is a safe place for all! The activities will be appropriate and interesting for all genders and please note that AFE Adventures are a safe space for all regardless of race, religion, gender identification or sexual identity.
14) Do I need trip insurance?
AFE Travel requires all guests to obtain adequate medical and trip cancellation insurance. Please note that insurance providers such as Blue Cross etc, will not cover you whilst you are overseas. It is highly recommended you purchase insurance that will pay your upfront costs, please note that proof of insurance is required before departure. We recommend www.insuremytrip.com or www.squaremouth.com to get the best rates however it pays to shop around and AAA or your normal carrier may have better rates.
15) I am a die hard meat eater: gluten intolerant, sugar sensitive, kosher etc.
All AFE Travel is set up as VEGAN however if you are vegetarian or omni (eats everything) please indicate that on your booking form. If you have additional dietary requirements please notify us within 60 days of the trip, we will do our best to accommodate you though we appreciate your understanding that in rural areas all of your normal food choices may not be available. **Note on VEGAN dietary requirements. In the US/EU veganism is widely accepted with many choices for meat/dairy substitutions. In places like Kenya or India where getting enough calories to sustain human life is much more difficult the idea of being a vegan is new and strange. Vegan staples you find in the US like cheese/dairy/meat substitutions are unheard of and unavailable. We make every effort to provide alternatives to dairy and butter, but we appreciate your understanding that we are asking chefs and ground staff with limited English to do something they've never done before. Our chefs in Kenya, India cook with non-dairy milks and we provide margarine on the table but we do appreciate your understanding when such things are not available. Most of our vegan food even in Kenya will be in the form of lentil proteins. Also please note that you will likely be traveling with non-vegans and meat options will be available at meals the exception to this is at both Elephant Nature Park and Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuaries which are 100% vegan.
16) I am a meat eater- Will I be forced to be vegan? I am vegan-Will meat be served at the table?
In short, no, you will not be forced to eat vegan, however at various sanctuaries, notably Elephant Nature Park (Thailand), Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary they only serve vegan, and at Wildlife SOS (India) they only serve vegetarian. Who knows, you may end up finding things you love! However all hotels will offer vegan, vegetarian and omnivore.
Yes, there will be meat served at meals, we generally try to keep the vegans on one end of the table and the meat eaters on the other. Generally speaking, the conversations around diet choices and the love of animals create meaningful discussions between different folks.
17) Are these destinations safe?
All of the countries we will be visiting have well developed tourist infrastructure and every effort is taken to ensure your safety at all times. That being said, in urban centers, you will need to be aware of petty crime as in any city environment, use common sense with regards to bringing/locking/storing valuables.
18) Can I drink the water?
Ample bottled water will be provided and it is not recommended you drink the local water or brush your teeth with it.
19) Will I need vaccinations?
We strongly recommend you check with the CDC website and follow their latest recommendations. (www.cdc.gov) your regular doctor or your local travel medicine clinic. Personal opinion, it is never a bad idea to be up to date on your tetanus vaccine.
As of October May 31, 2023- Covid 19 Vaccinations and all boosters are STRONGLY recommended. While many countries including the US no longer require proof of vaccination to enter, you most certainly don't want to become ill with Covid on vacation. Please note that guests who test positive for Covid while traveling may be required to quarantine at their own expense until they are cleared to return home. It is our mission to keep everyone safe and healthy!
20) Will I need malaria medication?
Because we will be staying in lovely, picturesque villages away from the main city, malaria medication is strongly recommended, please ask your doctor or visit your local travel medicine clinic: note that some types of malaria medications are not available in in country and it is typically recommended that you start the medication several days before your arrival in Africa or Asia.
21) Will there be Wifi available? Will my cell phone work?
Wifi is generally available at the resorts in major cites (if not in your room, then in the common areas). However in rural bush camping environments,(on the Masai Mara) elephant sanctuaries etc, it will not be. You will need to contact your cell phone provider to see if they can add international coverage to your plan (rates vary and it can really add up). We will be encouraged, however, to UNPLUG!
22) Will there be BUGS or wild animals?
Being near elephants, means being outdoors! Bugs and wild animals are part of the adventure! Mosquito nets are provided when we are staying outside of city center but mosquito repellant is highly recommended.
23) I like a glass of wine, or beer with dinner!
Drinks are served at all resorts/sanctuaries we are staying at for all destinations and while it's not included in the package, if a cold beer or drink appeals to you, go for it, we won't stop you However, please note: Excessive alcohol consumption resulting in abusive, disruptive behavior will not be tolerated, after a verbal warning, guests who continue to be abusive to other guess, AFE ground staff, sub-contractors or people at large may be asked to leave the adventure with no right of refund. Use of illegal drugs or unwanted sexual advances are met with zero tolerance.
24) I am sober, will I still be welcome?
