Best of Africa: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana & Namibia - 2017

Johannesburg • Kruger National Park • Hwange National Park • Victoria Falls • Chobe National Park
  • WALK THROUGH VICTORIA FALLS NATIONAL PARK, A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE
  • SEARCH FOR "THE BIG FIVE" AT KRUGER NATIONAL PARK, AFRICA'S LARGEST GAME RESERVE
  • VENTURE ONTO THE CHOBE RIVER FOR AN EXCITING GAME DRIVE
  • DELIGHT IN THE COMPANY OF LOCALS WHEN YOU’RE INVITED INTO A VICTORIA FALLS HOME FOR DINNER
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Base prices are factored using double-occupancy rooms; supplemental fees may apply for those traveling independently.
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Before You Go

From money matters to packing tips, we’ve got all the information you need to prepare for your upcoming Vantage journey. Just click on an item below to read more about it.

Passports & Visas


Planning your trip

Tour trip will be here before you know it! Here's some information specific to the destinations you'll be visiting to help you prepare for your journey.

Travel Documentation

A passport is required for this trip. Your passport must be valid for at least six months after the scheduled return date of your vacation. Bring with you a photocopy of the pages of your passport that contain your personal information and extra passport photographs. These are useful in the event of loss.

Passport and Visa

The following information applies to U.S. citizens only. Those traveling on other than a U.S. passport must contact the embassies or consulates of the countries to be visited for further information and special requirements.
Country Passport Visa
Botswana Y N
South Africa Y N
Zimbabwe Y Y
Zambia Y Y
 Namibia Y  N

A visa to Zimbabwe is required and can be obtained upon arrival into the country. The amount is $45 USD for a double-entry visa for U.S. citizens. For non-U.S. citizens, the price may vary.

A visa to Zambia is required. Please be advised that you will depart Victoria Falls from Livingstone Airport in Zambia & fly to Nelspruit, Kruger, South Africa direct. Because Zambia is an additional country on your itinerary, you will need to purchase a Zambian single-entry visa when we arrive in Zambia. (This can only be purchased in person using U.S. dollars at the point of arrival.) The cost of the single entry Zambian visa is $50 per person.

Please note: Starting on June 1, 2017, the Botswana Tourism Organization will charge a tourism levy of $30 US per person. The fee is payable in cash or by credit card when entering Botswana.

IMPORTANT: No visa is needed for entry into South Africa. However, your passport must contain four blank pages (two sets of side-by-side blank pages) for South Africa and two blank pages side-by-side for Zimbabwe (a total of six pages). If your passport does not contain six blank pages in this configuration, you will need to get your passport reissued before you depart on this trip. Pages marked for amendments and endorsements do not count toward this requirement. Airlines strictly enforce this requirement and may deny boarding for failure to comply.

Be advised, there are stringent documentation requirements for all persons under 18 years to present an “unabridged” birth certificate at check-in in addition to a valid passport when entering, departing or transiting South Africa. An “unabridged” birth certificate contains the individual’s birth date, place of birth, gender, and full name, as well as the birth date, place of their birth, and citizenship of the individual’s mother and father. This requirement applies to minors of all nationalities whether traveling unaccompanied, accompanied with both parents, a single parent, or other adults. If you need to renew your passport:

Contact the National Passport Information Center (NPIC) at 1-877-487-2778, or visit their website at
www.travel.state.gov for information on obtaining a new passport or renewing your existing passport.

Emergency Photocopies
The smartest and easiest security precaution you can take is to carry photocopies of key documents: the 
photo page of your passport plus any applicable visas, your air itinerary and credit card numbers. Add 
emergency phone numbers like your credit card company and the number for your travel protection plan. 

Airport Transfers 
If you plan on booking your own international flights, please note that your flight out of Johannesburg at the end of the trip should not depart earlier than 5 pm in the afternoon. Should you take the optional extension to Cape Town, you will need to book your flight out of Cape Town.

U.S. Customs Information

If you are traveling internationally, it is important to understand U.S. Customs regulations including required documents, rules for bringing back items, and duty-free exemption. Please click the link below to visit the U.S. Customs website and read their helpful booklet, "Know Before Yo Go." This publications is available online and as a printer-friendly "PDF" document.

View "Know Before You Go"
(Link opens new browser window.)

Gratuities

We realize that tipping can be confusing on a group tour, so we've included the following recommended guidelines for gratuities:

  • Included Meals: Gratuities are included
  • Outside Dining: Varies according to local customs; your Tour Director will advise
  • Local Guides: $2.00 - $3.00 per person per day for each
  • Local Drivers: $1.00 - $2.00 per person per day for each
  • Vantage Tour Director: $8.00 - $12.00 per person per day
  • Porterage: Included except in Customs areas

Vaccinations

The South African government has now terminated the requirement for the Yellow Fever vaccination for travel from Zambia to South Africa.

Please note: Those who are traveling to malaria risk areas such as Kruger National Park, South Africa, and Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, can almost always prevent this potentially deadly disease if they correctly take an effective antimalarial drug and follow measures to prevent mosquito bites. Some things that travelers can use to protect themselves include malaria pills, insect repellent, long-sleeved clothing, bednet, and flying insect spray.

For more information on health related issues while travelling overseas, contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by logging onto http://www.cdc.gov/travel or or calling toll free 1 (800) 232-4636.

HEALTH

Steps to Take Before Your Trip 
Before you leave on your adventure, there are at least four health-related things you should do. 
• Step 1: Check with the CDC for their recommendations for the countries you'll be visiting. You can contact them online at wwwnc.cdc.goc/travel or by phone at 1-800-232-4636. 
• Step 2: Have a medical checkup with your doctor at least 6 weeks before your trip. 
• Step 3: Pick up any necessary medications, both prescription and over-the-counter. 
• Step 4: Have a dental and/or eye checkup. (Recommended, but less important than steps 1-3.) 

No Vaccines Required 

At the time of writing there were no required vaccines for this trip. The CDC recommends that 
all travelers be up to date on their routine vaccinations and on basic travel vaccines like Hepatitis A 
and Typhoid, but these are suggestions only. However, this could change in the future, so we encourage 
you to check with the CDC yourself before meeting with your doctor. 

Medical Checkup 

Topics to discuss during your checkup are: 
• Advice on what medicines (if any) to bring. For our suggestions of what types of 
medications to ask your doctor about, see the section titled "Medications" that follows. 
• Your fitness for this adventure. This is a must if you have any medical conditions or 
physical limitations. Use the "Is This Adventure Right For You?" section on previous pages 
as a guideline. Make certain to review any medical conditions you have, particularly cardiac or 
respiratory disease or diabetes, and discuss the details of the trip itinerary as it pertains to your health. 
Medications 
Of course, you'll need to bring an ample supply of any prescription medications you happen to be taking. 
You'll also want to talk to your doctor about any medications suggested by the CDC. In addition, we 
suggest you discuss: 
• An antibiotic medication for gastrointestinal illness 
• A pain medication. You might need this in the unlikely event of an injury in a location where 
medical attention would be delayed. 
• Motion sickness medicine, if you are susceptible (the roads are very bumpy on game drives). 
• At the time of this writing, the CDC does recommend that you discuss anti-malaria medication with your doctor. 
Traveling with medications 
• Pack medications in your carry-on bag to avoid loss and to have them handy 
• Keep medicines in their original, labeled containers for a quicker security screen at the airport 
and a better experience if you get stopped by customs while overseas 
• Bring copies of prescriptions, written using the generic drug name rather than a brand name 
to be prepared for any unforeseen loss of your medications 
Also, keep in mind that not every country has approved every medication. Most major brands are 
OK, but even some over-the-counter medications are not allowed in other countries. To check 
your medications (which we only recommend if the medication is vital to you) consult the State 
Department website at http://travel.state.gov/contentipassports/englishigo/customs.htm].
(Follow the links to "Local Laws & Special Circumstances" for each country; if you don't see 
any medications specifically mentioned, then you can presume major U.S. brands should be 
OK). 

