|Although most of the planning and preparation is taken care of for you, there are still a few things you should know and some details you should take care of to ensure your comfort, safety and peace of mind. Please review the following information before your departure to ensure that any surprises along the way will only be pleasant ones. |
|Passports and Visas|
|It is each traveler's responsibility to have a passport valid for at least 6 months after the date of travel and a visa if required. Please check the information at www.gate1travel.com/visas.aspx for the specific country/region you are visiting for more details. IMPORTANT: Passengers who are not U.S. citizens must check with the respective consulate or a visa agency to determine what personal identification is required. Passengers who enter, leave and then re-enter the same country on their itinerary should check if they require a double-entry visa. Passport applications are available at most U.S. Post Offices, as well as at regional Passport Agencies. Passengers requiring visas, whether obtained in advance or locally upon arrival, should ensure that their passport has unstamped visa pages.
US citizens require a passport valid for six months beyond travel dates.
|Trip Preparation |
|A little pre-planning can make your trip go a lot smoother. Several weeks before your trip, make a list of what you will need to take with you. Make sure your personal documents (passports, visas, driver’s license) are in order and that you have enough prescription medications to last through the trip. We suggest that you make photocopies of passports, visas, personal ID and any other important travel documents and pack them separately from the originals. Pack a list of medications including dosage and generic names. If you lose the originals while traveling, you'll have copies for easier reporting and replacement. You may consider bringing a small supply of over the counter medications for headaches and/or anti-diarrhea pills (especially when traveling outside of the USA and Western Europe). We recommend that you pack a portable alarm clock. Avoid placing valuables such as cameras in your checked luggage. |
|Cell Phones & Calling Cards|
|You may wish to carry a cell phone while traveling. Check with your cell phone provider if your phone will work in the destination(s) you are visiting. U.S. service is dominated by the CDMA technology standard, while most of the world uses the incompatible GSM standard. Some U.S. providers do offer GSM, but you may incur high international roaming fees. With GSM, however, you can often choose to have your phone unlocked and then add a local SIM card for lower fees. If you can access the Internet as you travel, you can take advantage of email or a Skype Internet telephone (VOIP) account for the best value. Alternatively, you may investigate renting a cell phone before you leave or buying an inexpensive phone locally. |
When calling the U.S. from a foreign country, you may also use a prepaid calling card; normally, the only additional charge (besides the prepaid long distance charges) is a local fee of a few cents and possibly a connection fee if you are using your card at your hotel. It is best to check with the hotel’s reception desk prior to making phone calls to avoid unexpected charges.
|Making Telephone Calls from One Country to Another|
|When dialing a number from one country to another, you should proceed as follows: dial your country's Exit Code + destination Country Code + Phone Number. |
For most countries, the exit code is 00. Exceptions include the USA and Canada (011), Hong Kong and Cambodia (001), Australia (0011), and Russia (8 Pause 10*). For Brazil, please consult with the local telephone company. If the international number you wish to call starts with a 0 (zero), you must drop this starting digit when dialing the number.
|Wireless Internet Access|
|Passengers traveling with WiFi enabled devices (such as a personal computer, smartphone, tablet, or digital audio player) may be able to connect to the internet via a wireless network access point (or hotspot). WiFi access in hotels and/or cruise lines often involves a fee which, in some cases, can be very expensive. Passengers requiring internet access can often locate free WiFi hotspots such as libraries or coffee shops. Hotspots can often be located and planned in advance via an online search. Planning ahead may help avoid unnecessary fees.
|Staying Healthy While Traveling |
|All travelers should familiarize themselves with local conditions, such as high altitude or required immunizations, which could affect their health. We recommend you consult with your personal health-care provider, the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov) and/or theWorld Health Organization (http://www.who.int/en/) for their recommendations. |
There are several easy steps you can take to stay healthy while traveling which may help prevent contracting an illness while away from home.
- Watch what you eat. Try new foods in modest quantities, and depending upon your destination, you may want to avoid street foods, salad bars, raw vegetables and fruits, unless they have thick peels like bananas or grapefruit.
- Stay hydrated. Drink bottled water and avoid consuming ice cubes made with tap water.
- If you have allergies to foods, medications or insect bites, or have any other unique medical issues, consider a medical alert bracelet and/or a physician’s note detailing required treatment should you become ill.
- Wash your hands regularly and carry hand sanitizer.
- Where appropriate, pack sunscreen and insect repellant (for both active and warm destinations).
