Passports, Visas and Health Requirements
Citizens of the United States must possess a valid US passport for travel to South Africa. It must be valid 6 months beyond your intended stay in Africa. You will need 2 empty passport VISA pages per country visited.
Citizens of other countries should inquire about requirements for entry. If you do not have a passport, APPLY NOW! Please do not wait until the last minute. You should always carry 2 extra passport photographs with you, in case of emergency (if your passport/visa is lost or stolen).
There is no visa required for U.S. visitors to South Africa for stays up to 3 months.
You MUST have your own health insurance, and have no physical problems or conditions that would be adversely affected by riding in 4 X 4 vehicles on rough, bumpy roads or walking 3-4 miles per day (on level ground.) You must be in very good physical condition to participate in this trip.
There are no mandatory immunizations required for US residents visiting South Africa. However, please consult your personal physician, local health department, travel clinic, or immunization center about any vaccinations you may need to update, or others that may be personally recommended for you based on your age, health, and past vaccination history.
As far as Malaria is concerned, many women choose to take Malaria medication, but many choose not to due to possible side effects. If you do not want to take this, the best prevention is to avoid mosquito bites. Wear long slacks and long sleeved shirts in the evenings, use mosquito nets (provided in your rooms and tents), and a repellent with 30% DEET, Skin So Soft, or oil of citronella.
Traveling to South Africa: Arrival and Departure
Round-trip airfare from the US to Cape Town, and return from Johannesburg, plus your 2 internal flights within South Africa are NOT included in the cost of the trip package.
Our outfitter will most likely be booking the 2 internal flights within South Africa, and we will let you know more details after registration. But you are free to make your international airline reservations on your own.
Departure from the US for Cape Town, South Africa is July 30, 2017. You will arrive in Cape Town on **July 31. Arrival times are dependent on what airline you take (i.e., South African Airlines from JFK arrives at 12:15 pm, from Dulles it arrives at 8:55 pm. Delta from Atlanta through Amsterdam arrives at 9:15 pm. Emirates and British Air also fly to Cape Town).
On August 10, 2017, you will depart Johannesburg, South Africa, with arrival back in the U.S. on August 11. Flights on most of the above airlines depart in the evening, and our internal flight from Skukuza Airport to Johannesburg will get you into Johannesburg with plenty of time to make connections.
**Airport pick-up on July 31. There will be one free pick-up for the majority arriving in Cape Town, on the same flight, or within 20 minutes of each other. If you do not come at those times, there will be additional pick up fees, and they will be determined by how many women are in each transfer. The highest rate will be R550 ($36 US Dollars) per person. The more per transfer, the rate decreases.
Making Travel Arrangements to South Africa
We are happy to help you make your flight and travel arrangements. Please contact us for more information.
NOTE: The recent trend in travel is for travelers to finalize their plans much closer to departure time than was customary in the past. While we try to be as flexible as possible booking last minute registrants, we must often relinquish hotel space and air reservations up to 6 – 12 weeks prior to departure!
Please keep this in mind when making your travel plans.
Final payment is due to AdventureWomen, LLC in a cash form (check, money order or wire transfer) on or before May 2, 2017.
Our Professional Naturalist-Guide
Russell Gerber was born and raised in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province where he spent much of his childhood exploring the famous Garden Route and Wild Coast, but now calls The Mother City, Cape Town, his home. He holds a degree in zoology and African vertebrate biology and a post-graduate honors degree in marine biology.
With his impressive credentials, Russell has hosted guests from across the globe on both marine and land-based safaris. His guiding experiences have taken him to remote areas of the World as diverse and far-flung as Southern and Eastern Africa, South East Asia, The Caribbean, and The Middle East, but it is Africa that stirs his deep passion for conservation of both environmental and cultural diversity—both of which are in abundance in South Africa. Russell’s experience and enthusiasm make him an ideal companion for exploring all that Africa has to offer.
Climate and Wildlife in August
May to September is the dry season, or South Africa’s “winter”. There is little to no rain, the skies are clear, most days are sunny and beautiful, and there are fewer mosquitoes. It is the perfect time for wildlife viewing since it is easier to spot because there is less vegetation, and the animals gather around rivers and waterholes.
At night and in the mornings it can get cold, so it’s advised to pack warm clothing, especially for morning safari drives in open vehicles. The average morning temperature is 42°F. Afternoons will be much warmer with temperatures around 73-77°F. See our suggestions in the What to Bring section.
Tipping, Money and Credit Cards
The currency of South Africa is the South African Rand (ZAR). One rand is made up 100 cents. The Rand is available in denominations of R1, R2, R5 (coins) and R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200 (paper notes). These notes nowadays bear images of South African wildlife as opposed to the images of political and historical significance in the early 1990’s. The cents are available as coins in denominations of 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c and 50c. As of July 2016, the exchange rate is 1 USD = 15.04 Rand (ZAR).
ATM’s are in abundance on streets, in shopping malls, many local corner shops and petrol stations and you can simply use your overseas debit card to obtain local currency. The banking system is world class and you often obtain a better service than in many western countries.
Credit cards (Visa and MC) are widely accepted in larger shops, but not necessarily in the markets and small towns.
In Cape Town, you will need to change your money into ZAR. Restaurants, shops, and more will accept only the local currency. You can exchange money at the waterfront at a FOREX shop, or at the airport on arrival. On safari you will be able to tip in U.S. Dollars, but if you want to buy anything, book a Spa treatment, etc. you will need to pay in ZAR.
You should bring enough cash for tips while on safari, and to change your money into ZAR for other expenses.
U.S. residents are allowed to bring back $800 worth of merchandise, duty free.
*Important information about credit cards! Please note: You should bring at least one smart card, usually referred to as a chip card, or chip-and-PIN credit card for travel to Europe and to other overseas destinations. These new cards are more secure and you are more protected from credit card fraud.
These so-called smart cards have embedded microchips in them. You will see the silver or gold microchip on the front of your card. They also have the traditional magnetic stripe, so can be used the same as your regular credit/debit card. You’ll either sign for purchases, or enter a 4 digit PIN into a terminal. (Confirm with your bank that your PIN, or 4 digit number, will be the number that you use the FIRST time that a PIN is required for use with your new card. So just make sure you remember it for all future transactions!)
It is best to have your chip card as a VISA or MasterCard, since American Express is often not accepted in many places. In Europe and in parts of Asia, they simply don’t acknowledge magnetic-strip cards anymore unless they are chip-and-PIN enabled. In addition, in any automated transactions such as train stations and gas stations, ONLY chip-and-PIN cards are accepted.
Chip-and-PIN cards have become standard in many European countries because of their superior fraud-prevention abilities. Now countries in Asia, North America and South America, and Canada are doing the same.
Water and Food
Bottled water is supplied during the daytime and on safari. It is important to take the advice of our guides whenever you are unsure about the safety of water. During safari, all food is very well prepared and it is safe to eat anything that is served.