What to Wear
When travelling to foreign destinations it is always respectful to dress modestly and we suggest the emphasis is on comfortable clothing. It is often very warm during the day, but it can get very cold, especially in the early mornings and evenings.
For game drives we suggest wearing layered clothing that can be removed as the day heats up. Blankets and hot water bottles are often provided by the lodges for those chilly early morning game drives. Neutral coloured clothing is recommended for game drives, along with good walking shoes for bush walks. Most hotels and lodges have laundry services, so an excessive amount of clothing should be unnecessary. Please note that some hotels and lodges hand wash clothing.
Luggage limits in South Africa come down to the itinerary you choose, but generally it needs to comply with the internal flight weight limit which is usually 20Kg. We recommend using SOFT bags which are easier to transport in vehicles and planes. As far as hand luggage goes this is limited to 8Kg per person flying economy class. More information about luggage can be found in your journey essentials document post-booking.
Getting There & Away
If Natural World Safaris has arranged your international flights you will be sent your flight itinerary separately. Please note that once your flights have been booked these will be subject to their respective terms and conditions. If you haven’t booked your flights with Natural World Safaris clients will need to make their own arrangements to arrive and leave in accordance with their itinerary. We can arrange these flights for you if needed, please ask for further details.
Upon arrival at your destination, you will be met by our local representative. They will hold a ‘welcome card’ with your name on it. We have provided local contact details in the accompanying information but if you have any problems please call our 24-hour UK telephone number on +44 (0)7887 637 628.
Hotels & Lodges
South Africa has plenty of hotels and lodges to choose from ranging from camping up to luxury 5 Star lodges and hotels situated in most areas of South Africa. These lodges and hotels vary from small privately owned guesthouses and lodges to company owned chain hotels and lodges. Accommodation in South Africa is of a high standard on a par with Western countries. Electricity is available all over South Africa, although some of the more remote lodges may be run from generators. We do however always attempt to use environmentally friendly lodges who are committed to helping the local communities.
Most hotels and lodges are able to offer laundry facilities but please note that the cost is not always included. Check with reception for current prices. Due to natural drying and variable climatic conditions your clothing might not always come back ‘bone dry’. Most lodges won’t wash underwear but will happily provide washing powder to use in your room.
Food & Water
Food varies from destination to destination. Please bear in mind that we try to use lodges/camps that use local produce which supports the local communities. Do not be afraid to try local produce as it is part of the experience!
Generally the tap water in South Africa is safe to drink, but please speak to the lodge/hotel just to confirm this, although we strongly recommend drinking bottled water throughout your safari.
Mobile or cell phone coverage is excellent all over South Africa. You may battle slightly in some of the more remote lodges, but generally if you move around a bit you will find network coverage.
We are not able to provide contact details for individual hotels, lodges or camps, as many do not have the facilities to handle guest calls/communications. We will provide contact details for our ground agents, please see accompanying information.
South Africa is two hours (+2) ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
Sunrise and sunset times vary depending on the area of the country you are in and the time of year you are there. The average daily sunshine hours range from 5.7 hours in winter up to 11.1 hours in summer.
South Africa’s electricity supply is 220/230 volts AC 50 Hz and is generally available throughout the country, although some lodges may be on generator power. Some lodges may only have power supplies in the communal areas, but please speak to the reception about charging camera batteries. We advise visitors to take multi-adaptors to cope with plug sockets that are 3 round pins, although some appliances have 2 small round pins.
The local currency in South Africa is the Rand (ZAR or R) which is divided into 100 cents. You will be able to use your debit/credit card at most lodges/hotels/shops/petrol stations/restaurants although we always recommend having South African Rands (ZAR) in cash. Notes come in R200, R100, R50, R20 and R10 and coins are R5, R2, R1, 50c, 20c, 10c and 5c.
Spending money for your South African safari will depend on what type of holiday you are doing. On a self-drive holiday you will need to pay for petrol as well as entrance fees to parks and sights, most meals, all drinks and any other car hire expenses you may incur. Whilst on safari, usually all meals and activities are included and some lodges offer local drinks in their price. The only costs you would need to pay for would be for buying souvenirs and tips for your guides and lodge staff.
You may wish to take extra funds to make contributions or donations to organisations that we encourage clients to visit. Donations and contributions are entirely voluntary.
There are money changing facilities at most banks throughout South Africa who will change US Dollars, British Pounds and Euros fairly easily. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted throughout South Africa, although it is always advisable to travel with some South African Rand in cash.
Never keep all of your cash in the same place, keep it in different pockets and split it up between different bags.
Credit and Debit cards are widely accepted throughout South African restaurants, shops, hotels, lodges, petrol stations, although please carry cash (in South African Rand) with you for smaller purchases.
At time of writing there is no departure tax.
Most nationalities and tourists entering South Africa have a hassle free border experience. A valid passport with a minimum of 6 months validity on arrival and at least two blank pages is mandatory. Make sure you check your passport validity well in advance of travel.
Most citizens will get a 90 Day entry visa on arrival, but please check with the South African consulate in your country of residence as this is subject to change.
Please note obtaining the correct entry visas are your responsibility.
Embassy Contact Details
In the UK the South African consulate is located at 15 Whitehall, London, SW1A 2DD.
Tel: 020 7925 8900 / 01 / 10
In the USA the South African consulate is located at 4301 Connecticut Ave, NW, Suite 220, Washington, DC 20008
Tel: (202) 244 9417
All of our local operators conform to local safety regulations. If you at any time feel that this is not the case please do not hesitate to contact us.
