|9 Apr 2018||The Kingdom Hotel||Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe)||4 nights||B&B|
|13 Apr 2018||Chobe Safari Lodge||Kasane||3 nights|
|16 Apr 2018||The Oyster Box||Umhlanga||7 nights||B&B|
Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe)
Victoria Falls is one of the world’s most impressive waterfalls. It is set on the magnificent Zambezi River which creates the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. These spectacular falls can be easily visited and viewed from the Zimbabwean side. Considered to be the world’s widest waterfalls, Victoria Falls measures an impressive 1708 metres in width. The small town of Victoria Falls, which lies adjacent to the waterfalls, serves as a great base from which to explore the many attractions this area of Zimbabwe has to offer. The surrounding area provides a wide range of adrenalin-filled activities for adventure lovers. Visitors can look forward to an array of wonderful activities including: scenic flights, micro lighting, white water rafting, bungee jumping, kayaking, and once-in-a-lifetime expeditions into the incredible Chobe National Park.
Tucked away in the northeastern corner of Botswana, on the banks of the famous Chobe River, the scenic little town of Kasane rests on the doorstep of the spectacular Chobe National Park. There are no boundary fences separating the village from the park and game such as elephant and hippo are often spotted roaming around the town. If on the lookout for elusive game, pay a visit to the Sedudu Valley Road, where large dead trees provide temporary homes for leopards. Within Kasane, an ancient baobab tree stands on display, once serving as a local prison. Visitors can look forward to a multitude of activities including: enjoying a game drive through the park, taking a sunset cruise down the Chobe River, visiting a local village or jumping on a day trip to the breathtaking Victoria Falls.
Located on the eastern coast of South Africa, just outside of the port city of Durban, Umhlanga Rocks, also referred to as Umhlanga, is a popular seaside resort town. The tropical weather and lush vegetation make this an enticing holiday destination attracting visitors from all over the world. Umhlanga and its surrounds feature golden-sand beaches stretching over 200 kilometres, endless sugarcane fields and the rolling verdant landscape of the Valley of 1000 Hills. It is the perfect location for ocean enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers alike, with great opportunities for diving, swimming, scuba diving, whale watching, dolphin viewing, deep sea fishing and kiteboarding. Don’t miss Umhlanga’s excellent golf courses; they are a real treat for the avid golfer.
A nation of spectacular natural beauty, friendly people and rich culture, Zimbabwe’s status as one of Africa’s leading safari destinations was dampened for years by its political instability. But now that the country is transcending its strife and returning to a state of equilibrium, it is once again emerging as a vacation highlight of the continent. Victoria Falls – known to locals as ‘The Smoke That Thunders’ – is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and the sheer power of this massive body of water plunging into the Zambezi Gorge is awe-inspiring and unforgettable. Lake Kariba, with its game-rich shores and islands, is an idyllic safari spot featuring mind-blowing sunsets; Hwange National Park is known for its huge herds of elephants; and a kayak trip down the Zambezi through the Mana Pools National Park will appeal to the intrepid traveller, providing close encounters with crocodiles, hippos and a host of other wildlife.
US dollars are universally accepted as well as South African rands, euros and pounds sterling.
The official currency of Zimbabwe is the Zimbabwe dollar (ZWL). This currency is in the form of *Bond Notes and **RTGS (real time gross settlement). The currency consists of bond coins and banknotes, with denominations including 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 bond coins, as well as 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 dollar banknotes. The currency was reintroduced in 2019 and even though the Zimbabwean dollar is still accepted and in circulation, the US dollar is the dominant currency.
It's important to note that exchange rates and the use and value of the Zimbabwean dollar can fluctuate, so it's advisable to check with official exchange bureaus, banks, or financial institutions for the most up-to-date information and rates for travel to Zimbabwe.
Banks in Zimbabwe are open for business Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 08h00 to 15h00, on Wednesdays from 08h00 to 13h00 and Saturdays from 08h00 to 11h30. They are closed on Sundays and Public Holidays.
Only VISA and MasterCard are accepted in Zimbabwe, however it should be noted that very limited facilities will have credit card machines, and the connection is not always reliable so it is advisable to carry cash as back up.
Taxis are safe and reliable, and can be booked through your hotel front desk. Taxis in cities travel within a 40km radius of the city. Always take a taxi at night.
