Above and below are some quick links.
It is recommended however that you read all the FAQ's appearing on
this page as not all are covered in the quick links provided. Feel
free to raise any other queries by contacting us direct. Goto
What do I need to bring on
You can experience very hot days and cold
nights so we recommend that you take the following: Long trousers
Fleece sweater / windbreaker shorts/skirts and t-shirts for during the day.
Khaki, brown or beige colors are recommended to wear during a game
drive/walk because white and bright increase your visibility to the animals.
Sun block & lip balm sunglasses wide brimmed hat insect repellent
comfortable walking shoes camera with a zoom/wide angle lens, spare film or memory sticks for digital cameras and spare batteries for
video cam. Binoculars - preferably light weight 8 x 40 / 10 x 40 for general
viewing and "close focus" if birding
I have to take Malaria tablets?
The North Eastern parts of
South Africa (see map below plus link) have varying prevalence levels of malarial mosquitoes and most countries in Africa are Malaria areas.
disease but generally poses no threat in South African
tourist destinations if precautions are strictly adhered to. In recent times the prevalence of malaria has been
reduced by 78% in Mpumalanga Province,91% in Mozambique and 96% in Kwa
ensure that you have consulted your doctor as to what prophylactics you
should take for the particular area being visited as there are many
different strains of Malaria.
What inoculations do
Please check with your doctor on what inoculations you require.
What if I have a Medical
Please consult with your doctor prior to
leaving on your trip to ensure that you have sufficient amounts of your
prescribed medication, as there may not be medical provisions available in
certain parts. As many of our destinations are far from Doctors or Hospitals
(largely because we focus on 4 X 4 accessible areas) we recommend that you
be in reasonably good health when venturing on our tours.
What about HIV/Aids
As in other countries,
always take precautions if engaging in casual sexual intercourse. South
Africa has one of the highest rates of HIV in the world. For more
information, see HIV/Aids in South Africa (Abstinence from sexual activity
with locals is suggested during your
there any other health issues to be concerned about?
Bilharzia can be a
problem in some of the east-flowing rivers, but it is easily detected and
treated if it is caught early. Perhaps it would be a good idea to have a
routine test a month or two after you get home – just to reassure yourself.
Ticks generally come out in the early spring and may carry tick bite fever,
which is easily treated. You should also be aware of hepatitis, for which
you can be inoculated.
How strong is the sun?
We have a warm sunny
climate and you should wear sunscreen and a hat whenever you are out of
doors during the day, particularly between 10am and 4pm, regardless of
whether there is cloud cover or not. Even if you have a dark complexion, you
can still get sunburned if you are from a cooler climate and have not had
much exposure to the sun. Sunglasses are also recommended wear, as the glare
of the African sun can be strong.
Can I drink the water?
High-quality tap (faucet) water is
available almost everywhere in South Africa, treated so as to be free of
harmful micro-organisms, and can be safely drunk in any all areas other than informal or shack
settlements. (Which we do not visit.) It is both palatable and safe to drink straight from the tap. In
some areas, the water is mineral-rich, and you may experience mild gastric distress for a day or two until you get used to it. Bottled mineral
water, both sparkling and still, is however readily available in most places.
Drinking water straight from rivers and streams could put you at risk of
waterborne diseases – especially downstream of human settlements. The water
in high mountain streams, however, is generally pure and wonderful to
drink. In the Cape,
particularly, the water contains humic acid, which stains it the color of
streams to that of diluted Cola – this is absolutely harmless, and the water is wonderfully
refreshing to drink.
You may also find this coloring in tap water in some areas. It's fine – it
just looks a bit weird in the bath.
Do I need Medical Insurance?
always advisable to take out medical insurance prior to any international
What currency is used in South Africa? The
How far will my
money go? A long way. With a favorable exchange rate for many international
currencies, you'll find South Africa a very inexpensive destination. For
example: One US dollar will get you about two daily newspapers; or two cans
of Cola. A liter of petrol (gasoline) - which is about 0.25 gallons - will
cost you about $1.40. For one British pound you can buy about 4 daily newspapers; or
one take-away hamburger; or three cans of Cola. Thirty pounds Sterling will get you
bed and breakfast in a decent guesthouse, hotel, B&B or a bus ticket for a
ride of a few hundred kilometers. One Euro will buy a good cup of coffee in
a restaurant; or two loaves of bread. A music CD will cost about €15.
What about Banks?
You'll also find South
Africa an easy destination for banking.
