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  • Do you organise hiking holidays?
    Our advertised group tours are not centred on any one activity, and are designed to give guests a rounded experience of the culture, the scenery, the history and the wildlife of the chosen area. But for guests wishing to have a hiking holiday with us, we arrange personalised experiences that match their expectations. Just get in touch and let's chat!
  • Do I need to be very fit to book your tours?
    Our tours are designed for people of any age with reasonable physical abilities, but we are always caring of individual difficulties and limitations, and we assist or suggest alternative activities for anyone concerned about particular elements of the trip.
  • Do you organise speciality tours for people with particular interests such as bird-watching, wildlife, photography, etc?
    We arrange specific-interest tours for any group of enthusiasts, with specialist guides to lead and advise as required. Just let us know what you would like us to facilitate for you and your friends.
  • Are children welcome on your tours?
    We are very happy to have young people on our tours and, as with the comment about age limits above, we are always happy to chat about the general suitability of any tour for the children concerned.
  • How safe is Ethiopia at the present time?
    For an answer to this question, see our latest newsletter on the 'News' tab above, where we update each month. Ethiopia is a large country and we only take our guests to areas where things are stable and secure. The UK FCDO is the ultimate judge of these matters and we follow their advice.
  • How safe are Madagascar and Kenya if I choose those trips?
    As with Ethiopia, look at our latest newsletter on the 'News' tab above, where we update each month. But in general terms, these countries are usually welcoming and secure. But we still consult the FCDO on a daily basis.
  • I shall be a solo traveller on your small-group tour. Is that OK?
    Absolutely it is! More than half of our guests are solo travellers who are joining our small and friendly groups to have social and enjoyable experiences.
  • Is there any age limit for your tours?
    We have no stated age limits on our tours, and we are always happy to chat with potential guests about the overall suitability of their tour choice.
  • Are there any special health requirements for the country where I want to tour?
    Standard vaccinations are highly recommended for people travelling in each of the African countries where we tour. Each guest however is responsible for their own chosen level of protection. Otherwise, none of the countries where we tour demands any compulsory protection at present. For your interest and information, here are three separate links to the relevant pages on the excellent NHS Fit For Travel website: https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations/africa/ethiopia https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations/africa/madagascar https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations/africa/kenya
  • Can you cater for special dietary requirements?
    The countries where we travel all have a good variety of food available, both local and more international. Whatever your dietary requirement, we can make sure that you have a satisfying and enjoyable time on your tour.
  • I am concerned about the political stability of the country where I want to travel.
    We ourselves monitor each of the countries where we tour on a daily basis to check on any political and social situations. We always give clear and prompt advice if we feel that there is any situation that may affect the success of our tours and the well-being of our guests.
  • How much walking is involved in your tours?
    Most tours have one or two walks included in the itinerary, but they are rarely of a taxing nature, and we can always come up with alternative activities if people feel over-challenged by any one tour element.
  • How many people do you have in one of your small-group tours?
    Our guest lists are limited to about eight people per tour, although they are frequently even smaller in practice. We like to keep the numbers personal and friendly, with no umbrellas held aloft in front of larger groups!
  • Do I need a visa?
    You will need a visa for each of the tours that we offer, and we shall help you obtain that according to the country you are visiting. We are happy to do the whole process for you if you wish.
  • Can I transfer my trip free of charge?
    The answer to this question is already in this website's 'Cancellation policies'. Here is the relevant section: "Where a guest chooses to change tours rather than cancel, and given that this comes into effect at least 30 days before the commencement of the original tour, we shall happily facilitate this, subject to a £100 administrative fee."
  • Is my tour with you guaranteed once I have booked?
