Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Meerkats

Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding travel to South Africa. Do I need vaccinations? What are the voltage requirements? What should I pack? And many others.

Packing (7)

Open suitcase packed with clothes

People often ask us what they should bring with them when traveling to South Africa. Through our own and previous guests experiences, we have compiled a list of those items we have found to be useful and necessary. Please note that these are just suggestions and depend on the month/season traveling. Warmer clothes are required for traveling in June, July, and August.

 Safari
  • 1-2 pairs of smart-casual trousers
  • 2-3 pairs of shorts
  • 4 Shirts and/or T-shirts (any combination)
  • 1 light cotton sundress for the ladies
  • 1 pair of walking/hiking/running shoes (i.e., must be a closed shoe for the bushveld)
  • 1 pair of sandals, crocks, or similar (do NOT wear in the bushveld)
  • 1 swimsuit
  • 1 sun hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Water bottle
  • Mosquito repellent (With DEET if possible). Otherwise, you can purchase at the resort.
  • Light jacket/cardigan for the evenings (depending on the season of travel)

Our warmer months are from the end of September to April with the hottest period from November to February.  One should expect rain storms or drizzle on any of these days.  It hardly ever rains continually and the rainstorms generally last for only an hour or so.  We provide rainproof ponchos for guests to use on the vehicles during game drives and there are sufficient umbrellas at the lodges for guests to use.

Our winter is from June to August with the coldest period being towards the end of June and July. We provide fleece blankets for guests to use on the vehicles during game drives.

Additional Packing Guidelines
• It may at times be very cold during the early morning and during the evening safari.  A warm fleece jacket, a fleece scarf, and a warm hat will be needed.  A warm pair of gloves may also be an added advantage. You may also want to bring a warm tracksuit to wear instead of a dress or light trousers.

• Try to keep the colors of your clothing as neutral as possible in order to blend in with the environment.  ABSOLUTELY NO FLUORESCENT COLORS ON SAFARI. Khaki colors and browns or greens are generally the best. Darker colors and colors that are very bright tend to attract unwanted insects such as mosquitoes and other bug type visitors.

• You should bring a comfortable pair of walking shoes for bush walks.

• Meal times are generally informal, so it is not necessary to dress up for dinner.

• If you wear prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses it may be a good idea to bring a spare pair in case yours get mislaid or broken.  Also, ensure that you have sufficient lens cleaning solution as the dusty outdoor environment might necessitate frequent cleaning.

• Our electricity works on a 220-volt alternating current system. Wall plug units take a round pin 15 Amp plug.  It is advisable to bring the necessary converter or adapter from your country should you want to charge or use your own electrical appliances.

• You should also bring a video or digital camera, a good pair of binoculars, enough memory cards for your camera (or film for those who still prefer to use film) and your plug and charger for the camera equipment.

• Should you want to send emails or photos home to friends or family you should bring your laptop or mobile device.

• Cellular phones work most places in the country. Upon your arrival in South Africa, we will provide you with a local cell phone whilst you are on tour with us. It is important to know that data in South Africa is expensive, and you should turn off the data setting on the cell phone you brought from home.

• All our rooms are supplied with basic amenities such as soap, shampoo, and body lotions.  You may, however, want to bring your own favorite items with you as well.

• Not all lodges have laundry service available.

• Just a reminder, not all curios purchased in South Africa may be imported to North America. For example, wood, animal products, shells, etc. often need clearance documentation.

• Please travel with minimal luggage.  We suggest using only ONE suitcase if possible, as domestic airlines baggage restrictions are greater than those on international flights.

• Remember to bring your malaria prophylaxis medication with you if you are traveling to the Kruger National Park region.

Please note we strongly suggest you take malaria medication
Please speak with your local travel clinic for all updated information

Category: Packing

Adapter

Voltage: 220/240 V; Plug M.

You will need a power adapter to use your appliances and mobile devices. You may not need a voltage converter as nearly all modern electronics are now dual-voltage. You can verify yours by finding the raised-letter specs on the charger (sometimes printed on a label); it’ll say something like Input: 110v-240v.
You can purchase your power adapter at the airport, or ahead of time at many hardware stores, travel shops or online retailers. Amazon.com has a reasonably priced selection from $7.99.
Voltage Map
South African Plug and Outlet
If you additionally need a voltage converter, we recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit. They cost between $12 and $30 dollars and can also be found in many hardware stores, travel shops and online retailers. Virtually all laptop computers and some electric razors take universal voltages. Always be sure to check with the manufacturer of the appliance for proper use and conversion.