Jet Lag Precautions 
You will feel better on the first days of your trip if, shortly before you leave home, you start to adjust to the different time zone of your destination. Since you will cross several time zones to reach your 
destination, you may lose many hours of regular sleep. You cannot totally avoid jet lag; but you can 
minimize it. Here's how: 
• Start your trip well-rested. 
• Begin a gradual transition to your new time zone before you leave or switch to your destination 
time zone when you get on the plane. 
• Attempt to sleep and eat according to the new schedule. 
• Avoid heavy eating and drinking caffeine or alcoholic beverages right before — and during — your flight. 
• Drink plenty of water and/or fruit juice while flying. 
• Stretch your legs, neck, and back periodically while seated on the plane. 
• After your arrival, avoid the temptation to nap. 
• Don't push yourself to see a lot on your first day. 
• Try to stay awake your first day until after dinner. 

Staying Healthy on Your Trip 

Safe Water 
Tap water is usually safe to drink in Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, but always use 
caution. If in doubt, ask your Adventure Leader about the water. Bottled and/or filtered water is provided at most of your hotels, lodges, and tented camps, as well as on your game drives and transfer days. At most lodges, it is safe to use ice in your drinks, but check with your Adventure Leader first. 

Safe Food 
The food served at our hotels and lodges is safe, including salads and fruits. But exercise more caution when eating at small local restaurants or buying food from street vendors. Eat only food that is well done and is still hot. Although the tap water is generally safe to drink, you should be mindful about eating salads or fruits outside of our lodges - they may have been washed in unsafe water. (Fruit that you peel yourself should be OK.) Your Adventure Leader will advise you if he/she feels that something is unsafe for you to eat. 

Allergies 
If you have any serious allergies or dietary restrictions, we advise you to notify us at least 30 days prior to your departure. Every effort will be made to accommodate you. 

Electricity Supply 

A constant electricity supply cannot be guaranteed during overnight stays. Travelers dependent on 
electricity supply for health reasons may want to consider a different adventure. The tented 
camp cannot accommodate CPAP machines and Southern Africa is prone for electricity outages. Travelers with sleep apnea who choose this adventure must be able to do without their CPAP.



Climate/Time Zone


Time Differences

Country   

Time Difference

South Africa 6 hours
Botswana 6 hours
Zimbabwe 6 hours


Note: The above times are based on Eastern Standard Time.


Climate

Use the chart below to get an overview of the average temperatures at your destination. Average High/Low Temperature (Farenheit)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
Cape Town H 77 78 76 72 67 64 62 63 65 69 72 75
L 63 63 60 56 52 58 57 58 51 54 58 61
Chobe National Park H 90 89 88 87 82 77 77 83 91 95 94 91
L 67 66 63 58 49 42 42 47 55 64 66 66
Johannesburg H 77 75 74 69 66 60 61 65 71 73 74 76
L 60 59 58 53 48 42 42 46 51 54 56 59
Kruger National Park H 82 82 80 78 77 73 73 75 78 78 80 82
L 64 64 62 57 48 42 42 46 51 57 60 62
Victoria Falls H 83 82 82 78 75 71 71 75 81 83 84 82
L 64 64 63 59 54 49 49 52 58 61 64 64


Climate by Location 

You will be in the southern hemisphere throughout this tour. South of the equator, the seasons are the 
reverse of those in the northern hemisphere; the warmest months are between October and March, and 
the coldest are between April and September. 

• South Africa: Johannesburg lies in the High Veld, an area of plains at elevations from 4,000 to 
6,000 feet. Summers are warm, though rarely uncomfortably hot; this is the time of year when 
the most rain falls. Nights are cool in winter, but daytime temperatures are mild and dry 
weather predominates. A high percentage of sunshine and low humidity year-round make for a 
pleasant climate. Cape Town, located where mountains slope down to coastal lowlands, has a 
Mediterranean climate of mild, rainy winters and sunny summers. 
• Zimbabwe: Most of Zimbabwe has a pleasant climate for much of the year; temperatures are 
generally warm. The hottest month is usually October, when daytime highs can be extreme (as 
high as 100 degrees F, or more). From May to August, evenings can be surprisingly chilly. 
Rain is more regular here than in Botswana. The rainy season from November to March brings heavy rains and thunderstorms. 
• Namibia: Because of its proximity to Botswana, the part of Namibia that we 
visit has a similar climate to Botswana's Chobe region. Generally speaking, this means hot 
days and cool nights. Rainfall primarily occurs in the summer months, between November and 
March, when heavy thunderstorms can be expected. Summer is very hot as temperatures are 
often above 104°F. Winter (May-August) is dry and cold - bring warm clothing and/or layers 
for the early morning game drives. 
• Botswana: Most of Botswana is considered desert or semi-desert. It is usually comfortably 
warm, but can get hot, especially between October and March, when mid-day temperatures can 
get as high as 110-120°F. Rain is quite rare, but can occur even in the driest months. 
Seasonal Notes 
• Rainy Season (November-March): The rainy season brings heavy rains and thunderstorms, 
particularly in January and February. You will want good rain gear during this period, and your laundry will take more than a day to be returned dry. In addition to being rainy, it 
is also hot. Temperatures can often reach into the 90s, although it will feel cooler on game drives. 
• Winter (May-August): When most people think of Africa, they picture a warm climate - the 
hot sun beating down on a savannah or a humid jungle. But winter in Botswana, Zambia, and 
Zimbabwe is actually colder than most travelers expect. Nighttime lows are in the 40s or 50s; 
daytime highs are usually in the 70s or 80s. And given that our early morning game drives are 
in open vehicles, you'll feel at least 10 degrees cooler than the actual temperature. Bring warm 
clothes and wear layers; that way you are prepared for the combination of cold mornings, warm days, and cold nights. 
 

Climate Charts 
The following charts reflect the average climate as opposed to weather conditions. This means they serve only as general indicators of what can reasonably be expected. As your departure approaches, you may wish to monitor current weather conditions online. Here is the official data from the weather observation stations closest to our destinations. 

We would like to remind you that these charts are for average temperatures. There can be extreme  heat waves or cold snaps that fall far outside the average range. For example, it can get as hot as 110 degrees in Kruger National Park from November-January. In Kasane, Hwange, and Victoria Falls, heat waves tend to hit in September-November; again, it can get as hot as 110 degrees. And cold winter lows in the 30s can occur in Victoria Falls, Kasane and Hwange in June and July. In Cape Town, summer highs in December-February can spike into the 90s or 100s. 




MONTH

CAPE TOWN, South Africa

(optional extension)

Temp. High-

% Relative

Average

Low

Humidity

# of Days

(am-pm)

with

Rainfall

JAN

77-63

83-60

7

FEB

78-63

86-60

6

MAR

76-60

88-63

7

APR

72-56

90-67

10

MAY

67-52

90-69

13

JUN

64-48

88-70

16

JUL

62-47

89-70

16

AUG

63-48

89-67

16

SEP

65-51

88-65

14

OCT

69-54

85-63

11

NOV

72-58

84-61

9

DEC

75-61

85-60

8


You will be in the southern hemisphere throughout this tour. South of the equator, the seasons are the 
reverse of those in the northern hemisphere; the warmest months are between October and March, and 
the coldest are between April and September. 

MONTH

Nelspruit, South Africa

HWANGE, Zimbabwe

(for KRUGER PARK)

Temp High-

%Relative

Average

Temp.

