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Will I be safe on my travels with ROAR AFRICA?

If you are on a guided African safari, your chances of encountering problems are minimal. ROAR AFRICA makes it our business to know the areas we travel in, thus reducing risk to travelers. However we, cannot take responsibility for your belongings. It is sensible to take precautions on your voyage, particularly when traveling through urban areas.


How accurate is the information on your sites?

ROAR AFRICA prides itself in obtaining factually correct information about our destinations. We further strive to ensure that all our documentation and correspondence is as accurate as possible.


When is the best time of year to go to southern or east Africa?

All year round depending on what you want to do. Cape Town’s winter season (June to August) can be rainy, but it is also the best time to see Great White sharks breaching. If you are going on safari, you will see wildlife all year long. The bushveld is thicker and some areas can be hot during the high summer months (December and January). The migration takes place from late June to October in east Africa.



What are the luggage restrictions?

Generally, the weight restriction for luggage is 44 lbs (20 kg). Please be aware that this is less than many US luggage limits. For some fly-in safaris and island trips, smaller aircraft are used therefore restrictions are even tighter. However, you will find you need less than you might expect, as even luxury lodges are generally quite casual. ROAR AFRICA will advise you on your travel needs as your itinerary is designed. As for luggage safety, we advise you to do as you would on any trip: do not leave cameras and hand luggage unattended, and do not pack valuables, including medication, in your checked luggage.


Do I need medical insurance?

It is always advisable to take out medical insurance prior to any international travel.


What do I need to take on safari?

We recommend the following to ensure your comfort in the outdoors: long trousers, fleece jacket or warm sweater, waterproof windbreaker, T-shirts, shorts, any other warm-weather wear, a wide-brimmed hat and comfortable walking shoes. When choosing clothing: khaki, brown or beige colors are optimal. Additional essentials for safari include: sun block, lip balm, sunglasses, insect repellent (we recommend buying this locally), a camera with zoom and wide-angle lens, extra memory cards or film, spare batteries and binoculars.


What are the visa requirements for traveling in southern and east Africa?

This varies by country. We will provide you with detailed information on each country you will be visiting. Please ensure that you consult the embassies or consulates for each of your destinations to ensure you have the correct visa prerequisites, depending on your passport.


What inoculations do I need?

Please check with your doctor on what inoculations you require.


Do I have to take malaria tablets?

Northern parts of South Africa and most countries in Africa are malaria areas. Malaria is a potentially fatal disease. Please ensure that you have consulted your doctor as to what prophylactics you should take for the particular area being visited as there are many different strains of malaria. We can also create an entirely malaria-free itinerary for you including safari.


What health precautions do we need to travel in Africa?

Some countries require yellow fever shots and you might need to take anti-malaria prophylaxis as a precaution. We can advise you on these areas, or design your safari to avoid them entirely. If traveling in the bush, ticks are present in early spring however, tick bite fever is easily treatable. ROAR AFRICA does not arrange trips in areas of Zimbabwe that have cholera situations. Bilharzia is easily detected and treatable; however, it is very unlikely that guests would be swimming in rivers where this parasitic disease can be contracted. Also, we recommend guests ask their physician to administer routine tests a month or two after travel. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, please consult with your physician about your travel plans. If you require medication, please ensure that you bring a sufficient amount for the duration of your trip, as there may not be medical provisions in certain areas, despite the excellent medical care available in South Africa.



Is it possible to get tax back at the airport before I depart South Africa?

To get tax back at the airport, ask merchants for a document that reads “Tax Invoice” along with the VAT amount clearly marked. Your name and address must appear on invoices for large purchases (written by the merchant). Merchants may not automatically do this, so always request the document. Upon departure, have all purchases ready for inspection and receipts will be stamped. After checking in for your return flight, locate the VAT Refund Desk. Please be aware that this process can take some time, and there is a fee of 250 Rand for the refund. Travelers cannot claim tax/VAT on food, beverages, or accommodation.


Are there dangerous snakes or insects that I should watch out for?

Although Africa is known to be home to a number of potentially dangerous species, especially of snakes, scorpions, spiders, and insects, very few visitors are adversely affected. Snakes tend to be shy, and tend to stay away from built-up areas. Lodges and camps generally have insect (especially mosquito) proofing in their rooms. If you go on a walk, it is always a good idea to wear comfortable, closed walking shoes, socks, and long trousers – just as a precaution.


How do I minimize any potential threats from local wildlife?

Your guide will always do a safety talk with you, whether your game viewing is to be done from a vehicle, or on foot. Wildlife is potentially dangerous, but as long as you adhere to what your guide tells you, there is very little to worry about. At viewpoints, hides and camps, wildlife is more familiar with people and less intimidated by your presence. Never tease or corner wild animals – this may cause an unpredictable response and a potentially dangerous reaction. Never feed any animals, as this can cause them to lose their fear of humans.


How do I stay safe if I am traveling by myself?

When traveling independently on your African safari, stay informed in terms of the local news. Ask at your hotel about any unsafe areas, and codes of dress and behavior. Do not openly carry valuables. If you must carry your passport and money, keep them in a buttoned-down pocket or travel wallet.


What should I do with my luggage?

Never leave cameras and hand luggage unattended, whether in a vehicle, or even in a hotel foyer. Never pack valuables (this includes medication) in your checked luggage.


