Expedition fees cover food, accommodation, bird ringing / bird banding activities, and transportation from your arrival in South Africa on day one of the expedition, until your departure on day ten. The fees do not cover alcoholic beverages or your return flights from your country of origin to South Africa. If you enroll for the Fynbos Expedition, Your collection and drop-off point for the Fynbos expedition will be Cape Town International Airport (airport code, CPT) and O.R. Tambo International Airport (airport code, JNB) for the Bushveld Expedition. If you are travelling beyond the bird ringing / bird banding expedition and need transportation near these airports, then Uber represents a viable option.
Visas and passports
For entry into South Africa, please check the information provided by South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs (http://www.home-affairs.gov.za/). Details for entry into South Africa are summarised below, but please check the Home Affairs site for any updated information (http://www.home-affairs.gov.za/index.php/immigration-services/apply-for-a-south-african-visa). You will need the following if you wish to visit South Africa: A valid and acceptable passport or travel document for your intended stay (usually required to be valid for at least 6 months beyond your date of entry); At least one blank page in your passport for endorsements; A valid TOURIST visa, if required; Sufficient funds to pay for your day-to-day expenses during your stay; A return or onward ticket; Yellow fever certificates if your journey starts or entails passing through the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America. Many countries are exempt from obtaining a visa prior to arrival. Please consult the following page (http://www.home-affairs.gov.za/index.php/countries-exempt-from-sa-visas) for details. This information is subject to change, and the BDI accepts no liability if visa problems are incurred.
Language and culture
The expedition will be conducted in English, which is also spoken widely in South Africa. A summary of our culture can be found here: https://www.kwintessential.co.uk/resources/guides/guide-to-south-africa-etiquette-customs-culture-business/
We require that expedition participants have travel insurance that covers medical treatment, evacuation, and repatriation in South Africa.
You may wish to make additional purchases during the expedition, such as alcoholic beverages and souvenirs. Legal tender is the South African Rand (ZAR) which is available for exchange at the airport upon arrival. Major credit cards using the Visa or MasterCard systems are widely-accepted. A guide to local tipping etiquette can be found here: https://www.capetownmagazine.com/news/your-guide-to-tipping-in-south-africa/10_22_19411
As bird ringing is an outdoor pursuit, we trust that you will pack and dress accordingly. Hats and sunscreen are necessities and rain gear is recommended in any season. Elsewhere in this document, we provide long-term weather statistics to guide your clothing choices.
Health and diet
If you have any special dietary requirements or if you have any medical conditions that we should be aware of, please let us know well in advance of your expedition.
To stay connected while you are on the bird ringing / bird banding expedition, you have several options. You can purchase an international sim card, purchase a South African sim card, or rent a phone with sim card. Purchasing a sim card in South Africa is possible at airports and other outlets, but does require you register the card with the government (RICA) The easier, but more expensive options are to purchase an international sim card (e.g. http://www.onesimcard.com/) or to pre-order a South African sim card (here https://b4i.travel/za/). Several online guides can provide more information (e.g. https://www.capetownmagazine.com/use-cell-phone-south-africa and https://toomanyadapters.com/buying-sim-card-south-africa/).
240 volts, 50 Hz, three-pin type M plugs are standard throughout South Africa.