It is your own responsibility to ensure you have a passport valid for a minimum of 6 months after your return date.
It is your own responsibility to ensure you have any visas if necessary. Visa info can change and maybe differ depending upon ones nationality but the majority of travellers will find that a visa is not necessary for travel to South Africa and Swaziland. Please check this information well in advance of travel (as it always subject to change) through a site such as this one.
If you do require a visa, please contact your nearest embassies for South Africa & Swaziland or with a visa agency such as CIBT.
During the trip, two crew members will travel with you: a driver and an English-speaking tour leader. Together they are responsible for preparing meals. Everything you need to cook with, will be in the truck.
In most places you eat together by the truck. The tour leader will collect a joint kitty from participants to fund the food/auxiliary costs. Participants are expected to take turns assisting in preparing the meal, the washing and shopping. All purchases made a recorded in a log and if there is money left over at the end it will be returned to participants. The tour leader will usually also collect for common gratuities to be paid, to avoid participants having to do so each time. Again this will be made transparent.
The recommended cash for the kitty is about €100, - to €150 per person. This of course depends on the group size. In smaller groups, it is possible that this amount is higher. If the group has fewer than 9 participants, the tour leader will also double as the driver.
During the tour you'll travel with your own, good quality truck, which you'll also use to go on safari in the Kruger Park. The truck has lockers available in which to store your luggage (approx dimensions 35x35x79cm). These lockers are NOT suitable for suitcases with a hard exterior, e.g. A Samsonite suitcase. It is advisable to bring an overnight bag or suitcase with soft exterior. Your arrival transfer is not included.
Johannesburg - Pretoria: 50 km, 1 hour
Pretoria - Sabie: 330 km, 4-5 hours
Sabie - Kruger N.P: 240 km, 3-4 hours
Kruger N.P - Swaziland: 200 km, 2-3 hours
Swaziland - Hluhluwe N.P: 360 km, 6-7 hours
Hluhluwe N.P - St Lucia: 100 km, 2 hours
St Lucia - Drakensberg: 490 km, 7 hours
Drakensberg - Johannesburg: 350 km, 5-6 hours
Note: The above journey times are approximate.
During the tour you'll spend nights in good campsites, sometimes with a swimming pool. In Pretoria we stay in a hotel in double rooms with private shower and toilet. In St. Lucia and the Drakensberg we sleep in apartments/houses each with rooms accommodating 2 persons, with own shower/WC. They are almost without exception with good sanitation. It is not possible to reserve a single room/tent on this tour. Camping equipment is carried as standard on the truck. The only thing that you should bring yourself is a sleeping bag, liner and a towel.
Meals are not included in the price. In some places it is possible to go out to eat by yourself. It may occasionally be convenient to all eat together at the truck (breakfast, lunch and the occasional dinner). The tour leader will indicate when this will happen and will raise money for the meal before buying and preparing the food with the help of the participants. It is intended that a few people will take turns assisting with duties like cutting vegetables, setting the table and washing the dishes. The expenditure is kept in a ledger that is available to everyone. In some places there is no water, so you must rely on their own resources. Please try to be very economical with the water in these places.
Use of the tent:
The first night you will camp in the countryside you will perhaps feel insecure in the new environment. We can however assure you that virtually all animals (except kleptomaniac monkeys) are afraid of, or are not interested in people and rarely approach. Everyone decides at the beginning of the journey with whom he/she wants to share the tent. During the entire trip you are responsible for your own tent. The tent must be put up yourself, taken down yourself and kept clean yourself. It is not necessary for this trip to take your own mattress and mosquito net with you. The tent flaps are fitted with mosquito netting, the tents secure well and mattresses of about 4 cm. wide are supplied. In practice both are adequate.
Here are some tips for setting up and dismantling of the tent:
* When setting up the tent you should keep in mind that you have a flat piece of ground and that you don't position at the bottom of a valley/slope in case of rain. Remove sharp stones and thorns, etc. to avoid damage to the groundsheet and inner tent.
