INTERNATIONAL FINE ART LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHER

GENERAL INFORMATION FOR VISITORS TO SOUTHERN AFRICA

Emergency contact details:

Please first contact our direct office number (+264) 61 248137 which will be forwarded to a duty persons cellphone outside of office hours. If this fails our emergency contact numbers are as follows: +264 81 246 9101 (Tristan), +264 81 249 1147 (Martin).

Insurance:

It is a condition of booking that the sole responsibility lies with the guest to ensure that they carry the correct comprehensive travel and medical insurance to cover themselves, as well as any dependants /traveling companions for the duration of their trip to southern Africa. This insurance should include cover in respect of at least the following eventualities; cancellation or curtailment of the safari, emergency evacuation expenses, medical expenses, repatriation expenses, damage/theft/loss of personal luggage, money and goods. Ultimate Safaris, including their representatives, employees and agents can take no responsibility for any costs and losses incurred or suffered by the guest, guest’s dependants or traveling companions, with regards to any of the above mentioned eventualities. Guests will be charged directly by the relevant service providers for any emergency services they may require, and may find themselves in a position unable to access such services should they not be carrying the relevant insurance cover.

Passports, Visas, and Immigration:

International visitors require a valid passport together with onward travel documents. When traveling to southern Africa guests must please ensure that their passport is valid for at least 6 months after their scheduled departure date and that they have a minimum of 2 blank pages in their passport to enable the entry visa to be issued (if there is insufficient space in the passport then entry may be denied). In addition, if a father (or mother) is traveling alone with his (her) children (aged 18 years or younger) then a letter of consent, certified by their local police, should be signed by the other parent and carried with them.

All passport holders should verify with their travel agent or relevant consulate concerning visa entry requirements specific to the nationality of their passport (a maximum of 90 days is granted for a tourist visa). If you are extending your journey to other countries, please establish entry requirements for those countries as well. If returning to Namibia (Botswana or Zambia) after visiting other countries you will need a multiple entry visa.

Please ensure that you have arranged the entire necessary single or multiple entry visas prior to your arrival into southern Africa (unless you have confirmed they are available on entry). For an up to date list on which nationalities are automatically granted tourist visas upon entry into Namibia please refer to the Namibia Tourism Board website

http://www.namibiatourism.com.na/pages/Visas
http://www.mfa.gov.na/
British and American citizens can currently receive tourist visas on arrival with no requirement for pre- arrangement.

Important note: As you arrive into southern Africa, immigration will provide you with an arrivals form to fill in which will request your physical address whilst here. Immigration officials are very particular about the address details being noted so if you are not sure what your guesthouse/hotel address is then you are welcome to use the Ultimate Safaris address which is 5 Brandberg Street, Eros, Windhoek.

Flight check-in times:

Please check in early at all airports (at least one hour for domestic flights, two hours for regional flights and three hours for international flights) as the flights are occasionally overbooked. Please be aware that during peak season delays are often encountered on scheduled flights. Remember that you are on holiday...relax and enjoy the ambience, which sometimes has no sense of urgency at all!

Reconfirmation of flights:

Whilst you are on safari with us, Ultimate Safaris will reconfirm your departure flight from Windhoek to your next destination.

With all other flights, please ensure that all your onward flights are reconfirmed at least 72 hours prior to flying. Listed below are some helpful telephone numbers to assist you in reconfirming flights.

Air Botswana

Air Namibia

British Airways

South African Airways

LTU

Johannesburg Maun
Kasane Gabarone Harare

UK Germany

Johannesburg Cape Town Windhoek Maun Victoria Falls UK

Johannesburg Cape Town Victoria Falls Harare Windhoek Livingstone UK

Johannesburg Cape Town Harare Windhoek UK

Windhoek

+27 11 390 3070 / 1 / 2 / 3
+267 686 0391
+267 625 0161
+267 395 2812 / 390 5500 / 395 1921
+263 4 793228 / 9 (Air Zimbabwe is handler) +44 845 838 7943

+49 06105 206031

+27 11 978 5055
+27 21 422 3224
+264 61 299 6333
+267 686 0391
+263 13 45825 / 4277 (Air Zimbabwe is handler) +44 870 774 0965

+27 11 441 8600 / 387 9000 +27 21 936 9000
+263 13 42053
+263 4 759 173

+264 61 248528 +260 3 322 827 +44 844 4930 787

+27 11 978 1111 / 5313 +27 21 936 1111
+263 4 738 922
+264 61 273340 / 50 +44 871 722 1111

+264 61 375 900

Luggage restrictions:

Where possible all luggages should be packed into soft, collapsible bags that can easily fit into vehicles and light aircraft. We suggest one item of hand luggage per person that can travel with you in the vehicle/light aircraft (including camera gear).

