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Your Timeless Journey Awaits...

This page covers all the essential travel information you will need to know for your journey.
The content is divided into the four phases of travel: PHASE 1: Planning Your Trip. PHASE 2: Booking Your Trip. PHASE 3: Preparing to Travel. PHASE 4: Travelling. There is additional good to know information at the end.

The most essential information

The most essential things you need to prepare, which are your responsibility:

1. Your passport validity & available blank pages

2. Relevant visas for the countries you are visiting

3. Unabridged birth certificates for children under 19 years old for Botswana & Namibia

4. Health requirements – vaccinations & malaria consultation

5. Travel insurance

6. Luggage requirements

PHASE 1: Planning your trip
Southern & East Africa travel seasons


  • There are destinations in Southern & East Africa to suit all times of the year. There are pros and cons about travelling to various destinations at different times of year. We recommend a consultation with your Timeless Travel Manager to discuss which destinations and seasons best suit you.
  • Coming soon: Our detailed article on the best times of year for each destination and experience.
  • Passports are required by all foreign visitors for travel to Southern & East Africa.
  • Passports MUST be valid for at least six months from your return home date.
    Your passport must have sufficient blank pages for stamps and or visas, in accordance with the regulations of the countries you will be transiting and/or visiting.
    Each African country you visit will require at least 3 consecutive blank pages in your passport on entry; and could use some blank pages for the relevant immigration stamps and or visa. Therefore we recommend that you have 2 blank pages, per country you visit, plus an additional 3 consecutive blank pages spare, to be safe.
    Should you be visiting or transiting through Namibia, you will require at least six blank pages in your passport on entry.
    You may be denied entry if you do not have sufficient pages in your passport.
  • If you are travelling to multiple countries, please discuss the amount of blank pages you will require with your Travel Manager.
  • Under Namibia & Botswana regulations: If you are a minor, who has not yet reached your 19th birthday, by law, you are required to travel with your original or certified copy of your unabridged birth certificate.
  • Copies of any certificates must be certified (by a legal entity).
  • Unabridged Certificates reflect both parents’ names, dates of birth, and citizenship at the time of birth, as well as the minor’s names, gender, date of birth, and location of birth. Note that all certificates need to be in English. If you do not have an English version, you will need to travel with the original certificate as well as a translated copy which has been certified (by a legal entity).
  • In addition to an Unabridged Birth Certificate, if a minor is travelling with one parent, the minor needs to hold a legal affidavit from the other parent giving permission for the minor to travel with just one parent as well as certified copies of the other parent’s passport.
  • If a minor is travelling with no parent, then the minor needs a legal affidavit from both parents giving the minor permission to travel without them.
  • There are other rules for other circumstances so please check with your Travel Manager if these circumstances do not match yours.
Southern & East Africa Visas
  • As soon as you have confirmed your trip, it is imperative to check visa requirements with foreign embassies/ consulates of the countries that you intend to visit as it may vary according to your nationality.
  • Visas obtained at the port of entry (arrival) are payable in USD cash only and we recommend small denominations of dollars as officials are not in the position to give change.
  • It is recommended that travellers obtain their visas prior to arrival where possible, in the event that the airport is busy.
  • Country visa specifications are detailed on this link: Southern & East Africa country specific visa information
  • Some countries have yellow fever vaccination requirements, and some safari regions have malaria risk. If you have any concerns, please let your travel manager know so they can recommend appropriate countries to visit.
  • Please advise your Travel Manager as early as possible if you require special medical attention (such as a gluten-free menu for someone with coeliac disease), need special facilities (such as a wheelchair-friendly environment) or if you are travelling with a CPAP machine.
  • Most dietary requirements can be catered for in many destinations in Southern & East Africa. Please advise us of any specific dietary requirements and we can ensure the properties we recommend are able to assist.
  • Should you require kosher meals (available in certain countries only) these will incur additional costs as these meals are specially flown in. Two weeks prior notice is required for kosher meals.
  • Most lodges provide complimentary bottled water. The tap water in most South African cities is safe to drink.
  • English is widely spoken throughout Southern & East Africa.
  • If you need a specialist-language guide or a translator, please discuss this with your travel manager as soon as possible in the planning phase.
Travelling in small planes in Southern & East Africa:

