A trip to Africa is on a lot of bucket lists. For many people, the continent seems majestic and mysterious yet dangerous and uncharted. Much of what you know about Africa is what you see in the media, a land of lions and giraffes, war and poverty. The Africa we know and love is a land of beauty and wonder that we at Cape Prosperous have now dedicated our life’s sharing with travelers. Many of those we work with are planning a first trip to Africa and have a plethora of questions, from where to stay, when to go, what to pack and more.
We have chosen a list of few most frequently asked questions that we are often pressed with from those with a desire to travel to South Africa. We pride ourselves on our knowledge of the land and culture and strive to educate travelers on the essence of Africa.
We encourage our clients to plan their South African trip as far in advance as possible; several months at a minimum to ensure a better selection of accommodation availability. This is especially important if you are planning to travel during the “high season” months
Most of the African trips organized for our clients are 100 percent customized to their individual interests, timeframe and budget. The rates for the destinations we offer cover a wide range and typically vary significantly from the “high season” (Summer season) to the “low season” (Winter season).
Africa’s biggest enemy is the international media who represent all 46 African countries as a single entity and not as unique and individual countries with their own characteristics.
It would come as a surprise to many people to find out that there are in fact areas that are worse off in more developed countries than in the “dangerous” African countries. No country can claim to be 100% safe, and so as with travel to any new or unknown destination, it is advisable to take certain standard security precautions. Visitors should take the same precautions as they would normally take in any other destination worldwide. Keep an eye on your purses, wallets, passports, money and cameras when walking in a crowd. Avoid walking in the cities at night alone and place valuables in your hotel safe. Choosing a knowledgeable operator such as Cape Prosperous as your specialist tour operator is the best move you could make.
First, let’s define the regions. In terms of wildlife safaris, Southern Africa includes South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia while East Africa is essentially Kenya and Tanzania. Meanwhile, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and The Democratic Republic of the Congo, all destinations popular for gorilla tracking safaris, are generally considered Central Africa. Malawi and Zambia are also sometimes classified as Central Africa.
In terms of landscapes and attractions, the regions are quite different. East Africa boasts Mount Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti Plains/Maasai Mara ecosystem and the Ngorongoro Crater. Southern Africa includes Botswana’s Okavango Delta wetland, the Skeleton Coast and Namib Desert of Namibia, the miles of coastline with diverse habitats and the Kruger National Park of South Africa, the semi-arid Kalahari Desert of Botswana and northern South Africa and the lower Zambezi River basin including Victoria Falls along the borders of Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Botswana and Zimbabwe are home to 80% of Southern Africa’s 300,000 elephants and huge herds are a common sight along their northern borders.
The major differences between East Africa and Southern Africa for safaris are the density of tourists, the safari accommodations and the safari vehicles. East Africa, in general, has earned a reputation for a high density of tourists staying in hotel-styled lodges. The most common safari vehicle in East Africa is the mini-van with its pop-up roof, whereby passengers stand up to take pictures while peering out of the roof or sit in the enclosed vans. Conversely, Southern Africa is known for its luxury tented safari camps and huge tracts of wilderness areas with very low tourist densities, making for a private safari experience. The safari vehicles used here are modified, open-air Land Rovers which also add to the intimacy of the experience.
As vaccination requirements change on occasion, we recommend that you check with your local doctor or health department for the latest health precautions. The most important health consideration in Southern Africa is malaria and it is strongly recommended that prophylactics (i.e., oral tablets) be taken as a preventative precaution. You are not legally required to have any vaccinations unless you are traveling from a region where yellow fever is prevalent, in which case an inoculation will be required against the disease.
Yes. Insurance should include coverage of cancellation or curtailment of the trip to Africa, emergency evacuation expenses, medical expenses, repatriation expenses and damage/theft/loss of personal baggage, money and goods.
We are confident that you have chosen one of the best tour companies in Africa and we will go out of our way to prove it. A great attitude, an open mind and being well-prepared ensures that your prosperous holiday is a trip of a lifetime.
