What you need to know if you’re on a Tanzania Safari tour with the failed travel agent.

The travel giant company,  Thomas Cook collapses after last-minute bailout plans to save the failing firm which has been running for 178-years. The tour company based in the U.K has ceased to trade with immediate effect, this is according to the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority. Thomas Cook has gone ahead to publish travel advice for tourists on holiday with the affected company at the following website thomascook.caa.co.uk.

Apart from Tanzania Safari holiday goers that have booked with Thomas Cook, many tourists around the world have also been affected by this situation either while on holiday or with long term plans of coming to Tanzania for Tanzania Safari tours with Thomas Cook. Fortunately, we can advise you what to do next and to claim a refund on your tour to Kilimanjaro if Thomas Cook goes into administration.

Atol protection for Kilimanjaro climbers

The Atol travel plan protects people who buy Tanzania tour package holidays that are all-inclusive plus a flight, through UK tour operators and agents like in the case of Thomas Cook. If you have booked a Tanzania safari or just a flight to Tanzania through the Thomas cook, Atol protection ensures you do not lose your money or be left stranded in Tanzania as Atol protection means they will be flown back home free of charge.

Clients who have already booked and actually paid for an upcoming Tanzania safari with Thomas Cook should a right to a refund as part of the Atol scheme.

Unfortunately, if you didn’t book your tour as part of a package you might not be Atol protected, but you may still be able to claim a refund of some sort through your travel insurance or credit card issuer – as per your booking terms and agreements.’ For more information about the Atol scheme and protection, read here.

What to do if you’re already in Tanzania for your safari

Now that, unfortunately, Thomas Cook has gone into administration, this is what you should do:

  1. Continue your Tanzania safari as normal.
  2. Arrive for your return flight as normal unless something changes and you receive an official update. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will try their best to get you on a return flight as close to your original departure time as possible.
  3. Your costs for returning home will be covered. Keep receipts of any additional costs you may be asked to pay as a result. Send a claim to The Civil Aviation Authority on your return home so that a refund can be arranged for all reasonable expenses.

Here’s more information on how to make an Atol claim if you’re currently abroad. 

Do I have to pay for my hotel/camp/lodge during and after a safari?

Since most Tanzania safari itineraries include your hotel accommodation in Tanzania (Arusha) before and after your climb it will not be necessary to pay but if you’re experiencing any difficulties with your Atol-protected hotel, or if your hotel is requesting payment from you, you can call the CAA call centre on the following line: +44 1753 330 330. NB: It may take the Civil Aviation Authority a few days to secure new payment arrangements for your accommodation. Do not proceed to pay your accommodation unless given the green-light by the CAA team. If your trip is not covered by the Atol scheme, you are not entitled to make a claim for your extra expenses and additional nights of hotel accommodation under the Atol protection, but you may be able to claim for a refund or payment from your travel insurer as per the booking terms and conditions, bank or your credit card issuer. Here’s more information on how to make an Atol claim if you’re currently abroad. 

What to do if you’re planning to travel soon for a safari in Tanzania

If you’re due to travel with Thomas Cook in the near future, here is what you should do:

From 23 September 2019, all flights and Tanzania safari tours will be cancelled.

All Thomas Cook arline flights will not operate anymore, so if you have booked on a Thomas Cook Airlines flight, please do not go to your UK airport. Please double-check with your accommodation/flight provider to check if your booking is on record. Keep all your booking information and make a record of all emails and replies. If will not continue with your safari in Tanzania, make a claim under the Atol plan to get a refund.

Here’s more information on how to make an Atol claim if you’re currently abroad. 

Why has Thomas Cook collapsed?

The troubled tour company, Thomas Cook tried to secure a £750m cash injection to see it safe for low season of winter 2019-20 when the number of bookings goes down. Thomas Cook’s chief executive, Peter Fankhauser, said the company’s collapse was a ‘matter of profound regret’. Commenting as the company entered compulsory liquidation, Mr Fankhauser also had words of apology to Thomas Cook’s ‘millions of customers and thousands of employed staff’. If the company does go bust it would be the biggest-ever repatriation, with an estimated 150,000 tourists of British origin currently abroad on a variety Thomas Cook holidays that include Tanzania safari holidays. The government has 45  jets ready to bring clients back home and with 64 routes being flown today. The size of the fleet will make it UK’s fifth-largest airline. The collapse has put over 20,000 jobs at risk, including 9,000 in the United Kingdom alone.

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There’s nothing like up-to-date, relevant travel information direct from the experts – get Tranquil Journeys Tours  essential Zambia travel advice before you go.

Money & Spending
Zambia’s unit of currency is the Zambian Kwacha although US Dollars are widely accepted at lodges and hotels throughout the country. If you plan on paying by credit card, be advised that high commissions are sometimes charged around Victoria Falls, and the more remote lodges may have difficulty in processing credit card payments – check with your Africa Safari Expert before you leave.

Generally speaking, safaris are fully inclusive which means that all of your game drives, guided walks, meals and drinks are included apart from premium brand alcohol and imported liquors.

