TRAVELING TO AFRICA
Good Things To Know When You Go
Southern Africa and East Africa offer a diverse mix of history and culture as well as hundreds of miles of pristine beaches, breathtaking mountainous terrain, vast nature reserves, and game parks that offer unforgettable safaris.
Driving in Southern Africa is on the left-hand side of the road. The Southern African road infrastructure is good with the majority of roads paved and well maintained. Further more, road signage is all in English and is easy to follow. We do not recommend self driving in East African Countries
For travelers visiting from the USA, Southern Africa and East Africa are seven hours ahead of UTC meaning jet lag is unavoidable but the symptoms can be greatly minimized by following a few basic tips. Adjust your internal clock, opt for overnight flights, curtail coffee, stay hydrated, avoid or limit alcohol in flight, and try to sleep on the plane. On arrival get outside and spend time in the sunlight. If you have arrived at your destination during the day, don’t drift off too early!
There are regular daily flights from the USA to Southern Africa and East Africa. An expansive network of flights within Southern Africa and East Africa make it easy and affordable to travel in-country.
Southern Africa and East Africa offer an enviable variety of quality accommodations with a wide range of rates. There will be suitable lodging for all budgets.
Parks and Reserves
Southern Africa and East Africa are acknowledged the world over for their remarkable parks and reserves. Southern Africa and East Africa are enriched by the vast geographical spread of such protected areas, and they feature access to wildlife viewing that is unrivaled anywhere else in the world.
Safe For Tourists
The well-publicized crime rates of Southern Africa and East Africa are decreasing. Travelers will find themselves perfectly safe by simply practicing common sense.
Ecotourism & Conservation
Ecological tourism (Ecotourism) represents the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry in Southern Africa and East Africa. Protecting the ecological systems that include all indigenous fauna and flora is essential to Africa and its future.
English is the most widely used.
A feast of supreme cuisine is on offer all over Africa. The food will be one of your fondest memories.
The cool climate of the Western and Southern Cape regions is key in the production of some of the world’s finest wines, including white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc. Popular red wines include Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Choices For Everyone In Arts And Culture
South Africa is one of the most cosmopolitan countries in the world. Traditional dancing, music, fine art and sculpture form part of the Rainbow Nation’s united cultures. Many parts of Africa proudly maintain their traditional culture and heritage, creating a vivid, authentic experience for their visitors from abroad.
Big Five Game Viewing
Among a whole host of other fascinating animals in Southern Africa and East Africa, there is a great chance of seeing the ‘Big Five’ on game drives. The Big Five are: buffalo, elephant, rhino, lion and leopard.
Never A bad Time To Visit
With reversed seasons, winter is officially during the UK, European, & USA summer time. During the SA winter, the sun still shines over many parts of the country and is the best season for game viewing.
In addition it sees the arrival of the Southern Right whale to the Cape coast for their breeding season. They pass their time playing, courting, and nursing their newborn calves, close enough to the shore to provide onlookers with spectacular land-based viewing.
Southern Africa and East Africa are two of the most beautiful and adrenaline-filled outdoor destinations in the world. Activities can include 4×4 trails & exploring, boating, fishing, hiking, rock climbing, birding, urban sightseeing, and of course game drives for some spectacular wildlife viewing.
If it’s adrenaline you’re after, try the highest bungee jump in the world (off the Bloukrans Bridge in the Western Cape), shark diving in Gansbaai or scuba diving on the Kwa-Zulu Natal coast, hot air ballooning in the Serengeti, or gorilla trekking in Uganda or Rwanda.
PASSPORT INFORMATION – TRAVELING TO SOUTH AFRICA
For passengers who travel to Southern or East Africa for vacation, entry is straightforward and hassle-free. All visitors to Africa must be in possession of a valid passport to enter the country.
Those traveling from the UK and the USA do not need to formally apply for a visa. Upon arrival in South Africa, passengers will automatically be given a free entry permit sticker that outlines how long they may remain in the country.
This automatic entry permit is usually for a maximum of 90 days, though the immigration officer may tailor the time period according to the airline tickets held.
There is a visa charge for African countries other than South Africa for USA and UK visitors. Fees vary from $50.00 USD to $70.00 USD depending on the country of entry. Please consult your agent for more information pertaining to your country of travel.
Passport / Entry Requirements
The passports of all UK and US travelers entering South Africa must contain at least two clean (unstamped) visa pages at each time entry is sought. Otherwise, there is a very strong probability that the traveler will be refused admission. Amendment and endorsement pages cannot be used in lieu of visa pages. As a general precaution, all travelers are advised to carry a photocopy of the photo/bio information page of their passport and keep it in a location separate from their passport.
Required items upon entering South Africa
– A passport valid for 90 days to accommodate the duration of stay in South Africa.
– Access to sufficient funds available.
– A return or onward ticket.
Unabridged Birth Certificates
Some African countries such as the Republic of South Africa require unabridged birth certificates. Under the new law, all minors under the age of 18 years are required to produce, in addition to their passport, an Unabridged Birth Certificate (showing the details of both parents) when exiting and entering South African ports of entry. Latest update: As of December 4, 2016, the Department of Home Affairs has put plans in place to assist travelers traveling with minors during the festive season.
