Wild South Africa
Before You Go
Travel will be mostly by small charter aircraft and game-drive vehicles. Game drives can be long and strenuous and over bumpy surfaces. For most activities, a relatively moderate level of exertion is required. During our time in game reserves, it should be noted that there are no fences around the camps, and animals of all sizes are sometimes encountered within the camp boundaries. Our visit is timed during the end of the dry season, when temperatures are mild, rain is infrequent, and the flowers are at their peak. Temperatures will range from the mid-50s to low-80s.
Trip Preparation: Gear Up!
Casual, yet dressy when necessary, airy and comfortable, wrinkle-free, and easily packable, these pants are made for traveling. With sunblocking capability and deep front pockets for all of your essentials, they’re a safari-goer’s dream, perfect for searching for the Big Five in Timbavati Game Reserve and the vast Kalahari.
Please pay close attention to the following sections: Passport and Visa Requirements, Health Information, and Baggage Allowance.
Accommodations & Activity Level
Travel will be mostly by small charter aircraft and open 4x4 game-drive vehicles. Game drives can be long and strenuous, and over bumpy surfaces. For most activities, a relatively moderate level of exertion is required. Most nights on safari are spent in deluxe tents, which are quite spacious, with plenty of headroom. These tents are en-suite and are designed to the highest standards, with hot and cold running water and shower outlets in the adjoining bathroom area. All of the safari camps and lodges have separate lounge and bar areas that often overlook waterways, which add to the excitement of being in the bush and scenic coastal regions. Please note that there are no fences around the camps and animals of all sizes are sometimes encountered within the camp boundaries.
This program does not require a high degree of physical fitness. For most activities a moderate level of exertion is required. However, a certain amount of agility is required to get in and out of boats, safari vehicles, and small planes. Some of the camps and lodges used during this program are laid out over large areas, have uneven steps in and out of buildings, and no handrails. To fully enjoy this program, participants should be in good general health and able to walk reasonable distances, as there may be occasional safaris on foot.
Arrivals & Departures
Departure / Airport Check-In Procedures
Please arrive at the airport for your flight to Cape Town, South Africa at least two hours prior to departure and have access to your passport and airline E-ticket confirmation. Do not pack your passport or other travel documents in your checked luggage. Be certain the check-in agent properly tags your bags through to the final destination allowed, and that you have all baggage and E-ticket receipts.
Airlines change flight times frequently and if you booked your tickets through our air department, Zegrahm Expeditions will send you any updates as they are received from the carrier. Still, we recommend reconfirming the departure time of your flights with the airline directly within 24 hours of departure. This can be done easily online and will ensure you arrive at the airport with plenty of time to board your flight.
Please contact Zegrahm at 1.800.628.8747, 206.285.4000, or 206.219.1641 should you encounter significant delays or problems en route. Proceed to your airline’s ticket counter or flight gate for immediate assistance.
Arrival / Departure Transfers
Transfers and assistance between airports and group hotels are arranged for participants arriving and departing on group dates only. If you are arriving prior to the group day and Zegrahm Expeditions has booked additional night(s) at our group hotel, an airport transfer will be provided.
If you are handling your own travel arrangements, please forward a copy of your itinerary to Zegrahm Expeditions as well as contact information where you can be reached prior to and after the program.
International carrier luggage restrictions vary from airline to airline. Please consult with your airline for exact weight restrictions on your international flight or contact Zegrahm’s Air Department for assistance.
Charter flights included within the program have a baggage allowance of 20 kgs/ 44 lbs per person including any personal carry-ons
We suggest you carry 20 kgs/ 44 lbs maximum weight to avoid excess luggage weight fees throughout the program.
IMPORTANT: Please take these weight restrictions seriously as it will delay the group if any participants have to unpack and re-organize part of their belongings. Local authorities set the weight limit for these small bush planes. There are no exceptions to the limits listed above, and your pilot reserves the right to refuse overweight bags. All luggage will be weighed and any weight over the limit will only be carried on a space available basis. This, in addition to each bag’s physical size, reduces capacity on these flights. These restrictions are in place for your safety and the planes max carry load allowed.
South Africa has a lovely temperate climate with plenty of sunny, dry days. The main factors influencing conditions are altitude and the surrounding oceans. During the dry season, there is typically no rainfall and humidity is very low. However, the Western Cape has winter rainfall and will be cold and wet.