- You may also want to bring a small first-aid kit with bandaids, antibiotic cream, pain killers, bug bite cream, digestive aids like antidiarrheal or anti-bloat medications, antacids, and cold medicine. This is in addition to any prescription medications which should be adequate for the entire trip.
|Notice on Aircraft Cabin Insecticide Treatment - Please note that some countries may require aircraft cabin insecticide treatment for in-bound foreign flights. A list of such countries is available at:
|South Africa & Swaziland - While the majority of South Africa is malaria-free, visitors to Kruger National Park are encouraged to consult their health care providers regarding malaria prophylaxis. Visitors should use mosquito repellent and wear long pants, closed shoes, and a lightweight long sleeve shirt when in this area. Additionally, you may encounter mosquitoes in other areas, both rural and urban, especially during wet seasons. Please consult your physician before traveling to South Africa. |
This tour visits areas of high elevations on the Panorama Route (5,870 feet) and in Swaziland (6,110 feet), and may cause temporary altitude discomfort for some travelers. Those affected should avoid over-exertion, drink extra water, and eat lightly.
|Zimbabwe - Malaria is prevalent throughout Zimbabwe, except in Harare, due to the capital's high altitude. The CDC strongly recommends that malaria prophylaxis and preventative measures be taken when traveling outside of Harare. Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information. |
Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in Zimbabwe. For further information, please consult the CDC's information on TB.
|Botswana - Travelers to Botswana are encouraged to consult their health care providers regarding malaria prophylaxis. Visitors should use mosquito repellent and wear long pants, closed shoes, and lightweight long sleeve shirts. It is recommended that you see your doctor 4-6 weeks before your trip. |
Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food, water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC website. The World Health Organization (WHO) website is also helpful and provides information on outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad.
|Climate & Clothing |
|South Africa & Swaziland - Spring and Autumn: 55–70°F, Summer: 60–80°F, Winter: 45–65°F. Bring comfortable walking shoes, clothes you can layer, and an all-weather jacket. Sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses are also recommended. On game reserves, visitors should wear neutral colors such as brown, khaki, and beige. |
South Africa Average Temperatures: http://www.gate1travel.com/weather/africa/#south-africa-weather
|Zimbabwe - November: - March 63°F-86°F; April - July: 43°F-85°F; August - October: 48°F–93°F. |
Victoria Falls offers a mild and dry winter from June to mid-August and a warm to hot spring, until the rains start in mid-November. The dry season around Victoria Falls generally is from May to October; the wet season is from November to March.
Bring comfortable shoes, lightweight clothes you can layer and an all-weather jacket. Sunscreen and a hat or sunglasses are also recommended. Some religious sites do not allow shorts or sleeveless shirts. A rain coat will be provided while on the Victoria Falls tour, however please wear shoes you do not mind getting wet and bring a small umbrella for extra protection.
|Botswana - November - March 70°F-90°F; April - August: 55°F-75°F; September - October: 65°F–95°F. |
The summer season begins in November and ends in March with very high temperatures. This is also the rainy season, however it is unusual for there to be more than two consecutive days of rain. The winter season begins in May and ends in August and is the dry season when virtually no rainfall occurs. Winter days are invariably sunny and cool to warm; however, evening and night temperatures can drop below freezing point in some areas. The in-between periods - April/early May and September/October - still tend to be dry, but the days are cooler than in summer and the nights are warmer than in winter.
Loose, natural fabrics are recommended, with wet-weather gear and warmer clothes according to the season and area visiting.
