Southern Africa Unplugged Trip Notes

    • 16
    • UBSM
    • Total price tool tip
      USD $2,844
      CAD $2,898
      AUD $3,010
      EUR €2,245
      GBP £1,800
      NZD $3,568
      ZAR R27,387
      CHF FR2,776
      *
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    • Overland, Wildlife
    • Original
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Print Version
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2014
Southern Africa Unplugged
Trip code: UBSM
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014
Experience Southern Africa like a local on this unique adventure that utilises public transport to see the highlights of Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Warning - this is a new trip for us!
While we have thoroughly researched this area to put together this trip, it still must be remembered that this is a relatively new trip for us. To be frank, we expect some things to go wrong. When we head to new destinations, we usually find there are more pleasant surprises in store than unpleasant ones, but the warning is sincere. If it concerns you then we recommend that you wait for a year until we get any bugs ironed out.
Table of Contents
StyleDeparture taxEmergency funds
ThemesImportant notesVisas
MapGroup sizeIssues on your trip
ItineraryYour fellow travellersWhat to take
Also available to purchaseSingle travellersHealth
We also recommendAccommodationSafety
Itinerary disclaimerMealsTravel insurance
Culture shock rating TransportResponsible Travel
Physical ratingGroup leaderA couple of rules
Physical preparationJoining point The Intrepid Foundation
Included activitiesJoining point descriptionResponsible Travel projects
Optional activitiesJoining point instructionsCarbon offset
Money ExchangeArrival complicationsFeedback
Spending moneyFinish point
TippingEmergency contact
Style
Original
  • Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Themes
Overland, Wildlife
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 Johannesburg/Soweto
Sawubona! Welcome to South Africa.
Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
Johannesburg is a sprawling city of remarkable contrasts. In the townships, mansions stand alongside tin shacks and there are as many green parks on the outskirts of the city as there are conglomerations of concrete in the centre. This is a good place to spend a couple of days to get an insight into South Africa's history, and it's a great base for exploring the rest of the country.
Please make sure that if you explore Johannesburg on your own that you get local advice as to where it is safe to walk, especially in the evening. The level of crime here is higher than what you are probably used to, and the risk can be minimised by getting local advice.
Accommodation
Vhavenda Hills Guesthouse or similar (1 nt)
Day 2 Milwane National Park
Our adventure begins early this morning when we jump in taxis and head towards Park station.
From here we take a taxi minibus to Mbabane crossing over the Swaziland Border. We should arrive around midday.
This small but immensely beautiful country is home to one of Africa’s last remaining monarchs. Tradition is important here and Swazis celebrate their country and their customs with pride. Match that with some outstanding wildlife spotting and Swaziland is an absolute winner.
From Mbabane we take another taxi to our accommodation in Milwane National Park. Total distance to travel today is 421km's.
Milwane National Park is Swaziland's oldest protected area covering over 4,560 hectares. The park is situated in Swaziland’s “Valley of Heaven” - the Ezulwini Valley - and has an abundance of wildlife.
This afternoon we take a guided bicycle tour through Milwane National Park.
Our rest camp is located in the southern corner of the Park and our accommodation this evening is in traditional Swazi round huts, called 'beehives'.
Included Activities
  • Milwane National Park - Bicycle Tour
Accommodation
Milwane National Park Beehive Huts or similar (1 nt)
Day 3 Hlane National Park
A range of local taxis will take us to our next destination Hlane National Park ( approx. 90km's ).
There are two types of local transport in Swazi; local and express. Express goes directly between major centers with little or no stops. Local taxis stop at every stop along the way.
We take an express service to Simunye, before being dropped at Hlane National Park gate around lunchtime.
This afternoon we take a guided game walk and drive through the park.
Once the private hunting ground of the Swazi royal family, Hlane Royal National Park's vast expanse of bushveld offers an amazing opportunity to track elephants and endangered rhinos on foot.
Our camp tonight is located immediately inside Hlane Royal National Park's main gate. The camp overlooks a waterhole, which caught at the right time, especially in winter, attracts a wide diversity of game including white rhino, elephant and giraffe.
The camp does not have electricity, but the common areas such as the large open-air restaurant are lit by candle and lanterns at night which makes for an authentic stay in the bush.
Included Activities
  • Hlane National Park - Guided Game Walk
Accommodation
Chalet (1 nt)
Days 4-5 Kruger National Park
Today we have approximately 125km's to cover as we travel by taxi and 4x4 to Kruger National Park.
