Flights & Transfers
- Flights between Tanzania and South Africa will likely require multiple stops and an overnight in a connecting city.
- You may need to adhere to the 33 lb. baggage limit, including both your soft-sided duffel and small carry-on bag, on your internal and inter-Africa flights. Please check with your trip manager to confirm.
- Travel time from Northern Tanzania to South Africa is typically around 7-10 hours, not including time allotted for layovers.
- If your trip to southern Africa also includes Victoria Falls, flights from Victoria Falls to South Africa are around 2 hours.
- Upon arrival in South Africa, please look out for a placard that says “Thomson Safaris.”
Immigration and Entry Requirements
- All U.S. and Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least six months after your return date.
- For U.S. citizens, tourist visas are not required for entry into South Africa for visits less than 90 days.
- Adults traveling out of the U.S. with children under the age of 18 should be aware that Customs and Border Protection strongly recommends that, unless the child is accompanied by both parents, the adult should have a notarized letter from the child’s other parent or guardian stating “I acknowledge that my wife/husband/etc. is traveling out of the country with my son/daughter. He/She/They has/have my permission to do so.” In South Africa, specifically, you will be required to present the child’s original birth certificate or a notarized copy thereof.
- Please visit https://za.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information-2/ for the latest COVID-19 related requirements for travel to South Africa.
Weather and Climate
- The South African climate can be highly variable depending on the season, latitude, elevation and proximity to the coast.
- Southern regions tend to be warm, dry and sunny in the summer, and more mild and wet in the winter.
- The interior plateau is temperate, and the northeast (where Kruger National Park is located) is subtropical.
- In general, average daily temperatures from December through March (Austral summer) range between 50˚F and 90˚F, while those in June and July (Austral winter) range between 30˚F and 65˚F.
- While at present there are no required immunizations for entering South Africa from the U.S., Europe or Tanzania, you should consult your medical provider for the most current advice. Plan ahead and keep your basic shots up-to-date. Some inoculations must be administered serially over a period of time, and others cannot be given together.
- In addition to malaria, which is present, you may wish to discuss further health precautions with your travel doctor.
- If you are traveling from a Yellow Fever endemic country, you may be required to provide proof of Yellow Fever vaccination upon entering the country. Please discuss this requirement with your doctor.
- Some roads are quite curvy, especially in the higher terrain and on the coast of South Africa. If you are prone to motion sickness, consider packing the appropriate medicine.
- The electrical systems in southern Africa operate at between 220 and 240 volts (50 Hz).
- A multi-plug adapter set, available in most electronics stores (and larger airports), will include a current converter and every plug type you’ll need.
Essential Physical Considerations
- There are ample opportunities for hiking throughout South Africa. Some of the trails in the south (e.g., Cape Town) are moderately steep and uneven. On safari in the north, the terrain is not as steep but trails may be nonexistent while walking in the bush. Shoes with relatively good ankle support are highly recommended.
Money & Valuables
- The currency of South Africa is the Rand.
- Major credit cards are accepted virtually everywhere in South Africa. Let your credit card company or bank know you will be traveling abroad so that they don’t “freeze” your account due to what they might perceive to be suspicious activity.
- ATMs are easily accessible in South Africa. Wherever available, they are the most convenient and economical means for getting cash in the local currencies. Feel free to ask your driver or guide for suggestions about the amount of cash you might need on a given day and where to access it.
- In South Africa, a service charge is usually included in the bills at restaurants, so tipping is not necessary. If a service charge is not included, a tip of 10% is typical.
- Tips for your private drivers/guides are not included in the cost of the trip itself. We hold all of our in-country partners to the highest standards of excellence. While tipping is entirely discretionary, if you feel you have received services that are worthy of those standards, please refer to your tipping guidelines.
- You should exercise the same precautions while traveling in these countries that you would in any unfamiliar places. Stay vigilant against pickpockets and bag snatchers in congested areas, especially those frequented by tourists, such as airports, market places and crowded streets.
- We recommend that you do not purchase souvenirs from street hawkers. Be wary of con artists. Your guide can advise you on the safest places to visit. While it’s easy to be distracted by new sights and sounds, you should be aware of aggressive drivers and unfamiliar traffic patterns. Please rely on your guide should you have any questions or concerns regarding security.
- The tap water in South Africa is treated and safe to drink.
- The sun is very strong, especially in northern South Africa. Be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen with a minimum SPF rating of 30, and reapply often. Don’t forget your lips and the tops of your feet if you wear sandals. A hat with a wide brim is also a good idea.
- Always carry a small supply (not a spray can) of repellent in your pocket or day pack and apply it as needed. Insect repellents containing up to 30% DEET are generally effective and can be applied to either your bare skin, or to clothing, including hats.