Tipping in Zambia is entirely at your discretion but as a guideline we recommend US $10 per person per day for your ranger and tracker and US $25 to be divided amongst the rest of the lodge staff.

When it comes to restaurants, some establishments will add service charge for your bill; if not, 10% is standard.

For in-depth tipping guidelines, enquire with one of our Africa Safari Experts – they’d be happy to share their knowledge with you.


Average summer temperatures: 17°C to 31°C

Average winter temperatures: 9°C to 23°C

Rainy season: November to April

Refer to “best time to visit Zambia” for climate charts and advice on the best times for wildlife-viewing.

What to Pack
For your Zambia safari, pack lightweight, loose-fitting clothing in natural fabrics such as cotton or linen that will keep you cool, as well as a fleece or jacket for the evenings and early mornings. Zambia is known for its excellent walking safaris so be sure to pack a pair of comfortable walking shoes, as well as a hat or cap to protect you from the sun. And if you are visiting during the rainy season, don’t forget to pack a rain coat – downpours in Zambia are generally short but very heavy.

On game drives, stick to light neutral clothing colours such as khaki, olive and brown but not white as it will quickly get dusty. Avoid black and dark blue as these colours attract tsetse flies.

When travelling in Zambia, bear in mind that the dress code is conservative so women should pack knee-length or longer skirts to wear in the towns.

Kenneth Kaunda International Airport: located 14km from Lusaka, Zambia’s major gateway is served by several direct flights but many travellers arrive via Johannesburg. Transfer to charter flights for South Luangwa, Lower Zambezi and Kafue National Parks.

Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport (Livingstone): half an hour’s drive from the falls, visitors to the Zambian side of Victoria Falls arrive via Lusaka or Johannesburg.

The distances between Zambia’s parks are considerable and infrastructure is limited, especially in the rainy season, so the easiest way to get around the country is to fly. Transfers and game drives are conducted in open-sided 4X4s.

Note that if you’re taking internal flights there is often a luggage restriction of 12kg per person packed in soft bags. Zambia is stricter about this than most countries and even bags with only one hard side might not be allowed.

Visa & Passport Requirements
All visitors to Zambia need to be in possession of a passport valid for at least six months from their date of departure. Citizens of South Africa and Zimbabwe can obtain Zambian visas upon arrival for free; for all other nationalities, tourist visas are available at all major borders, airports and sea ports.

Generally, Zambia visas are priced in four different brackets, depending on the length of stay: 7-day transit visa; single-entry visa; double-entry visa or multiple-entry visa.

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Get everything you need to know about Victoria Falls in our easy, downloadable travelers’ guide, filled with helpful information, suggestions and recommendations:

Top Travel Tips for Victoria Falls

Choosing sides: the Zambian side of the Zambezi River has a wider selection of accommodation and activities while across in Zimbabwe you’ll be rewarded with impressive views of the Main Falls. Whichever country you choose to stay in, we’d recommend budgeting enough time to visit both sides of the Falls for the full experience.

Plenty to do: Victoria Falls has long been Africa’s adventure capital; popular activities include scenic flights over the falls in helicopters or micro lights, white-water rafting (seasonal), elephant-back safaris and day trips to Chobe National Park.

Don’t miss out: most hotels or lodges will gladly arrange activities on arrival for you, however, booking in advance is recommended to ensure availability on elephant-back safaris as these are often fully booked.

Bring the kids: Victoria Falls is a top choice for a family holiday: there’s plenty to keep everyone entertained plus a good selection of kid-friendly accommodation ranging from large resorts to private 2- and 4-bedroom villas.

Go for tea: for around a century, celebrities and royalty alike have enjoyed high tea at the elegant Victoria Falls Hotel. Expect white-gloved waiters, expansive lawns and manicured gardens; the spray from the Falls provides the scenic backdrop.

Sundowner stop: the riverside deck at the Royal Livingstone in Zambian is the most popular spot to sip cocktails and toast the sunset.

Livingstone Airport (Zambia): the easiest way to fly into Livingstone is from Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport but there is a regular flight from Lusaka as well. You’ll be transferred to your lodge by minibus or 4X4.

Victoria Falls Airport (Zimbabwe): served by regular flights from Johannesburg, this airport is also on the route of a handy Windhoek/Maun flight. Moreover, as Victoria Falls is only 70km from the Botswana border, travellers can fly to Kasane Airport from the Okavango Delta or Maun Airport and then transfer to the falls by road.

Getting around Victoria Falls depends on which side you are based:

  • In Zimbabwe the town of Victoria Falls is compact enough to walk around. Most accommodation is located in town or close by and hotels run regular complimentary shuttles to the falls and other places of interest. Several hotels have such a convenient location that makes it possible to simply walk to Victoria Falls. Transfers to activities are built into the price and may be by minibus or 4X4.
  • IZambia the town of Livingstone is located nine kilometres from Victoria Falls and accommodation on the Zambian side is set along the Zambezi River rather than in town itself. Several lodges are set close enough to the falls to access them by foot while most others offer complimentary shuttle busses. Visitors to the Zambian lodges should note that a trip to Victoria Falls is often built into their day’s activity.