One of the largest game reserves in Southern Africa, Kruger National Park is home to over 500 bird species, 100 species of reptile and 150 mammal species, including the Big Five and the endangered African wild dog.
Created to control diminishing animal numbers due to hunting, Kruger National Park became official in 1926 and is now deservedly one of Africa's premier safari parks.
Our wildlife experience begins as soon as we enter the park. We head straight into prime game viewing areas where we hope to catch a glimpse of some of the amazing animals found here.
Rise early the following morning and have a light breakfast of coffee and rusks before embarking on a morning game drive. Most of the day will be spent in open 4x4 vehicles game viewing, bird watching and stopping at various waterholes and viewpoints.
Our accommodation for the next two nights is located within the park in permanent safari tents with share facilities. Tents are equipped with single beds, a fan, and a fridge.
Included Activities
  • Kruger Park - 4x4 Game Drive
Accommodation
Kruger National Park Safari Tents or similar (2 nts)
Day 6 Maputo
Take one last morning game drive as we exit the park and make tracks for Maputo, Mozambique.
We will travel approximately 105km's by bus and 'Chapa'.
A 'Chapa' is a converted passenger truck or minivan in Mozambique.
With its attractive tree-lined avenues, Mozambique's thriving capital city of Maputo has a unique European feel and some great local restaurants.
Our hostel is located just a few minutes stroll from the city centre, markets, bars, Internet Cafes, banks, and restaurants with some of the best seafood in the continent.
Accommodation
Fatima's Backpackers or similar (1 nt)
Day 7 Inhambane
Today we rise early for a long travel day ahead. We have over 470km's to cover as we make our way to Inhambane, travelling by Chapa, bus and ferry.
Inhambane is one of the oldest settlements on the East Coast of Mozambique. The sleepy historic town is known for its colonial architecture and is a stepping stone to the beach resorts around Tofo.
Our accommodation for tonight is located beach side, the perfect spot to rest your head after a long travel day.
Days 8-9 Vilankulos
Today we travel by bus, chappa and ferry to our home for the next two nights - Beach front huts on Baobab Beach, Vilankulos ( Approx. 290km's ).
The lively coastal town of Vilankulos is our gateway to explore the clear waters and spectacular coral reefs of the Bazaruto Archipelago - home to some of the world's best diving sites.
In the morning, board a Dhow (traditional sailing boat) and head out to explore the Bazaruto archipelago for the day, stopping along the way for a snorkel and a swim.
Accommodation
Fatima's Backpackers or similar (1 nt)
Day 10 Lake Chicamba
Today is going to be a long travel day with just over 500km's to cover by bus and Chapa to Lake Chicamba.
Not far from the Zimbabwe-Mozambique border, Lake Chicamba is a popular fishing destination for locals and travellers alike.
Our accommodation for tonight is lakeside and is equipped with a swimming pool, bar and restaurant.
Day 11 Mutare
Today is a short 90km drive by bus across the border and into Zimbabwe.
Blessed with abundant sunshine, striking scenery and one of the most stunning waterfalls on earth, Zimbabwe's natural beauty is world-famous. Home to determined locals full of creativity, enthusiasm and hope, expect a warm welcome and generous hospitality. Overlook Zimbabwe and you'll miss an important piece of Africa's ancient heart.
Spend the afternoon relaxing after yesterday's long travel day.
Day 12 Masvingo
Travel by Kombi and Bus to Masvingo ( approx, 300km's ).
This afternoon we will visit the Great Zimbabwe Ruins.
Great Zimbabwe is the national monument the country is named after. A Unesco World Heritage site, the ruined city was first constructed in the 11th century and is thought to be a royal palace for the Zimbabwean monarch.
Included Activities
  • Great Zimbabwe Ruins
Accommodation
Inn on Great Zimbabwe or similar (1 nt)
Days 13-14 Bulawayo/Matobos National Park
Head to Bulawayo by bus where we spend the next two nights. We have around 285kms to cover today.
The following day we spend a full day game driving in Matobos National Park in open 4x4 vehicles.
Home to a large population of black and white rhinoceros, Matobo National Park is the site of the grave of Cecil John Rhodes, the founder of Rhodesia and the De Beers diamond company. The Matobo area has great spiritual and cultural significance to the local people and there are many sites within the park where important ceremonies still take place.
