Here are the most popular, frequently asked questions (faq) asked in the past. Please contact us if you need more information.
Q: Why should I go there, and what will I experience?
A: Africa has been described as the mystical continent. The rugged scenic beauty, the way of living, the teeming wildlife, the ecological contrasts, the sunny weather, the unique adventures, lush tropical forests – all are contributors! And it still could take three months by road from north to south…
Q: Where is it positioned in the world?
A: We serve the southern part of the African continent. Countries such as South Africa at the southern tip of Africa with neighbouring countries such as Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia towards the north.
Q: How am I going to get there?
A: The obvious way is to fly with any of the world’s major airlines, all with frequent scheduled flights into Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban from where domestic or regional flights and/or road transport take you to your destinations. All can be arranged at your local travel agent, on the Internet or by ourselves.
Q: How long will I have to stay, and what will it cost me?
A: The area is huge, and to see it all at once could get costly and take a while. South Africa alone is a similar size as Texas and California combined, or larger than Germany, France, and Italy combined but less than a third of all the southern African countries we serve. The average stay for a holiday in, say South Africa is around 14 – 21 days during which time you’ll get a glimpse most of the major attractions. We offer scheduled tours starting with a duration of 2 days up to a nineteen-day tour package and many options in between, or we could design your own private itinerary. After the flight’s major expense, you can choose your own budget; from modest camping to comfortable touring, luxury touring, or 5 a star tailor-made deluxe holiday.
Q: Do you offer self-drive holiday packages as well?
A: Yes, we do! Contact us to design your own package that will suit your interests, budget and time frame. We also offer ready-made packages for a small fee with many options to make your own adjustments. Click here to find a variety of self-drive packages.
Q: Is it safe in terms of security and health for my family and me?
A: South Africa has been labelled as the crime ‘mecca’ in the nineties by the international media. A lot has been done since to curb crime in our country and the region. We offer you a clever set of tips and the rule of thumb still remains to observe the normal security tips you would worldwide. Travelling with guided tours ensure you have the guide’s extensive knowledge as well.
Q: If I get ill, are quality medical services available?
A: South Africa’s medical services in the hospitals and other health care centres in the bigger town and cities rank amongst the best globally. Small villages and rural areas still have basic medical facilities available in clinics. A well-established emergency medical evacuation system is in place countrywide in the unlikely event you may need such service. However, medical insurance is a requirement, please check with your local insurer or contact us for more information
Q: How well does the country respect human rights issues and accommodate them (race, gender, disabilities, gay rights, etc.)
A: South Africa’s newly written constitution provides a non-racial multiparty democracy, three tiers of government and a justiciable Bill of Human Rights. Also, see our page on the constitution.
Q: Can my kids accompany me?
A: Yes, most of our tours are child friendly. Obviously, some hotels do not accept kids under a certain age, and on some tours, it is advisable not to take young kids along. Still, this information will be communicated to you at the time of your enquiry. Regarding security health concerns, we advise that it is as safe as any other place in the world. However, we strongly suggest that areas described as medium to high malaria risk must be avoided by pregnant women and small kids up to 5 years of age.
Q: Where shall I stay and how comfortable will it be?
A: South Africa has an incredible range of accommodation establishments, and only your budget could be a limiting factor. Visit our ACCOMMODATION page for accommodation we personally recommend.
Q: What type of food can I expect and which meals will be included?
A: The restaurants in South Africa cater for virtually all tastes, and you will most probably find a restaurant serving your own cuisine, although you should be adventurous and try the local cuisines – it is sumptuous! All bonafide hotels offer special food requirements such as halaal, kosher, etc. The scheduled tours normally do not include lunch as the breakfasts and dinners are so substantial that you may only need a light snack for lunch.
Q: If I have any dietary requirements, can it be met?
A: Yes, please mention any requirements at the time of booking, and we shall transfer the information to the hotels to ensure your peace of mind.
Q: How am I going to travel, and will it be comfortable and safe?
A: Our scheduled tours are conducted in 7 seater luxury microbuses with air-conditioning. They are luxurious and perfectly comfortable. Bigger private groups can be accommodated in the size luxury coach to suit the group and smaller sedan-type vehicles are used for couples. Our driver/guides are all extremely knowledgeable and competent drivers.
Q: How many other people will be on tour if I choose a scheduled tour?
A: Our luxury microbuses accommodate a maximum of 7 guests. For bigger groups who want to travel together, we offer bigger luxury coaches.
Q: Will I be able to communicate in terms of language?
