Travel Information & Tips

To travel in southern Africa would be no different to any other country in the world. It is a safe region to visit, if one follows some basic common sense precautions, the same precautions you would take when travelling anywhere in the world.

 

 

Currency

 

South Africa’s currency is (Zuid Afrikaanse Rand - ZAR / South African Rand or Rand), which is divided into 100 cents. Available notes are ZAR 10,00 / ZAR 20,00 / ZAR 50,00 / ZAR 100,00 & ZAR 200,00, each with a “Big Five” animal on the one side of the note.

 

Please refer to a currency converter to find out the current exchange rate of the South African Rand (ZAR) against all other major currencies. The Rand (ZAR) is readily accepted in Namibia, Botswana, eSwatini (Swaziland) and Lesotho. It is best to use US $ in the countries of Zimbabwe and Zambia, even though major currencies such as GBP, EUR, AUD & CAD are accepted.

 

If it is necessary, or you would like to exchange your cash money, then it would be best to do so on your arrival at the airport in South Africa or Namibia, as local foreign exchange outlets situated at the airports normally offer the best rates and remember that all Safari4Africa southern Africa tours and safaris either start in South Africa or Namibia.

 

The currency of other southern African countries:

 

  • Namibia - Namibian $

  • Botswana - Pula

  • Zimbabwe - Any currency except Zimbabwe $

  • Zambia - Kwacha

  • eSwatini (Swaziland) - Emalangeni

  • Lesotho - Loti

 

 

Available Funds

 

Traveller's cheques are no longer readily used / available. But if purchased, make sure they are issued in South African Rand (ZAR) and do not counter sign all your traveller’s cheques.

 

We recommend the use of Mastercard or Visa credit & debit cards or normal bank cards, as ATM (Automated Teller Machines) are conveniently available throughout the region and these cards are accepted at all formal shops, restaurants, hotels, etc. Always take the same precautions you would when using these card machines at home. Most importantly, never let anyone offer you any assistance when drawing cash at an ATM.

 

Most large hotels have exchange facilities available at reception, but the exchange rate is normally very poor.

At hotels, it is easiest to charge everything to your room and then pay by card or cash when you check out. However, please remember that most hotels will require a holding deposit if you are paying by card.

 

It is always safest to stow your traveller’s cheques, cash and bank cards separate when travelling.

 

It would be ideal to always have about ZAR 1500,00 in cash per person available whilst travelling in southern Africa.

 

If available, always make use of your room or hotel safe, to store additional credit / debit cards and the bulk of your money.

 

Write down your traveller’s cheque and credit / debit card numbers, as well as the customer service number of the issuing bank(s), which you could then keep in a safe place in case you need to contact the issuing bank(s).

 

If you need to exchange monies, always try make use of foreign exchange outlets which are available in all the airports and big shopping centres. Avoid banks, because for some unknown reason they follow slow tedious foreign exchange procedures. Never use street vendors.

 

Banks in the region normally open Monday to Friday from 09h00 - 15h30. Saturday from 08h30 - 11h00. Closed Sundays and Public (Bank) Holidays.

 

 

Taxes

 

There is a 15 % VAT (Value Added Tax) charged on most goods purchased in South Africa. VAT may be claimed back before your departure on goods purchased such as souvenirs, jewellery, clothing, electronic items, etc. No claims are possible for goods purchased in other southern African countries or for services rendered.

 

VAT claim applications are obtainable at the “VAT Claim Office” at all international airports, harbours, major border posts or at the various “VAT Claim Offices” in the cities of your departure. Enquire about where to find these offices at your accommodation establishment, local tourism information centre or your guide / tour manager.

 

VAT refunds less commission is paid out in the form of a temporary debit card at the tax office on the duty-free side of your departure point, if you produce and / or your claim complies with the following:

 

  • If the total combined VAT paid on all items purchased, exceeds R250.00.

  • Produce your travel ticket (air ticket, etc).

  • Produce your passport.