% Relative

Monthly

Low

Humidity

Rainfall

High-Low

Humidity

Rainfall

(avg) *

(inches)

(avg) *

(inches)

JAN

82-64

--

5.0

85-65

--

5.7

FEB

82-64

--

4.7

84-64

--

5.1

MAR

80-62

--

3.7

84-62

--

2.2

APR

78-57

--

2.1

82-56

--

0.8

MAY

77-48

--

0.7

79-48

--

0.1

JUN

73-42

--

0.4

75-41

--

--

JUL

73-42

--

0.4

75-40

--

--

AUG

75-46

--

0.4

80-45

--

--

SEP

78-51

--

1.2

88-54

--

OJ

OCT

78-57

--

2.5

90-61

--

0.8

NOV

80-60

--

4.4

89-64

--

2.2

DEC

82-62

--

5.4

86-64

--

5

*data not available

MONTH

VICTORIA FALLS, Zimbabwe

KASANE, Botswana

(for Chobe region)

Temp. High-

% Relative

Monthly

Temp High-

%Relative

Average

Low

Humidity

Rainfall

Low

Humidity

Rainfall

(avg)

(inches)

(avg) *

(inches)

JAN

86-65

73

6.6

87-67

--

5.3

FEB

85-64

77

5.0

87-67

--

5.3

MAR

86-63

69

2.8

88-66

--

2.8

APR

85-57

60

1.0

87-61

--

0.9

MAY

81-49

53

0.1

84-56

--

OJ

JUN

77-43

52

--

79-50

--

--

JUL

77-42

44

--

79-49

--

--

AUG

82-47

37

--

85-54

--

--

SEP

89-55

33

0.1

91-61

--

0.1

OCT

92-63

35

1.1

94-67

--

0.8

NOV

90-65

57

2.5

92-69

--

2.5

DEC

86-65

71

6.8

89-68

--

5.0

• South Africa: Johannesburg lies in the High Veld, an area of plains at elevations from 4,000 to 
6,000 feet. Summers are warm, though rarely uncomfortably hot; this is the time of year when 
the most rain falls. Nights are cool in winter, but daytime temperatures are mild and dry 
weather predominates. A high percentage of sunshine and low humidity year-round make for a 
pleasant climate. Cape Town, located where mountains slope down to coastal lowlands, has a 
Mediterranean climate of mild, rainy winters and sunny summers. 
• Zimbabwe: Most of Zimbabwe has a pleasant climate for much of the year; temperatures are 
generally warm. The hottest month is usually October, when daytime highs can be extreme (as 
high as 100 degrees F, or more). From May to August, evenings can be surprisingly chilly. 
Rain is more regular here than in Botswana. The rainy season from November to March brings heavy rains and thunderstorms. 
• Namibia: Because of its proximity to Botswana, the part of Namibia that we 
visit has a similar climate to Botswana's Chobe region. Generally speaking, this means hot 
days and cool nights. Rainfall primarily occurs in the summer months, between November and 
March, when heavy thunderstorms can be expected. Summer is very hot as temperatures are 
often above 104°F. Winter (May-August) is dry and cold - bring warm clothing and/or layers 
for the early morning game drives. 
• Botswana: Most of Botswana is considered desert or semi-desert. It is usually comfortably 
warm, but can get hot, especially between October and March, when mid-day temperatures can 
get as high as 110-120°F. Rain is quite rare, but can occur even in the driest months. 
Seasonal Notes 
• Rainy Season (November-March): The rainy season brings heavy rains and thunderstorms, 
particularly in January and February. You will want good rain gear during this period, and your laundry will take more than a day to be returned dry. In addition to being rainy, it 
is also hot. Temperatures can often reach into the 90s, although it will feel cooler on game drives. 
• Winter (May-August): When most people think of Africa, they picture a warm climate - the 
hot sun beating down on a savannah or a humid jungle. But winter in Botswana, Zambia, and 
Zimbabwe is actually colder than most travelers expect. Nighttime lows are in the 40s or 50s; 
daytime highs are usually in the 70s or 80s. And given that our early morning game drives are 
in open vehicles, you'll feel at least 10 degrees cooler than the actual temperature. Bring warm 
clothes and wear layers; that way you are prepared for the combination of cold mornings, warm days, and cold nights. 
 


Money Matters


Country      Unit of Currency  
South Africa    Rand Get Exchange Rate
Botswana Pula Get Exchange Rate
Zimbabwe Dollar Get Exchange Rate

How Much Should I Budget? 
This is a very personal decision and largely rests on your spending habits. By far the biggest variable in 
your budget is your taste for souvenirs and meals not included. An average meal in this region will cost between $20 and $30, including a 10-15% tip, but excluding a beverage. It is also customary to tip others who serve you, such as guides and drivers; see the "Tipping" section in this handbook for guidelines. 
Our regional office suggests that travelers on this trip carry between $700 and $900 per person in cash for all expenses on the main trip, and about $300 per person for each extension. If this seems low, take more. If this seems high, remember that you don't have to spend it all. You know yourself best. 

How to Carry Your Money 

Generally speaking, you'll want to bring a mixture of different payment methods - some cash to 
exchange and a couple of cards.   

Cash 

So we know that bringing cash is a good idea on this adventure--does that mean U.S. dollars or local 
currency? There is no need to obtain local currency before your trip. In fact, you'll be able to pay with 
U.S. dollars in most of the countries on this trip except South Africa (see the "Currency" section for more 
details). If you do need to change money, you can do so when you arrive at the airport, or at banks and 
money exchange offices. 

Whether paying in U.S. dollars or exchanging, you should know that small-denomination bills ($1, 5, 10, 
and 20s) in very good condition are strongly preferred. Large bills ($50s and $100s) will be hard to 
break, and bills in bad condition (dirty, worn, or tom) might be rejected, even by banks. Because of issues 
with counterfeiting, the age of the bill also matters. In Zimbabwe, U.S. bills that were printed before 2000 
are not accepted. 

TIP: While it might be tempting to withdraw a bunch of $20 bills from the ATM at home, a mix of some 
$1, 5, 10, and 20 bills would be better. It makes tipping and bargaining easier when you have exact change. 

ATMs 
On this adventure, ATMs will be available in Johannesburg (South Africa), Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) and Kasane (Botswana). Travelers on the post-trip extension will have easy access to ATMs in Cape Town. 

Many banks charge a fee ranging from $1 to $5 for every time you use a foreign ATM. Others will charge you a percentage of what you withdraw. We recommend that you check with your bank before you depart. You'll also want to notify your bank that you'll be out of the country - that way when they see 
foreign ATM withdrawals, they won't put a fraud alert on your account. Lastly, don't forget to memorize 
the actual digits of your card's PIN number (many keypads at foreign ATMs do not include letters on 
their keys-they only display numbers.) 

Credit & Debit Cards 

Credit card payment is actually quite common in South Africa, but only somewhat available in Zimbabwe, and Botswana or Namibia.
Even if you do not plan on using them, we suggest you bring one or two credit or debit cards as a 
"backup". We also suggest that you bring more than one brand of card (Visa, MasterCard) if possible, because not every shop will take every card. For example, although the Discover card is now accepted in some countries outside the U.S., it is not widely adopted, so other brands will work at a much larger range of stores, restaurants, etc. 
TIP: Many credit card companies have fraud alert departments that will freeze your card if they see 
suspicious charges, such as charges from another country. To avoid an accidental security block, it is a 
good idea to notify your credit card company that you will be using your cards abroad. You can do this by calling their customer service number a week or two before your departure.

You should also double-check what phone number you could call if you have a problem with a card while 
you are abroad. Don't assume you can use the 1-800 number printed on the back of your card - most 1- 
800 numbers don't work outside of the U.S.! 
 
Currency 
Use of U.S. dollars for payment: In some of the countries on this itinerary - Botswana and Zimbabwe -  
it is OK to pay or tip in U.S. dollars, so you won't need a lot of local currency. This is especially 
true in Zimbabwe, where all businesses will accept U.S. dollars because the local currency is no longer in 
use. However, there is one country where U.S. dollars aren't readily accepted: South Africa. In South Africa, you will need Rands instead of dollars. 
And remember: You'll want a mix of small bills ($1, 5, 10, and 20s) in good condition printed after 2000. 
 
