FAQs and other helpful information
Health and Safety
Health and Safety
Our main objective is to provide you with an unforgettable travel experience, where you will go to fantastic new places, learn amazing things and help make a real world difference to conservation. That can and will never be, however, at the expense or risk of your health.
For those interested or concerned feel free to have a read below, where we try to address any potential health and safety issues.
If you’ve still got any questions feel free to pop us an email and we’ll get back to you promptly.
During your time in the bush you’ll of course encounter various health and safety risks - this could mean anything from biting insects to the use of tools during conservation projects.
In all of these situations, the best advice is to listen to the instructions and advice given by your guides and rangers, who will tell you how to avoid any potential issues.
Upon your arrival and before any activity, you’ll be given a site tour and health and safety talk to cover all details.
For the most part, common sense really does go a long way - do not run off into the bush at any point on your own! Otherwise, please follow the general guidelines that Hamba Africa has put in place to ensure the fun never stops.
You’ll be staying in communal facilities in a hot country. It is essential to practice good hygiene! This means cleaning up your mess in the kitchen, bathroom or any shared room facilities after you are done with them.
There’s nothing worse than being sick while traveling and having to miss out on the fun - with the heat and the close living quarters at base camp, if one person gets sick it can easily spread!
You’ll be sharing a room that sleeps between 6-8 people.
Please keep it clean, out of respect for those you’re sharing it with but also to help keep any critters away!
Food lying around in your room or piles of dirty washing left on the floor can attract all sorts of creatures that could find your pair of trousers on the floor a fantastic place to hide away. This could mean anything from bugs and spiders to snakes - do not risk it!
If anything ever does come into your room, a mess of clothes on the floor provides a lot of cover and can make it more dangerous for the rangers to find and remove it.
It goes without saying, we hope all of you are able to appreciate the need for good bodily hygiene. No one enjoys a 4-hour game drive stuck next to someone who hasn’t washed for 3 days - we hope this will not be a problem!
Ladies will be shown on arrival where you can dispose of any sanitary products.
Sanitary products will be stocked for any emergencies and you will be able to buy whatever you need when we visit town on the weekends.
If you have any problems or issues you need to discuss urgently during your stay please feel free to speak to any of the members of staff and they will be able to help you out - if you are uncomfortable talking to a guy, there will always be a girl about for any private issues!
You will staying in the African bush, and the location of base camp inevitably means that there are potentially dangerous animals roaming the site.
Your guides and rangers will often be the first alerted to their presence and will warn you at all times if any animal guests make an appearance.
There will always be at least 1 guide with you at all times while you’re on site to ensure your safety and to keep you well entertained.
That said please stay alert when walking around the site - the camp itself is fully fenced and has never had an incident but we hope to keep it that way!
Usually animals themselves — even the more dangerous ones — are shy and fearful of humans and keep their distance. At night time, however, please stay extra vigilant if you’re going to walk around camp.
Please remember our main rule during your stay = DON’T GO OUTSIDE THE FENCE!
The fence is there for your safety and the animals know in essence that what is inside that fence is our territory. For the most part they will stay away - but what is outside is very much theirs.
If you wander beyond the fence, you are disregarding your own safety and the safety of your rangers, who will ultimately have to try to get you out of whatever risky situation you might find yourself in. You also risk the safety of any animal you may encounter. It is just not worth the risk!!!
Anyone found repeatedly out of bounds — even just twice — risks being sent home, owing to the risk caused for yourself and everyone else.
Please don’t let it come to that.
If you are that curious, talk to your rangers and they can help answer questions or arrange extra walks or activities under their guidance.
Insects, Bugs and other iritations.
In addition to all the fantastic animals such as elephants, lions, Martial eagles and baboons, the bush is also of course home to other, more unpopular animals.
Although vitally important to the overall health of the ecosystem, bugs and insects can prove somewhat of an irritation at times.
Different types can irritate in many different ways but the main 4 to watch out for are ticks, mosquitoes, spiders and scorpions.
Here’s a few handy tips in advance to try and help you out!
These 8 legged arachnids are common in the savannas and grass lands of South Africa. Thankfully the South African variety is not a carrier of Lyme disease, but they can still give an itchy bite!
The best way to safeguard against them is to wear long trousers that are tucked into your boots during any walking activities - this will also protect against thorns. Alternatively, use any insect spray with a high concentration of Deet.
It also helps to stay vigilant and pat your legs down every 5 minutes or so!
Especially during the summer months, between September – January, insect repellant is essential.
The rangers themselves will have their own supply that can be shared if necessary, and repellant will be easy to find in most shops, but the best way to avoid bites is to keep yourself as covered as possible.
