10 Night – Southern Africa Safari Experience & Victoria Falls

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Travel Guidance

Any one of our superb destinations is a perfect place to begin your adventure through Africa. The question is where you will choose to end it. Our chock-full list of comprehensive itineraries can help you with both plus a lifetime of memories in between the two. Browse through our list of itineraries to find out where to begin your travels and be sure to contact our travel experts if one (or more) takes your fancy.

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We can offer you a great selection of holiday itineraries throughout Africa, like these. We can even help you build a custom itinerary, just contact one of our travel experts.

Botswana

Situated in the southern reaches of Africa, Botswana is renowned for its pristine wilderness areas characterised by deep lagoons, wetlands, rugged hills and desert plains. The country’s primary tourist draw card is undoubtedly the vast red expanse of the Kalahari Desert and its remarkably beautiful Okavango Delta. These natural wonders provide a tranquil haven for an abundance of wildlife to thrive. Other highlights include the impressive Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, where visitors are privy to massive zebra migrations during the flood season; the Savuti plains, which host large prides of lions; and the Tsodilo Hills, where ancient rock paintings form a unique record of human settlement over many millennia.


Entry Requirements

Effective from 1 June 2017, all travellers to Botswana (with the exception of residents and citizens of the Southern African Development Community) will have to pay a tourism development levy. The objective of the levy is to raise funds for conservation and natural tourism development. The $30 levy will be payable at all ports of entry, including airports and border posts, through electronic payment machines, cash, and debit and credit cards. After the payment, a unique receipt corresponding to the passport will be automatically generated. The receipt is presented to immigration officials and the passport and the receipt will be stamped and handed back to the traveller. The receipt will be valid for a 30-day period and can be used for multiple entries.


Banking and Currency

Currency

Botswana's currency is Pula, which is divided into 100 thebe. Travellers' cheques and foreign currency may be changed at banks, bureaux de change and authorised hotels. The US Dollar, Euros, British Pound and the South African Rand are the most easily convertible currencies, and are accepted by some establishments.

Banking

Seven main commercial banks, as well as a number of foreign exchange bureaux, operate in Botswana. Operating hours are Monday to Friday from 08h30 to 15h30 and Saturday from 08h30 to 10h45.

Full banking services are available in major towns, although ATMs are widely found across the country. Most credit cards are accepted at hotels and restaurants. Cultural sites and community art-and-craft outlets usually only accept cash.


Travel, Transport and Getting Around

Public transport in Botswana is geared towards the needs of the local population and is confined to main roads between major towns and cities. Although cheap and reliable, it is of little use to the traveller as most of Botswana’s tourist attractions lie off the beaten track.

Driving off the main roads in Botswana is only recommended to experts in well-equipped 4x4 vehicles. Most lodges offer transfers between airports, attractions and main centres.

There are major airports in Maun, Kasane and Gaborone. Smaller charter flights are used to get to the other top attractions and safari camps.


Food, Drink and Cuisine Advice

Tap water is considered safe to drink, but we would recommend drinking sterilised or bottled water outside all major cities and towns. Bottled water is widely available in such cases. Milk is pasteurised, and dairy products, local meat, poultry, seafood, fruit and vegetables are generally safe.

Safari lodges and camps serve international-style cuisine of an extremely high standard, along with local beer and imported wine and spirits. Good restaurants and bars can be found in main towns, often within hotels. Beef and goat are very popular meats. Elsewhere, food is more basic; millet and sorghum porridge are the local staples.


Climate and Weather

The rains in Botswana come mostly between December and March, when average minimum temperatures are in the low 20°s. Some days will be bright and sunny while some will have afternoon thunderstorms.

April and May in Botswana are generally very pleasant, with clear skies and green landscapes. Night temperatures start to drop, especially in the Kalahari. Places in and around the Okavango tend to have less extreme and more moderate temperatures than the drier areas of the Kalahari.