Accommodation
Burke's Paradise Hostel or similar (2 nts)
Days 15-16 Victoria Falls
Make our way back to Victoria Falls arriving around 8pm this evening.
Perhaps head out for an optional last dinner together as a group, or head up to the bar for a drink.
Your African adventure has come to an end!
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Accommodation
Victoria Falls Rest Camp or similar (1 nt)
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
  • UBSM Single Supplement (UBSM)
  • UBSM Single Supplement (UBSM)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
  • Vic Falls to Kruger (YBOP)
  • Kruger to Vic Falls (UBSA)
Itinerary disclaimer
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
Culture shock rating

Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
Physical rating

This trip will raise your heartbeat. Moderate physical activities are included and a good level of fitness is required.
Physical preparation
We recommend that you undertake regular aerobic exercise in the weeks before you travel, particularly if you are not in the habit of regular exercise. Walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike are all good ways to increase your aerobic fitness, which will allow you to enjoy the trip to its fullest.
Included activities
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
Optional activities
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
The receipt of commissions or kickbacks in exchange for recommending particular shops or services is ingrained in the culture of the tourism industry. Rather than turning a blind eye to this unavoidable issue in some areas, Intrepid has established a centralised fund whereby contributions from recommended suppliers are collected and distributed back into the business. Intrepid aim to provide the best value trips in the market, and this fund assists in keeping operating costs and trip prices low to you.
A priority in establishing this fund is that the experience of our traveller - you - is not compromised in any way. Please let us know via the feedback form completed after your trip if we are successfully meeting this objective.
Money Exchange
ZIMBABWE
The Zimbabwe dollar is no longer in active use. The official currency of Zimbabwe is the US dollar (USD).
MOZAMBIQUE
The official currency of Mozambique is the Metical (MZN).
SOUTH AFRICA
The official currency of South Africa is the Rand (ZAR).
The best way to manage your money in Africa is a mixture of cash and an ATM card (best to have both Visa and MasterCard).
CASH:
Cash is easily changed at exchange bureaus and they generally offer the best rates.
***PLEASE NOTE: MANY BUSINESSES AND BANKS IN EAST AFRICA DO NOT ACCEPT US DOLLAR NOTES OLDER THAN 2006. IF YOU ARE BRINGING USD, WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND LARGE BILLS IN GOOD CONDITION, 2006 SERIES ONWARDS ONLY. ANY OLD OR DAMAGED NOTES MAY NOT BE ACCEPTED. IF YOUR KITTY PAYMENT IS REQUIRED TO BE PAID IN USD, IT MUST BE PAID WITH BILLS NO OLDER THAN 2006 SERIES***
EUR or GBP are also widely accepted. The South African Rand can also be used widely in countries of Southern Africa. When changing money, only use reputable authorised money exchange vendors and never anyone on the street. There are many instances of travellers being given counterfeit notes or being tricked when money is being counted out.
TRAVELLER'S CHEQUES:
Some people like to carry traveller’s cheques for back up emergency cash. While traveller’s cheques are undoubtedly the safest way to carry money, they are becoming harder to cash around the world and can often result in unfavourable exchange rates and commission charges. They are no longer accepted in many locations in Kenya & Tanzania. It can also be tricky to reach banks during banking business hours which are often short in many African countries. Note: Receipts for traveller’s cheques are required by banks and money changers.
VISA AND MASTERCARD:
With ATMs being increasingly available in the many major towns and cities and even some campsites, credit or debit cards are a convenient way to access money. Throughout Africa, cards with the Visa logo are most readily recognised, although MasterCard is also accepted in most places. A charge is made for each international transaction - please check with your bank how much this fee will be. Check with your bank before leaving home that your card can be used as a debit card in Africa. You may also want to notify your bank that you are visiting Africa as it's not unknown for banks to freeze cards which show sudden transactions in other countries. If you're on a multi-country tour, your tour leader will be able to give you an approximate idea of how much money you may need for your stay in each country.
Spending money
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
Tipping
If you are happy with the services providing a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations.
The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Please check the bill and if there’s an addition of 10% service charge, there’s no requirement for tipping. Otherwise, 10% of the total bill amount is appropriate.
At local markets and basic restaurants: Leave the loose change.
Local guides/Porters: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$1 per person, per day for local guides/porters.
