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South Africa is a large, diverse and incredibly beautiful country. It is located on the southern tip of the African continent, bordered by northern neighbours Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique in the east. It encloses the independent mountain kingdoms of Lesotho and Swaziland and is flanked by the Atlantic Ocean on the west and the warm Indian Ocean on the east.
Best travel time:
South Africa enjoys a temperate and pleasant climate, with warm sunny days most of the year and it is a year round destination so when you visit depends on what you intend and prefer to do. The best time for game viewing is in early spring (August to October) before rainy season starts again and the lush green comes back to the bush. The southern right whales can be seen off our coasts from June to the end of November, and the humpback whales from August to December. Cape Town and the Garden Route coastal belt have a so-called Mediterranean climate, moderated by winds blowing in from the South Atlantic. In general: It is a year-round destination, since it is close to the equator, and "Claudia Schnell Safaris" can advise you individually.
Foreign visitors / Visa:
Most visitors to South Africa (e.g. Nationals of the EU, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) receive a 90 day tourist/travel visa. As long as you carry a passport that is valid for at least six months and with at least two empty pages you will be granted a temporary visitor's permit.
Depending on your nationality (if not mentioned above), and the purpose and duration of your visit, you might check with the South African embassy before you leave your country. An international list of South African Embassies and their contact information can be found on: www.rainbownation.com. or more info on www.southafrica.info.
Malaria & health recommendations:
Malaria is endemic throughout the Kruger National Park and surrounding provinces like Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Kwazulu Natal. Please consult your doctor with regards to a good, suitable malarial prophylaxis e.g. with Malarone or Doxycycline. Best of all is to minimize your contact with mosquitoes by using repellent lotions, sticks or sprays such as 'Tabard' or 'Peaceful Sleep', etc. You can find more information about malaria on the internet: www.malaria.org.
No international immunisation is needed when entering South Africa. However there are recommendation for travellers: Hepatitis A, Polio, Tetanus-diphtheria (Revaccination recommended every 10 years). In risk areas like Tanzania, Zambia, Somalia, Eritrea, or Sao: Hepatitis B, Yellow Fever, Rabies vaccination. Please consult your doctor before departure.
South African time:
South Africa does not change its clocks during the year, and there are no regional variations within the country. South African Standard Time is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT +2), one hour ahead of Central European Winter Time, and seven hours ahead of the USA's Eastern Standard Winter Time.
English is spoken everywhere you go - all over the country. All our road signs and official forms are in English and at any hotel, Bed and Breakfast or Guest House, the service staff will speak to you in English.
However, there are 11 official languages including English, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda and Zulu and you will find different dialects in different provinces of SA.
Credit Cards / ATM:
The South African currency is the Rand: 1 Rand (R)=100 cents (c). Notes issued R200, R100, R50, R20, R10; coins R5, R2, R1, 50c 20c, 10c, 5c. For up to date currency conversions, visit: www.xe.com. You will find in all bigger towns access to Auto banks (ATM's, automated teller machines) with you credit card and purchase items with your debit/savings card.
Telephone / Cell phone:
You will find landlines all over South Afrika, the country code is +27. If you have international roaming activated before you leave home, your cell phone will automatically switch on to the South African Vodacom/MTN service. Alternatively you can purchase a South African SIM for your mobile phone or an international calling card.
If you wish to make a call overseas, you must first dial 00, which is South Africa's international access code followed by the country code of the country you want to call. You will find a list here:www.countrycode.org.
All over South Africa you will find 220/230 volts AC at 50 cycles per second. Three pronged plugs are universal, so take an adapter or buy one at the airport, in supermarkets, etc. Most hotel rooms have 110 volt outlets for electric shavers and small appliances.
As South Africa is a developing country, crime does exist, so we would advise you to take a few basic precautions: Valuables should be carried discreetly when walking in cities - common sense is required! All valuables, passports, cameras, should be locked in the safe of your hotel. Gold and other expensive items offered for sale by street vendors are likely to be fakes or stolen property.
Tipping / Gratuities:
Tipping is customary in South Africa. A guideline for visitors is the following: Porters R5 per item, taxis 10%, waiters and waitresses in restaurants 10-15%.
In the reserve you might come across elephants, buffalos, lions or rhinos. Please remain in your car, stay calm and give them ample space and their way.
We have intermittent cell phone reception at the lodge (best will be MTN) but no Wifi.
All rooms accommodate a maximum of two persons.
All Lodge buildings and facilities are completely NON-SMOKING, outside smoking is however permitted.
There are no Bank Card and /or Credit Card facilities at our premises.
For self-drive guests: Usage of a 4x4 car is not required to get to our lodge, but please avoid coming in with cars with very low clearance height.
For overseas guests: You can withdraw money with your EC-Card/Credit Card and PIN from every ATM machine – and you also can pay with your EC-Card/Credit Card in many SA shops.
For guests flying in: Please remove all valuables from your hand-luggage should the flight attended ask you to stow your hand-luggage in the airplanes hull.
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