Tipping 
Of course, whether you tip, and how much, is always at your own discretion. Listed below are our 
recommendations for the tips that are not included in your tour price. All tips are quoted in U.S. dollars; 
tips can be converted and paid in local currency or in U.S. dollars. Do not use personal or travelers checks for tips. 
• Included Meals: Gratuities are included
• Outside Dining: Varies according to local customs; your Adventure Leader will advise 
• Local Guides: $2 - $3 per person per day for each
• Local Drivers: $1 - $2 per person per day for each
• Vantage Adventure Leader: $8 - $12 per person per day
• Porterage: Included 

Shopping 

It is Vantage Adventures’ goal to identify and provide you with shopping opportunities that 
highlight unique, locally produced products with good value from reliable vendors. For this reason, there 
may be scheduled visits to local shops during your adventure. There is no requirement to make a purchase during these stops, and any purchase made is a direct transaction with the shop in question, subject to the vendor's terms of purchase. 

Crafts & Souvenirs 

Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe offer many fine craft items at good prices. Traditional 
souvenirs include gems and gemstone jewelry, batik artwork, traditional African woven cloths, stone and 
wood sculptures, leather goods, beadwork, and fine basketry. Vantage Adventures cannot be responsible for any delays or problems you may have with shipping your purchases overseas. 

Bargaining 

Some shops have fixed prices. In the open-air markets, prices are usually flexible and negotiating is 
normal. The only rule is that if you make an offer, you should be prepared to buy at that price. Bring a 
mix of small bills so that you can pay in exact change. You will get the best prices if you pay in U.S. 
currency. 

Packing Guidelines


Looking for the right gear for your adventure in Africa? We have everything you need for the trip in our Safari Essentials Shop. Click to browse these high-quality essentials and start getting ready for your adventure today!

You may find the packing information below helpful as you begin to prepare for your upcoming journey.


Your Luggage
Packing for Africa depends on where you're going as well as what time of the year you're traveling. For your safari portion, it's wise to pack decent walking shoes, light- or neutral-colored clothing and a warm top or jacket for the evenings. A sunhat is vital, as are sunglasses, binoculars, a camera, spare batteries or a charger, insect repellent, sunscreen and malaria prophylactics if necessary. An international plug, small daypack and personal water bottle are also recommended.

You may also need several items of warm clothing if you're on a winter safari in places like Botswana and Kruger Park, as nighttime temperatures can dip below freezing. 

Clothing

The rule is to take as little as possible. Laundry is available at all hotels and safari lodges at a nominal and reasonable charge compared to the U.S.
1 x long-sleeved shirt/blouse
2 x light long trousers will help protect you against the sun and insect bites
2 x skirts/dresses
3 x T-shirts
2 x shorts
1 x swimsuit
1 x small towel (sarong is better)
1 x hat that shades your neck
A few pairs of socks
Cotton underwear and socks
1 x good pair of well-broken-in walking boots
1 x plimsolls/sandals or flip-flops
General Accessories
Small sewing kit
Electrical adapter (if needed)
Camera, film and extra batteries
Binoculars
Day pack
Sunglasses
Zip-loc Plastic bags for electronics and film 
Lighter
Small torch (flashlight) 
Mosquito repellent
Personal water bottle 

First Aid and Toiletries

Toiletries: toothpaste, soap, shampoo - although all hotels/lodges supply normal bathroom amenities
Anti-bacterial wet wipes 
Malaria tablets
Insect repellent 
Some kind of painkiller
Antiseptic/ntihistamine cream
Band-Aid and bandage
Sun lotion
Imodium and other anti-diarrhea medicine
Rehydrating salts

Prescription medications: Make sure you have enough to last during your trip, as well as a copy of the prescription(s).

If you wear glasses or contact lenses, you should have a spare pair of glasses with you or enough lenses and cleaning solutions to last throughout your trip. Also carry a copy of your prescription with you.

Carry-on bag 
You are allowed one carry-on bag per person. We suggest a tote or small backpack that can be used as 
both a carry-on bag for your flight and to carry your daily necessities - water bottle, camera, etc., - during 
driving excursions and walking trips. Consider a backpack or waistpack that keeps both hands free and 
distributes the pack's weight onto your back or hips. 


Luggage handling on arrival 
Airport porters are not allowed in the customs hall area. On arrival, you must take your luggage off the 
baggage carousel and then clear customs. When you exit the airport building, your motorcoach driver 
will load your luggage onto the vehicle. 


Locks 
To reduce the risk of damage to your luggage, either do not lock your bags when checking in for flights 
that originate in the U.S. or use TSA-approved locks. (These are locks that TSA screeners can open and 
relock with a special tool, avoiding damage to your luggage or lock if a physical inspection is required. 
Look for the words "TSA" or "TSA-approved" on the lock's packaging.) 
Outside of the U.S., we strongly recommend that you lock your luggage as a preventative measure against 
theft. TIP: Most lodges/hotels do have personal safes in the tents/rooms. 
 
How to Pack Light 
Simply put, space and weight are at a premium on this adventure. You'll need to pare down to the basics 
that you need, but this can be hard to figure out. Here are a few techniques that can help: 
• Bring half the clothes. Don't pack for a 15-day trip; pack for an 8-day trip. You can have laundry done during the trip. 
• Stick to a simple color palette; it will be easier to mix and match to create outfits out of limited 
clothing. Watch out for too much black and blue (they can attract tsetse flies) or white (gets dirty 
easily). 
• Consolidate by going digital. A tablet or smartphone can easily replace multiple items such as a 
book, a phrase guide, your journal, a flashlight, an alarm clock, etc. And if it is Wi-Fi-enabled, you 
can also use it to send the occasional email. 
Clothing Suggestions 
Functional Tips 
As you will experience a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions, we suggest several layers of 
clothing. If you like to hand-wash your clothes, look for fabrics that will dry out overnight. You can buy 
clothing designed especially for travel, with features like wrinkle-resistant fabric or built-in sun 
protection. 
• Layers for game drives: Many game drives are in the early morning or late evening. Even at 
the height of summer, these times of day are cooler than the afternoon. Therefore we suggest 
bringing a piece that you can wear over your clothing for cooler mornings and remove as the 
day heats up (windbreaker, jacket, sweater, sweatshirt, etc.). And just a reminder: South of the 
equator, the seasons are reversed. Travelers on summer departures will want to bring more than 
one layer - it is winter in southern Africa. 
• Footwear: You'll be on your feet a lot during the trip, and walking over some rough and 
slippery surfaces. We recommend you wear sturdy walking shoes or similar supportive sport 
shoes that offer good traction. We also recommend you bring a pair of rubberized sandals (i.e., 
Tevas) for showering, wearing around the lodge, and general warm-weather use. They will 
come in particularly handy when you walk through wet areas in Victoria Falls National Park. 
• Dress on this safari adventure is functional and casual. Evening dinners in city hotels are smart casual. 
• We suggest clothing in muted earth tones because they don't show dirt easily, coordinate well, 
and don't distract animals. Very bright colors have traditionally been used to keep animals away 
(that's why many tribal peoples wear bright clothing) 
• Avoid white clothing because white is a danger signal for some species. 
• Avoid wearing all black or all blue clothing-these colors attract tsetse flies. This is a matter of 
comfort, not a health concern. Tsetse flies bite, but are not disease carriers in the places we travel. 
• Do not bring camouflage and military-type clothing - it is illegal in Zimbabwe and could 
result in arrest. 

Electricity 
When traveling overseas, there are a few differences to keep in mind about electricity. First, the voltage is 
usually different. Second, the plugs might not be the same shape. Lastly, the availability of power can 
vary. 
Voltage 
Electricity in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe is 220-240 volts. In the U.S.. it is 110 
volts. Most of the things a traveler will want to plug in - battery chargers, MP3 players, tablets or 
computers - can run off both 110 and 220-240. But you should check the item or the owner's guide first 
to confirm this before you plug it in. If you have something that needs 110 volts - like a shaver or a 
hair dryer - you can bring a transformer to change the current. (But transformers tend to bum out, so it 
might be better to leave whatever it is at home.) 
Plugs 
The shape of plugs will vary from country to country, and sometimes even within a country depending on 
when that building was built. Different plug shapes are named by letters of the alphabet - Type A, Type 
B, and so on. Standard U.S. plugs are Type A and Type B. Here is the list of plugs for the countries on 
this trip: 
• Overall, M is the most common plug on this adventure. 
• Botswana: M (a larger version of D) 
• Namibia: M 
• South Africa: M 
• Zimbabwe: D or G 


Type G    
 
To plug in something from the U.S. into a D, G, or M socket, you'll need an adapter that fits between the 
plug and the socket. Because there are many different types of plugs in this region, it may be easier to 
purchase an all-in-one, universal adapter/converter combo. Versatile and lightweight, these can usually be 
found at your local electronics goods or hardware stores. Sometimes you can buy them at large retailers 
too, like Target or Walmart. If you forget to bring an adapter, you might also find them for sale at the 
airport when you arrive at your destination. 
Availability 
In the tented camp and some safari lodges, the generator that supplies electricity may operate during limited hours. It is possible to recharge camera batteries, but only while the generator is running. Therefore, bringing two batteries - one to use while the other is recharging - is recommended. 
 