    In almost every case, the answer is 'yes', provided that we have a minimum of just two people committed to the tour. If a solo traveller is the first person to book for any group tour, we shall be happy to accept their booking, but shall withhold the definite confirmation of that tour until such time as we have at least one other person on the guest list. The only possible change to this arrangement might just be if there arose any factors outside of our control that meant we could not go ahead with the tour - political or social problems that might prove a danger to our guests. We monitor the situation on a daily basis in all countries where we travel. We never go ahead with any tour if the UK Foreign Office gives a strong warning against the trip UNLESS every guest on that tour is still committed to the journey despite those warnings.
  • What details do you want from me when you are booking my flights?
    In order to make the bookings for the flights on your behalf, we need to know your full name (exactly as on your passport) and your passport number. When you make your tour booking with us, we ask you to fill in a very straightforward proforma giving us your personal details, and these two items are included in that process.
  • Will you provide a refund if my trip is cancelled?
    If a tour is cancelled for social or political reasons beyond our control, you will receive a complete refund of any finances already lodged with us. If a tour is cancelled by 'Ethiopian Experiences' themselves (which is almost totally unlikely), you will again receive a complete refund of any finances already lodged with us. If you yourself cancel your place on a tour, for whatever reason, after committing to that tour with your deposit and any other finances already transferred to us, the cancellation policies advertised on this website will apply. You can see these by clicking here.
  • How do we go about arranging a private tour of this nature with you?
    The answer to this question is very similar indeed to the one already given above here in number 2, but with certain essential adjustments. Probably the most important 'extra' task in booking your private tour is to engage with us in as much personal discussion and planning as you need. Almost certainly we shall want very thorough conversations over WhatsApp and/or Zoom in order to answer your detailed questions, to give you as much advice as you would like, and to construct your tour in a special and individual way. You may well of course base much of your private tour on one of the itineraries detailed on our website. But you may well want to add or subtract elements to fit your wishes; you may wish to flex your tour to concentrate on your own particular enthusiasms and interests; you may wish to extend and adjust your tour in all sorts of individual ways. Everything can be discussed and flexed according to your requirements.
  • Can you help us with a private tour at the last minute?
    Yes, we certainly can. Decide where you would like to go and what you would like to see and do by reading the itineraries on this website. We shall then work speedily to give you any further advice and make sure that your tour is securely in place.
  • Can we book a private trip with Ethiopian Experiences?
    If you would like to do your travelling as a couple or group of friends without others coming along on the same trip, we can arrange that for you without a problem. There is likely to be a small extra charge per person for the private tour, but we shall keep that to a minimum to facilitate your arrangements. For more information on this, see FAQs >> Money Matters >> 04 We can also assist you with a solo tour if that is your wish.
  • Can I ask for a single room on your tours?
    You may choose to have a single room on our tours without any extra charge.
  • What are the benefits of booking a tour with you rather than organising everything myself?
    Independent travel in the three countries where we tour is perfectly possible. However, getting things organised and making one's own arrangements in these countries is far from easy without the experience and knowledge of experts to help you. Wifi is not yet a standard facility for tourism here in East Africa and few hotels have a truly reliable online booking service. Likewise, finding a good driver with a well-maintained vehicle can be very difficult without some 'inside knowledge'. And you might well be charged excessive prices along the way. There are all sorts of experiences on offer in one of our group tours that would be almost impossible on one's own - cultural visits, personal introductions and the like. And being part of a small and friendly group offers its own special experiences and memories. Don't forget that choosing an 'Ethiopian Experiences' tour also means that you are supporting some very needy charity work in Ethiopia. What would we recommend? Come with us - definitely!
  • Is it possible that there may be changes to the itinerary after I have booked my place?
    While we make every attempt to adhere to the advertised arrangements for each tour, flexibility and responsiveness to local conditions is always necessary, and we reserve the right to flex details in order to create a successful and enjoyable tour. This can apply to any aspects of that tour - routes, activities, schedules, hotels and transportation. In every case such changes will only be applied to ensure the best experience for our guests.
  • Will you book all the flights for me?