A: English is the formal language of South Africa and is widely spoken in cities and major centres. In some rural areas, only the local African language is spoken, and understanding without knowing such language is difficult. Your guide will assist in such instances and while on self-drives packages, we suggest that you do not drive into small dirt roads not recommended in our packages and/or not marked on Google maps.
Q: How competent will the guides be?
A: Our guides are extremely competent. We do not believe in anything, but the best. Please click here for some rantings of guests who travelled with us.
Q: How do I know my investment is safe with Southern Circle Tours & Safaris when I pay for my tour, Can I get some references to put me at ease:
A: We have been in business for many years and is respected as one of South Africa’s leading small operators. We also belong to the South African Tourism Services Association (SATSA). This association has a strict Code of Conduct and minimum requirements for its members to recognize and act upon. All SATSA members need to abide by the specifications and duties when becoming an accredited SATSA member. We are also bonded with them keeping your deposit safe in the company’s unlikely event being liquidated. Our member number is 615.
Q: Would I need a visa?
A: You may, check with your local South African Embassy or contact us with your passport details.
Q: Do I need any immunizations, and do I take any other medical precautions?
A: People arriving here from a Yellow Fever zone must have a valid international yellow fever inoculation certificate. We strongly advise that you take anti-malaria precautions from November through April if you enter a malaria zone.
Currently, countries all have different travel regulations regarding the COVID-19 virus. When you enter South Africa, you need a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate not older than 72 hours. If you are not in possession of such a document on arrival, you will have to undergo an antigen rapid diagnostic test at the port of entry at your own cost before you’ll be allowed into the country. The results are normally available in 15 – 30 minutes. Check with us when you enquire about your trip. Click here for more information.
Q: What kind of insurance should I take?
A: We strongly recommend that you take a cancellation and personal medical insurance, especially one which has ties with South African medical insurances. Check with us for details when you book your trip.
Q: What are the conditions of the roads and the quality of the drivers?
A: The road conditions are described as good to excellent regarding main arteries, highways and national roads. As you go deeper into the countryside, the roads may deteriorate, and some may end up being un-surfaced potholed pathways in deep rural areas. The drive’s quality is generally good, although we also have our share of ‘cowboys’ and road hogs. Vigilance on the road is always good advice.
Q: Do I have access to detailed maps of the distances we cover?
A: 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 supply maps for you. Detailed distances are supplied as part of your itinerary if requested. Internet is widely available in South Africa, making Google Maps and other navigational software the preferred way to explore.
Q: What kind of weather can I expect?
A: We call our country ‘Sunny South Africa’ and it is just that. Please click here for more detailed information on the weather.
Q: What type of clothes should I bring along?
A: Unless you are partaking in a formal event, casual and neutral coloured clothes are suggested for most of your holiday. In the evenings, a dress code aptly describes as smart casual is mostly acceptable. Shorts and T-shirts along the sub-tropical east coast and a warm set of clothing for the odd cool evening or on open night game drives where it can get chilly is sufficient. Well worn-in shoes, a hat and light windbreaker type clothing are advisable.
Q: What is the best way to convert my money to the local currency, should I convert, if so, can I convert during the tour?
A: Unlike most of Africa, South Africa only accepts the local currency, called the South African Rand (ZAR) in shops, restaurants and banks. The best place to convert your local currency to Rand is at Bureau de Change outlets and the major airports. Hotels also exchange money, but at a premium. Credit cards are widely accepted, and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are well distributed for convenient withdrawals at a cost – check with your bankers. When cashing money from your credit card at a bank, please have your passport available for inspection.
Q: What type of shopping possibilities is there?
A: South Africa is a shopping haven, and in the bigger cosmopolitan areas, huge shopping centres are distributed all over. There are also shops selling local gold and diamond jewellery at competitive rates.
Q: How will my social needs be met (e.g. what happens in the evenings)?
A: We have all that most western countries have. The cities are covered in world-class restaurants, bars/pubs, places where one can see live shows, movies, etc
Q: If I have a special interest, will it be met?
A: Yes, merely mention your needs when you request your booking, and it will be met.
Q: Is it safe to self-drive and what assistance is available.
A: Self-drive is safe although it must be understood that it may be a little intimidating at first with facing some foreign-looking signs. For some driving on the left side of the road and not having traffic congestion on intercity freeways could be extraordinary! We are not saved from car-jackings and smash and grab crimes. Click here for more detailed information on ready-made packages and safety tips.
These frequently asked questions (faq) and answers were based on our guests’ questions in the past. If you have any questions to add, please contact us.