Electronic devices

Bring your iPad, Kindles, and/or smart phones. This way you will have access to city guides, post trip survey and trip information while on tour. This will also allow you to take pictures and communicate with friends and family easier.

Luggage Restrictions

To help make your travel experience as smooth and simple as possible, Vantage recommends you limit your luggage to one large suitcase and one small carry-on bag per person. Although airlines will generally allow more luggage, the transportation on your Vantage tour may have stricter space limitations. Domestic and international carriers currently restrict weight limitations to 44 pounds per bag.

Special notice for all passengers on the Best of Africa program: Your program involves multiple domestic flights on small aircraft. Luggage allowances are very strictly enforced. The maximum weight of checked luggage per person on internal flights is 20 kg or 44 lbs. Hand luggage cannot exceed 8 kg or 17 lbs. We recommend soft-sided carry-on bags only. This is strictly enforced.

Travel Light [top]

Most travelers pack much more than they really need. We recommend that you start packing a few days before your trip, so you have time to remember everything that you need — and to decide what is essential and what is not. And don't forget to leave room for souvenirs and gifts you may purchase during your trip.
Besides the basic necessities and the items covered below, you'll want to pack sunglasses, a hat or visor, and sunscreen for daytime use. You might also want to bring a small, alarm clock, pocket tissues, travel pack of soap powder, needle, thread, safety pins, and personal face cloth. In many countries, your washcloth is considered to be of intimate usage and is not provided by hotels.
Depending on your destination, you may also want to bring insect repellent (we recommend repellent with a high "deet" content). Binoculars are also handy when travelling to areas where flora and fauna may be observed. Some tours may also require an overnight bag for optional overnight excursions. We suggest visiting our Safari Essentials Shop to buy everything you'll need for your adventure!

Clothing for Africa [top]

Your travel wardrobe should be planned according to the climate of the areas you will be visiting and the length of your stay. A HELPFUL HINT — plan, to avail yourself of the laundry and valet services available at an additional fee. Weather is never predictable so be sure to be prepared for just about anything. Plan to dress in layers so you can adjust to temperature changes throughout the day. You’ll want to take along a sweater, jacket or fleece sweatshirt for cool evenings, and sunglasses, sunhat, or visor and sunscreen for daytime use. Long pants are necessary for colder temperatures, and sun and insect protection at certain times of the year. During the winter months in South Africa (May-August) it can get very cold, and you will be game viewing in an open moving vehicle, so warm clothing is a must. Please note that in Capetown in the winter it can be wet and cold. Rain gear and warm clothing are essential. One of the most important items is, of course, comfortable walking shoes for touring. You might consider lightweight hiking boots for increased ankle support. We also recommend you bring a pair of rubberized sandals (i.e., Tevas) for showering, wearing around the lodge, and general warm weather use. They will come in particularly handy when you walk through wet areas in Victoria Falls National Park. We suggest you refrain from purchasing new walking shoes just prior to departure.

Dress on safari is functional and casual. Generally, khaki and other earthtones are your best color choices because they allow you to blend into the scenery.

Besides the basics, we suggest a practical raincoat and/or a fold-up umbrella, swimsuit and pool slippers, and any other accessories that may add to your comfort. Binoculars are handy when travelling to areas where flora and fauna may be observed. On Safari, binoculars are essential for game viewing. Each person will want to bring a pair of binoculars with them on tour. You might also add insect repellent (with Deet), a small alarm clock, small battery-powered flashlight, personal face cloth, pocket tissues, travel pack of soap powder, needle, thread, and safety pins.

Suggested Packing List [top]

  • 3 short-sleeved cotton shirts. Polo-style shirts are more versatile than T-shirts
  • 2 long-sleeved cotton shirts — for sun protection as well as for warmth
  • Trousers: 2 long pairs, comfortable and loose-fitting. One lighter, one a bit heavier for warmth in the evening. We recommend lightweight safari-style trousers that zip off at the knee to be worn as shorts. They are available at most outdoor outfitting and clothing stores. Consider taking one pair of pants chinos, or a smart casual style trouser that you can wear for evenings out in Cape Town and Cape Winelands
  • 2 pairs of walking shorts, long-cut for modesty
  • 5 or 6 changes of underwear. Due to the very bumpy roads on safari, support brassieres are suggested for women, even if you usually do not wear one
  • Light fleece or wool sweater
  • Very light jacket. A waterproof/breathable jacket can double as a windbreaker. This should be sized to fit over your sweater
  • Sleepwear: 1 to 2 pairs of light- or medium-weight pajamas
  • Wide-brim sun hat

For Fall and Winter (May-August), add these cool-weather items to your list:

  • Medium-weight long underwear top and bottom. Look for Capilene, Lifa, or similar
  • At least one of your long-sleeved shirts should be of a warm, heavy fabric for cool nights. Flannel or knit is ideal
  • During the winter, it is cold. You may not need both pairs of shorts, and you may want to substitute a warm sleeping outfit or a pair of long pants
  • A warm, insulated jacket in addition to a wool or fleece sweater. If you own a light- or medium-weight insulated field jacket or parka, you can use that, if you like
  • Warm hat and a wool scarf (needed on the game-drive vehicles)
  • Medium-weight gloves for early morning and evening outings
  • Warm sleepwear for winter

Footwear

  • Comfortable walking, running, or hiking shoes. Look for shoes with good arch support. Also look for something that allows good ventilation, while keeping out the dust. If you bring hiking boots, we recommend mid-cut, lightweight ones. Anything heavier will be superfluous
  • Sport sandals. These are highly recommended for showering, lounging poolside, and for walking at Victoria Falls National Park. Good brands include Tevas, Nike, Merrell, and others
  • 2 to 4 pairs of socks. During May to August, one or two pairs should be warm hiking socks made of wool, Capilene or Thermax
  • Optional Namibia Post-Extension: For passengers going to Namibia, high-sided shoes or boots are recommended for dune walking to keep sand out.

Game Drives and Viewing
Please note that binoculars are not readily available to rent, so each person should bring a small, compact pair from home.

Rain Gear [top]

We suggest a practical raincoat or waterproof shell with a hood, and/or a fold-up umbrella. The shell could also be worn with other layers in lower temperatures.

Good Walking Shoes [top]

One of the most important items you'll need for any vacation is, of course, comfortable walking shoes for touring. We suggest you refrain from purchasing new walking shoes just prior to departure — it's best to wear a broken-in pair that you know are comfortable.

Pool and Sauna Apparel [top]

On many programs, some accommodations will feature pools. So if you plan to use them, bring along a swimsuit and pool slippers.

Cameras and Film [top]

Be sure to test the working order of your camera before you leave home, and to insure your equipment against loss and damage. It is also important to take along an ample supply of film. Film can be expensive and specific kinds of film may not be available in certain areas. Some airport x-ray equipment may harm valuable film. For utmost protection, film should be packed separately in hand luggage. Also, be sure to bring at least one extra battery for your camera.
If you are using a digital camera, check on how many images you can take on your memory card at the resolution you are using. You may wish to bring along an extra memory card so you will not run out of memory half way through the trip. Bring along the battery charger, but remember you may need a voltage converter. The alternative is to carry a spare charged battery with you.

