South Africa Experience –
Frequently Asked Questions




Helpful Info

Visit the following links for helpful information and current news that is happening in South Africa:

Customs & Etiquette

Language & Vocabulary

Learn helpful phrases and words for your global experience:

Visa Application

No visa is needed for the South Africa trip.


If you do not already possess a valid and up to date passport, you need to apply for one immediately.  The application process can take just 4-6 weeks, but Claudia will need a copy of your passport far before then, so please, do not delay applying for your passport. Also, your passport must be valid for 6 months AFTER your trip date {for example- if your trip is scheduled for March 2014, your passport must be valid through August 2014}. Please make two copies of your passport: One to include with your Visa application and one for Claudia.


We often have students ask if they need to have immunizations for our trips. This is up to you and your health care provider. It is not required. I would highly suggest you check with your health care provider and also with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


If you take prescription medications, I would suggest that you bring them in their original bottles. Store them in a zip-lock bag in your carry-on. This will help you pass through security without any further delay.

Jet Lag

Jet lag can be a real drag. Here are 13 ways to reduce jet lag while traveling:


Please arrive to the airport AT LEAST 2 hours before our flight. Not only will you be checking in with the airline and security, but this time is used to acquaint yourself with your fellow travelers and to be briefed on your global experience.

Tickets will be printed and distributed at the airport, upon check-in. As we have to book our seats as a group, we can only book your ticket for Economy Class. If you would like to upgrade your seat to first class, you must do so at the airport {this is only available if they have open seats and there will be an additional charge}.

I will be giving you luggage tags at the airport {if you are not flying out of GRR then they have been mailed to you}.  Please put these on your luggage.  It will help a great deal when we are trying to find our luggage.  After being up and traveling as long as we will have been, all black, blue or red luggage looks the same.

Please check the luggage restrictions for the airline that your trip is booked through:



US Airways

Frquent Flyer Miles

To claim your frequent flyer miles, simply bring your miles card to the airport when checking in. I cannot claim the miles sooner, due to being booked as a group.

Airport Security

As you arrive at the airport and go through security, I would ask that you be extra kind to the TSA workers.  What a wonderful witness you can be to the workers who have a thankless job.

A few things that could help in the speed of going through security would be to:

-Wear slip on and off shoes – put them through the scanner first – that way when they are looking at your other items you can be putting them back on.

-If you are wearing a sweater or jacket, put it in our carryon before getting to the line.

You can get it back out at the gate to put back on to save backup at the scanner line.

-Remove all things in pockets and jewelry. I keep an empty ziplock bag in my carry-on to put these items in. You can get it back out at the gate to put back on to save backup at the scanner line.

-If you are wearing a belt, put it in our carryon before getting to the line. You can get it back out at the gate to put back on to save backup at the scanner line.

-If you are bringing a laptop please remove them from your carry on and put in the tote.

-If you get singled out to be extra checked……..well ………now is really the time to put on a smile and think how safe the trip will be because the TSA is taking extra care of you.


While experiencing South Africa, we will be staying at first class world hotels.  Visit the accommodations and the amenities they have to offer:

Cape Town Hotel

Johannesburg Hotel

Safari Hotel

*Hotels listed above may be subject to change. Please see your itinerary. for updated information.

Shared Rooms/Individual Rooms

You will be assigned a shared room for the global trip. Please let us know if you would like to share a room with someone you know {on your application or by contacting Claudia}.

If you choose to have a private room, the fee is an additional $700.

Extended Trips & Spouses

If you are planning on extending our time abroad, you must contact Claudia immediately, as she will need to make special arrangements for you.

If you would like additional information on how your spouse could join you on a Bglobal Experience, please contact Claudia.


Electricity and outlets differ from country to country. If you are planning on using a blow dryer, curling iron, electric shaver, Ipad, Kindle, etc., you will need to purchase a converter/adaptor. You can purchase this at the following big box retailers, such as: Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Meijer, Walmart, Walgreens or any travel specialty store.

For more information, please visit:


We will be in the cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town.  You will need to know that our winter is their summer.   Cape Town is on the ocean and Johannesburg is more inland.  You will want to check the weather for both places.  Layers are good for the Safari. It may be hot during the day, but night drives and evenings around the fire pit will be cooler.  As the trip draws nearer, please check the weather here:


Before planning to use your cell phone abroad, you will need to make sure your phone will work internationally and that you will not be charged roaming rates. This could get VERY expensive.

You may want to set up a Skype account.  This is a great and reasonable way to call home.