|Book & Film Recommendations |
|Many of our guests enjoy reading about their destination - either in advance of their trip or while traveling - as a way of adding context to their visit. Whether reading a traditional guide book, learning about the history and culture, or simply enjoying a fictional novel set in the destination, a good book can add greatly to your experience. Similarly, a good movie set in your destination helps set the mood before you travel. We asked our Tour Managers and staff to recommend books and films which past guests may have enjoyed. The following does not constitute an endorsement of any authors, books or films listed, it is merely a collection of guests’ recommendations. |
|SOUTH AFRICA: Books |
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton
Zulu by Caryl Ferey
Mafeking Road by Herman Charles Bosman
The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
Playing the Enemy by John Carlin
Country of My Skull by Antjie Krog
|Airline Seat Assignments |
|As a courtesy service, airline seat assignments are requested on your behalf and, when available, are displayed in order of Passenger #1, #2 and so on. Assignments reflect the best available seats at the time of booking. Some airlines and/or fare types do not allow for pre-seating and require this be done at airport check-in only; in which case the display shows “N/A”. Seats are subject to change by your airline(s) including, for example, when there is a schedule change or equipment change after your initial booking; this may cause seat assignments to be changed or even cancelled. In the event that you change seat assignments directly with your airline, changes will not be reflected on this display. At the time that Gate 1 travel documents are issued, the currently assigned seats will be listed based on the assignments stored in your airline reservation at that time. Even when seats are pre-assigned, we recommend that you contact your airline directly to reconfirm your seats approximately 72 hours prior to departure. Should you have questions regarding your assignments, please email to firstname.lastname@example.org. |
|Although luggage sizes are now fairly standard, each airline does have specific requirements based upon the route and aircraft size. Please visit www.gate1travel.com/luggage.aspx for general luggage guidelines, and contact your airline for specific requirements. |
Gate 1 land tour packages allow for one piece of luggage per person plus a carry-on bag. Gate 1 is not responsible for loss or damage to luggage and personal belongings. Therefore you must report any loss or damage immediately at the time of the incident and obtain a written report from the local authority for submission to your insurance provider. Avoid placing valuables in your checked luggage. If your luggage is lost or damaged by the airlines, a baggage claim form must be filed with the carrier before leaving the airport. Any cost to retrieve luggage will be your responsibility and you should retain receipts to submit to your insurance provider. See www.gate1travel.com/luggage.aspx for Important Baggage Information for U.S. Travelers.
|Southern Africa - Flights within Zimbabwe and Botswana have a weight restriction for luggage of 44 pounds per person (including hand luggage). This differs from international flight luggage limits and should be taken into account when preparing for your trip. Due to limited space in safari vehicles, please pack your belongings in a soft-sided bag. Traditional suitcases with rigid frames or hard plastic sides should not be used. |
|Code-share Flights |
|If your flight itinerary displays a flight as “Operated By” another carrier, you should check-in at the desk of the “Operated By” airline. When you arrive at the airport, check the airport monitors for updated check-in desk listings. |
|Airline Flights |
|Please check in at least three hours prior to the scheduled departure time for international flights and two hours prior for domestic flights. Many airlines do not permit check-in less than one hour prior to the scheduled departure time. |
Passengers connecting from another point within the USA should check their luggage through to their final destination. Although problems with lost luggage have been minimal, it is a possibility. Certain carriers do not allow baggage “interlining,” and luggage must be checked separately for each flight. When you check your luggage, please verify where your luggage is being sent. If you are connecting from a domestic flight which is delayed for any reason, causing you to miss your international flight, ask the airline for assistance in getting you to your destination. Since all airline tickets are issued on special fares which carry restrictions and penalties if changed, you must have the airlines responsible make alternate arrangements on your behalf as Gate 1 has no authority or control over airline activities and policies. Do not leave the airline check-in desk until an alternative itinerary has been confirmed.
|The Transportation and Safety Administration |
|The (TSA) has increased security measures drastically since September 11, 2001. Plan to arrive no fewer than two hours prior to a domestic flight and three hours prior to an international flight. Check the TSA website www.tsa.gov. to find out the current list of acceptable items you may bring on a plane before packing. |
|About Business Class Airfares |
