South Africa has four major international airports: Johannesburg (JNB), Cape Town (CPT), Durban (DUR), and Port Elizabeth (PLZ). In addition to these major hubs, there are various domestic airports and airfields connecting all major towns and safari destinations. Depending on your arrival time you may have to overnight before catching a connecting flight to your first safari camp/hotel.
We would recommend booking your flights online in order to get the best rates. If you need any help or advice please let us know.
Domestic flights and transfers
Connecting between all the locations on your trip may necessitate a variety of modes: light aircraft charters, domestic commercial flights and road transfers. Please review the inclusions and exclusions on your specific trip page for details. If you need help understanding the best flights to book, please let us know.
From the moment that you land in South Africa you will be greeted and assisted to your onward connections. You will be looked after from that point on until you are transferred back to the airport in time for your departure flight.
Please consult your personal physician and/or a travel clinic preferably 6 weeks prior to your departure. Vaccine requirements vary based on your country of origin and your travel itinerary and your previous vaccination history. It is best to consult with your physician or the CDC website for guidelines.
Important vaccinations to consider and which may either be required or recommended are: Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Hepatitis A & B and Cholera, among others. Please always carry your "International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP)" (or "Yellow Card") with you.
We advise that you consult a medical practitioner at least six weeks prior to travel, although malaria is not prevalent in South Africa. It does occur primarily in wildlife areas such as Kruger National Park and surrounds, KwaZulu Natal province and northern coastal regions. The highest risk time is October – May.
In addition to the recommendations of your travel clinic or physician, you may also consider the following proactive preventative measures:
● Apply insect repellent to exposed skin. Recommended repellents contain 20-35% DEET but it is a very virulent repellent, and should be used cautiously.
● Wear long-sleeved clothing and long pants at dawn and dusk.
● Use a mosquito net if your tent or room isn't screened or air-conditioned; and spray insecticide or burn a mosquito coil before going to bed.
You can also visit www.malaria.org.za for more information.
There is no risk of Yellow Fever in South Africa; however, vaccination is required for travellers who are arriving from, or have transited through, countries with risk of Yellow Fever transmission (e.g. Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda or elsewhere worldwide). This requirement can change unexpectedly, therefore, we recommend carrying a Yellow Fever card with you at all times.
It is a condition of booking that you carry the correct comprehensive travel and medical insurance to cover yourself, as well as any dependents/travelling companions for the duration of your trip. This insurance should include cover in respect of, but not limited to, the following eventualities:
a. Emergency evacuation expenses
b. Medical expenses
c. Repatriation expenses
a. Cancellation or curtailment of trip
b. Damage/theft/loss of personal luggage, money and goods
South Africa country code: +27
Calling overseas from South Africa:
From a landline dial 00 followed by the country code plus area code and number.
e.g. USA: 00 1 910 795 1048
When calling from a cell phone dial + prefix followed by the country code plus area code and number. e.g. USA: + 1 910 795 1048
Cell Phone Service
Cell phone coverage is available nearly nationwide (few exceptions being remote safari locations). If you have an “unlocked” cellular phone, it is possible to obtain a “pay as you go” local SIM card, which is available at most major stores and airports in South Africa. Preferred carriers are MTN, Vodacom and Cell-C. You will need your passport and air ticket.
As a general precaution, we recommend you make several copies of your travel-related documents (passport, traveller’s cheques, credit cards, itinerary, airline tickets, insurance cover, visas, etc). Leave one set at home, and bring another set with you, and place it in a location separate from your originals.
Generally speaking, most nationalities do not require a visa to enter South Africa. Passports MUST be valid for at least six months from your departure from South Africa to home. There must be at least TWO (we recommend four) consecutive blank VISA pages in the passport (not endorsement pages). South Africa’s immigration control is very strict, and is known to deny entry to those not meeting the requirements.
Visa requirements change regularly and it is best to contact your local South African embassy regarding the most recent rules. Visa Central is also a good resource.
Travelling with children (under 18)
The new immigration rules introduced by South Africa in June 2015 relating to travelling with children remain in force. Parents travelling with children (under 18) will be asked to show the child’s full unabridged birth certificate. The full unabridged birth certificate should list the child’s details and both parents’ details. The abridged (short) birth certificate which only lists the child’s particulars won’t be accepted. The South African Department of Home Affairs are not accepting uncertified copies of birth certificates or copies of the parents/guardians identification.
