ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TRAVEL TO SOUTHERN AND EAST AFRICA:
- Why is Timeless Africa Safaris the best company to create my African Journey?
- We are your “personal connection” in Africa, we form one-on-one relationships with our guests, offering guidance and support throughout the planning and during the trip.
- We are an owner-run company. Our CEO / owner is personally involved in all aspects of the business.
- Our goal is to treat guests’ travel arrangements as we would our own. With very high levels of personalisation and attention to detail.
- We are experts on Southern and East Africa, based in Cape Town with over 17 years track record in the travel industry and over 100 combined years of experience.
- We guarantee an intimate knowledge of the accommodation and activities in our portfolio. We personally visit all the hotels and locations we recommend and can provide you with first-hand suggestions on the surrounding activities.
- Whilst we love luxury, we are not bound to it at the expense of “experience”. We believe that striking a balance between culture and luxury is key.
- As bespoke specialists, every holiday is unique and individually tailored to our clients’ interests and needs.
- We have a well-trusted and tried network of contacts who we use all over Africa to assist us in arranging your trip.
- You will receive free, no obligation proposals from your Luxury Travel Manager
- We take care of every detail: your flights, activities, accommodation, transfers, special personalised experiences – everything.
- We have done the homework for you by checking that all properties and experiences adhere to strict health and safety protocols.
- There are no hidden charges – quoted prices include all accommodation, logistics, arrival documentation & expert advice. Flights can either be included or excluded.
- We’re on the ground & on hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- We’ve worked hard to earn our consistently excellent reputation (check out our reviews here).
- Our credibility is reputation based – most of our guests are referrals or repeats
- We personally answer all phone calls (during office working hours). Our guests also receive our personal mobile numbers, which they are welcome to use outside working hours for urgent queries.
- We are SATSA & City of Cape Town members
- What can I expect when travelling to Africa?
Africa is so incredibly vast and diverse that it is impossible to capture it in a single itinerary. The cities are cosmopolitan and much like most major metropolises with an African flavour. But it is the vast tracks of natural protectorates and plentiful wild animals that set Africa apart from anywhere else in the world. Everywhere you go, you can expect the same warm welcome and an array of colourful cultures. When you’ve experienced it once, we have no doubt you’ll be back.
- What are the top destinations?
As custom travel specialists, we suggest creating an itinerary that will give you a well-rounded experience, tailored to your own interests. If you are choosing between Southern and East Africa, our answer is that you should eventually go to both. For first-time travellers we generally advise Southern Africa. Wherever you decide, we know you’ll be back.
Here is a snapshot of our most popular destinations:
- South Africa has it all from Big 5 game safaris to beaches, fine dining, winelands, walking, golfing, birding, and so much more.
- Botswana offers the Okavango Delta, unrivaled game viewing, luxurious accommodation, fine dining and world-class service.
- Namibia combines deserts and rugged coastline for dramatic views of the endless dunes, specially adapted wildlife, star-studded skies and vast open spaces.
- Kenya is home to the Maasai Mara which offers some of Africa’s most spectacular game viewing. This is quintessential Africa.
- Tanzania is where the Great Migration roves the far-reaching plains of the Serengeti and, just off the coast; you’ll find the beautiful spice islands of Zanzibar and Pemba.
- Rwanda gives you Gorilla trekking high up in the tropical jungles, as well as the multi-layered city of Kigali.
- Zambia borders on the mighty Victoria Falls – one of the great sights of Africa. Also providing some of the most unspoiled wild game viewing available.
- When is the best time to go?
Africa is a year round destination, so the best time to go will depend on where you want to go and what you want to see. Let us know if you have a specific destination in mind or if you have a specific time that suits you to travel and we can identify the best time for you.
Here are some tips about timing:
- Game viewing is best in Southern Africa in winter from May to October. Temperatures are lower, wildlife congregates in areas where water is available and the vegetation has thinned so you can easily see the game.
- In private reserves, the game viewing is excellent all year round.
- Summer is from October to April and tends to be quite hot, with daytime temperatures hovering around 30ºC (86ºF). For beach holidays and bird watching, summer tends to be the preferred time to visit.
