South Africa Travel Information from Access Trips
ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE TRAVEL INFORMATION
You should arrive at Johannesburg’s O. R. Tambo International Airport (airport abbreviation: JNB). We recommend that you arrive no later than 5PM on Day 1 of the tour in order to join the group welcome dinner. Your guide will be waiting for you once you exit customs to escort you to your vehicle, which will take you to your hotel in Johannesburg. Group airport transfers are generally scheduled for late morning and late afternoon. We will not know the exact times until we have received the final flight information from all guests. We will notify you in advance should there be a wait time longer than one hour from your flight’s scheduled arrival time. In this case, you may choose to wait for the included group transfer or we can arrange in advance of your trip a private car and driver for an additional cost.
You should depart from Cape Town International Airport (airport abbreviation: CPT). Group airport transfers are included. We will not know the exact times of the transfers until we have received the final flight information from all guests. We will notify you in advance should there be a wait time longer than two hours from your flight’s scheduled departure time. In this case, you may choose to take the included group transfer or we can arrange in advance of your trip a private car and driver for an additional cost.
Safari Extension: If you are taking one of our optional 4-day Safari Extensions, you should book your departure flights out of Skukuza (SZK) or Hoedspruit (HDS). Please contact us for more details.
Pick-up & Drop-off Information
We provide complimentary group airport pick-ups and drop-offs at the specified airports and times on the first and last day of the trip. We will be waiting for you with a sign saying ‘Access Trips’ as you exit customs at Johannesburg’s airport. If you would like a private transfer, to be picked up or dropped off on a different day, or brought somewhere other than the airport, please contact us.
Note: We are not responsible for last minute adjustments due to changes or delays with arrival and departure flights.
- We do not book international flights to or from South Africa for our clients. If you would like assistance with purchasing your flights, please let us know and we will forward your contact information and trip details to our travel agent partner.
- Internal airfare from Durban to Cape Town on Day 4 is included in the trip price.
TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS FOR SOUTH AFRICA
Travel medical insurance, including emergency evacuation coverage, is compulsory for all our trips. We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance that includes cancellation protection so that you will be covered in the event that you are unable to attend our trip (due to injury, illness or other unforeseen circumstances). Please do not attend any of our trips without purchasing appropriate insurance coverage and providing the details to Access Trips.
We do not provide travel insurance for our clients. Additional details are on our website at: http://www.accesstrips.com/company/insurance/
Passports & Visas
Travel to South Africa requires a valid passport (most countries require a minimum of 6 months validity) and US citizens do not require a tourist visa. To learn more about visa and entry requirements for South Africa, please check out the State Department’s website at: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/south-africa.html
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documentation.
HEALTH & SAFETY IN SOUTH AFRICA
If your friends or family need to contact Access Trips due to an emergency while you are on the tour, please have them refer to the pre-departure email that is sent out three weeks prior to departure, which will have specific contact information relevant to your trip. If you need to contact Access Trips while traveling, please also refer to the emergency contact information in the pre-departure email.
Guests with preexisting medical conditions are required to disclose this information prior to traveling with Access Trips, and all guests with preexisting conditions are required to provide a note from a doctor clearing them for travel to South Africa. The US Department of State recommends that travelers with medical prescriptions consider bringing small additional amounts of prescribed medicines as well as a copy of the prescription and a letter from the prescribing physician explaining the need for prescription.
We strongly recommend that all of our guests visit a travel doctor before embarking on international travel. Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that you receive any necessary vaccinations before traveling on your trip with us. If there is a chance that you may be pregnant during your trip, please discuss your travel plans with your doctor.
While Malaria is not widespread among most parts of South Africa, it is present in some places including Kruger National Park and parts of the Gauteng province. If you plan to take one of our optional Safari extensions to Kruger National Park, you will need to consult your physician about taking a course of anti-malarial medication. Please click here for more information.
Please carefully review the health information section of the following webpage for up-to-date health information, including information on the quality of medical care, the availability of medications and the necessity for vaccinations in the destination country: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/south-africa.
Our trips are open to anyone who wants to explore our exotic destinations through cuisine. We do engage in multiple walking tours, some of which last several hours. This tour also includes scenic drives that last for a few hours.
Safety & Security
To maximize your safety during our tours you should exercise common sense and caution at all times. We recommend that you always stick to set travel arrangements, and avoid unknown areas. We also recommend that you wear minimal jewelry and that you keep valuable items (including cell phones) safely stored. Always keep a copy of your passport, airline tickets, and credit card numbers separate from where you keep the originals.
For more information on safety and security in South Africa, please review the safety and security section of the following webpage: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/south-africa.html
Note: Tap water in urban areas of South Africa is safe to drink and cook with, but tap water in rural areas may not be safe for consumption. Check with guides as needed.
Children ages 12 and up are welcome on group trips. Children under 12 are welcome on private tours. Please contact us with any questions.
CURRENCY, BANKING & SPENDING MONEY IN SOUTH AFRICA
The South African currency is the rand (ZAR or R), divided into 100 cents. Coins are issued in denominations of 1R, 2R, and 5R, and 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents. Banknotes come in denominations of 10R, 20R, 50R, 100R, and 200R.
