Image by Dariusz Sankowski

TRAVEL INFORMATION

Passports & Visas:

1). Passport must have at least 6 months validity before the expiry date, and 6 empty pages.

2). For up-to-date visa requirements please check with your Embassy and/or your travel
consultant, and ensure this is done timeously as the onus is on the client before final confirmation of a booking is actioned. Citizens of certain countries are required to obtain visas before travelling, and some of these may take up to 3 months to be processed.

3). Many Zambian and Zimbabwean visas can be obtained at the port of entry on the day of arrival, subsequent to payment of the required visa fee (which is payable in cash). However, some visitors need to apply for visas before arrival – please check with your Embassy and/or travel consultant.

4). Zimbabwe (estimated visa costs):

5). Europe and USA: US $ 30.00 for single entry/ US $ 45.00 for double entry.

6). UK & Ireland: US $ 55.00 for single entry/ US $ 70.00 for double entry.

7). Canada: US $ 75.00 for single entry / double entry to be obtained from local embassy prior to travel.

2. Photography

This is probably one of the most important aspects of Safari arrangements in particular – and can add immeasurably to your memories.

There are some outstanding high-resolution digital cameras, which give superb images. This is particularly true if you are using a digital SLR camera body, with inter-changeable lenses.

A major advantage of digital photography is that one can get instant feedback on images and adjustments can be made in the field to ensure that you are happy with the photograph.

Remember that spare batteries are essential and a storage device of some sort is recommended.  Make certain you have enough card storage – most people take more photographs than they expect to.  Most Lodges have facilities for recharging batteries and storage devices. 

For excellent wildlife photography, a good SLR camera and telephoto lens is really required.  A zoom lens can be extremely useful on safari and the minimum recommended size is 70 – 200mm, although a 100 – 400mm is ideal.  If you are using film, slides still give the best quality results (over print film). We suggest 400ASA for low light situations, and 100ASA for normal light. We suggest that you bring a good quantity of film and spare camera batteries.

3. Travel Documentation

Your passport must have at least 6 months validity before the expiry date and 6 empty pages.  For up to date visa requirements please revert to our visa information document which we try to keep as up to date as possible, but because visa information changes regularly, it is also a good idea to check with your embassy.  Please ensure that this is done timeously as the onus ison the client before final confirmation of a booking is actioned.  Citizens of certain countries are required to obtain visas before travelling and some of these may take up to 3 months to be processed.

4. Travel Insurance

For your safety and peace of mind, and in order to recover expenses resulting from unforeseen circumstances (that may occur as a result of remote locations and practicalities), it is essential that you arrange Travel Insurance to cover cancellation, curtailment, emergency evacuation, medical and repatriation expenses, damage/theft/loss of personal luggage, money and goods. Comprehensive travel insurance is excluded from the quoted costs and it is sole responsibility of the Client to obtain at the time of confirmation.

5. Money matters/Currency

NB: please remember to advise your bank that you will be travelling abroad if you are planning to use your credit card.

South Africa

The currency is South African Rand (ZAR), and you can obtain funds internationally before you travel. As Credit Cards (particularly Visa and Mastercard) are widely accepted in South Africa, you don’t necessarily have to carry too much cash on you. There are also a number of Bureaux de Change through the major centres.

Botswana

The currency of Botswana is the Pula (BWP), however exchange controls in Botswana are mostly limited to large centres (such as Maun or Kasane) and therefore USD/EUR and GBP will be readily accepted in the camps and lodges.  We recommend that you travel with smaller cash notes for the purpose of tipping.  Visa and mastercard are also accepted in most lodges, hotels and camps.

Zimbabwe
The currency of Zimbabwe is USD, but USD are widely accepted and recommended.  We recommend you travel with smaller cash notes for the purpose of tipping.  Visa and mastercard will also be accepted in most lodges, hotels and camps.

Zambia

The currency of Zambia is the Kwacha, but USD are widely accepted and recommended.  We recommend you travel with smaller cash notes for the purpose of tipping.  Visa and mastercard will also be accepted in most lodges, hotels and camps.

Mozambique

The currency of Mozambique is the Mozambique Metical, but USD are widely accepted and recommended.  We recommend you travel with smaller cash notes for the purpose of tipping.  Visa and mastercard will also be accepted in most lodges, hotels and camps.

Namibia

The currency of Namibia is the Namibian Dollar, but USD are widely accepted and recommended.  We recommend you travel with smaller cash notes for the purpose of tipping.  Visa and mastercard will also be accepted in most lodges, hotels and camps.