Here are some of my favorite smart phone apps while traveling:

China Daily            mPassport shanghai            mPassport Bejing            American              Fly Delta             China Airlines

Continental            Air Canada            BA            Lufthansa            United             Gate Guru             Seat Guide             Flight Tracker Pro

Skyscanner            My TSA             Cultures            Translate             BLB – Blue Letter Bible             Converter             Translator

Geocaching              ICE 4 TRAVEL            Help Call         iFirstAid Lite       UV Detector

Social Media

However you stay connected with your friends and loved ones through social media, we got you covered.  We suggest you and your “followers” connect with us on one or more of the following social media networking sites. We’ll be posting status updates and pictures throughout your trip. A great way to keep connected!

Facebook                   Google+                       Twitter                             Flickr

Dress Code

There will be three dress categories as we travel. You will see on the itinerary what is listed as the dress for each day. Please see below for the dress specifications:

Men:  Shirt, tie and jacket
Women:  Suite dress or slacks

Business Casual:
Men:  Dress shirt
Women:  Dress or slacks

Both:  You can wear your jeans and/or  your casual clothing.

No denim or jeans are to be worn for Business or Business Casual.

Business Cards

You may want to bring your business card to pass out to the business leaders that we meet.  They are also helpful to have to pass out to one another on the trip.

*Remember if you give or take a card from someone, you do not put it right into your pocket.  You take it in both hands till you walk away from the person you are talking with.  Thanks for remembering this!


On our trip we normally let the group know that it is customary to TIP any bus drivers and guides that we have.  So I just wanted to let you know the amount I would suggest…….but please know that this is at your own discretion.

If you are pleased with the tour, you can tip $2-$5  to the tour guide for a full day tour, $1-$2 to the driver. So if you have a single guide for 10 days, you will want to tip the guide $20.00-$50.00; and the driver $10.00-$20.00; $30-$70 total for both.

For the China trip we will have a single driver and guide with us every day.  I normally will collect the money at the first of the week and then give it to the guides and drivers on the last day.  Hope this helps in your planning.

Money/Currency/Credit Cards

South Africa’s national currency is called the rand. Exchanging currency is very easy in South Africa. You will find places to exchange in your hotel {or close to}, in the business districts and the airport. I would not recommend exchanging in the airport when we land. The exchange rate is typically higher and we will want to not delay in the airport after such a long flight. You may want to check with your bank on their exchange rate {some have a very low or no exchange fee}.

Credit cards are widely accepted, but I would suggest to only using them at established stores. Prepaid credit cards are a very good idea. You will need rand for the street vendors and markets; some may accept US Dollars.

Currency Converter 


I would suggest that you pack a bag in your checked bag if you plan on doing a lot of shopping, this way you will have a bag to bring your goodies home with you.  We will take you to a couple of markets that you will be able to get some really nice African handmade items {some mass produced items}.  I brought a wood elephant home with me one year and  I had to carry it on my lap {I don’t suggest that}.


While the food is amazing in South Africa we suggest that you bring a long some AMERICAN snacks.  A power bar, hard candy, trail mix, etc.   There is a grocery store very close to our hotels.  This will help if you want to stop and pick up some pop or water.  The bottled water is much cheaper in the grocery store over the street vendors {only drink bottled water}.

Walking & Getting Around

In South Africa we tend to do a lot of walking and jumping on and off the train/plane.  I would suggest that when you start to think of what to pack you think of your feet.  I would suggest that you bring shoes that are comfortable to do a lot of walking in.

Also, if you can, I would suggest that you start walking now to get ready for this trip.

Security/Pick Pockets

Pick-pockets are all over in South Africa, especially at the areas of high sightseeing.   We will need to remember that when we are out and about.  Several years ago, while we were there, I watched my friend Doug get pick-pocketed, without even knowing it.  So keep your money, credit cards and passports in an area that no one can get to.  For tips visit:



-Africa Rising – Vijay Mahajan

– Long Walk to Freedom – Nelson Mandela  

-Leading with Cultural Intelligence – David Livermore ISBN:  13:978-0-8144-1487-3


-Foreign Investment Cushions Downturn in Africa

-China Storms Africa (6 parts)

Suggested Reading


–   Soweto  (Inside Out)  Stories about Africa’s famous township

A Penguin Original  Non-Fiction    ISBN:  0-143-02459-0



Web Resources

Videos to watch:

Let me introduce you to my dear friend Skot Welch.   Skot will be with us on our trip.  I promise you… will count him as a dear friend too after this trip.


Here are a few web sites you might want to check out.

Sample Itinerary