Travellers Tips

Health

Besides malaria, there are other insect borne diseases such as dengue and sleeping sickness. However, these are less common and using the same precautions as you would bites, namely long sleeved clothes and trousers, repellents and mosquito nets, will help prevent them.

  • If you are walking it’s best to wear closed shoes at all times.
  • Avoid handling strange animals, especially monkeys, dogs and cats.
  • Avoid swimming in stagnant water.

Malaria

Malaria-risk areas in South Africa are limited, however, precautions should be taken in the following areas – Kruger Park, Northern Natal, Zululand, Botswana, Swaziland and Mozambique. Please consult your general practitioner or visit the following website: www.travelclinic.co.za

If you’re travelling to a malaria area, you’ll need to take the following precautions:

  • Apply insect repellent to exposed skin – recommended repellents contain 20%-35% DEET, and there are a number of brands on the market.
  • Wear long-sleeved clothing and long pants if you’re outdoors at night.
  • Use a mosquito net if your tent or room isn’t screened or air-conditioned; and spray insecticide or burn a mosquito coil before going to bed.
  • Take the malaria tablets recommended for the region you’re travelling to, and keep taking them until the course is complete.
  • British Airways Travel Clinics provide a comprehensive malaria avoidance programme. You can contact them in Johannesburg at (011) 807 3132, and in Cape Town at (021) 419 3172. You can also visit www.malaria.org.za

*** If you come down with flu-like symptoms either during, or within four to six weeks after visiting a malaria area, seek a doctor’s advice immediately ***

Tipping

Tips are not included in the bill of restaurants and hotels. It is usual to give a 10-15% tip for meals. Hotel porters are usually tipped R20 per person. Airport porters approximately R20 – R30 in total. A suitable gratuity for guides and or drivers should be considered.

Tipping whilst at a Game Lodge is by no means expected, however if you are very happy with your stay we would suggest the following as a very rough guideline. Per person per night:

  • Game ranger and tracker- R150
  • General Staff – R75

It would be advisable to ask camp management during your stay.

Safety on safari

All reserves have a set of rules that you need to follow to ensure your safety. Many of the animals you’ll come across, particularly lion, hippo, elephant and buffalo, are dangerous. Stay in your car and keep a reasonable distance – especially with elephant – in case you need to beat a hasty retreat!

Africa has its fair share of poisonous snakes – though they are rarely encountered and, when they are, will more often than not try to get away as quickly as possible. However, if you plan on doing any walking, take along boots, socks and long trousers as a precautionary measure (which also helps with ticks) – and always look where you’re going.

Avoid swimming in rivers that have hippos and crocodiles.

Safari Companion

It is said that a private game reserve experience can rank as one of life’s most defining moments, and certainly from our experience with guests from all over the world, we would endorse this. We have also learned that many guests arrive not knowing exactly what to expect and perhaps regretting not being better prepared for their safari experience.

South Africa is a vast country full of spectacular attractions, for this reason we strongly recommend that you consult with a specialist before concluding your travel arrangements.

What temperatures are we likely to experience?

This is possibly the most frequently asked question and one which requires a fairly detailed answer, so here we go.

Our summer covers the months October through March with mid winter being May, June and July. In summer temperatures range from 16°C to 40°C and in winter from 5°C to 26°C – all in celcius. It is not uncommon for summer maximum temperatures to exceed 40°C but this would be in isolated cases. Summer days and nights are generally hot outdoors with much relief gained from moving in open-air land rovers. Winter days are mild and very comfortable with evenings and early mornings being cold becoming rather chilly on the back of the land rover. The North West Province has a summer rain season and we normally expect approximately 550mm to fall within the summer months. Whilst not common, very light showers do occur in winter.

Which is the best time to view game?

To answer this question one should first determine what one would like to see. Our summer brings a multitude of beautiful migrant bird species and many newborn antelope species in thick green bushveld. In winter with limited water sources, activity is generally around water holes, the bush is dry and thin and visibility generally better. It is often said that there is nothing better than a winter’s day in the bushveld.

What camera equipment and film should we bring?

Good photography is generally limited to daylight. While we use high-powered spotlights on night drives, a moving vehicle makes photography difficult unless you have a high powered flash, which you are welcome to use. We would recommend 100 or 200 asa film. It is not often possible to keep the land rover dead still for those shots requiring powerful telephoto lenses, it is therefore suggested that the most versatile lens should be capable of ranges between 70 to 210/300. Obviously an F2,8 lens is ideal. Both slide and print film as well as batteries are available in the curio shops. Video cameras are ideal to capture sights and sounds; a pair of binoculars is a must for keen bird watchers.

On arrival at the lodge of your choice you will be met by your ranger and or lodge manager who will explain the programme to you. You will spend the duration of your visit at the lodge with this ranger. They are all highly qualified and would be delighted to spend time with you on your specific topic of interest. The staff are committed to providing the most memorable experience, a task that is made easier once they understand what your personal interests are.

What is an open vehicle safari?

A specially modified four wheel drive vehicle designed to carry between 5 and 10 guests is used to bring you to within close proximity of Africa’s big game including the big 5. The capabilities of the vehicle are such that it is able to traverse fairly rough terrain, with the exception of ecologically sensitive areas particularly after rain. In the case of many lodges, the vehicle does not have a roof or sides and allows for maximum all-round visibility.

