FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
South Africa is served by more than 70 international airlines and our national carrier, South African Airways, flies to many destinations in Europe, North and South America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. So we are never more than a flight away if you are on a major international air route. The flights from Europe are generally overnight and just a sleep away – an aperitif, dinner, sound sleep, and a good breakfast and you’re in South Africa! The direct flights between the USA and Johannesburg or Cape Town are about 15 hours, and flights between London and Johannesburg take about 12 hours. For more info, check out www.flysaa.com
First-time visitors generally spend a short stay in Johannesburg and Pretoria, Gauteng, where they can visit the world famous African township of Soweto and experience a truly cosmopolitan culture, bustling with an urban rhythm that can be found in the nightclubs, theatres, restaurants and people. Then they will head for the bush regions, such as the Kruger National Park, for a wildlife experience, and probably spend some time in the Western Cape, more specifically Cape Town and the fantastic Garden Route.
The infrastructure is very reliable and of a world class standard – except in some very remote rural areas, not frequented by tourists. The road network is superb (especially after ther 2010 World Cup) and well maintained. In recent years major toll roads have opened, making driving long distance even easier. Accommodation establishments in South Africa are world class, so whether you require accommodation in a hotel, guesthouse or lodge, your needs will be satisfied.
There’s more to Africa than lions. Johannesburg sprawls wider than London or New York. The lights work, the water flows, there are multi-lane highways and – unfortunately – traffic jams. You can book into a Hilton or a Hyatt or a Holiday Inn and eat at cosmopolitan restaurants serving anything from sushi to burgers to crocodile steaks. Or you can just lie back on a couch and choose from five analogue and 53 digital TV channels.
Very easy indeed. Most South Africans speak English, so it is easy to converse with people wherever you go. South Africans are generally open, friendly people who enjoy welcoming visitors.
South Africa’s mobile phone operators utilise the GSM system so if your phone is GSM compatible, set up international roaming with your service provider before you leave home. Alternatively, you can rent a phone at the airport on arrival, and use a “pay-as-you-go” (which means exactly what it says) card during your stay. Fixed line telephones are reliable and dial abroad. The country’s telecommunications operator Telkom, is the 28th largest in the world, and accounts for 39% of the phone lines on the African continent.
You can use Visa and Mastercard almost everywhere, and bank by ATM or online. There’s a sophisticated financial sector, abreast of all the latest technological trends. There are 13 commercial and merchant banks, and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange is the world’s 15th largest in terms of market capitalisation.
A long, long way. With the exchange rate in your favour, you’ll find South Africa a very inexpensive destination.
Foreign tourists visiting South Africa can have their value-added tax (VAT) refunded provided the value of the items purchased exceeds R250. VAT is refunded on departure at the point of departure.
VAT of 14% is levied on nearly all goods and services. Foreign tourists may claim back VAT paid on items that will be taken out of the country. Original tax invoices, foreign passport, plus all the items on which a refund is claimed, must be presented at the VAT refund administration office or an appointed RSA customs and excise official on departure, and the total VAT on these items will be refunded. Visitors will be requested to complete a VAT Refund Control Sheet (VAT 255). Where a visitor does not export all the goods specified on a particular tax invoice, only the value of the goods and the tax paid on such goods exported must be declared on this form.
For additional information:
Contact: VAT Refund Administrator (Pty) Ltd
Address: P O Box 107
Johannesburg International Airport Post Office 1627
Tel: +27 (0)11 390 2970; Fax: +27 (0)11 390 2787; Toll-free no: 0800 119 868
The animals alone are reason to visit. One of the world’s first wildlife conservation areas was South Africa’s Kruger Park, more than a century old. Today it is just one part of a single broad conservation area that spans private and public game parks, and even stretches across national borders into neighbouring Mozambique and Zimbabwe. An hour’s drive from such urban jungles as Pretoria and Johannesburg, you can see lions, elephants, buffalo and hundreds more species in their natural environments. South Africa is also a bird watcher’s – paradise.
The ultimate treasures of the South African bushveld are undoubtedly the Big Five Wildlife in Kruger National Park. These iconic animals are the most popular sightings on safari excursions, and both local and international tourists travel from far and wide to see them in their natural habitat.
