+27 31 572 422
info@southerncircle.com
20 Years Experience You can Trust*
info@southerncircle.com
20 Years Experience You can Trust*
+27 31 572 422
info@southerncircle.com
20 Years Experience You can Trust*
+27 31 572 422

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

We are very particular about the accommodation on our tours as we understand the important part they play with regards to comfort, exclusivity and the overall experience of our tours! Some minimum requirements we insist on are; being small, exclusive, high level of comfort and luxury (4 star type). Some unique features such as amazing views / excellent food / interesting architecture is a definite plus and owner managed where possible. We sometimes use the more moderate accommodation in our national parks for a night to enhance the wildlife and safari experience and often precede or follow it up with luxury private lodges.

We use our fleet of luxury 8 seater microbuses fitted with PA and music systems, so there are never more than 7 guests with the driver guide. We also have sedans and small SUV’s when one or two persons only are travelling.

We call our country ‘sunny South Africa and it is just that. Please click here for more detailed information on the weather.

Unless you are partaking in a formal event, casual, well worn in and neutral coloured clothes are suggested for most of your holiday. In the evenings smart casual clothing is mostly accepted and a warm set of clothing is advisable for the odd cool evening or when your tour takes you on open night game drives where it can get chilly. More warm clothing during our winters (May – September) is also recommended Well worn in shoes, a sun hat and light windbreaker type clothing is advisable.

Yes, you can make payment online with your credit card via our secure payment site provided by our bankers. Typically, you choose your tour/s,  book and pay for them online. Alternatively, you can request your particular departure date and its price by sending an e-mail to info@southerncircle.com  as well as any changes you want to make and/or special requests you may have.  We confirm the tour and point you to the payment site where your personal quote includes all the confirmed information, changes and requests for your final perusal before payment.
Another method necessitates a quick visit to your local bank to initiate a bank draft or transfer (also called a Wire) via the Swift way to our bankers.  If you choose this method, please advise us via e-mail and we shall send you the relevant information.

Once you have booked your tour and paid a deposit cancellation fees come into play. We only charge a small administration fee for cancellations longer than 30 days before arrival. Between 30 and 15 days, a cancellation fee of 25% is levied. From 14 to 8 days, 50% cancellation is charged and less than 8 days, we charge between 80 and 100% cancellation depending on the policies of the hotels we utilize on this tour. A charge may be levied when substantial work was done on itinerary design, etc. We strongly recommend that you insure yourself against cancellations, it can save you a lot of money in the unlikely event that you need to cancel your trip!  For more information see our terms and conditions.

Yes, our scheduled tour departures are guaranteed and will not be cancelled due to a minimum not reached. So, there could be the odd time where you may be the only person/s on tour with the vehicle and guide all to yourself – just like a private tour! To change a departure date, you will have to change it to a private tour which will increase the price by around 30%, but give you the freedom to make changes to the itinerary, etc. A group of four guests and more may request different departures at the published rate of the tour/s.

Unlike most of Africa, shops and restaurants in South Africa only accept the local currency (it is illegal – and is enforced – to trade in any foreign currency), called the South African Rand (ZAR or R). The best place to convert your local currency to Rand is at Bureau de Change outlets or at the major airports. Hotels also change money, but at a premium. Credit cards are widely accepted and Automated Teller Machines (ATM’s) are well distributed. When cashing money from your credit card at a bank, please have your passport available for possible inspection.

South Africa is a shopping haven and in the bigger cosmopolitan areas, huge shopping centres / complexes / malls are distributed all over. There are also shops selling local gold and diamond jewellery at competitive rates. Locally made arts and crafts are widely available. Your guide can assist you with your particular needs.

We strongly recommend that you insure yourself against cancellations and get personal medical insurance, preferably one that has a working relationship with South African medical insurances.  Check with us for details when you book your trip and click here for more information on medical insurance.

We do not supply detailed maps as standard documents, but you can buy these at any reputable map supplier. On request and at a small fee we can include maps in your document pack. Detailed distances are supplied as part of your itinerary if requested or click here for maps.

No inoculations are required except that people arriving here from a Yellow Fever Zone must have a valid international yellow fever inoculation certificate. It is strongly advised that you take anti-malaria precautions if you are entering a malaria zone. Check with us when you enquire about your trip. Also click here for more information or here for more info about insurance.

The cities offer every need you may have ranging from a large selection of night clubs, raves, action bars, live shows, etc. In the wildlife areas, you’ll have to be content to listening to the magical night sounds of the bush and to watch more stars than you will ever see! Regarding religion, South Africa cater for all faiths and places of worship are readily available.

Yes, just mention your needs when you request your booking and it will be met.  Our scheduled tours were designed by specialists and the itineraries are regularly tweaked to accommodate the latest logistical changes, our regular inspections as well as suggestions from our guests over the years.  We are also able to design tailor-made itineraries on a private basis to fit your every need.

Self-drive is safe although it must be understood that it may be a little intimidating at first when faced with foreign looking signs, driving on the left side of the road and not having traffic congestion on intercity freeways! We are not saved from car-jackings and smash and grab crimes although with vigilance this problem is not encountered. Click here for more detailed information on safety. We offer self-drive packages, merely give us an idea of your needs, interests, duration and budget for us to design and suggest such an itinerary with all the information you would need.

The road conditions are described as good to excellent with regards to main arteries, highways and national roads. As you go further into the countryside, the roads become smaller and narrower, however mostly still in good condition. Deep into the rural areas you may end up on un-surfaced potholed pathways. The quality of the drivers is generally good although we also have our share of ‘cowboys’ and road hogs. Vigilance on the road is always good advice.