|Business Class service may not be available on all flights or aircraft types, and therefore some flights within an itinerary may not include Business Class seating. This includes, for example, some US domestic connections and/or short haul flights abroad.. When Business Class service is not available, you will be accommodated in the best alternative class of service and seating. Please check your operating airline to determine the extra services you may receive in Business Class |
|Foreign Domestic Flights |
If your tour program includes foreign domestic flights, and those tickets are not included together with the e-ticket itinerary in these documents, a separate voucher(s) confirming those services will be included. You will receive those tickets at your destination from a Gate 1 representative. |
|Avoiding Jet Lag |
|In order to minimize fatigue and general restlessness caused by jet lag, there are a few steps you may take including switching to your destination time zone when you board the plane, by sleeping and eating according to the new schedule, avoiding heavy eating, caffeine or alcoholic beverages before or during your flight, and by drinking plenty of water and/or fruit juice while flying. Try to sleep on overnight flights and then, upon arrival, avoid the temptation to nap until nighttime. |
|Frequent Flier Programs |
|Passengers are responsible to contact their airline directly regarding mileage eligibility and accrual. Airline frequent flier programs determine whether to award miles in part or total based on their own rules which are updated frequently. Some discounted or promotional airfares as well as some code-share flights are not eligible for mileage accrual. Some private airfares, such as a “Gate 1 Travel Airfare”, are not eligible for mileage or may qualify for reduced mileage, even if the same airline class of service is eligible for full mileage when sold as an “Instant Purchase” published airfare. Not all published airfares are eligible for mileage. Gate 1 Travel will record frequent flier numbers when provided by the passenger prior to travel documents being issued. However, the addition of frequent flier numbers to airline records does not guarantee mileage eligibility which is at the sole discretion of each airline. Airline schedule changes may result in flights which were originally eligible for mileage accrual no longer being eligible. We highly recommend passengers to provide their frequent flier account information whenever checking in online and/or at the airport check-in desk. After travel has commenced, it is often not possible to apply for frequent mileage credit. Passengers are also responsible to determine whether previously earned mileage may be applied to flights to secure upgrades. |
|Arrival Procedures |
|Upon arrival, please complete immigration formalities if necessary and claim your luggage. If your program includes airport arrival transfers, check your voucher for specific instructions, as they vary with every destination. In most cases, you will be met after collecting your luggage or passing through Customs by the local representative who will be holding a Gate 1 Travel sign and/or a sign with your name on it. In some instances you will be instructed to walk a short distance to a transportation counter. The company's name and location will be printed on your voucher. If for any reason you do not connect with the Gate 1 transfer personnel, go to the Tourist Information Desk and ask them to page the Gate 1 Travel representative or phone the number on your voucher. |
|What To Do When Your Flight Is Delayed |
|Airlines do not share flight manifest information. Therefore, the only way we may learn of a delay or schedule change while you are traveling is from you, the traveler. The sooner you are able to contact one of our offices, overseas or in the USA, the better we can respond. Gate 1 Travel is only able to guarantee pre-reserved arrival transfers for up to one hour from the scheduled time, no matter the cause. In case you are delayed for any reason, and are unable to follow the instructions on your voucher, please make independent transfer arrangements and retain your receipts. Unused tour services, including transfers and hotel nights are not refundable. Upon your return home you will need to contact your airline and/or insurance carrier to investigate the possibility of reimbursement for any unused tour services. |
|Departure Procedures |
|If your program includes departure transfers, instructions will be stated on your voucher or provided locally. |
|Due to local traffic and other extenuating circumstances, we ask that you allow 30 minutes from your scheduled transfer time for our representative to arrive. This includes hotel, airport and cruise transfers. Such possible delays are taken into consideration in scheduling transfers and you should therefore have no concerns about arriving late for your tour, flight or cruise. For transfers from a hotel, let the hotel reception desk or concierge know that you are waiting for a transfer. In the case of a missed transfer, reimbursement for your out-of-pocket expenses will be considered provided you obtain a written statement from the hotel's front desk verifying the length of time you waited, and the time you left the hotel, and a receipt for your transportation with time and date. |
Escorted tour programs include transfers, providing you have purchased airfare from Gate 1 to arrive and depart on the scheduled tour dates. If you are traveling independently, you may purchase the transfers from Gate 1 or contract your own method of transportation to the hotel or cruise ship.