Valuables [top]

Please remember that it is not wise to bring valuables with you when you travel. If you decide to do so, please carry them on your person when flying. Make sure to use hotel safe deposit boxes or safes to ensure the safety of possessions that you may want to have with you.

What to Leave Behind [top]

Do not pack aerosol cans; they tend to leak during air travel. Also avoid packing glass bottles; use plastic containers instead. Leave at home any credit cards and checkbooks that you don't anticipate using on your trip; valuable jewelry; brand-new shoes (instead pack your most comfortable walking shoes); and, in general, anything that you would hate to lose.

Electric Current [top]

Before you go on your safari vacation to Africa, make sure you have the correct travel adapter with you before you leave home. When traveling, you will be surprised how quickly the batteries of a camera will be used up, and how much we rely on having access to electricity. Most safari lodges/hotels will have an adapter to borrow should you need it, but it is always best to have your own. Below is a list of countries and the adapters you will need for each of them.

If you are looking to buy a travel adapter plug for Africa, we recommend the Belkin F8E449 Universal AC Travel Adapter, which you can purchase from Amazon. Please note there is no fully universal plug available for Africa, but this one is the closest to covering most of the plug options you will need. Below is a short description of the electric plugs for countries is Southern and Eastern Africa.

Botswana: Electric plug M, 230V, 50Hz. Electric plug G (but rare)
When traveling to Botswana, we recommend you have an electrical plug M. Electric plug M is technically known as BS 546 (South African 15 A/250 V). It has been adopted as the standard plug in South Africa. The Type G electrical plug is the British three-pin, but is rarely found in use in Botswana.

Namibia: Electric plug M 220v 50Hz
Safari travelers going to Namibia need to use electric travel adapter M, which is the same for South Africa.

South Africa: Electric plug M 220/230V 50Hz. In some areas plug C & G
Electric power plug M has the official name of BS 546. Type M is a “15 A/250 V” version of electric plug D: 220/230V 50 Hz. Note that electric plug M is larger than D, thus plug D is not compatible in South Africa.

Zimbabwe: Electrical plug D & G. 220V and 50Hz
Residents of Zimbabwe, use plug D & G. The technical name for the Type D plug and receptacle is the BS 546 (5 A/250 V earthed). It is also known as the Old British Plug. The Type G plug is commonly known as the 13-amp plug, and technically known as the BS 1363 (British 13 A/230-240 V 50 Hz earthed and fused).


Guidebooks
Your Adventure Leader will be happy to provide recommendations and suggestions during the trip, so a 
guidebook is not a necessity. But a good one can be invaluable as a one-stop reference, so for those 
travelers who have asked for suggestions, we offer these guidelines. Fodor's, Frommer's, Bradt, and 
other publishers offer a selection of guidebooks on Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. 
Some are specifically written for safari travelers, and some may combine more than one country into one 
volume. Since different guidebook series each have their own target audience and structure, it is well 
worth your time to browse your local library or bookstore to find the one(s) you like best. To get you 
started, here is some general information on the most popular series: 

• Culture Smart! - Focuses on local customs and etiquette instead of sights, dining, etc. 
• DK Eyewitness - Innovative visuals make these books easy to use and a nice souvenir once the 
trip is over. The focus is primarily on the sights and activities. 
• Fodor's - A classic guidebook with strong information on activities, shopping, and dining. Nice 
mix of upscale recommendations and budget suggestions. 
• Frommer's - A comprehensive guide series that is known for its restaurant recommendations. 
• Insight - Offers more information on history and culture than usual, nice visuals, good maps. 
• Lonely Planet - Practical guides geared towards a more adventurous traveler on a budget. 
• National Geographic - From the same company that publishes the magazine. Excellent 
photographs, good information on history, nature, and culture.

Flight Information


Flight Information

When planning your flights, Vantage considers each airline's reputation for quality, service, and routing options to the destination. Vantage selects flights that both serve our groups' needs and ensure the best balance of quality and cost. Our flight team members will do their utmost to select flights that will get you to your destination as quickly and easily as possible.

First and Business Class Airfare Upgrades
Many of our programs offer first and/or Business Class upgrades, for more information, please visit our FlightChoice page.

Vantage encourages you to check current airport security regulations well in advance of travel, as rules may have changed since your last trip. For the latest information on airline security guidelines and boarding procedures, please visit the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) web site.

While on Tour


While on Tour

The information below applies in general to Vantage escorted land tours. To learn more about our full line of escorted land tours, click here.

Culture & Points to Know

 
Travel in Africa 


Keep an Open Mind 
• This is not a typical tour, and the itinerary you follow is subject to change. This is Africa -  
weather, the political situation, migration of game, fuel availability, road conditions, seasonal floods, and flight schedule changes may all impact your trip. 
• In some cases, they may change the sequence of places visited, or we may not follow the trip 
itinerary exactly as published. 
• Poverty is prevalent in Africa, so be prepared to witness a lower standard of living during our visits to local villages and schools. 
Accommodations 
• Our hotels and lodges are of a luxury standard but still have an adventure feel. 
• There can be occasional problems with electricity, hot water, and air-conditioning.
• The roads within and between the destinations and on game drives can be dusty and very bumpy. 
• Near the cities and towns, some roads may be littered with trash. 
• Water is scarce in the parks. We ask that you conserve water. 

Game Viewing 
Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe are among the very best places in Africa for game viewing. In Botswana, 17 percent of the country's area is either national parks or wildlife reserves, which makes for more exclusive game viewing. Neighboring Namibia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa also offer 
excellent parks and wildlife reserves. Unlike parts of eastern Africa where large game migrations attract 
thousands of tourists year-round, the game viewing in southern Africa is more remote, and often done in 
open vehicles. 

Language Barrier 
You can have some great "conversations" with local people who do not speak English, even if you don't 
speak a word of the local language. Indeed, this non-verbal communication can be a highly rewarding part of travel. To break the ice, bring along some family photographs, or a few postcards of your hometown. If you want to meet kids, bring a puppet or other interactive toy. Your Adventure Leader can help get the ball rolling. Keep in mind, however, that it is always good form to know at least a few words in the local language. 
Your attire is a key part of your non-verbal presentation. Your clothing should show a respect for local 
tradition. In small towns or near villages, you should dress in a relatively modest style - avoid revealing 
or tight-fitting outfits. The application of this guideline varies. You will see people in cities and towns 
dressed in modem styles. And, of course, many foreign tourists are not sensitive to this at all. But you 
should dress modestly if you want to earn the respect of the local people. 
 
Safari Vehicles 

Game-viewing drives are done in specially outfitted four-wheel-drive vehicles, often over bumpy, muddy, or dusty paths. The open-sided vehicles hold a maximum of nine travelers and one guide each and have bucket or bench-style seating. You may sit three abreast in some rows, but viewing is good even from a middle position. Water is available onboard. 

Taking Photographs 
The etiquette of photographing most people in the countries on your itinerary is about the same as it 
would be on the streets of your hometown. Some tribal people have particular concerns about 
photography. They know that professional photographers have profited from selling their images, and 
they will often ask for money in exchange for you taking their picture. Try to set a clear understanding 
when photographing tribal people, even from a distance. 

In general, you need permission to take a close-up, as you would at home, but not for a crowd scene. Be 
especially polite if you want to photograph an older woman. If you want to shoot a great portrait, show 
interest in your subject and try to have a bit of interaction first. Then use sign language to inquire if a 
picture is OK. Your Adventure Leader can help. 


Safety & Security 

Common Sense and Awareness 
As you travel, exercise the same caution and awareness that you would in a large American city. Don't be 
overly nervous or suspicious, but keep your eyes open. If you are venturing out after dark, go with one or 
two other people. 

Carry a one-day supply of cash in your pocket. Carry most of your money, and your passport, in a travel 
pouch or money belt under your shirt. Replenish your pocket supply when you are in a safe and quiet 
place, or in our vehicle. Don't leave valuables unattended in your hotel room. Most hotels/lodges have 
personal safes in the rooms. 

