FAQs

Health and Safety

Is tap water safe to drink?

Tap water is safe for brushing teeth but It’s best to drink bottled water, or water provided by your lodge / hotel. 

Are there stinging or biting insects I need to be concerned about? 

There are bees, biting ants and wasps and such, but the chances of being stung are low.  Please bring insect sprays/roll ons. Mosquitoes tend to be more common around Victoria Falls area.   

Do I need any vaccines?

The countries we will be visiting do not make any vaccine mandatory for entry (see COVID question below for exceptions). Generally, it’s always a good idea to have your typhoid, hepatitis A and B, rabies and tetanus vaccines updated.  But we urge you consult your own tropical medicine advisors at home for professional advice.

Is malaria an issue? 

While we are not visiting during malaria season, the disease does occur, particularly in the Victoria Falls area.  There will be mosquito nets in the lodges.  Wearing long sleeved shirts and long pants, and using repellent at dusk, when mosquitoes are out will also help.  You may want to consider anti-malarial drugs. For more details, see the US Center for Disease Control page on the subject.   Consult your medical professional.  

Is COVID an issue? Are there any vaccination / masking / testing requirements?

South Africa & Botswana:  No requirements for vaccination or testing. 

Zimbabwe (and Zambia, for those perhaps departing from Livingstone): Fully vaccinated people do not need any PCR tests or vaccination certificates to enter the country.  If you are not vaccinated, you will be required to show proof of a negative PCR test obtained within 48 hours of boarding, or crossing into the country.  Things may change and updates will be issued. We recommend you bring proof of COVID vaccination with you  - just in case.  Masks are not mandatory but never a bad idea in busy places like airports.

Should I be worried about wildlife attacks? 

No, your guides are experienced and know how to keep their guests out of danger.  

How fit do I need to be? 

You should be able to walk medium distances and get into and out of large 4-wheel drive vehicles and small boats. 

Is the Tsodilo Hills hike strenuous? 

This is a moderate hike along a trail that is at times rocky, and with occasional steep gradients over short distances.  If you have any difficulties walking under such conditions, you can opt out of the expedition and enjoy outings at the lodge. You can discuss with your tour leader and lodge guides before the hike if you have any concerns. 

Should I worry about sunburn? 

Yes! It’s essential to bring a sun hat (covering your ears, back of your neck, as well as your forehead), sunglasses & lotions. Long sleeves are also a good idea. 

Can I bring a CPAP machine? 

Yes, all lodges have facilities to run them and can provide distilled water for them. Please ensure you have an adapter so that your CPAP machine plug can fit into the local electrical outlets. 

How would a medical emergency be handled in a remote lodge? 

A medical emergency needs to be relayed to a camp manager or via your guide who will radio the camp / prepare.  Guests will be stabilized in camp (staff have first aid training) and if necessary, a doctor or trained nurse will be flown to camp to assess and treat if possible. If required, the guest will be flown by medevac to Maun. If necessary, an onward medevac to a main center like Johannesburg will be arranged.  CNH Tours provides complimentary emergency medical evacuation insurance which covers the costs of taking you to the nearest medical facility considered able to address the problem.  This could be in Maun, or in Johannesburg (which has first rate hospitals).  The costs of actual medical treatment is not covered by emergency medical evacuation insurance.  For this reason, we require that you be covered by emergency medical treatment insurance. 

Should I be worried about my personal safety / being robbed? 

Outside of Cape Town, the risk is extremely low.  In Cape Town, it’s safe along the Waterfront and our hotel area.  While the chances of being robbed outside these areas remains small, it’s best to leave valuables behind and not flash cash or jewelry. Consult with your tour leader or the hotel staff before considering heading out on your own.


Trip Logistics / Before you go / On the trip

What should I pack? 

It will be warm to hot in the day (up to 28C / 82F or more), and mild to cool at night (as low as 8-10C or  46-50F particularly in the Kalahari region - possibly even cooler). Cape Town will be mild in the day time, and fresh in the evenings, with the chance of some rain.  Pack accordingly.  A thick fleece and a light waterproof windbreaker are recommended.  Sun protection is an issue - depending on your sensitivity, bring a wide-brimmed hat, long sleeved shirts, trousers as well, and sunscreen.  Polarized sunglasses are never a bad idea. 

Sturdy walking shoes (no need for big hiking boots) should be sufficient for your outings, including the Tsodilo Hills hike. Feel free to bring a walking stick if you like.  A good pair of binoculars will be appreciated by some.  Mosquito repellent, particularly for Victoria Falls, is a good idea. 

I’m arriving before the trip start date in Cape Town, what do you recommend for a transfer to my hotel? 

Transfers are included only if you arrive / depart on the scheduled trip start / end dates.  You can take a registered taxi or pre-book an Uber from the airport to town. Expect to pay around US$50-US$60. We can pre-book private transfers for you for US$90.

I’m leaving after the trip end date in Victoria Falls  What do you recommend for an airport transfer? 

Your hotel will be able to either you a complimentary transfer, or will help you arrange for reliable transport.  

Extra night’s accommodations - if I arrive earlier / leave later, where should I stay?

