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Southern Africa FAQ

Botswana Travel Tips >>

South Africa Travel Tips >>

More details on luggage

What do I need to know about luggage restrictions on the light aircraft transfers?

1)            Luggage, including camera equipment and hand baggage, is restricted to 44 pounds (20 kg) per person.
2)            Only soft bags like duffels and backpacks can be used - no hard suitcases or bags with wheels.
3)            The maximum dimensions of the soft bags which can be accommodated are as follows: 25cm (10 inches) wide x 30cm (12 inches) high and 62cm (24 inches) long.
4)            Passengers weighing 220 pounds (100kg) or more must advise us in advance as an extra seat must be purchased for everyone’s safety.

These luggage restrictions may appear somewhat restrictive however bear in mind that:  

•             Most safari camps / lodges and hotels provide basic toilet amenities.
•             Laundry can be done on a daily basis (many camps provide this service free of charge but some camps and hotels do charge a nominal fee).
•             Casual clothing is the norm except for the most expensive luxury camps, where you might consider bringing more refined dress for evening meals, but it’s not required.

What about excess baggage?
If you need to bring luggage in excess of your allowance, you may have the option of buying an extra seat. This extra "seat in plane" allows for a maximum of 154 lbs extra pounds (70 kg) on the proviso that the extra bag(s) conforms to the dimensions 40 x 40 x 80 cms (16 x 16 x 31 inches); soft bag i.e. no wheels/frame/rigid structures; able to physically fit onto a light aircraft seat; able to be physically secured with one seatbelt; will not impact on the comfort of other guests on the flight.  The additional cost of this varies depending on your flight schedule so please contact us for further details.

On arrival in either Maun or Kasane, you also have the option of sending your excess luggage ahead at an additional cost. If the safari begins in Maun, the excess luggage will be forwarded to Kasane and stored. If starting in Kasane, the excess luggage will be forwarded to Maun for storage. You can then collect this excess baggage at the end of your Botswana trip. We need to know in advance if this service is needed so that arrangements can be made and the transfer can be handled smoothly.  Please note that the same dimensions as above apply to this unaccompanied baggage.

Should you be starting and ending your safari in Maun, and do not require the excess luggage to accompany you on your trip, we can store this for you at our office in Maun at no extra charge.

Note that we and all of our operating partners will not accept responsibility for luggage kept in any of the offices on behalf of our guests. We do not anticipate any problems with stored luggage being damaged or stolen, but guests must ensure that they are in possession of full travel insurance including luggage coverage.

important notes on the scheduled safaris

General Notes on all scheduled Botswana Safaris

*** Each departure is guaranteed with a minimum of 2 confirmed travelers and operates with a maximum of 8.

* We’re happy to organize private departures: just let us know of your interest. This is a particularly attractive option for families and groups of 4 or more.  

* If every other traveler on a particular departure cancels, reducing the group down to one guest, then we will convert the trip to a fly-in (custom) safari, in all likelihood resulting in an increased price.

Age Limits: Children the age of 12 and up are welcome on all scheduled departures. For parties with children under 12, private safaris are an option and available on request.

* We and our operating partners reserve the right, in extremely rare instances when situations occur beyond our control, to substitute a lodge or location with another of comparable quality at no additional cost to the traveler.

* No triples are available on any scheduled safari.

Vital Notes for travelers on the Migration Routes safaris

* The Migration Route safaris operate from January 10, 2011 to January 5, 2012.

* Note that guests leaving at the end of a Southbound Migration Routes Safari (Livingstone to Maun) will not be able to connect with a 10 AM departure out of Maun; you will need a later flight.

* For Migration Routes, no single supplement is charged for the first two singles on any departure. Any additional singles will be charged thereafter.

Adventurer Camp Description (Linyanti Adventurer Camp, Khwai Adventurer Camp & Xigera Mokoro Trail): 9.84 feet x 9.84 feet dome tents, complete with mini-verandas. Pure cotton linen (with duvets) on GI stretchers, bedside table with light and mini luggage benches finish the interior. Evening campfires are the norm and hurricane lanterns add to the atmosphere. The bathrooms are en-suite with the entrance to the canvas-wrap open air bathroom (zip door) through the rear of tent. There is a serviced en-suite tin bucket shower – with hot water available whenever guests require it. The bathroom in each tent has a short-drop toilet with a separate toilet near the main area available for use during the day.

