Essential Travel Tips
When travelling inside the Kruger National Park or any other game reserve, make sure that you are aware of the rules and that you abide by them to ensure your own safety and that of the animals.
Do not speed and always remember that the animals have right of way! Many of the animals you’ll come across - particularly lion, hippo, elephant and buffalo - are dangerous. Stay in your car, keep your windows closed and keep a reasonable distance – especially with elephant – in case you need to beat a hasty retreat!
Make sure you read all of the warning signs in the park, don’t feed the animals and don’t throw refuse out of your car window.
Weather and clothing
The seasons in the southern hemisphere are directly opposite to those in the northern hemisphere. For summer months, lightweight cottons and linens and short-sleeved clothes are best, although a light jersey/jumper/sweater might be needed for the cooler evenings. Umbrellas and raincoats are essential for summer and don’t forget to pack your suntan lotion! Warmer clothes are needed in winter.
Most major shopping centres and malls operate seven days a week (Monday - Saturday 09h00 to 17h00; Sunday 09h00 to 14h00), but you may find in the smaller towns and rural areas that shops could be closed on Sundays and occasionally for lunch between 13h00 and 14h00. Banks close at 15h30 on weekdays and 11h00 on Saturdays, but most have ATMs available 24-hours, which accept most international cards.
Hospitals and medical care
There is a large network of public and private hospitals countrywide, offering excellent service. However, clients must have adequate health insurance to cover the fees that private hospitals charge.
Malaria is found occasionally, only in the Lowveld region of the Kruger Lowveld. There is a very low risk of malaria in winter. Although the incidence of malaria is extremely rare, it’s best to take adequate precautions if you visit these areas. The cheapest, safest and most effective measures against malaria are physical barriers, such as a mosquito net and the use of a good insect repellent. If you decide to take malaria prophylaxis, take the medication in accordance with the directions on the package insert.
For tourists, the Kruger Lowveld region is as safe as any other destination in the world. While the region boasts a vast array of cultures, communities and attractions, most parts of the region can be safely visited by tourists provided they take basic common-sense precautions (for example, not walking alone in deserted areas at night and being circumspect about how much photographic equipment or flashy jewellery they carry).
Food and water
As a rule, tap water in the Kruger Lowveld region is safe to drink as it is treated and free of harmful micro-organisms. In hotels, restaurants and nightspots, the standards of hygiene and food preparation are top-notch. It is safe to eat fresh fruit and salads and to put as much ice as you like in your drinks.
Our transport infrastructure is excellent, and our roads are generally in good condition. However, the distances between towns are significant. If you’re planning to self-drive, plan your itinerary to ensure you don’t drive long distances as fatigue is a major cause of road accidents. In some of the more remote and rural areas, the roads are not fenced so there may be stray animals on the road. Speed limits are 120km/h on the open road, 100km/h on smaller roads and between 60 and 80km/h in towns.
Regretfully, some traffic officials in the Kruger Lowveld region are known for corrupt activities. If you are pulled over for a traffic law infringement (real or fictitious), please note that it is strictly illegal to pay cash to a traffic officer or to any other official on the roadside. Traffic officials must issue you with an official fine, which states the date, time and nature of the offence.
Traffic fines must be paid at a police station or magistrate’s court only, where a receipt must be issued. Pay your fine at the police station or magistrate’s court in the specific town where the fine was issued. You can also pay your car rental company to pay the fine for you, at an additional fee. Road tolls, where applicable, must be paid at official toll plazas only.
People with disabilities
An increasing number of accommodation establishments have wheelchair ramps and bathroom facilities for the disabled. Almost every national park has at least one accessible chalet and many accommodation establishments have one or two wheelchair-friendly rooms. Most of our sports stadiums have accessible suites, stands or areas for wheelchairs, near accessible parking, and special toilet facilities. Most public buildings also cater for wheelchair access.
Most restaurants do not add a service charge to bills, thus it is customary to leave a 10-15% tip. Parking and petrol station attendants should be given whatever small change you have available, up to about R5.