Light aircrafts connect the remote wildernesses of Africa and some destinations can only be reached by small planes (scheduled or private). This can be a highlight of the experience as it is a beautiful aerial safari. Small aircraft also allow you to land closer to your destination and save many hours of road travel.
The type of small plane used will be determined by the location of your safari, the companies that operate there, and the specific camps that you will visit. It is vital for air operators to manage weight and balance calculations ahead of time. Prior to travel, your travel manager will require the individual weights of all passengers as this is required for planning purposes and ensuring aircraft calculations are within the legal limitations.
Luggage is also strictly limited on small aircrafts and a weight limit plan will be recommended for you prior to travelling.

If you have any concerns about travelling on small planes, please discuss this with your Travel Manager prior to booking your trip, so that they can recommend appropriate destinations.


NB: If a strong Wifi signal is an essential requirement during your travels, please discuss this with your travel manager, as this will direct specific properties or routings they will recommend.

  • Due to the remote locations of many of Africa’s safari lodges, Internet access and/or Wi-Fi or mobile phone coverage can be intermittent and/or unreliable and/or unavailable.
  • Should there be a need to communicate or an emergency, the camps/lodges will assist you with relaying messages – a process that we have handled successfully for years.
  • Mobile network coverage throughout the large cities in Southern & East Africa is good. Internet access are available in most hotels.
PHASE 2: Booking your trip

1. Check your passport is valid and has enough pages

2. Check your visa requirements

3. Make sure you have your under 19 year old’s unabridged birth certificate if travelling to Namibia or Botswana

  • It is imperative and strongly recommended that guests take out comprehensive travel insurance. Covering for personal effects, personal accidents, medical & emergency travel expenses, cancellation & curtailment.
  • Dependent on your insurance company, “cancellation for any reason” insurance must be taken within a specific time frame of the first payment as set by your insurer.
  • Most insurance offered by credit cards does not provide sufficient coverage.
  • Please check you are fully covered before traveling.
  • Read our article: The Importance of Having Travel Insurance »
Malaria & Yellow Fever requirements

Precautions against malaria:
South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe & Zambia are considered Malaria risk areas. We strongly advise that you speak with your doctor or travel clinic regarding your itinerary, individual risk assessment and options for mosquito bite prevention and antimalarial drugs. We recommend filling any prescriptions before you depart.
Read our article: Considering Malaria when Travelling to Africa

Some tips regarding mosquito bites:

  • Wear long sleeves and long pants in the evenings and at night
  • Use mosquito repellents at all times
  • Where mosquito nets are provided, make use of them when sleeping

Precautions against Yellow Fever: Please consult with your GP or local travel clinic for details.

  • The information we offer for Yellow Fever requirements is based on advice from The World Health Organisation (WHO). They advise which countries have a risk of yellow fever transmission and which countries requiring yellow fever vaccination as well as the procedures implemented in each country.
  • For entry into all Southern African countries, Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya:
    A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is only required for travellers 1 year of age and older if they are coming from, or who are in airport transit for more than 12 hours within, a country with a risk of Yellow Fever transmission. Read our article: Considering Yellow Fever when Travelling to Africa
  • Your country of origin and other African countries like South Africa will also deny re-entry without vaccination, after having visited a country with Yellow Fever.
  • Existing and new yellow fever vaccination certificates are now valid for life.
  • You must have the vaccination at least 10 days before you plan on entering a yellow fever area.
  • Please consult your physician for exemption on medical grounds.
PHASE 3: Preparing to travel