Exclusivity: To ensure as much privacy and exclusivity as possible, most areas in which we travel are private concessions in prime locations. All Explorations camps are private and for the use of Adventurer Exploration guests only, while Toka Leya and air linkages are shared with other guests.

Time: We have specifically allowed for a three-night stay at Linyanti Adventurer Camp and Khwai Adventurer Camp; in a journey of this nature, guests thus have the time to relax and unwind while at the same time fully appreciating an in-depth introduction to the diversity of the area as well as its activities.

Transfers: To maximize guests’ travel time, a variety of transport modes that bring out the best of each area is used including flying in light aircraft and overland transfers in customized 4X4 safari vehicles. 4x4 tracks in certain wilderness areas are not maintained, take time to traverse and may be bumpy at times. As a result some of the road transfers can take a full day with lunch and ample game viewing opportunities en route.

International air connection onto the safari: If arrival is planned for the day of the safari’s departure, please ensure that this arrival is with the earliest possible flight from Johannesburg. It is important that all guests are ready to depart with the guide by no later than 1 PM. Arrival on a later flight may necessitate additional road or air transfers (as departure for the first camp/lodge will already have taken place), subject to extra cost.

International air connections leaving the safari: Please ensure that your departure flight is booked for after 1 PM from Maun. For earlier international departure flights, an additional transfer will be required to arrive for this connection. Extra transfers and flights are subject to extra cost.

Flashlights/ torches: Please ensure that a minimum 2-D cell flashlight is brought on safari, with spare batteries. Head lamps are also useful. Guides do not supply flashlights.

Camera battery charging facilities: Please note that a 12V cigarette lighter adaptor will be required (that is compatible with camera make) on this safari for charging batteries while on game drive or transfer drives. No 110/ 240V outlets are available, except at Chundukwa in Zambia.

Dietary requirements and special occasions: Due to remote locality of Adventurer camps, please ensure that full dietary requirements and special occasions are advised at the time of your booking confirmation.

Vital Notes for travelers on the Green Desert expeditions

* The Green Desert Expeditions operate from January 16 to May 14, 2011 and December 4 to 27, 2011.

Adventurer Camp Description (Deception Valley): 10 feet x 10 feet dome tents, complete with mini-verandas. Pure cotton linen (with duvets) on GI stretchers, bedside table with silver lantern and mini luggage benches finish the interior. Evening campfires are the norm and hurricane lanterns add to the atmosphere. The bathrooms are en-suite with the entrance to the canvas-wrap open air bathroom (zip door) through the rear of tent. There is a serviced en-suite tin bucket shower – with hot water available whenever guests require it. The bathroom in each tent has a short-drop toilet, with a separate toilet near the main area available for use during the day.

Exclusivity: All Explorations camps are private and for the use of Adventurer Exploration guests only, whilst Xigera Camp is open to other guests. Deception Valley Lodge and air linkages are open to other guests.

Transfers: To maximize guests’ travel time, a variety of transport modes that bring out the best of each area is used including flying in light aircraft and overland transfers in customized 4X4 safari vehicles. 4x4 tracks in certain wilderness areas are not maintained, take time to traverse and may be bumpy at times. As a result some of the road transfers can take a full day with lunch and ample game viewing opportunities en route.

International air connection onto the safari: If arrival is planned for the day of the safari’s departure, please ensure that this arrival is with the earliest possible flight from Johannesburg. It is important that guests are at the airport by no later than 12:30 PM. For an arrival after this time, an air charter would be required to Deception Valley Lodge for the beginning of the tour, at additional cost.

International air connections leaving the safari:  Please ensure that your departure flight is booked for after 1 PM from Maun. For earlier international departure flights, an additional air charter would be required to arrive in Maun for the connection. Extra transfers and flights are subject to extra cost.

Flashlights: Please ensure that a minimum 2-D cell flashlight is brought on safari, with spare batteries. Head lamps are also useful. Guides do not supply flashlights.

Camera battery charging facilities: Please note that a 12V cigarette lighter adaptor will be required (that is compatible with camera make) on this safari for charging batteries while on game drive or transfer drives. No 110/ 240V outlets are available, except at Xigera Camp and Deception Valley Lodge.

Dietary requirements and special occasions: Due to remote location of the Adventurer camps, please ensure that full dietary requirements and special occasions are advised at the time of your booking confirmation.

