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Here you'll find some of the most frequently asked questions about adventure travel to Southern Africa with Wildland Adventures. If your question isn't answered here or you'd like more detailed information on our Southern Africa safari tours, you can contact our Africa Program Directors via email or at 1-800-345-4453.

When is the best season for travel to Southern Africa?
Is it safe to travel in Southern Africa?
What are the accommodations like on a Wildland Adventures' Southern Africa safari tour?
What kinds of birds can be seen on safari in Southern Africa?
What kinds of animals will I see while on a Wildland Adventures' Southern Africa safari tour?
What type of transportation is used on a Wildland Adventures safari?
What are the roads like while traveling on safari in Southern Africa?
How many people are typically on your Southern Africa safaris?
What will I experience on a game drive on an Southern Africa safari tour?
What is a typical day like on a Wildland Adventures' Southern Africa safari?
What type of food will we eat on safari in Southern Africa?
What about night game drives on safari in Southern Africa?
What is the weather like in Southern Africa and what should I pack for my safari in Southern Africa?
What are the visa and passport requirements for travel to Southern Africa?
Will I need any vaccinations, immunizations or special medications for a Southern Africa safari vacation?
Is Southern Africa a good destination for family adventure travel?
As a single traveler, do I need to pay a single supplement if I am willing to share accommodations?
What is the local currency in Southern Africa? Are U.S. dollars accepted? Do I need local currency before I arrive?
Can I use credit cards while on a Southern Africa Wildland safari? Are ATMs available?
What is the electrical current in Southern Africa? Will I need plug adaptors?
Can I drink the water when traveling in Southern Africa?
Is internet service available on your Southern Africa adventure tours?
Will my cell phone work while on an Southern Africa safari adventure?
Do your Southern Africa safari tours include international airfare? Do you have recommendations for the best routing and airlines for travel to Southern Africa?
Can I create a custom safari tour of Southern Africa?

When is the best season for travel to Southern Africa?

Southern Africa destinations receive the majority of their rain during the southern hemisphere summer from October to March. The annual rains tend to come in November and can stick around through February/March. The rest of the year is quite dry in the region, especially towards the end of the dry season in October. Rains in southern Africa are mainly thunder showers and does not last much longer than a few hours (with some exception). Two beautiful months in southern Africa are April (when autumn start and the heat of summer is bearable) and September (when spring brings the first greenery and amazing cloud formations while the cold winter weather is over). Cape Town can be quite temperate during the winter months of June-August and rain can be quite common.

Wildlife tends to be easier to see during the dry season as they concentrate around watering holes. However, the wet season offers fewer travelers, green savannas and triggers breeding activity for a great many species. Personally, my favorite times are at the end of the wet season in May and June, when the chance of rain is low and the bush is vibrant from all the new growth and animal births. October and November can also be quite an interesting experience in change of seasons from the end of the dry season into the first rains. Back to Top

Is it safe to travel in Southern Africa?

Africa is a safe place to visit on safari and the African people are notorious for their warm hospitality. As with travel anywhere, it is a good idea to take the standard precautions such as keeping your valuables and passport close at hand or safely locked away and bags attended to. When traveling in town it’s always a good idea to check with your tour operator or hotel concierge to see if there are any areas to avoid. It is usually a good idea to avoid isolated or deserted areas especially at night. It is best to avoid wearing excessive jewelry when exploring Africa. Back to Top

What are the accommodations like on a Wildland Adventures' Southern Africa safari tour?

One of the most important aspects of your safari is maximizing the amount of quality time in the field; there is so much to experience that we don’t want to miss anything. We choose not only quality lodges and tented camps with en suite facilities, but consider their locations foremost in our planning. Our accommodations are located within national park and reserve boundaries whenever possible, to start each morning closer to the wildlife. The lodges we choose, as well as many of the tented camps, feature spectacular scenery, comfortable furnishings, and friendly and accommodating staff. Some even offer swimming pools for relaxing after a long safari drive! Note that while we make every effort to offer superior facilities, occasionally there may be a particular location that necessitates us to stay in more basic mobile tented camps or bandas, that may not provide en suite facilities. Back to Top

What kinds of birds can be seen on safari in Southern Africa?

