Southern Africa enjoys a hot summer climate, so for a holiday between October and March, pack a selection of lightweight and short-sleeved clothing as well as a light long-sleeved top for cooler evenings.
During the winter months of April to September, a rain jacket will be needed and you'll need warmer clothes for crisp clear winter days in the region as a whole (detailed climate information can be found on this website in the area you are researching)
While on safari, be bush-chic by wearing browns, khakis and beiges for your casual wear. Don't forget a pair of sturdy shoes if you're planning on going bush walking, a warm jacket for the evenings while on game drives as well as a hat and sunglasses for daytime activities.
In most establishments, relaxed or smart-casual clothes will suffice for eveningwear. Certain up-market restaurants will expect something more formal, check with your travel consultant if you're unsure.
Golf courses tend to stipulate dress codes for players, so if you intend on booking a golf trip with us, again please ask one of our consultant for details.
Foreign currency can be exchanged at local banks and Bureaux de Changes, these are widely available in the major tourist areas. The banks are generally open from 9am to 3.30pm Mondays through Fridays, and 8.30am to 11am on Saturdays, but those at the airports adjust their hours to accommodate international flights.
All major credit cards can be used in Southern Africa, with MasterCard and Visa enjoying more universal acceptance than American Express and Diners Club. In some small towns, you may find you'll need to use cash.
Thomas Cook and American Express travellers cheques are most generally accepted, however most banks will accept all major traveller cheque brands.
As with any holiday destination, the general safety rule in Southern Africa is to use common sense in all situations. Know where you're going before you set off, particularly at night, and check that the areas you plan to visit are safe by asking hotel staff or police. Avoid walking alone in isolated areas or carrying large amounts of cash or jewellery around with you. Keep cell phones (mobile phones) and wallets tucked away where no one can see them. Check local news sources such as www.news24.comif you are unsure.
Avoid hitchhiking or using local commuter and metro trains as a foreigner. Be aware of automated teller machine (ATM) con artists. Under no circumstances allow a stranger to assist you in your transactions. Should your card become stuck in the ATM, call the helpline number on display at the teller machine for assistance and to cancel your card.
Safety on safari
South Africa is home to many wild and exciting animals and the key to living in harmony with them during your stay is to respect the fact that you are the visitor and this is their home. If you are game-driving by yourself in a National Wildlife Park, follow the clear set of rules that they provide to safely guide you. For those visiting private game reserves, trained rangers will ensure your safety on safari outings.
Make copies of all important documents, including passports, plane tickets, travellers cheques and credit card numbers. Carry your passport in a safe and concealed place on your person when traveling.
Electrical Appliances Safety
Voltage in South Africa is 220/240V. Round three-pole plugs are in common use, while mobile phone chargers use round two-pole plugs. It is a good idea to buy an appropriate adaptor before leaving home. US-made appliances may need a transformer.
General Medical Advice
- Chemists and pharmacies are spread throughout South Africa, (lesser so in safari destinations), some of which are open 24-hours. Should you be requiring prescription medication, it's a good idea to bring enough to last your entire trip.
- Anti-diarrhoea tablets are always a safe precaution when travelling to a foreign destination.
- Tap water is generally safe to drink throughout the country, although some may prefer the taste of bottled water.
- A good sunscreen and a hat are essential items for your holiday, especially between 10am and 4pm. Use a broad-spectrum (UVA & UVB) sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor of 15 or higher, and be sure to give yourself good coverage, especially when venturing out into the African sun on your first few days of vacation.
HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Travellers to Southern Africa that engage in sexual activity are at increased risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Always practice safe sex and always use a condom.
No vaccinations are required when visiting South Africa. Visitors who are entering South Africa from a yellow fever zone must have a valid international yellow fever inoculation certificate. Hepatitis B inoculations are recommended for children up to the age of 12 years old who have not completed the series of injections as infants. Booster doses for tetanus and measles can also be administered.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
This is a potential threat to long-haul travellers. Preventative measures include regular movement, stretching muscles and remaining well hydrated.
Malaria can be a risk to visitors when travelling in certain parts of the country. Transmission is at its highest during the warmer and wetter months of November to April in the North when mosquitoes prefer to breed, while the risk is reduced during the drier months from May to October. Visitors to malaria areas should take the following precautions, bearing in mind that mosquitoes are most prevalent in the evenings.
Personal Malaria protection
Wear long-sleeved clothing, socks and shoes, apply insect repellent to the body (preferably containing DEET), sleep under a mosquito net and burn a mosquito coil or spray appropriate insect repellent in your room at night.
Anti-malaria tablets (prophylaxis)
Prophylaxis requires a prescription from a doctor in your country. Generally, visitors will need to begin taking tablets a week or two before arrival and should be aware of possible side-effects of the tablets. Note that even if taking preventive measures, any traveller who develops influenza-like symptoms or fever within three months of returning from a malaria area should be tested for malaria.
Visa requirements are subject to change, and we recommend you contact your relevant consulate for up to date visa advice.
Communication in the Camps/Lodges
Many of the safari lodges do not offer internet or cell phone reception to guests. This is either because the remoteness dictates lack of signal or a conscious decision by the lodges to avoid internet and telephone access (so as not to lessen the beauty of being away in the wilderness). If however there should be a problem where a guest needs to either make contact or be contacted camps are able to accommodate these exceptions through the network and emergency services.
Telecommunications in urban areas are easily accessible however in the remote locations this is not the case.