Major airlines fly into Victoria Falls, Harare and Bulawayo. Charter flights are available to most attractions and camps.
Zimbabwe has a good road infrastructure, by African standards, although potholed. Between major towns, there are frequent road blocks. Traffic drives on the left side of the road.
If you are driving yourself around Zimbabwe, be sure to check on fuel availability in advance. If you are covering long distances within the country, ensure you carry extra fuel in 5 or 10lt metal containers in case of emergency. Fuel is generally available, but supply can fluctuate. Fuel is only available for cash.
When in Zimbabwe the cardinal rule is to wear casual, comfortable clothes during the day as temperatures can get very hot. It is advisable to wear light loose-fitting clothing, such as cotton or linen, as they are cool and easy to wash. Warmer clothes are advised for the evenings and rainwear for the wet season.
A brimmed hat and sunglasses are a good idea year-round. Long-sleeved shirts and long trousers will also guard against the scorching sun rays. It is recommended you wear light shoes, especially if your itinerary entails a lot of walking.
For safaris, please remember to wear appropriate clothing and shoes. Earth colour clothes, such as browns, greens and tans are advisable.
Zimbabwe's native cuisine is based on sadza, a cooked porridge made from ground maize which is normally accompanied by some tasty relish, perhaps made of meat and tomatoes, or dried fish. Safari camps will often prepare sadza if requested, and it is almost always available in small restaurants in the towns.
Camps, hotels and lodges that cater to overseas typically serve a variety international fare, and the quality of food prepared in the most remote bush camps is usually excellent.
If you are driving yourself around and plan to cook, then get most of your supplies in main towns. There are a number of South African shopping chains operating in Zimbabwe which will generally have all that you will need.
Water in the main towns is usually purified.. The locals drink it, and are used to the relatively innocuous bugs that it may harbour. If you are in the country for a long time, then it may be worth acclimatising yourself to it. However, if you are in Zimbabwe for just a short period of time, then try to drink only bottled, boiled, or treated water available in towns and from all camps, lodges and hotels.
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.
In Zimbabwe, the rains come principally in December, January,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 June, July 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.
Situated in the southern reaches of Africa, Botswana is renowned for its pristine wilderness areas characterised by deep lagoons, wetlands, lush palms, rugged hills and desert plains. The country’s primary tourist drawcard is undoubtedly the vast red expanse of the Kalahari Desert and its remarkably beautiful Okavango Delta, the largest inland delta in the world. These natural wonders provide a tranquil haven for an abundance of African wildlife to thrive. Other highlights include the impressive Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, where visitors are privy to massive zebra migrations during the flood season; the Savuti plains, which host a significant pride of lions; and the Tsodilo Hills, where 4500 rock paintings form a unique record of human settlement over many millennia.
Botswana's currency is Pula (which means 'rain' in Setswana). It is divided into 100 thebe (which means 'shield' in Setswana). Travellers' cheques and foreign currency may be changed at banks, bureaux de change and authorised hotels.
The US dollar, Euros, British Pound and the South African Rand are the most easily convertible currencies (and accepted by some estabishments - but, generally, then an inflated rate of exchange will be applied).
Seven main commercial banks, as well as a number of foregin exchange bureaux, operate in Botswana. Operating hours are Monday to Friday 08h30 to 15h30 and Saturday 08h30 to 10h45.
Full banking services are available in major towns, although ATMs are sprouting up all over the country. Most credit cards are accepted at hotels and restaurants. Cultural sites and community art and craft outlets usually only accept cash.
Public transport in Botswana is geared towards the needs of the local populace and is confined to main roads between major population centres. Although cheap and reliable, it is of little use to the traveller as most of Botswana’s tourist attractions lie off the beaten track.
Driving off the main roads in Botswana is only recommended to expects in 4x4 vehicles, that are equipped correctly. Most lodges offer transfers or they can be arranged. If, however, you will be driving in Botswana: your home driving licence will be accepted (with an official English translation if necessary; driving is on the left side of the road; and the national speed limit is on tarred roads is 120km/h and 60km/h in towns and villages.
Be sure to watch out for wild animals on the roads!
