Travelling to South Africa






Time Zone


GMT + 2 hours.




There are 11 official languages in South Africa: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swazi, Tsongo, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu. The English-speaking visitor will have no problem while travelling through the country.




The monetary unit of South Africa is the Rand, divided into cents and abbreviated as R and c.

USD, GBP and Euro are accepted - however, change will be given in rand.

Visa, Diners, Mastercard, Debit cards and American Express cards are all accepted for any purchases at the lodge. Please note that American Express will undergo a 5% surcharge.



You are travelling on an independent itinerary and the cost of your program does not include gratuities. Tipping is a very personal matter and should only be considered when our staff have gone above and beyond for you.

Whilst tipping is entirely at your discretion, we advise US$ 30 per person, per day. 1/3 of gratuities is allocated to the guide, and the remainder of the balance is divided amongst the rest of the staff. Gratuities can be added to your account upon check out, given to the lodge manager for distribution, or given directly to the individual staff members.



Visa Information

For most passports, a visa is required. Please check with local authorities for details. Two blank passport pages are required when travelling to Southern Africa. Check the number of days given on arrival at the immigration desk as there are steep fines for overstaying the number of days given. Departure tax is dependent upon which airline you are travelling with.

Visas Not Required

Foreigners from most Commonwealth and European Union countries, as well as the United States, are not required to obtain visas for entering Botswana, except in cases where the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs has directed otherwise.

Visas Required

Please visit for a full list of nationalities requiring visas for entry into Botswana. Please note this information serves as a guide only. Travellers should check for visa requirements pertaining to their citizenship, as entry requirements can vary. Visas are to be obtained in advance and cannot be issued at port of entry.



From 1 June 2015 parents travelling with children would now be requested to provide an unabridged birth certificate (including the details of the child's father as well as the mother) of all travelling children.


Child and both parents


Child and one parent


Child and guardian


Child unaccompanied


It is important for parents to note that unabridged birth certificate applications can take anything from six to eight weeks to complete.

For more information you are welcome to contact us at or visit or



South Africa is a big country just south of the tropic of Capricorn, but it is the topography and surrounding oceans that influence its climate, rather than the latitude. Although the climate varies from region to region, it is generally mild and sunny throughout the year.

Winter (May - August) in Madikwe Game Reserve is generally cool and dry with temperatures averaging between 3°C (38°F) to 23°C (73°F).

Summer (September - April) is characterised by hot and wet weather, with temperatures averaging between 25°C (77°F) to 40°C (104°F). The area is classed as a semi-arid region, with 500 mm (19.5 inches) of annual rainfall. This is usually as a result of short thunderstorms in the late afternoon or night time during the summer months.




South Africa requires all travellers journeying from yellow fever risk countries to show proof of yellow fever vaccination by means of a valid yellow fever certificate.

The Madikwe Game Reserve is not a malaria area. Other areas in South Africa are malaria areas, should you be traveling to other parts of the country, please consult your personal physician for more information.




South Africa's electrical system is 220/230 volts A/C 50 cycles.  Sanctuary Makanyane Safari Lodge supplies both a hairdryer and adapters to all guests. If you bring electric appliances, take along an international converter kit complete with a set of adapter plugs. Outlets in South Africa require a three-pronged adapter plug with 3 round prongs.




The main rule when visiting South Africa is "take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but footprints". If you wish to take photos of the local people it is customary to ask for their permission before taking any photos. Please do not use flash photography for close-up animal shots.





Clothing on safari should be comfortable and colours should blend in with nature as much as possible. Greens, browns and khaki coloured clothing are advisable. Evening dress in the lodges and camps is 'smart casual,' there is no formal wear required. We advise guests to dress in a way they feel most comfortable.

From November to March light summer clothes are best, although do bring a jumper for the evenings. From April to October warmer clothes are advised as the mornings and evenings can be cold. The days are typically warm and summery though.

The most practical items to pack for safari are:

A complimentary laundry service is available at our lodge. 




Baggage Restrictions

There is a restriction on luggage of a maximum of 20kg of soft luggage for flights from Johannesburg to Madikwe. Free excess bag storage is available if required. 


TSA Bans Powerless Devices from Flights

According to recent rules issued by the US Transport Security Administration (TSA), passengers travelling from Europe, the Middle East and Africa to the US must be able to turn on their electronic devices to prove they are genuine,  "Powerless devices" - cellphones and computers that cannot be turned on will not be permitted on board the aircraft.

This was followed by an announcement by the UK Department for Transport regarding stepping up some aviation security measures. "In line with the US advice, passengers on some routes into and out of the UK may now also be required to show that electronic devices in their hand luggage are powered up or face not being allowed to bring the device onto the aircraft."  According to Reuters, TSA officials singled out smartphones, including the Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy, for extra security checks on U.S.-bound flights from Europe, the Middle East and Africa.



Guest Photo Album

We would like to give you the opportunity to preserve your memories and favourite moments. Using easy and user-friendly software, you will be able to create a personalised A4 / A3 hard cover or digital photo book using your personal images combined with stunning professional photographs.  Just remember to take lots of images while on safari. Once you've returned simply go to  where you will be able to create your very own book. Before you know it, your photo book will be delivered to your door. (Additional cost) 


Recommended Reading Material

Fodor's The Complete Guide to African Safaris: with South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia, & the Seychelles

The Safari Companion: A Guide to Watching African Mammals by Richard D. Estes

Adventuring in Southern Africa: The Great Safaris and Wildlife Parks of Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, South Africa, Malawi, Lesotho, and Swaziland Paperback by Allen Bechky

Africa's Top Wildlife Countries: Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Also including Ethiopia, R. Congo, Mauritius, and Seychelles Islands


Recommended Apps to Download

African Safari Wildlife Guide

The Kingdom Guide to African Mammals

Audubon African Wildlife

Sasol eBirds of Southern Africa

Africa: Live App

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust's App

Wildlife of Southern Africa

Africa - Animal Adventures for Kids

Botswana Tourism Guide By Sarath Vella


XE Currency


Google Maps / Google Earth