From June to August, the night-time temperatures can be close to freezing. It warms up rapidly during the day when the sky is usually clear and blue. This is 'peak season' for most safari areas: the land is dry so the animals congregate around the few available water sources. This continues into September and October, when temperatures climb again, drying the landscapes and concentrating the game even more. This is the best time for big game safaris – although October can feel very hot, with maximum temperatures sometimes approaching 40°C.

November is difficult to predict, as it can sometimes be a continuation of October's heat, whilst sometimes it's cooled by the first rains.


Clothing and Dress Recommendations

In summer, lightweight cotton clothing is preferable. Avoid synthetic materials and black clothing, as they increase perspiration and discomfort. In winter, wear long trousers, long sleeved shirts and warm jerseys. Garments of neutral colours that blend with the bush and forest are advisable for safaris and game viewing. Bring a lightweight jacket for unexpected temperature changes or rain. Closed, comfortable walking shoes are a must in all seasons. Special attention should be given to protection from the sun. Bring a sunhat, good quality sunscreen, and polarised sunglasses.


Electricity and Plug Standards

Electrical sockets in Botswana are the "Type M" South African SABS1661 sockets. This is actually an old British standard. Electricity is supplied at between 220-240 volts.


Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, surrounded by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the south-west, Zambia to the north-west and Mozambique to the east and north. It is a nation of spectacular natural beauty, friendly people and rich culture. Travellers can look forward to visiting the world-renowned Victoria Falls – a popular tourist attraction and one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Lake Kariba, with its game-rich shores and islands, is an idyllic safari spot from where glorious sunsets can be enjoyed. Hwange National Park is known for its huge herds of elephants, and a kayak trip down the Zambezi through Mana Pools National Park will appeal to the intrepid traveller, providing close encounters with crocodiles, hippos and a host of other wildlife.


Banking and Currency

Currency

Zimbabwe uses US Dollars as well as its own unit of currency, the Zimbabwe Bond Dollar. It is advised to carry small denominations of change with you, however it is best to pay for as much as possible outside of the country. The use of US Dollars is highly suggested as the currency is widely accepted in supermarkets, and for curios, accommodation, activities and gratuities. South African Rand and Euros are only accepted in some places in Victoria Falls. Do not plan on being able to use cash machines in Zimbabwe to draw money. Before leaving home please exchange all the money that you will need for your trip, plus extra. Most of this should be in 1, 5, 10 and 20 denominations because change is not always available.

Banking

Banks in Zimbabwe are open on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 08h00 to 15h00, on Wednesdays from 08h00 to 13h00 and Saturdays from 08h00 to 11h30. They are closed on Sundays and Public Holidays.

Only VISA and MasterCard are accepted in Zimbabwe, however it should be noted that very limited facilities will have credit card machines, and the connection is not always reliable. As such, it is advisable to carry cash as back up.


Travel, Transport and Getting Around

Taxis are safe and reliable, and can be booked through your hotel front desk. Taxis in cities travel within a 40km radius of the city. Always take a taxi at night, rather than travelling by foot.

Major airlines fly into Victoria Falls, Harare and Bulawayo. Charter flights are available to most attractions and camps.

Zimbabwe has a fairly good road infrastructure, by African standards. Between major towns, there are frequent road blocks. Traffic drives on the left side of the road. If you are driving yourself around Zimbabwe, be sure to check on fuel availability in advance. If you are covering long distances within the country, ensure you carry extra fuel in 5 or 10 litre metal containers in case of emergency. Fuel is generally available, but supply can fluctuate. Fuel is only available for cash.


Food, Drink and Cuisine Advice

Zimbabwe's native cuisine is based on sadza, a cooked porridge made from ground maize. This is normally accompanied by some tasty relish, perhaps made of meat and tomatoes, or dried fish.

Camps, hotels and lodges that cater to overseas travellers typically serve a variety international fare, and the quality of food prepared in the most remote bush camps is usually excellent.

Water in the main towns is usually purified. However, it is suggested to rather drink only bottled, boiled, or treated water, available at all supermarkets, restaurants and hotels.


