About Travelling
Hints on vaccinations, safety, photography, etc.
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Feeling like a tracker! (ZA97-98)
Vaccinations: You are highly recommended to use anti-malaria tablets as you will enter malaria infected areas, ie the Kruger Park. Vaccinations against hepatitis A and against polio are also recommended. If you plan to go to other parts of Africa as well, further vaccinations are required or recommended. For detailed information please ask a doctor. Finally there is one more thing about malaria: when you are back and do get symptoms of an influenza (high fever e.g.) immediately go to a doctor, tell him that you've been in a malaria infected region and make sure that you are tested for malaria, because doctors outside malaria infected regions are often not familiar with the symptoms and therefore probably won't diagnose the malaria!
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Bushwalking at Motswari Game Reserve (ZA97-93)
Safety: Just one thing about Jo'burg (especially for those of you starting their South Africa Experience in Jo'burg and who therefore won't get advice on the security situation from their tour manager before going there): most parts of Jo'burg are extremly dangerous to walk around, so please don't do it! Staying in the hotels recommended by Contiki might be a good idea as Contiki will not recommend hotels situated in dangerous areas, but no matter in which area you stay in Jo'burg you generally should avoid walking around there at night. Everything else concerning safety your tour manager will tell you on the trip, and please do never ignore what he or she says!
Please do not trust the LONELY PLANET guide to Jo'burg. The tour manager on my tour told us, that they recommend an area in downtown Jo'burg to go at night with good nightlife where in the best case only 6 out of 16 people of our group would have come back alive but for sure mugged, if we had gone there even at daytime!!! There are places to go out at night in Jo'burg, just ask the contiki staff.
Generally it is also a good idea not to walk around with all your money and not to show expensive photo equipment. If you don't need it, leave it in the hotel safe!
Because of its history and the extreme differences between the rich and the poor South Africa unfortunately has a very high crime rate, but it is a beautiful and amazing country with friendly people, if you know where you can go and where you absolutely must not go. Finally please don't be worried to much about safety, just follow the instructions your tour manager gives you and keep in mind that in almost every city in the world you could find some places that are not safe to walk around, you just have to know about those.
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The rearguard: Hannes, Darkie and a Motswari ranger! (ZA97-94)
Photography: As you can see on this site, there are many opportunities for taking photos of wildlife, landscape and - of course - your group, so don't forget to bring at least 12 rolls of film. A standard zoom lens (e.g. 28-80mm) and a long-range zoom lens (e.g. 100-300mm) should not be missing in your equipment. Especially for wildlife photography the long-range zoom is essential. Notice, using film with a speed of 400ASA will enhance the opportunity for taking wildlife photos from a far distance and at bad lighting conditions, but for general purpose a filmspeed of 100ASA or 200ASA is the better choice: so a good mixture of both will perfectly fit your needs.
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My hut at Motswari Lodge (ZA97-69)
Clothing: You will mainly need summer clothing and a sweater, as during South African winter months (June to September) - when game viewing is at its best, due to the dry season in the northern part where Kruger National Park and Motswari Game Reserve are - it can get quite chilly at the cape, especially at night. Don't also forget to pack long trousers and a long-sleeved shirt, because this is a good protection against mosquito bites and therefore against malaria.
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Breakfast in the bush at Motswari Game Reserve (ZA97-91)
Money: Credit cards (MASTER CARD and VISA) are widely accepted, but be aware that in smaller places you often will need cash! I found that RAND traveller cheques are very useful, as they can even be changed to cash in some hotels or shops with no extra charge to be paid. Be sure that you have changed all your traveller cheques as soon as you leave Durban, because there will be no chance to change them until you arrive at Jo'burg. If your bankers won't sell you RAND traveller cheques you can also use US$ ones, but those can only be changed at a bank.
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