Health & Safety

Use a good mosquito spray

Make sure the mosquito spray you have with you is high in DEET. It is important to cover up and to apply the spray regularly in the evenings every 1-2 hours for full protection, even if it says ‘lasts up to 4 hours’ on the bottle. Wrist and ankle bands soaked in DEET may provide additional protection if you are susceptible to bites.

Drink plenty of water                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

If you are not used to a hot environment it is easy to become dehydrated so always carry a bottle of water with you.

Carry a small first aid pack

Plasters, bandages and antiseptic spray and wipes are great for any bumps and bruises you may pick up along the way.

Get the right vaccinations

Make sure you consult your doctor or travel clinic at least 6 weeks before you travel to check which vaccinations you might need.


Malaria is the most common serious ailment affecting both residents and visitors to many parts of Africa. Seek professional medical advice as to if you need them and which tablets are most suitable for you. The tablets will probably offer good protection but you must also remember to use a good mosquito spray to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
Your rooms or tents may have mosquito nets or gauze net protection on the windows, so it is not generally not necessary to bring a separate mosquito net unless you plan to sleep outside ‘under the stars’ (in which case you are recommended to bring one).


Most governments offer travel advisory services on current safety issues and warnings.
U.K. citizens see
Australia citizens see
N.Z. citizens see
U.S. citizens see
It is vital that you are insured for your travels so as to cover you should you become ill, injured or lose belongings while you are away.
It is vital you bring your insurance certificate and policy booklet on tour .Please ensure you have cover for the full period of travel and that this is shown on the certificate.

Ebola in Africa

Africa is a huge continent, containing 47 different countries (not counting the surrounding island nations). It is over 7000km from north to south. “We’re going to Africa” is therefore a very vague description of destination. It’s like saying we’re going to Asia. A good first step is to pull out a map of Africa and look at where the current outbreak of Ebola is found:

The countries affected at the moment are all in West Africa – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Nigeria has had one case that was identified on an inbound flight. Subsequently, all flights from affected areas have been cancelled and all countries in the region (including South Africa) are on high alert and have stepped up measures to screen travelers and identify possible victims.

We are certainly not downplaying the crisis and this is without doubt the worst Ebola outbreak in history, with over 700 deaths so far since February. But cancelling a trip to South Africa makes just as much sense as cancelling a trip to Spain because of Ebola. In fact, Spain is closer to the epicenter of the outbreak than South Africa is. All the popular safari destinations in Southern and East Africa remain unaffected by the Ebola outbreak. There is absolutely no reason to cancel your safari trip now. The biggest risk as a traveller right now is that you might have an elevated temperature due to the common flu or cold, and are then quarantined at the airport as a precaution.

How is Ebola spread?

This is an important question to help asses the risk. Thankfully and significantly, Ebola is not an airborne virus. It is spread through direct person-to-person contact, and contact with body fluids of infected persons – blood, saliva and other secretions. This means that the risk for ordinary travelers remains low, even in high risk areas, as long as you take basic precautions and avoid intimate contact with others.

Protective clothing

South Africa is not only an interesting mix of cultures, but also of third world and first world conditions. While many people unfortunately still live in third world conditions, the infrastructure in South Africa is very much first world, and the public health system is good. The department of health is very conservative when it comes to public health policy and disease prevention. For example, South Africa was the first country to require yellow fever vaccines for travellers arriving from Zambia, after a part of western Zambia was reclassified from “vaccine not recommended” to “vaccine generally not recommended” a few years ago. A minor change by the WHO, but the health department responded swiftly and firmly with new regulations (considered unnecessary by many). South Africa also has world class airports with excellent screening, medical and quarantine facilities.

There is no Ebola in South Africa or any of its neighboring countries. Unfortunately, when panic sets in the facts are not always considered in the decision making.

A few things worth considering next time you and your camera find the time to get out in nature.

BE READY Prepare your camera settings for the conditions in advance of any action. You never know what will happen next so give yourself the best chance of capturing the shot!

