Africa Travel Phone and Internet Tips
What are my options for staying in contact while on safari?
I get this question from clients all of the time, so I figured it changed over time to share what I have found out from years of touring in Africa. My efforts to live related to the office from Africa used to result in frightening smartphone payments. But over the last several years, the mobile generation has virtually taken the continent by using hurricanes, and it has gotten less difficult and cheaper to call across the world. At this point, in case you are in East or Southern Africa and want to live in touch by cell phone or electronic mail, there are three superior alternatives: use your phone, rent a cell phone, get a nearby SIM Card.
Bring Your Phone and Use It
This is an excellent option if you feel you need to be available in your smartphone quantity or if you need frequent get entry to email to your smartphone. If that’s what you need, here are your selections:
Get a global calling plan: It will feed you anywhere from $1.50 to $2.Ninety a minute to call America from your US cellphone from most of East and Southern Africa. The $1.50 in step with minute comes from my mother and business partner. They currently used the “International Roaming-Global Add-Ons” plan from AT&T to name America while visiting in South Africa and Kenya. This was essentially a short supplement to her current program that facilitates manage expenses; she got:
a hundred minutes of voice for $120. You could purchase as little as 15 mins for $30; however, you need to determine how an awful lot you need in advance. If you cross over the amount you pick, the inline with-minute expenses go up. Keep in thoughts you may be buying both sending and receiving calls.
$30 for 120mbs of information (with wi-fi availability, she didn’t come close to the use of this)
She should have introduced a certain number of text messages for a hard and fast rate as correctly.
This worked well while calling the United States, but her expenses were drastically higher for South Africa and Kenya.
The pricing and to be had packages will range from using the provider—for instance, the $2.Ninety/minute got here from looking up Verizon rates while calling the United States from South Africa. They no longer seem to have the same packages as AT&T. However, their “International Trip Planner” will tell you voice and information fees in keeping with the united states of America and what telephones will work where. Before you depart, test with your issuer to verify if your smartphone will work, what the total charges are, and if you can buy mins or data in packages as a way to lower the cost. Remember that you may be buying incoming and outgoing calls.
Airplane Mode: If your company does now not cowl Africa, otherwise you locate it too highly-priced, ensure your telephone is off or in airplane mode ALL THE TIME. If you land in Nairobi and your smartphone unearths a facts network and begins downloading your emails, your roaming information prices will be scary. I forgot about my remaining ride and was given $60 worth of expenses in only some mins. When your phone is in-plane mode, you can nevertheless connect with available wireless networks to go online and look at your email. If you have got an iPhone, you may get texts out of your friends and circle of relatives with iPhones (iMessages). At this point, many houses have wi-fi, so in case you take this path, you will have plenty of internets get admission to.
Rent a Phone Specifically for International Calls or Data:
This is probably my least favored choice however, if you think you’ll need to apply lots of facts and your provider does no longer have an excellent international facts package or if you are going somewhere very far off, here are some alternatives:
Rent a cell phone inside the US: For a trip to Zambia, Botswana, and South Africa the ultimate year, I rented a Blackberry from Cellhire USA LLC. It values approximately $a hundred and twenty for 14 days. I used it simplest for statistics, and that worked properly, but the price consistent with the minute for calls to America could be much like or higher than the prices above from US carriers.