Best of South Africa & Vic Falls

South Africa

One of the most culturally and geographically diverse places on earth, South Africa, fondly known by locals as the 'Rainbow Nation', boasts 11 official languages, and its inhabitants are influenced by a fascinating mix of cultures. Discover the gourmet restaurants, impressive art scene, vibrant nightlife, and beautiful beaches of Cape Town; enjoy a local braai (barbecue) in the Soweto township; browse the bustling Indian markets in Durban, or sample some of the world’s finest wines at the myriad wine estates dotting the Cape Winelands. Some historical attractions to explore include the Zululand battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal, the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, and Robben Island, just off the coast of Cape Town. Above all else, its untamed wilderness is astonishing: wildlife roams freely across massive unfenced game reserves such as the world-famous Kruger National Park.


Banking and Currency

Currency

The currency is the Rand, which is divided into 100 cents. There are R200, R100, R50, R20 and R10 notes. Coins come in R5, R2, R1, 50c, 20c, 10c and 5c.

Banking

Banks are found in most towns, and are generally open from 09h00 to 15h30 on weekdays and 08h30 to 11h00 on Saturdays (Closed Sundays and Public Holidays). Most of them offer foreign exchange services - with cash, bank & credit cards as well as travellers cheques. You can also obtain cash from automatic teller machines (ATMs). Several international banks have branches in the main city centres. Always advise your bank that you are travelling outside of the country as they might block your purchases if they are not informed. 


Travel, Transport and Getting Around

Travelling around South Africa is relatively easy by air, road and rail.

Several‌ ‌airlines‌ ‌operate‌ ‌domestic‌ ‌routes‌ ‌with‌ ‌regular‌ ‌links‌ ‌between‌ ‌Johannesburg,‌ ‌Cape‌ ‌Town,‌ ‌Durban,‌ ‌George,‌ ‌Nelspruit‌ ‌and‌ ‌Port‌ ‌Elizabeth‌ ‌and‌ ‌relatively‌ ‌frequent‌ ‌flights‌ ‌to‌ ‌several‌ ‌smaller‌ ‌towns‌ ‌and‌ ‌cities‌ ‌too.‌ ‌

An extensive tarred road system makes travelling in South Africa by vehicle convenient and easy. You will find gravel roads in rural areas though. Please note that a valid international driver's licence is required. We drive on the left-hand side of the road. Most global car hire firms have branches in South Africa and Uber is available.

Another means of getting around South Africa are inter-city bus services. Metrobus buses are available for in-city transport. Metered taxis must be ordered by telephone.There is the popular MyCityBus system in Cape Town as well as a hop-on-hop-off tourist bus in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

The rail system includes the long-haul, inexpensive Shosholoza Meyl Metrorail trains and some more luxurious options are available. There is also the Gautrain rapid transit railway system in Gauteng Province.


Food, Drink and Cuisine Advice

Standards of hygiene in relation to food health and safety in South Africa, are generally high in hotels, restaurants, pubs and nightspots. Tap water in South Africa is safe to drink and cook with when taken from taps in urban areas. Not all tap water in rural areas is safe for consumption, so take precautions if necessary.

It is safe to eat fresh fruit, vegetables and salads, and put ice in your drinks. South Africa's fish, meat and chicken are of excellent quality, so there is no need to limit yourself when enjoying the local cuisine.

Restaurants are subject to South Africa's food safety control legislation, which is implemented by local government.  Regulations include certification and regular inspections by health inspectors to ensure hygienic standards are maintained.

Street food is not as common in South Africa as it is in other countries, although vendors selling traditional snacks and meals can be found in city centres and townships. Food safety in such instances cannot always be guaranteed.


Climate and Weather

South African temperatures, which are measured in centigrade, average at highs of 28°C to average lows of 8°C in the summer months while winter temperatures range from 1°C at night to around 18°C in the day.  Average annual rainfall is on the low side at under 500mm a year, making the country somewhat dry.  Much of the rain falls in the Western Cape in the winter, differing from the rest of the country, which experiences summer rainfall. On the plus side, the South African climate boasts more than its fair share of sunshine, recording an average of 8.5 hours a day.


Clothing and Dress Recommendations

Summer

Bring clothes that are cool, light and comfortable because summer temperatures can get well into the 30 - 40 degree Celsius range in some areas. Also bring an umbrella or raincoat during summer as this is when most of the country gets its rain, but don't forget a swimming costume (bathing suit).

Winter

The winters are generally mild, comparing favourably with European summers.  But there are days when temperatures dive, especially in high-lying areas such as the Drakensberg, so be prepared with jerseys and jackets. Cape Town gets its rain during the winter season so it’s advisable to bring rain gear along.

General

Always bring a hat, sunglasses and sunblock as the sun can be strong even in the winter months.