  • Supply VAT invoices for all goods purchased.

  • Hand in your completed VAT claim application.

  • You might be asked to produce the goods that you have purchased, such as expensive jewellery, etc. It is therefore best to get approval for your claim at the TAX / CUSTOMS office before you check in for your international departure flight, etc, as the actual payment is done at the tax office on the duty-free side.

 

One can withdraw or spend these funds after 90 days from departing South Africa.

 

 

Travel Documents

 

One needs a valid passport before travelling to any southern African country. Your passport must have at least 2 x fully open blank pages and must be valid for at least 6 months.

 

No Visas are required for South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, eSwatini (Swaziland) or Lesotho when travelling from the US, Canada, European Union, Britain or Australia. You must obviously hold a passport for the respective countries.

 

Visas can be obtained at the point of entry to Zimbabwe and Zambia. Please note that those visiting these two countries must show their entrance visa, if obtained in advance or they can purchase either a single-entry visa (only visiting Zimbabwe or Zambia) or double-entry visa (visiting Zimbabwe / Zambia & Botswana, returning to Zimbabwe / Zambia for your departure). Safari4Africa will inform you of the cost involved if or when you book a package to travel to these destinations (not included in any of our packages). The current rate is US $ 25,00 to 30,00 per single-entry visa or US $ 45,00 to 50,00 per double-entry visa. Under the new regulations ONLY unsoiled US $ are accepted as payment. Mastercard or Visa credit / debit cards may be accepted IF the payment system is online. This is Africa!

 

If possible, travel with certified photocopies of all your documents. Keep separate from originals and in a safe place.

 

Report a lost passport and / or visa as soon as possible to your country`s embassy or consulate and to the local police.

 

 

Health

 

Vaccinations are not compulsory. However, a COVID 19 vaccine maybe required in the near future.

 

South Africa and surrounding countries are all relatively hygienic. Private medical assistance is of a very high standard if you have medical travel insurance or can afford to pay cash.

 

If you are on medication, make sure you carry enough medicine for the duration of your tour or safari and you carry with your prescription(s).

 

Wherever you travel, it is always handy to carry your own small medical kit that contains some basic items. Example: Headache tablets, Imodium’s, sun protection - min factor 30, plasters, ointments, etc.

 

Consult your local doctor or clinic about the following vaccinations and/or illnesses:

 

  • COVID 19 - Required tests, and if you require a vaccine passport.

  • DTP - If you have not been vaccinated before, 1 injection every 15 years.

  • Hepatitis A - One vaccination will give one year’s protection. It is best to have 2 weeks before departure.

  • Yellow Fever Card - It is compulsory to have a Yellow Fever vaccination, only if you wish to visit South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, eSwatini (Swaziland) or Lesotho and you come from any central or north African country.

  • AIDS - Always be careful, mainly transmitted via unsafe sex or direct contact with blood from a HIV infected person. Avoid getting tattoo`s or body piercing done in southern African countries.

  • Malaria - It is present during southern Africa’s summers (October to April), in the areas in and around the Kruger National Park and the northern parts of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa, eSwatini (Swaziland), Victoria Falls and Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls and Kafue National Park in Zambia, Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta in Botswana, as well as the northern region of Namibia. This is one of the reasons why most of our tours or safaris to these regions fall in the winter months. It is only the female Anopheles mosquito that carries the malaria parasite. She is active from dusk to dawn in the summer months. It would be advisable to take a course of anti-malaria tablets, please discuss this with your doctor. However, from experience we find that most visitors to southern Africa are over concerned about malaria, this should not be the case as millions of people live and work in malaria areas without taking anti-malaria medication and they never have problems, especially when following these basic precautions:

           

  • Use mosquito repellent (Bug spray, a cream or roll-on).

  • Ladies, when exposed at night, do not wear too much perfume.

  • When outside at night, cover those sensitive parts of your body or apply repellent. Example: To your ankles. You don’t have to dress up like an Eskimo on a warm summer night.

