Charlie’s Travels is an off the beaten track travel agency based in Nairobi, Kampala and Cape Town. We choose to go off the beaten track. Together with an enthusiastic team of passionate travellers and Africa lovers, Charlie makes the real Africa accessible to you.
What makes Charlie’s Travels different from other travel companies?
We develop our own adventures. No middle man with us! Charlie has been traveling through Africa since 2014 and wherever he goes – from unknown Maasai terrain to the beaches of the Indian Ocean – he develops new trips, routes and experiences together with inventive residents. Also, we are ‘on the ground’. Therefore, we work well with local partners and we can offer unique experiences.
What is the advantage of working on the ground?
Charlie’s Travels is the only Dutch travel agency based in Kenya – our international team works in our jungle villa in Nairobi, Kampala or Cape Town. Because we are on the ground, we have an endless amount of first-hand Africa knowledge. Moreover, this means that our team is available 24/7 if you go off the beaten track here!
Getting in touch with Charlie’s Travels
What is a Travel Consultant?
If you want more information about a certain country, you will be connected to one of our Travel Consultants. They specialise in East and/or Southern Africa and will work with you to find the ideal trip.
What language do you travel consultants speak?
You are mainly in contact with one of our Dutch or English Travel Consultants. After booking the trip, a smooth operator comes into play, also known as the one who is responsible for all bookings. This team mainly consists of Swahili and English speakers. The Travel Consultant remains your main point of contact.
How long will it take to contact me?
We prefer to contact you within one hour, but let’s say we strive to contact you on the next working day. Is it taking too long? Send us a message via chat.
Can I contact a Travel Consultant by phone?
You can! We can be reached from Monday to Friday between 09:00 and 17:00 (Dutch time): +31857430344. Saturday and Sunday we can be reached via chat between 09:00 and 19:00.
A tailor-made trip
What is a co-creation?
This means that we put together the trip with you. Your input and our Africa knowledge ensure the ideal tailor-made trip. It gives you complete freedom in choosing a route. Of course, we will ensure that it is realistic ;).
Can I make suggestions myself?
Yes, we love it! The more we know about your wishes, the better! Do you want to sleep in luxury lodges, camp in the wild, or experience the real African household in a homestay? Do you prefer to travel around by public transport, a car with a driver or would you like to drive a 4×4 yourself on the African terrains? An active journey? Or just relaxing on the beach? Nothing is too crazy for us!
What’s the price?
We tailor each trip based on your wishes and our Africa knowledge. The price depends on several factors: the country, the route, the company, transport, accommodations, and activities. We naturally take your budget into account! Ask our Travel Consultants for a price indication.
Do you also book airline tickets?
Our travellers often book airline tickets themselves. We are happy to give advice and ensure that the trip matches your flight.
What is included in the price?
Because the trip is tailor-made, this differs for every trip. We like to make it as inclusive as possible so that you can experience the most complete trip possible. Everything is negotiable and possible!
Can I plan a trip online?
Our trips are built from a co-creation and are completely custom-made. That is why we do not have standard packages ready.
Do you also offer group travel?
No, we do not offer group travel. Gather your friends and come this way together! We do offer group safaris: nice because then you share the costs making it more affordable.
Is anyone traveling with us on our trip?
You travel independently. In consultation, we arrange drivers, guides or rangers. We are of course available and not far away to advise you. During a sorority trip, someone will accompany you.
Is it safe to travel to Africa?
We focus on travelling in South and East Africa. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs mainly provides yellow-coloured travel advice for these countries, which means: travel is allowed, but pay attention to the safety risks. Our team is spread over the countries where we also offer travel. Charlie’s Angels are present in six different countries. The safety of our travellers is a top priority for Charlie’s Travels. We continuously monitor security in various countries, including the political situation. We do not send travellers to unsafe areas. In case of emergency, we can always be reached via our emergency telephone number. Furthermore, your safety is also largely based on common sense: do not walk down the street after dark, avoid the bad neighbourhoods (unless accompanied by guides) and adjust your clothes and jewellery to the area where you are. Of course, you will also receive advice on this and you can always ask questions.
What to do in an emergency?
Our tours are guided by local partners who have a lot of understanding and knowledge of what to do in emergencies. There are also activities that you can do on your own. In case of an emergency, there is a Charlie’s Travels emergency number, which you can call 24/7. We work together with Amref Flying Doctors. This means that they can assist from the air in case of calamities.
What about malaria?
In malaria-prone areas, it is prudent to wear long-sleeved clothing after sunset. Use DEET 30% mosquito repellent and apply it to bare body parts; that’s your face, neck, hands, and ankles. You can take Malarone (prophylaxis) medicines that make it much more difficult for the parasite to settle. Contact the GGD to get medical advice and prescription for medication.
Is the food and drink safe?
It is wise to wash your hands before and after eating. The safest thing to do is to use antiseptic soap. Do not drink water from the tap, only from bottled water. Also, be careful not to put tap water ice cubes in your drink. To be on the safe side, take diarrhoea inhibitors with you if you still experience problems.