    We normally make all the flight bookings for our guests through our agents whom we have used for more than ten years. We take no profit from this process, but we are able to be confident that any changes or adjustments in the flight schedules will be notified to us efficiently and promptly.
  • Can I do extra nights before or after my tour?
    We shall be happy to help you in whatever you wish when you are planning your tour with 'Ethiopian Experiences'. Whether you wish to arrive early, leave late, or book other elements outside of the standard tour, we shall be at your service!
  • What is the latest that I can commit to one of your group tours?
    This is never an easy question to answer. We could well say that the very latest date that we could receive commitment for a tour would be a month before the departure date. But we would of course prefer more time ideally to get everything carefully into place for you. Leaving your commitment as late as that would perhaps risk the possibility that the stated group size of about eight guests would already have been achieved. With any tour, we cannot guess how and when the guest list is likely to develop, especially given recent uncertainties with adventurous travel. This said, we pride ourselves on trying to be as responsive as possible to people’s requirements. Even if guests were to ask for a tour with a very short lead time indeed, we would still do our utmost to put things into place. In such a case however, the tour provided might well need to be on a private rather than a small-group basis. (See the following FAQ in this category)
  • I now find I can't travel on the dates I booked for. What can I do?
    A full answer to this question can be found as item (5) of our 'Cancellation policies' which can be seen by clicking here.
  • Will you inform me if government travel advice changes once I have made a booking?
    Yes, we shall certainly do so, and you will also receive our monthly newsletter in which an assessment of the political and social safety in each tour area is made.
  • How do I actually go about booking a place on one of your small-group tours?
    Let's keep it simple: (1) Choose your tour Read everything about the tours on our website, checking every detail and asking us by email if there is anything at all of which you are unsure. Make your choice. (2) Let us know of your decision Send us an email telling us of your wishes. We shall check that places are available for you on the tour you have chosen, and then we shall put your name on the guest list for that tour. (3) Transfer the deposit to us Send us the standard deposit of £200 by bank transfer to confirm your place on the tour. As soon as we have received it, we shall email you to confirm your place. From that moment on, we shall guide you in all your preparations for the tour. We shall book your flights for you (assuming that you would like us to do so) and we shall in every way make sure that all arrangements are in place for your wonderful experience with us. It really is as easy as that.
  • Will I know in advance the names of the hotels where I shall be staying?
    The fourth of our preparatory tour notes will tell you exactly where you will be staying, along with a photo of each hotel. After every completed tour, we reconsider all details of the trip and discuss the comments of the guests. We constantly reassess all hotels and all restaurants that we use, just in case we think that we can do better!
  • Shall I be sharing a room during the trip?
    If you are a couple or a pair of friends, we hope that you will wish to share rooms. You frequently get a good deal more space by choosing a double room, and you can choose whether you would like a double bed or a pair of twin beds. If you are a solo traveller, we would normally assume that you want a single room of your own. But if you are happy to share a room with another solo, then we shall be glad to know that and see whether a second person on your tour feels the same way.
  • Will I be accompanied by a tour leader throughout?
    A staff member of Ethiopian Experiences will accompany you every step of the way during your tour with us in Ethiopia, Madagascar or Kenya. But if you fancy a couple of hours of your own free time, you only have to say!
  • What is the food like on your tours?
    We enjoy local food whenever we choose to, but we usually focus our dining on a more international style of catering. Ethiopian traditional food is adored by some, but is not always to the taste of everyone. Madagascan food shows the clear influence of the French colonisation in the last century and is of high quality. Food in Kenya is regularly delicious and appealing. If you have special requirements in these areas, we shall make sure that you are provided for and are not disappointed.
  • Can we choose whether a double room has twin beds or a double bed?
    Yes. Simple as that!
  • Can I drink the tap water in the countries where I shall be travelling?
    We usually don't recommend our guests to drink from the taps in their hotels. Bottled water is found everywhere and is reliable and safe.
  • What is included in the cost of your tours?
