Travel Guidance

DOCUMENTATION

Passport/Visa

- See country specific visa/entry requirements listed under each country below​

- Make sure your passport has enough blank Visa pages for your whole trip. Please note: endorsement pages at back of passport do not count as Visa pages.

- The expiration date must be at least 6 months from your return date

Traveling With Children Under 18?

 You need to travel with your child’s original Unabridged birth certificate or certified copy of Unabridged birth certificate.   (A Certified copy will have a raised seal or a stamp from a notary. An Unabridged birth certificate identifies the parents of the child.)

This is a requirement for South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia.

Insurance

- Comprehensive travel Insurance is required; containing such coverage items as: coverage for trip cancellation and interruption, baggage delay, emergency evacuation and travel medical expense.

- Travel with a copy of your travel insurance. Most policies provide helpful phone numbers to provide support with regard to your benefits in the event of a medical emergency, baggage loss, or flight delay or cancellation.

Please note: If you have any issues while traveling that may result in a travel insurance claim (flight delay, delayed/lost baggage…); obtain documentation from the airline, tour operator, etc. at the time of the incident.

Proof of Vaccination

- Remember to bring proof of vaccination or whatever documentation you have relative to vaccinations for your trip.

PLASTIC BAG BAN
In their world leading efforts to protect the environment, Kenya, Rwanda, and Botswana have begun enforcement of regulations to ban all use of plastic bags across and within each country.  We expect other African countries to follow suit.

In supporting this new environmental law, we would like to notify all our guests that travelers refrain from using any and all forms of disposable’ plastic carry bags. This would include plastic being found in both the guest's main luggage as well as hand luggage to prevent any inconveniences on arrival.  The fines and jail time set out as punishment for violations are targeting manufacturers and importers of plastic bags, not your average tourist travelling with their personal belongings in a Ziploc bag. Luggage may be searched on entry and any kind of shopping bag (like your local grocery store type bags) will be taken away, so best not to put your shoes in one of these bags. It is our current understanding that the quart size Ziploc type bags often used for toiletries remain acceptable.

Please kindly note that when guests purchase duty free goods before entering these countries, they will be required to leave their duty-free plastic carry bags at the port of entry.   
 

MONEY MATTERS

- U.S. Dollars are fine to use for tipping. You can often use them shopping in tourist areas as well. If using to shop, any change you receive will likely be in local currency.

- Tips – On safari we recommend $25 per person per day -- $10 or $15  to your guide (depending on if you have a tracker with you), $5 to your tracker, and $10 to the camp staff. In city hotels $1 a bag.

- Only in cities will you likely have access to withdraw cash from an ATM.

- Credit & Debit Cards: if your card has a PIN, memorize this for your trip. Call your bank to inform them when and where you will be in Africa. If not informed, charges may be denied which can become a hassle to sort.

- Currency: Travel with currency printed in 2009 or more recently and that is in good condition. Old US dollars with small portraits are not accepted. Smaller bills are helpful and maximize flexibility but because you tip at the end of each camp stay you can use some bigger bills to reduce the wad you travel with; a few singles are helpful; 5’s and 10’s are most versatile.

GENERAL HEALTH TIPS

- Be sure to think about general medications you need like Advil, or allergy pills, etc. If you take any prescription medications keep them in the original containers and make sure they are packed in your carry on.

- Are your prescriptions up to date?

- Do you have enough medication for your whole trip? Please note that when traveling with any medication, it must be in its original container.

- If blood circulation is a known issue, you may want to bring compression socks for air travel.

- Consider bringing sleeping pills to help you sleep solidly on the long flights at beginning and end of your travel.

- Stay hydrated as you travel. Packing a refillable water bottle is suggested.

- At camps, bottled water will be provided to you for drinking and brushing your teeth. You may want to take a bottle back to your tent after dinner to ensure ample drinking water supply for the night.