The following are average high/low temperatures for selected locations on our itinerary:
|Timbavati Game Reserve||81º||49º|
As of March 2016, the exchange rates are as follows:
|$1 US dollar (USD)||15.53 South African rand (ZAR)|
Most of your expenses have been prepaid; therefore, we recommend that you carry most of your spending money in smaller denominations of US dollars. Major credit cards (Visa and MasterCard only) may be used at our camps, however, it will not be possible to get cash advances off any credit or debit cards at lodges or camps, so you will need to have some cash available if you wish to make smaller purchases.
You will receive your Pre-Departure Packet—including a Personal Information Form that will need to be returned to Zegrahm, a complete packing list, reading list, and gift certificates—approximately five months prior to departure. Final documents—including a final itinerary, contact list, and leader biographies—will be sent approximately one month prior to your departure.
The electrical current in South Africa is 220V or 230V/50Hz with plug-type M.
However, as there is insufficient electricity available at the permanent tented camps to power appliances, we ask that you not take them on safari. There will be facilities for recharging camera and video batteries at the camps. At these locations, you will need to bring a European, round, two-prong adapter and a converter if your equipment is not compatible for charging 220V electricity.
Flights to and from your home city are not included in the cost of expeditions; however, Zegrahm Expeditions has a fully-staffed air department that can assist you with flight arrangements.
You will need to purchase airfare from your home city/Cape Town, South Africa and Hoedspruit/ Johannesburg/home city. For more detailed information, please contact our in-house Air Department for fare quotes, reservations, or other air-related questions.
A yellow fever vaccination is required for travelers having transited within 10 days through a country with the risk of yellow fever transmission. Please see the World Health Organization’s website for a list of yellow fever endemic countries at http://www.who.int/ith/ITH_country_list.pdf.
Malaria prophylaxis is strongly recommended for travelers to southern Africa and Chloroquine resistant P. falciparum has been reported. Malaria is widespread, but with a few basic precautions it is easy to avoid. Please consult with your physician about theprophylaxisoption that is best for you.
Insect bites can be a problem, and we urge you to bring an adequate supply of both insect repellent and bite relief products.
Protect yourself against the heat and the strong sun. Drink plenty of fluids whenever you can, not just when you are thirsty. By preventing dehydration, you may prevent a range of medical problems associated with traveling. Take precautions to avoid over exposure to the sun. Bring a sun hat with a wide brim or scarf, sunglasses, and a high-SPF sunscreen.
In case of serious injury or illness while traveling, it is important to understand that satisfactory medical facilities may not exist nearby. Should you require emergency medical care, it may be necessary to depart the country by international medical evacuation services. The cost of your expedition includes $100,000 in emergency evacuation and $25,000 in medical expense. Details of this policy are available online at www.travelguard.com/zegrahm .
The information herein is a guideline and is subject to change without notice. Contact your physician or local health center for current and other information concerning health precautions, immunizations, and prescriptions based on your physical condition and medical history.
Internet & Phone
Your final documentation will include emergency contact information, including phone and fax numbers as well as email addresses. Please note that due to the remote nature of the area you will be traveling, you will not have access to communication. Should your family need to reach you, they can contact our local operator who will get messages to the camp as soon as possible. It is highly unlikely you will have cell service during this departure. Iridum phones have been known to work on occasion but are not reliable.
Following are local times that apply to this expedition when it is 7:00 a.m. on the North American west coast:
|7:00a.m.||Seattle, WA (PST)|
|10:00a.m.||New York, NY (EST)|
|4:00p.m.||South Africa (SAST)|
Professional cooks prepare the food on all safaris. South Africans pride themselves on delicious, full-bodied, hearty meals. All safari camps also feature a fully stocked bar. All beverages are included on game drives and boat trips, as well as complimentary beer and house wines at lunch and dinner. Additional beverages are not included in the cost of the program.
Should you have any dietary needs, please let us know on the Personal Information Form included with the Pre-Departure packet, and we will do our best to prepare for them. Unfortunately, kosher meals cannot be accommodated.
It is essential to maximize the versatility of your travel wardrobe by packing clothing that can be layered. Wash-and-wear, lightweight, natural fabrics are recommended. As you pack, consider your own internal thermostat and personal tastes and adjust accordingly.