    The advertised cost of your tour pays for absolutely everything except visas and flights. Otherwise, you will not need cash at all unless (1) you want to purchase extra items from the restaurant menu (2) you fancy some alcoholic drinks with your meal (3) you see some souvenirs that appeal to you! We are happy to run a 'tab' for each guest on a tour, and we can then settle up at the end of the trip.
  • When and how will I receive the essential information for my trip?
    About two months prior to departure, we start to send you a suite of seven preparatory tour notes. By the end of that process, you will have everything you require to ensure an amazing experience with us. And we shall be ready for your last-minute queries at any time.
  • Will I need to buy my own meals and drinks?
    No - but see the previous answer above here for fine-tuning.
  • What sort of road transport do you use on your tours?
    If you are touring with us in Ethiopia, we can tell you that 'Ethiopian Experiences' owns a fleet of excellent Toyota vehicles - three very new landcruisers, and one roomy High Roof tourist vehicle. If for any reason our own vehicles are not available for your tour, then we hire similar vehicles for you from our associates. In Madagascar on our road trip down the RN7, we use a 22-seater tourist vehicle with huge, uncluttered windows so as to give you an A1 view of the wonderful and ever-changing countryside. In Kenya, where we only have one day of road-trip travel, we use a comfortable and well-maintained minibus with a very friendly and knowledgeable driver to enlighten our journey. In the Maasai Mara, we have superb off-road vehicles with roofs that stand up on stilts and allow you to stand and view the memorable wildlife sights that we shall provide. Just occasionally in all three countries, where we have short urban journeys to accomplish, we may well use local transport/tuktuks to give a little excitement and colour to your experience.
  • When/where do I join the tour?
    Most of our guests travel together in order to reach the start of their tour (usually an airport in the capital city). If you choose to be there early under your own steam, we shall make sure that you know everything necessary to meet up with the rest of us at the pre-arranged time and place.
  • How do I make a payment?
    We have a holding account with Barclays Bank here in the UK for all tour finances. In order to transfer finances to us for your deposit, for the flights payment, for the balance of tour cost payment, or for any other reason, please use the following details: Holding account name: C GRANT Holding account number: 20780332 Sort code: 20 – 41 – 41 IBAN - GB84 BARC 2041 4120 7803 32 SWIFT - BUKBGB22 If you are in the UK, you should only need the first three of these details.
  • Is tipping included in your tour price?
    Yes. We tip all of our local guides, drivers and other helpers generously on your behalf. But if you want to give a small extra gift to any individual for particular personal help, that gift will certainly be very welcome. We can advise you of the amount that might be suitable in any circumstance.
  • Do you require a deposit when I book a tour?
    We ask the standard deposit of £200 from each person who makes a booking with us. That deposit is refundable if a cancellation occurs according to the policies that can be read here: Cancellation policies
  • What happens to my money when I have paid for the trip?
    We keep the bulk of the finances securely in a UK holding bank account until just before the departure date for any tour.
  • What should I do about travel money?
    We are happy to arrange local cash on your behalf so that you can receive it at the start of your tour. We make no profit from that action, but it saves guests wasting time queueing in banks on arrival. As a default, we make sure we have about £100 ready for each guest at the start of a tour. If more is required, we can arrange that without a problem. If guests find they don't spend all of their local currency during the tour, we are happy to convert any remaining cash back into pounds sterling when the tour has finished.
  • Do your tours include the cost of international flights?
    No. You will find very few tour companies who try to include any flights in their quoted tour cost. People may arrive to do the tour from all sorts of places in the world. Some people wish to travel in luxury by using Business Class and others prefer to fly in Economy. And air fares can change wildly according to the season and adjustments in global economics. We give an estimate of flight costs at the bottom of each tour itinerary page on this website, but the accurate amounts will only be known at the time of booking.
  • Will I be able to use my bank cards to get cash on this tour?
    Yes, in almost every place we travel. But if we find ourselves distant from a town for a short period during a tour, we shall always be happy to help you out with a short-term loan.