Rooms will also come fitted with bug screens to keep mosquitoes and other insects out.
Spiders and Scorpions
There are many species of spider and scorpion in South Africa. Luckily around the Hamba Africa camp none are deadly, but they can still give a nasty nip.
Prior to putting on shoes or any clothes that have been hung up outside to dry, remember to give them a good shake to get rid of anything that might be hiding inside.
If any do make an appearance, feel free to grab a ranger who will remove it for you.
Although malaria is endemic to South Africa, the area where you will be staying is classed as a Low-Medium Risk Zone.
This means that every now and then, a species of mosquito that carries malaria might be present, but it is not very common.
We can give advice regarding anti-malaria tablets but we do request that before you travel, you consult with your doctor or medical professional to get their advice on the matter.
For those staying with us for 4 weeks or less, malaria tablets are advisable just to be on the safe side. Owing to the cost, possible adverse long-term effects of the drugs and the low chance of catching, however, most staff living onsite do not take these drugs, instead opting to minimise the risk by using barrier methods.
Barrier methods include the use of bug sprays and rubs, which we will have fully stocked at all times. We still advise you to bring your own!
We also advise wearing longer cloths during wetter months to shield you at night when mosquitos are more prevalent.
Water born diseases
For the most part the water quality across South Africa is excellent. All the water on site where you will be camping and living during your stay is safe to drink.
We will also supply fresh mineral water which will be stored in 25L tanks and available at all times.
Depending where you are traveling from, you will probably be required by law to get a rabies vaccination. This is the case for British and European citizens.
The likelihood of getting bitten by any animal is low, however, and the likelihood of getting bitten by an animal with rabies is even lower.
In the unlikely event that we do see an animal displaying signs of infection during any practical activity, we will of course not handle it, and pass on any information to local vets.
AIDs and HIV
Although you will be traveling through places where there are relatively high rates of AIDs and HIV, there is absolutely no need to be concerned by this.
For those that are unaware, HIV / AIDs can only be passed on via sexual intercourse or directly bodily fluid transfer. So meeting new people and exchanging handshakes, hugs and crisp high fives will not put you at risk.
On that note, we do all anyone who finds themselves a “holiday romance” to practice safe sex.
What to bring
What Should I Bring
Here’s a few ideas of what Hamba Africa feels you should bring along, to help you have the best time possible.
We will of course provide any essential tools and equipment needed for all of our activities, but there are still a few things you should bring yourself.
You'll also be getting a checklist with your booking to give you more suggestions.
Clothing during activities
The temperature in South Africa typically is 15-35°C in the summer (September to April), and 5–25°C in winter (March to August). Although is probably going to be a lot hotter than most who will be joining us will be used to, it is still essential to bring clothes that you can wear during the evening and night when the temperature does drop.
We recommend bringing layers, as morning activities can begin before the morning sun has had a chance to warm everyone up. By early afternoon it will most likely be very hot, so clothing you can put on and take off quickly is best.
For activities and projects we will want to try to blend into the bush as much as possible. Khakis, greens and beiges are best for this!
During bush work or hikes and long walks, jeans or leggings are not advisable as they could begin to chafe. Combat trousers or other forms of outdoorsy trousers are ideal.
A backpack is also a good addition for certain activities.
Outside of activities, feel free to bring and wear whatever you like; shorts, trousers, dresses! Bear in mind you will want to be comfy, especially for long drives in game vehicles!
Also - don’t forget your swimwear!
Closed shoes with a flat sole, such as trainers, are essential. Hiking or work boots are advisable. No high heels!
Owing to health and safety issues, anyone without closed shoes will not be permitted to take part in activities that focus on exploring the bush. The bush has many thorny plants - attempting to explore in sandals or flip flops could prove a painful experience.
For leisure time, feel free to bring and wear whatever shoes you like - sandals / flip flops are always a good idea for hot days and relaxing by the pool.
Other Brilliant things to bring
Go pro’s / Action cameras
Although the trip is all inclusive, we still recommend bringing some extra travel money.
This will be needed for trips into town, and any toiletries, luxuries or souvenirs you may wish to buy.It will also help for any optional meals and during your free days, where you can partake in any extra and optional activities.
There are ATM facilities throughout the area but please remember to notify your bank prior to traveling. Alternatively, register for a Post Office pre-paid travel card which you can top up in the local currency before you leave.
During some of our conservation projects we will be recording findings and data - having your own notepad for your own records and observations can prove useful. It can also be nice to keep a diary of your experiences!
Please bring your own towels, toiletries and bathing supplies. You will have an opportunity to re-stock these periodically on the weekends.