From the moment you step off the plane you'll notice banks, bureaus de
change and automatic teller machines (ATM's) conveniently positioned on tourist
routes. Banks in South Africa are on a par with their European / US
counterparts and generally
open from 9am to 3.30pm - Mondays through Fridays, and 8.30am to 11am on
Saturdays, but those at the airports adjust their hours to accommodate
international flights. The major banks have branches as well as automated
teller machines (ATMs) in most large towns - and all over the cities.
International banks have
branches in the major cities. Thomas Cook (represented by Rennies Travel)
and American Express foreign exchange offices are also available in the
Your guide will always do
a safety talk with you, whether your game viewing is to be done from a
vehicle, or on foot. Wildlife is potentially dangerous, but as long as you
adhere to whatever your guide advises you, there is very little for you to
worry about. At viewpoints, hides and camps, wildlife is more familiar with
people and less intimidated by your presence. Never tease or corner wild
animals - this may cause an unpredictable response and a potentially
dangerous reaction. Never feed any animals, as this can cause them to lose
their fear of humans. Wild animals in our Game Reserves are used to vehicles
and therefore generally show no fear, which may give the impression that
they are tame! Please always bear in mind that the animals you encounter in
our Game Reserves are all WILD ANIMALS - no matter how tame they look.
Although Africa is known
to be home to a number of potentially dangerous species, especially snakes,
scorpions, spiders, and insects, very few visitors are adversely affected.
Snakes tend to be shy, and generally stay away from built-up areas. Lodges
and camps generally have insect (especially mosquito) proofing in their
rooms. If you go on a walk, it is always a good idea to comfortable,
enclosed walking shoes, socks, and long trousers – just as a precaution.
Some beetles however do have right of way !!
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Frequently asked questions about Idyllic African Safaris and travel to South
Africa in general.
Because IDYLLIC AFRICAN SAFARIS strives
to ensure that you travel with confidence, we have compiled a list of the
most Frequently Asked Questions, to put your mind at ease, while you
prepare for your journey. On this page you will be able to read the most
commonly asked questions that travelers have asked us when they are
preparing to travel to Africa for a holiday. If your question is not
answered here, please e-mail your query to us and we will assist you.
Is Idyllic African
Safaris a registered tour operator?
Safaris is a facilitator of Safaris who also provide properly
registered Tour Guides who are also drivers, each holding a professional
driving permit. . IE We will plan your Safari (in conjunction with
your requirements), arrange your hired vehicles and related insurance, make
all accommodation and internal flight rarrangements and provide guiding
services on a "one stop Safari" basis. Our fees cover guiding, driver
as well as interpretation services.
Your local ground arrangement costs
will be billed on a separate itemized billing statement. In this way we
are able to reduce overhead costs and pass on the savings to you, our
Will we meet you at the Airport?
If requested to do so,
your personal guide will meet you upon your arrival at either
Durban, Johannesburg or Cape Town International Airports, or at a
pre-arranged rendezvous point,
When is the best time of year to go?
All year round! It depends
what you are looking for. One wants to avoid Cape Town in the Winter months
when it generally experiences most of its rain, being a Mediterranean type
climate. (June – Aug). However no matter what time of the
year you go on Safari, you will always see wildlife. Northern KZN
and the Kruger National Park are best visited in the Autumn/ Winter months
(April - August) when the weather is cooler. Humidity in summer can be
unbearable to travelers who are used to milder climes. Chalets and game
drive vehicles are however air conditioned. The Okavango Swamps in Botswana
are best visited in late June and July as this is when the flood waters
reach their peak.
Will we be swamped by hordes of other Tourists?
Most definitely NOT. Our tours are personalized and consist of your group
only unless by prior arrangement. We choose the types of accommodation based
on your requests e.g. children friendly, resort, B&B, small luxury hotel
Will we be with other guests on Safari?
While you will not be traveling
with other groups, you will meet other guests at the various hotels, lodges
Is it OK if I am a single
Most definitely YES. We would
be happy to cater to your needs .
Will I see the BIG FIVE?
is every chance you will see Elephant, Lion, Rhino, Buffalo and Leopard in
the Game Reserves where these occur. Each day on safari will produce
something different, you will encounter a variety of Predators, Antelope,
Hippo, Crocodiles, Reptiles, Primates as well as many of the over 400
different species of Birds that occur in the regions that we visit. All of
which your guide has an in-depth knowledge of and can answer all your
Do you cater for
specialized interests, such as Bird life
We pride ourselves in our wide
knowledge of Birds, their habitat and calls. Both Collin and Robyn have
each identified in excess of 420 local Birds. (Lifers in birding parlance)
Are we safe from the
You will always be in the
hands of an experienced and licensed Tour guide. If walking on pre arranged
game trails you will always be in the safe hands of trained
rangers and trackers. On all walking Safaris rangers are armed and your
safety is their highest concern. (Dangerous wild animals don't roam our City
What health precautions do we need?