HEALTH PREPARATION

It is advised that you visit a travel clinic as they will be most familiar with what vaccinations, medications, precautions are necessary specifically related to your itinerary. A primary care doctor will often follow what is listed by the CDC which potentially leads to over-vaccination and to prescriptions provided which may not be necessary. Your itinerary dictates whether or not you will be in areas of exposure to potential risks in a country.

**Only a properly trained medical professional can advise on what is currently needed thus the following are merely observations of advice we have personally received from the travel health clinic. Please do not consider this information a replacement for your own visit with a professional.

- Malaria – though risk is low you are most often considered to be within a malarial area and you should take precautions. Most travel clinics recommend Malarone as a one pill a day prophylactic that is least likely to give you side effects. Larium (mefloquine) is commonly still prescribed, especially by non-travel doctors because it is cheaper. We have had clients take Larium with no issues but it is renowned for producing vivid dreams, which are not always good for some people. Because of the greater percentage of people who have a bad experience with Larium, we encourage you to discuss Malarone or other alternatives with your professional.

Avoiding mosquito bites at night is the best preventative. Come prepared with a deet based bug spray and have clothes that cover you at dinner at night if bugs are a problem. Ankles seem to be a favored area if not treated. You can also treat your clothes with permethrin prior to your trip. This can be purchased at any Army surplus store or online. It aids in the repelling of mosquitos and other insects.

- Hepatitis A – This is an important shot to have for almost any international travel. If you have traveled abroad previously you may well have had this and if you had a series of 2 it is good for a very long time so you may be all set. If not, you will need it.

- Polio & MMR Boosters – Likewise, you may have received this vaccination previously. It is believed that the risk is very low. Follow the recommendation of your professional.

- Typhoid – This can be administered as a liquid, which lasts for 5 years.

- Tetanus – You need to be current on your tetanus shot so get a booster if you are due.

- Yellow Fever – This is required if you are arriving from a country that is affected. *CDC List-Countries at Risk for Yellow Fever -https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2018/infectious-diseases-related-to-travel/yellow-fever Because regulations related to Yellow Fever have been changing so frequently, we highly recommend you travel with proof of Yellow Fever vaccination. The vaccination is now good for life.

- Cipro or other Anti-biotic – you should pack an Imodium type product for any traveler’s diarrhea issues. This said, a travel doctor will most often provide you with a prescription for an anti-biotic to treat any persistent issues.

- Medicated Eye Drops – If you wear contacts, as a precaution, we recommend you ask your doctor for a prescription eye drop to treat eye infections.

FLIGHTS

Regional Bush Flights
- Aircrafts for these flights can range from small Cessnas (especially in Botswana) to 12 seat caravans, to bigger crafts that might hold up to 40 passengers. These are shared charters so you may be joined by other passengers going to the same parks but not necessarily the same camps. On some routes there may be additional stops to pick up and/or drop off passengers thus all times are estimates.

- NOTE: Passenger weight limit on bush flights is100kg/220lbs per person.

Southern Africa -Total Luggage weight limit is 44 lbs. (20 kg) in a soft duffle like bag without wheels. This luggage weight limit includes your carry on.

East Africa -Total Luggage weight limit is 33 lbs. (15 kg) in a soft duffle like bag without wheels. This luggage weight limit includes your carry on.

PACKING

Luggage - Strategy is to pack light.

- Southern Africa ie. South Africa, Botswana, Uganda, Zambia, Namibia, and Zimbabwe-- Total baggage weight limit for bush planes is 44 lbs. (20 kg) per person. This luggage weight limit includes your carry on.

- East Africa ie. Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and Mozambique-- total baggage weight limit for bush planes is 33 lbs. (15 kg) per person. This luggage weight limit includes your carry on.

- Luggage dimensions should not exceed 25cm (10 inches) wide, 30cm (12 inches) high and 62 cm (24 inches) long.

- Limit to two bags. Your primary bag needs to be a soft duffle like bag and preferably, without wheels so it can be mashed around to fit into the small aircrafts.

- Second bag is your carry on; a back pack or something of the sort for camera and other essentials.