There are major airports in Maun, Kasane and Gaborone, while smaller charter flights are used to get to the other top attractions and camps.
In summer, lightweight, lightcoloured cottons are preferable. Avoid synthetic materials and black clothing, as they increase perspiration and discomfort. In winter, wear trousers, longsleeved shirts / blouses and jerseys. From May – August, night temperatures can fall below zero degrees celsius, so warm jerseys and jackets are vital, especially on morning and evening game drives. Garments of neutral colours that blend with the bush and forest are advisable for safaris and game viewing. Bring a lightweight jacket and/or jersey for unexpected temperature changes or rain. Closed, comfortable walking shoesor gym shoes are a must in all seasons. Special attention should be given to protection from the sun. Bring a sunhat, good quality sunscreen, sun lotion and polarised sunglasses. Wide brimmed sun hats are essential.
Safari lodges and camps serve international-style cuisine, generally of an extremely high standard, along with local beer and imported wine and spirits. Good restaurants and bars can be found in main towns, often within hotels. Beef and goat are very popular meats. Elsewhere, food is more basic: millet and sorghum porridge are the local staples.
Tap water is considered safe to drink, although outside main cities and towns, visitors are advised to check first and sterilise water if in any doubt. Bottled water is available in most tourist centres. Filtered water is available at most camps and shops offer bottled water - it is advised to be well stocked of bottled water if you are travelling off the beaten track. Milk is pasteurised, and dairy products, local meat, poultry, seafood, fruit and vegetables are generally safe.
A discretionary five-to-ten-percent tip is typical for restaurant bills. In many places, a service charge is automatically added. It is customary to tip the game guide and lodge staff while on safari.
Electrical sockets (outlets) in Botswana are the 'Type M' South African SABS1661 ('Large' 15 amp BS-546) sockets. This is actually an old British standard. The 'Type M' South African plug and socket is not to be confused with the 'Type D' Indian plug and socket. In pictures, they look very similar, but the South African type is much larger than the Indian type, and they are physically incompatible. 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.
Electrical sockets (outlets) in Botswana usually supply electricity at between 220 and 240 volts AC. If you're plugging in an appliance that was built for 220-240 volt electrical input, or an appliance that is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need.
But travel plug adapters do not change the voltage, so the electricity coming through the adapter will still be the same 220-240 volts the socket is supplying. If you need to use appliances that are not compatible with 220-240 volt electrical input, you will need a voltage converter.
Botswana's climatic pattern is typical of southern Africa, although its rainfall is less than countries further east. The rains in Botswana come mostly between December and March, when average minimum temperatures are in the low 20°s. Some days will be bright and sunny, some will have afternoon thunderstorms, and some will just be grey.
As with Namibia, April and May in Botswana are generally lovely, with the sky clear and the landscape green. Night temperatures start to drop during these months, especially in the Kalahari. Note that places in and around the Okavango tend to have less extreme, more moderate temperatures than the drier areas of the Kalahari.
From June to August the night-time temperatures in drier areas can be close to freezing, but it warms up rapidly during the day, when the sky is usually clear and blue. It's now very much 'peak season' for most safari areas: the land is dry in most areas so the animals congregate around the few available water sources.
This continues into September and October, when temperatures climb again, drying the landscapes and concentrating the game even more. This is the best time for big game safaris – although October can feel very hot, with maximum temperatures sometimes approaching 40°C.
November is difficult to predict, as it can sometimes be a continuation of October's heat, whilst sometimes it's cooled by the first rains; it's always an interesting month.
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.
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, and 10c.
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 the country as they might block your purchases if they are not informed.
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.
Another means of getting around South Africa are inter-city bus services. Metrobus buses are available for in-city transport. Metered taxis can be ordered and e-hailing services are available. There is the popular MyCityBus system in Cape Town and a hop-on-hop-off tourist bus in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
The rail system includes the long-haul, inexpensive Shosholoza Meyl Metrorail trains with more luxurious options are available. There is also the Gautrain rapid transit railway system in Gauteng Province.
Bring cool, light and comfortable clothes 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).
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.
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 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.
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 maintain hygienic standards.
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.
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 it 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 built for 230-volt electrical input, or an appliance compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need. A voltage converter will be necessary if your appliance isn't compatible with 230 volts.
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 during 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.