Many reserves have all the big five – lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo – but it’s not that easy to see them all, particularly leopard. Leopards are nocturnal, secretive and well camouflaged, but there are some reserves where they are easily spotted. However, just being in the bush, seeing tiny animals like ants and frogs and learning the relationship between them, can be even more exciting than a procession of lions and elephants. So, even if you miss out on one or two of the big guys, you’ll still have a great time.
Not to take away from any of the excitement but its important to first remember that the Kruger National Park is not a Zoo. The exciting part is that every Safari is a treasure hunt and the Park offers us an incredible variety of fauna and flora to discover. There are over 140 mammal species, 520 Bird species, 172 reptiles, 2400 flora species and countless invertebrates. During the course of a single day guests can expect to encounter many mammals species with the common ones being Impala, Zebra, Wildebeest (Gnu), Giraffe, Elephant, Buffalo, Kudu, Warthog, Hippopotamus and Waterbuck. Then their are of course the rarer species which include the predators like Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Wilddog and Hyena. All of these species are mainly nocturnal in their behaviour but they do sometimes offer us a glimpse during the day light hours. The benefit of having a Private Safaria Guide is they he/she will know exactly which areas are likely to have the greatest predator activity and will get you right into the hotspots. Whilst we can never guarantee see these rarer species in a single day we would have a far greater opportunity to see then during a longer duration in the Park. Also don’t forget that our guides also love seeing them so they will engage with other guides and also structure each safari in such a way that it improves your opportunities of seeing one of the more elusive animals. Our Safaria style doesn’t chase the Big 5 but rather offers a clients a holistic experience of Kruger that incorporates all its fauna and flora to create much more rewarding experience. Yes sure we also want to see the Big 5 but from experience and what our clients have taught us, the greater Safari experience is the most important part.
The national parks are administered by South African National Parks which ensures a standardised level of accommodation and facilities. Park fees are kept to a minimum to enable as many people as possible to enjoy our wonderful natural heritage. The game watching in the private parks is quite often of an equal standard to that of the national parks, but the accommodation is usually far more luxurious, and the service very attentive. Of course, this level of luxury comes at a price, but the private lodges are a good choice if you would like to be pampered.
This really depends on what your own expectations are. Firstly you will need power, if you are using the latest mobile phone or a state of the art DSLR camera. For those wishing to capture the moment a fancy phone like a iPhone XR or a simple point and shoot will do just fine. If you looking to enhance the quality of landscapes, structures and close up animals, then a DSLR with 18mm-55mm lens is just just. For those that wish to get decent close ups but dont want the bulky DSLR, we recommend a Bridge Camera with a Lens that offers a 24 – 480 mm f/2.8-4.5 20x Zoom as well as 4K camera for video footage. Our preferred brands are Canon Powershot, Nikon Coolpix or Sony Cyber-Shot. For those shooting with a DSLR Camera we recommend a 100mm-400mm lense with 1×8 converter in the event that you need to get a bit closer for Birds etc. Charging points will be available ate all Camps and Lodges as well as USB on the Open Safari Vehicle. We can also help you with camera rentals and offer clients rental options of DSLR cameras on a daily rental rate.
Naturally one of the most common questions asked when visiting the Kruger National Park concerns the risk of Malaria and what precautions should be taken. If you are planning a trip to the Kruger National Park we do recommend that every traveller first consult their Doctor or the appropriate medical practitioner for more insights on the disease and answers to critical questions asked. Remember we are not Doctors and always recommend that you ask their advice ! Please read the BLOG on Malaria for greater insights and recommendations. https://www.safaria.co.za/malaria-in-the-kruger-national-park/
The idea of driving through the African savanna on a Open Safari Vehicle and being exposed to all the wildlife can be quite a scary thought for some. The good news is that you don’t have to be scared. Firstly our guides are highly qualified and experienced in dealing with the wildlife and secondly because the animals to see you on the vehicle anyway. Lets explain. Sitting on a Open Safari Vehicle offers you the best advantage as you are high up with better views but most importantly uninterrupted views. Once you’ve been on a Safari vehicle you will never be able to view game and experience the savanna from a closed vehicle again. Sitting inside a Open Safari Vehicle our human figure is disguised by the vehicles shape as well as our scent so we don’t come across as the “up-right two legged walker” who comes with fire and kills. ie Man. So as a result they don’t fear the vehicle and as such see it as a another fixture in the savanna. This means that we are left alone and they don’t bother us and we respect their space in return. Sometimes we will get really close, like seriously close but under the experienced guidance from you Guide these moments will offer you incredible opportunities to experience Africas wildlife from the uninterrupted views of the vehicle.