  • Do not leave your room lights on at night, as this will attract insects unnecessarily.

  • If available and comfortable, keep your room AC or fan on at night.

  • Never leave your room doors or windows open, unless they have a gauze screen for protection (you never know what else could crawl in).

  • If necessary and therefore available, make use of the mosquito net in your room.                                           

  • Important, if you are not feeling well and you have similar symptoms to the flue such as a headache or fever, etc within 7 - 21 days of visiting a malaria area, then consult a doctor and mention to him / her that you have visited a malaria area.

 

 

Languages

 

South Africa has 11 official languages; English and Afrikaans are the most common languages spoken. English is also commonly spoken throughout southern Africa. Afrikaans will be understood by either the Dutch or Flemish speaking tourist.

 

Local Time

 

GMT + 2 hours.

 

 

Food & Water

 

A large variety of quality foods and fresh produce are available in stores throughout the region. Meals served in restaurants, bars and hotels are normally excellent. Be prepared to go on a diet after your visit to southern Africa, you will know what we are talking about once you have visited. Avoid buying food on the streets. Only eat clean or properly prepared food. Tap water is clean, but it would be best to drink bottled water which is readily available.

 

All included meals as specified on each tour or safari itinerary are based on the hotel's or restaurant's buffet or set menus. In general, beverages are not included, unless specifically stated. Dietary requests and preferences should be provided at the time of booking. Although Safari4Africa cannot make any guarantees, every effort will be made to honour special dietary requests. We recommend that the tour member also makes their dietary requests known to their guide / tour manager at the start of each tour or safari, and on arrival at each hotel / restaurant.

 

 

Accommodations

 

All our tour and safari accommodations are hand-picked and have been selected for their comfort, charm, good service, value for money and most importantly, their great touring location.

 

All rooms are either standard double or twin-bedded (two single beds) with private en-suite facilities, unless the tour member has specifically requested and paid for an upgraded room category. Room selection in all cases, unless otherwise reserved, is strictly at the discretion of the hotel's management on a run of house basis. Special requests such as bed types, smoking preference and connecting rooms are subject to availability.

 

Check-in time is generally not before 15h00 and check-out time is normally before 11h00.

 

Ask for a list of the local tourist attractions on arrival at each hotel, lodge, etc.

 

Do not leave luggage or handbags unattended at any accommodation establishment.

 

Store valuables in your room safe or the accommodation establishment’s safety deposit box.

 

Keep your room locked at all times and if someone knocks, first check who it is before opening the door.

 

Do not leave your room keys lying around.

 

Hand your room keys in at the front desk / reception, whenever you leave the accommodation establishment.

 

 

Touring Vehicles & Vehicle Hire

 

All Safari4Africa air-conditioned touring vehicles are top quality, comfortable and well maintained. They carry the required transport permits and necessary insurances.

 

We only hire appropriate touring vehicles from reputable agents for our self-drive tours & safaris. Hiring includes all that is necessary to make your self-drive trip as enjoyable, hassle free and safe as possible, such as contract fees, unlimited milage, maximum insurance cover, delivery fee, one-way drop-off fees and cross border permits.

 

 

Minimum Age

 

The minimum age for a tour member on any of Safari4Africa scheduled escorted small group tours or safaris is 18 (eighteen) years old. We recommend a minimum age of 12 (twelve) on any of our other private, personalised (customized), self-drive or golf tours and safaris, as the minimum age for game drives in Kruger National Park and other game reserves that the tour member may visit is 12 (twelve) years old. All children under 18 (eighteen) years of age must be accompanied by an adult.

 

Please take note that some countries in southern Africa have adopted practices to prevent international abductions of children. If a person under the age of 18 (eighteen) will be travelling with an adult other than his / her parents, or with only one parent, a notarized letter written by the parents, or non-travelling parent, granting authorisation to travel, including the dates of travel should be carried, as well as a certified copy of the child’s unabridged birth certificate.

