June 7 -17, 2021  ”Private Kruger Reserves & Marvelous Beaches in Mozambique”  – Sold Out

#solotravelmoz

Incredible wildlife, tribal dancing with African bush feasts and breathtaking landscapes. Couple this with white sandy beaches is in azure warm waters at a tropical paradise resort and you have the perfect dual-destinations vacation.  Our last group loved it but we tweaked it with new regions and resorts. It’s the best of both the African bush and spectacular beaches teaming with marine life.

 Part 1: Yes, our AFS Afriholics may have been to legendary Kruger National Park, but few get to delve into its private reserves with Glamping in Luxurious Safari tents.   Get
your full safari on with exhilarating game drives both morning and night in this famous animal kingdom as we search for the Big Five! We also visit HESC Endangered Species Center where cheetahs are rehabbed and released into the wild.

Part 2:  We’ll travel along South Africa’s historic Panoramic Route filled with natural wonders in the Drakensburg Mountains.  You’ll love our home here, Hippo Hollow Country Estates on the Sabie River with its tribal Boma Feasts.  See Blydes River Canyon and interact with ellies at the incomparable Elephant Whisperers.  This region is our playground for tubing, ziplines, bush hikes and river rafting. It has a true Out of Africa vibe along with adventure.

#solotravelPart 3:  Just when you think it can’t get better, we fly you north in our charter plane Vilanculos Mozambique, the “Unspoiled Africa”, and home to Africa’s best beaches. This is the place postcards are made of… and very few tourists. Wait ‘til you’ll meet your butlers at our beach resort here. Each morning, sandbars appear like a mirage when the tide rolls out.  The turquoise Bazaruto Archipelago is filled with unique and incredible marine life. After our Private Sunset Catamaran sailing, relax at the spa. There’s horse riding on the beach, drift snorkeling off reefs, sandbar picnics, scuba, fishing, traditional Dhow sailing boats and an evening canoe safari you’ll never forget.

June is winter with temps in the 70s and its whale season.  Save the Humpbacks!  Also, plenty of rays, whale sharks and wild dolphins.  Moz is so popular now, we reserved a year ahead and could only get 31 spots, so book now!

You’ll get the best Instagram photos in three different worlds from big game to glorious sunsets. Our Africa trips are always dramatic and the moments on this adventure are magnified like no other place on earth. Reward yourself with this dream trip for both “Animal Overload and Barefoot Bliss” that is wildly luxurious!

ZAandMoz

MAP-ZA-MOZClick here to view your Digital Itinerary

 

Our Glorious AFS Itinerary

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Things are ever-changing with this pandemic and will do our best to keep you updated.

Jun 7   Air is so easy round-trip to Jo’burg (JNB)!  Full details to come on this in AFS Trip Tips with info about flights, overnight options, packing, etc.  We urge you to fly in a day early to arrive Jun 8  Full details to come on all air options, overnight options and packing in AFS trips tips.

Jun 9       Fly to Kruger… Chisomo Safari Camp, Kruger Private Reserves

Our land tour officially begins! We gather early morning at JNB Airport and fly an hour to Kruger.  Fly 4Z 871  09JUN   JNB-HDS  1030 1125

We arrive in time for lunch and a short rest before heading out on your first game drive!

South Africa

This vast country is undoubtedly one of the most culturally and geographically diverse places on earth. Fondly known by locals as the ‘Rainbow Nation’, South Africa has 11 official languages and its multicultural inhabitants are influenced by a fascinating mix of cultures. Witness remarkably untamed wilderness with its astonishing range of wildlife roaming freely across massive unfenced game reserves such as the world-famous Kruger National Park. With all of this variety on offer, it is little wonder that South Africa has fast become Africa’s most popular tourist destination.

Kruger Private Reserves

Scattered along the unfenced western boundary of the world-renowned Kruger National Park, private game reserves combine with the Kruger to establish one of the world’s largest game reserves. This incredible destination offers visitors excellent Big Five game viewing opportunities and an array of luxury safari accommodation complete with world-class cuisine, relaxing spas and private pools. Visitors can look forward to fascinating night-drive safaris, guided nature walks, and open-top safari adventures.

Overnight: Chisomo Safari Camp View iBrochure

Chisomo Safari Camp is the ideal camp for group traveling. Luxury safari tents face the beautiful Makhutswe River and wildlife may be watched from the decks as it emerges from the reeds for grazing Kudu, Nyala, Bushbuck are as common a sight as elephant and even the elusive leopard. Guests enjoy dinners at the luxuriously furnished, thatched public area overlooking the river and the bush or a traditional braai at a specially created bush dinner site where traditional dishes are served under the stars. The camp is easily accessible by tour bus and vehicle parking space is provided just outside the reception area. Chisomo is a perfect hub for exploring the tourism hotspots of the Valley of the Olifants as the camp is located close to both the Blyde River Canyon and the Kruger National Park. Chisomo Safari offers a range of excursions that can be booked on spot. Game viewing on the Karongwe is exceptional with an unequaled variety of flora and fauna add to the famous Big Five.

All meals included at the magnificent thatched lodge overlooking the river.

All tents have en-suite bathrooms with a shower, mini-bar, fan, heater, blow dryers, multi-plug, tea & coffee making facilities and a private deck with chairs for guest‘s viewing pleasure.

Chisomo Safari Camp

Tonight we enjoy Bush Dinner under the stars with tribal dancers and full BBQ buffet of local cuisines. 

June 10      Kruger Private Reserves Safari Day…   Chissomo   

Have your cameras ready for both early and late-game drives with rangers by jeeps when the animals are most active! Guests enjoy early morning and late afternoon safaris in open 4×4 safari vehicles conducted by experienced guides and trackers. The friendly staff at Chisomo ensure that guests are given personal attention and service at all times. During the day, guests may relax at the pool or retire to one of the beautifully decorated lounges.

Chissomo

Sun, June 11      Kruger and Wildlife Centre  

Wake early for coffee, enjoy a thrilling game drive returning to lodge for full buffet breakfast. After your morning game drive you will be collected and taken to the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre for a 2 hour tour, getting you back in time for a late lunch followed by evening game drive

Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre

The Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre focuses on the conservation of rare, vulnerable and endangered animal species. Cheetah Conservation is one of its core disciplines.

The center is actively involved in researchbreeding of endangered animal species; the education of learners, students and the general public in conservation and conservation-related activities; tourism; the release and establishment of captive-bred cheetahs in the wild; the treatment and rehabilitation of wild animals in need (including poached rhinos); and anti-poaching initiatives on the reserve.

HESC houses a number of animal species including cheetah, African wild dog, lion, African wild cat, Ground hornbill, Sable antelope, to name just a few. Visitors can view the resident animals in close proximity, in a habitat simulating what they would experience in the wild. Guests are also afforded the opportunity of watching rare African vultures feeding at the Vulture Restaurant.

Full Board and Activities. Enjoy the camp’s facilities like massage, free WIFI, same day laundry followed by night game drives, if time permits. These are most dramatic when predators on the chase.  Then gather for a buffet dinner.

June 12    Hippo Hollow Country Estate, Hazyview.  B

Hazyview – AFSers love this property and town with so much to do!  Surrounded by subtropical fruit orchards, Hazyview is a small farming town and a gateway to the southern part of the Kruger National Park and the Panorama Escarpment. The town and its spectacularly scenic surroundings serve as a popular adventure capital with a remarkable array of exhilarating outdoor activities on offer to suit all ages, tastes and fitness levels. These include, among others: mountain biking, quad biking, zip lining, tubing, abseiling, and river rafting. Whether you are eager to hike the Panorama Route with its breath-taking views and impressive waterfalls, visit the Shangana Cultural Village, or horse ride along the banks of the magnificent Sabie River, Hazyview has something for just about everyone.

