Important Travel Information

Before you Travel

1. Suggested Packing List

The emphasis here is on light, comfortable clothing. For game viewing, muted colours are best (khaki being a good example). Nearly all properties offer laundry facilities (indeed, many Lodges include laundry in the rate)

Good quality sunglasses – preferably polarised. Tinted fashion glasses are not good in strong light
Sun hat
Golf-shirts, T-shirts and long-sleeved cotton shirts
Shorts/skirts
Long trousers/slacks
Track suit
Underwear (sports bra recommended on game drives as the roads can be bumpy and uneven) and socks
Good walking shoes (running/tennis shoes are fine)
Sandals
Swimming costume
Warm winter jersey
Warm Anorak or Parka and scarf / gloves for the cold winter months (May to September)
Light rain gear for summer months (late November to April)
Camera equipment and plenty of film
If you wear contact lenses, we recommend that you bring along a pair of glasses in case you get irritation from the dust
BINOCULARS – ESSENTIAL (Night vision binoculars are not essential but highly recommended if your safari includes night activities)
Personal toiletries (basic amenities are supplied by most establishments)
Malaria tablets (where applicable)
Moisturizing cream & suntan lotion
Insect repellent e.g. Tabard, Rid, Jungle Juice, etc
Basic medical kit (aspirin/ paracetamol, plasters, Imodium, antiseptic cream and Anti-histamine cream etc)
Tissues/”Wet Ones”
Waterproof/dustproof bags/cover for your cameras.
Visas, tickets, passports, itinerary, vouchers, money etc

As no formal clothes are needed throughout most of southern Africa, we recommend that you limit your luggage to the basics.  More formal attire is usually required only when staying in the more prestigious city hotel establishments or on any of the luxury trains (Rovos Rail, The Blue Train).

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

Passports/ Visas

You will require a valid Passport for travel into and between the countries in your itinerary. In all cases (regardless of country/ countries being visited), the passport needs to be valid for at least 6 months from the date of travel, and should have at least 2 consecutive blank pages available for entry/ exit stamps, and visas.

Please also ensure that have up to date information regarding visa requirements for each country visited, as different countries have different arrangements – depending upon the nationality of the passport. In cases where visas (if required) can be obtained upon arrival in that country payment is almost exclusively in US Dollars cash. As change is not available, we recommend that you carry small denominations. Please note that the information pertaining to visa costs is given as a guideline, as amounts can vary, often with little, or no, warning! The following information is given as a guideline only.

South Africa

Please ensure that have 2 blank, consecutive pages in your passport. You will be denied entry if there is insufficient space in your passport.

In the case of one parent travelling with a child/ children, a signed letter, in English, from the other parent allowing the child/ children to travel is required. The letter has to be certified by the Police in your country of residence.

Travel Insurance

Please ensure that you have a comprehensive Policy in place (have a copy with you, or the Policy number), which covers you for emergency evacuation, medical emergencies, repatriation, loss/ theft of baggage (and all contents), replacement of travel documents, cancellation, and curtailment.

4. Money matters

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.

5. 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.

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.

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.

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.