 

 

Clothing

 

Spring, Summer and Autumn (September to May) - Generally the southern African countries have great weather. Warm to very hot days and it can get cool at night, so pack some warm clothes. Never forget your swimming costume.

 

Winter (June, July and August) - It can become cold during the day with very cold nights. Days can be pleasantly warm, so also pack some light clothes.

 

Always pack sunglasses, a pair of comfortable walking shoes and a hat.

 

Some establishments stipulate “smart casual” requiring jacket and tie or cocktail dresses for the evening.

 

On safari - neutral colours, such as browns, beiges and khakis are recommended.

 

There is a chance of rain throughout the year, so pack a light waterproof.

  • Western Cape Province (Cape Town) - Winter rainfall (June, July & August).

  • Western Cape Province (Garden Route) - All year round rainfall.

  • The rest of the region (southern Africa) - Summer rainfall (October to April).

 

Most accommodation establishments provide laundry services. Complimentary daily laundry service is provided at safari camps which are only accessible by small charter planes. This service is made available because checked luggage on all chartered flights is limited to a soft bag with a maximum weight of 15 kg (33 lbs).

 

Safari4Africa small group touring vehicles allow for one piece of luggage, plus a carry-on and handbag per person. This is similar to the luggage limitations on a general economy class international flight, which is one checked bag with a maximum weight of 23 kg (50 lbs), plus a carry-on bag and small handbag per person. This excludes golf tours, as we make provision for an extra golf bag per golfer. Please also take note that most local airlines only allow 20 kg (44 lbs) for one checked bag, plus a carry-on bag and small handbag per person. We know there is always the exception, but this is usually a comfortable touring allowance when travelling on our tours and safaris, as carrying too much luggage can become awkward.

Voltage

 

Electricity supply is 220 volts.

 

Round, two point and three point plugs are used. It is advisable to purchase a multi-plug at one of the shops at the airport on your arrival, as the so-called international plugs purchased overseas are NOT compatible to our very unusual three point sockets.

Photographic & Other Equipment

 

A digital camera with plenty of memory is ideal. The modern cell / mobile phones have great cameras, but a zoom lens would still be best for wildlife photography. A camera UV / skylight filter is advisable for photography enthusiasts.

 

The disposable batteries required to power most photographic equipment are readily available. However, it would be better and easier if you brought with a sufficient supply.

 

Binoculars will improve your game viewing considerably.

 

A small torch (flashlight) is a good idea, especially to find your way around some of the camps at night.

 

Self-Drive Tours - Although southern Africa is an extremely easy region to navigate, if you have a GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) you might as well bring it along to help, especially when driving in the cities.

 

 

Gratuities

 

Although not obligatory, tipping is a standard practice in southern Africa.

 

Porterage at hotels and airports is normally ZAR 20,00 per bag, if this has not been included in the price of your tour or safari. Check your itinerary. Only make use of official airport porters, they carry ID cards and wear airport company uniforms.

 

A space for gratuities is found on all drinks / food bills. If not already included, then 10-15 % of the bill is the average for these services. Please write down this amount yourself on all bills and “tally up” accordingly, do this before paying (never let your bank card out of your sight).

 

We only make use of registered and accredited tourist guides / rangers / tour managers and we recommend you do the same when visiting attractions or touring independently. The norm for these professionals is about ZAR 60,00 to ZAR 80,00 per traveller per day.

US $ is king and all other major currencies are accepted.

 

 

Shopping

 

Shops normally open all week from 08h30 - 18h00. In the bigger centres the opening hours are most likely to be longer.

On the street

 

Keep mobile phones and wallets tucked away and avoid ostentatious display of expensive jewellery, cameras and other valuables.

 

Avoid counting money in the open.

 

Stick to well-lit and busy streets, especially at night.

 

Do not leave purses or bags on chairs, under tables, on the back of chairs or on restroom hooks unattended.

 

Never leave your luggage / baggage unattended.