ATMs are available in all cities and major towns.
Banks generally offer better exchange rates than hotels or exchange bureaus.
For the latest currency exchange information please go to: http://finance.yahoo.com/currency.
Meals: All breakfasts, seven lunches, and three dinners are included, plus the meals you cook during cooking classes. Please plan to bring at least USD $10-$20 per lunch and USD $20-$40 per dinner for those meals that are not included – but this can vary considerably based on where you choose to eat. Also remember to bring money for snacks, drinks, and bottled water.
Tipping: Tipping is a common practice throughout South Africa, especially in the service industry. We recommend 10% of the total bill in restaurants and bars.
In hotels, you should expect to leave R15 per day for housekeeping and around R10 for porters if they assist you with your luggage.
Discretionary tips to your tour staff for good service are very much appreciated. We recommend 135 rand per person, per day for the guide (approx. $10 USD) and 65 rand per person, per day for the drivers (approx. $5 USD).
Other Expenses: You should also plan to take spending money for incidentals such as internet cafes, souvenir shopping and nightlife.
SOUTH AFRICAN CULTURE
South Africa is one of the most culturally diverse countries on the planet. Out of respect for all the different cultures and societies we will be visiting, please note:
Dress conservatively, especially during village visits – while the general urban dresscode is casual, most South Africans are very conservative
It is commonly considered an insult to leave food on your plate
While there are a number of different races represented in South Africa, it is not generally considered polite to refer to anyone by their race and instead the term “South African” should be applied
The apartheid is still a very sensitive topic for most South Africans
Language: Many people speak English as a second language in addition to another prominently spoken language, including IsiZulu, IsiXhosa, and Afrikaans. South Africa has 11 official languages in total.
SOUTH AFRICA’S CLIMATE
South Africa sits below the equator in the Southern Hemisphere, so their seasons are the opposite of the Northern Hemisphere. Our tours operate from March to November, which encompasses both the wet and dry seasons. During this time, we travel through a number of diverse regions so you should be prepared for a variety of temperatures and conditions.
South Africa’s winter, lasts from May to September. While the mornings and nights are cold, most days are sunny and mild with clear blue skies and very little to no rain except in the southwest. You can expect daytime temperatures of approximately 70 F and nighttime temperatures of 45 F for this time of year. Summertime, from October to April, is when South Africa experiences its best weather overall, with daytime highs of about 82 F and nighttime lows of 60 F.
If you are traveling on one our optional safari extensions, wildlife will be easier to spot during the dry season, as there is less bushy vegetation and more animals gather around rivers and waterholes. If you are traveling on our extensions during summertime, the landscape will be much greener, offering very pretty scenery with lots of newborn animals around. This is also an excellent time for bird watching.
While South Africa is beautiful year-round, the two different seasons offer very distinct experiences. If optimal weather is a high priority, you should consider booking our departures in March. However, if an increased likelihood of seeing big game is your top priority, you might consider our May tour dates.
Regardless of where or when you visit South Africa, it is recommended to pack for all types of climates. Please check specific weather for your dates before you travel. You may consider a website such as Weather.com.
ELECTRICITY & INTERNET IN SOUTH AFRICA
South Africa uses 220/230 volts AC 50 HZ and generally uses 15 amp 3-prong or 5 amp 2-prong plugs with round pins.
There is internet access in all of the hotels.
Most US cell phones will not work in South Africa, unless you have a specific international plan. Contact your cellular provider to see what options you have in terms of international calling plans.
WHAT TO TAKE ON YOUR SOUTH AFRICA CULINARY TOUR
We strongly recommend using TSA approved luggage locks on your bags and to hand carry valuables on the plane.
We recommend that you pack as lightly as possible. There may not always be someone available to help you carry your bags so you should only bring as much as you can carry on your own.
We suggest that you bring the following items:
Clothing & Equipment
- Season specific casual clothes
- Dress clothes for upscale restaurants
- A pair of comfortable walking shoes
- Neutral-colored clothing for Safari extensions
- Bathing suit (some accommodations may have a pool)
- A warm jacket (NOTE: It can be quite cold in the Drakensberg region during winter. Please pack appropriately for cold evenings.)
- Power adapter and converter for 220/230v, 50 HZ
- Sunscreen, sunglasses and hat
- Insect repellent with DEET
- First-aid kit (should contain lip balm, aspirin, band aids, a cream for sore muscles (e.g. deep heat), Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
- Passport (with photocopies)
- Travel insurance (with photocopies)
- Airline tickets (with photocopies)
- Credit and/or debit card and/or cash
- This document, printed
RECOMMENDED READING LIST
Click here to check out our recommended reading before your tour!
FINAL NOTES ON YOUR SOUTH AFRICA TOUR
The information contained in this document is provided in good faith. Due to the nature of travel, details in this document may change. You should thus use the above information as an indication only and not as a contractual obligation on the part of Access Trips.