We transfer by coach via the majestic Panorama Route, visiting the Three Rondawels ( Blyde River Canyon look out point), Lisbon Falls and Gods Window.  There will be a stop for lunch en route for own account.

Panorama Route

Connecting the Lowveld and the spectacular Drakensberg, sandwiched between the Kruger National Park and the Highlands Meander, the historical Panorama Route is a scenic road in the Mpumalanga Province. The route features sensational views of breath-taking natural wonders, fascinating rock formations, impressive waterfalls, scenic hiking trails, and a myriad of fauna and flora. The quaint little town of Graskop serves as the gateway to this wonderful route. Panorama’s highlight is the verdant splendor of Blyde River Canyon, one of the world’s largest green canyons featuring lush subtropical vegetation. Some other popular natural attractions along the route include the spectacular Lisbon, Berlin, and Mac Mac Falls, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, the Three Rondavels and the astonishing God’s Window.

Shangaan River

Shangaan River Club

Based at Hippo Hollow Country Estate in Hazyview, the Shangaan River Club welcomes all to the festivities under the thatched Boma where traditional South African and Shangaan cuisine form a feast in the true sense of the word.

Immerse yourself in a wealth of culture with a night of Shangaan dance and song enthusiastically provided by children from a local AIDS orphanage, which provides shelter and education for abandoned street children. The children’s participation ensures they are re-united with their true African heritage, thus preserving the legacy for generations to come. With each song, the local chief narrates a song or proverb from tribal legend, sharing the rich heritage and customs of the Shangaan people (please bring goodies for kids.)

An African banquet with an impressive selection of Shangaan and South African mouth-watering dishes served from traditional cast-iron pots completes your enlightening and entertaining Shangaan experience.

Cultural show

Overnight: Hippo Hollow Country Estate             View iBrochure

Hippo Hollow Country Estate is situated outside Hazyview on the Sabie River between the Drakensberg Mountains to the west and the low-lying bushveld to the west. It is the ideal destination from which to access the reserves of the Lowveld and the sights of Mpumalanga.

Hippo Hollows is only ten minutes from the Kruger National Park and the panoramic route which includes Pilgrim’s Rest, Graskop, Bourkes Luck Potholes, God’s Window, the Blyde River Canyon, and the many fantastic waterfalls of the escarpment is close by. Hippo Hollow Country Estate provides the ideal breakaway from the rigorous of city life. The hotel has an ‘Out of Africa ‘ feel about it, and leaves you feeling totally relaxed and refreshed.

Hippo Hollow

Hotel Room

The 54 air-conditioned hotel rooms overlook the picturesque gardens with two swimming pools.  These include rooms with Twin Beds, Baths and Showers, Air Conditioning, Satellite Television, Ceiling Fans, Tea / Coffee making facilities and a number of inter-leading rooms available.

June 13  Free at Last…   Adventure day!!               B,D                                                     

Enjoy your day at leisure with a host of optional activities to enjoy in the nearby area.  Hazyview is an adventure capital offering countless activities.  Book with our guide or the estate.

Optional activities include:

Elephant Whispers Elephant Interaction

Elephant Whispers Elephant InteractionElephant Whispers are dedicated to securing the future of the African Elephant, and welcome people of all ages to share in the excitement of close encounters with these magnificent creatures. Experience the privilege of little Lindiwe’s compassionate nature, witness Medwa’s remarkable memory and enjoy the thrill of interacting with Tembo. The interaction with the elephant offers you the opportunity to touch the elephant, exchange trunk greetings and offer tasty treats. Experienced Elephant Handlers share their in-depth knowledge of fascinating elephant behavior.

Your visit to Elephant Whispers ensures these six incredible mammals continue in their important role as wildlife ambassadors for their own kind.

Skyway Trails

Skyway Trails offers two different types of treetop experiences such as the longest Aerial Cable Trail which is a canopy trail that slides through the forest canopy of the Sabie River valley and stops along the way on a number of elevated platforms as it descends to the ground.

Fun

Induna Adventures Rafting Sabie River

Induna Adventures is located on the banks of the Sabie River. The Sabie River flows over massive waterfalls on its way into the Lowveld. It provides a rafting stretch for the whole family or for any corporate group in Induna Adventures. Each trip is assisted by a qualified first aider and experienced river guides. The rapids are not the only attraction as guests are bound to see an abundance of birdlife, lush indigenous forest scenes and also get a chance to bum slide halfway at the picnic stop.raft

June 14   Fly to Moz …  Vila do Paraiso, Vilanculos, Mozambique  B,D        4Z 824   14JUN  MQP JNB  0825 0915

Mozambique

Situated on the east coast of Africa, this tropical paradise is blessed with 2500 kilometers of spectacular coastline. With its idyllic beaches fringed with palm trees and lapped by crystal-clear waters brimming with a dazzling array of marine life, this enchanting African nation is an ideal adventure holiday destination, with an abundance of activities on offer such as snorkeling, sunset cruises, horse-riding, dolphin tours and world-renowned scuba diving. However, you choose to spend your time in this exceptionally scenic destination you are likely to leave with a heavy heart and a burning desire to return time and time again.

Vilanculos

Situated in the Mozambican province of Inhambane, Vilanculos is a laidback town featuring some lovely beaches lapped by crystal-clear turquoise waters. It is stocked with all the amenities needed for a fantastic seaside holiday. This bustling coastal town has its own international airport and serves as a great base for exploring the idyllic islands of the Bazaruto Archipelago. The town itself offers good diving, a wide range of accommodation choices and a lively nightlife. Visitors can jump on a traditional dhow boat and venture to the pristine Bazaruto Archipelago, browse for fresh produce and locally-made souvenirs in the bustling market in the center of town, and spend the day soaking up the sun on an array of idyllic beaches. Other popular activities include horse riding, game fishing, kitesurfing, scuba diving, snorkeling and sailing.

Today we jet off by private plane to a tropical paradise.  Moz has 1500 miles of spectacular coastline.

With its idyllic beaches fringed with palm trees and lapped by crystal-clear waters brimming with a dazzling array of marine life, this enchanting African nation is an ideal adventure holiday destination, with an abundance of activities on offer such as snorkeling, sunset cruises, horse-riding, dolphin tours and world-renowned scuba diving. However, you choose to spend your time in this exceptionally scenic destination you are likely to leave with a heavy heart and a burning desire to return time and time again.

You will transfer from Hazyview to Kruger airport for your flight to Vilanculos in Mozambique. Easy visa on arrival in Mozambique – currently USD50.

Vilanculos is a laidback town on the Mozambique mainland which offers a host of activities in the area. Not only this, but it lies opposite the famous Bazaruto archipelago which is accessible by boat.  Crystal clear turquoise waters, white sandy endless beaches, a bustling town market, an array of restaurants within walking distance and many optional activities such as diving, snorkelling, horse riding, quad biking, village visits, kayaking, fishing and sailing.

First off is an afternoon AFS Sunset Catamaran Cruise followed by Welcome Dinner!

Overnight: Vila do Paraiso

Here you will be accommodated in superb luxury villas right on the beach. Each villa sleeps 8 people in 4 bedrooms en suite, each with private plunge pool and own Mozambican butler.  Your butler will be happy to shop for you and cook up a magnificent Mozambican dinner in your own villa.  Our past groups loved it raving about the friendly staff and gourmet meals.

Vila do Paraiso is your springboard to unlimited adventure in the tropical paradise of Vilanculos, Mozambique.  The resort offers numerous ocean and land-based activities to keep you occupied, whilst you are accommodated in style in the luxury villa’s right on Mahaque Beach.  Our past groups loved it raving about the friendly staff and gourmet meals.  Each villa accommodates 8 guests in 4 double rooms with en-suite facilities and a butler. Although the basic layouts of each villa are the same, each has its own special charm and setting, which is complemented with its own unique decor and some minor variations in layout.

