common

FAQ

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SOUTH Africa

Basic FAQ

Travelling to Africa might be for some daunting, but Africa is a lot more than poverty and wild hunting. 

Before visiting Africa, we recommend to familiarise yourself with the countries you want to see. 

Plan and research! The climate can change drastically and the distances are much bigger than in for example Europe and you will need time.  Please also check your medication and vaccinations. Some areas require Malaria precautions or yellow fewer shot

Do not stuff your schedule! You want to enjoy Africa and have time to experience.

It is mostly safe to travel to Africa. But like in any continent/country a traveller should use common sense.  Africa is facing poverty, crime and security issues. If you keep your eyes open and follow the below guidelines, you will greatly minimize the risks of becoming a victim of crime and instead be able to experience fully all that this warmly welcoming African country has to offer:

Common Sense Guidelines

  1. In large cities, avoid the central business districts at night.
  2. Never walk around any city at night, even if you are part of a group. If you need to go anywhere after dark, ask your hotel or guesthouse to order a reliable taxi for you. Do not just hail any passing taxi on the street!
  3. When out walking anywhere, avoid wearing flashy, expensive watches and jewellery and carrying large amounts of cash. Carry your camera unobtrusively in a bag, rather than slung over your shoulder. Walk purposefully as if you know where you are going and are not a “lost tourist.” Hold your bag close to your body and beware of pickpockets and other confidence tricksters on the streets and in crowded stores.
  4. If driving in a car, keep the doors locked at all times in city traffic. Do not drive with the windows down. Disregard any stranger who tries to confront you at a red traffic light or stop street.
  5. When parking your vehicle anywhere, do not leave any valuables or any other possessions at all in sight. Put everything in the trunk or take it with you.
  6. You will find “car guards” on duty in many city streets, but they cannot guarantee the safety of your car. You will be expected to tip the guard when you return to your car—he is at least a buffer of some kind against car theft or robbery. Only use the services of a person wearing an official “bib” stating that he is a recognized car guard.
  7. Distances between cities in Africa are large and gas stations not all that plentiful, so be sure to fill your tank whenever possible and ensure that your car is in a good mechanical condition before you set out on any journey.
  8. Plan your route in advance. Please always feel free to inform Secret Africa about your plans, especially if you wish to hike without guide.  It is important that someone knows where you are.
  9. Do not stop for any hitch-hiker or other person seemingly in trouble on the open road, in the street or at motorway off-ramps. Drive on and report the incident to the Police. Only stop at official Police-manned roadblocks. Criminal gangs have been known to set up “roadblocks” to lure motorists—either drive on past or around these or turn back and report the incident to the Police.
  10. Always travel with a cell phone. The emergency number to call for the Police is 10111. A functioning cell phone is essential to carry with you at ALL times. Find out before leaving home if your phone will work in Africa. If not, hire a cell phone when you arrive.
  11. Before travelling to remote areas such as the Wild Coast, check with the locals as to the best route and the security situation in the area. In general, the country people are most welcoming and hospitable and crime less common than in cities—but it is wise to obtain recent local information before venturing out on your own to remote areas.
  12. Leave your passport, air tickets and other valuables in a safety deposit box. Carry copies of your passport on you at all times. Keep photocopies of your credit and debit cards in a safe place.
  13. Park only in areas which are well-lit at night.
  14. Do not walk by yourself in any lonely area such as a stretch of beach, river bank, forest or the countryside without keeping other people in sight at all times. It is best to walk in a group at any time of the day. Avoid walking in lonely areas (even in groups) after dark.
  15. If you wish to visit one of the African townships, only do so on an organized tour, recommended by locals or by us.
  16. Be especially watchful at bus stations and atms, where criminals are known to operate.
  17. Wildlife is plentiful in Africa—confined to the numerous game parks and reserves. It is not safe to alight from your vehicle when driving through a game park—except at designated rest camps and picnic spots. Remember, these are wild animals and you are a guest in their territory! Do not attempt to approach any animal too closely—if one crosses your path, stop your car immediately and remain silent. Avoid loud noises, playing the radio or other music, shouting, hanging out of the windows, pointing etc. and simply enjoy observing Nature at her best.
  18. Always carry on you at all times the essential numbers of your travel and health insurance and important local phone numbers to call in case of emergency.
  19. If you are a member of the AAA, find out about affiliation to the AA (Automobile Association) of South Africa—an invaluable organization for the motorist, providing all types of travel information and assistance, route maps, weather, road information, and breakdown services throughout the country.