- The Great Migration takes a full year to complete a single cycle, spanning Kenya and Tanzania. You can see it throughout the year but because the migrating animals cross vast distances, certain highlights only happen in specific months: the mass birthing of calves takes place between January and March in the Southern Serengeti, while the dramatic river crossings occur between July and August in the far west. Check the Great migration calendar
- Birding is at its best in October when the intra-African migrants can be seen and November when the palaeoarctic migrants are visible.
- For marine enthusiasts looking to spot whales, Southern Right whales can be seen mid-June to October and humpback whales can be seen from August to December, particularly off the shores of Hermanus in the Western Cape, Southern Africa.
- How long is the ideal trip?
Generally we suggest a complimentary combination of a safari experience coupled with some time for relaxation, either on an island off the coast of East Africa or something more cultural like the Cape Winelands. We advise against trying to fit in too much, or travelling such vast distances that it takes the pleasure out of the experience. The ideal trip duration for a combination itinerary is two weeks.
- What kind of accommodation is available?
Africa has some of everything and we can accommodate almost all tastes and preferences from five-star hotels to luxury guesthouses, intimate and remote game lodges, homely “bed and breakfasts”, tented safari camps and even sleep-out experiences under the stars. Most travellers to Africa enjoy staying in the unique Safari Lodges. We strongly recommended that we reserve all your accommodation as far in advance as possible to ensure we are able to secure your top picks.
- What age should kids be?
Africa is a great family destination, as there are activities for children of all ages and plenty of adventure for the whole family. Young children can go on safari but some lodges may require that you book a private vehicle at an additional charge. For youngsters too restless to sit through a long drive, there are reserves and lodges that offer separate kids activities and clubs. Family travel is among our greatest passions as a company, and we specialise in multi-generational trips for family members young and old. We find that they are best planned around individual temperaments and needs, so let us know the ages and rhythms of your group and we will work out an itinerary perfectly suited to all.
- Do I need a visa?
- Travel requirements vary by country, so please check each country’s visa process once you have booked your trip. Please note, minors to South Africa and Botswana require Unabridged Birth Certificates and other important documents.
- Passports MUST be valid for at least six months from your intended return date. We recommend a validity of nine months to prevent any problems.
- There must be at least three blank VISA pages in the passport (these do not include endorsement pages).
- Please note that Timeless Africa Safaris does not process visas. It is the traveller’s own responsibility to secure visas before departure.
- Do I need to have any vaccinations?
- We advise you to consult your personal doctor or a travel clinic, as to what vaccinations are necessary before travelling to the various areas in Africa – for the most up-to-date recommendations.
- Travel clinics usually recommend: Hepatitis A, Diphtheria, Typhoid and boosters for Tetanus and Polio.
- If you are entering a malaria area, please advise your consulting medical professional and they will advise you of the various options.
- Detailed health advice for various other countries is available by following the links below:
- Do I need to bring any medicine with me?
- Although most hotels are equipped with a First Aid Kit and have medical staff on call, we suggest that you bring basic personal articles, such as: plasters, travel sickness tablets, antiseptic cream, antihistamine cream, pain-relieving tablets, indigestion tablets, eye drops, medication for upset stomachs, sunscreen and after-sun moisturiser.
- We remind travellers who have any allergies such as insect stings, or any pre-existing conditions requiring medication, to pack the relevant medication.
- Do I need travel insurance?
- We view it as imperative and strongly recommend that guests take out comprehensive travel insurance: covering for personal effects, personal accident, medical and emergency travel expenses, cancellation and curtailment.
- Most insurance offered by credit cards do not provide sufficient cover – please check before you travel that you are fully covered.
- What is the domestic flight weight limit?
- For Economy Class (depending on the airline) – 15 kg to 20 kg weight restrictions
- For Business Class, (depending on the airline) – 25 kg to 30 kg weight restrictions
- For Safari Flights – 15 kg soft bag limit
- Most airlines charge per kg overweight
- Check in is a minimum of 1 hour before domestic flights and a minimum of 2 hours before international flights
- Do I need adapters/converters for electrical appliances?
- Voltage varies between 220 – 240 Volts
- If you’re coming from countries with 230 Volt appliances (Australia, Europe, UK), you will only require a plug adapter.
- Most lodges and city hotels offer various adapters.
- If you wish to use any electronic devices from the US, or any country with 110 Volt appliances, you’ll need a voltage converter and plug adapter.