Activities include:
Boating around the islands.
Diving in Bazaruto
Beach and town excursions.  Also, you can enjoy beach horse rides, snorkeling, village visit and canoe safari.

Vila do Paraiso     Fully furnished self-standing, double-story Villa with 4 en-suite bedrooms, lounge with DSTV, kitchen and outdoor dining area and plunge pool on deck

Thurs, Jun 15 – A Day to Play in Paradise                B

An entire day to do what you please and there is so much to choose from!  The resort has boats for a sand bar picnic, beach bicycles and canoes for our exclusive use, and we can arrange massages for those who just want to relax.

Other activities include options for a full day diving and snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters to view the abundant colorful fish and corals. These waters are populated with manatee, sharks, rays, many whale species and a variety of fish like clownfish, angelfish.  Or you could house to go deep-sea fishing for giant kingfish, king mackerel, yellowfin tuna and barracuda.  Your house butler can even cook your catch for you in the evening.

July is whale season with Humpback whales along the coastline and whale watching tours are offered.

Go horseback riding on the beach or take a traditional dhow out to explore the local waters. A new favorite activity is the Govuro River Canoes through unspoiled wetlands with the pristine waters and incredible birdlife. (Last group loved)  You have the option of doing an early morning canoe trail or late afternoon trip, which allows sightseeing of frogs, birds, fireflies, and stargazing.  Villa De Paraiso can also arrange a driver to take you into town where you can indulge your late into bargaining skills and go shopping in the local market, or well-crafted souvenirs.

Jun 16 Full Day Island Sailing                          B, L, D

After breakfast, we all sit out for a blissful day on the water as we spend our day sailing on the Indian ocean with a look at some of the local Islands. Will pull into Santa Carolina mid-day, or you can walk on the beach, swim or snorkel while the crew set up for a wonderful beach lunch.

We will return to the resort in late afternoon and enjoy and AFS Farewell Dinner and toast all our new friends.

June   17    Heading home.       B

After breakfast, we head to airport for noon check-in and flight back to JNB.

Arrive JNB. 3:30 PM, perfect timing as all USA flights depart in the early evening.  Or you can arrange own post-trip extension to any place in Africa.

Limited to only 34 participants. Don’t delay, book now.

 Land Price:  $2895 plus $190 for three internal air flights. (See below) pp twin share.  Rate based on currency exchange dollar to rand.  Limited to 30 participants.

Deposit: $500  second $500 deposit Jan 18 and final payment Feb 18

Includes:

  • Airfare Johannesburg/ Hoedspruit – Nelspruit/ Vilanculos/ Johannesburg
  • Road transfer from Hoedspruit airport to Karongwe Reserve
  • 3 nights Chisomo Tented Camp including all meals and two game activities per day
  • Morning tour to the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre
  • Road transfer via the panorama route including the Three Rondawels, Lisbon falls and Gods Window to Hazyview 2 nights Hippo Hollow in a standard room, B/B
  • Evening Shangaan Cultural show
  • Road transfer to Nelspruit airport
  • Return road transfers in Vilanculos
  • 3 nights Vila do Paraiso in 8 sleeper chalets with private plunge pools
  • Evening sunset catamaran cruise
  • Welcome dinner on arrival and final farewell dinner and all meals as listed.
  • Full day outing by boat to the island with lunch and park fees included

Not included: Gratuities (added to  your invoice for convenience) and $50 Moz Visa.

Group Air – No Int’l group air from USA.  All fly USA to Jo’burg, details in emailed Trip Tips after booking.  Internal air flights are part of the land package.

      • Land prices per person twin share. Trip price based on a minimum number of participants.
      • Single rooms limited with $ supplement.  Cost varies.  Email us for availability.  AFS will find you a roommate.
      • The earliest we present group air is 10 months prior. We’ll send email to ask who wants it.  A minimum number of 12 is needed.
      • Please review AFS Terms and Conditions, Heading Abroad with AFS, Covid Policy.  Travel insurance is important nowadays.  It’s rare, but we reserve the right to modify schedules, tour and hotels.
      • Read Trip Tips on its own tab next itinerary for latest details. 

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Internal Flights:

1  4Z 871   09JUN   JNB HDS            1030 1125

2  4Z 824   14JUN   MQP JNB           0825 0915

3  4Z 260   14JUN   JNB VNX           1135 1305

4  4Z 261    17JUN   VNX JNB          1335 1520

HOTELS and LODGESChisomo Safari Camp  Kruger Private Reserves

Chisomo Safari Camp  Kruger Private Reserves

Amenities in the room:

  • En suite bathrooms – shower only
  • Mini bar stocked with mineral water
  • Standing Fan
  • Heater fans for winter
  • Hairdryers
  • Multiplug
  • Mosquito nets
  • Tea and coffee making facilities
  • Safe
  • Private deck with chairs
  • 200V plugs – adaptors available in the dressing table drawer
  • Shaving plugs in the bathrooms

Facilities at the camp:

  • Main area swimming pool
  • Boma ( weather permitting)
  • Dining area
  • Same-day laundry service available for an additional cost
  • WIFI available
  • Limited cell phone reception

Hippo Hollow Country Estate

Hippo Hollow Country Estate –   Hazyview

Amenities in the rooms:

  • En suite bedrooms with bath and shower
  • Air conditioning
  • Satellite television
  • Ceiling Fans
  • Tea / Coffee making facilities

Facilities at the hotel:

  • Two Swimming Pools in Lush Gardens
  •  Hippo Hollow Restaurant
  • Public Lounge & Bar Area
  • Shangaan River Club on-site
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Well Stocked Curio Shop
  • Guest Laundry Service
  • Mpumalanga Helicopters on-site
  • Perry’s Bridge Trading Post Lifestyle Centre 1km up the road

Vila do Paraiso

Beyond your imagination, a playground of ocean adventures, island explorations, kite surfing, scuba diving, horse riding, quad bikes or ….relaxation, spa treatments, sunrise, sunset beach strolls …you decide…..Views of the magnificent Bazaruto Archipelago all day every day.

Situated on the Beachfront 6 luxury thatched Villas self-catering or various catered options. Each Villa sleeps 8 people in 4 fully air-conditioned en suite bedrooms and has a beautiful deck with sea views, private plunge pool, Satellite TV, and a dedicated Villa butler to take care of your needs, surrounded by lush tropical vegetation.

Vila do ParaisoVila do Paraiso Vilanculos

Amenities:

  • Personal House Butler
  • 4 en-suite bedrooms
  • Air – conditioning
  • Mosquito nets in each bedroom
  • Living room with TV and Satellite
  • Fully kitted out kitchen
  • Large deck with dining table plus private plunge pool
  • Full catered or self-catering options available

Hotel facilities:

  • Shopping service available for VDP guests (at an additional fee)
  • Set right on the beach with sun loungers, infinity pool and unmatched island views
  • Beach bar with friendly barmen who keeps stock of all local beverages and select imported wines and spirits
  • Restaurant with professional Chef who prepares meals or tailored menu’s for guests
  • Super catamaran

 

Fishing, Islands and Whale Watching

  • Set up for game fishing
  • Licensed Skipper and Gilly accompany guests out
  • Sound system on board
  • Fishing equipment, terminal tackle and bait provided
  • Gazebo, table and chairs provided
  • Webber braai onboard
  • Fighting chair
  • Fish finders / Radar onboard
    Cooler boxes provided and deep freezer on board
    Meals, drinks and ice available at Bar for guest convenience
  • A surcharge of an additional $100 for a professional fishing guide on request
  • Snorkeling equipment onboard

Water Activities

  • Dhow trips
  • Kite surfing
  • Diving and Snorkelling
  • Canoe trails

Land Activities

  • Horse-riding
  • Curio Shopping and Market trips
  • Quad biking

  •  All prices are per person twin share.  Single rooms limited per group and a single supplement applies.  Cost set by hotel/cruiseline and vary considerably.  AFS will find you a roommate match. All hotel rooms are “run of house.”  
  • Please review AFS Terms and Conditions as well as Heading Abroad with AFS.  
  • Land – Price based on a minimum number of trip participants, as well as local currency exchange rates which can fluctuate.
  • We write our itineraries over a year in advance. Though unlikely, we always reserve the right to modify schedules, tours and hotels if necessary. 
  • Group air – Airlines may add surcharges to offset fuel inflation or taxes. The total ticket cost is not final until we receive your final payment and the group is ticketed. If doing own air, airport transfer may or may not be included depending on your air schedule. Do not buy air until the group air is set or we advise – though unlikely, airlines, times and dates can change!