The cost of a transfer is more expensive than hiring a taxi, as a Gate 1 transfer necessarily includes round trip service, or 'dead-leg'. Often the places of call (airports, seaports, hotels) demand entrance and parking fees, where drivers may have to wait for up to an hour. Passengers comfortable hiring a taxi on their own and do not require assistance will save money
|Eco & Sustainable Tourism |
|We support global efforts to create a more eco-friendly world, intolerant of any forms of cruelty, abuse and intentional environmental destruction. To that end we ask that our clients maintain a watchful eye as they travel, and report any abuses they may encounter. One of the many benefits of tourism is the shared cultural knowledge and ultimate elimination of negative behavior through education. We rely on your good feedback to enable this element of symbiosis. As you travel to and learn about foreign cultures, we ask first and foremost that you practice tolerance and respect for local customs. |
|About Your Sightseeing|
|To ensure a pleasant and fair experience for passengers on our escorted tours, there is a mandatory seat rotation policy on our motor coaches which will be organized by your Tour Manager. When travel dates coincide with religious holidays and national celebrations, some monuments and sites may be closed, sometimes without prior notice. On these occasions, escorted touring itineraries may be amended to reflect these closures. Occasionally, during holidays and certain periods, and/or due to other unforeseen circumstances including weather conditions, there may be last-minute changes, sometimes after arrival, which may affect the sequence of the tour and locations visited. National monuments and tourist sites regularly undergo renovations, which can obscure the monument's view. No tour will be canceled due to renovations, however Gate 1 will decide based on the conditions whether to amend an itinerary.|
|Land Only Passengers (Escorted Tours) |
|Your tour manager will contact you after your arrival at your hotel. Passengers who have not purchased arrival transfers from Gate 1 Travel should proceed directly to the hotel for checkin. The details of the hotel can be found in your documents. |
|Purchasing Tours Locally|
| On escorted tours, the guides will generally sell optional tours to passengers who have not pre-purchased them. Payment can be made by cash or credit card, unless otherwise noted below. This does not apply to Independent packages. Please see Gate 1 Terms & Conditions for more information. http://www.gate1travel.com/terms.aspx#optional |
|Independent Activities - Gate 1 itineraries may contain suggestions for activities for your leisure time; these suggestions do not constitute a recommendation nor an endorsement of any specific service provider and the decision to participate in any such activities should be made independently and with due consideration. Gate 1 is not responsible for any activities not expressly included in its programs. Caution should be exercised when selecting certain activities that may require physical strength, coordination or exertion. Particular care should be taken when considering animal rides, such as on camels, mules or horses |
|We suggest getting a small amount of currency for the first country you're visiting before you leave the U.S. It is a good idea to carry a chart with you to help you convert U.S. dollars to the local currency. It's also a good idea not to carry too much money. Many countries have ATM machines that accept most U.S. ATM cards, but be sure you know your ATM password in numbers-the keypads on foreign ATMs don't always have letters. ATM machines will only dispense cash in local currency. Check with respective consulates to learn current currency allowances and requirements. Use your credit card whenever possible. Should you decide to carry cash or travelers checks, exchange them at banks where the rate is more favorable than at hotels or exchange bureaus. Please note that many banks and most vendors will not accept or exchange $100 bills. We suggest to carry $20 bills or smaller. |
|South Africa & Swaziland - The Rand is the currency of South Africa. The Lilangeni is the currency of Swaziland. |
|Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe operates under a multi-currency monetary system. The U.S. Dollar (USD) is the most widely accepted form of currency. Zimbabwe has become a cash society, with very few establishments accepting international credit or debit cards. ATMs in the country are generally incompatible with international networks and are unreliable. Check cashing facilities are effectively nonexistent. Travelers should bring adequate cash for their planned visit. There is a shortage of small notes in Zimbabwe, so travelers are advised to bring small notes, especially for local transport and shopping. Visitors are required to declare the amount of currency that they are bringing into and out of the country. |
|Botswana - The Pula is the currency of Botswana. The South African Rand is also accepted. |
|Credit Cards |
|While credit cards are accepted in most destinations, it is advisable to carry local currency. Inform your credit card company that you are traveling to avoid your card being blocked for security reasons. |
Most US-issued credit cards rely on magnetic-strip technology rather than embedded microprocessor chips which are increasingly common overseas. These “chip-and-PIN” cards require users to punch in a personal identification number (PIN) instead of signing for a purchase. For example, many automated ticket kiosks, such as those commonly found at train stations, gas pumps and parking garages, don’t accept cards without a chip and PIN. Most cash registers are equipped to handle American cards but if you encounter difficulties, offer an alternative credit card or politely insist that the cashier keep trying to swipe the credit card. ATMs typically recognize and accept US issued debit cards. For travel to Europe, should you anticipate using ticket kiosks or purchasing train tickets locally, you may consider buying tickets and other basic purchases prior to departure.
|Most people enjoy bringing home at least one souvenir from the countries they visit. However, some find any amount of shopping to be too much while others never find enough opportunities. |
We have built into our Escorted itineraries a few shopping stops at recommended spots. These stops are designed to enhance your experience by providing an opportunity to see first-hand quality locally-crafted merchandise which you may not be able to find alone. Shops are checked to ensure the quality and authenticity of the products they offer, and we limit guides from visiting other locations. In some cases, we plan these stops to provide an opportunity to use clean bathrooms and to stretch your legs.
While shopping independently, we advise you to exercise care and common sense when making any purchase. Always get a formal receipt. And remember that, just like in this country, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is!