Please contact me personally at nic@southerncircle.com if you have anything to add here.

Johannesburg City Tour (Code: SCJC)

Some of the highlights of this tour are the prestigious Northern Suburbs of Sandton, Rosebank and Houghton. This tour won’t be complete without a visit to Constitution Hill, home of the Constitutional Court, also the site of the notorious Old Fort Prison. A drive through the cosmopolitan Hillbrow, a colourful insight to South Africa’s “Manhattan” is also included.

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R3600

1 Day Sani Pass Guided Tour (Code: SCDA)

Drive inland past Pietermaritzburg to the area of gently pastoral beauty called the Natal Midlands. We pass through grassy plains scattered with villages and lush farmlands where plump cattle and thoroughbred horses graze. Then further through Underberg, a picturesque little village situated in the foothills of the majestic Drakensberg Mountains. Now we set off to Sani Pass, named after the primitive people who lived in the area millennia ago, for a four-wheel drive with hair-raising bends and breathtaking views to the top of the mountain. Lunch is served at the top in the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho some 3 000 m above sea level. We return early afternoon, change vehicles and set off to Durban.

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R6250

2 Day Drakensberg Highlights Tour (Code: SCDB)

DAY 1    Durban – Drakensberg Mountains – Sani Pass We depart at around 09h00 for your tour to the Sani Pass and Natal Midlands. Drive inland to Pietermaritzburg, the capital of KwaZulu-Natal, for a brief city tour. Stop at the railway station where Mahatma Gandhi was thrown off the train because of the colour of his skin. Enter the waiting room where, in the silence of the night, he formulated his philosophy of passive resistance. Continue to Howick and visit the 100m high Howick Falls. Next, we stop at the monument erected on the spot where Nelson Mandela was arrested in 1961 . Continue through an area of gentle pastoral beauty called the Natal Midlands. We pass through grassy plains scattered with villages and lush farmlands where plump cattle and thoroughbred horses graze. Then further through Underberg, a picturesque little village situated in the foothills of the majestic Drakensberg Mountains. Our hotel is in the lap of the mountain with peaks towering up to 3400m above sea level. The afternoon is at your leisure to participate in some of the organised hikes into the mountain or explore the area on your own. Overnight at the Sani Pass Premier Hotel. DAY 2  Sani Pass – Lesotho – Durban After breakfast we set off to Sani Pass, named after the primitive people who lived in the area millennia ago, on a four-wheel drive with hair raising bends and breathtaking views to the top of the mountain.  We visit the locals in their homes and taste some of the local cuisine if available! Lunch is served in the highest pub in Africa at the top in the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho some 3000m above sea level. We return early afternoon, change vehicles and drive back to Durban for drop off. NOTES:  Please take your passport along

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R4500

2 Day Wildlife Highlights Durban Safari (Code: SCDH)

DAY 1   Durban – Zululand – Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park (Big Five Safari) Our Big Five safari commences at around 08h00 from Durban and we travel northwards and turn towards the village of Eshowe (Zulu for the sound of the wind blowing through the forest).Travel further through exceptional scenic mountainous areas with beautiful vistas and past Ulundi, the Capital of the previous homeland of KwaZulu. We enter Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park game reserve to start our game viewing and spend the day here. Late afternoon we exit the park and exit late afternoon and travel to our nearby country hotel. Overnight at the Zulu Nyala Heritage Hotel. DAY 2   Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park – Durban After an early breakfast we return to the reserve and spend most of the day searching for Africa’s Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, buffalo). We leave the park around mid-afternoon and return to Durban. NOTE: Other Big Five Safari excursions you may be interested in; Wildlife safari – 2-day, Big Five Safari and culture – 3-Day. 

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R6400

2 Day Zululand Wildlife Safari Guided Tour (Code: SCDE)

DAY 1. Durban – Lake St Lucia – Wildlife Reserve (Wildlife, Culture and World Heritage Site) Our tour of the African wildlife and world heritage site departs from Durban area. We travel north through sugar cane fields past KwaDukuza, the home of Shaka (the father of the Zulu nation).  Further through large eucalyptus plantations towards the subtropical coast and bushveld of Zululand. Arrive in the village of St Lucia and join a boat cruise on the estuary of the famous Lake St Lucia situated in the iSimangaliso Wetlands Park (proclaimed a World Heritage Site in 1999). The lake is a wildlife paradise with bird species such as fish eagle, Goliath heron and many more. Your skipper/guide will show you the world of the hippo and the crocodile and the other mystic inhabitants of the “deep”. Afterwards travel to a private reserve searching for wildlife on our way to the lodge. Check into your room and afterwards join an open vehicle safari searching for Africa’s amazing wildlife the Africa way! Return to the lodge for a sumptuous dinner. Overnight at Rhino River Lodge. DAY 2   Wildlife – Zulu Culture – Durban We have an early wake up call for refreshments. Then embark on an exciting open vehicle safari in search of the Big Five amongst a myriad of other wild animals. We return from this adventure for breakfast.  Then depart for cultural experience at an authentic Zulu Kraal (village). We meet the sangoma (diviner) and see how Shaka made his war strategy so successful he won almost all his battles. NOTE: Other tours including wildlife and world heritage site you may be interested in; Wildlife and World Heritage Site – 3-Days

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P.O.A

1 Day Pretoria City Tour (Code: SCJP)

Depart from Johannesburg for an excursion of Pretoria, the country’s administrative capital, and one of the most beautiful cities in South Africa. We visit some historical sites and places of interest. The highlights are the Voortrekker Monument, Kruger House, Church Square, Melrose House and the Union Buildings.

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