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Southern Africa Travel Advice
All of the countries we visit are economically and politically stable. Here we have briefly answered the most frequently asked questions, but please contact us should you need more detailed information.
Is it safe to travel to southern Africa?
Yes! Common-sense should always be exercised but travel around southern Africa is not only safe, but the people are friendly and welcoming.
What languages are spoken?
English is the lingua franca in most countries with the exception of Namibia where, while it is the official language, Afrikaans is more widespread.
What about money?
Travellers cheques are accepted almost everywhere. Those in foreign currencies must be cashed in at banks. In general, major credit cards are accepted by most hotels and shops in the cities; shops in the remote areas will only accept cash.
Can I get VAT refunds on goods purchased?
Foreign nationals are entitled to claim a refund of VAT levied on purchases prior to their departure from each country. Claim forms are available from the airports and border posts. You must have a VAT receipt and may be asked to show the purchases to an official so we recommend you pack them for easy access.
What visas do I need?
A valid passport with at least one spare page is required. Visa requirements differ for both your nationality and your destination country. Most foreign nationals are issued 90-day visas on arrival, however we recommend you consult your local consulate for each country you intend to visit.
What about malaria and inoculations?
Anti-malaria precautions should be commenced a few weeks prior to your departure. Use those weeks to discover any side effects and switch anti-malarial regimes if necessary. Depending on your itinerary, you may not need to take precautions. Please check with us when you make your booking. There are no inoculations required for any country in southern Africa.
For more health-related information consult the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website at: http://www.cdc.gov/travel/safrica.htm
How much should I tip?
Waiters and bar tenders receive a small basic wage and rely on tips for their income. In restaurants, the usual is 10% of the bill for good service and up to 20% for excellent service.
Hotel porters should be tipped between US$1 and US$2 - or local equivalent - and you may want to tip housekeeping staff in hotels as well.
In game lodges, it is usual to tip the ranger about 10% of your total bill and leave another 10% with lodge management to disburse among the invisible staff.
Are my electrical appliances compatible?
The region's electricity supply is a universal 220/240 volts at 50 cycles per second. Although electrical plugs & sockets are usually round, three-pin, 15 amps, a square-pin to round-pin travel adapter will be useful.
Is there cellular phone coverage in southern Africa?
Yes! All countries accept roaming calls. Coverage is limited to the larger towns and main arterial routes and we recommend you contact your local service provider before departure to confirm the service.
Are medical facilities of a good standard?
Private hospitals throughout southern Africa are of an international standard. In general, state-run hospitals, though functional, are under-supplied and under-staffed. Because of the vast distances between cities, private medical air rescue services operate throughout the region.