Southern Africa features an amazing diversity of bird life with 400-500 species present in any-given country depending on season. There are a large number of avian families that are endemic to Africa, including mousebirds, turacos, guineafowl, ground hornbills, barbets, secretary birds, ostrich, shoebill and hamerkop. Many colorful species dazzle the eye - kingfishers, bee-eaters, flamingos, stunning lilac-breasted rollers, stately grey-crowned cranes, and saddle-billed storks. Palearctic migrants from Europe and Asia spend their winters in equatorial Africa, from September through April. There are more than 12 species of eagle and 5 species of vulture found in Southern Africa. Back to Top

What kinds of animals will I see while on a Wildland Adventures' Southern Africa safari tour?

In addition to the famous "Big 5" (elephant, rhino, lion, cape buffalo, and leopard), Southern Africa hosts a wide variety of animals in diverse habitats. Antelopes are notable with about 40 different species, including elands, waterbuck, gerenuk, topis, hartebeest, impala, gazelles, and the diminutive dik-diks. These, along with herds of zebras and wildebeest, serve as the main prey for the ever-hungry carnivores such as lions, hyenas and cheetahs. It is always a treat to see roving bands of mongoose and comical warthogs. Southern Africa rivers are alive with hippopotamus and opportunistic Nile crocodiles. Southern Africa boasts a large number of endangered mammals such as black and white rhino, wild dogs, and cheetah. Back to Top

What type of transportation is used on a Wildland Adventures' safari?

We use a combination of 4-wheel Land Cruisers, Land Rovers and minibuses to maximize our viewing opportunities in the field. In Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and much of South Africa we use Land Cruisers and Land Rovers exclusively; occasionally we use a mini-bus for transfers to and from the airport and in between lodges. Most of our safari vehicles feature open tops with three rows of seats for all-around visibility, and open center aisles for flexible maneuvering when stopped. All of our vehicles conform to safety regulations and are custom-built to take the rigors of a safari. All vehicles are driven by our experienced and highly knowledgeable local guides, who are integral in explaining the intricacies of the ecological principals or animal behavior that you’ll be witnessing. Our vehicles provide maximum safety as well as ease of viewing. Many of our safaris take place in national parks and reserves, whose regulations require us to stay inside our vehicles due to danger from wild animals. Back to Top

What are the roads like while traveling on safari in Southern Africa?

Many of the roads in Southern Africa are hard packed gravel and because of their heavy use they’re often rutted. Guides joke that it’s the “safari massage”. While there are some beautifully paved roads (particularly in South Africa and along the main routes in Zambia and Namibia) in general you will be on rougher gravel roads. If you have back problems we recommend minimizing long drives with internal flights. Back to Top

How many people are typically on your Southern Africa safaris?

Our standard Land Rovers and Land Cruisers allow for a maximum of 6 participants, plus a guide/driver. Maximum group size is generally 8. It is uncommon to have group sizes larger than 8, which will give you more exclusive time in the vehicle with your driver/guide. Back to Top

What will I experience on a game drive on an Southern Africa safari tour?

There are usually two game drives per day, one in the morning lasting about 3-5 hours, and one in late afternoon which lasts about 3 hours. Our drivers are not limited by the amount of driving that they can do in a day and are masters in reading the environment to place you in the most promising locations for wildlife viewing. In addition to seeing the wildlife, there are always opportunities for spontaneity in our tours. Whether that be stopping to witness a leopard tortoise crossing the road or a herd of elephants! Back to Top

What is a typical day like on a Wildland Adventures' Southern Africa safari?

Parks and reserves are typically open from sunrise to sunset. We like to maximize our time in the field, so we usually take an early breakfast and head out at 6:30am for our morning game drive, returning in the late-morning. While we will likely see wildlife at any time of the day, early morning gives us a better chance of finding nocturnal species such as leopard or other big cats at a kill and wildlife is most active first thing in the morning. Brunch is around 11am and a short rest period for both participants and wildlife follows. Around 3:30 afternoon tea is served before we head out for our afternoon game drive, followed by the great African tradition of sundowners - enjoying a glass of wine, beer or a cocktail as you watch the sun set over the African landscape. We return to the lodge by 7pm. Dinner is typically around 7:30pm. Be prepared for a great deal of excitement! Back to Top

What type of food will we eat on safari in Southern Africa?

There is a good selection of international cuisine, including vegetarian choices. Fresh fruits, tasty desserts, and hot beverages are readily available. Breakfast portions are ample, with plenty of coffee and tea. At times when we are in the field or en route, we will bring boxed lunches with us for a picnic or sundowners. Depending on the lodge meals may be buffet or plated. Some special dietary arrangements can be made in advance. Back to Top

What about night game drives on safari in Southern Africa?

