“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” – Anthony Bourdain
It is very important that you read this post carefully before you embark on your journey to us. Not only have we travelled extensively in Africa and abroad, but we were also born and raised in South Africa, and we are raising 2 children here. I may be labelled as a bit of a “worry wart”, but my motto is “rather be safe than sorry”.
- Your flights are NOT included in the course fees, and you are to arrange them yourself. There is also a link on our application form for travel quotes from a local service provider if you need assistance.
- U.S or U.K travellers visiting South Africa for tourism for less than 90 days do NOT require a visa.
- Right, so let’s start with your luggage. Read my “What to Pack” post. Then remember to plastic wrap your bag so that when it arrives in South Africa, you can rest assured that no one will rifle through your bag and help themselves to your stuff. Also, label your bag properly and add my contact details to the tag, (as your South African contact), in case your bag goes on an unexpected detour trip!
- My details for your luggage tag: Michelle Raath, Wildlifevets, Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, +27 79 497 9297.
- If your luggage does decide to explore the world without you, make sure you report it at the relevant desk and get a reference number, so that I can track it’s progress once you are here.
- Please check the time zone in South Africa compared to your own, and PLEASE, don’t phone me in the wee hours of the morning unless it is an absolute EMERGENCY. Please also pass this on to your loved one/s. There is nothing more frustrating than being woken at 3am by a mom/dad wanting to check in and see if all is well. We work ridiculous hours, and give it our all, so we need our rest where possible. Give your loved one/s my email address, (firstname.lastname@example.org), so that they can mail me, during working hours, and I will gladly assure them of your wellbeing, and tell them how much fun you are having 😉
- Right, so you will need to fly into OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg from your respective country. You will then either take a connecting flight to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, aka: KMIA/MQP, OR, you can catch the City Bug bus from OR Tambo Airport. City Bug bookings can be made online. We don’t support taking any other means of transport to Nelspruit.
- Give yourself enough time from landing at OR Tambo to either catch your connecting flight, or get onto the City Bug. There is nothing worse than charging though an airport you are not familiar with, especially if your time is limited.
- I do not recommend accepting the help of luggage handlers at any South African airport, in my personal experience, they cannot be trusted and could hold your luggage “hostage” until you pay them a ridiculous fee. Just keep control of your own stuff. Be assertive and just say “No, Thanks”.
- We will collect you from either KMIA/MQP or the City Bug stop in Nelspruit. Both locations are SAFE! KMIA/MQP is a TINY airport with a nice Wimpy for coffee. The City Bug stop also has a safe waiting area where we will collect you.
- It is important that you are on my FB messenger chat during your trip, especially so that you can notify us if you have missed a flight/luggage etc.
- It is essential that you arrive on the Sunday start date of the course after lunch, and that you leave on the Saturday departure date of your course. We CANNOT accommodate anyone who arrives early or leaves late, as we will be cleaning after a course, and preparing for the arrival of the next group. If you arrive a day early or leave a day late, you need to check in at another accommodation and arrange your own transfers.
- If you are staying at one of the many hotels at OR Tambo Airport, please take my advise, do NOT hire a taxi and go exploring in Johannesburg. Gauteng is really geared towards commerce and industry and therefore I cannot recommend it as a tourist destination, having lived there for over 10 years, I speak from experience. It’s is a different thing altogether if you are in Cape Town, there is much to see and do, and Cape Town is really geared towards tourists. There are wine farms aplenty, and I will post about Cape Town “things to see and do”.
- On departure day, please arrange your flight somewhere between 09h00 and 12h00. We will serve you a departure breakfast and then we can settle bar-tabs. But we need everyone out of the rooms by 10h00, so that we can clean and prepare for the group arriving the following day. (Our courses run back to back from early April to end October yearly).
- Our currency is the ZAR, (South African Rand). Please exchange a few dollars at OR Tambo, as you will be super busy once you get here, and we will most likely NOT have time to visit a forex office. I can’t see that you will need more than R1000 ZAR. Most of the shopping destinations we will take you to, DO accept credit cards. Please note that Diners Club and American Express are not usually accepted, so best you bring your VISA or Mastercard.
- As a rule, we travel with our valuables in a backpack. “Out of sight, out of mind”. Again, please read my post on “What to Pack” in terms of your carry-on bag.
I think I’ve pretty much covered everything. We are very excited to have you here with us, and hope that during your time with us, that you make memories that will last forever! Safe travels, see you soon!0