Africa 2017 - Final Preparations
OUR AFRICA ADVENTURE BEGINS HERE...
5 weeks and counting until our big adventure begins. Before I get into the trip prep details, I want to start off by urging each of you to think about what you want to get out of this trip i.e. how do you want to challenge yourself, what is your intention for coming on this group trip, what obstacles do you want to overcome etc. These trips provide a platform from which we can grow as individuals, reconnect with ourselves, learn from each other, meet new friends, build new relationships, strengthen our exiting relationships engage authentically with each other AND HAVE ONE HECK OF AN ADVENTURE TOGETHER. Its a place where we can be ourselves without judgement no matter what our age, fitness level, ethic origin or religious beliefs. LOVE AND POSITIVE ENERGY IS THE FOUNDATION FOR OUR TRIPS so please keep this top of mind during your time in Africa.
WHAT TO PACK
- South Africa
Trainers, slops/sandals, hat, water bottle, shorts, jeans/long pants, shirts, light sweater/jacket, swimming costume, sunscreen, motion sickness pills, sunglasses, headlamp ( don't spend more than $20 on this). Universal power adapter for South Africa to charge your cameras/phones. You may need more than one depending on how many cameras you have.
Trainers, slops/sandals, hat, shorts, jeans/long pants, shirts, warm sweater/jacket, micro-fiber zippered rain jacket, sunscreen, sunglasses, deet, small duffle bag/back pack. Universal power adapter to charge your cameras/phones. Plug outlets are the same as in South Africa. You may need more than one depending on how many cameras you have.
Trainers, slops/sandals, hat, shorts, jeans/long pants, shirts, warm sweater/jacket, sunscreen, sunglasses, deet, small duffle bag/back pack, malaria pills, sunscreen. Universal power adapter to charge your cameras/phones. Plug outlets are the same as in South Africa. You may need more than one depending on how many cameras you have.
POWER in SOUTH AFRICA/NAMIBIA/BOTSWANA
You will need to get yourself a few power adapters to use depending on how many items you will need to charge at one time. The most commonly found plug/socket type in South Africa/Namibia/Botswana is the ‘M’ as shown here: Universal power adapter
Only the guys doing Botswana and Kruger will need to speak to their Doctor about getting a prescription for Malaria medication. Malarone is what I recommend but your Doctor might suggest differently if you have a pre-existing medical condition.
Note: If you are traveling from (or transiting through) a country where yellow fever is prevalent, upon your arrival the governments of South Africa/Botswana/Namibia require proof of a yellow fever inoculation (a certificate or card). A list of yellow fever risk countries may be viewed HERE. The yellow fever vaccination is valid for ten years, and must be administered no later than ten days prior to departure. Should you fall into the yellow fever risk category, you have to travel with your Yellow Fever certificate.
We have wifi in all of our accommodations except in Namibia, Botswana and Kruger while on safari. The hotels we will be staying at between these trip segments all have wifi. You might want to speak to your phone carrier for information on roaming packages if you need to stay connected while we are out of wifi range. It's also easy to get a local South Africa number with cheap data/voice/messaging rates on your GSM phone, one option being B4ITravel (formerly B4IGO). You can pre-purchase plans and even get your local SA number before your trip, then visit their kiosk at CPT airport arrivals where they will swap your SIM card: b4i.travel/za. You will need an unlocked/GSM phone for this.
The currency in South African is the South African Rand (ZAR), which is made up of 100 Cents.
As in most African countries, Visa and MasterCard are usually accepted throughout South Africa, American Express and Diners Club less so, and commonly NOT accepted at some venues at all. Be sure to ask your bank about a Visa or MasterCard with no foreign transaction fees! Smaller vendors do not accept credit cards so exchange $200 worth of ZAR currency. I advise having cash for cab rides ( approx. $30 or R364). You can also use Uber in Cape Town but not from the Airport. Also credit cards without chips are not accepted
ATMs are relatively easily found in all towns, cities and shopping malls as well as most petrol stations, and accept international cards.
Be alert when using ATMs, and do not accept help from anybody as conmen are adept at switching cards.
Travelers’ cheques may be exchanged at any of the commercial banks, most large hotels, or at bureaux de change offices.
To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travelers are advised to take travelers’ cheques in US Dollars or South African Rand.
Of course you need one, but make sure it does not expire within six months of entering South Africa, Namibia or Botswana because you will probably be denied entry. Also have at least 2 blank pages in your passport too.
Here is a shared drop box for everyone to drop their photos into. https://1drv.ms/f/s!ApVvjjHeET_agZoOSGgPP78DJ1hQ7g
Also if posting your photos to Instagram or Facebook tag @Manexpeditions and use #manexpeditions so we can all follow the photo trail. That said, try limit your social media consumption during the trip so you can disconnect and be more in the present.