It’s also relatively simple to go across the border to view the Falls from a different angle, and several activities may involve a border crossing.

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Zambia’s tented camps and safari lodges give you the chance to marvel at thundering Victoria Falls or explore its famously wild and rewarding national parks while staying in comfortable and often luxurious accommodation.

If you’re looking for the grand experience, then our selection of luxury Zambia camps along the bank of the Zambezi River at Victoria Falls will surely take your breath away. But Zambia accommodation isn’t just about Victoria Falls: with unique and intimate safari camps set in prime wildlife destinations within the South Luangwa, Lower Zambezi and Kafue National Parks, Zambia accommodation is also about fantastic game-viewing in remote, largely unvisited conservation areas. Expect attentive service, good food and some of the best guiding in Africa.

Recommended Zambia Camps & Lodges:

The Royal Livingstone Resort

Location: Victoria Falls, Zambia

Plush splendour on the banks of the Zambezi River almost right where the Victoria Falls plummet to earth, the Royal Livingstone is arguably Zambia’ finest hotel.

Mfuwe Lodge
Location: South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Overlooking hippo-filled lagoons in Zambia’s game-rich South Luangwa National Park, this private, enchanting lodge is ideal for a honeymoon.

Sanctuary Puku Ridge
Location: South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
An intimate eco-friendly camp ideally positioned on an escarpment, offering panoramic views of the wildlife-rich region of South Luangwa.

Chiawa Camp
Location: Lower Zambezi, Zambia
Set overlooking the Zambezi River, this award-winning, activity-packed tented camp delivers the complete Lower Zambezi safari experience.

Sanctuary Sussi & Chuma
Location: Victoria Falls, Zambia
Set within Zambia’s Mosi-oa-Tunya Park & near Victoria Falls, Sussi & Chuma Lodge offers ‘tree-fort’ accommodation overlooking the white-watered Zambezi River

Tafika Camp
Location: South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Operating only in peak game viewing season, this multi-activity safari camp focuses on the wildlife of Zambia’s legendary South Luangwa.

Tena Tena
Location: South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Accommodating a maximum of 10 guests, this tented riverside camp delivers an intimate & personalized safari in Zambia’s South Luangwa.

Busanga Bush Camp
Location: Kafue National Park, Zambia
Safari adventurers & honeymooners will love this four-tented luxury camp, set on teeming floodplains in Zambia’s remote Kafue National Park.

Location: South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Set on the banks of the Luangwa River, Chinzombo’s six exclusive & romantic villas provide the perfect springboard into the South Luangwa National Park.

Sausage Tree Camp
Location: Lower Zambezi, Zambia
An exclusive safari camp that blends an ‘Out of Africa’ experience with opulent detail and design to offer a truly memorable holiday,

Toka Leya
Location: Victoria Falls, Zambia
Set just 20 minutes from Victoria Falls on the Zambian side of the Zambezi River, this modern tented camp & spa is a family favourite.

Tongabezi Lodge
Location: Victoria Falls, Zambia
A top choice for honeymooners & independent travellers, this tucked-away lodge has amazing accommodation overlooking the Zambezi River.

Shumba Camp
Location: Kafue National Park, Zambia
Overlooking the game-packed Busanga plains in Zambia’s wild Kafue Park, this exceptional tented camp delivers a once-in-a-lifetime safari.

The River Club
Location: Victoria Falls, Zambia
This top-end, owner-run lodge sits 18km upstream from Victoria Falls & has superb chalets overlooking the Zambezi – a perfect retreat.

Chongwe River House
Location: Lower Zambezi, Zambia
An exclusive-use retreat on the banks of the Zambezi River, 4-bedroom Chongwe River House promises an unparalleled safari experience.

Location: South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
This family-friendly riverside lodge offers superb game viewing by 4X4, boat & on foot in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park.

Location: South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Set on a river in prime game viewing country, this small, tucked-away lodge is a great choice for a wildlife-focused South Luangwa safari.

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Zambia has a sub-tropical climate and its weather is defined by a marked wet and dry season rather than summer and winter. The dry season runs from May to October and is when to go to Zambia for the best game viewing along with pleasantly mild daytime temperatures (although September and October get extremely hot).

The rainy season (December to April) is commonly called the “Green Season” as the bush is beautifully thick and green. This however makes game viewing less easy as the vegetation is so dense plus many animals move away from dry season water sources – note also when planning your Zambia safari that some lodges close during the rainy season due to flooding.

The best time to visit Victoria Falls on the Zambia side is at the end of the rainy season (March – May) when the Zambezi River is in full flood and the falls are at their most spectacular. Be prepared to get drenched by the spray!

If you travel during the dry season (especially in October and November) there may be no water coming over the Zambian side of the falls, in which case you’ll need to cross over to Zimbabwe to see the main falls. Certain activities such as white-water rafting are only on offer when water levels are low, and this is also the time to take a dip in the Devil’s Pool – a natural rock pool right on the edge of the falls.

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