Our recommendation is that you pack simply with a lightweight mentality and clothes that have a earthy natural tone. Its useful to note that if you are at Private Lodge or in the Kruger National Park, both offer laundry services if needed. The right colours are khaki and tan for the obvious reasons that they hide the dirt, lend into the surroundings and good for game walks. When you are travelling by Open Safari Vehicle you can wear similar but also include jeans. We do however recommend that you avoid shirts that are bright in colour with unusual patterns, theres no point scaring the animals and other guests. Here is a list of the general safari attire must-haves for your South African safari: 1. Comfortable walking shoes and a pair of sandals or flip flops 2. A decent hat or cap which can take direct sun and protect your face 3. Waterproof windbreaker 4. Fleece jacket for layering during morning and evening game drives 5. Jeans (one or two pairs depending on length of stay and destinations) 6. Chino or cotton pants/slacks in khaki for dinner time and day time 7. Earth tone t-shirts for daytime ( moisture managing T’s are the best) 8. Button-down long-sleeve sport shirts (technical material best) 9. Long-sleeve and mid-sleeve shirts for layering 10. Shorts or cut-off cargo pants that can be stripped away midday 11. Swim suit 12. Sports bras for the ladies are recommended for game drives 13. Socks and of course under wear 14. A sense of adventure and always bring some humour along
Yes, the water in the Main Camps is safe to drink and is all bore-hole water that is cleans and prepared on site. For those guests that prone to tummy issues we just suggest grabbing some mineral water bottles from the Camp shops and playing it safe. Safaria does provides still mineral water on the vehicles daily for guests.
Only Skukuza Camp restaurant and Lower Sabie Camp restaurant offer Wifi to clients. NO other Camps in the Park offer Wifi.
Yes, it is completely safe to stay in the Kruger National Park. Just as the local 1,5 million South Africans that do it every year. With 12 Main Camps in the Kruger, each being fenced in with a game resistant, electrical fence. Each Camp has a designated entrance gate for vehicle that come in and out which is closed year night and opened on the morning. The Camp’s accommodation offers circular bungalows that have electricity with on suite bathroom and are fully serviced. The rooms have windows with mosquito grids as well as fans and air-conditioning (a/c). The most important thing to remember is that the wildlife is more scared and threatened of us they we should be of them. The Camps do attract certain mammals like Vervet Monkey, Warthog and some of the small antelope species but its more than highly unlikely that you would see anything bigger. Every now and then the international media get wind of a wild animal getting up to something in the Kruger National Park but its always a case of misunderstanding the situation and publishing some fear mongering article that is completely inaccurate so if you are curious rather ask us and we will help qualify the matter. Staying in Kruger is absolutely SAFE and you will love it and far prefer the experience and atmosphere to staying in a B&B or hotel /lodge outside the Park.
This is where local knowledge is key and no travel agent can offer you better advice than the guys on the ground with the contacts and the know how. For any traveller going on Safari we recommend that you firstly get travel insurance and secondly ensure that you medical aid covers you for travel abroad and particularly Safari to Africa (South Africa). For the small self medicating items there are several pharmacies outside the park that offer a 1st world standard supply of items. Inside the Park only basic paracetamols etc are available. If you need a Doctor there is one available at Skukuza main camp but should there be a more serious issue arrangements can be made to get guests to one of the private hospitals outside the park. This is where the true benefit in having a Private Guide comes in as your well being is their priority and their knowledge of how to deal with these sorts of emergencies is invaluable. All Guides are first-aid trained and our Safaria Guides a little better trained than most so we are ready to assist our clients in every event. Nelspruit MediClinic is the closest main hospital and in the event that the situation is life threatening