BE PATIENT If you’ve been waiting for long periods without much action hold out for longer. I’ve seen people waiting in hides for 10 minutes and then moving on feeling that it wasn’t worth the wait. Get comfortable and take hours – it will be worth it!

BE FAMILIAR WITH YOUR DESTINATION Do your research and set your goals. If you know what you want, even if it’s very general, it will help you when deciding on good locations for your photography. Also, remember to chat with people who are familiar with an area, they will surely be able to offer good advice.

DON’T CHASE THE GAME In reserves where driving is the norm, try to find a hide or a good location to park and wait for the action to come to you. When theanimals are comfortable with your presence or don’t know you’re there, you will get great natural behaviour shots.

BE OPEN MINDED If you appreciate and develop an understanding of nature in general you will start to spot opportunities in unlikely places, fuelling your potential and giving great practice and experience.

GET CREATIVE Try new things. You might find that you get a lot of lousy shots, but an occasional gem will make it worthwhile. It’s how we progress and come up with unique styles and maybe even those winning shots!

TRAVEL WITH LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE It is really important, if you plan to spend extended periods waiting, that everyone you are with has similar intentions. People may lose patience quickly and someone will have to compromise – most likely you.

BE CRITICAL You will always be your own harshest critic – it’s a good thing! Review your images think about what you did and how you might improve them if you could have the opportunity again. I look back at many early images that were great at the time and I can see the improvement now; and will no doubt look back at my current images and think the same again.

QUALITY Shoot the highest quality you are able and RAW if your camera allows. RAW will take the most memory space per shot, but also gives high quality and flexibility in post processing. If it means buying extra memory cards then do it. It is so disappointing to take a great image and then find your quality setting was too low for commercial purposes.

ENJOY YOURSELF You won’t get every shot. So relax, just enjoy the experience and watching the animals doing their thing. Put in the time and great opportunities will keep on coming.

What to Pack

Travel Documents & Money

– Travel Voucher Pre tour Accommodation Vouchers
– Passport
– Insurance details
– Emergency Contact details
– Spending Money
– Credit card

Day pack or small bag
Guide book(s)
Camera, charger, memory sticks


Most people make the mistake of bringing too much! Clothes should be easy to launder and reasonably hard wearing. Avoid nylon and other synthetics which can be uncomfortable in the hot weather. Africa, however, can also be much colder than you may think, especially at night. Bring warm clothes and a jacket. Morning game drives in open vehicles can be pretty chilly until the sun rises. This applies particularly if travelling in southern Africa in the southern winter months (Jun – Aug)

Suggested clothing list:

Hat, cap, beanie
Sunglasses and case
Quick dry t-shirts and sweatshirts
Warm & waterproof lightweight jacket
Long pants/trousers
Warm socks
Sarong – doubles as skirt, beach towel,
Trainers/ pumps or sturdy boot with ankle support for hiking
Flip flops/ thongs/ or sandals


Western brands may be available.
Suggested list:

Toilet bag
Hand sanitizer
Wet wipes
Toothbrush and paste
Sunscreen lotion
Moisturiser or after sun

Visa’s & Passports

The citizen who is a holder of a national passport (diplomatic, official and ordinary) of the foreign countries / territories / international organisations listed below are not required to hold a visa when reporting to an immigration officer for an examination at a South African port of entry, subject to the terms and conditions set out in this list, including inter alia the intended period of stay in the Republic.

 1. The holder of a national South African passport, travel document and document for travel purposes.

 2. The citizen who is a holder of a national passport (diplomatic, official or ordinary) of the following countries / territories / international organisations is not required to hold a visa in respect of purposes for which a port of entry visa may be issued or by virtue of being a person contemplated in section 31(3)(b) [accredited in SA] for an intended stay of 90 days or less and when in transit:

African Union Laissez Passer









Chile (only ordinary passport holders)

Czech Republic





Germany (except in diplomatic staff due to assume duty at the Embassy and Consulates of Germany in SA)












Namibia (90 days per annum)(only ordinary passport holders)


New Zealand





San Marino



St Vincent & the Grenadines



Tanzania (90 days per year)

Trinidad & Tobago (only ordinary passport holders)

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (only ordinary passport holders)

British Islands Bailiwick of Guernsey and Jersey, Isle of Man. British Oversees Territories namely: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, St Helena and Dependencies (Ascension Island, Gough Island and Tristan da Cunha), Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands, the Sovereign Base Areas of Cyprus South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and the Turks and Caicos Island.