Special Notes for travelers on the Great Wilderness Journey safaris

* The Great Wilderness Journey operates from January 6, 2011 to December 10, 2011.

* On the Great Wilderness Journey, if a traveler is willing to share and we can match them with another guest of the same gender, the single supplement will be waived. However, if there is no appropriate match, the single supplement would apply.

Special Notes on Cape Town extensions & tours

* Prices are based on a minimum of 2 people traveling; however if you are a solo traveler looking to do a Cape Town tour, please contact us as we can help through a nominal solo traveler supplement.

* All entrance fees are included, whether you are on a private or scheduled tour.

* Rates can significantly vary based on the season, the month, even the week (if it’s a holiday time); our listed prices cover significant chunks of time however it’s best to contact us for the exact rate for the exact time you are traveling. Each hotel has its own seasonal schedule making the object of listing all prices a challenge while keeping the web site easily readable.

Some notes on the recommended properties to help you decide:

Luxury Property: Taj (in a superior room)

*A distinctive 5-star hotel in the city center, an excellent location for travelers wanting to be “in the middle of it all.”

*All the amenities are on offer, including a celebrated Spa and fitness center with indoor heated pool.

*Splendid cuisine in the hotel restaurants make going out optional.

Luxury Property: Cape Grace (in a luxury room)

* An enviable waterfront location - Sun-drenched position overlooking the yacht marina from its own private quay

* Genuine warmth and hospitality – the hotel focuses on anticipating guest needs and a genuine will to please

Experienced, small, and boutique -  the hotel features flexible & personalized service

* Authentic and locally inspired - Bascule Whisky Wine & Cocktail bar is a favorite with the locals and the fish & chips is said to be “the best in town”

* Hand-crafted, elegant décor to match our custom-made experience where every guest is treated as an individual

Mid Range property:  Cape Cadogan (standard room)

* Best value

* The location within Cape Town City Bowl affords guests the ability to walk to both restaurants and boutique shops which are frequented by the locals, ensuring an experience where one becomes part of this cosmopolitan way of life.

* A combination of both exclusive and casual retailers and eateries all within walking distance of the Hotel.

* Kloof Street is referred to as “the heart of Cape Town” by the locals, this is partly due to the area being relatively untouched by main stream tourism, hence adding to the authenticity and value of the Kloof Street address.

* Access to other tourist attractions is easy and without congestion especially during peak season periods.

* While we strongly encourage all travelers in any large city to take the proper precautions, and even then, issues can occur, this area is well regarded as a safe and secure neighborhood for travelers.

 * Note that we have not included a budget hotel in Cape Town as the mid range hotel is such a fine special when you stay 3 nights that it works out to be the same cost as a budget hotel. This is a much better value for money.

General Notes on Botswana Fly-in Safari

* You can arrange a fly-in to start on any day of the year; they are operated 365 days a year.

* Prices are based on a minimum of 2 people however we can arrange a solo fly-in safari for the single traveler for a nominal supplement: contact us for details if applicable.

* You can mix and match classic and premier camps based on your interests - we can quote accordingly; contact us for specific prices.

tipping guide

Tipping is not compulsory. If, however, you want to tip because you have received good service, here is a brief summary to assist you:
 
1)            Regional - Botswana, Zambia, Namibia, Zimbabwe

•             Camp or Game Lodge Guides & Specialist Guides: US$10 per guest per day.
 
•             Mokoro Paddlers and Trackers: we recommend that each paddler receive US$5 per guest per day and that camp/lodge trackers receive US$5 per guest per day.
 
•             The General Safari Camp / Lodge Staff: about US$10 per guest per day for safari camps. This should be placed in the communal tipping box to be distributed equally amongst all the staff.

Some lodges have slightly different gratuity schedules, but these are usually stipulated clearly by the camp.

2)            South Africa

•             Transfer Driver: about ZAR20 per guest for the driver.

•             Touring (excluding Camp / Game Lodge) Driver and/or Guides: for half day tours we recommend about ZAR50 per guest and for a full day tour we recommend ZAR100 per guest.

•             Safari Guides/Trackers at Game Lodges: about ZAR120 per guest per day for the guide and ZAR80 per guest per day for the tracker. 

•             Porterage: we recommend about ZAR10 per guest per movement.