There are additional requirements if the child is travelling with only one parent, with neither biological parent, or unaccompanied. See this information sheet, this statement by the South African Department of Home Affairs and this leaflet produced by the South African Department of Home Affairs. School groups should use this consent form in addition to the documents referred to above. This special dispensation applies to all schools registered with the Department of Basic Education and its equivalent abroad.
We recommend referencing the website as requirements change regularly, or contact your nearest South African High Commission if you have any specific questions about your trip.
The currency in South Africa is the South African Rand (ZAR). ATMs are widely available, please check with your bank for charges and advice when using international ATMs. VISA and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards, while American Express has limited to no coverage. It is advisable to have some cash for smaller shops and for tipping. IMPORTANT: When bringing foreign currency (e.g. USD, GBP, EUR) into the country, be sure to bring new format with no damage or marks.
What to pack
South Africa mostly enjoys a temperate climate with sunny, warm days. The winter season runs through from May to September. During this time the low-lying bush areas are dry, with wildlife gathering around the remaining water sources, making game viewing easier. The Western Cape is converse to the rest of the country and experiences winter rainfall and can get very cold in June and July whilst summer is dry and hot. The wet season around the rest of the country (also the summer season) enjoys temperatures up to 30°C. Desert temperatures can soar to 40°C. December to February are the wettest months and you can experience torrential afternoon rain.
Standard clothing is acceptable in the bigger towns and cities in South Africa and dependent on the climate. Comfortable beach wear is fine on the coast, just be sure to take sun cream because the sun gets very strong in the summer months.
When on safari, light layers of clothing in neutral safari colours of green, khaki and beige are the best items to bring with you, as well as a warmer jacket or fleece for the colder evenings. A hat is also a must have! Bright and dark colours like yellow, red and purple are discouraged, or sometimes not allowed (on a bush walk) if you are going on safari.
What to Pack
• Layers - long and short sleeve shirts and trousers
• A warm fleece or jumper
• A lightweight waterproof jacket
• Comfortable but sturdy shoes
• Swimming costume
• A hat or baseball cap
• Sunscreen – a must!
• Toiletries – most camps will provide shampoo, shower gel and soap
• A small torch
• Spare batteries, plug adaptors and charging equipment
• A good pair of Binoculars
• Books or a fully loaded Kindle / iPad for siesta time
Camera Equipment (for the enthusiasts)
• A telephoto lens (200/300mm)
• Flash and fast film (400 ASA) for night photography
• Lots of film (64,100,200,400 ASA) if you’re using an SLR cameras
• Spare memory cards for digital cameras
• Camera cleaning equipment and a good dust proof bag
• Bring spare batteries as although you may recharge your batteries at the camps, charging capacity can be limited
Most camps and lodges will have a small medical and first aid kit, but we recommend bringing your own supply of essentials - cough medicine, plasters, vitamins, aspirin and paracetamol, and anything else you use on a regular basis.
Please check with your airlines for the specific luggage restrictions relevant to your flight schedule. Many international airlines have a baggage allowance of 20kgs or more per person and commercial airlines generally permit two (2) pieces of checked luggage per person. The carry-on bag must be of such dimensions and weight as set by the airlines.
Luggage Restrictions on Internal Flights
On safari, light aircraft flight luggage is strictly limited to one SOFT duffle bag and one small carry on. The combined weight must not exceed 20kgs/44lbs, unless otherwise noted in your personal itinerary.
South Africa and surrounding countries use 220/230V, 50Hz AC, and sockets take mostly Type M (3 prong large round) and some Type C (2 prong narrow round). Most hotel rooms have sockets for 110V electric razors. It is best to bring an adapter/convertor combination.
Gratuities are not compulsory or expected; rather it is an reward for excellent service. If you are pleased with the service you receive, you are more than welcome to tip your guide or the staff. Tipping is usually done at the end of your stay. You may tip the staff individually, give the tip to the manager to distribute or do both. Tips can be made in South African Rands (ZAR), USD, GBP or EUR.
Safari Camp lead guide: $10 - $15 per person per day
Transfer drivers (e.g. in cities or between airport and hotel/lodge): $2 per person per transfer
Porter: $1 per bag
Ranger or any “ancillary” guides on ad-hoc basis for a specific activity: $3 - $5 per person per activity
General Camp staff (put in a central box in each camp’s main area): $7 - $10 per person per day
Waitstaff in a city restaurant: 10%-15% (large group may incur automatic service charge, please check)