- Think about what needs to go in the carry on. Be sure any medications and valuable electronics, jewelry, passport etc. are in your carry-on bag. Do not pack anything irreplaceable in your checked bag. With this, if your checked bag is lost or delayed, you will have your vitals with you. If you have room, keep a change of clothes in the carry on just in case.

- Laundry service is often available so you can send out clothes frequently. During camp orientations you will be advised of the process. Most camps do not launder under garments and thus provide detergent for you to do so yourself.

- Hairdryer- We recommend you do not pack a hairdryer. Any accommodation that can handle the voltage will provide a hairdryer.

Technology- we encourage the following

- Wi-Fi - do not expect to have internet access while at camp.

- Cell phone - check with your local carrier. Texting is usually your best option while travelling. Though do not expect coverage while at camp. Camp is always reachable for emergencies.

Clothing – General Notes

- It’s good to wear neutral color clothing on activities (especially walks), tan, brown, khaki, and greens are all very good. Avoid dark blue and black as they may attract biting insects. Other colors are fine in camp. It is not an absolute must to wear neutral colors on game drives, though we think it nice to blend into the environment.

- Wicking material – quick dry and cotton are best.

- No Camouflage – it’s associated with military which is considered negative in Africa.

- Avoid dry clean only clothing- your laundry may be coal ironed and occasionally synthetics get damaged.

EXTRAS

- Some folks like to bring notecards from their home towns, or stationary in which to put the tips. It’s not necessary, but can be a thoughtful connection with the staff (you’d be amazed how connected you feel after a few days).

UPON YOUR RETURN

- Only non-perishable (meat in a can is fine, but not vacuum sealed), not from the environment items may be brought back from Africa to your home. For example, you may not bring back a stone, a feather, a skull, a bone. You may buy items and trinkets.

South Africa

South Africa has the moniker of “a world within a nation” because it has a bit of everything – beaches, mountains, cities, winelands, culture, and of course great safari areas. It also at times feels very much like the USA or a European country.


Entry Requirements

Passport/Visa*
Make sure your passport has a minimum of 2 blank Visa pages for South Africa. Please note: endorsement pages at back of passport do not count as Visa pages. The expiration date must be at least 6 months beyond your return date. There is no Visa fee for South Africa.

If Multi Entry to South Africa, must have 2 blank pages per entry.

Traveling with Children Under 18?  You need to travel with your child’s original Unabridged birth certificate or certified copy of Unabridged birth certificate. This is a requirement for South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia.

If both parents are travelling accompanied by one or more of their children, they may be required to produce for the child:
- Valid passport
- Original Unabridged or Certified Copy of Unabridged birth certificate (A Certified copy will have a raised seal or a stamp from a notary. An Unabridged birth certificate identifies the parents of the child.)

If only one parent is travelling accompanied by one or more of their children, he or she may be required to produce for the child:
- Valid passport
- Original Unabridged or Certified Copy of Unabridged birth certificate (A Certified copy will have a raised seal or a stamp from a notary. An Unabridged birth certificate identifies the parents of the child.)
- Parental Consent Affidavit from the non-travelling parent if that parent’s details are recorded on the unabridged birth certificate.


Banking and Currency

USD are ok to use in most cities aside from Cape Town / Winelands Areas where Rand is preferred Rand is easily accessible at ATM’s in these areas.

Currency

The currency is the Rand, which is divided into 100 cents. There are R200, R100, R50, R20 and R10 notes. Coins come in R5, R2, R1, 50c, 20c, 10c and 5c.


Travel, Transport and Getting Around

Flights – Regional Bush Flights
Aircrafts for these flights can range from small Cessnas to 12 seat caravans, to bigger crafts that might hold up to 40 passengers. These are shared charters so you may be joined by other passengers going to the same parks but not necessarily the same camps. On some routes there may be additional stops to pick up and/or drop off passengers thus all times are estimates.
NOTE: Passenger weight limit on bush planes is100kg/220lbs per person. Total Luggage weight limit is 44 lbs. (20 kg) in a soft duffle like bag without wheels. This luggage weight limit includes your carry on.