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AFS  2021  Bush & Beach – SA / Moz Trip Tips

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I longed to lead this but Carol really wanted it because it’s that good!

GTL CarolYour fearless GTL Carol Huntington (Gracious Trip Leader, not a guide but liaison between our guides and group to ensure things run smoothly.) Many wanted to lead this one but Carol is our AFS Africa expert.  Carol has been on 20+ AFS trips over the years and has led many of our solo travel tours. She has been a ray of sunlight to each of those groups. She has a passion for seeing the world and experiencing new cultures. Having traveled to over 92+ countries and all 7 continents, she continues to pursue her dream, while working for the past 25 years in the banking industry. Her goal is to build relationships, problem solve and keep clients happy. She genuinely cares for people and is cool under pressure. These are great qualities for the business and the travel world.  During a recent sabbatical, Carol coordinated and lead a once in a lifetime journey around the world, visiting 13 countries! Carol’s excitement to discover new things is complimented by her unique ability to get along with and relate to people of all backgrounds. She has a deep understanding of new and seasoned travelers with a knack to inspire all. Carol is all about the experience: from skydiving to trekking with the gorillas in Rwanda, leading a group to climb Mt Kilimanjaro and always making many new friends along the way.

Your Private Facebook Group Page is a great way to share your best shots with each other. AFS loves photos with group participants (not typical churches, monuments, or any shot that looks like you pulled it off of the net, etc.) on our website. The best photos are ones that include a group member with a local, children, animals, or at iconic sites in the same frame!  Ask us for link.

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Trip Prep:

  • Read the revised Heading Abroad with AFS, especially if you are new to AFS.
  • Ensure your passport is valid 6 months after return date with two blank pages.  We recommend renewing your passport well ahead of any planned international travel. Take a photo of your passport to store in the cloud or bring a copy.
  • To speed through US Customs download Mobile Passport.  Look in your App Store for details.
  • Notify bank and cc company of travel dates so they don’t block charges
  • Visa – No visa for SA.  Moz is $80 US at airport arrival.
  • Travel Meds – no shots needed.  Anti-malaria pills suggested, not required.  Call me if questions on this.  Read more below.
  • Vaccines are rolling out faster than ever now. Be patient. I just got mine feeling it will eventually be necessary for travel. Many countries now are eliminating Covid test and quarantine for vaccinated visitors.  Don’t laminate vaccine card as some countries won’t accept it.  You can take photo of both sides and store on phone or copy both sides and laminate the copy.
  • All airline Covid rules differ.  It is imperative to read your airline rules to ensure a smooth departure!  Read the latest info on required PCR Tests here   https://www.afstravelers.com/latest-pcr-test-info/

Fitness level – 2   (No trouble walking.)

Air – Best dates JUN 7 or 8 -17 roundtrip USA-JNB (Johannesburg)    Please arrange your own air now land portion start 7 AM in JNB Airport June 9. Fewer people want group air now as they find better rates on One. JNB is easy as more airlines reinstate flights now. Go to airline websites:  South African Airways, United, KLM, Air France, Turkish, Lufthansa, Emirates,  Qatar and more. We like Google flights or my momondo.com for good fares.  Contact our guy Raj if you need help (770) 573-7400.  Connect with your face group now to see what others are flying.

* Land Portion officially begins at 7AM at JNB, June 9.  It’s best to go in a day early to arrive June 8 and rest.  Depart USA JUN 7 to arrive next day!  Our groups love to stay at Sunrock B&B (free shuttle transfers, meet & greet – around $60nt.)  http://www.sunrock.co.za.  We are holding 20 rooms. Email them and tell them your with the AFS group and book direct. If they sell out, there are dozens of hotels around JNB.  Just Google JNB airport hotels.  Return JUN 17 you arrive back to JNB at 330PM, perfect timing to make USA evening flights home.

Meet Up With Group- All meet in JNB arrivals Hall by 7AM JUN 9 to catch flight to Kruger.  You can’t miss our guide with AFS sign.

Included on invoice – Internal Group Air:  This is your air package of 3 legs invoiced at $190.

  • JNB-Kruger                  1  4Z 871   09 JUN   JNB HDS            1030 1125
  • Kruger – Vilanculos   2  4Z 824   14 JUN   MQP JNB           0825 0915
  • VIL – JNB                    3  4Z 260   14 JUN   JNB VNX           1135 1305
  • VNX – JNB                   4  Z 261     17 JUN   VNX JNB          1335 1520

Please note that due to schedule changes with Covid, SA Airlink are rerouting the direct flight back via Johannesburg. There is no additional charge for the extra leg. The arrival time in Vilanculos is 10 minutes later than the direct flight.

Baggage– Think light to ease your burden, not like you’re fleeing your homeland.  You change hotel properties several times. 1 carry-on bag& 1 medium suitcase not to exceed 45lbs – weigh on a bathroom scale – are ideal. This weight limit is set for our porterage and luggage vans.  Soft-side bags only please.  If you overpack by adding side pre-or post-trip luggage, make prior plans as to where to stow the excess luggage. You may be responsible for any overage charges. The new hard cases are difficult to fit in coach storage. Be sure to attach ID to both bags. Leave space for great souvenirs.

Packing – It’s dry season and the best time to visit.  July is winter in SA, but tropical in Moz.  Pack fall and summer in clothing for temps 55 to 85 degrees.  Nothing special to purchase. Safaris are totally casual with pants, jeans, shorts, etc. See more below.  In South Africa, it’s springtime where evenings and early game drives get cold, so bring warm clothing to layer.  Google Jo’berg weather a week prior to departure.  Bring a hat with chinstrap, insect repellent with DEET, daypack, umbrella and comfy sneakers.

From supplier:  It’s dry season and the best time to visit.  July is winter in SA but the best time for game viewing as the game have to travel to find water and the bush is not as thick.  Pack fall and summer clothing for temps 55 to 85 degrees.  Nothing special to purchase. Safaris are totally casual with pants, jeans, shorts, etc. Early morning and evening game drives it is essential to layer your clothing. It can be very cold on setting out in the mornings and I recommend a beanie, gloves, scarf and warm jacket. As the sun rises it warms up and you will want to start shedding the layers. Day times are warm – great shorts and t shirt weather. Bring closed shoes for walking and game drives and flip flops for during the day and in Mozambique.  Google Jo’berg weather a week prior to departure.  Bring a hat with chinstrap, insect repellent with DEET, daypack, umbrella and comfy sneakers, sunglasses, lip salve, good sunscreen ( atleast factor 30)

Moz is in the 80s and tropical. Don’t forget swim gear, sunscreen, wet shoes, sandals. The resort can provide snorkel gear. Dive shop is nearby. All properties have hairdryers.  Consider bring some gifts, goodies or school supplies for poor children in Moz.