When traveling on a private guided safari with us we do not have a set luggage limit but recommend the use of soft bags, ideally one or two per person plus hand luggage. When traveling on a scheduled group safari we do request a luggage limit of 20 kgs per person in a soft bag, plus hand luggage.

Most importantly, if your safari itinerary includes any seat rate flights by light aircraft you must adhere to the strict luggage limit of 20 kgs per person within Namibia or 12 kgs per person within Botswana and Zambia (unless otherwise stated), in soft bags only and including hand luggage. For those traveling by private charter flights whilst on safari you will be advised of the luggage restrictions based on your group size and the light aircraft used.

If you have any excess luggage you are welcome to store this for safekeeping at our office until you return or link up again with your guide and vehicle.

Lost luggage:

Luggage that goes missing on scheduled flights is beyond the control of Ultimate Safaris and often the airline concerned. The airport controls what happens to passengers’ luggage from when it is checked in until it is put on board the flight.

We suggest that you take the following precautionary action; please pack a small bag with your essentials, including any life sustaining medication, which can be carried with you as hand luggage, and pack a second bag containing non-essentials that can be loaded in the aircraft hold. If the second bag does not arrive immediately, you will still have your essential items on hand to see you through the first couple of days while we try to recover your bag.

In the event of any luggage getting lost, please ensure you provide the airline representative with your location over the following week so they know where to forward the luggage to. You should also request a lost luggage reference number so that your luggage can be traced (and also advise Ultimate Safaris of this reference number), and finally we recommend you provide the airline representative with the contact details of Ultimate Safaris so that we can monitor this for you and ensure your luggage is delivered to the correct destination should they be unable to reach you whilst you are on safari.

Meals and dietary requirements:

Please ensure that you inform Ultimate Safaris in advance of any dietary requirements, preferences or food allergies that you have and we will pass this information on to the accommodation establishments so that they may cater for you accordingly. Whilst on a guided safari most breakfasts and evening meals will be taken at the lodge you are staying at or in our fully serviced mobile camps. Lunches whilst traveling between destinations will be served picnic style at a scenic location en route, or at a café or restaurant should there not be a suitable picnic site.

Beverages:

Beverages whilst on safari are to be settled directly by guests with the exception of lodges where local beverages are included in your stay, of water and juice in the vehicle and with picnic lunches whilst on guided safaris, or if otherwise specified. All vehicles are equipped with a fridge or cool box stocked with bottled water for your convenience. Tea and coffee are offered by most accommodation establishments free of charge with meals and at afternoon tea time.

Health:

There are a few basic health matters that require care and attention. We are not medical practitioners and the following points are recommended guidelines only. Please consult your doctor and also check with your health department prior to departure for any changes in health regulations.

Yellow Fever certificates are needed if you come from or have recently visited high risk countries, especially certain parts of Africa (East, West and Central). Bilharzia still occurs in parts of Namibia, HIV infection is on the increase and TB is widespread in the few more densely populated areas. Recommended (but not compulsory) vaccinations are Tetanus and Infectious Hepatitis.

Malaria
Malaria within southern Africa is prevalent in some but not all areas. It is encountered mainly in wetter areas as mosquitoes require calm waters to breed. It can be found throughout Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and much of Botswana. Northern Namibia is also a malaria area. Should you be visiting these areas malaria precautions are advised.

Malaria transmission is at its highest during the warmer and wetter months of November through to April. From May to October the risks of contracting malaria are reduced. Malaria is transmitted by a very small percentage of female Anopheles mosquitoes. They are generally only active in the early evening and throughout the night, at the times when one is usually sleeping or sitting around the campfire. The malaria parasite requires a human host in order to complete its life cycle. In most cases, camps and lodges are situated in remote, unpopulated areas, so the chances of contracting malaria are very slim. Nonetheless, we believe it is worth taking preventative measures. Both chloroquine-resistant and normal strains of malaria are prevalent in Africa.

Malaria prophylactic recommendations for southern Africa travelers
Expert opinion differs regarding the best approach to malaria prophylaxis. It is important to bear in mind that malaria may be contracted despite chemoprophylaxis, especially in areas where chloroquine resistance has been reported. Please remember that the best insurance is the preventative kind; avoid being bitten by using mosquito repellents liberally; wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers/slacks in the evenings; if staying in a bungalow or tent, spray with an insecticide like DOOM to kill any mosquitoes that may have flown into your room. If you become ill on your return, while still on prophylaxis or even once you have stopped taking them, ensure that you tell your doctor you have been in a malarial area and that they do everything to establish that your illness is not malaria. Malaria is not a serious problem if you are sensible and take basic precautions. There have been no cases of our guests contracting malaria in over 15 years of operation.