United States of America (except in diplomatic staff due to assume duty at the Embassy and Consulates of the USA in SA)



Zambia (90 days per annum)


3. The citizen who is a holder of a national passport (diplomatic, official and ordinary) of the following countries / territories / international organisations is not required to hold a visa in respect of purposes for which a port of entry visa may be issued or by virtue of being a person contemplated in section 31(3)(b) [accredited in SA] for an intended stay of 30 days or less and when in transit:

Antigua and Barbuda

Bahamas (only ordinary passport holders)





Cape Verde

Costa Rica




Hong Kong [only with regard to holders of Hong Kong British National Overseas passports and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passports]




Macau [only with regard to holders of Macau Special Administrative Region passports (MSAR)]









Slovak Republic

South Korea (Democratic Republic)




4. Agreements have also been concluded with the following countries for holders of diplomatic and official passport holders.

Citizens who are holders of diplomatic, official and service passports of the following countries do not require visas in respect of purposes for which a port of entry visa may be issued or by virtue of being a person contemplated in section 31(3)(b) [accredited in SA] for the period indicated and transit:

Albania (120 days)

Algeria (30 days)

Angola (90 days)

Belarus (90 days)

Benelux states (90 days)

Bulgaria (90 days)

China (PROC) (30 days) (only diplomatic passport holders)

Cyprus (90 days)

Comoros (90 days)

Croatia (90 days)

Cuba  (90 days) (diplomatic, official & service)

Egypt (30 days)

Ghana (90 days)

Guinea (90 days)

Hungary (120 days)

India (90 days)

Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivoire) (30 days)

Kenya (30 days)

Mexico (90 days)

Madagascar (30 days)

Morocco (30 days)

Mozambique (90 days)

Namibia (30 days)

Nigeria (90 days)

Paraguay (120 days)

Poland (90 days)

Romania (90 days)

Russian Federation (90 days)

Rwanda (30 days)

Senegal (90 days)

Slovak (90 days)

Thailand (90 days)

Tunisia (90 days)

Vietnam (90 days)

5. Notwithstanding this Schedule, a foreigner whose visa exemption has been withdrawn shall comply with the visa requirements until notified by the Department that his or her visa exemption has been re-instated by the Department on petition or of its own accord.
6. Visas are not required by passport holders of Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Malawi who are entering the Republic as commercial heavy-duty vehicle drivers provide their visits do not exceed 15 days and on condition that they can produce a letter confirming their employment with a transport company on entry.

The same principle applies to Zimbabwean commercial heavy-duty vehicle drivers, except that their sojourn may not exceed 30 days at a time. The afore-mentioned does not apply to commercial heavy-duty vehicle drivers who transport goods for a South African transport company. Such drivers must be in possession of a valid work visa.

7. Staff members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) who travel on SADC laissez-passers are exempt from visa requirements for bona fide official business visits up to 90 days and transit.

8. The following categories of the UN as well as their spouses, dependent relatives and other members of the households are exempt from visa requirements when visiting the Republic for periods not exceeding 90 days for purposes for which a port of entry visa may be issued, and for official business purposes and transits and when accredited for placement at a UN mission in the Republic for the duration of their accreditation, provided they are in possession of the relevant letters or identification documents to identify themselves at ports of entry as personnel of an UN agency.

• Holders of United Nations Laissez-passers
• Volunteers attached to the UN
• Persons involved in any United Nations agency
• Persons performing services on behalf of the UN

9. Members of military forces attending any military related matters with the South African National Defence Force are exempt from visa and study visa requirements, irrespective of their duration of stay provided they are in possession of letters of invitation from the SANDF as well as letters of consent from the military force of which they are members.


