Travel Information

We look forward to hosting you on one of our Africa tours. In order to ensure that you have a great experience, we ask that you read the following information carefully.  Should you have further questions regarding any one of the points discussed below, please contact our office.

Travel Documents for overseas travel

Visitors from abroad must be in possession of a valid passport (valid for at least 6 months after return travel) to enter the country. No travel visa is required for citizens from most western European countries, the United States and Canada for Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. Visitors from some other countries may need a travel visa. Since these regulations are subject to change, visitors are advised to confirm visa requirements with their travel agent or consulate. For up to date information, visit the homepage of the US Department of State http://www.state.gov for:

Passport requirements http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html

Visas http://www.state.gov/misc/59452.htm

Travel Tips http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/brochures/brochures_1231.html

Please note: Travel documents should be kept on you at all times. Keep copies of travel documents in another safe place.

Travel Insurance

It is the sole responsibility of the client and a condition of the booking to ensure that correct and comprehensive travel and medical insurance is taken out to cover each person for the duration of the trip. This insurance should include cover in respect of, but not limited to, the following eventualities:  cancellation or curtailment of the tour, emergency evacuation expenses, medical expenses, repatriation expenses, damage/theft/loss of personal baggage, money and goods. Clients may find themselves in a position when they are unable to access such services should they be without the relevant insurance cover. The remote locations of camps in Botswana and Namibia require expensive transportation should medical care or evacuation become necessary – adequate coverage is required.

Medication and Diseases

It is compulsory to take out travel insurance including medical coverage before your departure. For the latest required vaccinations please consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
(http://www.cdc.gov), your nearest travel agent or local consulate. It is important that you consult your doctor or pharmacist well in advance. All private medications imported into the country must have a copy of the prescription and the receipts, otherwise medications could be confiscated by customs.

The following facts on a few basic health matters are recommended guidelines only.

Malaria

Should you be visiting a malaria area, precautions are strongly advised. Malaria prophylaxis is recommended for people travelling to southern Africa. Both chloroquine-resistant and normal strains of malaria are prevalent in Africa. Expert opinion differs regarding the best approach to malaria prophylaxis. It is important to keep in mind that malaria may be contracted despite chemoprophylaxis, especially in areas where chloroquine resistance has been reported. Please remember that additional preventative precautions are recommended; avoid being bitten by using mosquito repellents liberally, wearing long-sleeved shirts and trousers/slacks in the evenings. If you become ill on your return, while still on prophylaxis or even once you have stopped taking them, inform your doctor that you were in a malaria area.

Malaria is more prevalent in low lying, sub-tropical areas of the northern and eastern regions of southern Africa, i.e. Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. Malaria transmission is at its highest during the warm, wet summer months of October through to April. From May to September the risks of contracting malaria are reduced.

Currencies

Namibia Dollar (one to one basis with the South African Rand). In Namibia, the South African Rand can be used, but not vice versa
Botswana Pula Botswana does not accept currencies from Namibia or South Africa
South African Rand

It is advisable that you have some cash in local currency before entering the country. Money can be drawn and traveller’s checks can be exchanged at international airports or at banks in cities. Banks are open during the week and on Saturday mornings. Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted. Credit cards are accepted by many lodges, hotels, restaurants, travel agencies and car hire. Petrol stations (gas stations) usually do not accept credit cards. Cash is needed in rural or remote areas.

Climate/Clothing

The seasons in southern Africa are opposite to those in the northern hemisphere. The climate in the interior of southern Africa ( Botswana, Namibia, South Africa) is very similar throughout, and is generally considered mild to hot. However, winter temperatures can drop below freezing point and summer highs can be searing hot. The northern parts and low lying areas are generally warmer than the south. Temperatures along the coasts tend to be cooler with the Atlantic coast being cold.

Summer (Oct. – March) Hot days (more than 30°C; 86°F), warm nights, may experience thunderstorms
Fall (April – May) Warm, with cool nights
Winter (May – Aug.) Cool to warm days (usually 15-20°C; 59-68°F), cold nights (can drop well below 0°C; 32°F), dry (less than 20% humidity)
Spring (Sept. – Oct.) Hot dry season with hot days and warm nights

Most rain falls in summer, except for the southern coast of South Africa which receives winter rain. However, sun shine can be expected for most of the year. This necessitates wearing a hat, sunscreen and sun glasses, especially in summer when temperatures are high. In winter, night temperatures can get very cold and a warm jacket is advised. Due to the dry climate in winter, hand cream and lip balm are advised. When walking in the bush, a good pair of light hiking shoes, and sturdy clothes that can withstand thorns are advised.