About Tax-Free Shopping
Tax-Free Shopping (TFS) allows shoppers to reclaim the VAT (Value-Added Tax) or GST (Goods and Services Tax) they have paid on their shopping in some foreign countries. Currently, about 50 countries allow foreign visitors to have their taxes reimbursed. TFS is subject to national regulations such as minimum spend and restrictions on the types of products on which it can be claimed. TSF is currently available in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Morocco, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, Singapore, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey and the United Kingdom. Eligible countries and their specific regulations are subject to change at any time including the % of VAT which is reclaimable and the minimum purchase amount restriction. When planning to shop in a country with Tax-Free Shopping and to reclaim VAT/GST taxes, we recommend that you check the current regulations prior to completing your purchase. In many cases, stores will display signage such as “VAT Refunds for Tourists.” Normally, you will need to present your passport and receive a VAT Refund Application form(s) from the store along with an explanation of how to claim your refund. Sometimes this is completed at the airport upon departure or later via mail from your home. Service fees may apply. Alternatively, you may choose to work with a fee-based VAT Refund Service.
U.S. Customs & Shipping Charges
You may carry items with a fair retail value totaling $800 into the U.S. Taxes may be applied to the next $1,000 worth of merchandise. U.S. Customs determines the value of your items, often honoring a genuine sales receipt. Items which are shipped home are always subject to duty when received in the U.S. (in addition to shipping charges). Some shops may offer to include shipping and duties in the price but this typically means shipping only to the customs facility closest to you and payment only of the export duties; you would still need to collect the item and pay U.S. import duties. Please be aware that it is illegal to import products made from endangered animal species. U.S. Customs & Border Protection will seize these items, as well as most furs, coral, tortoise shell, reptile skins, feathers, plants, and items made from animal skins.
|South Africa & Swaziland - Local specialties include handcrafts such as basketware, beadwork, embroidery and sculptures, as well as exceptional gold, platinum, and diamond jewelry. Boutiques, malls, markets, and roadside stands abound. |
|Zimbabwe - Victoria Falls offers wood carvings and soapstone sculptures. |
|Botswana - Botswana boasts many areas in which tourists can purchase world class baskets, woodcarvings, jewelry, pottery, tapestries and fabrics. |
|Your Safety is Very Important |
Prior to your trip, if you are traveling overseas, we strongly recommend that you visit the website of the U.S. Department of State at www.travel.state.gov, specifically the section which addresses International Travel. You should read the tips for foreign travel and travel warnings for the country or countries that you plan to visit. |
It is also important that you do not allow your common sense to take a vacation while on your trip. Here are several tips which, if followed, will save much potential hardship:
- Be aware of potentially dangerous places and situations as you would be at home. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry and carry your valuables concealed in inside pockets or hidden pouches. Your objective is to avoid drawing attention and to blend in with the crowd
- Don't put all your valuables (money, credit cards, passports, etc.) in the same place (in case one wallet is stolen, you should have other valuables and identification in another safe place)
- Do not leave valuables laying loose in your room. Use the hotel safe. Keep copies of your passports, credit card numbers and travelers checks numbers in the hotel safe
- Credit cards are generally accepted everywhere and are safer than traveling with large amounts of cash
- Do not pack valuables (cameras, computers, jewelry, etc.) in your checked luggage. Keep hard-to-replace valuables with you in your carry-on bag
- Keep wallets safely tucked into front trouser pockets and/or wear a money pouch inside your clothing
- Carry handbags close to your body, shoulder bags the cross-body method with the bag in front of your body.
If you've purchased an escorted tour program, your travel documents will include telephone numbers of local Gate 1 Travel representatives who will do their utmost to assist you in the event of an emergency. The numbers are printed on your Gate 1 Travel vouchers. Please copy the numbers. Once you relinquish the voucher, you will not have this information. Passengers traveling independently should employ the services of hotel concierges and local authorities.
|Zimbabwe - While we recommend that you apply reasonable caution and common sense when traveling in any country, please be aware that in Zimbabwe, there are issues with theft against tourists in public places. Americans and other foreigners are perceived to be wealthy and are frequently targeted by criminals who operate in the vicinity of hotels, restaurants, and shopping areas of the major cities and tourist areas such as Victoria Falls. Although the majority of crimes in Zimbabwe are non-violent, be alert to any suspicious activity. Always keep valuables in a safe place and avoid walking alone. Passengers should not travel alone after dark. |
We recommend that taxis be reserved via the hotel concierge desk, and that you do not ride alone when possible. When not possible, we recommend that a hotel, restaurant, or shop call a taxi; instruct the driver not to pick up other passengers. When using ATM machines, be on the lookout for anyone watching or following you. In the unlikely event that you should fall victim to a robbery, do not resist, the majority of injuries from robberies occur as a result of resistance. Do not hitchhike and do not accept rides from strangers. As in most parts of the world, be aware of your surroundings and keep to well-lit and populated areas.