Consult your medical
doctor on this issue.
Is the water safe to
The water in all the camps
and lodges is perfectly safe to drink. It has been purified but there is
always bottled water available.
Are children welcome on tour?
The age limit for children on
walking safari's in Game Parks is 12 years, this is for safety
reasons. There are a number of lodges that will accommodate children under
the age of 12 and we have are quite happy to accommodate younger children. Family safaris have
always turned out to be the "Best Family Vacation" ever and a tremendous
educational experience for the children.
What are the Visa
Requirements for traveling
You should check with the
Embassy or Consulate of the Country(ies) in Africa that you will be visiting for the current information on visa
requirements. If you are traveling on a US passport you generally do not require a
visa. However your passport must be valid for 6 months after your return.
For all visitors to South Africa
Incoming visitors to South
Africa must ensure that their passports meet the following 2
» That it not be less than
6 months to the date of expiry.
» That you have at least 1
full, free page in your passport for stamping by officials. This also
applies to children's passports.
If either or both these
requirements are not met, you will not be let out of the airport
building, and will be sent back to your country of origin.
What languages are spoken?
Although South Africa has
11 official languages English is the most common language. Other widely
spoken languages include Zulu, Xhosa and Afrikaans. (Most people you will
encounter will understand and be able to converse in English.)
Will I be able to
understand my Tour Guide?
Your tour guide's home language
is English and is spoken with a South African accent which is similar to
Australian or New Zealand accents. You will have no difficulty in
understanding our spoken English. Unfortunately we do not speak other
Eastern or European languages
Your guides are also fluent in
and Afrikaans and speak rudimentary Zulu - sufficient to be understood)
How much should I tip?
It is customary to tip
between 10% + for a meal or in a hotel when ordering
room service. It is also wise to tip for any other service that you may
receive such as a taxi ride, a tourist guide, porters etc. Use your
discretion but we recommend that you do not tip less than R10.
What plugs and
power voltage do you use in South Africa?
South African power is 220
- 240 volts,
50Hz delivered through a three pin socket. The socket is unique to South
Africa and an adaptor will be needed. Most hotels and airport shops will
have adapters for foreign plugs, and have electrical Shaver points..
Can I use my Cell/mobile phone in South
South Africa has an advanced GSM network and all GSM enabled phones
will work within the network. Be aware that cost of calling outside South
Africa is higher than most countries and therefore it is advisable to get an
international calling card.
a good Internet infrastructure although you may find that it can be slow in
certain parts where broadband connectivity is not available. There usually are Internet cafes in tourist
areas and many hotels have Internet facilities. Most Banks have fully
equipped Internet cubicles for use by clients for monetary transactions etc.
How accurate is the
information on your sites?
Idyllic African Safaris prides itself in obtaining
factually correct information about our destinations, we further strive to
ensure that all our documentation and correspondence is accurate. Our site
is regularly updated to ensure that the information given is no older than
If you are on a guided safari, your chances of
encountering problems are minimal. At Idyllic African Safaris we make it our business to
be fully acquainted with
the areas we travel in thus reducing risk to travelers. However, it is
sensible to take normal precautions on your African safari, particularly
when traveling through urban areas. If you heed the safety tips and
precautions given by your tour guide you will be at no additional risk than
when touring in other popular destinations. Much of our crime relates to
opportunistic crime incidents.
Travel Documents / Money
Always have a
photocopy of your passport, and any visas on you. Also, have a list of
traveler’s check numbers. These copies should be packed separately from the
originals. It is never a good idea to carry large amounts of cash, and most
urban centers (hotels, shops) do accept credit cards (Visa MasterCard
and Diners Club cards are most
common), as well as Internationally accepted traveler’s cheques. You might
need cash for purchases local markets – keep this in a travel wallet, or a
If you intend
travelling to other local territories (Swaziland,
Mocambique, Botswana, Lesotho, please ensure you have the necessaryVisa's,
Never leave cameras and
hand luggage unattended, whether in a vehicle, or even in a hotel foyer.
Never pack valuables (this includes medication), in your check-in luggage.
independently on your African safari, stay informed in terms of the local
news. Ask at your hotel about any unsafe areas, and codes of dress and
behavior. Don't openly carry valuables. If you must carry your passport and
money, keep them in a buttoned-down pocket.
Carmine Bee-eater - (Merops nubicoides)