SA PlugElectric– Don’t forget chargers, cords, gadgets, batteries etc.  Cell phones and tablets do not need a converter, you only need an adapter plug.  AFSers often leave charger cords in room, be sure to double check before check out.  All properties have hairdryers.  You need 3 prong plug and Mozambique and South Africa use the same.  You can buy on Amazon cheap.

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Money Matters – Most activities and meals are included!  You will need some cash for personal tipping, meals, and shopping. $300 in cash should suffice. (Venmo may be convenient at home, but useless overseas, ATM may eat your card.  Always bring some cash!)   Change currency arrival at airport, bank, or hotels or withdraw local currency from an ATM.  Note -independent ATMs are risky due to skimmer scams, especially in South Africa. Safest ATMs are at airport and banks. Always shield your pin number when entering. Avoid using unless it’s an emergency.

Currency – SA Rand Exchange Rate $1= 15 R,   MOZ Metical $1 = 75 MZM  Follow the link below to create a conversion cheat sheet

https://www.oanda.com/currency/travel-exchange-rates

Gratuities – (Prepaid)  It’s protocol to tip our local guides, assistants, porters, drivers and ground staff. Guidelines have increased globally, but around $12 to $18 per day should cover all for the trip.  A $90 total will be added to your invoice. Please understand this is only the suggested minimum.  For ease of distribution, your GTL will tip the different ground services for the entire group each day.

Tipping on own – Carol will advise how to tip your ranger after game drives.  If service is stellar, feel free to give more directly.  All we tourists leave behind is our reputation. I personally carry a personal stash of US ones in an envelope to draw from as needed. Bell staff/porters – AFSers roll bags to their room.  If you use a porter, please tip $2. Restaurants – 10%. For group lunches or dinners, please leave a dollar or two for waitstaff!

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Communication–  Internet is available. With cell phones/smartphones, be sure to check with your provider for rates and coverage for international phone plans before departure. Roaming rates (used by Facebook and other apps) are expensive. To reach home – Texting, iMessage, What’sApp and Facebook messaging when using WIFI are best!  I don’t know anyone who makes calls home nowadays.

Be Smart: “Avoiding Hackers on Vacation,” Experts say! …Thieves not only want your money but also your hard-earned Frequent Flyer Points!  Change passwords often. Check device security settings before you leave for your trip. Back up, update, and encrypt your devices and data using a virtual VPN. It’s worth the cost. In hotel rooms, hide iPods or laptops to avoid “evil maids” that want to clone your tech.  Bottled water is always best abroad, as our gut isn’t accustomed to local tap water. Eat clean food and avoid street vendors.  Pickpockets are everywhere now, especially at night.  Never carry your passport outside of the room.

Retail Therapy – There is wonderful shopping in both South Africa and Mozambique. Even non-shoppers will find themselves tempted by local goodies. Our past groups have come back with the coolest stuff.  Wise tip – Do ALL shopping at end in JNB airport store “Out Of Africa”!  They have everything and can even ship.

South Africa: Sought out treasures are African tribal art, diamonds, tanzanite, masks, beaded anything, wines, painted ostrich eggs, safari wear, and endless crafts. For any items over $60, ask for a VAT receipt to receive a 15% tax refund to be collected at airport departure.

Mozambique – Crafts and artwork are favorites for souvenirs and gifts, as they represent the ancient cultures and beliefs of the region. Traditional handicrafts include wood carvings and vibrantly colored masks (Makonde masks and figurines are popular due to their individuality and tribal significance). Other great take homes include traditional tribal jewelry, garnet, soapstone and malachite carvings, printed textiles and batiks, mats and baskets woven from reeds, pottery, decorative home wares, leather items, and salts and spices.

Photography – Before taking pictures of locals, please know it is always polite to first ask for permission.  Photography for Africa: For those with a digital SLR, did you know you can rent a zoom lens?: Check out http://www.lensrentals.com. Also bring extra batteries. Best light is during 6-10 AM or 4-6 PM. Guides will assist for best vantage points.

Cuisines–  Meals are listed on itinerary  B= Breakfast, L = Lunch , D = Dinner  Meals not included are very affordable.  Drinks- alcoholic beverages extra, but there’s a great selection of affordable local beers and South African wines.  Try Roibos teas.  All food and water at properties is purified. Fresh meals are so delicious you’ll put on pounds.

South Africa:  South Africa is known for its delicious African and Malay cuisine, seafood, wild game, exotic fruits, great desserts, local beers, and excellent wines. Popular South African dishes include amasi (fermented milk), chakalaka (vegetable dish), mealie (a maize meal served on the cobb or made into a beer), biltong (a salty dried meat similar to beef jerky), potjekos (vegetable/meat stew), and many other meat-based meals cooked in various ways. Other local delicacies: bunny chow (chicken or pork curry), boerewors (spicy sausage), malva pudding (sweet spongy cake), bredie (stew), amadumbe (sweet potato), and vetkoek (pastry).  Sip on a South African port wine or pinotage, or enjoy a beer made by South African breweries or an African imported beer.

Mozambique:  Traditional cuisine of the Mozambicans revolves around fresh seafood, stews, corn porridge, millet (maize meal), arroz (rice), and mandioca (cassava pudding). Meats such as bifel (steak) and frango (chicken) are often accompanied by beans, cassava chips, cashew nuts, coconut, batata (potatoes), and a variety of spices, including garlic and peppers (a Portuguese influence). Seasonal fruta (fresh fruit – Mozambique’s papaya and pineapples are known as some of the juiciest in the world), puddings made of fruits and rice, and fried balls of flour paste (similar to doughnuts) are also worth trying.  Fresh seafood include fish, prawns, calamari, crab, lobster, and crayfish that are often served with arroz or batata fritas (fries, known as “chips”). Matata, a seafood and peanut stew, is a typical local dish. Aside from the widely served coffee and tea, adults may enjoy locally brewed beer made from maize, a Mozambican staple food. The thick and sweet drink is often drunk from a common pot and shared by everyone present on special occasions. Madeira, a Portuguese wine, is very popular.

Accommodations – Please see the Air/Lodging tab on this website for details. Google each to see how cool the properties are.

Hoedsprit, South Africa:

Chisomo Safari Camp and Karongwe River Camp at Kruger Private Reserves – https://www.karongweportfolio.com/chisomo/

Mpumalanga, South Africa:

Hippo Hollow Country Estate – https://www.hippohollow.co.za  You have a day free in Hazyview on 13 June. Hazyview in the adventure capital of the panorama route with many great activities to keep you occupied.  We recommend or suggest Elephant Whispers, The Gorge or Skyway Trails.   See activities below.

Vilanculos, Mozambique: Note – each Villa sleep 6 to 8 people with your own private butler!  7 pools, beach bars, catamarans and more.

Vila do Paraiso – https://www.viladoparaiso.com

Roomies – Single supplements have significantly increased – if available at all.  Save money and buy yourself an awesome local gift. We all live alone, but save money when traveling by rooming together. Suzy spends a lot of time on roommate matching.  99% of our clients are wonderful and you’re only in your room to sleep at night.   Note, kindness begets kindness.

Leisure Time –  For your free time, it’s best to arrive and ask our local expert guides for suggestions.  We notice many newer clients pre-plan many activities on the AFS trip well before they arrive, often with disappointing results.  Our daily itineraries are pretty full, but there will be some free time. Expert travelers revel in the element of surprise in a new destination and allow the wind to blow them where it will. Use Google Maps on your phone to find everything nearby.