Is the transport safe?
Depending on your trip, we arrange (all) the transport for you. These are, for example, local transport partners whom we work with a lot and who bring you from A to B with a Safari Van or Land Cruiser but we also use train transport and domestic flights. During a self-drive trip, we provide a (downloaded) road map of the country concerned. The quality of the roads varies enormously per country and area. Your contact person knows everything about this and can inform you before and during the trip. Other drivers can always be unpredictable, so always fasten your seat belt and take care of your belongings.
What about healthcare?
We are happy to advise and help you, but we are not doctors. Therefore, our advice cannot be regarded as binding medical advice. Therefore, we recommend that you schedule a meeting with the GGD or GP in time to arrange vaccinations and other means. Also, take travel insurance.
Am I on time to book a trip?
You can still contact us last minute. A little flexibility is then required. We recommend that you book a long journey at least six months to a year in advance.
Do you also book international airline tickets?
Our travellers often book international airline tickets themselves. We are happy to give advice and ensure that the trip matches your flight.
Are the domestic flights booked for us when needed?
Yes. Depending on your route, we advise on transport and will book the domestic flights for you if necessary.
Do we still have to pay for the data under ’extra’ in your itinerary?
In principle, these extras are included, unless explicitly stated exclusive.
When and how can I pay?
When your route is complete to your liking, the Travel Consultant will send an invoice by email. Do you want to know more about the payment terms? Please contact your Travel Consultant.
When do we have to make the second payment?
That depends on how far in advance you book the trip. Usually, the second deposit is 60 days in advance.
What is GGTO?
Should Charlie’s Travels become financially incapacitated, we offer the guarantee fund, GGTO, a guarantee that travellers will receive their paid travel money back and possibly be reimbursed for their return trip.
Do I need a visa and how do I arrange this?
This is different for every country. Your Travel Consultant will inform you about the visa and any other documents before departure.
Which vaccinations do you recommend?
Unfortunately, we do not advise on vaccinations and malaria pills. This is different for every destination and person. We advise you to contact the GGD / Travel Clinic or your doctor for advice.
Which insurance do I need?
You need to travel insurance and we strongly recommend cancellation insurance.
How do I receive my travel documents?
You will receive an extensive information package by email about four weeks before departure.
Do I need a cancellation insurance?
You do not have to have it, but we do recommend it.
Is it safe to travel with Charlie’s Travels?
By working directly with communities in East Africa that are unknown to the general public, we can contribute to the development of these regions by closing business deals differently. We are on the ground and we take advantage of this unique position by helping the people we work with – drivers, hostel owners, or guides – to set up an independent and sustainable business. We make sure that the money ends up with the right people and does not end up in the wrong (sometimes foreign) pockets. Also, we strive to hire as many Africans as possible at our offices. They know their country and region best, of course, so that we can continue to offer new off the beaten track experiences.
What about your Corporate Social Responsibility?
Periods of drought are becoming longer and more intensive in (East) Africa. At the same time, 2018 was the wettest year ever. The drought causes agricultural and raw material loss but the rain also washes away a lot. Many people are in trouble because of these weather extremes. At Charlie’s Travels, we try to reduce the footprint of our transportation, accommodations, and consumption.
Nature and wildlife are perhaps the region’s most valuable assets. A big part of this is that we offset our travellers’ emissions through one of our local partner projects. We also encourage visits to conservancies where more attention is paid to flora and fauna than in wildlife parks. Also, we analyze the footprint of accommodations, so that we can choose accommodations that operate in an environmentally responsible manner. Our goal is to offer a low carbon footprint travel experience.
What about tipping in Africa?
As previously mentioned, we work a lot with local communities, which makes our mutual bond very important. We want to prevent the communities from falling victim to tourism at all costs, both physically and economically, as well as, socially and culturally. Local cultural values are of intrinsic importance, both for the people themselves and for the trips we want to offer. That is why we provide all our travellers with information about behaviour, habits, and tips. We encourage cultural exchange and we try to frame our content as little as possible. As a company we may be young, rugged, and adventurous, but only with good, respectful partnerships can we continue to organise off the beaten track trips.
Do you have any behavioral guidelines?
At Charlie’s Travels, we want to make a positive impact on the environment with our travels. We work very hard for that, but you can also contribute! Simply by reading carefully about the country you are going to and how you can best behave there. We have made it easy and listed all behavioral guidelines for you. If you are going to Africa, please read this document carefully before you leave!
Feedback and reviews
Where can I share my experiences?
How nice of you to be willing to share your travel experience! We like to be tagged on social media channels. Or send your story to [email protected].
Where can I give my feedback?
We would love to hear your feedback to keep developing ourselves. Your Travel Consultant is responsible for your trip. Contact him or her for feedback.
Can I get references from travellers who have previously booked a trip with you?
On this page, you can read the stories of our travellers, you will also find our Facebook reviews and also our Google reviews. Would you prefer personal contact? Ask us for more information.