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Frequently Asked Questions


  • What are visa requirements?
    Visitors to Africa must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond their intended departure date. In addition, each country you may visit generally requires at least 2 consecutive/side by side blank pages on entry for both visas and stamps. Should the itinerary include more than one country, excluding the country of departure and return, a sufficient number of blank visa pages (not endorsement pages) in your passport is required. Should there be insufficient blank pages in your passport then entry into or exit from the country could be denied.
  • Does one need vaccinations?
    Generally, no vaccination certificates are required, but you should consult your personal physician or travel clinic for updated information and recommended vaccinations. Visitors entering South Africa from a yellow fever zone must have a valid certificate. Malaria Most areas in South Africa that tourists would visit are malaria-free. However, the Kruger National Park and the adjoining private game reserves, the Lowveld of Mpumalanga, Limpopo, parts of the northern KwaZulu Natal, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana are high risk areas and anti-malaria medication should be taken. Consult your personal physician or travel clinic. In all cases, when one is in these areas, one should use a mosquito repellent, wear long sleeves, long trousers, and closed shoes at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most prevalent. If possible sleep under a mosquito net.
  • What is the climate like in Southern Africa?
    Southern Africa is south of the equator and the seasons are the exact reverse of those in the north. Mid-summer is December/January and mid-winter June/July.
  • When is the best time for a safari?
    Where wildlife or a safari is the major interest or attraction of a trip to Africa, generally the best wildlife viewing happens in the dry seasons, when the grass is shorter and animals gather around waterholes. The vegetation thins out, and trees and bushes don't have so many leaves to obstruct the view. For most of southern Africa, including South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia, these dry months are May – August. It can be very cool at night and early morning but mild to warm during the day. The spring months of September and October are also very good for game viewing. The rainy season for the safari areas is generally from November to March. These summer months have their own attraction and are especially good for keen birders as the migratory species breed during this period, and the Okavango Delta, for example, becomes a paradise. Zambia tends to be more seasonal, as certain areas (Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa) can be made impassable due to bad road conditions. Certain properties do close between November and April. For an East African safari the best times are between June – October and January – March. This is because there are two rainy seasons, the first, known as the long rains is from April to June and the shorter season from late November through to December. Many properties in the game viewing areas do close during April and May, mainly due to bad road conditions. A major attraction in Tanzania/Kenya is the annual migration that takes place from late June to October.
  • What is the baggage allowance on domestic flights?
    Baggage allowance on all scheduled flights in economy class within South Africa is 20kg (44 pounds) per person. Dimensions should be 900mm in length, 720mm in height, and 450mm in width. You are allowed one piece of carry-on luggage that should be no more than 23cm wide, 52cm long and 40cm high, and its weight should not exceed 7kg (15 pounds). On light charter aircraft each passenger is allowed one soft bag only with a total weight of 20kg (44 pounds). Solid/hard suitcases like the Samsonite brand will not fit into the hold and are not permitted. If you are returning to the same place after your fly-in safari where there is a baggage restriction on the flights, you may be able to leave your excess baggage at Left Luggage facilities. If you are not returning to your point of departure, then you must travel light or you may purchase an additional seat on all the charter legs of your trip.
  • What clothing/footwear should one bring?
    Lightweight clothing will be required for summer, and you should pack in a travelling umbrella and plastic mac. The Cape has a Mediterranean climate with hot summers and cool rainy winters. The eastern parts of the country have hot and sometimes humid summers with dry and very sunny winters. The evenings can be very cool, so a warm coat or jacket may be required. For those going on safari in winter, it is advisable to bring a wind-proof jacket, hat, scarf and gloves for the early mornings and evening drives as it can be very chilly. During the day it is usually warm. A sunhat is essential as are a good pair of sunglasses to protect against the strong glare of the African sun. Whilst some establishments require a jacket and tie for men and for smart dress/trousers for the ladies, most stipulate smart casual where a collared shirt and slacks or blouse and skirt would be acceptable. At game reserves dress is very casual. However neutral colours such as browns, beiges, khakis and dark greens are preferred on game drives. Bright colours and white are to be avoided. You will not need heavy footwear. Make sure you have comfortable walking shoes. Don’t forget a swimsuit.
  • What is the electrical current in South Africa?
    Electricity is 220/230 volts, supplied through either two or three-prong plugs with round pins. The upmarket hotels usually have wall sockets for international plugs or have adapters available at Reception. For other situations you will be able to buy adapters at hardware stores and sometimes at airport shops. If you are going on a safari in a remote area or travelling outside of South Africa, please check what facilities are available as there may not be power points for recharging videos, hairdryers and shavers.
  • Can one claim VAT back?