Malawi

The currency of Malawi is the Malawian Kwacha, but USD are widely accepted and recommended.  We recommend you travel with smaller cash notes for the purpose of tipping.  Visa and mastercard will also be accepted in most lodges, hotels and camps.

6. Health

Malaria

Malaria is found throughout much of Southern Africa: Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia – north of Swakopmund, Mozambique, South Africa (Kruger Park and surrounds, northern Kwa-Zulu Natal, for example).

Malaria transmission is at its highest during the warmer and wetter months of November to April. The species of mosquito which is the vector for malarial transmission is only active in the early evening and throughout the night, at the times when you are usually sleeping or sitting around the campfire. The best prevention is to avoid being bitten – therefore a mosquito repellent is recommended. We also suggest that you wear long-sleeved shirts/ blouses and slacks/ trousers in the evening.

In terms of medication to prevent Malaria – please consult your Doctor or local Travel Clinic for the most up to date information.

Yellow fever

Yellow fever is the only required vaccination for entering South Africa (this includes guest in transit only) if having visited a country falling within the Yellow Fever Belt.  These include countries in South/Central America and some countries in Africa including Kenya and Tanzania.

Water

It is very important that you drink plenty of water especially during, but not restricted to, the warmer months (October – April). It is generally recommended that guests drink at least 2 to 3 litres (4 to 6 pints) of water per day to limit the effects of dehydration. This excludes tea, coffee and alcoholic beverages (the latter can act as diuretics and can actually contribute to dehydration).  Generally, water throughout Southern Africa is safe to drink directly from the tap. However, bottled water is readily available, so please do not allow yourself to become dehydrated.

7). Language

English is the most common official language throughout most Southern African countries. Each country also has a variety of national languages and other tribal languages. For the purpose of your tour/safari, English is the widely spoken language with which you can converse to all guides and management, as well as most other officials and general staff.

WHILE YOU ARE TRAVELLING

1. Flights

Check-in Times

Please check in early at all airports – at least one hour prior for domestic flights, three hours for all flights to the USA and two hours for regional and other international flights. Unfortunately flights are occasionally overbooked. Please be aware that during peak season, delays are often encountered on scheduled flights.

Please ensure that all your onward flights are reconfirmed at least 72 hours prior to flying.

Delays/ Costs

Unfortunately, Ecosouth Safaris cannot be held responsible should airlines discontinue flights on certain routings or change scheduled timetables, resulting in missed connections/ unforeseen delays. Should there be additional costs due to missed connections, they will be for your account.

Lost Luggage

Luggage that goes missing on scheduled flights is beyond our control, and often the airline concerned too. The airport controls what happens to passengers’ luggage from when it is checked in until it is put on board the aircraft.

It is therefore a good idea to pack a small bag with your essentials including any life sustaining medication, which can be carried with you as hand luggage, and pack a second bag containing non-essentials that can be loaded in the aircraft hold. If the second bag does not arrive timeously, you will still have your essential items on hand to see you through the first couple of days. We will assist, where possible, in tracking down lost luggage and ensuring that it gets to you as soon as possible. 

Misplacing Personal Items

Unfortunately, we cannot accept any responsibility for the misplacement of any personal items whilst on your travels. Naturally, we will endeavour to re-unite you with your misplaced items as soon as possible. Logistics may not always be favourable for the return of such articles, and it may be that you will be required to pay for arrangements, in some cases.

Weight and luggage restrictions on light aircraft charter flights in Africa

  • Any client that weighs over 100kgs should advise their consultant during the quoting process as an additional seat may have to be booked if clients are taking light aircraft charters in certain countries (most specifically Botswana and Namibia)

  • Strict luggage restrictions are in place for your safely, these are government regulated and non-negotiable.  All luggage (including hand luggage and photographic equipment) is limited to 20kg per person per seat rate.  Additional seats should be booked in advance.  Please ask your travel consultant for more details.  Should you arrive iwht excess baggage, without prior warning, your baggage could be delayed and/or may need to be especially flown to your camp at a later stage.

  • Only soft bags are accepted onto light aircraft charter flights as they must be able to fit into the aircraft pod – therefore no hard suitcases or luggage with rigid frames and/or wheels will be accepted.  The maximum dimensions of these soft bags are 25cm/10 inches wide x 30cm/11 inches high and 62cm/24 inches long

 

2. Safety in wildlife areas

Many of our arrangements for our guests include Wildlife areas (whether National Parks, or private conservancies). All Lodges will give you a briefing on safety which, adhered to, will make for some thrilling and unforgettable moments. Please listen to the camp staff and guides, as the safety precautions need to be taken seriously. Do not go wandering off on your own without a guide.  After retiring to your rooms at night, don’t leave them.

