Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe to travel in Africa?
Southern Africa is in general a safe destination for international travelers. However, it is wise to take certain standard security precautions while traveling. These precautions should be applied while traveling anywhere in the world. Following basic advice can avoid most potential problems. A few tips to consider are the following: make photocopies of your passport, airline tickets, drivers license and other important documentation. Also keep a record of the numbers of your travelers cheques. These should be kept in a safe place.??When in towns and cities, do not carry large amounts of cash in your pocket. Keep enough for the expenses of the day and place the rest in a safety deposit box at the hotel/lodge or money pouch under your shirt. Also be discreet with an expensive camera or jewellery. Plan ahead and know which route you intend to take using clear maps. When leaving your car, do not leave your purse or bag lying on the passenger seat in clear view - rather keep them in the car boot. Never pick up hitchhikers.
What's the easiest way to get to my destination?
Regular Flights to major cities will be the quickest way of transfer but you can also drive with a car if you have more time (some destinations might require a 4x4 vehicle).
Once I'm there, how do I get around?
Some destinations have Public transport that includes rail, bus, minibus and ferry. Private transport available includes chauffeur driven vehicles, hired car, 4x4 vehicle or light aircraft. Self-drive is a convenient option for South Africa and Namibia.
What travel documents do I need?
All visitors are required to carry a passport that is valid for six months beyond the intended length of stay. Nationals of certain countries do not require visas - this depends on the country you are visiting. It is advisable to check with the Consulate of the country you intend visiting for the latest visa and entry requirements.
What are the roads like?
The best self-drive destinations in Africa are South Africa and Namibia for the simple reason that these two countries have well maintained and extensive road networks. Although Namibia has many gravel roads (untarred dirt roads), it is still easy to travel around. Most of the other destinations in southern and east Africa are better explored by an organised tour or fly-in tour.
Botswana: About 24% of highways are tarred. Rough, sandy and badly signposted tracks in reserves - 4x4 essential. The best way to visit these areas is by pre-booked mobile or fly-in safari to the many lodges and camps scattered sparsely across the national parks and private reserves.
Moçambique: About 19% of highways are tarred. The main road along the coast (EN1) is tarred and roads are constantly being upgraded. The main attraction is Bazaruto, easily reached by air.
Namibia: About 12% of highways are paved. Extremely good infrastructure of roads - two-wheel drive vehicle adequate for self-drive holiday.
South Africa: Roads well-maintained. A comprehensive road network across most of the country. Number of toll roads present. Good self-drive destination.
Zambia: About 18% of highways are paved. After rains, most gravel roads only passable by 4x4. Mostly fly-in safaris.
Zimbabwe: About 47% of highways are paved. Outside parks and reserves, where 4x4 is advisable, road conditions good and well signposted. Self-drive is an option.
When is the best time to go?
We carefully assess each travelers needs and answer accordingly, as every traveler has different requirements.
Botswana: All year round. Best birding: Nov-March. Best botanical months: Dec-May. Peak season: July-October. Middle season: May-June.
Moçambique: Best time: winter (April-Sept). Best fishing months: summer (Oct-March)
Namibia: All year round. Best birding: summer (Nov-April). Best botanical months: Dec-May. Peak season: July-October. Middle season: May-June.
South Africa: All year round. Best game viewing (in north): winter (May-August). Southern regions: summer destination (Sept-April).
Zambia: Victoria Falls spectacular after rains: April-May
Zimbabwe: All year round. Best white water rafting: Aug-Dec. Best botanical months: Dec-May. Peak season: July-Oct. Middle season: May-June.
Is there a "best time" to go on safari?
It really depends on the type of animal you wish to see or the activity you would like to partake in. Certain reserves have good game viewing all year round but others will have particularly good elephant sightings or other migratory animals at different times of the year. It is generally felt that the African winter is the best time to go on safari, as the grass is dry and vegetation sparse making game viewing easier. It is also the time when animals are on the move looking for food and water. Temperatures in winter are generally mild but can become considerably cooler in the evening, so pack multiple layers of clothing to ensure you stay comfortable on afternoon game drives and walks. It goes without saying that the standard safari gear must include a broad brim hat, sunscreen and mosquito repellent.?In areas where malaria is prevalent, summer is generally a more risky time to travel. So, before you go on safari, consult your doctor for the necessary anti-malaria medication.
What is the landscape like?
Botswana: Flat, landlocked country, almost entirely covered by the Kalahari Desert. There is a lush delta, arid sandveld, scrub savannah and several saltpans.
Moçambique: Coastline on the Indian Ocean with lagoons, coral reefs and spectacular strings of islands. There is vast wooded savannah, mountainous regions, patched with forests and about 25 rivers.
Namibia: Large, mostly arid country. Its four geographical regions are the Namib Desert, the Central Plateau, the Kalahari sands and wooded bushveld.
South Africa: Washed by Indian and Atlantic Oceans. Three major geographical regions: the coastal belt, high plateau and mountain ranges. There are also veld plains and rivers.