The infection rates seem to be much smaller in Africa than in other areas. Please have masks and any other hygiene measurements ready. In most African countries masks are mandatory. 

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/?_hsenc=p2ANqtz–rZXdvpxgMsH2oK-1Gnu8BHPWc7J_QFtZPsrVwAQqpHNrXQyllzVBZ-CG04OGICUPv9WB0pw6m8Xj09Ixp0oS-m2EepfHxZxugXc-OjvBoFnnxDpI&_hsmi=84525637

 

The terms of our rental agreement(s) differ from place to place. We will provide you with all relevant documents by email. These documents outlining our services can be a rental Agreement or a booking confirmation. Our rental agreement(s) or booking confirmation(s) include the names of all parties, check-in/checkout dates, rental amounts, payment schedules, and of course, cancellation and refund policies. Some include house rules and policies around cleaning fees, pets, and smoking.Prior to making payments the cancellation fee is not applicable and you are welcome to decline the quote should you change your mind about the booking. Please note that payment constitutes acceptance of our terms. We encourage all our customers to familiarize themselves with the terms prior to making payments for bookings.

 

When you are ready to book a property and make a payment, review and sign our rental agreement(s)and read it carefully as each rental typically has their own cancellation policies and house rules.For most of our properties, our clients/guest will be required to make the following payments:

  1. Initial Deposit. This is an immediate 50% deposit of the total invoice amount, otherwise they won’t book it for you.    
  2. Final Deposit.  The final 50% has usually to be settled one month ahead of your stay.  We will send you a timely reminder including all details.
  3. Security Deposit. Our properties require also security deposits.  Depending on the owner/property manager, it can be just an imprint of your credit card or a security deposit. The deposit amount can be anything between ZAR 2,000 to ZAR 50,000.  Each property has their own deposit amount stipulated. Don’t worry, we will send that information with the booking confirmation.

You can settle conveniently and secure via bank transfer and/or credit card with My Cape Town Villas.Please note that credit card payments incur a 5% credit card processing fee.  Bank fees shall be the responsibility of the client. Meaning the client/guest pays the issuing charges/transfer fees (i.e. your own bank’s charges).

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Before you depart

We hope you are enjoying or you enjoyed your trip, we are always grateful for feedback. So if you have time to drop us an email, we would appreciate it.

We hope Africa was as amazing as you imagined it. A couple of tips.

Please check your homes a second time before leaving, so no valuables are left behind. Especially when you are in remote places, it is difficult to arrange the forward of our your belongings and expensive. Our postal services do not work like you might be used to.

Be in a hurry! Please plan enough time to get from one destination to the next. It will surprise you how many missed transfers, we had to help out with. 

While we strive for happy clients/guests, mistakes happen or problems occur.  Please contact us immediately with any issues, as we are otherwise helpless in rectifying them.

In order to investigate and resolve the issue, we require the following information, ideally via email:

Your name, current contact details and property name

Description of the issue, ideally documented with pictures

How you would like us to resolve the matter?

 

Our properties require also security deposits.  Depending on the owner/property manager, it can be just an imprint of your credit card or a security deposit.  The deposit amount can be anything between 5 % to 20 % of the rental amount. Each property has their own deposit amount stipulated.  Don’t worry, we will send that information with the booking confirmation. This security deposit is usually payable 7 days beforehand or on arrival at the premises or at arrival. You will automatically receive the amount you paid for a deposit back once you have completed your stay, provided the owner or manager has not reported any damage to the property. This process can take up to 14 days for the amount you paid to be released back to you. Depending on your banking institution, it may take 5-7 working days from the refund being released to the money reaching your account.

You might book tours, activities or services. These get usually billed by our network partners, unless you specifically ask us to bill for that. Please also always keep a receipt of your transactions.