African Wildlife Conservation Experience
Your trip is just around the corner! Here’s what you need to know before you go…
Citizens of the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, and many other countries receive an automatic 90-day Visitor’s Visa for free upon arrival in South Africa*.
Please visit the South Africa Department of Home Affairs to check if you need to apply for a visa prior to entry, and check the U.S. State Department for more information on visa requirements and current travel advisories. If you are not from a visa-exempt country, please email firstname.lastname@example.org at least 2 weeks before submitting your visa application to request a letter of invitation.
*This is for informational purposes only- travelers are responsible for obtaining an appropriate visa.
Booking your own flights gives you the flexibility to choose your layovers, airline(s) and other travel arrangements. You may book your flights through any travel website or travel agency. Please plan to arrive in Port Elizabeth by 2pm on your arrival date (Sunday) to ensure you can collect any checked bags before your pickup time of 3pm. Departure flights should be scheduled after 12pm on your departure date (also Sunday). Once you have booked your flights, please upload your flight itinerary below so that we can arrange your airport transfers.
Destination Airport: Port Elizabeth International Airport
Airport Code: PLZ
Airport transfers are included in the program fee and arranged by GVE on your scheduled arrival and departure dates. If you require alternative arrival or departure dates, please contact email@example.com to request a special airport transfer (fees may apply).
*If your itinerary involves a long overnight layover at Johannesburg, there are several hotels in the area. We recommend:
City Lodge Hotel @ OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) This hotel is conveniently attached to the airport with signage for direction. https://clhg.com/hotels/152/City-Lodge-Hotel-OR-Tambo-International-Airport
Shoestrings Airport Lodge (backpackers hostel) – This lodge is about 1 mile from the airport with free shuttles for pick up and drop off. +27 (11) 975-0474
What to Expect on Arrival
Please download WhatsApp to your smart phone and be sure to add your phone number and emergency contact info in the appropriate portal tab.
Please use WhatsApp to message the program coordinator in South Africa with updates during your travels, if your flight has been delayed, or if there are any other last-minute changes to your itinerary. Program Coordinator phone: +27 72 238 5683
You will need to collect your checked bags to go through Customs when you arrive in South Africa- you’ll need to re-check your bags after Customs for your connecting flight to Port Elizabeth.
Immigration & Border Control may ask where you’ll be based during your session- the address is 39 Eastbourne Rd, Kenton-on-Sea, 6191, South Africa. Don’t forget your return flight ticket and evidence of sufficient funds (they may or may not ask for this at the border).
Upon arrival at the Port Elizabeth International Airport, you should collect your baggage and walk through to the pickup area- a staff member wearing a “Sibuya Game Reserve” t-shirt will be waiting for you, holding a sign with your name on it. If you’re having trouble finding them, please contact the Program Coordinator via the WhatsApp group.
Suggested Packing List
This suggested packing list is based on a 2-week session:
- 1 pair of closed-toe working shoes (ideally hiking boots)
- 1 pair of sneakers/trainers, flip flops or sandals for free-time activities
- 4-5 work outfits (clothes that can get dirty, appropriate for the season, short and long sleeve shirts & short and long work trousers)
- 2-3 non-work outfits for free-time activities (including night options for evenings at the local pub)
- 1-2 sweaters / fleeces (at least 1 for work that can get dirty)
- 1 raincoat / waterproof jacket (appropriate for the season)
- Working gloves
- Water shoes (for kayaking/fishing)
- Sleeping clothes (appropriate for the season- night can be 70°F in January and 20°F in July)
- Beach clothes (bathing suit, flip flops, beach towel, etc.)
- Smart phone & charger (tip: if you don’t have an international phone plan, SIM cards are available at the JNB & CPT airports- be sure to unlock your phone before you arrive!)
- Travel adapter if needed (plug types M & C, 230V)
- Personal medications & prescriptions (glasses, contact lenses, inhaler, EpiPen, etc.)
- Toiletries (soap, shampoo, hairbrush, toothbrush/toothpaste, etc.)
- Baseball cap and sunglasses
- Reusable water bottle
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Small backpack for day trips (tip: bring a few large ziplock bags to keep small items dry)
- Sunblock (high SPF) and insect repellent (DEET-free repellent is recommended as it is safer for the animals)
- Binoculars (not essential but highly recommended)
Other items (depending on personal preference, experience level and availability): journal, personal first aid kit, rehydration powder or drinks, reference books, games/playing cards, camera (w/charger), headlamp, power bank, stethoscope, watch, latex-free gloves (if latex allergy).
Laundry facilities are available. Work clothes may be permanently damaged or soiled due to the nature of the activities and location.
Checked baggage is occasionally delayed, so please pack clothes and toiletries for 1-2 days in your carry on, as well as any valuables. We also recommend locking, zip-tying, or plastic wrapping your checked bags.
Travel tips: Think layers! Conditions can change dramatically from morning to mid-day to night and layers will help you stay comfortable whether the African sun is shining or not. This list can be adapted to suit your session length and the season- in South Africa, September-April can be very warm while May-August are cooler months; we recommend checking retrospective weather forecasts from the previous year for a rough idea of what to expect. Consider interchangeability- if everything you pack can be worn more than one way, you can pack much less. Also, dark clothes show less dirt and quick-drying clothes can be washed more often. As a general rule of traveling, only pack as much as you can carry!
We recommend exchanging at least $50 USD to South African Rand in your home country or in the airport. Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted in the area, including most local activities and weekend destinations. Some activities are cash only, but ATMs are regularly accessible. Call your bank to find out about international ATM withdrawal, debit card, and credit card fees- most banks have a withdrawal fee plus a conversion fee for ATM withdrawals but only a conversion fee for debit or credit card purchases. Some “travel rewards” credit cards offer no international fees. If you decide to use a credit card for most purchases, you should also have access to an ATM card (this is cheaper and easier than exchanging money and safer than traveling with a lot of cash). If you plan to use a debit or credit card, tell your bank when and where you’ll be travelling so they won’t flag your card for unusual activity.
Emergency Contact, Medical & Dietary