Africa mainly lies within the intertropical zone between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. Only the northernmost and the southernmost fringes of the continent have a Mediterranean climate because they aren’t located under the tropics. Because of this geographical situation, Africa is a hot continent as the solar radiation intensity is always high. Thus, warm and hot climates prevails all over Africa but the northern part is the most marked part by aridity and high temperatures.

The climate of Africa is a range of climates such as the equatorial climate, the tropical wet and dry climate, the tropical monsoon climate, the semi-desert climate (semi-arid), the desert climate (hyper-arid and arid), the subtropical highland climate etc. Temperate climates remain rare through the continent except at very high elevations and along the fringes. In fact, the climate of Africa is more dependent to rainfall amount than to temperatures as they are consistently high. African deserts are the sunniest and the driest parts of the continent due to the prevailing presence of the subtropical ridge with subsiding, hot, dry air masses. Africa holds many heat-related records : the continent has the hottest extended region year-round, the areas with the hottest summer climate, the highest sunshine duration etc.

Globally, heating of the earth near the equator leads to large amounts of upward motion and convection along the monsoon troughor Intertropical convergence zone. The divergence over the near-equatorial trough leads to air rising and moving away from the equator aloft. As it moves towards the Mid-Latitudes, the air cools and sinks, which leads to subsidence near the 30th parallel of both hemispheres. This circulation is known as the Hadley cell and leads to the formation of the subtropical ridge.Many of the world’s deserts are caused by these climatological high-pressure areas,including the Sahara Desert

Mali,and coolest across the south and at elevation within the topography across the eastern and northwest sections of the continent. The hottest average temperature on Earth is Dallol, Ethiopia, which averages a temperature of 33.9 °C (93.0 °F) throughout the year.The hottest temperature recorded within Africa, which was also the world record, was 57.8 °C (136.0 °F) at’Aziziya, Libya on September 13, 1922. This has since been proven to be false, due to an inaccurate reading of a thermometer. The world’s hottest place is in fact Death Valley, in California.Apparent temperatures, combining the effect of the temperature and humidity, along the Red sea coast of Ethiopia and Gulf of Aden coast of Somalia range between 57 °C (135 °F) and 63 °C (145 °F) during the afternoon hours.The lowest temperature measured within Africa was −24 °C (−11 °F) at Ifrane, Morocco on February 11, 1935.Nevertheless, the major part of Africa experiences extreme heat during a good part of the year, especially deserts, steppes and savannas which possesses the highest temperatures. Actually the African deserts are arguably the hottest places on Earth, especially the Sahara Desert and the Danakil Desert, located in the Horn of Africa.


Main article: African easterly jet

The low-level easterly African jet stream is considered to play a crucial role in the southwest monsoon of Africa,and helps form the tropical waves which march across the tropical Atlantic and eastern Pacific oceans during the warm season.The jet exhibits both barotropic and baroclinic instability, which produces synoptic scale, westward propagating disturbances in the jet known as African easterly waves, or tropical waves. A small number of mesoscale storm systems embedded in these waves develop into tropical cyclones after they move from west Africa into the tropical Atlantic, mainly during August and September. When it lies south of normal during the peak months of the Atlantic hurricane season, tropical cyclone formation is suppressed.

Mean precipitation map
See also: Wet season

Great parts of North Africa and Southern Africa as well as the whole Horn of Africa mainly have a hot desert climate, or a hot semi-arid climate for the wetter locations. TheSahara Desert at the north is the largest hot desert in the world and is one of the hottest, driest and sunniest places on Earth. The part just located at the south of the desert is a narrow steppe (a semi-arid region) and is called the Sahel, while its most southern areas contain both savanna plains, and its central portion contains very dense jungle (rainforest) regions. The equatorial region near the Intertropical Convergence Zone is the wettest portion of the continent. Annually, the rain belt across the country marches northward into Sub-Saharan Africa by August, then moves back southward into south-central Africa by March.Areas with a savannah climate in Sub-Saharan Africa, such as Ghana, Burkina Faso,Darfur,Eritrea,Ethiopia,and Botswana have a distinct rainy season.El Nino results in drier than normal conditions in Southern Africa from December to February, and wetter than normal conditions over equatorial East Africa over the same period.