Water
It is very important that you drink plenty of water, especially during the warmer months. It is generally recommended that guests drink at least 2 to 3 litres of water per day to limit effects of dehydration. This excludes tea, coffee and alcoholic beverages which act as diuretics and can actually contribute to dehydration. Generally, water throughout southern Africa is safe to drink directly from the tap, with exception of locations beside perennial rivers where the tap water may be pumped from the river, as in parts of the Caprivi Strip. However, bottled water is readily available, so please ask you guide or lodge staff if you are unsure and do not allow yourself to become dehydrated. Besides keeping yourself hydrated, please note that water is a scarce commodity in southern Africa, and every effort should be made to save where possible!

Currency and credit cards:

Both Namibian dollars and South African Rand are equal in value and are accepted as legal tender anywhere in Namibia (other currencies such as US$ are not so). When departing Namibia we recommend that any cash you take with you is in South African Rand as Namibian dollars are generally not easily exchanged outside of Namibia.

Visa and Master Card are usually accepted throughout southern Africa, but American Express and Diners Club are not as widely accepted.

Travelers cheques can be exchanged at most bureaus de change and banks (with passport identification). Suppliers of services are less likely to accept travelers cheques.

Most foreign hard currencies (US$, £, €, ZAR and CHF are the most commonly accepted) can be exchanged at bureaus de change and banks.

Fuel stations only accept cash payment and not credit card payments.

VAT of 15 % is included on all items and VAT paid on items being exported can be reclaimed at the International Airport on departure (if the total value exceeds N$ 200).

Business Hours:

There are no uniform times for opening and closing, and hours may vary from business to business and town to town. Please note that the below guidelines may vary and that most businesses are closed on Sundays.

Banks
Weekdays:
Saturdays:
Sundays & public holidays: Closed

Shops
Weekdays: 08h30
17h00 Saturdays: 09h00 13h00 Sundays & public holidays: 09h00 13h00

Supermarkets
Weekdays:
Saturdays:
Sundays & public holidays: 09h00
18h00

Electrical:

Restaurants
Lunch:
Dinner:
Many restaurants
usually a Sunday or a Monday.
Most kitchens close at 22h00 and guests should place orders by 21h30.

09h00 15h30 09h00 11h00

08h30 19h00 08h30 19h00

12h00 14h00

18h00 22h00 close one day a week,

Electrical outlets in Namibia are 220 volt, 15 amp and have three round pins (the same as the old UK style plugs and as current South African plugs - diagram below). Adaptors can usually be purchased in Windhoek when you arrive or at Heathrow/Gatwick/Johannesburg airports. It is possible to recharge batteries at most lodges, tented camps, and guesthouses, and you are welcome to bring an adaptor to recharge batteries using the vehicle’s cigarette lighter socket.

Language:

English is the official language but Afrikaans and German (in Namibia) are also widely spoken, as well as the various tribal languages and dialects belonging to the Bantu and Khoisan groups.

Time:

Summer: From the first Sunday in September until the first Sunday in April GMT + 2 hours. Winter: From the first Sunday in April until the first Sunday in September GMT + 1 hour.

This means Namibia is on the same time as the rest of southern Africa for most of our summer and the same time as the UK for most of our winter. If traveling between Namibia and other southern Africa countries during our winter please take account of the one hour time difference.

Climate:

Winter (May to September) Temperatures range in the interior from 18C to 25C during the day. Below freezing and frost are common at night.

Summer (October to April) Average temperatures range from 20C to 35C during the day and temperatures above 40C are often recorded in the extreme north and south of the country.
At the coast the temperature is generally much cooler, ranging from 15C to 25C, and fog is common.

Rainfall Early rains may occur from October onwards and the main rainy season falls between January and April. During this time flash floods are common.

Telecommunications:

To dial out from southern Africa for an international call use 00 followed by the relevant international number. To dial into Namibia you need + 264, for South Africa + 27, for Botswana + 267 and Zambia + 260. Cellular phones are on the GSM system and mobile coverage is available within major towns, within about a 100km radius of Windhoek, and within the vicinity of Sesriem and Etosha’s restcamps.

Traveling companions:

When traveling to camps and lodges on our safaris you will meet up with other guests from different parts of the world and of various ages. To get the most out of your safari experience co-operation and harmony between you and your fellow guests is essential. Should any guest behave in such a way that it affects the enjoyment or safety of other guests, themselves, staff, or animals that guest will be warned and if need be, could be requested to leave the safari.

Crime:

Crime is no more prevalent in Southern Africa than anywhere else in the world, but as a tourist you are more likely to be targeted if you are not aware of your surroundings and taking reasonable care of your possessions. Take normal precautions of not carrying all your valuables while walking about and preferably go with others, particularly after dark. Keep any valuables locked in a safety deposit box at the hotel where you are staying. Never leave anything of value unattended under any circumstances, including lying visible inside a locked vehicle. Opportunistic crimes are as common here as anywhere else in the world.

