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Travelling to South Africa

All the practical information you need regarding your trip to Africa is found here. From how to prepare before you leave and travelling to your destination, to advice on travelling within your country of choice.

Before you Go

  • British nationals can enter South Africa for a visit of up to 90 days without a visa. For British passports endorsed in any way and all other passports, please ask the appropriate consulate: South Africa (020 7451 7299). You need a passport with two blank pages, valid for 6 months after your return to the UK.

    If children are not travelling with both parents, a letter of consent is required to enter or depart. Children under 18 must also carry an unabridged birth certificate.

    To issue some tickets, we require passport details and ages when you book. If you subsequently change your passport, please let us know as soon as possible.

  • Adequate travel insurance is essential. We do not sell or recommend any specific policy, but good medical insurance should cover medical evacuation and repatriation. If you are going to be taking part in any activity, please ensure your policy covers you for this.

  • You will receive tickets approximately 10 days before departure, along with information on accommodation, transfers and excursions. Our agents will give you your hotel and excursion vouchers when you arrive. Please check airline tickets carefully in case timings have changed after we issued your confirmation.

  • South Africa has strict regulations regarding the entry and exit of children under 18 when not travelling with both parents, or if the child has nationality of the country you are visiting. If you are travelling with children who are not entering or leaving the country with both parents, or if the child has nationality of the country you are visiting, please contact the consulate (South Africa: 020 7451 7299) to check requirements. Children under 18 must also carry an unabridged birth certificate.

  • Many airlines now charge a fee to select your seat prior to checking in for your flight, even when travelling in premium economy or business class. Alternatively, you may choose your preferred seat free of charge when online check-in opens 24 hours prior to departure or at the airport. Please ask us about the options available at time of booking.

    We all want a comfortable journey, particularly on long haul flights. If you would like a seat with some extra leg room or a larger recline please let us know. Airlines have introduced a range of “economy comfort” seats that may be purchased in advance. In some cases, these seats may only be purchased online directly with the airline once Llama Travel has issued your ticket approximately 30 days prior to departure.

    For flights within Africa, and for connecting flights in Europe, it is usually only possible to select seats when you check-in online or at the airport.

    It may not be possible to always use online check-in systems, especially when using a codeshare flight. On occasion, your preferred seat may be changed by the airline for operational reasons such as a change of aircraft or to facilitate a disabled passenger on the day you fly and as such, Llama Travel cannot always guarantee specific seats.

  • South Africa is a relatively dry country with sunny days and cooler nights, although it does experience a diversity of changes in climate. Most of the country experiences summer rainfall (December to February), except for the Western Cape, which has rainfall during the winter months (June to August).

    During the day it is generally hot, so you should pack lightweight loose-fitting clothes in natural fabrics, such as linen or cotton. Long sleeved shirts and long trousers will protect you against mosquitoes at night. In the winter it gets chilly, so you should pack a warm jacket for morning game drives.

    Electrical sockets in South Africa are 230 Volts. Sockets fit plugs with three round pins.

    We recommend you carry a copy of your passport with you at all times.

    Please bring any medication you may require from the UK.

    If you are flying via Johannesburg, there are strict regulations regarding luggage. Bags must have at least one flat surface, so round/irregular-shaped bags, or bags with long straps will not be accepted.

Health & Fitness

  • For most of our holidays, age is not a concern. However, a reasonable level of fitness is required, as most holidays require some walking, sometimes on uneven ground.

  • Please consult your GP or a travel clinic about health and vaccination requirements. The NHS website www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk gives good advice about travelling in South Africa.

    Malaria precautions are highly recommended when visiting the Kruger National Park, and also if you extend your holiday to visit Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Travellers coming from a yellow fever zone must have a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate.

    When visiting Africa, stomach illnesses are not uncommon due to changes in diet. In South Africa all tap water is potable, however we suggest you only drink bottled water and avoid ice. If you are unsure if salads and fruits have been washed in purified water, it is best to avoid them.

    If you have any health problems on holiday, please speak to our local agents or hotel staff. They will arrange for a doctor or hospital if necessary. If you do experience any problems, please seek appropriate medical attention.

Getting there

  • A holiday in Africa inevitably means long haul flights, and at least one overnight sector. Air fares vary from date to date and between airlines. Our holidays are scheduled to use the most advantageous air fare.

    You can choose which airline you prefer, we will let you know if a supplement is payable. Levels of onboard service and facilities, such as entertainment, vary by airline and route. Please ask us for details.

  • Most airlines offer the option of flying from regional airports in the UK, avoiding the need to make your own way to London. Due to the timing of flights, in some cases this may involve an overnight stop in London or another intermediate airport. There is usually a supplement for regional departures. Please note that most of our flights depart from London.

  • You can upgrade to business class or premium economy on most airlines. Prices start from £199 each way for Premium Economy and £699 each way for Business Class. Call us for prices for the route and airline you are interested in.

    Premium Economy
    British Airways World Traveller Plus, Air France Premium Voyageur and Virgin Premium Economy seats are available. These provide more comfortable seats which recline further and have more legroom. There are better meals and a bar service.

    KLM, Iberia and United offer standard economy class seats with extra legroom for additional cost. KLM seats can be booked through Llama Travel. United and Iberia seats can be reserved with the airlines one month prior to departure.

    Business Class

    British Airways Club World has seats which convert into full flat beds and have a privacy screen.