- What happens when I arrive in Africa?
A Timeless Africa Safaris representative will assist you to make all your transfers:
- You will be met on arrival at the airport by our professional team carrying a placard bearing your name.
- You will be chaperoned by a member of the team whenever you make an internal connection by air or rail and again on your final departure.
- Is Africa safe?
With news of blood diamonds, coups, pirates, dictatorships and revolutions, many fear Africa may be violent and crime-ridden. The truth is that there are pockets of unrest, mostly in North and West Africa, but all of the countries that we visit are peaceful and pleasant. When you travel with Timeless Africa Safaris, you will be accompanied by your driver, guide or city representative at most times. Even so, it is always wise to take precautions when travelling. Credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs can be readily accessed, so you can avoid carrying a lot of cash. All hotel rooms have secure locks and safes, nonetheless we suggest leaving flashy jewellery at home. For air travel, we advise that your bag be securely locked and that you do not leave any valuables in your luggage. A useful travel tip is to carry a photocopy of your documentation: passport, visa and tickets, in a separate bag.
- What services does Timeless Africa Safaris provide?
We create fully customised holidays for any size of group, from romantic occasions to family getaways, spa to beach holidays, city breaks to wildlife safaris, cultural excursions to historical sightseeing. Our services include:
- Obligation free quoting
- Travel advice, inspiration and planning.
- Booking accommodation, guides, activities and flights.
- A personalised day-by-day itinerary, prior to travel, along with a document including personalised tips and suggestions, such as favourite restaurants, shops and markets – with specific tips on jewellery, clothes, curios and artworks where appropriate.
- We provide round-the-clock support throughout your holiday and are on call in the case of an emergency.
- Does Timeless Africa Safaris add cost to my holiday?
Although we are a luxury operator providing luxury holidays, we actively seek out special offers and the best possible rates for all of our activities and services. While we are able to negotiate accommodation and activities at discounted rates, it is our expert advice, local knowledge, contacts and exceptional customer care that add to the value of a booking through Timeless Africa Safaris.
- Does Timeless Africa Safaris facilitate group travel?
This is one of our key specialties. We have taken care of travel arrangements before and after conferences, weddings, events and created special interest group trips for guests from all over the world. From 2 to 200, we focus on a personalised once-in-a-lifetime experience.
- How do I book with Timeless Africa Safaris?
We specialise in personally tailored tours and there’s no better way to get to know your individual preferences than discussing the various options with you:
Please call us on +27 (0)21 461 9001
Or email us on [email protected]
Once we have an idea of the perfect holiday for you, you will receive a quote and a suggested tour from your personal travel consultant. This can be tweaked and restructured as required until we have created your ideal itinerary. When you’re ready to confirm the arrangements, we will need a signed copy of our booking form together with a deposit payment to secure your booking. Our booking form will be sent together with our terms and conditions and these should be carefully read.
- How does TAS differ to me planning my own holiday?
Using Timeless Africa Safaris to plan your African journey removes all the stress from what should be a fun and exciting experience. Travelling with us will save you time, make sure you get the best suited experience and save you hassle.
Our up to date, local knowledge and expertise will streamline your trip, ensure you go to the right destinations at the right time of year and the right sights at the right times, create an itinerary for you with the best routing to prevent time wasting and doubling back, making sure you are provided with the most up to date information and recommendations (like best restaurants, visas, innoculations) and assist you in managing the unpredictability and unreliability of Africa.
- What’s the biggest animal I will see?
Africa is home to the:
- Largest Land Mammal: an Elephant
- Tallest Animal: a Giraffe
- Largest Bird: an Ostrich
- Heaviest Flying Bird: a Khori Bustard
- Largest Fish: a Whale Shark
- Largest Antelope: an Eland
- Largest Tree: a Baobab &
- Largest Reptile: a Leatherback Turtle
As well as:
- The World’s fastest Land Mammal: a Cheetah
- Smallest Mammal: a Least dwarf shrew
- What do people drink in Africa?
Generally you can get all your favourite drinks in Africa, including incredible local wines and spirits. Beyond that Rooibos tea is an endemic bush which has become a worldwide favourite for its fresh taste and excellent health properties. Definitely worth a try.
DEBUNKING COMMON AFRICA TRAVEL MYTHS
- "Do the animals roam freely everywhere in Africa?"