Climate and Weather

Zimbabwe’s rainy season generally occurs from December to March. The further north you are, the earlier the precipitation arrives and the later it leaves. Zimbabwe's higher eastern areas usually receive more rainfall than the lower-lying western ones.

By April and May, most of the rain is gone, leaving a verdant setting. Especially in more southerly and higher locations, the night-time temperatures start to drop.

The nights from June to August become much cooler, while the days are still clear and warm. For Zimbabwe, this is the start of the ‘peak season’ – days are often cloudless and game sightings continually increase.

The temperatures during September and October rise once again. Zimbabwe's lower-lying rift valley – Mana Pools – can get very hot in October. During this time, you'll see some fantastic game, as the wildlife concentrates around the limited water sources.

November is unpredictable. It can be hot and dry; it can also see the season's first rainfalls.


Clothing and Dress Recommendations

Travellers are advised to wear casual, comfortable clothes during the day as temperatures can get very hot. Light, loose fitting clothing works best, as they are cool and easy to wash. Warmer clothes are advised for the evenings and rainwear for the wet season.

A brimmed hat and sunglasses are needed year round. It is recommended you wear light shoes, especially if your itinerary entails a lot of walking.

For safaris, please remember to wear appropriate clothing and shoes. Neutral coloured clothes – such as browns, greens and tans – are advisable.


Electricity and Plug Standards

Current is 220/240 volts at 50 cycles per second. Both square and round plugs are used.


South Africa

This vast country is undoubtedly one of the most culturally and geographically diverse places on earth. Fondly known by locals as the 'Rainbow Nation', South Africa has 11 official languages and its multicultural inhabitants are influenced by a fascinating mix of African, Asian and European cultures. Spend your days discovering the gourmet restaurants, impressive art and nightlife scenes and fine beaches of Cape Town; enjoying a typical braai (barbecue) in the Soweto township; browsing the bustling Indian markets in Durban; or sampling some of the world’s finest wines in the picturesque Cape Winelands.

Due to its rich and turbulent history there are plenty of historical attractions to explore including the Zululand battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal, the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg and Robben Island, just off the coast of Cape Town. Above all else, South Africa’s attraction lies in its remarkably untamed wilderness with its astonishing range of wildlife roaming freely across unfenced game reserves. With all of this variety on offer, it is little wonder that South Africa has fast become Africa’s most popular tourist destination.


Entry Requirements

Foreigners travelling to South Africa for leisure or business may be granted visitors' visas in order for them to visit the country for 90 days or less. The requirements for these visas differ from country to country. Foreigners who wish to visit South Africa should contact their nearest South African consulate.

Please note that minors (children under 18 years) travelling with both parents require an Unabridged Birth Certificate. In the case that a minor is travelling with only one parent, an Unabridged Birth Certificate is required as well as a Parental Consent Affidavit and a Letter of Special Circumstances issued by Director-General of Home Affairs. For more information about this, please visit http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/civic-services/traveling-with-children. 


Banking and Currency

Currency

The currency is the South African Rand, which is divided into 100 cents. There are R200, R100, R50, R20 and R10 notes. Coins come in R5, R2, R1, 50c, 20c, 10c and 5c.

Banking

Banks are found in most towns and cities, and are generally open from 09h00 to 16h00 on weekdays and 08h30 to 11h00 on Saturdays, but are closed on Sundays and Public Holidays. Most of them offer foreign exchange services, with cash, bank, credit cards and travellers cheques. You can also obtain cash from automatic teller machines (ATMs), which are widely found across the country. Several international banks have branches in the main city centres.


Travel, Transport and Getting Around

Travelling around South Africa is relatively easy by air, road and rail.

Principal air routes are serviced by SAA and British Airways. There are two low-cost carriers on main routes, namely Kulula.com and Mango. Facilitating travel around South Africa are 10 airports managed by the Airports Company South Africa. In addition, there are some 90 regional airports, including the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport in Nelspruit and the Skukuza Airport, offering access to the Kruger National Park.

