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South Africa: FAQs

Our frequently asked questions about travel to South Africa. If you have any other questions, please contact your travel designer or concierge.

Weight restrictions – domestic flights

NB. The following does not apply to regular scheduled flights, just light aircraft flights. 

Please note that when packing for your trip to Africa, it is extremely important to note that there are strict weight restrictions enforced by the airlines. This is to ensure the safety and comfort of all passengers on board. Light aircrafts are designed with a maximum body weight and luggage weight allowance in mind, and are limited to physical space restrictions.

Important: Max luggage allowance on your light aircraft flight is 20kg/44lbs (including camera equipment and hand luggage). Luggage must be in soft bags, with no wheels or hard aspects, as needs to pack in to small undercarriages of light aircrafts. If you travel with a duffel bag, ensure the long straps are wrapped up and not hanging loose.

Please inform us in advance if anyone travelling has an individual weight of more than 100kgs (220lbs) as additional weight allowance on the aircraft must be purchased for safety and comfort.

On ALL light aircrafts, only one soft bag per person will be accepted – no hard suitcases, as they cannot physically fit in the aircraft. The most efficient bags are soft, non-rigid bags with no wheels. Some airlines also impose luggage size restrictions – these can be found in the information to follow.

These luggage restrictions may sound very limiting, but bear in mind the following:

–  Most safari camps / lodges and hotels provide basic toilet amenities

–  Laundry can be done on a daily basis (and many camps provide this service free of charge but hotels do charge a nominal fee)

If you wish to bring additional luggage with you that exceeds the allotted weight restrictions for one person, you may choose to purchase another seat.

Do I need any vaccinations before I go away to South Africa?

Please seek professional medical advice and recheck close to the date of travel as the situation may change. For those travelling to certain areas you will require yellow fever. It’s also very important that if you have recently travelled to a country where yellow fever is prevalent (or if this forms part of your itinerary with us), you will need to show your yellow fever certificate on arrival in South Africa (otherwise you may be denied entry). What is recommended for all is that you ensure you are up to date with hepatitis A, typhoid and routine immunisations – specifically tetanus-diphtheria, measles-mumps-rubella, polio, and varicella.

Do I need to take malaria tablets?

South African malarial risk is mainly in the Kruger Park area in the north of the country. Check with your medical advisor about the areas you are going to before travelling to see whether you should bring malaria tablets with you. We recommend you bring some mosquito spray.

Do I need to get a visa?

This can always change, and you should check with your local embassy before travel. To enter South Africa visas are not currently required by citizens of EU, US, Canada, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Residents of UAE do require a visa. Some nationalities have to obtain visas prior to arrival in South Africa, and some can obtain them on arrival at the port of entry; please ask us, or check with your local embassy. If your itinerary crosses into other countries, please bear in mind that you may need visas for these.

Please also ensure that you have sufficient blank visa pages (not endorsement pages) in your passport, with at least two consecutive/side by side blank pages. Our recommendation is three pages (or even four if you are travelling through more than one country on your journey). If there is insufficient space in your passport then entry into a country could be denied. It is also important that your passport if valid for at least six months after your intended departure.

PLEASE NOTE that new rules will apply from 1 June 2015 for families travelling to South Africa. Parents travelling with children into or out of South Africa may be asked to show the child’s unabridged (full) birth certificate, and where only one parent is accompanying, parental or legal consent for the child to travel (eg an affidavit from the other parent, a court order or – if applicable – a death certificate). You should travel with these documents in case you’re asked to provide them. There are other requirements for children travelling unaccompanied or with adults who are not their parents. For more information, contact the South African High Commission or the South African Department of Home Affairs.

Should I bring travellers cheques?

Travellers’ cheques are accepted in city hotels. However we don’t usually suggest bringing them as they can be troublesome and time consuming to change.  Cash machines are always nearby in big cities and airports. Credit cards are accepted with almost as much frequency as they are at home; all major credit cards are accepted in most places.

Which currency should I bring?

The local currency is called the South African Rand. MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted throughout the country, whereas Diners Club and American Express are accepted to a lesser extent. Your total daily expenditure can be reckoned on 20% cash and 80% card payments.

Most banks are open Mondays to Fridays 09:00 – 15:30 and Saturdays 08:30 – 11:00.

Travel insurance

It is vital that you take out valid comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical repatriation, cancellation and curtailment for you trip to Africa. This gives you peace of mind that you will not lose money should you be forced to cancel your trip due to illness before you travel or during your vacation.

Please ensure that your insurance covers you for medical evacuation and repatriation both internationally and locally, and we could advise that your policy covers loss and theft of your possessions.

It is your responsibility to ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all aspects of your vacation. You must ensure that you will be covered for activities such as walking, rafting, canoeing and horse riding.

Remember to carry your insurance details with you at all times.

Laundry

Most camps and lodges have laundry facilities, provided you have sufficient time to allow for drying and ironing. Some properties charge a nominal fee for this (some include it). As laundry in lodges is generally done by hand, we suggest that you wash your own underwear.

Electrical plugs in Africa

There is a huge variation in the type of plug socket in use in Africa and it is best to be armed with a universal adaptor. Most sockets tend to be the larger three-pin socket.