Climate and Weather

South African temperatures, which are measured in centigrade, average at highs of 28°C/83°F to average lows of 8°C/47°F in the summer months (mid-October to mid-February) while in winter (June to August) temperatures range from 1°C/34°F at night to around 18°C/65°F in the day. Average annual rainfall is on the low side at under 500mm a year, making the country somewhat dry. Much of the rain falls in the Western Cape in the winter, differing from the rest of the country, which experiences summer rainfall. On the plus side, the South African climate boasts more than its fair share of sunshine, recording an average of 8.5 hours a day.

The sun can be very strong so apply sunscreen, have cover up clothes, and bring protection for your head. Even though it will generally be warm by midday, when starting game drives early in the morning with the wind of the open vehicle, it can feel chilly so layers are a good idea until you get a feel for the climate and what works for you.

* Please check the weather closer to your departure date and adjust your packing accordingly.


Clothing and Dress Recommendations

Summer

Bring clothes that are cool, light and comfortable because summer temperatures can get well into the 30 - 40 degree Celsius range in some areas. Also bring an umbrella or raincoat during summer as this is when most of the country gets its rain, but don't forget a swimming costume (bathing suit).

Winter

The winters are generally mild, comparing favourably with European summers.  But there are days when temperatures dive, especially in high-lying areas such as the Drakensberg, so be prepared with jerseys and jackets. Cape Town gets its rain during the winter season so it’s advisable to bring rain gear along.

General

Always bring a hat, sunglasses and sunblock as the sun can be strong even in the winter months.

Walking shoes are a good idea all year-round, with warm socks in the winter.

If you are doing business in the country, business attire  (suit and tie) is generally called for in the corporate sector, but media for example generally dress more casually.

For game viewing, a couple of neutral-toned items will be useful, but there's no need to go overboard. A good pair of walking shoes is also advisable.

For the evening, if you are dining at an upmarket restaurant or seeing a show, smart-casual attire is recommended.


Internet Availability

Most accommodation offer Wifi (free or paid) in their business centres, rooms or restaurants. Internet cafes are found in most business areas and shopping malls. In addition, some South African restaurants offer WiFi access (free or paid).

There are also outlets such as PostNet that offer internet, fax and postage facilities.  


Electricity and Plug Standards

Electrical sockets in the Republic of South Africa are Type M (SABS-1661).  If your appliance's plug doesn't match the shape of these sockets, you will need a travel plug adapter in order to plug in. Travel plug adapters simply change the shape of your appliance's plug to match whatever type of socket you need to plug into. If it's crucial to be able to plug in no matter what, bring an adapter for all types.

Electrical sockets in South Africa usually supply electricity at 230 volts AC / 50 Hz frequency. If you're plugging in an appliance that was built for 230 volt electrical input, or an appliance that is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need. If your appliance isn’t compatible with 230 volts, a voltage converter will be necessary.


Botswana

Situated in the southern reaches of Africa, Botswana is renowned for its pristine wilderness areas characterised by deep lagoons, wetlands, lush palms, rugged hills and desert plains scattered with scrubland. The country’s primary tourist draw card is undoubtedly the vast red expanse of the Kalahari desert and its remarkably beautiful Okavango Delta, the largest inland delta in the world. These natural wonders provide a tranquil haven for an abundance of African wildlife to thrive. Other highlights include the impressive Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, where visitors are privy to massive zebra migrations during the flood season; the Savuti plains, which host large prides of lions; and the Tsodilo Hills, where 4500 rock paintings form a unique record of human settlement over many millennia.


Entry Requirements

Passport/Visa*
Make sure your passport has a minimum of 1 blank Visa page for Botswana. Please note: endorsement pages at back of passport do not count as Visa pages. The expiration date must be at least 6 months beyond your return date.

There is no visa fee for Botswana.

Traveling with Children Under 18?  You need to travel with your child’s original Unabridged birth certificate or certified copy of Unabridged birth certificate. This is a requirement for South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia.

