ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TRAVEL TO SOUTHERN AND EAST AFRICA:
- What to expect when traveling 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.
- 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.
- 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. Family travel is among our greatest passions as a company, and one of our travel consultants specialises in multi-generational trips for family members young and old.
- 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, unrivalled 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.
- 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” and safari camps in the wildest natural surrounds. Most travellers to Africa enjoy staying in the unique Game 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.
- 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 require Unabridged Birth Certificates.
- 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 at 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 does not provide sufficient cover – please check before you travel that you are fully covered.
- What is the domestic flight weight limit?
- 15kg to 20kg weight restrictions for Economy class, depending on the airline
- 25kg to 30kg weight restrictions for Business class, depending on the airline
- 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?
- The local voltage is 220 Volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second.
- If you’re coming from countries with 230 Volt appliances (Australia, Europe, UK), you will only require a plug adapter.
- 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 at the airport by one of 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. All hotel rooms have secure locks and safes. For air and train travel, we advise that your bag be securely locked. A useful travel tip is to carry a photocopy of your documentation: passport, visa and tickets, in a separate bag.
- Why travel with Timeless Africa Safaris?
We are a small, boutique company offering unparalleled expertise, ease and attention-to-detail:
- We focus on quality of service rather than quantity of customers.
- 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.
- We are experts on Southern and East Africa, based in Cape Town and having spent 15 years in the travel industry here.
- We also understand that people are different and we design itineraries accordingly. Every holiday is unique and individually tailored to our clients’ interests and needs.
- 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 information and opinions on them and all the surrounding activities.
- Our team has travelled extensively throughout Africa and we have a well-trusted network of contacts.
- We personally answer all phone calls (during office working hours). All our clients also receive our personal mobile numbers, which they are welcome to use outside working hours.
- Above all we offer a personalised, passionate service, based on our own love of travel.
- What services do we 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:
- Travel advice, inspiration and planning.
- Booking flights, accommodation, guides and activities.
- 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.
- Do we add cost to your 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. So, you may pay a little more than you would if you booked directly but your experience will be far richer.
- 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@example.com
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. Our booking form will be sent together with our terms and conditions and these should be carefully read. We look forward to hearing from you.
SOME OF OUR “WILDER” QUESTIONS: AFRICAN MYTHS & MISNOMERS
- "Do the animals roam freely everywhere?"
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.
- "What’s the biggest animal I will see?"
Africa is home to the largest land mammal – elephant; tallest animal – giraffe; largest bird – ostrich; heaviest flying bird – khori bustard; largest fish – whale shark; largest antelope –eland; largest tree – baobab; and largest reptile – leatherback turtle. As well as the world’s fastest land mammal – cheetah; and smallest mammal – least dwarf shrew.
- "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.
- "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.