Other than crocodiles adding some thrill to the water hazards on certain golf courses, most African wildlife is confined to fenced reserves and parks. Large game, like zebra or lions, do not roam around in towns and cities. In these areas, you might be lucky enough to see smaller animals like a troop of monkeys or baboons on the side of the road, and the birdlife is plentiful everywhere.
- "Animals are everywhere in Africa - zebras literally roam the city streets and elephants walk around the suburbs"
Africa does have the highest density of wild animals on earth, but we do not “ride them to work” or “keep them as pets”. Animals tend to avoid human settlement and the best place to see the mighty animals of Africa is in private wildlife reserves.
- "Are all the people poor and starving?"
There are a lot of people without employment or opportunity, which is why “giving back” is such a big part of what we do. We focus on wildlife conservation and human empowerment. For instance, in Rwanda, the guides are reformed poachers who now protect the Gorillas. Much of the proceeds go towards building local schools and hospitals. The community and wildlife both benefit immeasurably by your being there.
- "The animals on safaris are dangerous"
Wildlife, in general, prefer to avoid the company of humans, so they are more likely to run than to attack. The only reason vehicles can get close to animals is that the noise, shape and scent masks the fact that there are humans inside. So, stay in your vehicle, listen to your guide and you will be perfectly safe. As for smaller critters, more people get bitten by spiders and snakes in their homes than in the African bush.
- "If you see the Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo); you've seen everything there is to see"
These animals were originally dubbed the Big Five as they were considered the most dangerous to hunt, not because they were the most interesting to watch. Have you heard of The Little Five, The Ugly Five, or The Elusive Five? How about the fascinating giraffe, the thousands of bird species and the sea mammals? Some of the most sought-after wildlife sightings are a glimpse of rare and endangered species like the pangolin or an aardvark cub at play.
- "The only reason to go to Kenya or Tanzania is for The Great Migration"
The migration of millions of wildebeest and zebra across the plains of Kenya and Serengeti is remarkable but it is just one part of what makes up the kaleidoscope of nature in East Africa. A host of other animals are resident year-round, including all the major predators. There are also gorgeous landscapes and magnificent sunsets, the Maasai culture and incredible activities, like hot air ballooning. There is so much more to see.
- "The Great Migration only happens once a year"
The Great Migration is a natural, continuous, clockwise movement of wildebeest and zebra between Tanzania and Kenya. While the same pattern occurs every year, we can never guarantee the exact location and timing. Many of the influencing factors are out of our control, such as seasonal rains, grazing and temperature. And with climate change, those factors are changing all the time. We will do our best to position you so that you are in the right place at the right time.
- "To really experience a safari, you have to rough it"
Of course, you have the option of “roughing it” if you would enjoy camping out in the wilderness with just a tent and a range, but you also have the option of staying in ultra luxurious accommodation with gourmet meals and every comfort catered to.
- "Going on safari is strenuous"
There is a popular misconception that you’re going to be running around like Indiana Jones on safari, when the only really strenuous activity you will experience on safari is trying to avoid over-eating: There is an early breakfast before the first sunrise outing; after which there is second breakfast; then a long laid-back lunch; a decadent afternoon tea; an evening “surprise-and-delight” stop somewhere out in the bush that could be anything from G&Ts and grilled sausages around a fire pit to a lavish fondue setup; all complete with a three-course dinner. This happens every day.
There are two game driver per day – both recommended and included but also optional if you prefer to do something else like enjoy a lie-in or a private in-suite spa treatment. Safari vehicles leave camp pre-dawn at 05h00 and return by 09h00. They then leave again at 16h00 to return after sunset.You can do as much or as little with the hours in between as you choose. Each lodge and region offer unique activities, such as walking safaris and cultural visits.
- "Safaris are crazy expensive"
No one will ever call them “cheap” but what differentiates a safari from other holidays is that the price per person – starting at USD600 a night – includes everything: Literally. All meals, drinks (usually something along the lines of sundowners while watching a pride of lions), game drives and other activities, along with airport transfers and park entry fees. Hidden charges rarely sneak up. Considering that the true worth is the wilderness experience you get nowhere else; a safari offers great value.