If you go early…

Johannesburg, South Africa:  There are plenty of fun things to do in Johannesburg, a destination that has finally shrugged off the shadow cast by its sister city, Cape Town. You may stop by the Apartheid Museum, King of the Jungle (Joberg’s lion park) to glimpse lions and cheetahs, the Maboneng Precinct (a revitalized neighborhood known for art, cutting-edge cuisine, and a collaborative, creative atmosphere). Visit the township of Soweto, and stop at Nelson Mandela’s former residence on Vilakazi Street, which has excellent street markets or for stopping for a quick beer at a local brewery.

Vilanculos, Mozambique:  Click for PDF Activities and MOZ VDP Activities List Our past groups loved the Horse Safari and Canoe Trails!  Too many to list! Diving, snorkeling and dune climbing in Maguruque, horseback riding and experiencing magnificent sunsets aboard a dhow are just a few fun activities around Vilanculos.  You can also learn how to kite surf due to the beaches’ shallow waters, have a picnic on the beach, whale watch, or go big game fishing. Explore the local market and Machilla Magic, as this is the cultural hub that is always full of activity that is authentically Mozambican. Here, you’ll be able to purchase a traditional capolana, a colorful piece of fabric that is a key part of life here, as it is used as a backpack, worn as a skirt, dress, turban, shawl, or even a baby carrier.  Activities include:  Island hopping, deep-sea fishing, beach games, tuk tuks into town, nearby craft market, sailing in a dhow, horse rides on beach, seafood picnics on sandbars and more.   Viladoparaiso.com

Amending tour pre-or post-trip or arranging private tours during free time.  We often recognize this, as well as see AFSers on Facebook urging others to join them to countries before or after our trip. Stopovers are great to add, but understand AFS has nothing to do with this and is not responsible for the quality of these trips.  Note if you add another Africa country before our trip, Yellow Fever shot may be required.

Google these sites for awesome in-depth info…. Hippo Hollow County Estate, Chisomo Safari Camp

Emergency Contact – AFS Phone 770-432-8225, or email us at https://www.afstravelers.com/contact-us/  and more contacts will be provided with your Final Docs email 2 weeks before departure. Your guide can handle all home for true Emergency.  Do not expect to use your trip leader’s cell phone; you’ll need to use your own cell phone.

Cancellation Penalty:  At booking, we sent you our terms and conditions. Open the following link to review our terms again: https://www.afstravelers.com/terms-and-conditions/

Optional Travel Insurance– If you would like the security of travel insurance and have a pre-existing condition (elderly parent, medical, etc.), you must purchase insurance within 15 days from your initial trip deposit in order to assure full coverage.  The trip cost can be amended or adjusted as needed after your initial purchase (eg. like adding an air ticket cost later). You can buy travel insurance at any time, just know that there may be some possible limitations if purchased outside the 15 day period.  Call to ask what Coovid coverage they have.

Travel Psychology 101

Prepare for your departure joyfully with no contempt before investigation upon arrival. Please understand that whenever you travel, things are not like at home and changes may occur. Great trips work best for those with an open mind, flexible attitude and adventuresome spirit.  If changes occur, embrace them with serendipity. Who knows?… The unexpected may prove to be a better experience.  Adapt and go with the flow with a laid-back attitude.

Be spontaneous. Be tolerant of foreign cultures in respecting their centuries of traditions. Embrace the differences. Be curious, not shy. Smile – locals will sense your energy of kindness and kindness always begets kindness.(This goes for your roommate, too. Most of us are used to living on our own; but, have fun while being accommodating and patient when sharing a room with another fellow traveler).Our common goal is to experience different cultures, make new friends, get great photos, have large fun, and return home safely with memories worthy of recollection.

From May 29 from our African supplier to or group…

I thought I’d update you on some useful travel tips and reconfirm where we are at with optional activities :

Sunrock

Most of you are staying at Sunrock on the night of 08th June and I have confirmed the flight details with Ina that we currently have. They will collect all people from the airport on arrival and will be taking you all back to the airport on the morning of 09th. She will meet you at the Yellow Information Desk as you exit international arrivals and they will have a white board with Adventures for Solo Travelers  on it.

There are a few of you flying out on the 18th who will need another Covid test before departure as the 72 hours will have lapsed. We have organised someone to come to Sunrock on the evening of the 17th to do covid tests for those who need.

Activities booked 08 June from Sunrock

Full day Soweto tour :

Denise and Maria have asked me to organise a full day Soweto tour for them from Sunrock. Let me know if anyone else is interested in joining them?

Hazyview

I currently have the following booked on activities for the day at leisure in Hazyview :

09h00 Elephant Whispers:

Roxie LaFever  – interaction only

John Panigas  – interaction only

Christine Mitchell – interaction and ride

Shana Rothstein  – interaction and ride

Betty Laine – interaction and ride

Larry Hyman – interaction only

Paula Finn  – interaction and ride

Jolyn Demeritte – elephant interaction and ride

Justin Bush  – elephant interaction and walk

Alice Rekeweg – elephant interaction and ride

Jon Owens- elephant interaction and ride

Jan Bolton – elephant interaction and ride

Vicki Karian – elephant interaction and ride

16h00 Elephant whispers

Karey Tsatsanis – elephant interaction + ride

Joseph Ternes  – elephant interaction + ride

Skyway Trails  08h30

Jeff Jeffares

Brandy Rodgers

Laura Whittaker

Karey Tsatsanis

Joseph Ternes

Skyway Trails 13h30

Jan Bolton

Vicki Karian

Graskop Gorge

Jeff Jeffares

Betty Laine

Karey Tsatsanis

Joseph Ternes

Alice Rekeweg

Jon Owens

Rachel is interested in doing a full day in Kruger National Park. Let me know if anyone wants to join her in this?

Please can you let me know if any of these are incorrect or I have left anyone off. I will be invoicing you on Monday for additional activities booked in Hazyview.

Mozambique

Horse riding – interested

Laura

Larry

Roxie

Canoeing – interested  – please note maximum 8 people on morning trip and 8 people on afternoon/ evening trip.

Brandy

Jan

Vickie

Diving – interested

Rachel

School

I visited the school while in Vilanculos and they are really desperate for most things. They have two classes of 20 each. One with 3 and 4 year olds and one with 5 year olds.

Here are some suggested items:

Colouring books and crayons

Any toys, puzzles

Books

Clothes for 3, 4,5 year olds

Mozambique activities to be booked and paid upon arrival in Mozambique. We will have the suppliers at the lodge on first evening to book and pay for activities.

Covid tests:  Just to confirm that we have all necessary covid tests booked for you and we will try to make this as seamless as possible.

Those flying out on the 18th will need another covid test done in Johannesburg before departure as most airlines are requiring this 72 hours before departure. I will keep an eye on this for you as this is changing constantly and hoping that United may waiver this if you have vaccination certificates. For those needing that extra covid test we have organised this at Sunrock on the 17th.

Costs  – Hayzview – R1300  , Vila do Paraiso – USD100 , Sunrock -R 850  – please have this in cash to pay directly to them

Visa fee – USD80 – please have in cash as they wont issue change.

Malaria

I know this has been brought up on the facebook group, but wanted to reiterate – it is winter season here and dry season so really minimal concern with malaria. Both Chisomo and Vila Do Paraiso have mosquito nets over the beds and they will have mosquito repellent in the rooms. I would just spray in the early evening. I have had no issue with mosquitoes and personally took no malaria tablets.

Currency:

There is no need to get Mozambican meticais  – you can use USD for tipping and payments or credit card

IN South Africa you will need SA Rands and credit card widely accepted.

Packing:

It is cold in the early mornings and evenings on game drives. Bring warm jackets, beanie, scarf. They do provide blankets on the game vehicles. During the day shorts and t-shirts fine

In Vilanculos, it is warm during the day and can cool down in the evenings – a lightweight jacket/ sweater.

I would suggest that you bring a small day pack which is handy for game drives to put your phones/ cameras, warmer clothes as you start discarding them, lip salve, sunscreen , sunglasses, small tissue pack.