Public holidays:

Public Holidays in Namibia - 1st January, Good Friday, Easter Monday, 21st March (Independence day), 1st May (Workers Day), 4th May (Cassinga Day), 25th May (Ascension Day), 26th August (HeroesDay), 10th December (International Human Rights Day), 25th and 26th December.

Public Holidays in South Africa - 1st January, Good Friday, Easter Monday, 21st March (Human Rights Day), 6th April (Founder’s Day), 27th April (Freedom Day), 1st May (Worker’s Day), Ascension Day, 16th June (Youth Day), 9th August (National Woman’s Day), 24th September (Heritage Day), 16th December (Day of Reconciliation), 25th and 26th December.

Tipping and gratuities:

Tipping is custom in southern Africa, but a gratuity or service fee is not required by law and is certainly not compulsory. If you would like to tip because you have received good service below is a brief guideline to assist you. This is shown in US$ which are generally used throughout the region. In Namibia however it is better to work on Namibian Dollars or South African Rand.

  •   Camp/lodgeandspecialistguides-werecommendaroundUS$10perguestperday(iftheguidehas done a good job).

  •   Mokoropaddlersandtrackers-werecommendthateachpaddlerreceivesUS$5perguestperday and that camp/lodge trackers receive US$ 5 per guest per day.

  •   General camp/lodge/hotel & guesthouse staff - we recommend about US$ 5 per guest per day for general staff (camp crew, housekeepers, chefs, waiting staff etc). This should be placed in the communal tip box, generally located at reception, and will be distributed equally amongst all the staff at a later stage.

  •   Porters - we recommend US$ 2 per room delivered to.

  •   Waiters-inrestaurantsatipof10%to15%oftheentirebilliscustomary,dependingonthequality

    of the service.

  •   Inaccommodationestablishmentswheremealsaregenerallyincludedinapackageprice,atipisnot

    necessary with the meal, but any tip you wish to leave should be put in the general ‘tip box’ at

    reception on departure.

  •   Carguards-thepresenceofacarguarddetersvehiclerelatedcrime.Thecarguardmayalsofillup

    an empty parking meter if a parking inspector approaches. Tip car guards US$ 1. If the meter is re-

    filled, reimburse the car guard the amount put in the meter and tip US$ 2.

  •   Petrol pump attendants - a tip of US$ 1 may be given, depending on the quality of the service. It is

    NOT customary to tip for re-fuelling only.

  •   Officialsandpublicservants-nevertiporattempttobrideanofficialorpublicservant.Reportany

    requests for bribes to us and note that bribery is punishable by imprisonment.

    Respecting wildlife & safety in the bush:

  •   Wild animals must be treated with caution and respect they are not tame and any attempt to approach, touch or feed them is prohibited without consent from your guide. This is especially important near lodges or campsites where animals may have become accustomed to human visitors.

  •   Pleaselistentothecamp/lodgestaffandguides.Thesafetyprecautionsneedtobetakenseriously and strictly adhered to.

  •   Observe animals silently and with minimum disturbance to their natural activities. Loud talking on game drives can frighten animals away.

  •   Never attempt to attract an animal’s attention. Do not imitate animal sounds, clap your hands, whistle, pound the vehicle or throw objects.

  •   Please respect your guide’s judgment about proximity to animals. Do not insist to take the vehicle closer!

  •   Littertossedontheground(includingcigarettebutts)canchokeorpoisonanimalsandbirdsaswell as being unsightly.

  •   Refrain from smoking on game drives and in vehicles.

  •   We recommend you keep your tent zipped up or doors to you rooms closed when you are out to

    prevent unwanted visitors.

  •   Alwayslookwhereyouwalkandwearclosedshoeswhenwalkingaboutatnightincaseofscorpions or snakes.


Photography:

The choice of the correct camera equipment and film will determine the quality of your photographs on the trip. For good photography of birds and animals a good SLR camera and telephoto lens is necessary. A zoom lens can be extremely useful on safari and the minimum recommended size is 70 – 200 mm, though a 100 – 400 mm is ideal. Modern image stabilized lenses are best as they allow photographers to hand hold their cameras at slower shutter speeds with sharp results.

    The last few hours before sunset and the first few after sunrise are the best times for photography, and polarizing filters can help reduce haze and glare during the day.

    Spare batteries are essential and a storage device of some sort for digital images is recommended. Make certain you have enough digital card storage most people take more photographs than they expect to. Camps and lodges have facilities for recharging batteries and storage devices. Strips for charging more than one device are suggested for more serious photographers.

    When photographing local people please always ask for permission first, or discuss the best approach with your guide. Most local people will be happy to be photographed but it is important to avoid offence by checking first. Care is needed near government buildings, army bases and similar sites of strategic importance again the best approach is to ask permission first.

     

     

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