Your crew (including the leader and driver, and perhaps cook depending on your trip): You may also consider tipping your crew for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline US$2-3 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
In total, we recommend you budget approx US$5-US$10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.
Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, we have established a tipping kitty system. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members.
Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult
Departure tax
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
Important notes
Warning - This is a new trip for us!
While we have been operating in Africa for several years now and have had a team of researchers travelling in the area to put together this trip, it still must be remembered that this is the first year of operating this trip. To be frank, we expect some things to go wrong! We usually make this warning when we head to new destinations - and usually we find there are more pleasant surprises in store than unpleasant ones. But the warning is sincere, and if it concerns you then we recommend that you wait for a year until we get any bugs ironed out. Any improvements to our itinerary are noted immediately on our website, so before booking and travelling please go to www.intrepidtravel.com and enter this trip code in the trip finder to check for any updates.
IF YOU ARE TRAVELLING WITH CHILDREN:
A new immigration regulation will take effect from 1st October 2014, whereby parents will need to produce an original unabridged birth certificate if they are travelling with children. The new regulation has been put in place to protect children from being abducted, kidnapped and preventing child trafficking. The Department of Home Affairs has urged all parents to apply for unabridged certificates for their children. This is an requirement of the immigration regulation 6 (12)(a) for parents travelling with children. More information can be found here: http://www.nwivisas.com/nwi-blog/south-africa/grace-period-for-parents-travelling-with-children/#sthash.VKZSSlHE.dpuf.
Group size
Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit: www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
Single travellers
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
A Single Supplement is available on this trip, please ask your booking agent for more information.
Accommodation
Fatima's Backpackers or similar (2 nts), Burke's Paradise Hostel or similar (2 nts), Kruger National Park Safari Tents or similar (2 nts), Chalet (1 nt), Inn on Great Zimbabwe or similar (1 nt), Victoria Falls Rest Camp or similar (1 nt), Milwane National Park Beehive Huts or similar (1 nt), Vhavenda Hills Guesthouse or similar (1 nt)
OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.
CHECK-IN TIME
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
Accommodation is clean and simple. You'll mainly stay in small, locally-run, 2-3 star hotels and guesthouses, which reflect the character of the area,generally these will be a twin room with private facilities. Sometimes you'll stay in larger, more comfortable hotels or occasionally rustic accommodation with basic facilities. We use a variety of accommodation on most trips; chosen for their value for money, location and atmosphere. We also try and incorporate unique accommodation experiences, such as a night with a local tribe, or sleeping under the stars in the desert.
Meals
5 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches
Budget for meals not included:
USD 200.00
By travelling on an Overland trip you have chosen a participation camping tour. This means that you will be helping your cook or leader prepare meals for the group. You may also get the chance to help with the shopping.
Your cook (East Africa only) will come up with meal ideas and quantities needed for large groups. Participating in the camp is usually done on a duty roster system with group of 5 or 6 people (depending on group size) having a different camp job each day. If you have any dietary requirements please tell us at the time of booking, and also remind your crew at your welcome meeting.
A typical camp breakfast might be toast with spreads, cereal, something hot such as eggs or pancakes, as well as tea and coffee. Lunch is almost always a sandwich with healthy salad and assorted fillings, sometimes with fruit to follow. There may be a chance on occasion to buy your lunch. Dinner might be a BBQ, rice dish or pasta dish and there is always the chance to try some African food such as ugali and stew.
On the more remote sections of your trip (for example in West Africa & North Africa), your food and diet will be dependent on what is available locally as well as tinned and dry ingredients.
One thing is sure - you definitely won't go hungry or lose weight on your safari! When you aren't camping you will have the freedom to decide where, what and with whom you eat.
Transport
Bus, Ferry, 4x4, Bicycle, Taxi
LONG TRAVEL DAYS
There are some long travel days and some of the transport can be quite cramped and without air-conditioning.
Group leader
On this trip you will be accompanied by 2 crew members, a Group Leader and a Driver. (Depending on your group size – from time to time your leader will also be your driver)
Your Intrepid Group Leader’s role involves organizing the overall operation and smooth-running of the trip, managing trip logistics, coordinating the kitty (where applicable) and will form work groups to take turns cooking, cleaning and shopping.