You can book extra nights at our hotel / final day's lodge.  Just let us know before your final balance is due.   Otherwise, there are many good establishments from which to choose in Cape Town.  The following is a sample:

Do you have a suggested reading list?  

We’ve assembled a short reading list; some natural history, fiction and non-fiction, which we hope will get you going.   

What is the electrical supply in the region?  Do we need adapters? 

All camps and hotels do have multi plugs. It is advisable to bring your own universal adaptor as the region uses mostly 3 prong round plugs. 

Can we get laundry done at any point in the trip? 

Yes, at every lodge/camp/hotel on your trip apart from Cape Town. Daily laundry (usually hand washed) is offered at all bush camps. 

Is there internet or cell phone service during the trip? 

Internet and telephone reception is available in Victoria Falls and Cape Town. At the bush camps, there is either very limited wifi or a laptop in the main area to use.  Connections are slow and not always reliable due to the remote locations.

Do the lodges have soap / shampoo / hair dryers? 

Complimentary soap and shampoo are provided in the bathrooms.  There is no need to bring a hair dryer.  All our lodges / hotels provide them. The lodges generate their electricity from solar panels and have specially adapted hair dryers that can work with this system.  

Is smoking permitted in the lodges / restaurants? 

Only in designated places outside the main areas.

Do I need a visa to enter any of the three countries we’ll be visiting? 

For Zimbabwe, you'll need to obtain an entry visa (USD30 per person for USA /Canadian citizens and USD55 for British citizens). We will help you get them before crossing the border - so there is no need to get them in advance (in reality, the visas are little more than an entry tax). If you plan on going to Zambia after the trip (on the other side of Victoria Falls), ask us about the multi-entry visa for a modest cost saving.  

How much cash and in what currencies should we bring? 

Bring US dollars cash for tips (approx. US$500 / person).  If you plan on using taxis, bring another $100 or so.  While dollars will be accepted in small road-side shops, more established shops will take a credit card. Bring small denominations of cash for tipping.

What kind of aircraft is used to move between safari camps and lodges? 

Typically a Cessna Caravan, carrying up to 9/10 passengers or Airvans which take 5 passengers.

Are there any luggage restrictions? 

There is a luggage weight limit of 20kg/44lbs which includes small carry on and camera bags. Bags must be soft sided to manipulate into the luggage pods. The bags can have recessed wheels.This is a safety requirement due to the sensitive weight and balance checks on the small aircraft and must be strictly adhered to. Travelers who require additional luggage must pre-book and pay for this. The maximum dimensions of the soft bags is as follows: 25cm (10 inches) high x 45cm (18 inches) wide and 62cm (24 inches) long. 

Are hotel / airport transfers included?

If you are arriving / departing on the standard trip start / departure dates, your hotel/airport transfers are included (please be sure to fill in the international flight details form, which will help us ensure someone is there to pick you up).   If you are arriving or leaving on different dates, you’ll need to make separate arrangements.   Typically, your hotel will be able to do that for you.  Contact us if you require further information. 

Extensions

What kinds of things can we do if we stay longer / arrive earlier? 

People traveling to the region will often spend more time in South Africa, visiting the vineyards or national parks.  Others will add an extension visit the mountain gorillas and chimpanzees in Uganda.  Namibia is another possibility.  There are all kinds of options. Consult us to start a discussion.  

How do I organize a visit to Robben Island World Heritage site (where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated)?

You can find all the information and book your ticket on-line here:   Robben Island Museum | Cape Town Attraction (robben-island.org.za)   Bookings usually open up about 6 months ahead of time. The tours last 3 hours and there are usually 3 a day.  

Climate

You’ll be traveling to the region in May.  This is equivalent to autumn in the southern hemisphere.   

Cape Town: 

It will be mid-autumn in Cape Town.  Nights will be cool - as low as 10C (50F) while day time temperatures will be in the low 20’s (low 70’s).  We don’t expect much rain, but be prepared for breezy days.  

Botswana / Zimbabwe:

Zimbabwe is further north so will be warm in the day and mild at night. Botswana will be cold at night and early mornings - a warm hat and light gloves advised as it could be below 10C (50F), and even a hat could be appreciated.  It will be warm during the day. Layers are the way to navigate these differences.

Food

Do you accommodate vegetarian / vegan / other diets? 

Yes - we will be asking you to indicate any dietary restrictions before you travel.

What kind of food will be served? 

Western style meals with occasional local cuisine on offer.

Will we have the chance to buy snacks / other food items? 

Snacks are offered at high tea at the camps and at The Cape Grace. Most guests find that there is far more food than they can manage. 


Tipping Recommendations

Drivers, guides and your tour leader  will generally appreciate tips.

  • USD10-USD15 per person per day to your camp guide
  • USD10-USD15 per person per day to the camp staff
  • USD5 per person per service to drivers and porters 
  • Tour leader: at your discretion but USD150 per person is suggested. 

In total, budget about $500-$600 / person for tips over the course of the trip.

At the safari camps at the hotel in Victoria Falls, you can leave a tip by credit card (Master Card and VISA only).  Tips for your tour leader or any other individual will need to be provided in cash.   There are ATMs in Cape Town (South African Rand only - which is fine for tips) and at Victoria Falls (mostly USD - also fine for tips).  Your tour leader will appreciate tips in USD.