* Place the tent as little as possible under the trees, some trees spill resin and this is bad for the canvas.
* It is best to sleep with your head at the entrance, this will prevent your feet from breaking the zip.
* Make sure you close the zip at night (and during the day) to protect against vermin.
Take care of the tents and the other camping equipment, because others will use it after you do.
Nature and environment:
To protect the environment and yourself please heed the following:
* The campsites where you stay (in the game parks) are fenced.
* Do not sleep with the tent open.
* Do not just leave toilet paper, take it and throw it in the garbage bin. Store paper in plastic bags until you can dispose of it.
* Be careful with the gathering of wood; sometimes scorpions live in dead wood. A prick of a scorpion for an adult is generally no problem, but can be painful. So first just kick against the wood.
* Parks are primarily for the protection of nature. Never disturb animals, for example because you desire a better photo. Be quiet and do not shout on the contrary, so the animals get more confidence in man.
* Observe your fellow travelers as we are observing animals. Participants with a video camera with microphone will appreciate the sounds of animals that they can absorb.
* Oddly enough, the animals don't experience the sound of a quiet engine running as annoying. A human sound is more disturbing to them.
* Musical instruments and radios are prohibited in the wildlife parks. Listen in contrast to the sounds of the wilderness: the yapping of zebras, the howling of hyenas and the mighty roar of the lion.
* Some participants ask us to find snakes. Be happy when you see one because they are very shy and are rarely seen.
* If you have a game drive (a tour through the wildlife park) you should NEVER get out. If you do, it must always be authorized by the tour leader or guide.
* Do not throw waste paper or cigarette butts from the truck.
* Do not feed the birds, monkeys or other animals.
This journey is classified as Category B
The difficulty of our travels varies greatly. Added to this is the fact that travel difficulty is a very personal perception. To give an impression of the difficulty of a particular holiday we have developed a classification system.
Category A: Light travel for everyone to do. Short distances, good hotels, travel at a slow pace.
Category B: For everyone to do as well. Sometimes long distances. Good hotels and camping facilities, sometimes an adventurous overnight experience, travel at a normal pace.
Category C: Good to do for anyone who prepares themself well and is flexible. There are tougher parts of the journey, such as longer distances or walking tours. Several nights can be spent in basic accommodation.
Category D: A relatively difficult journey, travelling long distances, often primitive accommodation or tents, and challenging walking tours.
This journey through South Africa and Swaziland is in category B. The trip can be made by anyone who is in reasonable shape. Keep in mind that we go through developing countries, with a much lower standard of living than you are used to at home. Some travelling days can be long. Apart from that, it is possible that the roads are temporarily inaccessible due to bad weather or bad maintenance and we may have to divert from our planned route. Camping is quite popular, especially in the game parks. The facilities are generally good. You can have a shower almost everywhere and there are proper sanitary facilities. Some help is expected from you with domestic tasks, like doing the dishes and preparing the food. A flexible and open-minded attitude is more important than physical fitness.
Nature of the trip
This special journey unites magnificent game parks, colourful people and immeasurable space. You will safari in the famous Kruger game park. Explore darkest Africa in Swaziland. Enjoy the beautiful white beaches of KwaZulu Natal and walk through the majestic Drakensberg mountains.
We know that travelling to remote corners of this planet has its effects. At Shoestring we really try to make an effort to keep our impact to a minimum. We try to avoid the use of plastic water bottles on our treks through Nepal and we do not dump our litter during our trips through Africa. All of our staff have been trained to take special care to ensure we make as little impact on the environment as possible.Furthermore we support a lot of local projects which are mostly related to clean drinking water or making sure that children get vaccinated against illnesses such as tuberculosis. On most tours you will be able to visit some of the projects we support through our local agents. Find out more about the different projects Shoestring are involved with, how you can make a difference and our environmental policies here
1114 AA Amsterdam-Duivendrecht, The Netherlands.
You can call us on number +31 20 6850203 or +44 (0)1306 744797 and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
More country information about South Africa
Frequently asked questions about South Africa