Most of the safari camps are unfenced and animals can (and do!) wander through the properties.

Always observe animals silently and with a minimum of disturbance to their natural activities. Loud talking on game drives can frighten the animals away. Never attempt to attract an animal’s attention.  Don’t imitate animal sounds, clap your hands, pound the vehicle or throw objects.

Please respect your driver-guide’s judgment about proximity to wildlife in general. Vehicles are not allowed to leave the road in National Parks, and a vehicle driven too close can hinder a hunt or cause animals to abandon a hard-earned meal.

Never attempt to feed or approach any wild animal on foot.  This is especially important near lodges where some animals may have become accustomed to human visitors.

3. Tips/ Gratuities

Although tipping is not compulsory, it is something that many guests like to do, in order to show their appreciation. It is often difficult to determine an amount, and while this is very much based on personal choice, herewith please find an outline, that may be of assistance.

Camp, Game Lodge and Specialist Guides

If the guide has done a good job, we recommend US Dollars 10 – 20 per guest per day

General Lodge Staff

A recommended amount is about US Dollars 5 per guest per day for safari camps. This should be given to the Camp manager, and is generally put in a communal kitty, which is then distributed evenly to staff.

Hotel Staff

Allow between US Dollar 1 and US Dollar 2 per guest per day for general staff, such as housekeepers.

Porterage

Here we recommend about US Dollar 1 per person per baggage transfer

Transfer and Touring Driver/ Guides

Transfer: US Dollar 2 per person

Half day tour: US Dollar 5 per person

Full day tour: US Dollar 10 per person

Restaurants / Hotels

10% is customary on meal accounts but only if you are satisfied with the service.

OTHER

  • Any changes to flight details must be communicated to your travel consultant as this may affect your onward tour/safari arrangements.

  • All vouchers, travel documentations and tickets must be carefully checked to ensure all the details are correct, especially full names as per your passport document.

  • Please ensure you have a minimum of 2 – 3 hours connection time between international flights such as between Johannesburg, Maun, Cape Town, Windhoek.

  • Please request a double bed at your accommodation in advance as these are sometimes limited. Where available, they are generally twin beds pushed together with a mattress converter.

  • Please advise your travel consultant of any dietary or medical requirements, as well as any special occasions to be celebrated during your tour/safari, so that the various suppliers can be correctly and timeously informed.

  • Please be advised that due to the remote locations of many of the lodges and camps, schedules and transfer times do occasionally changes due to unforeseen circumstances. All suppliers however make every effort to adhere to the schedule provided.

  • Please be advised that you will be required to complete and sign an indemnity form at each camp to indemnify the supplier against the inherent risks associated with participation in your tour/safari.

  • Please feel free to take up any complaint or grievance with the supplier management directly while on tour/safari, who will aim to rectify the situation immediately or contact your travel consultant where necessary. Alternatively, your feedback regarding your overall tour/safari experience is always valuable to us and we urge you to send us your thoughts once the tour/safari is completed.

 

TRAVELLING WITH CHILDREN

 

Production of an Unabridged Birth Certificate (UBC) as required by the new immigration regulations that came into operation on 01 June 2015 with the Immigration Amendment Acts of 2007 and 2011.

As of 01 June 2015 parents who are travelling to South Africa with a child under the age of 18 must produce an unabridged birth certificate of the child reflecting the particulars of the parents of the child, namely the particulars of both parents and their ID numbers. An alternative, locally issued equivalent document that contains the relevant information would also be accepted. Translation of an equivalent document would not be required and the UBC or similar document is accepted in other languages.

No supporting documents – including an unabridged birth certificate – will be needed for travellers under 18, who are in direct international transit, passing through SA’s international airports.

Provision is also made for one parent travelling with a child and where one parent or both parents are deceased or the child is travelling with a relative or another person.

This information has been adapted from:

http://www.sanews.gov.za/south-africa/parents-urged-apply-unabridged-birth-certificates

http://tourismupdate.co.za/Contents/Editions/2014/August2014/Cover_Story.html

http://www.tourismupdate.co.za/Home/Detail?articleId=49960

To see the full document on Standard Operating Procedures for minors travelling internationally, see www.etnw.co.za/doc/SummaryImmigrationMinors.pdf

LET ONE OF OUR LUXURY SAFARI PLANNERS HELP YOU PLAN YOUR DREAM JOURNEY!

Start planning your truly bespoke itinerary by contacting us now.  We tailor make each and every itinerary to each clients specific budget, interests and duration of travel.