- "Safari destinations have an age limit"
For the youngsters, we have cherry-picked a collection of safari lodges specialising in family travel that cater for kids of all ages in malaria-free areas. These lodges have dedicated kids-on-safari programmes. There really is something for everyone.
- "Africa has a dress code"
It is by no means mandatory to wear the ubiquitous safari gear. Most guests have perfectly adequate gear in their existing wardrobe. But, it can be fun to dress up for your holiday and we can provide you with a shopping list if you are interested.
- "Only expensive cameras can take good wildlife photographs"
If you own a long lens, please do not leave it at home, but it is not essential. Many guests photograph animals within meters of the safari vehicle through 300m lens. Some of the best shots are event taken on a phone camera. With the growing interest in photography, many lodges offer rental gear and dedicated photo labs.
- "All food is local"
Africans are foodies at heart. With such a diverse and culturally-rich continent, we are bound to have an array of flavours and food combinations that are uniquely ours, as well as cuisine from all over the globe. Whether your taste buds fancy familiar food, or something more modern or exotic, we have it all. On safari you will get some of the best food in the world, even in remote locations. We also cater for most dietary requirements.
- "Africa is one country"
The continent of Africa comprises of 54 countries and covers 30mil km². It is vast. The USA, China, India, Europe and Japan would all fit comfortably into the same area. With that scale comes a breathtaking diversity of cultures, climates and wildlife.
- "Africa landscape is all bush"
Africa is a vast continent with diverse landscapes and terrains. Savannahs, rainforests, mountains, beaches and deserts accommodate every guest’s travel wishes.
- "Africa is always hot and sunny"
Contrary to popular belief, the continent of Africa also has all four seasons. We even get snow in some places. Summers can be hot, especially in the desert regions, but not dissimilar to the extremes of America or Australia. It is best to be prepared for a range of temperatures. We recommend taking reasonable sun precautions during the day and packing a sweater or two as the evenings get cool. The rain seasons vary from country to country and is most often in short burst, providing a welcome relief from the heat and a photographer’s dream in visual display.
- "Travelling in Africa is not safe"
Part of what makes Africa so beautiful is that it is wild and raw. Untouched. Its shores bear no footprints and its land knows no bounds. Yet that does not make it dangerous, just worthy of respect and awareness. We encourage you to be wary and wise but don’t be afraid. The remote locations of national parks and game reserves make them some of the safest places in the world.
- "You need plenty of time to visit Africa"
Five to eight days on-the-ground is ideal for an African safari, which is good news for time-conscious travellers. If you’ve got a full workweek off, bookend by weekend, you can have a fantastic experience. Intra-Africa connections are getting better and better and you can always come back to explore other regions.
- "It's tricky to get around in Africa"
We are seeing more and more air routes which are connecting regions of East and Southern Africa internally and internationally. In Southern Africa you could visit three countries quite easily in one itinerary. The distance between East and Southern Africa is just a 4-hour flight. In country, you can get around by road, boat, train or plane. Accessible charter flights connect all the other dots.
- "Technology does not exist in Africa"
In reality, some African countries have more mobile phones than people, and 80% of Africans have access to a mobile phone. You can get a local SIM on arrival at most major airports and many hotels and restaurants offer free wifi. Most lodges have mobiles services and many offer limited wifi (connecting at what we like to call “bush speed”).
For those that prefer, there are lodges that offer a complete digital detox in truly remove locations.
- "Africa is a health risk"
All risks can be reduces with proper planning. Contact your doctor or travel clinic for travel advice in advance. In some part of East and Southern Africa, you may need malaria prophylactics and / or a yellow fever certificate. Unless stipulated, tap water is safe to drink and bottled water is widely available.
- "You can easily plan it yourself for less"
As safari experts, we have been doing this for over 17 years. We know all the top guides and naturalists and have long-standing relationships with camp lodge owners. We have up-to-date, first-hand information on where you can stay to get the best value. We follow booking trends that could yield huge savings, keep an eye out for deals you never would have heard about otherwise: such as unadvertised fourth-night-free specials or honeymoon value-adds.
Most importantly, we can help you select the right safari for you. From “roughing-it-in-the-wild” to ultra luxurious resort style accommodation, your personal Luxury Travel Manager is just a phone call away throughout your planning and travel. We do not charge booking fees, and you are likely to get even better rates from us than if you booked directly with the lodge.