Also great for when you are on the boat.

Confirming: all properties have hair dryers so no need to bring those along

If anyone has any allergies, dietary requirements or medical conditions that the lodges should know about please let me know.

Updated March 17, 202   Prepare to be awed by nature’s wonders on this thrilling land and sea safari.  Our bush and beach combos are loved by our past groups for the diversity.  Each day provides Kodak moments with wild game in South Africa and stunning marine life in Mozambique (just rated world’s best diving region now.)  There’s nothing to prep for, just show up for a vacation of a lifetime.  You’ll be pampered throughout in our fine properties.

We’ve outdone ourselves in finding the best of both of the African Bush and its spectacular beaches. You’ve never seen Africa quite like this. While many know of South Africa’s legendary Kruger National Park, few get to delve into its private reserves with luxurious safari tents overlooking rivers abundant with wildlife. You’ll get your full safari on with exhilarating game drives in the famous animal kingdom as we search for the Big Five! We’ll see firsthand some of the Dark Continent’s most endangered species while visiting the famous Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre where cheetahs are rehabbed and reintroduced into the wild.  So much is included in 5 different regions along the panoramic route all the way up to Bazaruto archipelago of Mozambique.  Past AFS groups loved it.  I wonder what’ll be your favorite?

We have a wonderful group of 32 solo travel lovers, a perfect medium size group for us with space for a few more.  Please tell your friends.   After final payments are we will send you contact and room lists.  For now get to know each other on your private FB Group Page.  Look for an email with this link and ask to join.  All important information is ALWAYS emailed to each participant and posted here in Trip Tips under UPDATES. Nobody misses a thing.

Trip Tips are designed to answer trip-related questions. It’s your responsibility to read this information.  Updates and addendums will be posted here.  Check back from time to time.

 

Book AFS with Confidence 2021– Thank you for booking! We are blown away by the support from all of you throughout this pandemic. It validates the trust and values AFS was built on over 35 years. As countries reopen, so will we. Travel is a shared experience. Together we press on and travel boldly. Below are new guidelines. We all must adapt and embrace any challenges with confidence for the freedom and privilege to travel.

We’ve faced many challenges over decades and the health of our travelers always comes first. As the world slowly opens, we are dedicated to creating responsible adventures!  All our trips are different, so specific plans in each region may be circumstantial. We work closely with our local suppliers and vetted partners to know the best practice in each country. That being said, we present a blanket procedure below to be followed on ALL AFS trips. Our local guides will brief you on arrival with the support of our Trip Leaders to ensure we follow local safety protocols. They are fully committed to aiding your well-being.

We will re-discover the world through more slow, easy and mindful travel. Our groups will be smaller.  All clients must take the AFS pledge that they are Covid free and will follow all safety protocols.  Booking travel now is complex because rules always change. Tour companies can’t become “health and safety experts” when policies are inconsistent. Even experts are in the dark at times with the changing patchwork of government laws, but we are committed to doing our best.  This is a learning process for all of us and as we go, we will strive to make each step as safe and seamless as possible for you.

As in life itself, travel comes with some inherent risk the minute we step out our door.   Travel isn’t dangerous. Being irresponsible is. For your protection we want you to be proactive in following new health guidelines. They involve teamwork and personal responsibility, but they do not preclude you from having fun and enjoying your trip! Things constantly change and it’s a huge challenge for airlines, airports, hotels, cruises and tour companies.  We will do our best to keep you up to date with any adjustments.   Please understand we reserve the right to amend any tour activities, if needed. To present responsible travel, we at AFS do our part: Our vetted suppliers uphold the highest standards under CDC guidelines.

Safety measures on a trip; frequent handwashing, (bring personal sanitizer), exercise social distancing and wear a mask when applicable. Insurance provides trip cancellation, but not from fear, trip interruption, added medical protection. Call them to understand coverage. We are not responsible for any additional cost to you due to quarantine or illness

Helpful CV Resources–  Below are helpful links to facts and stats for you to reference as you gear up for all your travel domestically and abroad.

  • Facts about coronavirus-symptoms/transmission/precaution/treatment
  • https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/question-and-answers-hub/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses
  • CDC entire situation summary
  • https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html\
  • US State Department Travel Advisories (Often old news)

Our Pledge to You – Our global suppliers uphold the highest standards under new CDC guidelines.  We at AFS assure you we will continue to offer you quality trips to countries where you will feel protected – countries that are going to extraordinary lengths now to provide a safe visit. Each destination is far less crowded than ever before and that means better personal attention.  We can trust our astute suppliers when each country is clear to visit. We’re taking great precautions and encourage you to remain positive.  We will strive to make each step as safe and seamless as possible for you!

  • We ensure that heightened sanitation methods have been adopted in every place we visit and that all hotel properties and vehicles have passed cleanliness protocols.
  • Our guides and drivers must test negative and pass stringent safety measures.
  • Most of our groups will be limited to half the size of normal in the past.
  • We are choosing destinations with wide-open spaces for physical distancing.  You will be spaced at meals to socialize safely.
  • Some private tours for groups of friends only can be arranged.
  • We’ll monitor your trip closely and provide a 24/7 emergency number if your trip is disrupted.
  • All clients must take the AFS pledge that they are COVID-free and will follow all the safety protocols.  Most AFSers have gotten vaccinations now.

Your Pledge to AFS  – We ask you to assume personal responsibility to protect your health and the well-being of your fellow travelers, guides and locals.

  • Read and print all updated Trip Tips on AFS website
  • Consider travel insurance with trip interruption
  • Stay healthy with vitamin D and zinc.  Confirm within 14 days of departure but you have no symptoms of Covid nor being in close contact with anyone diagnosed with it.
  • You agree to assume any risk of participating in trip activities, comply with applicable government, airline and health authorities.
  • Exercise social distancing and local guides directions whenever possible.
  • Sanitize your hands and phone throughout.
  • Read our terms here –  https://www.afstravelers.com/terms-and-conditions/

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Rapid COVID-19 PCR Tests – Rules are changing daily! At this time, we must rely on each airlines policy. Read Covid rules at the top of airline website up to a week before departure. Every airline and country differ. 2 weeks prior we will send you final AFS departure letter with instructions specific to your trip.

At present, a Rapid (RT) PCR test is needed for international flights and to enter most countries and needed to return to USA. We hope this will be eliminated by the time your trip goes. RT-PCR is best some airlines are accepting other tests now.  No mailing kits. All tests are free or covered by insurance.  To get fast with no wait, make appointment at private lab for a fee. They are now thousands of labs around US. Also, more testing sites opening daily with easy drive through. Call your healthcare provider or Urgent Care near you. Or Google “free no cost Covid testing near me”. Most state and federal programs provide this. Or Google airport to see if Test is available there (JFK $75). Rural areas are more challenging. You may need to drive to an appointment in a nearby city.  At present it’s free at Walgreens and CVS. They will bill your insurance company of $119. (Best trick – if you say you may have been “exposed to a Covid person” or if you feel “symptoms” like fatigue or say CDC recommended, it must be free.)

Outbound – Most airlines require negative PCR test within 96 to 72 hours prior to departure of your first flight.  This new rule makes travel more challenging, but we must follow to protect ourselves and those on the flight. Read specific airline rules on website, also any rules on connections in transit. Those vaccinated still need to show a test, but may change.   Get RT-PCR test with guaranteed results within 24 to 48 hours. They email result to you. Print out to bring at check in. Also screenshot copy on cell phone. Test must read “PCR”. (We’ve had nobody test positive yet, if so, call us 770-432-8225. Many tests are inaccurate and a re-test shows negative.)  Don’t forget to bring your vaccine card if you have one!