  • Should I get travel insurance?
    We expect each guest to obtain a suitable level of personal insurance to cover any eventualities that may arise during the tour. We shall be pleased to know the details of your insurance policy so as to have them to hand on your behalf.
  • When do I have to pay my final balance?
    We ask for the balance of tour costs to be settled and paid up at least one calendar month before departure. We are happy to receive this balance at an earlier stage if more convenient for the guest.
  • How much cash will I need during the trip?
    Each guest has individual needs when it comes to cash spending during a tour. As a default, we recommend a sum of about £100 as a suitable fund for each guest, given that we are happy to change any remaining cash back to sterling for you at the end of the tour.
  • Do you charge a single supplement for solo travellers?
    No, no ... and no! We don't think it's fair for a solo traveller to have to pay more for their tour with us, and we therefore charge no supplements for solo travellers.
  • What is the best way to carry money for my tour?
    You will need to bring at least £100 in cash with you at the start of a tour so that we can do the local currency exchange on arrival as described in the previous section. Otherwise, you can either bring more sterling, dollars or euros in cash for your personal spending, or you can rely on Visa or Mastercard to allow you to withdraw cash as we travel. And if we find ourselves in a slightly out-of-the-way place at the moment when you want that extra cash, we shall always be happy to give you a short-term loan until we reach the next ATM.
  • How much more will it cost if we want to have a private tour?
    We try to make the price of all our tours as reasonable as we can, but of course we cannot charge quite the same amount per person for a private tour with two or three people as we do for a group tour with five or six people. We therefore use a fairly standard (although sometimes flexible) formula for pricing our private tours. Whatever the advertised per person cost for the small group tour, we charge a private tour supplement of £500 per person on top of that cost, no matter which of our tours is involved. We can usually treat a four-person tour as a particularly small group tour financially and price it as per the advertised rate without any supplement being applied. And if your private tour is for just three people, we shall be happy to discuss a possible discount in that case.
  • Am I covered if something goes wrong?
    All providers associated with your 'Ethiopian Experiences' tour are fully insured according to the tourism regulations in each of the countries where we travel. Likewise, your flights are ATOL covered by our excellent and trustworthy UK agent. But you will have much greater peace of mind if you also cover your trip with a suitable level of personal insurance. This relatively small extra investment could save you a great deal of expense and worry in the event of problems.
  • What information will I receive from you to prepare me for the tour?
    About two months before any tour, we start to send you a suite of separate 'preparatory tour notes' that deal with every aspect of your upcoming tour experience. By the time of your departure, you will have all the knowledge needed to feel confident and optimistic about your upcoming experience with us. But you can always ask us questions at any time and we shall respond promptly.
  • What luggage can I take with me?
    We ask all tour guests to limit themselves to just one main suitcase plus as moderate a hand luggage item as possible. The more you keep your luggage to a minimum, the less stress and backache you will experience. Your suitcase should certainly weigh under 20kg, and it will be more comfortable for you if that can be nearer to 15kg. Don't forget that you will need to be responsible for moving your own luggage when necessary, although we shall of course help you with the lifting if and when there is a need.
  • Where will I find my flight details?
    We shall make sure that you have everything you need to facilitate your flights to and from the country where you are touring. And if you mislay any of the documents before departure, we shall be promptly on hand to assist.
  • Can you help arrange my travel visa?
    Yes. We shall give you all advice needed to obtain the visa for your tour, and we shall be happy to do the process for you if you would like us to. (Some of the visa websites are anything but easy to navigate!)
  • What should I pack?
    How long is a piece of string?! But we can (and do) give guidance that might help you with your packing. Here below is a kit list that might guide you to some extent, but the idea is not to pack everything that you see here! Choose wisely, carefully and economically. (Wait for the image below to appear, if necessary)
  • Who do you recommend for my travel insurance?