Pickpockets 
Pickpockets may create a sudden distraction. In any sort of puzzling street situation, try to keep one hand 
on your money belt. If an encounter with a local turns out to be long and complicated and involves 
money or your valuables, be very careful. Con artists sometimes target travelers. 
 
Communications 
The African bush does not offer the communications systems and signal strength you may be used to at 
home. Cell phone service or Wi-Fi might be available in most places, but not all. Cities will have adequate reception and mostly 3G / 4G connection. 


Cell Phones 

If you want to use your cell phone on the trip, check with your phone provider to see if your phone and 
service will work outside of the U.S. It may turn out to be cheaper to rent an international phone or buy a 
SIM card onsite. If you want to use a local SIM, just make certain your phone is "unlocked", meaning it 
can accept a local SIM card. If your cell is "unlocked" then you will be able to purchase a local SIM for it 
and then buy minutes with "Pay as You Go" cards, so that you have a local contact number for your 
friends and family. 

Please understand that in Africa, good cell phone service is only available in large towns or cities. 

Calling Cards and 1-800 Numbers 
When calling the US. from a foreign country, a prepaid calling card can be useful because it circumvents 
unexpected charges from the hotel. Calling cards purchased locally are typically the best (less expensive, 
more likely to work with the local phones, etc.). 
One reminder: Do not call US. 1-800 numbers outside the continental U.S. This can result in 
costly long-distance fees, since 1-800 numbers do not work outside the country. 

Internet 
Wi-Fi is available at all hotels and lodges, except for the Tented bush Camp in Hwange.
 
Respecting Wildlife 
• Observe the animals silently and with a minimum of disturbance to their natural activities. Loud 
talking on a game drive can frighten the animals away. 
• Never attempt to attract an animal's attention. Don't imitate animal sounds, clap your hands, pound 
on the vehicle, or throw objects. Failure to obey this rule could result in your removal from a national park by one of the park rangers on patrol. 
• Please respect your driver-guides' judgment about your proximity to lions, cheetahs, and leopards. 
Don't insist that he take the vehicle closer so you can get a better photograph. A vehicle driven too 
close can hinder a hunt or cause animals to abandon a hard-earned meal. 
• Litter tossed on the ground can choke or poison animals and birds. 
• Never attempt to feed or approach any wild animal on foot. This is especially important near lodges 
or in camps where animals may have become accustomed to human visitors. Failure to adhere to 
this could cause you to be bitten and need immediate rabies shots, which are unpleasant and costly. 
• Smoking is not allowed on game drives. The dry African bush ignites very easily, and a flash fire can 
harm hundreds of animals. 
Conserving the Natural Environment 
• Minimize the disposable items you bring on the trip and dispose of your trash properly. 
• Ask whether plastic drinking water bottles can be recycled. Most days, it's better to keep your empty 
bottles with you until you reach your hotel. 
• Stay on established trails to avoid damaging plants. 
• Don't pick any vegetation, or remove any items of biological interest. 
• Where other foreign visitors have littered, consider picking it up. Local park rangers will appreciate 
your thoughtfulness. 


Briefing sessions

At the beginning of your tour, a Vantage Tour Director will conduct an informative briefing concerning the daily schedule, local customs, and the included features of your tour. It is strongly advised that you attend this briefing.

Extending Your Trip

Vantage offers specially arranged pre- and post-extensions on many of our escorted land tours. See specific tours for details. In some cases, your Tour Director that will be on your base trip will be there also on the extension, but not always. On some pre- and post-extensions, there will be a Vantage representative to assist you.

Additionally, if you would like to do some exploring on your own, either before or after your tour, Vantage can help you arrange the details. In most cases, your flights can be adjusted for either an earlier arrival date or a later return date. A non-refundable administrative fee will be assessed, plus any additional costs that may apply to the air ticket and hotel. Transfers to and from your hotel are not included when traveling independent of a Vantage group. Please ask a Vantage Sales Representative for additional details. Note also that some airline contracts may exclude changes to routing.

NOTE: Should you wish to make any changes to your plans to extend your trip, please do so no later than 60 days prior to your scheduled date of departure. Change or cancellation penalties may apply to tickets once they have been issued.

Your Health & Comfort

Vantage wants you to have a safe, healthy, and happy journey. Our tours are planned to combine just the right amount of activity and leisure. For personal medical attention while on tour, your Vantage Tour Director can refer you to reliable physicians in the cities on your tour.

Please note that Medicare and U.S health insurance are generally not accepted in foreign destinations. If you have an insurance claim, it should be made upon your return to the USA and filed through your health insurance provider or through the Vantage Travel Protection Plan if you have purchased it. Keep relevant receipts and doctors' reports for processing your claim.

Jet Lag Precautions

When you cross several time zones to reach your destination, you often lose many hours of regular sleep. Upon arrival your body must quickly adjust to new sleeping and eating patterns. The result is jet lag. Its symptoms may include fatigue, irritability, and vague disorientation. You cannot completely avoid jet lag but you can minimize it. Here's how:

  • Try to sleep on overnight flights
  • Avoid heavy eating and drinking caffeine or alcoholic beverages right before - and during - your flight
  • Drink plenty of water and/or fruit juice while flying
  • Try to stay awake your first day until after dinner

Pace of the Tour

Vantage Tours are planned to provide a well-balanced mix of activities and free time. Certain tours, however, may prove to be more challenging than others, particularly for passengers with physical limitations.

Passengers with physical difficulties or concerns about the pace of the tour should contact their Vantage Customer Relations Representative for tips on which tours best suit their individual needs and abilities. See also Medical Issues, below.

Your Personal Safety

Please keep in mind that in any tourist destination, you need to be aware of your surroundings. We recommend that you use a money protector that can be worn around your neck. Flashy jewelry should be left at home. Never place your camera or purse down, or hang it on the back of your chair. Although incidents of theft and pickpocketing while on tour are rare, it is important to be cautious and aware.

Medical Issues

Click here to read important information about travelers with a physical, emotional, or mental condition that may require professional attention or the use of special equipment. "Medical Issues" information also appears in the "Tour Participation Agreement - Terms and Conditions" bound into Vantage catalogs and printed on the back of your invoice.

Hotels

Vantage makes every effort to reserve only hotels that offer well-appointed rooms and a central location. We remind you that quality of accommodations may vary from destination to destination. Vantage strives to provide the best hotels available that meet our standards of quality. You can check descriptions of the hotels for your chosen trip under Accommodations on the website for that trip.

How We Rate Our Hotels

While some tour companies devise their own ratings systems (based on their particular standards), Vantage ranks hotels based on the industry-accepted classifications published by the Hotel & Travel Index - the travel industry standard.

Deluxe/Moderate Deluxe ***** Outstanding accommodations in every way, offering superior service, facilities, and location.

Superior First-Class ****+ Above average accommodations, with many special amenities, including more restaurants, shops, and usually a fitness center.

First-Class/Moderate First-Class **** Comfortable, well-equipped standard rooms with private bath, attractive public areas, and amenities.

Please Note: In some areas where the hotels aren't rated, it's often due to the fact that the hotel may be too new, too remote, or too small. However, the hotel where you stay has been inspected and approved by Vantage personnel.

Religious Services

At Vantage, we count individuals from all walks of life and all religious denominations among our customers. Although we do not offer religious services on our travel programs, services may be available in the cities and towns you visit while on tour. Your Vantage Tour Director can advise you when religious services are available. Please keep in mind that not all religious denominations have a presence in every travel destination. We cannot guarantee the availability of religious services.

Shopping

Shopping for local merchandise is always a part of the travel experience. We are aware that local guides do recommend shops on their tours. Always keep in mind that a purchase is between the buyer and the seller. Always keep receipts and credit card copies. Shipping should always include insurance in the event of breakage. Iit is best to check with your credit card issuer for any insurance that may be included when you use your card.

Sightseeing & Cultural Connections

Vantage offers a variety of included sightseeing tours and special cultural events to enrich your travel experience and bring you "closer to the world." Our tours are specially designed for Vantage travelers. They let you feel the atmosphere, gain a cultural understanding, and become a part of the area you are visiting. They include all transportation and the services of expert local guides.