1. Check your passport is valid and has enough pages

2. Check your visa requirements

3. Make sure you have your under 19 year old’s unabridged birth certificate if travelling to Namibia or Botswana

4. Have you consulted your GP or local travel clinic regarding inoculations and required malaria medication?

  • Anyone who has any special medication should take enough supplies to last at least the length of their visit.
  • Although most hotels and lodges are equipped with a First Aid kit, we suggest that you bring a small airtight container with your own basic first aid kit.
  • We remind travellers who have any allergies i.e. insect stings, or an asthma condition, to pack the required medication.
  • It is essential for the comfort and safety of your trip that you advise your Travel Manager as early as possible if:
    You require special attention. Such as food allergies, or food related illnesses or require a gluten-free menu.
    If you require any special facilities, such as a wheelchair-friendly environment.
    If you are travelling with a CPAP machine.
    Any other medical concern or personal requirement which may impact your travels.
  • Countries and airlines in Southern and East Africa have different luggage allowances.
    During your trip you may be required to have different luggage allowances on different legs of your trip. Please discuss your specific requirements with your travel manage to create a personalised luggage plan ahead of time so you can plan accordingly.
    They will also be able to advise you on traveling with or storing/ couriering excess luggage.
  • If you are travelling on small scheduled charter aircraft, luggage is required to be packed in a soft-sided bag, weighing a maximum of 15kg (33 lbs) – 20kg (44 lbs), depending on the destination. This weight allowance includes hand luggage as well as camera equipment. No hard suitcases will be allowed on small aircraft as the suitcases are packed into the hull of the plane.
    View our luggage reference guide for flying on small planes »

Download our Timeless Africa Packing List here »


  • As a general guide, comfortable & casual wash-and-wear clothes are recommended.
  • Muted colours are recommended for game viewing (brown, khaki, beige, and pastels).
  • Daytime temperatures are generally warm, so pack lightweight clothing and sun protection.
  • The mornings and evenings can be very cold in winter and warm layers are recommended.
  • Avoid wearing dark blue and black in areas that are known for tsetse flies.
  • Most lodges and hotels have a laundry service. Dry cleaning can be arranged at hotels but is not widely available at lodges.
  • Take sensible precautions against mosquitos and other bites.
  • In case of an issue with international airline luggage management, please pack your essential items and a change of clothes in your carry-on bag.
  • Private-use drones are not allowed in National Parks throughout Southern and East Africa without prior permission from authorities. This is a precaution to protect against poachers. In some cases, heavy fines will be imposed for bringing drones into countries without the required paperwork.
What real people wear on safari

What we wear:

Have a look at our inspiration on what to wear on safari »

This is a reference guide to what the Timeless Africa team wears when we go on safari.
You can buy a new wardrobe or adapt your own wardrobe.
Remember, you are there to look at the animals, they are not there to look at you.

What stylist Lou suggests:

Check out our ‘stylists guide’ to preparing for your safari »

“You can be incredibly comfortable and stylish on Safari. You should also be able to integrate these clothes into your wardrobe when you’re back home”. Louise Park-Ross, Cape Town based fashion & interior Stylist, gives us her top tips for dressing on Safari. She loves South African designers and works closely with a lot of them so the majority of items in this document are from her home country.

Safari style guide

  • Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Botswana have issued a ban on single-use / disposable plastic bags (also known as carrier bags). Any travellers entering a port should avoid using these plastic bags (in their hand luggage as well as check-in luggage) as they will not be allowed to bring them into the country.
  • Guests are also advised to leave behind the ‘Zip-loc’ type bags, used to place their liquids when flying, on the plane, or they may be confiscated on arrival and cause delay.
  • In certain countries, you can be fined for arriving with single-use plastic bags.

Guests arriving in South Africa are advised to declare your electronic equipment, including cameras and laptops, even if you intend to take these items with you upon your departure from South Africa.

Declaration process:

Please consult with your travel manager for more details.

  • Banks, ATMs and foreign exchange bureaus are available at all international airports and in all main towns. Make sure you take the required safety precautions.
  • City hotels will be able to assist with the best recommendations for obtaining local currency.
  • Most hotels and lodges accept Visa and MasterCard. American Express is not accepted everywhere.
  • Travellers should bring cash as well as credit cards, US Dollars are widely accepted. Cash in small denominations is recommended, older or high-denomination notes may not be accepted as change may not be available.
  • ZIMBABWE: We do not recommend the use of credit cards in Zimbabwe and some lodges no longer accept them. We recommend that cash in US Dollars, Euro, Pound Sterling and South African Rands are used. ATMs are few and all currency withdrawn at the machines is in local currency.