When you make your booking, we'll send you over a full description of all the equipment, what to bring and a kit list with it listing the essential and extra items that will only improve your trip.
For each of your activities, prior to starting you’ll be given an instructional talk regarding the aims, objectives and methods of the project. You will also be guided through any health and safety issues, to ensure that everything is done with as little risk to yourself, each other and the animals as possible.
If you want to familiarise yourself in advance, the key points are in the following FAQ’s:
Working with animals
During some of your activities you might come into direct contact with animals. Doing so might put you at risk of minor injuries from bites and scratches which could then be prone to infection.
This risk is almost completely mitigated with good personal hygiene - if you are scratched or bitten, make sure to disinfect the site with anti-bacterial rubs or sprays.
We require that all those joining us are vaccinated as required by law, but please check out the T&Cs as well as our requirements for more info. It is especially important to have your Rabies and Tetanus jabs up to date before you come.
We must ask that during any activities you follow the correct guidelines and instructions set by your rangers. If personal protective gear must be worn it will be provided, however if you do have a pair of gloves feel free to bring them.
Scraps, Cuts and bruises.
Ultimately, Hamba Africa cannot promise that you’re not going to face a few scraps, scratches and bruises during your time in South Africa!
You’ll be working in and exploring the African bush, which is home to 101 different types of spiky plants - a few cuts and scrapes when getting your hands dirty goes without saying.
It is often easy to put on a brave face and get on with it, but correct first aid is important to ensure that nothing gets infected.
On site and during any external travels you will have access to first aid equipment. Our rangers are first aid trained, and know exactly what to do since they themselves are more than used to getting cuts and bruises in the bush!
Some of the activities you’ll be doing involve manual labour - you may be asked to use tools and equipment such as spades, pickaxes, machetes, pitchforks and others.
Prior to any of these activities you’ll be given instructions, going over any potential risks. You will also always be supervised by rangers and staff.
During any bush walks, anti-poaching patrols or tracking exercises, it is important to always remember health and safety.
Again, prior to any activity you will be instructed by your guides and rangers regarding any potential risk you might encounter and how to act, as well as what rules to follow.
Please always listen to your guides. Over the years they’ve learned how to read animal signs and behaviour and they know best what to do, to ensure everyone (animals included!) remain happy and unharmed.
Always stay with the group. Anyone who wanders off not only puts themselves at risk but everyone else. For your own safety, if you keep wandering off and need multiple warnings you will be removed from the activity.
Secondly, try to keep as quiet as you can so you don’t alert or threaten any animals - this is important so everyone can get a bit closer for a good look, but also so you and your guides and rangers can hear what’s going on around them.
Game drives are a fantastic way to view animals closely.Animals themselves view the safari vehicle as a single object, meaning they don’t see you sitting inside it as people. This often allows you to get closer than you would on foot.
To help keep the illusion that the vehicle itself is a single entity, try to avoid standing up and leaning out of the vehicle, as well as sticking arms or legs out. This is especially important when looking at big cats.
Vehicles will be fitted with spot lights that allow you to peer into the bush and spot whatever is lurking - but again please try to avoid shining the lights directly into the eyes of animals. Instead aim for the body.
Additionally, when entering the Kruger National Park and other areas with an abundance of wildlife, no one will be allowed out of the vehicle other than in specifically marked and authorised locations. This means no one is able to nip out to visit the bush lavatory - there will be toilet facilities roughly every 40 minutes!
Flash photography is allowed and encouraged during the day but Hamba Africa and our rangers advise against it on night drives. In the dark, a flash could easily startle or confuse the animal, and certain nocturnal species with sensitive eyes could potentially suffer more serious damage.
During the trip we will regularly visit other places and sights so you can get a feel of the surrounding area.
It is important to follow the guidance and health and safety regulations of any of these locations.
This is both for your own safety but also to ensure correct respect is given to each place, so you are seen as the delightful and charming individuals that you are and Hamba Africa and later guests can keep coming back to visit in future!
This means things like not tapping on the Black Mamba window at the snake centre or trying to climb historically and culturally important Baobab trees for a new profile picture!
Again each of these places will be given any relevant specific instructions as and when you arrive.
Town Trips, Shopping and Points of interest.
Some places you will go to as a group and then be given free reign to have a walk around and explore yourself - such as town trips for shopping or specific landmarks, so you can pick up and buy what you want, souvenirs or maybe get a better spot for a photo.
We will state any departure times prior to departure and although we obviously won’t leave anyone behind, please do try to return to the specified meeting point when specified so no one has to wait around for you.