Optional Excursions

Vantage makes every effort to provide the right balance of both included activities and time for exploring on your own. We've found, however, that many of our passengers prefer an additional guided activity in lieu of free time. For that reason, some of our tours may include a limited number of optional tours and activities, which you may choose to take at a moderate fee. In no case do we replace an included sightseeing tour with an optional tour. Optional tours are strictly voluntary, providing you with the opportunity to visit an attraction that you may not see otherwise.

Taxes

All hotel taxes and hotel service charges are included in the tour price. If airport arrival and departure taxes apply, they are payable in cash at the airports and are not included.

Transfers

All transfers between airport and hotel/pier are included in conjunction with Vantage air and tour packages and will be via private transportation. Travelers purchasing their own airline tickets will be responsible for their own transfers to and from the airport/hotel/pier based on the itinerary.

Travel Itinerary

Each Vantage Escorted Land Tour is planned with two criteria in mind: It must be to an interesting destination and the tour must offer good quality at an exceptional value.

Although everything is planned well in advance of your departure, our ultimate goal is to ensure that each departure is enjoyable, interesting, and safe. Therefore, the day-by-day itinerary provided for each travel destination is subject to change depending upon local conditions. If any significant changes occur in advance of your departure, Vantage will notify you by phone or by mail. If changes occur while on tour, your Vantage Tour Director or local representative will notify you.

Your Vantage Tour Director/Local Representative

During your tour you'll be accompanied on tour by an experienced Vantage Program Manager. You will also benefit from the insights of expert Local Representatives and tour guides. Both your Tour Director and Local Representative can provide suggestions on the best restaurants, shops, and local sights; will help coordinate optional tours and excursions; and assist in any manner possible.

Vantage Hospitality Desk

For your convenience, a Vantage Hospitality Desk will be available daily during scheduled hours at many of the hotels on your itinerary (staffed by an experienced team of local travel professionals or by your Vantage Tour Director). The desk hours vary, depending on your daily scheduling. Tour members will be advised of the desk hours during the briefing held upon arrival at most hotels.

Tipping

We include tipping for all meals that are included in your package and all porterage. Tips are not included for your Vantage Program Manager, local guides and drivers, or any maids or other personnel in hotels, ships or trains.

Payment Information


What does my Reservation Deposit Guarantee?

Payment of your initial deposit holds your spot on your journey. However, it does not guarantee the price of your trip. Participation in our Smart Pay Discount Plan can save you up to 10% on your Vantage trip AND it ensures that the land, cruise, and international airfare portions of your trip will not increase. This includes 100% guaranteed protection against most additional taxes (does not include entry fees or arrival taxes), fuel surcharges, and currency fluctuations, from the moment you pay in full under the terms of Vantage's SmartPay Discount Plan. If you do not participate in our SmartPay Discount Plan, all prices are subject to change.

When is my Final Payment due?

Final payments are due 90-120 days prior to departure, depending upon the program.

Can I extend my final payment due date?

Unfortunately, we are unable to extend any final payment due dates because of our vendor contractual obligations.

What is an E-Check?

ECheck is a commonly used term to refer to an online payment method via electronic check from your bank account.

What are the benefits of paying via E-Check?

Paying by E-Check is fast, easy and 100% secure – and there is no fee involved. Plus, paying by E-Check with our SmartPay Discount Program, you can realize hundreds of dollars in savings right away. When you compare those savings to the frequent flyer miles you might earn when you pay by credit card, you come out on top for two reasons: first, you enjoy your savings right away, whereas frequent flyer miles need to be accumulated over time before you cash them in; second, frequent flyer miles have restrictions of usage.

How do I make payments via an E-Check?

It's easy to set up E-Checking on My Account. Have your checkbook handy and simply go to the Make a Payment screen and follow the instructions provided. Please note that E-Check payments appear on your invoice immediately but take 2-3 business days for your bank to process.

What is the SmartPay Discount Plan?

The SmartPay Discount PlanSM allows our travelers to receive a discount by paying for their trip in full before their final payment due date. The further in advance of the final payment date you pay, the greater the discount. Just as important, you’ll guarantee your price against price increases resulting from currency fluctuations, fuel costs, and other unanticipated occurrences.

How can I take advantage of your SmartPay Discount Plan?

You can only take advantage of our SmartPay Discount PlanSM when paying by E-Check. Paying by E-Check is fast, easy and 100% secure – and there is no fee involved. All you need is your checking account number and bank routing number, both of which are printed on your checks. 50% of your trip’s total cost must be paid by check. Payments made inside of 60 days prior to departure will not qualify.

Can I pay by credit card and still take advantage of your SmartPay Discount Plan?

While we do accept credit card payments, you can only take advantage of our SmartPay Discount PlanSM when paying by E-Check, unless part of your payment is made by credit card and at least 50% of your total payment is paid by E-Check.

How do I redeem my Vantage Credit Voucher?

Vantage credit vouchers should be mailed once you receive your first invoice. Any overpayment that results from the credit voucher will be refunded to you, if applicable.

How do I cancel my trip and how long will it take for me to receive a refund?

If you must cancel your trip, you should contact our Customer Service department. Refund requests must be made in writing – indicating the reason for cancellation – and received by the respective final payment due date to avoid additional cancellation charges.

Vantage realizes that most people who cancel their reservations do so out of real necessity. Nevertheless, there is a non-refundable administrative fee of $300 per person for each program you cancel. This low fee covers only our costs of reservation maintenance or cancellation.

Payments made to your credit card will be refunded as a credit to that card. Payments made by check will be refunded by check. Payments paid by electronic check will be refunded electronically. Please allow 35 days for refunds to be manually verified and processed by our accounting department. Please refer to the Tour Participation Agreement for your program's cancellation fee schedule.

Why does it take just one day to charge my credit card at the time of booking but 30 days to refund it in the event of cancellation?

After you book a trip with us, we process charges within 24 hours in order to hold and confirm your reservation quickly for you. Because refunds are processed manually by our accounting department, we require a 30-day processing period to assure utmost accuracy.

I was just reviewing my invoice online and noticed a discrepancy. What should I do?

Please contact us and we will attempt to resolve the situation as soon as possible. To help expedite matters, you should print out your invoice and have it handy when you contact us.

Contact Vantage

CALL 1-800-848-5773

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Vantage Tauck Tours Vantage Advantage
Journey Best of Africa: South Africa, Botswana & Victoria Falls South Africa: An Elegant Adventure
Price without Air* $0 $8,690 Save more per couple!
Trip Length 0 days 12 days More days — most in-depth itinerary!
Per Diem $0 per day $724 Save more per couple per day!
Small Group travel Yes! No more than 24 travelers per departure at no extra cost! Small Group Departures are available on select dates at an additional cost of $800 per person All the benefits of Small Group Travel on every departure date at no additional cost! Save an extra $1,600 per couple!
Extend Your Value Enjoy 7 excursions and cultural discoveries in 5 days, from $200 a day! No extensions Since you've come this far we offer you the choice to make the most of your international airfare and extend your discoveries at an unbeatable value!
Sightseeing 23 sightseeing tours & Cultural Connections— a value of $3,445 per couple! 13 Sightseeing Tours 10 MORE TOURS! The most sightseeing plus exciting Cultural Connections planned to enhance your experience and immerse you in the local culture!
Meals 34 meals 26 meals More meals!
FREE Single Supplement Yes! Available on every departure date - a value of $699! Single Supplement $1,925 Best Savings for Single Travelers! Free Single Supplement & Roommate Matching available on every departure date!
Preferred Traveler Rewards 5% Vantage Travel Reward to use towards your next Vantage journey. $100 per person BEST REWARDS PROGRAM IN TRAVEL!
10 Ways to Save Referral Rewards — $200 per traveler referred after 2 referrals; Buy direct & save big, 100% Travel Protection; SmartPay — pay in full, 12-months in advance and save 10% Travel Protection THE MOST WAYS TO SAVE!
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*Prices are subject to change & based on comparable March or November departure dates
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