FAQs for visitors to Africa

Travellers coming to Africa are often beset by worries for their safety and health. Our most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) usually include:

Q: Is it safe to travel in Africa?
A: The most visited countries in Southern Africa – like South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Mozambique and Namibia are really quite safe to visit. If you adhere to basic principles, like: not carrying valuables in plain view, keeping cameras hidden and not go about walking alone at night – you should be safe and sound. Be aware of onlookers and make use of hotel safety deposit boxes. Travellers with tour operators/groups are the least at risk and self-drive clients are advised to plan in advance which routes they wish to travel to and to get all of their destination information ahead of arrival. If travelling by car, make sure the doors are locked at all times and that no bags or purses are left on passenger seats. Avoid picking up hitch hikers.

Q: What about malaria?
A: Malaria is a very dangerous disease, but if you take your anti-malarias, your chances of getting it are extremely slim. Malaria is transmitted by mosquitoes carrying the disease and as the insects are more active at night, it is recommended that all travellers wear long-sleeved trousers and sleeves at night; sleep under mosquito netting where possible and take along mosquito repellent.

Q: What visas do I need?
A: For detailed visa information for each of the individual countries, please see our Visa section.

Q: When is the best time to travel to Southern Africa?
A: Southern Africa is a year-round destination, as different regions are at their most spectacular at different times. It is generally winter in most of Southern Africa between May and September. These months are often popular for game viewing, as it is dry and the wildlife is much easier to see. It is also less hot – in summer, the temperature often reaches between 30 and 40°C. However, in many countries, summer is the best time to visit beautiful beaches and coastal resorts. Summer often coincides with the rainy season, resulting in lush, green countryside and lovely scenery.

Q: Is it safe to drink the water?
A: It is safe to drink the tap water in South Africa. Tap water in hotels and at other lodges in Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe is also safe to drink, but bottled water is available in shops if you prefer. If you are ever in doubt, stick to bottled water.

Q: What about the food?
A: It is possible to get vegetarian, halaal and most food preferences in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. If you are booking with an operator, let them know in advance what your dietary requirements are and they will be able to cater for you. As a rule, do not eat anything purchased at the side of the road and wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly before eating.