Tipping is entirely at your discretion. It is suggested, but not compulsory.
On request, your Travel Manager will create a bespoke tipping guide for your personal holiday.
Read our article: Timeless gratuity philosophy

South Africa & Namibia (South African Rands):

  • On Safari:
    Safari Guide: ZAR 220 per guest, per day
    Trackers: ZAR 150 per guest, per day
  • In the cities:
    Transfer Driver: ZAR 40 per guest, per transfer
    Local Private Guide: Half day: ZAR 130 per guest | Full day: ZAR 160 per guest
    Hotel/Lodge Staff: ZAR 200 per guest, per day
    Airport and Hotel Porterage: ZAR 20 per guest
    Restaurants: 10% is customary
    Airport meet and greet handlers ZAR 20 per person

Botswana, East Africa, Mozambique, Zambia & Zimbabwe (US Dollars):

  • On Safari:
    Safari Guide: USD 15-20 per guest, per day
    Trackers: USD 10-15 per guest, per day
  • In the cities:
    Transfer Driver: USD 4-5 per guest, per transfer
    Local Private Guide: Half day: USD 10-15 per guest. Full day: USD 15-20 per guest
    Hotel/Safari Lodge Staff: USD 10-15 per guest, per day
    Airport and Hotel Porterage: USD 5 per guest
    Restaurants: 10% is customary
    Airport meet and greet handlers: USD 10 per person

Rwanda & Uganda:

  • On Safari:
    Safari Guide: USD 15-20 per guest, per day
    Trackers: USD 10-15 per guest, per day
  • On a Gorilla Trek:
    Rangers: USD 20 per guest, per trek
    Trackers: USD 10-20 per guest, per trek
    Trek Porters: USD 10-20 per guest, per trek
  • In the cities:
    Specialty driver-guide: USD 20 per guest, per day
    Hotel/Safari Lodge Staff: USD 10-15 per guest, per day
    Airport and Hotel Porterage: USD 5 per guest
    Airport transfer (if different from your driver-guide: USD 5-10 per guest
    Restaurants: 10% is customary

We suggest bringing more cash with you in case you are moved by the professionalism and warmth in Africa and would like to tip more than you planned.

** Remember this is only a guideline and it entirely depends on the level of service and your desires.

Border crossings: Botswana, Zimbabwe & Zambia

Zimbabwe / Botswana / Zimbabwe:

You will be required to present yourself to the immigration centre at the border post between Zimbabwe and Botswana. Please have a pen handy to fill in exit and entry forms at all borders.

Please note when crossing from Zimbabwe to Botswana and vice versa you will change vehicles and driver/guides.  In Botswana, it is likely to be 4×4 game viewing vehicle. You may need to walk a short distance but your driver/guide will assist you.

Before entering Botswana, before immigration formalities, you may be required by Port Health to step on a mat treated for foot and mouth disease. You may be required to disinfect all your shoes over the mat, so it would be a good idea to pack your shoes separately and carry them as hand luggage in a separate bag for the border crossing.


  • Have your passport (and cash if applying for a visa) ready.
  • The best currency is USD in small denominations.
  • There will be possible queues at customs and immigration, especially in the high season (July to October).
  • You may be queuing in unsheltered areas so suitable headgear is advisable during the hot summer months

Zimbabwe / Zambia / Zimbabwe:

You will cross over the Victoria Falls Bridge. You will change vehicles at the border post and your driver guide will assist you with your luggage and introduction to the new driver/guide.

You will be required to present yourself at immigration for photograph and passport scanning

There will be possible queues at customs and immigration, especially in the high season (July to October).

PHASE 4: Travelling

In the Southern and East African tourism industry, it is most important to conserve wildlife and its habitat. Without the income generated from tourists, conservation would not be possible.

Timeless Tips:

  • Follow the rules which will be laid out by your ranger or guide.
  • Do not feed any wildlife of any description.
  • Do not dispose of any litter, keep it in our vehicles until you find a suitable bin.
  • Do not collect any natural objects as souvenirs or remove anything from the environment without explicit permission.
  • While watching and photographing wildlife make sure you stay at a safe distance.
  • Harassment of wildlife in any form is strictly illegal. Please do not ask your driver to break the rules, he could be arrested and his vehicle impounded.
Safety & Security

As with any destination in the world, it is always wise to take precautions and be alert when travelling.

