We’ve tried to anticipate your questions on our guest information page, but here are some of the things we often get asked. If you have anything to add to this list that may help the next visitor plan their dream vacation to South Africa, you’re very welcome to let us know.
Are there dangerous animals on the Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate?
Although some of the animals on the estate may seem habituated to humans, they are still wild! As such, they should always be treated with respect. You should never try to touch, chase or corner any wild animal. There are occasionally predators like leopard, hyenas and wild dogs on the estate, as well as snakes and scorpions. You can read more about them in our ‘in-house’ info guide.
Can I feed the animals?
Under no circumstances should you feed the animals. Estate management monitors the grazing conditions and intervenes if necessary. Not only can you harm animals by feeding them the wrong things, they can become aggressive and pose a danger to humans if they associate people with food and may have to be destroyed. This is true of everything from warthogs to hyenas.
Can I walk around at night?
You can walk around the grounds of the Ubuntu Luxury Villa at night at your own risk. We have provided a torch and lights for the stairs of the viewing deck. However, you shouldn’t walk around the estate or the wilderness area at night, as leopards, hyenas and other predators may pose a threat.
Is there a time difference?
South African Standard Time (SAST) is the time zone used by all of South Africa, Botswana as well as Eswatini and Lesotho. The zone is two hours ahead of UTC (UTC+02:00) and is the same as Central Africa Time. Daylight saving time is not observed in either time zone. Solar noon in this time zone occurs at 30° E in SAST, effectively making Pietermaritzburg at the correct solar noon point, with Johannesburg and Pretoria slightly west at 28° E and Durban slightly east at 31° E. Thus, most of South Africa’s population experience true solar noon at approximately 12:00 daily.
The South African National Time Standard, or ‘SA Time’ Master Clock, is maintained at the Time and Frequency Laboratory of the National Metrology Institute of South Africa (NMISA) at Pretoria and is distributed publicly by an NTP Internet Time service [source: Wikipedia].
You can check out time differences from SAST here.
Is it safe to drink the water?
Ubuntu Luxury Villa has a reverse osmosis water filtration systems installed, so you can drink the water. You can read more about it in the information guide in the house.
Are pets allowed?
You cannot bring your pet with to Ubuntu Luxury Villa.
What languages do people speak?
South Africa has 11 official languages. English is commonly used in business and tourism. Shangaan, Afrikaans and Sotho are common in this area.
What money do I need?
The official South African currency is the Rand (R). The Rand consists of 100 cents and you have 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, R1, R2 and R5 coins. Paper money comes in these denominations : R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200.
Travellers cheques can be redeemed at the bank or exchange office in Hoedspruit. To exchange foreign currency you need to bring your passport. There are several ATMs at the bank offices in the town centre, near Pick ‘n Pay & Spar supermarkets and at the gas station. At the ATM you use your pin to withdraw Rands with your credit card and bank card. Please remember to check with your bank if you need to activate your bank card before departure! All well known credit cards like Mastercard, Visa and American Express are accepted.
Are the plugs different?
We have several adaptors in all rooms, and cater for European plugs combined with South African plugs. We also have USB points and a large charging station in the kitchen.
Is South Africa safe?
As with travel anywhere in the world, be vigilant and avoid isolating situations.
When is the best time to visit?
Hoedspruit is a year round destination. The summer daytime temperatures are generally in the mid 30s, while in winter, they’re in the mid 20s. Night time temperatures in summer are in the high teens and low 20s, while in winter they rarely drop below 10. The unit of measure is degrees Celsius. Transition months between seasons (spring and autumn) are not very pronounced.
Can we get a caterer if we don't want to cook?
This needs to be booked in advance, but yes, you can organise a caterer for Ubuntu Luxury Villa if you prefer to not cook for yourself during your stay.
What should I pack?
- Light-weight cotton garments in neutral colours work well for day wear in the bush (khaki, beige, olive green – avoid white or red on game drives),
- A light jacket or sweater may be necessary for the summer evenings, and a heavy jacket and sweater are recommended during the winter months of May – August,
- A hat,
- Hiking shoes if you plan to walk a lot,
- Restaurants are quite relaxed, but ‘smart casual’ is generally the required dress code.