We will provide you with as much information about our tours as possible but please feel free to contact us directly if there is anything specific at all that you’d like more information on. Keep in mind that you are in Africa. Standards and services should not be compared with first world countries. You came here to get away from all that – to experience Africa as it really is. The unexpected is included in your tour – free of charge! Bring your cameras and capture the moments as you remember them more than the days. We make every effort to ensure that this document is up to date, but it should be noted that sudden changes in the operational conditions might result in changes to this information. To the best of our knowledge all of the information is as accurate as possible, however it must be accepted that various details are subject to change according to local conditions of which you will be informed as soon as possible after Cape Prosperous Tours have been informed thereof.
How much spending money you need is very individual and depends on how much you eat (excluding the meals provided), drink and shop. When deciding how much money to bring please also take into account what optional activities you anticipate doing.
The safest way of having money in foreign currency when you travel is by using a debit/credit card from your country. Please ensure that you alert your bank that you will be travelling across
Be sure to check your pre-departure documents for information regarding malaria risk areas. Consult a physician regarding appropriate precautions, depending on the time of year you will be travelling. The most important defenses against malaria are:
Please take note, when it comes to passports and visas, we can only give guidelines. It is the responsibility of each traveller to check and confirm the exact requirements for your travels. But here are some steps to follow:
Step 1: Check that your current passport is valid.
Travellers need to check that their passports are valid for at least 90 days following their departure date from most African Countries. To play it safe – we advise that the passport needs to be valid for at least six months at the time of travel.
Step 2: Make sure your passport has a blank visa page.
It is best to have at least two pages open in your passport for potential visas during your travels.
Step 3: Confirm whether you need a transit visa for flight connections.
Check your flight details and consult with the relevant airline to see whether you need visas for any countries you may be passing through.
Step 4: Always travel with copies of your passport and relevant visas.
Make sure your documents are safe at all times. It may be a good measure to give copies of your passports and visas to your group leader for safekeeping too.
Most of your accommodation will have Internet access, whether via Wi-Fi or computers on site. This is not always free however, but it is a good option to stay in touch with family and friends. Travelers could also look into a sim card for their phone, although some regions may have registration requirements (including proof of residential address).
We believe it’s important that travellers prepare themselves mentally before they visit a new country, especially when it comes to community or environmental service during our various programmes. It is important to respect the culture and environment you visit.
Here are our three tips for ethical travel in Africa:
We choose our suppliers carefully to ensure a value for money experience of high quality. Depending on the budget of the group and the type of tour, we book accommodation ranging from camping, lodges, guesthouses, economy chalets to hotels. On tours where we make use of hotels, we aim to accommodate groups in twin and in some cases triple rooms, with en-suite bathrooms as far as possible. Our suppliers are also chosen based on long-term relationships, and are known for their good service and safety.
All Lodges, Guesthouses and Hotels have laundry facilities
Please ask the guide to stop if you would like to take photos at any time, as everyone’s photo requirements are different. Please remember we are guests in the countries we visit and respect local customs and feelings. Certain tribes in Southern and
Central Africa does not allow their picture taken so please ask your guides before photographing whether it is permissible or not. You
may also have to pay a nominal fee to take photos of some local people (especially Masaai).
Tap water undergoes treatment, which ensures it is free of harmful micro-organisms and contaminants, however you are always welcome to purchase Mineral Still Water. On Tours we provide Mineral Still and Sparkling water
There is a First Aid Kit on all our fleet, which is available in case of an emergency. The guides will not use the kit as a dispensary and we strongly recommend that you take a personal medical kit. All of our guides are qualified in First Aid.
The guide has authority if no team leader has been assigned on tour at all times and this includes decisions regarding the safety of our guests on tour. It is important that you inform us of any medical conditions or prescription drugs that you are taking such as diabetes or asthma etc. as we are sometimes miles away from the nearest medical assistance.