signature tours

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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Is South Africa safe?

We are struggling with high crime levels in South Africa, less so in the broader Southern African region. Most of the high crime statistics originate from specific areas in our country which means that by far most of the country and region is safe to travel in. If you work with a knowledgeable tour operator (ground handler) such as Signature Tours, you can have peace of mind. More so if you choose to use the services of a driver guide. One should also keep in mind the generalization effect the media has. For example the 2014 – 2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa affected tourism arrivals to South Africa. But West Africa is 8500 km (5300 miles) from South Africa and there has been no cases of Ebola in South Africa.

How much will a tour cost?

This is explained in detail on our Rates page, see Rates

What is the best time of year to travel?

It depends on what you want to do in Southern Africa. Once we understand your travel interests, we will advise you. Take a look at our Travel Information page, see Weather and Climate.  The landing pages of our tours also advise the best time for that particular tour.

Is it easy to self-drive in South Africa?

Yes it is but with proper instruction from a travel specialist such as Signature Tours. In general it is easier to self-drive in South Africa than in our neighbouring Southern African countries simply due to quality and network of roads as well as remoteness of locations. Main tip – we drive on the left hand side of the road. I have driven extensively on the right hand side of the road on overseas travels and understand how challenging it can be. Imagine picking up a Renault Twingo, stick drive, at Rome Airport before gps navigation was available.

How much do I tip?

We only tip when satisfied with a service. In restaurants it is between 10 and 15 %. A general rule of thumb on safari is to tip your guide USD10 and your tracker USD5 per person per day. This tip is given at the end of the safari, not on a daily basis. This amount can be adapted according to the number of people on the safari, and a ‘per day per car’ amount may be more suitable for bigger parties. We usually leave a general tip for the rest of the lodge personnel at reception on checking out. To calculate the tip, think of what you would have tipped in a restaurant and add a bit for the cleaning staff.

How do I pay you?

Both bank to bank and online credit cards payment options are available. In general the larger amounts are paid via bank to bank transfers and the smaller amounts via the online credit card facility. This is mainly due to the cost of around 6% linked to a credit card transaction. But it may be that you consider a point or discount reward system linked to your credit card. The choice is yours.

Do I pay a deposit?

If there are flights to be paid and it is still a few months ahead of your trip, we will ask for a deposit payable directly as the flight tickets cannot be reserved for more than 48hrs at a time. Some service providers require a deposit for confirmation of the booking. We will advise you accordingly. In general, we try to arrange for one payment to save banking costs.

What should I wear on Safari?

The dress code is casual, but neutral colours are recommended on game drives. A sweater may be required at any time, while during the winter months (May to September) very warm clothes, including a windbreaker (jacket), are essential. Most lodges request that gentlemen wear long pants to dinner in the evenings. Comfortable walking shoes, sun hats, sunglasses, sunblock. Cameras and binoculars. Summer: lightweight clothing and swimwear, warm clothing for game drives. Winter: light clothing for daytime, very warm, insulated jackets for game drives.

Will I be able to use my credit card in South Africa?

Yes in most of Southern Africa. You’ll also be able to draw cash from automated bank machines.

Should I take antimalarial prophylactics?

Malaria is endemic to the northern areas of Southern Africa including Kruger, Victoria Falls, Chobe and the Okavango Delta. Most hotels and lodges are proactive in respect of the measures they put in place to control mosquitoes within a camp. You’ll find mosquito repellent available in the rooms and on game-drive vehicles. In the interests of your personal safety we recommend that precautions be taken. Please consult your physician for further information on the various antimalarial prophylactics available.

Do you include international flights?

We can but have found that it is better for our guests to have full control over their international flights and that it often is more cost-effective to book directly due to rewards structures linked to your credit and debit cards.

Do you require travel insurance?

We do. It is a small additional expense but provides for peace of mind and of course in the case of trip cancellation, medical situations, etc you are covered. Take out your cover as soon as you receive the invoice.