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WINGS Birding Tours – Information

South Africa: The East

Birds & Mammals

Tour Information

Note: The information presented here is an abbreviated version of our formal General Information for Tours to Eastern South Africa. Its purpose is solely to give readers a sense of what might be involved if they take this tour. Although we do our best to make sure what follows here is completely accurate, it should not be used as a replacement for the formal document which will be sent to all tour registrants, and whose contents supersedes any information contained here.

ENTERING SOUTH AFRICA: United States citizens will need a passport that is valid for at least 30 days beyond the date of departure from South Africa, an onward/return ticket, and proof of sufficient funds. Passports must contain at least two blank visa pages. Visitors for tourism do not require visas.

Travelers entering South Africa from countries where yellow fever is endemic must present their yellow World Health Organization (WHO) vaccination record or other proof of inoculation.

It is always a good idea to take photocopies of your passport and air ticket with you when traveling abroad. They can prove invaluable in helping you get replacements if your original documents are lost or stolen. You should pack the photocopies separately from the originals.

COUNTRY INFORMATION: You can review the U.S. Department of State Country Specific Travel Information for South Africa at Review foreign travel advice from the UK government here: and travel advice and advisories from the Government of Canada here:

HEALTH: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all travelers be up to date on routine vaccinations. These include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.

They further recommend that most travelers have protection against Hepatitis A and Typhoid.

Please contact your doctor well in advance of your tour’s departure as some medications must be initiated weeks before the period of possible exposure.

The most current information about travelers’ health recommendations for South Africa can be found on the CDC’s Travel Health website at

Malaria:  A small part of the tour is conducted in areas where there is a risk of malaria; the remainder is at locations where it does not occur. Please consult your physician.

Yellow Fever:  There is no risk of Yellow fever in South Africa.

Please note that all health information provided here is gleaned by WINGS from online resources devoted to traveler’s health. It is essential that you consult with your own physician for up-to-date professional advice.

CLIMATE: Spring in South Africa can be variable and difficult to predict. In general, we can expect subtropical hot and dry conditions with maximum daytime temperatures in the 80s, with the low 90s possible. We should expect the occasional rain showers. In the Drakensberg Mountains, the temperatures will be a cooler with night-time lows dipping into the lower 60s. 

PACE OF TOUR AND DAILY ROUTINE:  The tour is not a strenuous one but may require continuous early morning starts along with some evening and/or night drives. There are no particularly long walks and anyone with a reasonable degree of fitness will be able to take part fully in the tour. Some forest trails may be slick if it has rained. In order to cover the full range of habitats of this tour, there is a fair amount of driving involved, and we need to travel long distances. In Kruger National Park, we’ll be in open-top safari vehicles, and not be permitted to exit the vehicle unless we are in a camp or designated picnic area. There may be longer periods of time between bathroom stops, but we make a great effort to plan them regularly. A lot of time is spent in the vehicles.

There are some early starts on this tour and typically days start around 05:30, either with breakfast or a pre-breakfast excursion. In Kruger, we will depart early every morning to take full advantage of birds and mammals at dawn. Our days usually end around 18:00 – 18:30, although we may not reach our accommodation on some days until as late as 19:30. Normally we try to allow an hour after reaching our accommodation for showering and changing before dinner. However, if we have a later arrival for whatever reason, we may need to go directly to dinner.

ACCOMMODATION: We will stay in a variety of hotels, B&Bs and lodges that are generally very good throughout. We expect all rooms will have en-suite bathroom facilities, though, while unlikely, there may be some situations in smaller B&Bs where some rooms may need to share a bathroom. Hot water is usually constantly available. Double-bedded bedrooms, or single occupancy rooms, may not be available at all locations due to the size of the bed and breakfasts we use; please check with the tour manager before booking.

FOOD: Food is excellent, plentiful, and usually very European, although hot and spicy food is available at some centers and we’ll have opportunities to try more local cuisine as well. Lunches will be a mix of sit down and picnics prepared in the field by the leaders.

WINGS tours are all-inclusive and no refunds can be issued for any missed tour meals.

TRANSPORT: Transportation will be in a van driven by the leader. The leader will arrange a seating rotation. Participants must be able to ride in any seat in tour vehicles.

In Kruger National Park, we will move into an open-top safari vehicle driven by a local safari guide and your leader riding shotgun.

Updated: 01 December 2023