Within of Madagascar, trade winds bring moisture up the eastern slopes of the island, which is deposited as rainfall, and brings drier downsloped winds to areas south and west leaving the western sections of the island in a rain shadow. This leads to significantly more rainfall over northeast sections of the island than the southwestern portions of Madagascar.Southern Africa receives most of its rainfall from summer convective storms and with extratropical cyclones moving through the Westerlies. Once a decade, tropical cyclones lead to excessive rainfall across the region.

South African child entry requirements



Published: 26 May 2015

Source: for-children-travelling-through-south-african-ports-of-entry-effective-1-june-2015

NOTE: The below is information has been acquired directly from the South African Department Of Home Affairs. It may be possible that changes / amendments to this information will be made from time to time and it is therefore vitally important that you consult with your local travel authority regarding your travel requirements.

The new requirements for children travelling to or from the Republic of South Africa take effect on 1 June 2015. The requirements are aimed at establishing the principle that all minors require the consent of their parents when traveling into or out of the Republic.


1.1. The documents listed under paragraph 4 shall upon request be produced at a port of entry by:

  • South African minors upon leaving the Republic, and
  • Minors who are foreign nationals and who are visa exempt when travelling through a port of entry of the Republic.

1.2. Minors who apply for a South African visa at any mission or VFS service-point shall be required to submit as part of the application, documents listed hereunder at paragraph 4, prior to such visa being issued.

1.3. Where a minor applies for a visa inside South Africa or at a South African embassy abroad it shall be standard practice for all supporting documents to be submitted prior to the visa being issued. Sworn translations of the documents should be submitted with the visa application as stipulated in Regulation 9(4) of the Immigration Regulations, 2014. However, persons who are visa exempt need not submit any translations when reporting to an Immigration Officer at a port of entry. Supporting documents should either be the originals or certified copies of the originals.

  • Minors who began their journey prior to 1 June 2015 shall not be required to produce the documents listed in paragraph 4 should the return leg of the journey occur after 1 June 2015.
  • No supporting documents will be required in the case of minors in direct transit at an International


  • Minors in possession of valid South African visas shall not be required to produce the documents listed in paragraph 4 when travelling through a port of entry of the Republic.
  • In the case of countries that endorse the particulars of parents in children’s passports, or other official identification documents, these documents shall be acceptable for the purpose of establishing the identity of parents of the travelling minor. Example: Indian passports record the parents’ names on the passport. In this instance, the requirement of an Unabridged Birth Certificate as stated in paragraph 4 may be dispensed with.
  • In the case of school tours, the parental consent affidavit may be replaced with an affidavit from the school principal confirming that all consent letters are held by the school. Upon producing this affidavit, immigration officers at ports of entry and South African missions abroad would not require any additional documents from individual scholars such as parental consent, unabridged

birth certificates, death certificates, court orders or copies of the passports or identity documents of the parents and of the person receiving the child in SA. This special dispensation applies to all schools registered with the Department of Basic Education and its equivalent abroad.

Suggested format for this affidavit can be found at:


3.1. Alternative Care

  • Section 167 of the Children’s Act, 2005 (Act No. 38 of 2005), states that a child is in Alternative Care if the child has been placed in:

o foster care;

o  the care of a child and youth care centre following an order of a court in terms of that Act or the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act No. 51 of 1977); or

o temporary safe care.

3.2. Child/Minor

  • South African law regards any person younger than 18 years as a child or minor.

3.3. Equivalent Document

  • Any official document (Example: identity document or passport issued by the relevant authority of any country) or letter issued by a foreign government (including a foreign embassy) or a letter issued by the Director-General of Home Affairs of the Republic of South Africa, recording the identity of the parents of a child shall be accepted in lieu of an Unabridged Birth Certificate. These instruments shall serve to identify the parents of the child intending to travel through a port of entry of the Republic.