You could find yourself getting close to big game, this should not alarm you provided you observe the basic do’s and don’ts as discussed by your ranger prior to and during your safari.

A minimum of a two-night stay is recommended to savour all that is the African bush.

In compiling the safari companion we have taken note of some of the more frequently asked questions, and are always willing to answer any new questions that you may have, please feel free to direct these to: info@bushbreaks.co.za

General Points

Please bear in mind that it is necessary to re-confirm all flights and check there has been no schedule time change.

Economy Class passengers are restricted to 20kgs (Business Class 30kgs) of checked luggage.The airlines reserve the right to charge for excess or overweight baggage. Should you be flying internally on light aircraft, there is often a 10-12kgs restriction – please check with your agent.

Please note, most Game Lodges in South Africa adhere to a check-in time of 14h00 and check-out 11h00.

What to pack

Dress should be informal and comfortable although one should be prepared to dress smart / casual at the better hotels and lodges. In top restaurants a collar and tie is required. On safari, neutral colours (no bright colours or whites) and cottonwear clothing. Lightweight trousers, slacks, skirts and shirts are ideal. A warm jacket is recommended for early morning game drives and evenings. Always take something warm (cardigan, jacket or wrap around) for evenings as most restaurants are air-conditioned and may be a little cool after a day in the sun. Bring a sunhat, suntan lotion with a high protection factor, swimwear and comfortable shoes and sandals, binoculars, a camera and film and Malaria tablets (if necessary). A light waterproof jacket is necessary for the summer months.

Flight times

Johannesburg – Madikwe    1 hour
Johannesburg – Sabi Sand    1 hour and 20 minutes
Johannesburg – Singita    1 hour and 20 minutes
Johannesburg – Lebombo    1 hour and 40 minutes
Durban – George    1 hour and 50 minutes
Durban – East London    1 hour and 20 minutes
Durban – Port Elizabeth    1 hour and 20 minutes
Durban – Johannesburg    1 hour and 10 minutes
Cape Town – Johannesburg    2 hours
Cape Town – East London    1 hour and 30 minutes
Cape Town – Port Elizabeth    1  hour and 10 minutes
Cape Town – Hoedspruit   2 hour and 40 minutes

Driving times

Johannesburg – Cape Town   14 hours
Johannesburg – Mkuze Falls   4 hours and 30 minutes
Johannesburg – Sabi Sand   5 hours
Johannesburg – Hoedspruit   5 hours and 30 minutes
Johannesburg – Madikwe   4 hours
Durban – Mkuze Falls   3 hours and 30 minutes
Durban – Phinda   3 hours and 30 minutes

Climate and rainfall

South Africa has two climatic systems. The South-Western Cape has a mediterranean Climate with winter rainfall (May-August) and a dry hot summer (September to April), whilst the rest of the country has exceptionally sunny weather throughout the year, broken only by spells of rain in the summer months. The long spring and summer months – late August to mid May make South Africa a holiday-maker’s paradise, whilst in the winter months the weather is still beautiful, with generally warm sunny days and cool nights, (except in the South-Western Cape where this is the green season).

Weather

Cape Town

Climate: Mediterranean
Month     Jan     Feb     Mar     Apr     May     Jun     Jul     Aug     Sep     Oct     Nov     Dec
Maximum temp(ºC)     25     25     24     22     19     17     16     17     18     20     22     23
Minimum temp(ºC)     17     17     15     13     11     8     8     8     10     12     14     16

Best time to visit: November to February. Summer is hot and dry; winter is cool and wet

Johannesburg

Climate: Moderate
Month     Jan     Feb     Mar     Apr     May     Jun     Jul     Aug     Sep     Oct     Nov     Dec
Maximum temp(ºC)     25     23     23     20     18     15     16     18     21     22     23     24
Minimum temp(ºC)     15     15     14     11     8     5     5     7     10     12     13     15

Best time to visit: September to April (For Kruger National Park best time is July to mid-October). Summer is the rainy season. Winter is dry and cool.

Durban

Climate: Sub-tropical
Month     Jan     Feb     Mar     Apr     May     Jun     Jul     Aug     Sep     Oct     Nov     Dec
Maximum temp(ºC)     27     27     27     25     23     22     22     22     22     24     25     26
Minimum temp(ºC)     22     22     22     19     16     12     12     14     16     17     19     21

Best time to visit: September to April. Beach season is December to January. In summer the coast is very hot. Inland it’s warm during the day and milder at night. Winters are sometimes hot during the days, but are generally cool becoming cold at night. There are occasional thunderstorms and hailstorms in summer.

Nelspruit/Mpumalanga

Month     Jan     Feb     Mar     Apr     May     Jun     Jul     Aug     Sep     Oct     Nov     Dec
Maximum temp(ºC)     29     29     28     27     25     23     23     25     27     27     27     28
Minimum temp(ºC)     19     19     18     14     10     6     6     9     12     14     17     18

Skukuza/Kruger National Park

Month     Jan     Feb     Mar     Apr     May     Jun     Jul     Aug     Sep     Oct     Nov     Dec
Maximum temp(ºC)     33     32     31     29     28     26     26     27     29     30     31     32
Minimum temp(ºC)     21     20     19     15     10     6     6     9     13     16     18     20