Your Group Leader will work towards making the trip as safe and enjoyable as possible for all travellers. Intrepid trips are built around the co–operation and participation of all the group members under the supervision of the group leader. The group leader will show the group how to set up and use the equipment.
While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting, especially when tracking and identifying game - we think it's the best of both worlds. Our Group Leaders are chosen for their leadership skills and are wonderful ambassadors for our company and our beautiful continent and its people.
Your Driver’s main responsibility is to get you to your destination safely; they are also responsible for the maintenance of the vehicles along the way.
Everyone is expected participate and carry their share of the workload, making camp chores easier. If the whole group participates it will be quicker, easier, and more fun.
We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader and driver; however, situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Joining point
Vhavenda Hills B&B
11749 Mampuru Street, Orlando West Extension
Soweto
Johannesburg
SOUTH AFRICA
Joining point description
Located in the Orlando West suburb of Soweto - a vibrant area with numerous restaurants, bars and museums and historic sites nearby.
Joining point instructions
If you have pre-booked a transfer please look out for our representative holding a board with your name at the arrival terminal. Please do not go with anyone else. The driver will wait for an hour after your scheduled arrival time.
If you are unable to find your driver please phone +27 82 822 9407. If you are delayed beyond one hour after your scheduled arrival time, please make your own way to the hotel.
Metered official Airport Taxis are also available. The cost to the hotel will be approximately ZAR400-650 which is payable to the driver. The taxi rank is located just outside the arrivals area.
Johannesburg is a very spread out city and depending on the time of day and traffic conditions, a transfer or taxi may take anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes to cover the 35 km from the airport to the hotel.
Arrival complications
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
Please also make sure have a copy of the local operator's emergency phone numbers from our Emergency Contact section of these trip notes.
Finish point
Vic Falls Rest Camp
Victoria falls
Victoria Falls
ZIMBABWE
Emergency contact
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's South African Office can be reached on: +27 11 471 7400 (South African business hours) or +27 828229407 (24/7). For all other enquiries please contact our reservations department which is open 24 hours, 6 days per week. For further contact details please use the following page:
Emergency funds
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
ZIMBABWE:
Zimbabwe visas are required by most nationalities, including from the EU, US and Australia. All nationalities should check with their nearest Zimbabwe Embassy for more information. For most nationalities, Zimbabwe visas are available at the point of entry. If you plan to purchase your visa on arrival you will need US$ cash. The cost is approximately US$30/45.
MOZAMBIQUE:
For most nationalities a visa can be obtained on arrival, however we advise that you obtain this visa in advance as this does save a lot of time at the border. The visa is valid for a maximum of 30 days and costs approximately USD82. Some nationalities do require a visa prior to arrival so you must check with the relevant consulate prior to departure.
If you apply for your visa in advance you may be asked for a contact in Mozambique. Please use the following:
Fatimas Place
Mao Tse Tung Ave, 1321
Maputo
Mozambique
email: fatimas@tvcabo.co.mz
phone: +258 21302994
fax: +258 1303345
Entry Requirements - Yellow Fever Certificate
All travellers entering Mozambique who have been to any country where Yellow Fever is known to exist (as listed by the World Health Organisation) must present a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate on arrival. If you cannot present a valid certificate on entry you may need to be vaccinated at your expense (approximately US$55).
Entry Requirements - Passport Validity
The passports of all visitors wishing to enter Mozambique (and South Africa) must be valid for a minimum of six months. You will also need to have at least two blank pages remaining in your passport on arriving in Mozambique.
SOUTH AFRICA:
Citizens of Australia, UK and most EU countries do not need visas to visit South Africa as a tourist for up to three months. Citizens of all countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required.
Entry Requirements - Yellow Fever Certificate
As of October 1st 2011, A valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate is now required for all passengers over one year of age who arrive or are transiting through South Africa, from a country or region listed by the World Health Organization as infected by yellow fever. Travellers unable to present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate issued at least 10 days before arrival in South Africa will be refused entry. There is no option for travellers without a vaccination certificate to be vaccinated on arrival. Please note this also includes transiting through an infected country or region. As of October 1st South Africa will also consider Zambia as a country infected by Yellow Fever even though the WHO does not currently list Zambia. All travellers from Zambia into South Africa will be required to show proof of yellow fever vaccination.