It will be in effect from December 10 to January 14. Outbound travelers with children are still required to produce the Unabridged Birth Certificate in addition to the passport of the traveling minor affidavits confirming parental consent to such travel if one parent is not traveling.
HEALTH ADVICE FOR AFRICA
At least 8 weeks before travel, visitors to Africa should be aware of the required vaccines or medicines to enter. We advise you to work with your physician to have all health requirements done in a timely manner before departure.
The advice offered below is a guideline only. Health requirements can be subject to changes, so please be responsible for knowing the most recent required preparations.
Confirm primary courses and boosters are up to date as recommended for life in Britain, including vaccines given to special groups because of risk exposure or complications, i.e. Hepatitis B for health care workers and influenza and pneumococcal vaccines for the elderly.
Courses or boosters usually advised for travelers to South Africa :
Tetanus: tetanus is contracted through dirty cuts and scratches and poliomyelitis spread through contaminated food and water. They are serious infections of the nervous system.
Hepatitis A and Typhoid: typhoid and hepatitis A are spread through contaminated food and water. Typhoid causes septicemia and hepatitis A causes liver inflammation and jaundice. In risk areas you should be immunized if good hygiene is impossible.
Poliomyelitis : poliomyelitis (polio) is a vaccine-preventable disease caused by the polio virus, a small RNA virus, of the genus Enterovirus within the picornavirus family. Polio has been eradicated from most countries in the world. As of mid-2004, only six countries remain polio endemic (Nigeria, Niger, Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India.) However, lapses in vaccine coverage in Nigeria have led to a recurrence of polio in several African countries.
Vaccines sometimes advised
Diphtheria: diphtheria is also spread by droplet infection through close personal contact. Vaccination is advised if close contact with locals in risk areas is likely.
Tuberculosis: tuberculosis is most commonly transmitted via droplet infection. Those going to countries where it is common, especially those mixing closely with the local population and those at occupational risk, e.g. health care workers, should ensure that they have previously been immunized. Check with your doctor or nurse.
Hepatitis B: hepatitis B is spread through infected blood, contaminated needles and sexual intercourse. It affects the liver, causes jaundice and occasionally liver failure. Those visiting high-risk areas for long periods or who will be at social or occupational risk should be immunized.
Rabies: rabies is spread through bites or licks on broken skin from an infected animal. It is always fatal. Vaccination is advised for those going to risk areas that will be remote from a reliable source of vaccine. Even when pre-exposure vaccines have been received, urgent medical advice should be sought after any animal bite.
Cholera: cholera is spread through contaminated water and food. It is more common during floods and rainy seasons. Those unable to take effective precautions, for example during wars and when working in refugee camps or slums, may consider vaccination.
Yellow Fever Certificate: there is no risk of Yellow Fever in South Africa but a Certificate is required if over 1 year old and entering from an infected area. Please consult your travel clinic to see Yellow fever areas listed
Malaria is a life-threatening parasitic disease transmitted by mosquitoes. It was once thought that the disease came from fetid marshes, hence the name malaria, (bad air). In 1880, scientists discovered the real cause of malaria a one-cell parasite called plasmodium. Later they discovered that the parasite is transmitted from person to person through the bite of a female Anopheles mosquito, which requires blood to nurture her eggs.
Malaria precautions must be taken by all travelers to the following areas in Africa
– Low altitude areas of northern and eastern Mpumalanga – this includes Kruger National Park and the surrounding private game reserves (Timbavati and Sabi Sand).
– Northern Province and north-eastern Kwa-Zulu Natal as far south as the Tugela river (includes The Greater St Lucia Wetland Park and Hluhluwe Game Reserve).
– The tourist center of Sun City is not normally malarious nor are the game parks close to this resort, but the situation must be checked for the time of travel with a doctor or on a government website.
Malaria is also considered to be a threat to travelers visiting the lower lying areas of East Africa, Swaziland, throughout Mozambique and Zimbabwe, and much of Botswana. Northern Namibia is also a malaria area.
Epidemics occur during the warmer and wetter months of October to May, but visitors are advised to take precautions all year round.
Travelers should avoid mosquito bites by covering up with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers especially after sunset, using insect repellents on exposed skin and, when necessary, sleeping under a mosquito net.
(Mefloquine OR doxycycline OR Malarone is usually recommended for those visiting risk areas).
Prompt investigation of any fever is essential.
Africa has a warm sunny climate and visitors should wear sunscreen and a hat whenever outside during the day, particularly between 8am and 6pm, regardless of whether there is cloud cover or not. Even if you have a dark complexion, you can still get sunburned if you are from a cooler climate and have not had much exposure to the sun. Sunglasses are also recommended wear, as the glare of the African sun can be strong.
Please proceed with caution when drinking water from a faucet or tap. Bottled water is readily available and is highly recommended. Generally, all water is safe to bathe, shower and clean with. Please be sure to check with the accommodation staff on the water facilities and what can and cannot be done.
SOURCES OF INFORMATION
Roll Back Malaria, World Health Organization
GlaxoSmithKline Travel Health
Fit For Travel