  • Do not walk on your own at night.
  • Always use ATMs in populated, well-lit areas. We advise you not to use ATMs in the Joburg OR Tambo airports to draw large sums of money.
  • Most hotel rooms have secure locks and safes.
  • For air travel, ensure your bag is securely locked.
  • Carry a photocopy and scanned copy of your important documentation: passport, visa and tickets in a separate bag.
  • Never leave money and/or valuables in the vehicles or rooms unattended, keep them in a safe place.
  • When in crowded areas and at major tourist sights, be aware of your possessions, particularly cell phones, wallets, handbags and cameras.
  • The best method for donating money is to do it via charities. Please ask your Travel Manager if you would like to donate to a reputable charity.
  • Make use of recommended and reputable transfer companies as opposed to taxis, ubers and walking.
Safari vehicles & Roads
  • On safari you will travel in open sided, 4-wheel drive vehicles, on uneven dirt tracks which can get dusty.
  • Most vehicles in East Africa have pop-up roofs, while Southern Africa game drives are mostly in open-sided or semi-sided vehicles. They’re all designed to provide an open 360-degree view, so you can enjoy the wildlife wherever is occurs.
  • You must stay in your game-drive vehicle at all times, unless specifically allowed by your guide.
  • The same vehicles are usually used for transfers between destinations and to airports.
  • Upon departure from each lodge please check that your entire luggage has been put in the vehicle.
  • It is best to carry your hand luggage.
  • Always aim to be on time to avoid driving in a rush and missing connections.

Timeless Tip: Never voluntarily miss a game drive, it will probably be the best one.


Read our tips for taking photos of wildlife »

Africa is a “photographer’s paradise”.

  • Keep the lenses of your cameras shut as dust might affect them.
  • Please be respectful about photographing the local people.
  • If you want to photograph people ask your driver or guide for advice on how to proceed.
  • In some African countries, it is illegal to photograph any government officials in line of their duties. The same goes for military bases, equipment, embassies, and airports, etc.
Drinking water & Food
  • Even though the tap water is drinkable in some cities, lodges and hotels across Southern and East Africa, we advise that you stick to drinking bottled drinking water only (mineral water). Bottled water is readily available at your hotel and lodge and restaurants. The guide will supply water in the vehicle complimentary for use on the safari and trekking. Ice in the lodges is made from filtered water and is safe for consumption.
  • Africa has an array of diverse and fantastic restaurants. Please follow the recommendations made by your Travel Manager or your guide to ensure a good experience.
Meeting people & communication

There are a huge variety of customs and languages across the continent of Africa. We suggest doing some research before you travel into the local customs and learning a few words in the local languages. Your efforts will be greatly appreciated.


Southern & East Africa offers a wide range of shopping opportunities.

  • Cities like Cape Town, Johannesburg, Nairobi and Kigali offer world class shopping and art gallery experiences showcasing local artists and designers and a vast array of options. Ask your travel manager for our local shopping guides.
  • Crafts and souvenirs are widely available. The level of authenticity is hard to judge and asking your hotel or guide for advice is best. We advise to purchase from someone who seems to have actually made the item themselves. You will therefore be channeling your money appropriately.
  • Lodges often have beautiful curio shops which are great places to buy last minute safari focused items and gifts.
  • Try to shop in a way that benefits the country you’re visiting and avoid buying anything which is morally questionable.
Good to know:

Most lodges run off 220 KW. Adapters are available at some lodges, we recommend bringing your own.
South Africa, Botswana & Tanzania: 230V 50hz
Kenya: 240V 50hz
Namibia: 220V 50hz

Flights and Transfers

Check-in is at least one hour prior to departure for domestic flights and at least two and a half hours prior for international flights. Some scheduled regional flights may involve multiple stops before reaching the final destination. Please note that weather conditions may prevent direct flight by private charter. Checked-in and hand luggage should always be locked. Wear or keep any valuables on your person.

Hotel Check-In Times

In accordance with international practice, hotel and lodge check-in/ out times are generally as follows:

  • Check-in: 14h00
  • Check-out: 11h00
The above information was created with the sole purpose of sharing information and Timeless Africa Safaris assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors, changes or omissions in the content of this site. 

In this article
  • Most Essential Information
  • PHASE 1: Planning Your Trip
  • PHASE 2: Booking Your Trip
  • PHASE 3: Preparing to Travel
  • PHASE 4: Travelling
  • Good to know

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