- A camera,
- A good pair of binoculars, ideally in the 10×40 range. We do have a pair for use in the villa, but you may want your own for game drives,
- A high factor sunscreen,
- A small personal medical kit containing any prescribed drugs as well as plasters, headache pills and antihistamine is always useful,
- Lip balm,
Travel documents required
Please note that this information is subject to change, so check with the relevant authorities before you travel.
- A valid passport. Please look at the expiry date. According to South African law, a passport needs to be valid at least 6 months after arrival and it needs at least four blank pages.
- A valid driver’s license. An international drivers license is not necessary, unless you still have a paper license.
- European visitors will receive a visa stamp (without costs) in their passports. Non-European visitors need to check prior to departure if a visa is required to travel to South Africa.
- Bring any medical documentation you may need, like prescriptions, information about allergies and medication.
- Travel insurance documentation.
- Check the expiry date of your credit card and pin card before departure. In many cases you need to activate your bank card to use in South Africa.
- Parents travelling with kids (<18) need to bring the official birth certificate of their kids.
What do you assume responsibility for?
Ubuntu Luxury Villa is not responsible for any loss of property, injury, medical costs, loss of life, delayed or cancelled planes, transfers or lost luggage. The client must take full, sole and absolute responsibility for seeing to the proper supervision and safety of person and property.
What do your rates include?
- Water and electricity
- Weekly cleaning, only when you stay 7 nights or more
- Bed linen
- Supply of dishwasher tablets and laundry detergent
- Bath, hand and swimming pool towels
- 1 complementary box of cappuccino cups to use in Dolce Gusto coffee machine
- Access to your hosts David and Joanne
- An extensive tourist information folder
- Shopping service for a 5% service charge on top of the costs for your groceries, which you can settle with your host.
- Free WIFI
What health precautions should I take?
Please check your need for vaccinations before departure to South Africa so you can enjoy your holiday without any worries.
Which vaccination you need depends on your age, health condition and prior (as a child) vaccinations. For most adults who already have had their recommended vaccinations, only DTP and Hepatitis A are necessary. Always consult your doctor for advice.
Is malaria a risk?
Hoedspruit is a low-risk malaria area. Speak to your doctor about prophylactics before you travel. It’s advisable to prevent mosquito bites, especially when visiting Kruger National Park or overnight stays in rest camps. Take care during sunrise and sunset as mosquitos are more likely to sting during these times. Spray repellent or wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers. At the villa, use your flyscreens to avoid mosquitoes getting into the rooms.
Where can I rent a car?
You can book a rental car via the usual booking websites. Or you can choose to book a rental car online via the available car rental offices in South Africa, like Avis, Budget, Hertz, Bidvest and Europcar.
Please note to look for the browser extension .co.za , to be sure you’re dealing directly with the South African office.
When you book your rental car from Johannesburg – Hoedspruit and back, you can choose any rental car office and if there are sufficient cars available.
Avis operates an exclusive car rental operation at Hoedspruit airport, Eastgate. Please note that there’s limited availability if you didn’t book your rental car in advance.
What side of the road must I drive on?
In South Africa, people drive on the left hand side of the road.
What maps are the best?
A good app to use is map.me. You can find this in the App Store / Play Store. This app works offline, so you can download the South Africa map and use it. No need for roaming and no need to buy or rent a navigation system. Please bring along a 12v car charger as the app uses a lot of battery. If you have data on your mobile device we would recommend to use the Google Maps app. Always double-check for detours and stay on the tar road. Do not take gravel roads.
Do we need to bring our own bathroom amenities?
Ubuntu Luxury Villa is stocked with Africology products, including shampoo, bodywash and mosquito repellents. There is also a hair dryer and vanity mirror in each room.
Is there a Doctor in Hoedspruit?
Yes there a number of doctors in Hoedspruit. If you get sick, please contact your host and they will help you with arranging an appointment.
Where can I get my groceries?
There are a number of supermarkets in Hoedspruit. You can read more about this in the information guide in the villa.
Are children allowed in the villa?
We can only accommodate children over 6 years old.
Are there any good restaurants nearby?
How far is it to Kruger National Park?
The Orpen and Phalaborwa gates of the Kruger National Park are the closest. Orpen is just 70 kilometres from the villa and Phalaborwa is about 75 kilometres from the villa. Pay attention to gate opening times by checking www.sanparks.org.