Photo © Getty Images / Ph. Francesco Ciccotti

Travel Insurance for Safari Tours I World Nomads

Heading out to search for the Big 5? In addition to the perfect binoculars, you may also want to consider travel insurance for your next safari adventure. 

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Some people like to go wild when they travel and some people like to go into the wild. If your version of wild involves searching for the Big 5 in the Serengeti or Maasai Mara, you’re our kind of person.  

Just imagine-you’re bouncing around in your rugged 4x4 jeep as you trek through Kruger National Park in South Africa. Will today be the day you see a herd of elephants crossing the Sabie River or a lioness out on a hunt with her cub?  

You’re then quickly shaken from your daydream by a loud thud on the hood of your jeep. You make eye contact with a leopard before he leaps off and runs into the bush. It’s a memory that you’ll be bragging about for years to come. However, it is also at that moment where you realize just how unpredictable wildlife can be.  

You also start to think about all of the what-ifs and wonder if you should have considered a travel insurance plan with adventure sports coverage.  

Should I consider adventure travel insurance for a safari?   

There is such an allure of seeing wild animals in their natural habitat, but you have to remember - these majestic creatures can sometimes have erratic behavior. If you’re on a safari with an experienced guide, the chances of something happening are minimal. When you’re dealing with wildlife though, anything can happen.  

You’ve surely heard about the rare incidents of people being ambushed by a hippo or trampled by an elephant. If you get injured, your health insurance may not always cover you when you are traveling to destinations outside of your network or plan. However, travel insurance could help reimburse you for expenses like x-rays, prescription medications, a hospital stay, or other emergency medical needs you may have if you get hurt on your safari.  You will still need to have Government Health Insurance Plan (GHIP) coverage in your home province while you are on your trip though. If you don’t, your total limit for all emergency medical expenses during your trip is limited to CAD $40,000.  

A women on Safari
A woman sitting in a car on a Safari | Photo credit: Getty Images/Westend61

Does travel insurance cover other adventure activities I might participate in during my trip? 

You may want to go to Zambia on a mission to see zebras roaming freely at Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park, but you may also decide to hike the Boiling Pot trail near Victoria Falls or go whitewater rafting on the Zambezi River while you are there.  

World Nomads covers more than 250 activities for Canadian residents. When you get a quote, you can check out our Standard and Explorer plans to compare coverage side by side and decide on the best travel insurance coverage for your needs.  

You will need to list all of the activities that you plan to participate in while on your trip at the time that you purchase your policy. You won’t be able to add or remove activities after you make your purchase, so make sure you add them all at that time.  

Level 1 activities like safari tours and whitewater rafting (grades 1-5) are automatically covered, but these will still need to be listed when you purchase your policy. However, you will need to pay an additional premium to be covered for Level 2 and Level 3 activities like bouldering and hang gliding. Special conditions may also apply. If you are planning on participating in an activity that isn’t listed in our policy wording, you will need to contact us to determine if you will be covered. 

What else is covered by travel insurance? 

In addition to emergency medical coverage, international travel insurance may help with several other unexpected emergency situations you may encounter on your trip. For Canadian residents, World Nomads may also offer coverage for:  

  • Baggage and Gear: If the airline lost the bag that held your binoculars, baggage insurance may help reimburse the cost to replace them if your bag is lost by a common carrier. If your baggage going to your destination is delayed by an airline or ground carrier for 12 hours or more, you may also be reimbursed for things like toiletries or a change of clothes until you are reunited with your bag. Check the policy wording for complete details of coverage, conditions, and exclusions. 
  • Trip Interruption and Cancellation Insurance: If your travel buddy gets severe food poisoning from something he ate, it may put a screeching halt to your plans. If something unexpected happens and you need to cancel or interrupt your trip, you may be able to recover your unused, prepaid, non-refundable travel expenses. Check the policy wording for a full list of the cover risks.  
  • Evacuation: If you’re going on a safari, there’s a good chance you may be in a remote destination where there aren't nearby medical facilities. If something happens and you need to get immediate medical care, the World Nomads 24/7 Emergency Assistance Team could help get you transported to a place that offers the level of care you need.   
Safari in Serengeti National Park
Safari in Serengeti National Park. Photo credit: Getty Images/Oscar Xu

What are some things trip insurance would not cover? 

If you have too many glasses of South African wine at lunch and then try to sneak up to a sleeping lion to grab a selfie, you won’t be covered if that goes terribly wrong. Travel insurance won’t cover you if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol while you are on your safari. It’s also important that you follow the guidance of your safari guide at all times and view wild animals from a safe distance. Some other things that are not covered include:  

  • Any pre-existing medical condition(s) as explained in the policy wording 
  • Ignoring your doctor if they have blatantly told you not to travel to a particular destination or go on a safari-and you go anyway  
  • Not following government ‘Do Not Travel’ advisories 
  • Participation in activities not listed as covered in your policy  
  • Handling of big game or dangerous animals 

Tips for preparing for your safari adventure  

One thing our team at World Nomads definitely recommends is making sure your camera stays fully charged at all times. You never know what you may see at any given moment. It’s also a really good idea to bring an extra camera battery along. Trust us on this one-you don’t want to miss the money shot! 

It’s also important to stay safe on your safari adventure because you don’t want it to get cut short. Here are a few of our tips:  

  • Do your research and book with an accredited tour operator. 
  • Follow your guide’s instructions at all times and view wildlife from a safe distance. 
  • Wear boots and socks when walking around in the bush. 
  • Don’t be afraid to ask if the water is safe to drink when you are in remote locations.  
  • Talk to your doctor to see if prescription antimalarial medication or other vaccinations are recommended. Depending on the medication, you may need to start this prior to your trip.  
  • Check with the Public Health Agency of Canada to see if they have issued any travel health notices for your destination.  
  • Register with Canadians Abroad to stay updated on emergency situations. 

This is only a summary of coverage and does not include the full terms and conditions of the policy. It is important you read and understand your policy as it contains benefits, conditions, exclusions and pre-existing condition exclusions. If you do not understand your coverage, or if you have questions, just ask us

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