Walking shoes are a good idea all year-round, with warm socks in the winter.

If you are doing business in the country, business attire  (suit and tie) is generally called for in the corporate sector, but media for example generally dress more casually.

For game viewing, a couple of neutral-toned items will be useful, but there's no need to go overboard. A good pair of walking shoes is also advisable.

For the evening, if you are dining at an upmarket restaurant or seeing a show, smart-casual attire is recommended.


Internet Availability

Most accommodation offer Wifi (free or paid) in their business centres, rooms or restaurants. Internet cafes are found in most business areas and shopping malls. In addition, some South African restaurants offer WiFi access (free or paid).

There are also outlets such as PostNet that offer internet, fax and postage facilities.  


Electricity and Plug Standards

Electrical sockets in the Republic of South Africa are Type M (SABS-1661).  If your appliance's plug doesn't match the shape of these sockets, you will need a travel plug adapter in order to plug in. Travel plug adapters simply change the shape of your appliance's plug to match whatever type of socket you need to plug into. If it's crucial to be able to plug in no matter what, bring an adapter for all types.

Electrical sockets in South Africa usually supply electricity at 230 volts AC / 50 Hz frequency. If you're plugging in an appliance that was built for 230 volt electrical input, or an appliance that is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need. If your appliance isn’t compatible with 230 volts, a voltage converter will be necessary.


Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is a landlocked southern African country. The country is blessed with fertile soils, mineral wealth and spectacular scenery. It is in the northern wilder parks that we operate the Grand Wing Safari of Southern Africa. The Zambezi has an exceptional variety of spectacular scenery as well as one of the world’s natural wonders, the Victoria Falls. The National parks along the Zambezi are legendary. Mana Pools and the Matusadona are located on the flood plains of Africa’s Great Rift Valley and offer superb game viewing.

Along the Botswana border, the easternmost tongues of the Kalahari sands creep into the country and mix with the Teak forests of the interior. Desert adapted animals live in the same habitat as the woodland species. Hwange National Park is home to some of Africa’s last great Elephant, Buffalo, and Sable herds. The area also offers Zimbabwe’s best summer game viewing. Zimbabwean National Parks are safe and still offer one of the most superb wildlife experiences today. 


Entry Requirements

All travelers will be required to have a PCR Covid 19 clearance certificate issued by a recognized facility within 48 hours of departure.

  


Banking and Currency

Currency

Zimbabwe accepts the US Dollar.


Travel, Transport and Getting Around

  • Game Drive tracks and Roads

In the National Parks that you will visit we do not have formal roads. Instead we have tracks that enhance the experience.


Health and Medical Information

  • Smoking Policy

We have a very strict no-smoking policy at all meals, lounges, and aircrafts and on safari vehicles. In fact anywhere where there is a fire hazard. If you are a smoker, we will have “smoke breaks” on the drives. We ask that you respect this policy and thank you in advance for your cooperation.

MEDICAL EVACUATION PROCEDURE

In the event that a guest needs to be evacuated, we deal and work with MARS ( Medical Air Rescue Service ) once the guest has been transferred to the nearest PRIVATE MEDICAL CLINIC, a senior member of Zontanos Travel & Safari will be present and available to the guest 24/7 at the medical facility to assist with the procedure of evacuation to where the Insurance allows. Allowing comfort and peace of mind to our valued guest or guests.

There is internet connection in all the safari camps and lodges with a backup of a satellite phone. GPS coordinates are available at each camp and lodge.

Depending on the nature of the emergency, the Trip leader has a file for each guest on the safari with all required information such as medical insurance documentation, allergies, dietary requirements etc in the event that a guest is not able to respond, so that all relevant information is at hand to hand over to the  medical rescue service which will take the guest off our hands.

The guest will be evacuated to the nearest PRIVATE CLINIC or medical center. They will then arrange the evacuation to wherever the medical insurance allows.

Please do note that all our guests HAVE TO TAKE OUT medical insurance for this very purpose of a possible evacuation.

All of our Professional guides are trained in Advanced First Aid.

 


Safety Notices

  • Animals around the Camps

There are no walls or fences around the camps and lodges you will visit. Animals do wander sometimes through the camps. Please listen to your guide’s instructions and keep your accommodation doors closed. Flashlights are provided in all guest rooms. Use them!

  • Environmental Standards

We are driven to ensure that whatever we do NEVER compromises the integrity of the reserves and that all our actions ad value, enhance and protect these wonderful parks.