    Iberia Business Plus between Madrid and Latin America offers seats which convert into flat beds. Between the UK and Madrid, seats are usually the same as in economy class.

    KLM World Business Class offers seats that convert into flat beds. Between the UK and Amsterdam, seats are usually the same as in economy class. Air France Affairs Class offer seats which convert into virtually flat beds. Between the UK and Paris, seats are usually the same as in economy class.

    United Business First between the UK and the US offers seats which convert into full flat beds. Between the US and Latin America, seats are more spacious than in economy.

  • Most scheduled airlines have a baggage allowance of 23kg per passenger for international flights, but internal flight allowances can be less. Exact limits can be found on airline webpages. Please bear this in mind when packing, as carrying excess baggage will normally incur an expensive additional cost payable at check in. Additionally, certain excursions have a limited baggage allowance. Where this is the case, you will usually be able to leave the rest of your luggage in storage. Llama Travel accepts no responsibility for the delay, loss or damage of luggage.

Travelling in South Africa

  • The currency in South Africa is the Rand (approximate exchange rate: 18R = 1GBP). Credit and debit cards can be used in many shops and restaurants, and can also be used to withdraw money from cash machines.

    It is always recommended to inform your bank that you are travelling abroad and to which countries. This will allow them to authorise money withdrawals from your account when you are away. Some banks say that this is not necessary, however we would still recommend contact with your bank as in some cases people have had difficulty in withdrawing currency.

  • Most people who travel to the countries where Llama Travel operates experience no problems on holiday. However, as is the case anywhere in the world, crime can be a problem, especially in large cities. Tourists can appear attractive targets to criminals. To minimise the risk, use common sense. Do not display signs of wealth, such as expensive looking jewellery or cameras. Avoid empty streets, especially on your own. Take a taxi after dark. By taking sensible precautions, you should have a trouble-free holiday.

    Each country has its own standards for health and safety, but these are often not as good as in the UK. We take this into account when selecting hotels and request that they comply with all local regulations, but cannot guarantee that these are equivalent to British standards. Please take reasonable precautions to protect yourselves whilst on holiday, e.g. by locating fire exit routes.

    Please also check the Foreign Office travel advice for the countries you are visiting at www.fco.gov.uk. 

  • In many destinations, you can arrange adventure activities. If you are interested in taking any of these, please make sure you are covered by your travel insurance. Llama Travel does not arrange any adventure activities directly and we cannot verify the safety measures of any local operators.

  • Excursions are operated together with other travellers. These will usually be in English, although groups are sometimes a mix of English and other languages. A minimum of 2 people is required for some excursions. On some occasions, the order of excursions may vary. Many excursions are with non-Llama Travel passengers, especially on wildlife excursions.

  • Tipping in South Africa is standard practice. Wages are low so many people depend on tips to make up the shortfall in their earnings. Restaurant staff are used to receiving 10-15% of the total bill. In cities, you can tip your cab driver by rounding up to the nearest ten (although use your discretion regarding distance, time of day etc), and the norm for hotel porters is around R15-20. Whilst on safari, it is recommended to tip guides and drivers R200 per person per day and general lodge staff R120 shared between them per day.

  • To phone the UK from South Africa, dial the international dialing code for the UK (0044) and then the UK telephone number, leaving out the ‘0’ in the area code. Telephone cards are the easiest way to use public telephones, and can be bought in convenience stores.

    To phone South Africa from the UK, dial the international dialing code for South Africa (0027) and then the South Africa telephone number, leaving out the ‘0’ in the area code. Most UK mobile phones work in South Africa, but international roaming may need to be activated. Check with your mobile phone service provider if your telephone will work.

  • Probably the best way to describe our holidays is flexible tours, so you can choose where to visit by combining different extensions and excursions, and which hotels to stay in. In most cases, you will be with other Llama Travellers, but not necessarily the same people throughout. This allows you to get to know like-minded people, but not have to spend all your time with the same group. If we don't have anyone else taking a particular part of a holiday, we will still operate this just for you. All our holidays are guaranteed to operate if we have two passengers or more.

    Excursions are usually taken together with other Llama Travel customers in groups of no more than 18 people. If we have more than 18 booked, we operate two groups. In some places, the excursions are operated by one of our local partners, so you may be with people other than Llama Travel customers and the group may be a mix of English and other languages. In these cases, group sizes can sometimes be larger. If you would like to know the likely situation for your holiday, please ask us and we will be able to check. Transfers may be with more than 18 people.

    We get a wide range of people taking our holidays, with probably the largest group being couples aged in their forties to sixties, or even older. However, we also have a large number of customers in their twenties and thirties, especially for some of the more active holidays. What unites everyone is a sense of curiosity and a desire to discover new cultures, landscapes and wildlife. Although most of our customers travel with friends or family, we also have quite a few single travellers who are happy to mix and match as described above.

  • All hotels include breakfast, and other meals are included on some tours and excursions. However, generally, you will need to arrange your own lunches and dinners. We recommend budgeting approximately £15-20 for a three-course meal, £10 for a good bottle of wine, £2 for a beer or soft drink and £1 for a big bottle of water. There are many upmarket restaurants, particularly in the Winelands, where you should expect to pay up to £50 per person, or possibly more. As a wine-producing country, South Africa’s wine is particularly good value and you may want to purchase a few good bottles for your return.

    Throughout South Africa there are opportunities to shop for souvenirs and we advise setting aside some of your budget for this purpose. Credit cards are accepted in most places although Amex has more limited use.