3.4. Parent

  • Unless the  context  indicates otherwise,  the  word “parent” includes  adoptive parents and  legal guardians.

3.5. Parental Consent Affidavit

  • Parental Consent Affidavit is an affidavit which must accompany an Unabridged Birth Certificate or

Equivalent Document when any parent is not travelling with his or her child.

  • A South African Embassy in the traveller’s country of residence may be approached to commission the oath or solemn declaration required in the Affidavit free of charge.
  • The Affidavit must not be older than 6 months when presented. The same affidavit will still be valid for the departure or return in relation to the same journey regardless of the period of the journey.
  • A     suggested     format     of     the     Parental     Consent     Affidavit     can     be     found     at:

3.6. Unabridged Birth Certificate

  • In South Africa, an Unabridged Birth Certificate (UBC) is an extract from the Birth Register containing the particulars of a minor and those of his or her parent or parents. UBCs are official documents issued by the Department of Home Affairs in terms of the Births and Deaths Registration Act, 1992 (Act No. 51 of 1992). All birth certificates containing the details of a child as well as the parents of the

child shall be accepted for the purposes of these Requirements as UBCs , regardless of the country of issue.

  • In the case of countries that do not issue UBCs, an ‘Equivalent Document’ containing the particulars of the child and his or her parent or parents, issued by the competent authority of that country, or an embassy of that country may be used instead of an UBC. A suggested format for such an Equivalent can be found at:

4.1 Where both parents are travelling accompanied by one or more of their children, such children have to produce:

  • Valid passports and an UBC or Equivalent Document for each child travelling.

4.2. Where only one parent is travelling with a child, (or children), each child has to produce:

4.3. An unaccompanied minor has to produce:

  • A valid passport; an UBC or Equivalent Document; Parental Consent Affidavit; letter from the person who is to receive the minor in the Republic containing such person’s residential and work address and full contact details in the Republic, a copy of the identity document or valid passport and visa or permanent residence permit of the person who is to receive the minor in the Republic.

4.4. A person who is travelling with a child who is not his or her biological child, such child must produce:

  • A valid passport, an UBC or Equivalent Document and Parental Consent Affidavit.

4.5. A child in alternative care shall produce:

  • A valid passport and a letter from the Provincial Head of the Department of Social Development where the child resides authorising his or her departure from the Republic as contemplated in section

169 of the Children’s Act (Act No. 38 of 2005).

4.6. Explanatory Notes:

  • One of the following documents may be presented in the absence of a Parental Consent Affidavit referred to above:

o A court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or full legal guardianship of the

child exclusively to the travelling parent ;

o A court order granted in terms of section 18(5) of the Children’s Act, 2015, (Act No. 38 of

2005) which is a court order granting permission for the child to travel in the event that there is a dispute or no consent forthcoming from the parent/s of a child; or

o a death certificate of the deceased parent.

  • Where only one parent’s particulars appear on the UBC or equivalent document, no parental consent affidavit is required when that parent travels with the child.
  • In the case of divorce, where custody of a child/children is shared, parental consent by both parents is required.
  • Where a Parental Consent Affidavit is presented, also required are full contact details and copies of the identity documents or passports of the parents or legal guardian of the child.
  • The consent of parents recorded as such on the Unabridged Birth Certificate or Equivalent Document shall be required regardless of the marital status of the parents of the child.

5.1. Where any parent/s recorded in an UBC, or equivalent document, are unable to consent to the travel by a child due to recent death, or mental or physical disability, persons acting on behalf of the child/children may apply for a special dispensation in lieu of the parental consent affidavit by directing a request and full motivation, together with all supporting documents (example, treating medical practitioners certificate), to the Office of the Director-General of Home Affairs, at the following e-mail address:

5.2. Explanatory Note:

  • This dispensation only applies to incapacity, and does not apply where a parent is either unwilling to consent or unable to be located due to separation or divorce.
  • Where a parent refuses to give consent, a court order in terms of section 18(5) of the Children’s Act,

2005 (Act No. 38 of 2005), may be presented in lieu of such parental consent.