National Parks do not allow anyone to be out after sunset, the official closing time is usually 6:00pm, at which time you’re expected to be back in camp or at least on your way there. However, there are a number lodges that run night game drives outside National Parks and we include these as part of our itinerary whenever possible. Night game drives usually last for 2 to 3 hours beginning just after sunset or after dinner. These give us an opportunity to see a variety of nocturnal creatures such at bushbabies, porcupines, genets, nightjars and owls. Back to Top

What is the weather like in Southern Africa and what should I pack for my Southern Africa tour?

The weather in Southern Africa can vary greatly depending on the region in which you are traveling. In general it’s quite pleasant ranging from 70-85ºF during the day. However many people underestimate how cool Southern Africa can be, especially in the southern hemisphere winter months of June to September. Prepare for temperatures that can drop down to 40ºF in the evenings.

Many layers of light breathable quick dry clothing is the best way to stay comfortable as you travel through the different ecosystems of Southern Africa. A waterproof jacket or poncho is also a key item for your day pack. If your safari mainly includes driving, then normal shoes will suffice. However if you are planning to do any walking safari’s or trekking, then full hiking boots are the way to go. The most common complaint we get about weather is that it was colder than expected in the mornings and evenings so remember to bring a mid-weight jacket and possibly a hat and gloves for early morning game drives, particularly in June and July. Back to Top

What are the visa and passport requirements for travel to Southern Africa?

A current passport valid for up to 6 months after the return date of your trip is required to travel anywhere in Southern Africa. U.S. citizens also need a visa for entry into Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. No visa is required for entry into South Africa, Botswana, or Namibia.

It’s highly recommended to acquire your visa prior to arrival. The standard 90 day tourist visa is valid for up to one year from the date of issue and applications and directions may be found at the respective embassy website. For additional assistance or express service we recommend Generations Visa Service which is a third party visa obtaining service.

South African Embassy Website: http://saembassy.ogt11.com
Botswana Embassy Website: http://www.botswanaembassy.org
Namibia Embassy Website: http://www.namibianembassyusa.org
Zambia Embassy Website: http://www.zambiaembassy.org
Mozambique Embassy Website: http://www.embamoc-usa.org
Malawi Embassy website: http://www.malawiembassy-dc.org

Generations Visa Service: www.genvisa.com

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Will I need any vaccinations, immunizations or special medications for a Southern Africa safari vacation?

Certain medications and/or immunizations are recommended or required for travel to Southern Africa. Aside from large portions of South Africa, malaria is present throughout the region and it is recommended that travelers consult a doctor for anti-malarial prophylactics before traveling. Travelers visiting Botswana or Zimbabwe who are coming from a “yellow fever endemic area” (most parts of East Africa) will be required to present a valid yellow fever vaccination card. All travelers visiting Zambia must have a valid yellow fever vaccination card or a waiver from a physician.

When you put down a deposit for any Wildland Adventure, our destination expert Program Directors will provide detailed information about health precautions and possible immunizations for travel to your destination. Wildland Adventures' staff are not licensed medical professionals, however, we do know the exact areas, environments and conditions under which you will be traveling, all of which can affect the relative risk of exposure and help you make a decision concerning immunizations and prescription medicines. All travelers should consult their physician or a travel health clinic and refer to the Center for Disease Control website for complete information on health considerations in your destination. Back to Top

Is Southern Africa a good destination for family safaris?

Southern Africa is a wonderful destination for families with children. South Africa is ideal for travel even with the youngest of children while most other destinations and camps require a minimum age of 8 years to go on game drives and walks. Many safari lodges throughout Southern Africa cater to specific age groups and arrange exciting activities for children. There are also a number of adventures available, from beach holidays, horse-back riding, hiking, boat rides and many others. Back to Top

As a single traveler, do I need to pay a single supplement if I am willing to share accommodations?

If we are able to pair you up with another single traveler willing to share accommodation then there will be no additional single supplement. However, if we are unable to find a suitable match prior to your trip departure then the single supplement fee will apply. Back to Top

What is the local currency in Southern Africa? Are U.S. dollars accepted? Do I need local currency before I arrive?

The currency varies according to the country that you in which you are traveling. In South Africa the currency is the rand, in Botswana it is the pula and in Namibia it is the Namibian dollar but it is interchangeable with the South African rand. Zambia currency is called the kwacha and in Mozambique it is the metical. Foreign currencies such as the U.S. dollar are also widely accepted, although bills from before 2003 are usually not accepted. Most international airports and hotels have banks where money can be changed. It is a good idea to change your money in advance of heading into more remote or rural areas. Back to Top

Can I use credit or debit cards while on a Southern Africa safari tour? Are ATMs available?