What should I do with my travel documents and valuables?

Passports and valuables can be kept in a hotel safe. Carry a photocopy of your passport and any visas with you. Most urban shops and hotels accept credit cards (Visa and MasterCard are the most common). For local markets you will need cash, so as on any trip, keep cash in a zip pocket or travel wallet – and avoid carrying large amounts when possible.


Is there internet connectivity?

Yes. Wireless access, especially via cellular networks such as 3G, is widely available in urban centers. Coverage varies in other countries, but connections (albeit slower ones) are often available at all high-end lodges.


Can I use my cell/mobile phone in southern and east Africa?

All GSM-enabled mobile phones will function within the networks. South African coverage is good and can extend into some of the safari areas. In other countries in southern and east Africa coverage is less extensive but generally good in urban areas. International calling cards are good to have on hand. Please note there is no cell coverage in Namibia and Botswana.


How much should I tip?

For a meal, whether in a restaurant or room service in a hotel, 10 to 15 percent is customary. Tips are also generally given for services such as a taxi ride, hotel porters, and guides. Rangers and trackers are very reliant on tips for their income. Although not obligatory, tips are greatly appreciated and solely at your discretion.


What about banks?

For the most part you’ll also find southern Africa an easy destination for banking. In South Africa, from the moment you step off the plane you’ll start seeing a plethora of banks, bureaux de change and automatic tellers. The banks are generally open from 9am to 3:30 pm Monday-Friday, and 8:30 am to 11am on Saturdays, but those at the airports adjust their hours to accommodate international flights. The major banks have branches as well as automated teller machines (ATMs) in most large towns – and all over the cities. International banks have branches in the major cities. Thomas Cook (represented by Rennies Travel) and American Express foreign exchange offices are also available in the major cities. International credit cards are widely accepted. In some remote areas and some of the other countries in the region banking may require a little advance planning which we can help you with. Your guide will always know where to direct you or what you should be prepared for.


How strong is the sun?

As with any warm, sunny climate, sunblock and a wide-brimmed hat are strongly recommended, particularly between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., regardless of cloud cover or an individuals complexion. Sunglasses are also advisable as the African sun can be noticeably stronger than what guests are accustomed to.


Is the water safe to drink?

The water in all major cities in South Africa as well as ROAR AFRICA’s handpicked selection of camps and lodges is perfectly safe to drink. It has been purified but there is always bottled water available for those who prefer.


Will I see the Safari BIG FIVE?

You will have every available opportunity to see elephants, lions, rhinos, leopards, and buffalo at the parks and lodges that ROAR AFRICA recommends for your safari. You may also encounter a variety of other wildlife, including antelope, hippopotami, crocodiles, primates, various reptiles, and more than 400 species of birds. Not to mention the incredible flora and fauna! As Africa is the last wild continent, each day on your safari will reveal different AND magical sights. You might even be lucky enough to spot the little five as well.


Will we be with other guests on our African safari?

Our experiences are completely private, and designed solely for the traveling guests. Your accommodations are selected based on your requests and you can have as much privacy as you desire.


Will we meet you at the airport?

Your ROAR AFRICA guide will be at the airport for all inbound flights to southern Africa (usually at Cape Town or Johannesburg International Airport).



What plugs and power voltage do you use in southern and east Africa?

Southern and east African power is 220-240 volts, 50Hz mostly delivered through a three-pin socket. There is a smaller two-pin as well. The two different sockets are unique to southern Africa and an adapter will be needed. Most hotels and airport shops will have adapters for foreign plugs.


What languages are spoken?

The languages spoken in each country in the region are different. Although South Africa has 11 official languages, English is the most commonly spoken and unless you are in a remote area it will suffice. Other widely spoken languages include Zulu, Xhosa and Afrikaans. ROAR AFRICA guides all speak multiple local languages.

 


What currency is used?

South Africa’s currency is the Rand (ZAR). Generally, rates of exchange are highly favorable to visitors. International credit cards are widely accepted, but please note that occasionally AMEX is not accepted. Major banks have branches, as well as automated machines, in the larger cities and towns. International banks have branches in the major cities. Consult with your bank prior to travel. Thomas Cook (represented by Rennies Travel) and American Express foreign exchange offices are available in major cities if needed. For current rates click here.


Are children welcome on tour?

The age curtailment is only children over five years are allowed on safari. There are however a number of lodges that are happy to accommodate younger children. We have arranged many family safaris that have turned out to be wondrous educational experiences for children. ROAR AFRICA can recommend lodges that cater specifically to children.


Are there any other health issues to be concerned about?

Bilharzia can be a problem in some of the east-flowing rivers, but it is easily detected and treated if it is caught early and you are very unlikely to be swimming in these rivers. If you do you could have a routine test a month or two after you get home – just to reassure yourself. Ticks generally come out in the early spring and may carry tick bite fever, which is easily treated. You should also be aware of hepatitis, for which you can be inoculated.


What about HIV/AIDS?

South Africa has one of the highest rates of HIV in the world. For more information, see HIV/AIDS in South Africa.


Are we safe from the animals on safari?

You will always be in the hands of experienced and highly trained rangers and trackers. In addition to considerable knowledge and expertise, rangers are also armed with requisite weapons and your safety remains their highest concern.


Is it okay if I am a single traveler to Africa?

Of course, we would be happy to cater to your needs.