An extensive tarred road system makes travelling in South Africa by vehicle convenient and easy. You will, however, find gravel roads in rural areas. South African roads and highways are well signposted and easy to navigate.

Please note:

-A valid international driver's licence is required.

-Cars drive on the left hand side of the road.

-Wearing seat belts is compulsory and cellphones can only be used ‘hands free'.

-Speed limits are generally set at 120km on freeways, 100km on secondary roads and 60km in urban areas.

-Toll fees apply on certain national roads.

-Petrol stations are widespread.

-Most global car-hire firms have branches in South Africa

Our rail system includes the long-haul, inexpensive Shosholoza Meyl Metrorail trains. More luxurious options are the Blue Train, Rovos Rail and Shongololo Express. There is also the new Gautrain rapid transit railway system in Gauteng Province which links Johannesburg, Pretoria, Ekhuruleni and OR Tambo International Airport.


Health and Medical Information

South Africa has first-rate private hospitals and medical centres, offering travellers excellent health care services and good specialist services. The public hospitals also offer good care and treatment.

South African doctors are highly skilled, well-trained and held accountable by the Health Professions Council of South Africa.

Visitors to South Africa do not need to worry about sourcing good medication, as the pharmacies are well-stocked and stock most international medications.


Safety Notices

Foreign visitors in South Africa are advised to take basic safety precautions. Car doors and windows should be locked at all times and visitors should park in a well-lit area at night. It is helpful to be vigilant at all times, particularly when using ATMs or when walking around after dark.


Food, Drink and Cuisine Advice

Standards of hygiene in relation to food health and safety in South Africa are generally high in hotels, restaurants, pubs and nightspots. Tap water in South Africa is safe to drink and cook with when taken from taps in urban areas. Not all tap water in rural areas is safe for consumption, so take precautions if necessary.

It is safe to eat fresh fruit, vegetables and salads, and put ice in your drinks. South Africa's fish, meat and chicken are of excellent quality, so there is no need to limit yourself when enjoying the local cuisine.

Restaurants are subject to South Africa's food safety control legislation, which is implemented by local government. Regulations include certification and regular inspections by health inspectors to ensure hygienic standards are maintained.

Street food is not as common in South Africa as it is in other countries, although vendors selling traditional snacks and meals can be found in city centres and townships. Food safety in such instances cannot always be guaranteed.


Climate and Weather

South Africa has a lovely moderate climate, with relatively warm and sunny weather all year round. In-land cities tend to be a lot hotter in summer and a lot colder in winter than the cities along the coast.

The temperature in South Africa is measured in Celsius, with an average summer maximum temperature of 28˚C and a minimum of 15˚C; winter temperatures range anywhere from 5˚C to 18˚C. Coastal cities have a sub-tropical climate while in-land is drier. High mountain ranges are prone to snow, and in very rare instances snowfall in cities has been reported. Autumn and spring tend to be South Africa’s rainy seasons in the Western Cape, receiving more rain than most other provinces.


Clothing and Dress Recommendations

Summer

Bring clothes that are cool, light and comfortable because summer temperatures can get rather humid in some areas. Don't forget a swimming costume and towel.

Winter

The winters are generally mild, comparing favourably with European summers. But there are days when temperatures dive, especially in high-lying areas, so be prepared with jerseys, jackets and coats.

General

Always bring a hat, sunglasses and sunblock as the sun can be strong, even in the winter months.

Walking shoes are a good idea all year-round, with warm socks in the winter.

For game viewing, a couple of neutral-toned items will be useful. A good pair of walking shoes and warm jacket is also advisable.

For the evening, if you are dining at an upmarket restaurant or seeing a show, smart-casual attire is recommended.


Electricity and Plug Standards

Current is 220/240 volts at 50 cycles per second. A three-point round-pin adapter plug should be brought for your electrical appliances.


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