Laundry service is available for an additional fee, and by using it you can limit yourself to just three or four outfits and not be inconvenienced by an overabundance of clothing. Please note that due to cultural reasons, some of the camps you will be visiting do not launder undergarments. In these cases, there will be soap in your accommodation for hand washing.
Rugged, lightweight, comfortable, and casual clothing that can be layered is most suitable. Bring light materials (denim is discouraged). You will be traveling during the green season and should expect the occasional shower. A lightweight jacket will be needed for mornings and evenings.
Dress in the safari camps and in the lodges is casual and informal. Your clothes for safari should be in neutral, muted colors such as tan, khaki, and bush green. Navy blue and black can attract insects, and bright colors like white, orange, and red should be avoided, as they alert wildlife to our presence and can cause them to shy away. Camouflage-patterned clothing is not allowed as it is associated with the military; your hat should also be neutral colored.
For protection against insect bites, long pants and long-sleeved shirts are useful as well. Bring along insect repellent with a high concentration of DEET. You may also consider permethrin spray, which can be applied directly on to your clothing before departure and lasts up to three washings, or clothing with insect-repellent already bonded to the fabric, such as Buzz Off clothing.
Prepare yourself for hot weather, strong sun, and cool mornings and evenings. Bring adequate sun protective clothing and gear. Wear hats and use sun block as we will be out for extended periods of time. Comfortable walking or jogging shoes or lightweight hiking boots are suitable. You may welcome a change to more casual shoes for evenings. Thongs or sports sandals, such as Tevas, can double as slippers. You may also want to pack a swimsuit, as some of our lodging will have swimming pools.
Passport & Visa Requirements
A valid passport is required for participation in this program. It must be valid for at least 30 days after date of departure from South Africa. If you do not have a passport, or if it is not valid for the correct length of time, you should apply for one as soon as possible. You need to have a minimum of two blank pages available for entry/exit stamps in your passport. As of January 1, 2016, the US State Department has eliminated the application to insert additional pages into your passport. If you require additional pages, a new passport must be obtained. We suggest that you carry extra passport photos and a photocopy of your passport’s information page when you travel.
Visas are not required of US citizens if visiting for 90 days or less.
If you are traveling independently of the group or to any other countries prior to or after the expedition check the entry and visa requirements with the local consulates of each country you plan on visiting.
PLEASE NOTE: Nationals of countries other than the US should check with the nearest consulates for specific visa and entry requirements for their entire itinerary, including both the group arrangements and any travel prior to or after the program.
Payments & Cancellations
A deposit totaling 25% of the expedition fare will reserve a place for you on this Zegrahm program. The balance of the expedition fare is due 120 days prior to departure. Airfare is due at the time tickets are issued. All prices are quoted in US dollars and must be paid in US dollars.
Cancellation & Refund Policy
Notification of cancellation must be received in writing by Zegrahm. At the time we receive your written cancellation, the following penalties will apply:
- 180 days or more prior to departure: $750 per person
- 120 through 179 days prior to departure: 25% of expedition fare
- 1 through 119 days prior to departure: 100% of expedition fare
Please note, fees associated with cancelled airline tickets are in addition to this and will be clearly outlined for you on your flight itinerary.
Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance
We strongly advise that all travelers purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance to protect themselves from an unforeseen emergency that may force you to cancel or leave an expedition while it is in progress. Information describing coverage will be sent to you upon receipt of your deposit for the expedition. Unfortunately we are unable to offer insurance to guests residing outside the United States.
Please be aware that this safari may take you into close contact with wild animals. Attacks by wild animals are extremely rare to travelers, but no safari into the African wilderness can guarantee that this will not occur. Please note that the camps are not fenced and animals do wander through the camps at all times. Neither Zegrahm Expeditions, nor any principal or employee, nor any agent or agency, can be held responsible for any injury or accident on the safari.
With Our Compliments
We are pleased to offer complimentary amenities to our explorers so they can be fully prepared before departing on one of our expeditions. Gift certificates to our Zegrahm Store and Longitude Books will offer you the opportunity to purchase gear from our store along with books or maps suggested in the highly recommended titles sent. The certificates will be sent in your Pre-Departure Packet approximately five months prior to departure. Please refer to the gift certificates for more details.