Luggage

We recommend that you keep your luggage to the basics when traveling overseas due to limited space on the airplane and the vehicles. Your personal luggage is limited to 20 kg (44 lbs) and we strongly recommend a soft carry-all or duffel bag instead of a hard suitcase. A small camera bag or day pack is allowed as an extra. For fly-in safaris, personal luggage is limited to 12 kg (26 lbs), including camera bag and equipment.

Airplane

Please check with your travel agent and airline for the latest updates on luggage before traveling overseas.

Vehicles and Driving

The vehicles used on the tours are safari vehicles, minivans or small busses, depending on the group size, type of tour and the country. Smoking is not permitted in the vehicles. While travelling between camps we will have frequent stops for your convenience.

A large part of our tours in Namibia and Botswana will be on dusty unpaved roads. The roads in Namibia are generally well maintained and in good condition, whereas the roads in Botswana can be rough when driving through deep sand or mud. The paved roads in southern Africa are generally in good condition.

Accommodation

Wherever possible, we stay in the camps and lodges described in the itinerary. However, there may be times when the itinerary accommodation is not available. We reserve the right to book a suitable alternative in these circumstances.

Food and Water

Food supplied on the tour, in supermarkets, restaurants, lodges, and hotels is generally of a good standard. Buying food from street vendors is NOT advised.

It is recommended that you drink plenty of fluids especially during the warmer months. Guests are advised to drink at least 2 to 3 litres (4 to 6 pints) of water per day to counter the possibility of dehydration. This excludes tea, coffee, sodas and alcoholic beverages, which act as diuretics and can contribute to dehydration. Generally, water throughout southern Africa is safe to drink. However, bottled water can be purchased if preferred.

Telecommunication

Access to telephones or the internet may not be possible for a few days at a time. Telecommunication facilities (public phones, internet) are available in larger cities. Please keep in mind that cell phone networks in southern Africa use a GSM 900 frequency, making most USA cell phones obsolete. Namibia and Botswana have cell phone reception in the larger cities and towns, and on some of the main routes between cities. In remote areas reception may not be possible. In comparison, South Africa has an extensive cell phone (mobile phone) network.

Namibian Time = GMT +2 (Summer – September to March)
Namibian Time = GMT +1 (Winter – April to August)

This amounts to a 5 hour time difference ahead of US Eastern time in winter.

Botswana and South Africa are GMT +2, which is 6 hours ahead of US Eastern Time.

Power Supply

Electrical appliances throughout southern Africa operate on 220/240 volts. Plugs are 3-pin (round), 15 Amp. Adapters can be bought in electronic shops or travel shops in larger towns.

Tipping / Gratuities

Tipping is not compulsory. If, however, you wish to give a gratuity because you have received good service, a brief guideline to assist you is included below:

Restaurants / Hotels
10% is customary on meal accounts

Driver/Guides, Lodge and Specialist Guides
US$5 per guest per day for travel to Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe or
R50 per guest per day for visitors to Namibia and South Africa is recommended.
For short trips:
Half day tour R25 (US$4 – 5) per guest
Full day tour R50 (US$8 – 10) per guest

Transfer
Transfer R10 (US$2) per guest

General Safari Camp / Lodge Staff
About US$3 per guest per day for safari camps in Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe or
R30 per guest per day for safari camps in Namibia and South Africa is recommended.

Hotel Staff
Please allow between R5 and R10 per guest per day for hotel staff i.e. housekeeping etc.

Porterage
Here we recommend about US$1 per person per movement.

Personal Safety

Tourists can become targets for criminals in any country. To make your overseas holiday a happy one, the following precautions are advised:

  • Carry your passport, credit cards, traveler cheques etc. on your person, but keep copies of your travel documents in a safe and separate place
  • Do not wear expensive jewelry and clothing
  • Do not carry valuables in a conspicuous way with you while walking around
  • Do not leave valuable articles in the vehicle, your room or tent
  • Always keep the vehicle doors closed and locked
  • Arrange ample medical / travel insurance.