A new immigration regulation will take effect from 1st October 2014, whereby parents will need to produce an original unabridged birth certificate if they are travelling with children. The new regulation has been put in place to protect children from being abducted, kidnapped and preventing child trafficking. The Department of Home Affairs has urged all parents to apply for unabridged certificates for their children. This is an requirement of the immigration regulation 6 (12)(a) for parents travelling with children. More information can be found here: http://www.nwivisas.com/nwi-blog/south-africa/grace-period-for-parents-travelling-with-children/#sthash.VKZSSlHE.dpuf.
BORDER CROSSINGS ON THIS TRIP:
Exit South Africa - Oshoek (Day 2)
Enter Swaziland - Ngwenya
Exit Swaziland - Matsamo (Day 4)
Enter South Africa - Jeppe's Reef
Exit South Africa - Lebombo (Day 6)
Enter Mozambique - Ressano Garcia
Exit Mozambique - Machipanda (Day 11)
Enter Zimbabwe - Mutare
Issues on your trip
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes).
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
WATER BOTTLE:
Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.
VALUABLES:
Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe and the safe on the overland truck to store the bulk of your money, passport, and airline tickets. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden.
We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.
CLOTHING:
You will need to bring a mixture of lightweight clothing, some warm items for the evenings, and long shirts and pants for protection against mosquitoes in the malaria areas. Clothes should be easy to wash and dry. Some people like to take jeans for evenings out but they can be tough to dry and should not be used for trekking. Avoid nylon and other synthetics, which can be very uncomfortable in hot weather. Ex-military or military style clothing and equipment is NOT recommended.
HEADLAMP OR TORCH:
A headlamp or torch is recommended for around your accommodation at night. Some properties have limited lighting and are powered by generators that switch off at a certain time. It’s a good idea to bring a headlamp or torch to navigate your way around at night.
CLOSED-IN SHOES:
As this trip includes camping and/or bush walking we highly recommend that you take a pair of comfortable, closed-in walking shoes. Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings from dangerous animals in this environment.
SLEEPING BAG:
Bedding is provided at all accommodation on this trip. However you may wish to bring a sleeping bag (we recommend a 3–4 season). It can get very cold at night in winter months. If you are travelling during the hot season you may wish to also pack a sleep sheet so you will be comfortable no matter what the weather.
TRAVELLING ON LOCAL TRANSPORT:
It's important that your bags can be locked, as on local transport it may be necessary to store your luggage separately (and unattended) from the group. The smaller your bag the better for you and other passengers, for when it comes to travelling on local buses and trains it's often only the smaller bags that will fit into the storage areas. If your bag does not fit in these areas then often the only place to put it is on your bed or seat. To ensure maximum comfort, try to pack small and light.
Where Intrepid covers the cost of luggage storage for included day trips, we allow for one bag/backpack only, so it's advisable that you travel lightly and keep luggage to a limit of one item (plus your day pack). Extra luggage storage will be at your own expense.
Health
All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
YELLOW FEVER:
A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It's also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home.
It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you'll be visiting.
TYPHOID:
It is recommended that if you are travelling to Harare you make sure that your Typhoid vaccinations are up to date. There has been an outbreak of typhoid in parts of Harare, with over 1500 cases reported since October 2011. For more information speak to your doctor and see the World Health Organization (WHO) website.
Safety
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
SWIMMING POOLS:
You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.
UNFENCED CAMP SITES:
On some trips you will at times stay in unfenced camp sites within national parks. While this is a fantastic experience, there are a few safety rules to follow. While staying in national parks it's important that you listen to any advice given by your tour leader and the park rangers regarding responsible and safe behaviour.
BALCONIES:
Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
SEAT BELTS:
Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.
Travel insurance
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
Responsible Travel
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
A couple of rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
The Intrepid Foundation
Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
Responsible Travel projects
Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in South Africa include:
* Thusanani Children's Foundation works to prevent and treat developmental delay in orphaned and vulnerable South African children, aged 0-6, in Children's Homes (orphanages) where they live. Developmental delay in these children has a far reaching negative impact on their formal schooling in later years and they run the risk of being seen as children with special education needs. Treatment and prevention of developmental delay can set children on the right path that enables them to be contributing members of society, and break the cycle of abuse and poverty.
Carbon offset
Carbon Offset C02-e 419.00 kgs per pax.
Feedback
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
Remember that once you’ve left your feedback you’ll automatically be entered into our monthly draw for a US$500 (or equivalent in your local currency) travel voucher.