 Homebound – Airline may require negative PCR test to board departure flight. Each carrier differs. We hope this is eliminated by your trip date. If test is necessary within 72 hours of departure, we can help arrange test for group in each country. Details later by email.  As of May 10 new mail in-home kits the CDC announced you can now bring to do there for return into USA. The CDC only certifies kits from eMeds- 6pack $150, however, outbound some airlines may not accept this for departure.

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FOR TRIPS TO AFRICA

Suzy’s Africa Travel Tips

“The only man I envy is the man who has not yet been to Africa. For he has so much to look forward to.”

“Africa changes you forever, like nowhere else. How can you describe its magic? How can you explain the fascination of the past and noble dusty continent, whose oldest roads are elephant paths? How are experiences here in a way no other place can? Maybe it’s because Africa is the place of all our beginnings, the cradle of mankind. The happiest years of my life were spent here.”    Paul Theroux

Some travelers who’ve never been to Africa think a safari is non-stop action.  Behold the stunning boredom!  The fact is there’s a lot of glorious downtime between early morning and evening game drives.  Time in the bush is like entering a remnant of an earlier era.  Everything slows down.  Shade seeking lions flop over like house cats, zebras stand still as statues, leopards drape over branches to sleep.  All game rests.  With them, we engage in a communion of laziness.  We relax.  We observe.

Wildlife Encounters – All animals are wild and you are prey. Respect proximity. Wild animals are totally unpredictable. If you ever encounter a predator in the bush-never run! You will always be the slowest. Animals may roam into lodge camp. Never deviate off path or walk alone at night. Guards will escort you. Never walk near a riverbank or swim in lakes. Hippos hide well.

Game Drives – You will be divided in 6-7 per safari vehicle.  Do not interfere with or direct your expert rangers – guide who lived there.  He’s far more than a driver with years of experience and intense certifications. Your safety is their number one concern. They can spot everything from ground to sky.   The suggested tip is $5 to 10 per game drive. If several days of drives, wait until the end.  Animal sightings are not guaranteed. AFS past groups have been extremely successful on all. Over 3 decades, we never had a bad safari. Big cats are usually present, but leopards and cheetahs tend to hide. Don’t just search out the big mammals. You’ll miss the marvels of small creatures like badgers to bushbabies and spectacular birdlife.

Photography-   Best light on safaris is 6 to 10 AM and 4 to 6 PM.   Rangers will assist for best vantage points. There is usually a pair of binoculars to share in jeep. Always get consent before photographing local people.

On return home, share your pics on AFS private Facebook page or use Shutterfly.com.  (I have over 8000 photos of elephants and lions. Please take human photos as well as wildlife. Better yet, take photos AFS humans with the wildlife.)  Expert Africa Packing: Bring only soft-sided luggage. No hard cases can fit in Safari vehicles. If we use small charter aircraft deep into bush like Botswana, I’ll advise of strict weight restrictions for both bag and carry-on.   Pack light and wear the same clothes more than once. Laundry is always available.  Neutral colored clothing (no bright colors or fragrances to alarm animals.)   light cotton shorts and T-shirts by day. Jeans/pants with long sleeve tops at night. Early-morning drives always cold-bring warm jacket, fleece or sweater.   Smart outfit for evening functions.  Hat with a brim for sun protection and chinstrap for drives.   Bring simple light day pack on drives. Sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellent with DEET, swimsuit, adapter plugs, mini flashlight, toiletries.

Lodges or Camps –  All first-class properties or “glamping” style tents.   All food and water is purified. If water is not, guide will advise.  Cover bathroom sink with washcloth as a reminder not to use. Bottled water in the rooms and always available daily. Hydrate! African air is dry and sun is strong.  Lodges have a staff tip box. $5 to $10 is generous to give and will be shared with all staff.  Ask reception for charging station to plug-in phones, cameras and tablets.

THE BIG FIVE ANIMALS TO SEE ON SAFARI

Be mindful of everything around you, not just the Big 5.   I’m a primate girl myself.  In times gone by European hunters used to search out for the most difficult to hunt animals in Africa which led Safari club supreme a list of five key animals that were challenged to shoot. These were considered difficult for a number of reasons, including ferocity, visibility, and elusiveness.

Lions really are the kings of the savanna and are at the top of the food chain. As such, they need no introduction. Lions are widespread throughout southern and eastern Africa and you’ll have a good chance of seeing them in most safari locations.

Black Rhino now critically endangered, the black rhino is not actually black, but more off-white. Despite its huge bulk and dangerous reputation, rhinos are herbivores who would rather graze on some grass than attack a person. There are a few rhinos left in a wild due to large increase in poachers hunting them for their horns.

Leopards are nocturnal and secretive, making them the most difficult number of the Big 5  to actually spot. When you do see one, chances are it will be lounging in a tree at sunset having just eaten dinner.

African Elephants as most people know are large thick-skinned herbivores. Elephants are numerous in Africa but nevertheless can be hard to spot in some areas due to their ability to hide in the bush and long grasses. Despite being widespread, elephants face a growing threat from poachers who hunt them for their ivory.

Cape Buffalo considered by many to be the most dangerous of the big five, reportedly causing the most hunter deaths, with wounded animals reported to ambush and attack pursuers.

Meds:  Anti-malaria pills may be recomme. Ask your health care provider. Sometimes a Yellow Fever shot is recommended. You get it county health clinic and it’s good for lifetime.  Our groups never had any problems with mosquitoes in two decades of trips to Africa.  Phone me direct if you have specific questions 770-432-8225

About Anti-malaria drugs

This is a common question from our travelers to parts of Africa and So. America.  It is a serious disease that can happen when being bitten by an infected female mosquito.  However, it’s extremely rare.  While locals, tourism staff and guides there do not take pills, many travelers prefer to play it safe with either weekly or daily pills which starts week before your arrival.

In the US, we are limited to only 3 choices; Malarone, Doxycycline or Atovaquone (Larium). Malarone can be costly, but now there’s a generic.  Wal-Mart or Kroger have the best prices.  See your doctor for a prescription.  Sometimes one only needs a strong DEET repellent (roll-on best) and wearing pants and long sleeves at dusk.

Some clients go to CDC website which prepares all for the worst and creates unnecessary fear.  We only stay in fine properties with clean food and water.  We do not use needles, swim in rivers, work with the sick or have sex with locals.

I don’t want you to over immunize yourself sick, spending hundreds for unnecessary dollars.  Over 2 decades selling Africa and South America, no AFS client has ever contracted any disease.  Ultimately, it’s your decision on what’s best for you.

Travelers diarrhea can happen anywhere outside USA.  It can be caused from the stress of travel, different diets and water that is contaminated.  However, all lodge meals are hygienic clean meals.  (Cause of infection may be virus, parasitic or bacterial, so don’t think Cipro is a cure all.)  You all know not to drink untreated tap water, use ice cubes.  It is contagious so be scrupulous with washing your hands and using clean towel to dry.  And not to brush teeth with it.

If you get sick, rehydrate with oral rehydration salts, take Imodium or Lomatil.  If it doesn’t pass in a week, see doctor. Don’t reach for ‘’stoppers’’ right away. Allow toxins to pass. Fluids are essential.

Things for Children –  Bring anything as all we be used.  Think Dollar Store of Target.  Some store will even donate.  (Get creative.  I bring hair scrunchies and mirrors for girls and balloons for kids.). I poor places school supplied can be useless with no paper to draw on.  The need shoes, socks, cloths. The love caps, toys and inflatable balls.  You can always donate cash to the headmaster or visit Packwithapurpose.com to see who needs what in each country.

African Jewelry –  Many AFS women long for a piece to treasure their safaris like a Big 5 ring, bracelet or pendant.  The best beyond any store is Kim in Capetown. See her website and say Suzy sent you.  KimCloeteDesign.co.za

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