 

 

On the road

 

Southern Africa has a very efficient road network and generally good quality roads that have well marked road signs. Speed limits, unless otherwise demarcated:

 

  • National & Major Roads 120 km / hour.

  • When approaching crossing, villages and towns 80 km / hour.

  • In villages, towns and cities 60 km / hour.

 

In South Africa, most of the National Roads (N) are also Toll Roads.

 

If you choose to use public or other transport, then consult the list of recommended taxi services and buses that are available from your hotel or lodge.

 

At any transport hub, it is recommended that you always keep your luggage where you can see it and never unattended.

 

Self-Drive Clients

 

Petrol / Diesel / Gas is available at ± ZAR 16.00 per litre.

 

Familiarise yourself with the rules of the road in southern Africa.

 

Remember that southern Africans drive on the left hand side of the road.

 

Keep your car doors locked at all times and windows closed, especially when driving in the cities.

 

Lock valuable items in the boot / trunk.

 

Only stop at designated viewing or picnic spots.

 

Do not let your car get too low on fuel / gas.

 

At night it is best to park in a well-lit area or hotel / lodge parking.

 

Never pick up strangers.

 

If you get lost, it is best to call our office (24 hours assistance) or go to your nearest police station, petrol / gas station or any nearby business for assistance.

 

If you encounter a problem on the road, use the SOS phones, which are located along all national highways. There is also excellent cell / mobile phone coverage throughout the region.

 

Pay special attention to speed limits, road signs and road markings.

 

It is an offence in any southern African country, for the driver of a vehicle to use any communication device while driving, handsfree devices are acceptable.

 

It is compulsory for those driving to carry an English translation of their driver’s license, if issued in a foreign language.

 

If you are issued with a citation for any traffic violation, you are not required to pay over any amount to the officer on duty.

 

Here are some southern African driving habits that tourist find unusual:

 

  • The first motorist to arrive at a stop sign or street has the right of way.

  • On main roads (not highways / motorways), the left hand-side emergency lane marked with a yellow line may be used during the day to allow others to pass (not at night).

  • Courtesy passing signals are flashing of hazard lights, peeping of the hooter / horn.

 

 

Itinerary & Sightseeing

 

When on tour and especially on safari in Africa always be prepared to depart early, as some days require an early morning starting time for sightseeing purposes in order to complete the touring during daylight hours or to avoid afternoon heat in tropical and desert climates (Early bird catches the worm).

 

Always check the opening and closing times for monuments and places of interest that you wish to visit and bear in mind that they may be closed on religious holidays and national celebrations.

 

 

On the beach / At swimming pools

 

Never leave your possessions unattended.

 

Although topless bathing is becoming more acceptable, most South Africans and southern Africans are generally very conservative people, so nude or topless bathing outside such demarcated bathing areas is usually found to be offensive.

 

National Parks & Reserves

 

Please familiarise yourself with the visitors “Rules and Regulations”, they are displayed at the entrance gates and on pamphlets that are issued on your arrival. This is for your own safety and the safety of the wildlife.

 

On entry, make sure you receive a list of all the facilities that are available.

 

On entry, make sure you receive the opening and closing times for entrance gates and camp gates.

 

 

Communication

 

All accommodation establishments have telephones that clients can use.

 

It would be advisable to apply for international roaming with your service provider before departure, as this region has excellent cell / mobile phone coverage.

 

You could purchase a cheap phone and "local pay as you go" SIM card on arrival at any of the airports. Major service providers are Vodacom, MTN and Cell C.

 

 

Useful Phone Numbers

 

  • National Tourism Information and Safety Line:       + 27 (o) 860 868 747

  • Emergency Number from a mobile phone:            112

  • Police Emergency Number:                                      10111

  • Ambulance / Fire:                                                       10177

 

 

Local Contacts

 

Please contact our office for any assistance. Contact details are:

 

 

 

We know you will have a fantastic holiday if you travel with Safari4Africa