We are committed to the development of tourism through sustainable engagement: Around 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity can be found on only 5% of the earth’s crust. The key to continued species diversity on the planet is to be found in the sustainable protection of this 5% - the areas known as environmental “hot-spots”. These are the areas of extremely high species diversity that are found nowhere on earth. The core philosophy of Zontanos Travel and Safari is to run a good business ensuring that Zimbabwe’s most pristine wildernesses, wildlife areas and cultural heritage remain sustainably protected, whilst delivering a great experience for our guests and fair returns for shareholders and stakeholders. Zontanos Travel and Safari must help protect and nurture these wild places and our environmental hotspots. The benefits of sustainable tourism through this model (Dividends, cash. Jobs, Training and community up-liftment)

Minimum standards are designed to set out the way we should be conducting our business so as to minimize the effect on the environment whilst maximizing the benefits to guests, ourselves and our country.


Food, Drink and Cuisine Advice

  • Meals

We prefer to opt for good, wholesome home styled cooking at elegantly set tables where guests can discuss and debate the day’s events with their fellow travelers, guides and hosts. The meals are geared around the best game viewing times and the activities to a specific camp or lodge. In game viewing areas we generally don’t return to camp at 8am just to have breakfast. We would rather be out in the field enjoying the fauna and flora when the viewing and morning light are at their best. The meal times take this into account. We abandon the traditional three meals a day routine. We start off at first light with a very quick continental breakfast of juices, tea, coffee plus a quick bowl of cereal or toast – and then we are off in the vehicles. We usually return at around 10am for a large “brunch”.  High tea is provided before the afternoon activity. On return to camp a hearty dinner is enjoyed.

Please do warn us upon making your booking on any special dietary requirements to give us time to prepare for this in advance.


Climate and Weather

In Zimbabwe, the rains come principally in DecemberJanuary,February and March; the further north you are, the earlier the precipitation arrives and the later it leaves. Zimbabwe's higher eastern areas usually receive more rainfall than the lower-lying western ones.

By April and May most of the rain is gone, leaving a verdant setting, which is starting to dry out. Especially in more southerly and higher locations, the night-time temperatures start to drop.

The nights in JuneJuly and August become much cooler, so don't forget to bring some warmer clothes, in case you want to spend an evening outside; the days are still clear and warm. For Zimbabwe, this is the start of the 'peak season'– days are often cloudless and game sightings continually increase.

Into September and October the temperatures rise once again: Zimbabwe's lower-lying rift valley – Mana Pools – can get very hot in October. During this time, you'll see some fantastic game, as the Zimbabwe's wildlife concentrates around the limited water sources.

November is unpredictable; it can be hot and dry, it can also see the season's first rainfalls – and in this respect it's a very interesting month, as on successive days, you can see both weather patterns.


Clothing and Dress Recommendations

  • Guided Safari

This is a special interest safari. The guides know the areas intimately and you will be privately guided to enhance your safari. The real benefit of this service is that your guide will soon get to know what your interests and needs are. These privately guided safaris are our finest. All of our guides are dedicated professionals in the field. These superb guides can turn a good safari into a great safari with their exceptional all-round skills. Their enthusiasm is a natural spin off of their way of life that rubs off on to their guest’s experiences in Africa. Please ensure that you bring water tight protective gear for your camera equipment whilst viewing the Victoria Falls. The rain forest can get you drenched with the spray of the water. A Raincoat and open shoes is important.


Internet Availability

Internet availability is very limited especially outside of the major cities. 

Most holiday accommodation venues offer internet and/or WiFi (free or paid) to their guests but there are often disruptions in service.


Electricity and Plug Standards

Electrical sockets in the Republic of Zimbabwe are Type G (BS-1363) and Type C (CEE 7/16 Europlug) and Type D (BS-546).  If your appliance's plug doesn't match the shape of these sockets, you will need a travel plug adapter in order to plug in. Travel plug adapters simply change the shape of your appliance's plug to match whatever type of socket you need to plug into. If it's crucial to be able to plug in no matter what, bring an adapter for all types.

Electrical sockets usually supply electricity at 230 volts AC / 50 Hz frequency.  If you're plugging in an appliance that was built for 230 volt electrical input, or an appliance that is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need. If your appliance isn’t compatible with 230 volts, a voltage converter will be necessary.


General Guidance

  • Luggage Restrictions

On all the- inter camp transfers, space and safety concerns don’t allow for lots of baggage. So we have a strict 12kg limit on all flights. All bags must be soft to allow us to squeeze them into tight corners. 12kg does not sound like much but as the dress code in the camps is usually casual and all camps and lodges offer a laundry service (Weather permitting) 12kg is ample. If you have to have more baggage then we can usually sell you an extra seat on each flight (seat availability permitting) which will allow your extra baggage within reason. We cannot afford to take a chance on safety. If you your baggage exceeds the 12 kg limit and you have not made arrangements with us for your extra luggage, it will result in some of your luggage being left behind and you will need to arrange at considerable extra cost and inconvenience to yourself.

The 12 kg per person includes camera equipment and hand luggage or carry-on baggage.


back to top