Zambia: Landlocked country, bordering eight countries. Vast plateau with deciduous savannah, small trees, grassy plains and marshland. Rain forest around Victoria Falls. Major rivers include the Zambezi.
Zimbabwe: Landlocked; lies entirely between the tropics. Largely plateau with bushveld, giving rise to many rivers like Zambezi.Mountainous highlands and Victoria Falls, Africa's biggest waterfall.
What is the weather like?
Botswana: Summer: Nov-April. Winter: May-Oct.
Moçambique: Summer: Oct-March. Winter: April-Sept.
Namibia: Summer: Nov-April. Winter: May-Oct.
South Africa: Summer: Sept-April. Winter: May-Aug.
Zambia: Summer: Nov-March. Winter: April-Aug.
Zimbabwe: Summer: Oct-April. Winter: May-Sept.
Is Africa a good family destination?
Southern Africa offers outstanding value for families. Some destinations and establishments cater more fully for the enjoyment of children than others. Southern Africa offers a multitude of unique delights for the younger traveller. Children five years and younger are generally not allowed on game drives in the parks and reserves.
What about malaria when traveling with children?
It is advisable to talk to your GP or local Travel Clinic before traveling with children to a malaria area. Here are some precautions to follow against being bitten by mosquitoes: cover up and to apply repellent. Your kids should have the right gear for their safari. Long sleeved shirts and long trousers are essential for early morning and evening. A child-friendly high -concentration DEET repellent is available on the market.??Don't let malaria keep you from enjoying a safari with your family. There are several malaria-free reserves in South Africa to choose from.
What is the time difference?
Botswana: GMT +2 hours
Moçambique: GMT +2 hours
Namibia: GMT +1 hour/GMT +2 hours
South Africa: GMT +2 hours
Zambia: GMT +2 hours
Zimbabwe: GMT +2 hours
Is English spoken widely?
Yes. English is spoken throughout Southern Africa, especially by those involved in the tourist trade. European and Middle Eastern languages spoken in Southern Africa include: Portuguese (Moçambique), German (Namibia) and Arabic (Tanzania).
Is vegetarian/halaal/kosher food available?
Yes. Special dietary requirements are catered for throughout Southern Africa. Please give advance notice to places where you intend staying if meals are included in your package – most properties might have a surcharge for ordering special meals. Most restaurants offer selections for vegetarians, depending on their forte. Local specialties can be surprisingly good! With the exception of a few upmarket lodges, halaal and kosher food is not available at most camps/lodges.
Is it safe to drink the water?
Botswana: Tap water is purified and safe to drink at hotels, inns, lodges and other public places. Remember water is a scarce resource, especially in this drought-stricken country, so please be respectful and help to conserve water
Moçambique: Tap water is usually safe to drink, but bottled water is available should you prefer this.
Namibia: Tap water is purified and safe to drink at hotels, inns, lodges and other public places. Remember water is as precious as diamonds in this drought-stricken land.
South Africa: The tap water in South Africa is safe to drink. If you prefer, bottled water is available.
Zambia: Tap water is usually safe to drink, but bottled water can be purchased if preferred.
Zimbabwe: Tap water is purified and safe to drink at hotels, inns, lodges and other public places.
When are the banks open?
Banks in Southern Africa are generally open on weekdays during office hours or mornings only. Some countries have banks that open until about 11:00am on Saturdays.
Can I use my credit card?
Botswana: All major credit cards are accepted at hotels, shops and restaurants. Certain lodges and restaurants do not accept payment by Diners or American Express.
Moçambique: Credit cards are usually accepted only at the more upmarket hotels
Namibia: International Visa and MasterCard credit cards are generally accepted throughout Namibia. Holders of other credit cards are advised to clarify with a commercial bank whether their card is acceptable in Namibia. Credit cards are not accepted at petrol filling stations.
South Africa: Visa, American Express, Diners Club and MasterCard are accepted by most restaurants, stores, hotels, car rental firms and other points of sale and service. Proof of identity may be requested in some instances and it is therefore useful to carry a passport or some form of photo identification at all times.
Zambia: All major credit cards are accepted at the bigger hotels and shops. Note that certain lodges do not accept payment by Diners or American Express
Zimbabwe: All major credit cards are accepted at hotels, shops and restaurants. However, please note that certain lodges and restaurants do not accept payment by Diners or American Express.
Are there any medical precautions?
As vaccination requirements change from time to time, we suggest you consult your local doctor or health department for prophylactics and the latest health precautions. Some countries require advance inoculations (and certificates thereof) - Most lodges have qualified emergency first-aid staff members. Malaria is present in many parts of Africa and Anti-malarial precautions are essential when traveling to Africa with exception to some parts of South Africa. You will be able to get more information from your local Travel Clinic before traveling to Africa. If you are on prescription medication, please ensure you have an adequate supply to last the duration of your stay and a copy of your prescription(s) or a letter from your GP.