Know Before You Go is an ongoing campaign from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to help Brits stay safe abroad, however in our opinion it has useful information for all nationalities. The campaign was launched in 2001 to promote these key messages:
Get adequate travel insurance
Check the FCO’s country travel advise
Visit your GP as soon as possible before travelling
Check your passport is in good condition and valid and you have all necessary visas
Make copies of important documents and/or store them online using a secure data storage site.
Tell someone where you are going and leave emergency contact details with them
Take enough money and have access to emergency funds.
We suggest that you go to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website to get up to date information on your specific destination and important travel tips before you travel.
Go to: www.gov.uk/travelaware for relevant and important travel tips to plan your trip abroad.
South Africa has had some bad press when it comes to safety and security over the past years. Generally for tourists South Africa is as safe as any other destination in the world, provided they take basic common-sense precautions whilst abroad. We would recommend taking taxis when travelling at night, not flashing expensive photographic equipment and jewellery around. Most of the crime that happens in South Africa happens between people who know each other and random acts of violence are the minority of cases. Some lodges are located where wildlife roam free, sometimes into camp, so please DO NOT approach wild animals on foot, unless you are accompanied by an experienced guide.
For latest travel advice please contact us, at our UK office, or alternatively use the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.
Health & Medical
Always seek medical advice before travelling; please consult your GP or Doctor who will be able to advise you on required vaccinations and anti-malarial prophylaxis. In the UK we recommended visiting the ‘Fit for Travel’ website.
In the USA, we suggest consulting CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) - http://www.cdc.gov/
Please bring any personal medication required. Anti-malaria tablets and mosquito may be needed.
Medical services, especially in rural areas, are basic so it is essential you have appropriate travel insurance with adequate medical cover, air repatriation with a 24-hour contact telephone number for emergencies.
It is a condition of booking that all clients must have, and must demonstrate to the company prior to their departure, adequate insurance for the duration of the tour.
Proof of the following items of insurance is required on booking; cancellation or curtailment of your trip, medical expenses, repatriation, loss of luggage, personal injury, adventure activities such as white-water rafting, tracking wild animals, theft of personal belongings.
Please report any theft, trip disruption immediately to your guide during your trip and also in writing to Natural World Safaris immediately on return to your home country.
There is a smoking ban in South Africa that prohibits smoking in all public places, offices and public service vehicles. We strongly discourage smoking in the National Parks. South Africa is a very dry country and so PLEASE never through a lit cigarette into the bush as this could cause a devastating bush fire.
The infrastructure in South Africa is comparable to any first world country with a good network of paved and graded roads. There are several airlines in South Africa that serve most of the major tourist destinations and cities within South Africa and neighbouring countries. South Africa is a great country for a self-drive holiday where we would include car hire costs. Travel times in South Africa depends on the route and also what you want to see and visit, but generally the distances between the 2 locations per day is quite small giving you enough time to enjoy the sights.
South Africa can be visited year round as it rarely experiences adverse weather conditions. The weather depends on the location you are in within South Africa but generally the summers are hot with afternoon thunderstorms. In winter the days are hot and dry and the evenings are cool, but can be cold with frost and sometimes snow in the higher mountains. In Cape Town summers are hot and dry and winters are cool (cold at night) with rainy days. South Africa is in the southern hemisphere and so winters are from June to August, autumn is from March to May, spring runs from September to November and summer is from December to February.
Please refrain from photography of military personnel, military installations and airports. Always ask for permission when taking photos of local people or alternatively ask your guide for advice. Please bring extra batteries as it may not always be possible to re-charge them at the lodges. In addition it might be useful to bring a car charger (cigarette lighter variety). For photographing wildlife a zoom lens of 300mm or more is highly recommended.
South Africa is generally a cheap country to travel in compared to Europe, the Americas and other areas in Africa. Most of our safaris to South Africa are done on a self drive basis and so petrol/diesel will need to be paid for locally as will most meals and drinks. Petrol is roughly £0,70 a litre and meal costs vary considerable depending on the area, the restaurant and the meal. Generally, outside of the safari areas you will need to pay for activities, entrance to the sites and any other expenses you incur.
Prices exclude all items of a personal nature: entry visas, international flights, tips, telephone calls, drinks (unless otherwise stated), laundry and airport taxes. These are just rough guidelines and some may differ depending on the itinerary chosen.
Tips & Gratuities
During your time in South Africa, tipping is entirely at your discretion. There is no obligation to pay a tip to your drivers, hotel staff or your guides. However, should you wish to tip, the following may be used as a guideline:
Waiter/Bar Tender 10 - 15 % of the total bill
Petrol or Parking Attendant US$2
Tour Leaders/Guides/Drivers US$10-15 per person per day
Porters US$3 per item
Charitable Giving & Community Projects
We recommend as part of our responsible travel policy that you do not give money or gifts directly to local people. We have links with local projects/schools that would appreciate your support. Please ask your guide for further details. If you would like to contribute to these donations of clothing, pens and pencils are greatly appreciated.
When you buy an ATOL protected flight or flight inclusive holiday from us you will receive an ATOL Certificate. This lists the flight, accommodation, car hire and/or other services that are financially protected, where you can get information on what this means for you and who to contact if things go wrong. Company Name: Natural World Safaris Ltd. ATOL Number 9826. For more information please visit their website: https://www.caa.co.uk/atol-protection/
As a member of the Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT), Natural World Safaris Ltd has provided a bond to meet the requirements of the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992.
In the event of insolvency, protection is provided for non-flight packages commencing in and returning to the UK and other non-flight packages excluding pre arranged travel to and from your destination. Please note that packages booked outside the UK are only protected when purchased directly with Natural World Safaris Ltd.
In the above circumstances, if you have not yet travelled you may claim a refund, or if you have already travelled, you may claim repatriation to the starting point of your non-flight package.
The ABTOT number is 5127.