Stacks of Suitcases

Please note that baggage allowances vary with airlines, and airlines are free to revise luggage policies without notice. It is the responsibility of the guest to research and comply with luggage allowances for each airline on the flight itinerary.

Size and Weight Restrictions

International Flights
Carry-on bags must:
  • Not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height), or 115 cm.
  • Fit easily in our SizeCheck® unit (approximately 22″ x 14″ x 9″, or 56 x 36 x 23 cm).
  • Fit in an overhead bin or underneath the seat in front of you.
  • If your carry-on bag doesn’t meet these size restrictions it must be checked, and all checked baggage rules will apply.

To avoid extra charges for oversize or overweight baggage on international flights, your checked bag must:

  • Weigh 50 pounds (23 kg) or less.
  • Not exceed 62 inches (157 cm) when you total length + width + height
Special Items
Each special item you’re checking counts as one bag. When checking in online, you don’t have to tell us what the special item is—only that you have one. An agent will determine any possible charges for your special item when you bring it to the baggage drop. Special Items Include:
  • Overweight bags – bags over 50 lbs.
  • Oversize bags – bags over 62 inches(when you total the length + width + height)
  • Infant and children items – stroller, child restraint seats
  • Assistive devices – wheelchair
  • Sports equipment – bicycle, bowling, fishing or ski equipment, parachute, surfboard, windsurf board, scuba tank
  • Musical instruments
  • Fragile/bulky items – saddle, antlers, Hawaiian pineapples, military duffle bags
Domestic Flights
For flights within South Africa, the weight limit for your checked bag is 44 pounds (20 kg).
Any additional checked bags will require a fee.
You may carry on 1 personal item plus 1 bag weighing up to 15 pounds (6.8 kg)

 

Categories: Air Travel, Packing

Credit Cards

 

Yes. Credit (and debit/check) cards are widely accepted in at ATMs and by most retailers throughout the county. You will find plenty of ATMs at the airport, and, if you need to withdraw cash during your tour, your guide can take you to the nearest ATM.

If you have only an American Express, MasterCard, and/or Diners Club card, it’s worth opening a Visa account, as this is by far the most accepted choice in Southern Africa.

BE SURE TO NOTIFY YOUR BANK of your international travel dates and destinations before you leave home.

We recommend that you make a photocopy of the front and back of your ATM and credit cards to leave behind with someone at home, just in case your cards are lost or stolen.

Many banks assess a transaction fee of 1% -3% on all charges you incur abroad, and some additionally charge a percentage of the amount withdrawn. Some banks do offer favorable overseas rates and charges for travelers using debit cards specifically.

Categories: Money, Packing

American dollars

We recommend taking $300 – $500, which is approximately 4,200 – 7,000 rand (ZAR), the currency of South Africa.  The exchange rate between the rand and the US dollar is at an all-time high, currently fluctuating from 12:1 to 17:1. This is great news for our North American travelers!

We also recommend that you exchange your dollars for rand upon your arrival at the airport in Johannesburg. Should you need to exchange more during your trip, your guide will suggest the best place to do so.
ATMs are plentiful in South Africa, especially in Cape Town. Be sure to advise your bank of the dates of your international travel before you leave home. We recommend that you make a photocopy of the front and back of your ATM and credit cards to leave behind with someone at home, just in case your cards are lost or stolen.
 
Please note that when you travel with Go Touch Down Travel and Tours on our promotional tours, we include the tipping at restaurants. For restaurants and bars, 10% to 15% is the accepted tipping standard for any meals or drinks other than those included in our promotional tours. However, tipping your driver/guide is not included and although not expected, it is appreciated should you decide to tip them at the end of your tour. The guideline is R100-120 ($10-12) per person per day. (The guides at Kapama and Humala Game Reserves should be tipped separately).
Categories: Money, Packing

Clean, folded laundry in a basket

While on safari, at Seasons and Dunkeld you may send out laundry to be cleaned for a small fee. There are laundry facilities in Cape Town, but please check with your agent ahead of time for possible water restrictions.

Hair Dryer

Hair dryers are available at all properties either in-room or by request from Housekeeping.

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