    Value Added Tax (VAT) of 15% is levied in South Africa. Overseas visitors can claim refunds of VAT paid on goods that they take out of South Africa. You must be able to show these items to the clerks at the airport on departure. Proceed to these kiosks before checking in for flights. One cannot claim VAT on any services whatsoever. When purchasing your products you should request a Tax Invoice. The shop’s VAT number must appear on this invoice. The clerk at the VAT refund kiosks at the airport will compare your invoices with the goods purchased. Once your invoices have been approved and stamped, the VAT Reclaim Office (located in to International Departures Hall – after you have passed through Security and Passport Control), will refund you the appropriate amount.
  • Where can one change/draw cash?
    The main banks are found at every airport and in every large town and ATM’s are situated in airports, many shopping malls, outside most banks in town and cities, also at many of the largest petrol stations, and operate 24 hours a day. Banking hours are usually: Monday – Friday: 09h00 – 15h30 or 16h00 Saturday: 08h30 or 09h00 – 11h00 Banks are closed on Sundays and Public Holidays. Major international credit cards are accepted, but not at small markets where purchases must be paid for in cash in local currency.
  • What is the South African currency?
    The South African currency is the Rand that is made up from 100 cents. We have the following notes: R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200. The coins are 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, 1 Rand, 2 Rand, and 5 Rand.
  • Can one rent a cellphone?
    Cellphones and simcards can be rented at airports and depots in the main cities. With advance notice we would be able to secure the cellphone number for you, for distribution to family and friends prior to your departure for South Africa. Cellphones (mobile phones) operate on the GSM digital system. If you bring your own cellphone, make sure it is set for global roaming before you travel. Remember you will pay for incoming calls at international rates to a cellphone.
  • Are there taxis and Ubers?
    Taxis can be obtained from your hotel reception or at taxi ranks that can be found in key locations in the major cities. Ubers can be booked in all the major centres.
  • Is it safe to walk around in the cities?
    As with all major cities in the world, due care must be taken to avoid pickpockets and bag snatchers at airports and in the tourist areas. Always check with your hotel whether it is safe to walk around in the evenings. It is not advisable to wear expensive jewellery (rather leave it at home anyway) and a minimum of cash should be carried. Don’t carry all your essential documents, credit cards and cash with you. Leave these with your passport in your hotel safe. Having said the above, it is very unlikely that you will encounter any serious crime or violence in the popular areas you will be visiting.
  • How much and who does one tip?
    It is customary to tip waiters in restaurants, taxi drivers, and hotel staff 10%. Others who would normally receive tips are hotel porters, hotel maids, guides, petrol pump attendants and the ranger and tracker teams on safari. However, this depends on your satisfaction with the service provided. As a guide, you may give a hotel porter R20 per bag, per movement. Some hotels have an “envelope system” with tips distributed evenly among staff
  • Can one drink the water in South Africa?
    Tap water (from faucets) in South Africa is putrified, is of high quality and is safe to drink in almost all areas. You will be warned where this is not the case and bottled water will be available. Bottled water, both sparking and still is readily available in almost all places.
  • What medical services are available?
    Medical services in South Africa at private facilities are good in urban areas and the vicinity of the gameparks and beach resorts. It may be limited in the more rural areas. Doctors and hospitals would require an immediate cash or credit card payment for services. It is advisable to secure medical cover/medical insurance in your home country before arriving in the county. The better hotels all have contracts with physicians and dentists.
  • Can one self-drive in South Africa?
    Most global car hire firms have branches in South Africa, along with local concerns. Any valid driver's licence is accepted in South Africa, provided it bears the photograph and signature of the holder and is printed or authenticated in English. Driving is on the left hand side of the road. Wearing seat belts is compulsory and cellphones can only be used ‘hands free'. Speed limits are generally set at 120km on freeways, 100km on secondary roads and 60km in urban areas. Toll fees apply on certain national roads. Petrol stations are widespread.
  • What language is spoken in South Africa?
    South Africa has 11 official languages, but English is the language of administration and is widely spoken in all areas that tourists usually visit. The other languages are Afrikaans, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu.
  • What is the procedure at game lodges?
    You will be asked to sign an indemnity form when checking in at your game lodge. The animals on safari are wild – this is their home turf – they are not tame. You must please listen to your rangers and camp staff. The safety precautions they set out must be followed and taken seriously. On game drives you should watch the animals quietly and with a minimum of disturbance to their natural activities. The animals can be frightened away by loud voices or any other loud sounds. You should not clap, whistle or throw any food items out of your vehicle. These can poison animals and damage the eco-system. Smoking is not permitted on game drives. What are items that one should definitely pack for a trip to Southern Africa? • binoculars • camera • spare batteries for everything • cleaning and protective cloths for camera equipment • sunscreen (or you may buy this here) • sunglasses • sunhat • swimming costume
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