If both parents are travelling accompanied by one or more of their children, they may be required to produce for the child:
- Valid passport
- Original Unabridged or Certified Copy of Unabridged birth certificate (A Certified copy will have a raised seal or a stamp from a notary. An Unabridged birth certificate identifies the parents of the child.)

If only one parent is travelling accompanied by one or more of their children, he or she may be required to produce for the child:
- Valid passport
- Original Unabridged or Certified Copy of Unabridged birth certificate (A Certified copy will have a raised seal or a stamp from a notary. An Unabridged birth certificate identifies the parents of the child.)
- Parental Consent Affidavit from the non-travelling parent if that parent’s details are recorded on the unabridged birth certificate.


Banking and Currency

Currency

Botswana's currency is Pula (which means 'rain' in Setswana). It is divided into 100 thebe (which means 'shield' in Setswana). Travellers' cheques and foreign currency may be changed at banks, bureaux de change and authorised hotels.

The US dollar, Euros, British Pound and the South African Rand are the most easily convertible currencies (and accepted by some estabishments - but, generally, then an inflated rate of exchange will be applied).

Banking

Seven main commercial banks, as well as a number of foreign exchange bureaux, operate in Botswana. Operating hours are Monday to Friday 08h30 to 15h30 and Saturday 08h30 to 10h45.

Full banking services are available in major towns, although ATMs are sprouting up all over the country. Most credit cards are accepted at hotels and restaurants. Cultural sites and community art and craft outlets usually only accept cash.


Climate and Weather

Botswana's climatic pattern is typical of southern Africa, although its rainfall is less than countries further east. The rains in Botswana come mostly between December and March, when average minimum temperatures are in the high 60°sF low 20°sC. Some days will be bright and sunny, some will have afternoon thunderstorms, and some will just be grey.

As with Namibia, April and May in Botswana are generally lovely, with the sky clear and the landscape green. Night temperatures start to drop during these months, especially in the Kalahari. Note that places in and around the Okavango tend to have less extreme, more moderate temperatures than the drier areas of the Kalahari.

From June to August the night-time temperatures in drier areas can be close to freezing, but it warms up rapidly during the day, when the sky is usually clear and blue. It's now very much 'peak season' for most safari areas: the land is dry in most areas so the animals congregate around the few available water sources.

This continues into September and October, when temperatures climb again, drying the landscapes and concentrating the game even more. This is the best time for big game safaris – although October can feel very hot, with maximum temperatures sometimes approaching 40°C.

November is difficult to predict, as it can sometimes be a continuation of October's heat, whilst sometimes it's cooled by the first rains; it's always an interesting month.

The sun can be very strong so apply sunscreen, have cover up clothes, and bring protection for your head. Even though it will generally be warm by midday, when starting game drives early in the morning with the wind of the open vehicle, it can feel chilly so layers are a good idea until you get a feel for the climate and what works for you.

* Please check the weather closer to your departure date and adjust your packing accordingly.


Internet Availability

Some hotels, lodges and guest houses offer internet access or WiFi (free or paid), and there are internet cafe's in Gaborone and Maun. Internet access in more remote rural areas is often hard to come by.


Electricity and Plug Standards

Electrical sockets (outlets) in Botswana are the 'Type M' South African SABS1661 ('Large' 15 amp BS-546) sockets. This is actually an old British standard. The 'Type M' South African plug and socket is not to be confused with the 'Type D' Indian plug and socket. In pictures, they look very similar, but the South African type is much larger than the Indian type, and they are physically incompatible. If your appliance's plug doesn't match the shape of these sockets, you will need a travel plug adapter in order to plug in. Travel plug adapters simply change the shape of your appliance's plug to match whatever type of socket you need to plug into.

Electrical sockets (outlets) in Botswana usually supply electricity at between 220 and 240 volts AC. If you're plugging in an appliance that was built for 220-240 volt electrical input, or an appliance that is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need. 

But travel plug adapters do not change the voltage, so the electricity coming through the adapter will still be the same 220-240 volts the socket is supplying. If you need to use appliances that are not compatible with 220-240 volt electrical input, you will need a voltage converter.




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