•             Hotel / Guest House / Game Lodge Staff: we recommend about ZAR50 per guest per day for hotel staff i.e. housekeeping ,etc.

•             Restaurants / Hotels: 10% is customary if you are satisfied with the service.

We would like to emphasize that tipping is definitely not a requirement - whatever you believe to be appropriate will be appreciated by the staff.

Travel Insurance

*** Comprehensive travel insurance is required


It is a condition of booking with us that every traveler to southern Africa carries comprehensive travel and medical insurance to cover themselves, as well as any dependants/travelling companions for the duration of their trip to southern Africa. This is the sole responsibility of the traveler. This insurance should include protection for, but not limited to, the following possibilities:


Compulsory Insurance:
•             emergency evacuation expenses
•             medical expenses
•             repatriation expenses


Recommended Insurance:
•             cancellation or curtailment of trip
•             damage/theft/loss of personal luggage, money and goods

We, our operating partners, and representatives will take no responsibility for any costs, losses incurred or suffered by the traveler, or the traveler’s dependents or travelling companions, with regards to, but not limited to, any of the above mentioned eventualities. Guests will be charged directly by the relevant service providers for any emergency services they may require, and may find themselves in a position of being unable to access such services should they not be carrying the required insurance.

If you are a US citizen, contact us if you have any travel insurance needs as we do offer assistance connecting you with travel insurance providers.

Health Insurance
It is compulsory to have full medical, emergency evacuation and repatriation cover for the full period of time that you are travelling.

More FAQ

What if I want to extend my trip to other countries in Southern Africa?

We can definitely help; there is a huge range of activities to enjoy and habitats to explore in the region, and even if we don’t actively promote them, we can still book these alternative destinations and experiences. Some of our favorite extensions outside of Botswana and South Africa include:

- Namibia – whether visiting the sand dunes of Sossusvlei or the Skeleton Coast, Namibia is an outstanding choice for extending in the region for any nature enthusiast

- The Mana Canoe Trail in Zimbabwe, a 4 day excursion canoeing down the Zambezi

- Tented camps, in Zimbabwe, along the Zambezi River and Mana Pools, Matusadona National Park, or Hwange, each with excellent big game viewing opportunities and unique activities on offer

- Zambia, whether to the Luangwa Valley or elsewhere, Zambia is the very definition of “off the beaten path” and a birders paradise

- Exotic North Island in the Indian Ocean

- Malawi

Can I do laundry on safari?

Laundry is available at all safari camps; some charge a nominal fee, whereas others include laundry in the rate. Please contact us if you ever have any questions about the service.

What can you tell me about the vehicles?

Safari vehicles in southern Africa are usually open 4X4 vehicles and are designed for guests to have all round visibility. There are some exceptions to this in order to accommodate certain environmental conditions such as excessive dust and/or heat, where they may use closed vehicles with viewing hatches.

What are the driving conditions like? While visiting remote areas or national parks and reserves, the roads could be rough and bumpy and occasionally we will travel "off road". It is possible that injuries may occur - if for example a hidden pothole is struck. Wilderness Safaris, their staff members, associates and agents cannot be held liable for any accidents or any damages.

What are the communication capabilities at most camps and lodges? Even the most remote lodges and tented camps have channels to relay emergency messages, incoming or outgoing. However, since most travelers are wanting to be on vacation, internet access and telephones are not an option at the camps and lodges while in the bush. Telecommunications such as internet access and international calling in the urban areas such as Victoria Falls, Cape Town, and the like is absolutely feasible and usually readily accessible. An increasing number of guests are bringing satellite and iridium phones with them on safari. As most people come on safari to “get away from it all”, we feel that we must set guidelines on the use of any phones when on safari as follows:

1. Please ensure the ring tone is kept at a low volume to avoid disturbing other guests.

2. Please use your phone in the privacy of your room or tent and not in any of the common areas: dining room, bar/lounge area, or on any of the vehicles or on game drives.

It is not always possible to rent satellite phones in the various regions, although this can be arranged at O.R. Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg). Our recommendation is to pre-book this in advance. In order to know if your cell phone may work while you travel, you will need to contact your particular cell phone provider and plan to understand your opportunities.

Walking in the Reserves

We will enjoy guided walks where possible but this is often determined by the local area and country or concession regulations. Note that walking is at your own risk as it can take you close to dangerous wild animals.

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