In major cities particularly in South Africa (Cape Town, Johannesburg) credit cards are widely accepted and you will have no trouble finding ATMs. You can use a credit card to pay for extra charges in many many safari lodges in Southern Africa but not all of them. Generally it will be difficult to use a credit card outside of major cities and finding ATMs in the bush is not possible! Remember that charges will be in local currency so your credit card company may charge you a fee in addition to a poor exchange rate. Local currency or USD is the easiest form of payment in Southern Africa. Back to Top

What is the electrical current in Southern Africa? Will I need plug adaptors?

Electricity is supplied at all lodges and at most permanent tented camps, however it is not available at mobile camps. Generators are run during the day to recharge video or digital camera batteries. In lodges and hotels (where it is available) electrical current is 220 or 240 volts and the outlet is a type-G British three-pin rectangular pronged plug. You will need a plug adapter and a converter may be required for some American devices, while others (computer, camera, cell phone) usually can handle up to 240 volts. Make sure to double check the voltage requirements of your device and bring a converter if necessary. Back to Top

Can I drink the water when traveling in Southern Africa?

Tap water is generally unsafe in Southern Africa and it’s recommended that you drink only bottled water which is widely available and relatively inexpensive. Bottled water is provided in the safari vehicles for all of our game drives and in the bathrooms at the lodges for brushing your teeth. Back to Top

Is internet service available on your Southern Africa adventure tours?

In major cities (Cape Town, Johannesburg, Livingstone, Windhoek) most lodges/hotels have internet access but it can be slow and unreliable compared to service in major U.S. cities. Outside of the major cities it will be difficult to find access to the internet. Most of the lodges in Botswana and Namibia do not have internet access while most safari lodges in South Africa do but it’s speed will likely be extremely slow and frustrating. Plan to unplug while on an Southern Africa safari! Back to Top

Will my cell phone work while on an Southern Africa safari adventure?

This is a good question for your cell phone service provider. To work internationally, you'll most likely need a cell phone which uses a "GSM" network which is most widely used globally. In the U.S. AT&T and T-Mobile operate GSM networks while Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and several smaller carriers such as U.S. Cellular use the "CDMA" network which has less worldwide coverage than GSM. You'll want to check with your service provider regarding international coverage and make sure you understand exactly what you'll be charged for making calls and, if you have a smart phone, for using data (email/internet). Rates can be extremely expensive and we've heard horror stories of travelers returning home to find unexpectedly large bills for using their phone while traveling. Due to this, we generally recommend you unplug and don't use your cell phone while traveling. Your guides will be able to give you the best options for calling home and loved ones can contact you using the local phone numbers we provide on your final itinerary or Wildland's 24-hour emergency number. Some of the lodges we use have a telephone at the front desk. It’s rare to have a phone in your room and some of the tented camps, particularly mobile camps in the Okavango Delta, do not have phone service. We recommend reviewing CNET's World Phone Guide for more information on international cell phone coverage. Back to Top

Do your Southern Africa safari tours include international airfare? Do you have recommendations for the best routing and airlines for travel to Southern Africa?

International airfare is not included in our prices for Southern Africa safaris.Most Southern Africa safaris begin and end in Johannesburg as this is the major airport hub in the region with the largest number of flights and carriers. You can choose to fly direct to Johannesburg from the U.S. (Atlanta or New York generally) on South African Airways or Delta. You can also choose to fly one of the many carriers that route through Europe (British in London, Air France in Paris, KLM in Amsterdam, and Lufthansa in Frankfurt). You can also fly through the Gulf on Emirates (Dubai), Etihad (Abu Dhabi) or Qatar Airways (Doha). Most of these airlines are partner airlines with U.S. carriers so you may be able to use airline miles or book your entire flight itinerary through a U.S. airline. While Wildland Adventures does not book international airfare directly, we are pleased to provide a quote and schedule for your international air with our partners at Exito Travel, a leader in air travel worldwide. They offer highly competitive fares along with the knowledge to book the best airlines, routing and schedule for your Wildland Adventure. Contact your destination Program Director for more information. Back to Top

Can I create a custom safari tour of Southern Africa?

Certainly. Our safaris can be customized to focus on birding, photography, wildlife or other general interests of the participants. In fact, nearly all itineraries are developed based on the desires of our customers. Our safaris provide the perfect adventure for families, couples or individuals and we are happy to cater to special interests and requests. Back to Top