|On Safari - While on safari, it is very important that you follow all directions provided by your guide in order to ensure the safety of the group. Prior to the first safari, your driver/guide will review “safari etiquette” addressing, amongst other issues, off-road driving and hazards, and interaction with animals. Wildlife listed in the itinerary are based upon optimal conditions and therefore subject to change. While on tour you will be reminded by your guide of local safety and ecologic procedures to ensure your safety and the protection of the wildlife. Normal precautions include remaining in close proximity to your driver/guide and vehicle, avoiding tall grass and keeping noise to a minimum to not attract extra attention. Your driver/guide will advise you not to turn over rocks or dead wood and to stay clear of ground holes and caves, where scorpions, snakes and other potentially dangerous animal life may be hidden. Refrain from littering, feeding any animals or leaving food waste behind in the parks as this can upset their natural diets and lead to a dependence upon people. In addition, please do not purchase, collect, or remove any animal products, rocks, seeds, plants, or nests from the wild. |
Roadways to the game viewing sites are for the most part unpaved and will therefore be rough and dusty. Gate 1 safari vehicles are fitted with large roof hatches to allow for easy viewing of wildlife from all angles. Safari vehicles cannot be air-conditioned and you will be provided bottled water while travelling. V ehicles are equipped with seatbelts which should be worn on public roads. While safari vehicles typically move slowly, drivers warn passengers of bumps or potholes and many passengers may choose not to wear a seatbelt, it is still recommended to do so. However, it remains at each individual passenger’s discretion to wear their seatbelt or not. Inside the National Parks and reserves there are designated picnic sites. Due to frequent use wildlife tends to avoid these areas with the exception of primates, reptiles, birds and small mammals. However, since picnic sites are open it is possible that a larger animal, such as an elephant, may wander through. Outside of the parks, it may be necessary to make more frequent shopping stops as these stores provide the only acceptable facilities while touring due to the lack of public rest stops.
|Botswana - Civil unrest and disorder are rare, but in the event of a protest, U.S. citizens should avoid crowds, political rallies, and street demonstrations and maintain security awareness at all times. Visitors must be vigilant and take common-sense security precautions. |
|Tourist Street Scams |
Pickpockets and thieves can destroy an otherwise wonderful holiday. Be mindful of these precautions to help avoid being scammed or robbed: |
- Remain alert and cautious. Be wary of any unusual contact or commotion in crowded public places, including train stations, markets, subways and tourist sites;
- Be especially careful when traveling independently, or leaving your tour group to explore on your own. Try not to travel alone, especially at night. Avoid narrow alleys and poorly lit streets;
- Use only official taxis and check the change you receive from all taxi drivers and vendors;
- Beware of pickpockets often working with an accomplice who will distract you by spilling something on you, dropping a wallet or other seemingly valuable object, or tripping and falling down in front of you;
- Beware of aggressive street vendors who may approach you offering a demonstration which may end with you being pressured to purchase an item or act as a distraction for another pickpocket;
- Don’t tip beggars;
- Wear the shoulder strap of your bag across your chest;
- Carry modest amounts of cash (US dollars) in small denominations so that you can avoid flashing large bills when paying for small items;
- ATM machines can be a convenient way to carry less currency. However those machines too can be used for robbery. Be wary of anyone who can look over your shoulder when inputting PINs. Another scam involves rigging the machine with a plastic insert which makes your card retrieval difficult; the thief then removes your card after you walk away;
- If you are confronted, do not fight back - give up your valuables. If your possessions are lost or stolen, report the loss immediately to the local police and keep a copy of the official report for insurance claims.
