South Africa isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you hear the words “river cruising.” However, it’s one of the best ways to enjoy the scenery and wildlife. If you are an avid cruiser then you will probably find a South African cruise a little different. Here are a few tips when booking to go River cruising in South Africa.
Choose the right airline
You need to get to the start of the cruise which is usually in Cape Town or Johannesburg when booking a package with a tour operator. Or you can fly from South Africa to Kasane, Botswana to start the cruise proper on the Chobe river. Mango Airlines are an excellent choice as they offer cheap flights and you a 20kg baggage allowance is included in your flight price. Plus, that allowance can be spilt across multiple bags.
When going on Safari it can be very hot during the day, but it may cool down at night so you have to be prepared for both. It is not only the temperatures you need to think about but the strong sunshine and insects that are found here too. You’ll need plenty of sun lotion and insect repellent to keep you feeling comfortable during your cruise. If you have a lot to bring with you, then keep your luggage organised and pack smarter with packing cubes.
You are on a Safari River Cruise
This kind of cruise won’t stop at any towns or villages. In fact, there are none around to stop at, apart from at the gateway to the river. You will however see a lot of wildlife, possibly more than you would see on a land safari. The river is a place many wild animals come to drink and bathe in so it is a hotspot for viewing the native wildlife. You might elephants, giraffes, hippos and other animals in the area or even an elusive leopard coming to drink at the river’s edge.
Remember there will be Border crossings
Although you will start in South Africa, there are a few border crossings in Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe that will require passports and Visa fees. Make sure you have enough pages in your passport for these visas and stamps. You will also need cash if the visa fees are not included in your package. At this time, there is a $50 visa fee for Zimbabwe and another $50 if you visit Zambia. But this may be subject to change. Also check out the KAZA Univisa which valid for travel between Zimbabwe and Zambia and day trips into Botswana. You can get this from Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls airports and at the land borders at Victoria Falls and Kazungula. It costs US $50 and it is valid for 30 days.
You are on Africa time
In Africa, you might find a schedule is just a guide. No one is in a hurry or rushed to do anything. A river cruise is a time to sit back and relax and mimic the chilled-out vibe you’ll get from the locals. Expecting things to go to plan or to be responded to quickly will cause you frustration. You will receive excellent friendly service though so leave the uptight attitude at home. Being aware of this before you travel will make you more tolerant to the different pace of life.
After reading this do you fancy a river cruise in Africa? It’s becoming a more popular way to see the wildlife here and is a very relaxing way to do it too.