Equally, when exploring or shopping in town please stay within any areas specified, and always stick with one or two others. Safety in numbers!
Hamba Africa would never leave you to your own devices anywhere that we didn’t feel would be safe. Remember, however, when you’re in public a bit of common sense goes a long way! Watch what’s going on around you and don’t leave your valuables lying around.
Equally please have respect and courtesy for anyone you meet on your adventures. The people of South Africa are very friendly and will often love to hear your stories and how you’re enjoying the country. Just be your charming selves and refrain from being rude.
Food and Drink
If you do have any form of specific dietary requirements, that is absolutely fine - but bear in mind that we require notice at least two weeks in advance in order to source and stock your specific need.
This is due to the remote location of the site itself, meaning we cant just "nip to the corner shop" - the "corner shop" is about 2 hours away!
That said, provided you've given us the required notice we can and do cater for vegetarians, vegans, pescetarians and Halal.
During some activity days and during adventure week, if we're away from base camp we'll often stop at restaurants along the way.
You'll be given a reasonable allowance and Hamba Africa will pick up the bill.
Alcoholic drinks are not included with your allowance and must be paid for by the individual.
Additionally, on Saturday when out shopping have the option of eating out at a restaurant, this meal is not covered by Hamba Africa and must be paid for by the individual.
In synergy with our ethos, Hamba Africa attempts to source as much local produce as possible. We do this by working with with local co-operative organisations that practice small scale agriculture.
Although we source locally as much as possible, sometimes what we need simply isn't produced by these co-operatives.
So what can we get from the super-markets? For the most part, Hoedspruit (the closest town to our camp) and its shopping centres are well stocked with everything else you might need.
You will be able to purchase various alcoholic drinks for you to enjoy in moderation.
If you lack the common sense regarding the do's and don’ts of moderation, please have a look under the Behaviour FAQ's section as we've spelt it out for you.
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
To keep you strong and full of energy needed for your conservation work and adventure activities you'll be getting 3 wholesome meals a day.
Food is varied but balanced to ensure you’re kept healthy and fighting fit!
Breakfasts include things like cereals, yogurts, fruit, muesli, toast, jams and the occasional fry up.
Lunches could be anything from sandwiches and toasties, to pasta dishes and salads.
Dinners will be hearty African soul food! BBQs (locally known as braais) are common as well as roasts, stews, casseroles, grilled meats or burgers all usually served with an assortment of vegetables, side salads and starches such as rice, potato or pap (a local dish made of maize meal).
Most meals are prepared and cooked by the lodge itself but groups are given the chance to cook for themselves which can be a fun and social activity.
Wi fi and Phone signal
You’ll be living and staying in the remote African bush. As you’ve probably guessed this goes with a few sacrifices - primarily wi-fi and internet signal.
Although there is phone signal at camp — specifically MTN and Vodafone — it is limited.
We will on the weekends be able to access Wi-Fi in town so you can upload, contact and talk to all those long missed relatives or friends… and make them squirm with envy at your various exploits.
Anyone seen or found littering will be put on cleaning duty.
Just don’t do it, you’re on a nature reserve after all.
It must be mentioned that no pets or animals are allowed on site. They could bring disease in or out of the environment, kill or injure as well as prove a liability when at animal sightings.
Weapons and Fire arms
Any firearms or weapons such as bows, slingshots, air rifles or other ballistics will be not be allowed on site.
Small knives, Leathermans, multi-tools or anything you think might help in activities are allowed.
You break it, you buy it!
Anyone who breaks anything will ultimately have to pay a fee to replace what ever it is they broke.
This includes anything belonging to Hamba Africa, the businesses and organisations we work with and the property of other guests. For this reason we do require you to have your own insurance.
Please don’t feed any animals found at camp or while out on activities.
We know it might be exciting to see how close that zebra or monkey will come, but feeding wild animals only makes problems.
This habituates them and changes their natural behaviour, meaning they could lose their fear of humans and vehicles and end up injuring themselves or you.
Bedding such as pillows and blankets will be provided but please bring your own towel.
We do advise you to bring sleeping bags for offsite visits and any spontaneous camping trips.
While living on the reserve, you'll be living in same sex dorm rooms, on bunk beds or a single bed.
Usually there will be around 6 - 8 people per room.
Each room will come equipped with power supplies for fans and to charge cameras, laptops and phones. There will also be cupboards and storage space for your clothes and other belongings.
There will be communal bathrooms as well as outdoor showers and bathrooms which can be a great way to cool off in the summer months.
Behaviour and Ethics
Part of what is going to make this trip so magical is the people you will meet and the friendships formed.