|Local Emergency Phone Numbers |
|South Africa |
- Ambulance/Fire: 10177
- Police: 10111
- General Emergency in Cape Town: 107
- Ambulance: 994
- Fire: 993
- Police: 777-777
- Police: 999
- Fire: 998
- Ambulance: 997
|South Africa - Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, and English are among the local languages. |
|Zimbabwe - Shona and Ndebele are the local languages. The official language is English. |
|Botswana - The official language is English. The local language is Setswana. |
|Please note: The U.S. uses 120 volts and you can purchase a converter and transformer at most hardware stores for your 120V appliances. |
|South Africa - The voltage used is 220 volts. |
|Zimbabwe - The voltage used is 220 volts. |
|Botswana - The voltage used is 220 volts. Since February 2008, Botswana has experienced occasional periods of rolling electric power outages that have left many areas without power for several hours each week.Visitors are urged to carry flashlights. |
|Code of Conduct |
|South Africa & Swaziland - Shaking hands is the standard greeting. Common courtesies should be observed. Conservative casual dress is appropriate. Rural areas tend to be more conservative than urban areas. In conversation, avoid discussing racial tensions. South Africa is one of the world's great examples of biodiversity. Please be mindful of this ecological significance and do not litter. |
|Zimbabwe - Visitors should observe normal courtesies. The atmosphere is generally informal and casual dress is appropriate. |
|Botswana - Visitors should observe normal courtesies. The atmosphere is generally informal and casual dress is appropriate. |
|Tipping is always a matter of personal discretion. For your convenience, please use the summary below as a guideline for recommended gratuity amounts. Gratuities may be paid in U.S. Dollars or local currency equivalent. Please be aware that tipping is considered by many locals to be a part of their normal remuneration and some may approach you for additional "compensation." There is no need to be intimidated by the request, nor should you feel pressured to pay more than recommended. If you become uncomfortable by any behavior you encounter, please advise your tour manager or phone our local office. Numbers are provided in your documents for your convenience. |
|Suggested Tipping: Southern Africa & Swaziland |
Tour Manager (Coordinator; may or may not act as a guide): $9 per person per day
Driver (Provides chauffeur services and limited assistance with luggage) : $3 per person per day, $2 per half day
Local Guide (Offers in-depth information at specific locations. There may be one or many guides along a tour program): $3 per person per day of sightseeing, $2 per half day
Game Drive Ranger: $7 per person per day
Housekeeping: $3 per room per day
Hotel porters and wait staff: Included
|South Africa & Swaziland - Gratuities are appreciated and expected for good service in restaurants and other places that cater to tourists, as well as on safaris. |
|Zimbabwe - Gratuities are appreciated and expected for good service in restaurants and other places that cater to tourists. |
|Botswana - A general guideline for tipping in restaurants is 10% and P45 ($5-6) for Game Rangers. |
|Food and Meals |
|As specified in each itinerary. Meals are based on the hotel's or restaurant's buffet or set menu. In general, beverages are not included, unless specifically stated. Although Gate 1 cannot make guarantees, every effort will be made to honor special dietary requests submitted in writing at least 72 hours prior to departure to email@example.com. |
|Zimbabwe - Be sure that all food, including meats, vegetables and fruits are fully cooked. Avoid dairy products, unless you know they have been pasteurized. Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes. |
|Botswana - Be sure that all food, including meats, vegetables and fruits are fully cooked. Avoid dairy products, unless you know they have been pasteurized. Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes. |
|Holidays - South Africa|
|Jan 1||New Year's Day|
|Mar 21||Human Rights Day|
|Youth Day |
|National Women's Day|
|Day of Reconciliation|
|Day of Goodwill|
|New Year's Eve |
|Jan 1||New Year's Day|
|Mar 21||Human Rights Day|
|Youth Day |
|National Women's Day|
|Day of Reconciliation|
|Day of Goodwill|
|New Year's Eve |
|Holidays - Zimbabwe|
|Jan 1 ||New Year's Day|
|Mar 29||Good Friday|
|Apr 1||Easter Monday|
|Apr 18||Independence Day|
|May 1||Workers Day|
|Aug 12||Heroe's Day|
|Aug 13||Defense Forces Day|
|Dec 22||Unity Day|
|Jan 1 ||New Year's Day|
|Apr 18||Good Friday|
|Apr 18||Independence Day|
|Apr 21||Easter Monday|
|May 1||Workers Day|
|Aug 11||Heroe's Day|
|Aug 12||Defense Forces Day|
|Dec 22||Unity Day|
|Holidays - Botswana|
|Jan 1 ||New Year's Day|
|May 1||Labour Day|
|May 9||Ascension Day|
|Jul 1||Sir Seretse Khama Day|
|Jul 15||Presidents Day|
|Sep 30||Botswana Day|
|Jan 1 ||New Year's Day|
|May 1||Labour Day|
|May 29||Ascension Day|
|Jul 1||Sir Seretse Khama Day|
|Jul 21||Presidents Day|
|Sep 30||Botswana Day|