    There are many companies on the internet offering good value personal travel insurance. Websites such as https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/insurance/cheap-travel-insurance/ or https://www.moneysupermarket.com/travel-insurance/ or https://www.travelsupermarket.com/ can point you in the right direction
  • What sort of footwear will I need for my tour?
    The general answer to this question is 'a good pair of walking shoes'. Hiking boots will rarely be necessary, but they are fine if you are more comfortable in those. Flimsier footwear might well be ideal for more relaxing moments, but something tougher is needed in streets and on paths that may be somewhat uneven and perhaps stony.
  • Do I need vaccinations?
    Vaccinations and all other health matters are in the hands of each guest and their medical advisors. We would thoroughly recommend you protect yourself in a suitable way for any of our tours, and you can get some good advice in advance by going to the following NHS website and keying in the country and area where you will be travelling: https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/
  • Can I opt out of a particular activity while on tour?
    Of course! What could be nicer than to wave goodbye to the rest of the tour group and then settle comfortably in your room, in the garden, or by the pool and relax with some music or a good book!
  • Do I get any free time on my tour?
    People generally like to have lots to do during their touring days, and we make sure that we provide activities of all sorts on each tour. But if and when you feel like some 'time off', and provided we are not moving between two separate centres, you will have every opportunity to choose what you do and have some peace when you want it.
  • How safe are my belongings on this trip?
    In over twelve years of touring, we have never had any belongings go missing from a hotel room. Out in the street, we once had a small camera snatched from a guest's hand in Addis Ababa. And that is all. But we still remain on the alert at all times to keep you safe and secure.
  • Will I find western style toilets everywhere on my trip?
    In every hotel where we stay, and in most restaurants where we eat, there are decent and clean western-style toilets. While we are travelling, we of course find ourselves in a variety of situations where proper loos are not to be found. But we plan our days and we inform our guests as carefully as we can as to the facilities that we shall be meeting.
  • What essential documents will I need to have with me?
    You will of course require the usual documents associated with your flight into the country where your tour is taking place - flight tickets, a passport and (usually) a visa. If the visa hasn't been obtained in advance (we shall advise you about this, never fear), then that visa will be obtained in the arrival airport itself, and you will have all the instructions needed to achieve that. No additional documents will be necessary for any of our tours - but we shall advise very clearly should that situation change.
  • What are the hotels like on your tours?
    We learned many years ago that people are much happier on tour if they know that they have comfort, cleanliness and peace at the start and end of each day. We therefore use the very best hotels available in each place, with the exception of the capital cities, where we avoid the 'posh' international options that are (a) unnecessarily expensive and (b) often lacking in local colour and 'feel'. In this way, we give you very 'real' experiences wherever we travel, while keeping our tours economical for you in the very best sense. You will not be disappointed!
  • How do I make contact with you if necessary while I am on tour?
    You will always have a member of the 'Ethiopian Experiences' team with you while you are on tour with us. But should the need arise, you can email us on info@ethiopianexperiences.com or WhatsApp text us on +44 7890 407353 or even phone us on our Ethiopian number using +251 910 588886
  • What will happen when I arrive in the country ready for my tour?
    Very often you will arrive with a member of the 'Ethiopian Experiences' staff by your side on the plane. But if that is not the case, we shall be waiting for you at the airport and we shall have a very visible 'Ethiopian Experiences' sign in our hands in order to make secure contact with you.
  • Will I be able to charge my electrical appliances?
    Yes. Good electrical facilities are in all hotels where we stay, and you will always have standard sockets in your room. We shall make sure you know what adaptors are necessary (if any) before you travel.
  • Will I find wifi during my tour?
    Good wifi is still not nearly as widespread in Africa as it is in Europe and elsewhere, but the majority of the hotels where we stay will have a decent connection, and we can often find wifi in the more urban coffeeshops that we use. Your tour guides and accompanists will usually have smartphones with 3G/4G connectivity. They will be happy to help you if you need to make important contact with someone back home.
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