Therefore your behaviour and attitude towards each other is an important concern, sine you’ll be living with each other for long periods of time.
We must state that anyone found displaying any forms of aggression, abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, or stealing, could be asked to return home at risk of ruining the trip for everyone else.
Don’t be that guy/gal.
Drugs and Alchohol.
We get it, you’re in a new place, things are exciting and you probably are having the time of your lives.
However please do not pursue your vices, whatever they are, at the expense of everyone else.
This isn’t a booze cruise, and anyone found using illegal substances or abusing prescription drugs will again risk being sent home immediately.
Tipping your guides and waiters.
You might be spending a day being driven around by a guide or tucking in at a restaurant.
Now you’re thinking about tipping or not tipping, what’s the custom?
In South Africa, although guides and waiters are paid a set wage, in the opinion of Hamba Africa it is often not nearly enough.
We do encourage you to tip any guides (Non-Hamba Africa) you meet or waiters, provided they have of course delivered a good service. Even just the equivalent of one or two pounds / euro / dollars can mean a lot to them.
For more information just have a chat with your Hamba Africa guides and rangers and they can fill you in!
Visa's and Imigration
Traveling to South Africa as a British national.
Your passport is valid for 6 months upon the date of entry.
You have 2 blank pages in your passport.
Please remember it is your responsibility to ensure your visa documentation and permisions are valid.
Hamba Africa is happy to advise you prior to your travels but cannot be help accountable for any changes to visa requirements or regulations that prevent you from traveling. As such, we advise that prior to your travel you contact any relevant embassy or consulate to ensure that you are able to travel.
For the up to date requirments and information check out the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.
Traveling to South Africa as non British Nationals
Depending on your country of origin, your Visa and Immigration rules and requirements will change.
We advise that prior to joining us you contact your local South African consulate, embassy or immigration body to ensure you meet the requirements to enable you to travel.
Vaccinations and Medical Requirements
Prior to joining us, we advise you contact your GP or talk to a travel doctor well in advance to ensure you are up to date on all required vaccinations and medication required to travel.
Bear in mind, some vaccination courses may take a number of weeks to be completed.
Those traveling from the UK are required to be up to date on all locally recommended vaccinations such as Measles, Mumps and Rubella, but other vaccinations may be required.
It is your responsibility to ensure all required vaccinations courses are complete to enable you to travel.
Additional information can be found on the Travel Health Pro website.
Flights and Booking Requirments
Being over 18
It is a requirement for all those traveling with us to be above the age of 18 at the time of the start date for insurance and health and safety reasons.
Travel Insurance is a requirement for anyone wishing to join us.
All those wishing to join us must provide proof of appropriate travel insurance booked through a reputable provider, a minimum of 30 days before the date of departure.
Insurance is not covered within the Hamba Africa package and must be booked and paid for by the individual traveling with us.
Please ensure you have familiarised yourself with what your insurance covers and its fine print. Please make sure it appropriately includes the activities you'll be taking part in during your time with Hamba Africa.
For further questions feel free to contact us.
Flights and getting to the meeting location
The pick-up point and departure location is Hoedspruit Airport. You will be informed of the exact timings once you have booked your place.
Connecting flights to Hoedpsruit Airport operate multiple times a day from Johannesburg O.R. Tambo Airport, which most international flights travel to.
Flights are not included in the package and must be paid for and organised by those wishing to join us.
If you’re already traveling within South Africa and have your own transportation, or if you prefer to get to the meeting location through alternative methods rather than a connecting flight, this will not be a problem.
There are regular coach, bus and shuttle services that operate from Johannesburg, other South African airports and cities to Hoedspruit Airport. Again, booking and organising other transportation must be done by the individual.
Regardless of how you choose to travel we will require proof of your travel plans at least 30 days prior to your arrival.
Required Medical checks
Medical checks, vaccinations and other medication may be required by law in order to allow you access to South Africa.
It is the responsibility of all those traveling with us to ensure that you have completed any medical checks and vaccinations that may be required.
For more information please see our Vaccinations and Medical Requirements page, under our Visa and Immigration section of our FAQs.
Although Hamba Africa can give advice on what might be required to travel, we are not medical professionals. Please make sure you have spoken to your travel doctor or General Practitioner to make sure you are traveling safely and legally.
Passports and Visas.
We will require a photographic copy of your passport once you have made your booking, as proof of identification.
Additionally, those traveling with us will be required to provide a valid passport and have the appropriate requirements for a visa to be granted entry to South Africa.
Ensuring you have a valid passport and the correct visas and documentation is the responsibility of the individual.
For further information see our Visa and Immigration section of the FAQs.