Absolutely! Your co-host David has been sober 26 years and group meetings can be scheduled at all destinations.
25) What about tipping?
Tipping is not included with your package price however, we strongly encourage you to show appreciation to your ground staff, drivers and providers who work so hard for us. Loose guidelines are $25-$45 per day/per guest for each day of your adventure. At the beginning of your adventure AFE will hand out a suggested tipping guideline for the duration of your stay. Many guests opt to turn in their tips at the onset of their trip but that is up to you. You should budget between $250-$450 per guest (meaning for two people traveling together, you will double that amount) for tips during our entire 10 stay. As of 2023, you have the option to PREPAY TIPS on your booking form. Gratuities will be invoiced separately and will be 100% up until the day before your trip start date. Your hosts, David and Thyra do not accept tips.
26) Can I give you tips in advance?
Yes, many guests opt to pay tips up front which takes the confusion/bother out of having to tip after each day or event/drive. You can now opt to pay your tips in advance when you fill out your booking form AFE is 100% transparent with tips as we rely on our wonderful crews in all destinations. Guests who opt to take advantage of our Pre-Pay gratuity option, will be sent a separate invoice in the total amount of the tips per their specifications. Gratuity only invoices, will need to be paid in advance of departure. Gratuity invoices are not subject to any cancellation penalties and will be refunded 100% up until 3 days prior to departure.
27) Is laundry available?
It varies by location, generally speaking at least 1 property will have laundry service available. Laundry fees are not included and will be handled through the hotel staff.
28) What are the accommodations like?
Our hotels have been chosen for their high ratings, authentic decor, sustainability, friendly staff and location- they are clean and well managed! Please don't expect 5 star hotels and super fancy high end resorts. Our camp in the Masai Mara, Kenya and accommodations at ENP and Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary and Wildlife SOS, India are very basic with solar chargers after 4PM, flush toilets and showers (at the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary the showers are cold water only). Wildlife SOS all accommodations are dormitory style. All lodgings have en suite toilets and showers but some do not have air conditioning. In India we have overnight trains, these are sleeper compartments with AC 1st or 2nd class with a shared bathroom and bunk berths. it's an adventure but it is not luxurious.
29) I am getting there a few days early and leaving a few days later, where should I stay?
It is highly recommended that you plan your arrival for at least one day prior to the trip start date. Most guests opt to stay at our group hotel (they honor our group rates) once you advise us of your air schedule we are happy to arrange your stay at our group hotel with no action required on your part. Any additional nights /meals / incidentals or hotel stays will be paid directly to the property and are not included in the package prices.
30) How do I get from the airport to the hotel and back?
Airport pick up and drop off is included in your package price. An AFE representative will be waiting outside of the baggage claim with a sign with your name on it. If you opt to stay at some other place or arrive from a different location, AFE will pick you up and drop you off at a centrally located point agreed upon in advance. Once you depart the airport, if you do not immediately see our drivers/greeters please give it a moment and keep looking. If it's more than 10 minutes please phone or text David/Thyra or your driver to locate them (they WILL be at the airport to pick you up). Phone numbers for the ground crew will be mailed out in your departure packs. Please DO NOT jump into a random taxi or accept a ride from an outside source not employed by AFE, guests who book their own airport transfers will be responsible for the all costs related to that transfer.
Please try and send us your flight info as soon as you receive it along with any changes/updates to your schedule. We want to make your arrival as stress free as possible!
31) Cell phone SIM cards and all that jazz:
It is possible to pick up an international SIM card upon arrival at most International airports or at street kiosks. While this may be the most affordable, they frequently work less ideally than we would like. For your safety and convenience it is recommended that you contact your carrier to have, at the minimum, one traveler in your party able to send/receive texts when you disembark the plane. This will allow you to keep our ground crew up-to-date with any unexpected flight changes or unexpected situations (such as lost luggage). Relying on airport Wifi is tricky at the best of times.
32) We have a larger group or family we want to book, can we book a "private" safari?
Yes! We welcome private groups. The minimum for a private safari is 8 and one person must act as a guarantee for 8 bookings (meaning if 3 family members cancel at the last minute, you will be responsible for meeting the minimum financial commitment). If you are interested in private safari please email. Bigelephantmagic@gmail.com
33) Airfare: What City to I Fly Into?
KENYA- NAIROBI- (NBO)
THAILAND- CHAING MAI (CNX)
CAMBODIA- SIEM REAP (REP)
RWANDA- KIGALI (KGL)
INDIA- DELHI (DEL)
34) Is AFE, LLC Licensed, Bonded and Insured?
Arte for Elephants, LLC
California Seller of Travel, License 2145545-50,
Bonded for $1,000,000 through Hudson Insurance.
Insured through Thimble Insurance Group
A Rated member of the Better Business Bureau of Sacramento, California
34) Where can I find the Terms and Conditions?
35) Where do I book?