South Africa is overall a safe destination for international travellers who are following a pre-arranged itinerary and recommended routing, however it is wise to take standard security precautions.
Carry a record of your passport number, credit card numbers and airline tickets in a separate place.
Do not be flashy with your money, expensive cameras, and/or jewellery.
Keep your possessions in sight at all times.
Never leave baggage unattended, especially at airports, coffee shops and restaurants.
Never leave items within view in your rental vehicle or tour bus.
Don’t walk in deserted areas, especially NOT AFTER DARK.
Be aware at ATMs.
Tap water can be drunk in South Africa’s cities and major towns, however, especially for sensitive travellers, drinking tap water in rural areas isn't recommended.
All hotels, safari camps and lodges supply fresh, clean (bottled or filtered) water for their guests.
Do however always check with us after checking in if it safe to brush your teeth with the tap/faucet water.
South Africa’s climate is typical for the Southern Hemisphere, with the middle of winter being in June, July and August, and December, January and February being mid-summer
Summer is hot and often quite breezy in Cape Town and surrounds, as well as along the Garden Route. Temperatures in summer routinely reach 28°C/82°F to 29°C/84°F.
Summer in the north around Kruger National Park and Madikwe, is hot and humid with regular thundershowers; this is the rainy ‘green season’, with temperatures easily reaching 25°C/77°F or 26°C/79°F.
LUGGAGE SPECIFICATIONS & RESTRICTIONS
For most intra-Africa safari travel in light aircraft, there are stringent luggage restrictions which vary depending on your destination.
Travelers flying between camps in South Africa may be restricted to just 20kg/44lbs of total luggage weight (INCLUDING carry-on hand luggage).
In addition to these strict weight restrictions, and so that it can be packed into the hold of a small plane, your bags must be SOFT-sided with NO wheels or rigid frames.
Should you need to bring additional luggage in excess of your allowance, you may have the option of buying an extra seat, which will allow you a further 70kg/154lbs. The additional cost of this varies depending on your flight schedule, please contact your consultant well in advance of travel for further details.
If utilizing one of the bigger airline carriers into the country, your allowance may be higher; currently South African Airways offers each passenger 23kgs (one bag).
NOTE: should you have a multi-country or multi-camp itinerary, please check your total luggage weight complies with restrictions for ALL of your destinations pre-South Africa, as well as for onward travel.
Laundry can be done at most hotels, camps and lodges. At many of the camps and lodges, this service is complimentary, but there may be a nominal charge at other establishments.
Owing to and depending on prevailing local traditions in the country, at certain camps, the staff may not or will not wash underwear or intimate apparel.
It is totally acceptable to wear the same outfit more than once while on safari, there is no need to be a fashionista in the bush!
In order to get the most out of your safari, all visitors should bring their own pair of Bino's
Although not compulsory, if you are happy with the level of service provided, it is customary to tip guides, drivers, and support staff, and it is appropriate to do so in South African Rand (ZAR), or US Dollars (US$).
General Guidelines for Tipping
Expedition Leaders: US$40 – US$60 (±R500 - ±R800) per day
Safari Tracker: US$11 (±R165) per day
Butler: US$15 (±R200) per day
Hotel/Camp/Lodge Staff : US$15 – US$20 (±R200 – ±R260) per day
Transfer Drivers: US$5 (±R65) per transfer
Porters : US$1 (±R13) per bag, more if the bag is heavy
Restaurants: 10-15% of the bill
Whilst it is not encouraged to carry enormous quantities of cash, be aware that facilities for exchanging or drawing any type of currencies are restricted to cities, towns and villages; there are NO ATMs in the wilderness/bush areas.
Many camps do allow tipping by credit card.
South Africa: There are 11 official languages in South Africa (amongst other, isiZulu, isiXhosa, isiNdebele, Afrikaans), however English is widely spoken.
Botswana: The national language of Botswana is Setswana; together with English, in varying degrees, the two subsist as the official working languages of the country.
Namibia: The official language of Namibia is English, but German and Afrikaans are also widely spoken and understood. Namibia has 15 ethnic groups with some 27 languages and dialects being spoken, among which, Setswana, Damara/Nama, Herero, and Oshiwambo.
Our priority is to make sure this trip delivers memories and experiences you will all cherish for the rest of your lives. If there is something you need during the trip please don’t be shy to ask. We are in Africa, not everything runs like clock-work especially with the number of moving parts involved with bringing a trip of this nature together.
I would like to thank our crew ( Syd, John, Andy, Craig and the rest of the team) for all their hard work over the last 8 months, diligently working behind the scenes to bring this Africa itinerary together and for working on the fly to rearrange logistics when required.
This going to be one heck of an adventure... hold on tight and enjoy the ride guys.