Mahlatini FAQ's

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Before booking any holiday there will always be a host of questions that require an answer, from what to pack, to what makes a Mahlatini holiday special. To help answer initial queries our Mahlatini FAQ section has been specifically designed to help you find quick answers to some of the important questions you may find yourself asking.

About Mahlatini Luxury Travel

  • What makes Mahlatini Luxury Travel different?
    • When you book with us we don't want to provide you with just a holiday. We offer a highly personalised service to ensure your trip is a wholly unique and unforgettable experience. A member of our sales team will be your guide and advisor throughout the booking process, helping to pick properties best suited to you and ultimately designing your perfect itinerary. We place great emphasis on talking to our clients, we like to find out your wants, wishes and needs so we can effectively evaluate every nuance essential to creating a holiday as smooth and seamless as possible.
    • In addition, our bespoke automated systems mean nothing is left to chance when booking your often complex travel arrangements. Our rigorous checking procedures provide further reassurance that your holiday itinerary will unfold seamlessly.
  • Why should I trust Mahlatini Luxury Travel to organise my once in a lifetime holiday?
    • Mahlatini have over ten years of experience organising luxury holidays to Africa and the Indian Ocean and we are constantly striving to provide the best possible service. We are very proud of the amazing feedback we receive and we are confident that we will continue to impress our clients with our knowledge and service. We invest heavily in researching the best destinations and we have built strong relationships with our preferred partners and suppliers, all of whom are the best in their field and are fully bonded through their local travel regulation bodies. We also possess membership of the relevant trade associations, such as ATTA (Advancing Tourism To Africa)
  • What about my money, how can I be sure it's safe?
    • Providing you the best possible financial protection is of utmost importance to us which is why we have in place a series of measures to keep your money safe. Mahlatini is a trading division of Luxury Travel Ltd, (company number 601052). Luxury Travel Ltd is a member of the Travel Trust Association (number U7098). Being a member of both the Travel Trust Association (U7098) and the Civil Aviation Authority (ATOL T7316) provides 100% financial protection no matter which country your travel originates from. Even if Mahlatini failed financially or stopped trading the Travel Trust Association (TTA) would ensure your holiday still went ahead unaffected and if for any reason this was not possible then the TTA would make a claim to have your money refunded.
  • What are your eco-policies and how do you ensure you give something back?
    • Mahlatini take the protection of Africa's ecology and cultural heritage very seriously and align ourselves only with suppliers and charities that share the Mahlatini vision of a sustainable future. In 2013, in a bid to raise awareness of Africa's rhino poaching crisis, Mahlatini partnered with Save the Rhino International offering our clients one year's STRI membership. Most of our camps practice strong eco-policies, ranging from the use of solar power to education programs for the local communities.
    • We also support the 'Pack for a Purpose' campaign whereby we ask our clients to use any available space in their luggage to provide supplies to communities they visit.

About your Holiday

  • But can't I just book the elements of my holiday directly?
    • Certainly, however, you would have to be willing to forgo two very important benefits - price and reliability.
    • In addition to our own financial protection, all our African and Indian Ocean Island partners are the best in their field and are fully bonded through their local travel regulation bodies. This ensures that should something go wrong you are fully protected.
    • We also enjoy a 'preferred partner' status with the majority of our suppliers which allows us to offer customers the most competitive rates available as well as providing those little extra touches that make a big difference. Therefore booking direct most likely doesn't mean your holiday will be cheaper or in safer hands.
  • What if something goes wrong on my holiday?
    • We offer a 24/7 emergency contact service so our UK team can be contacted at any time throughout your travels. There will also be local telephone numbers provided for on-the-ground assistance at every destination.
  • If I book my holiday with Mahlatini what do I have to do?
    • All you have to do is show up. We arrange all of your activities, transfers from place to place, flights and accommodation. We like to keep it simple and guarantee your holiday is as stress free as possible.
  • How do I pay you?
    • We can accept payments in USD, GBP, EUR, AUD, CAD and ZAR. Payments are preferably made by bank transfer or debit/ credit card. We can accept cheques on a request basis. All credit card payments attract a surcharge which is not included in your quotation. You may therefore wish to pay the balance by bank transfer or debit card. The specific charges will be clearly detailed on your invoice.
  • When is best to go on a safari?
    • There is no absolute best time to go on a safari and what month you can travel in often determines which country and which region within that country that you visit. This is something an expert travel consultant will be able to advise you on. If you have flexibility on when you travel, generally if it is a first time safari and you are out to maximise your sightings it is best to travel during the 'dry season' months from June to October. This is because the grasses are lower and the animals tend to congregate around water sources making them easier to spot. Dry season is generally the 'high season' in Africa for this reason.
    • If you are a birder, it is a second time safari or indeed if price is an issue, the 'green season' months of Nov - May do have their own rewards. The bush is alive with babies having been born, the migrant birds have all arrived, the scenery is lush and green and the light is incredible for photos. Generally rains fall in sharp, short showers in the afternoon, being a welcome relief to the hot summer days.
  • How do I choose which country to visit?
    • This is usually down to what time of year you wish to travel, what your interests are, whether you want to see any particular site and your budget.
    • The animals you wish to see on safari can determine where you go. Most first time visitors to Africa want to see the Big 5 - lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo. South Africa's Kruger National Park is one of the best places to go in search of these amazing creatures. For rhino sightings, South Africa has a large white rhino population and Namibia and Kenya can hold the chance to see the critically endangered black rhino. Lions and elephants are perhaps two of Africa's most famous inhabitants, the largest elephant herds can be found in Botswana and lion and other big cat sightings are best in Kenya and Tanzania. For those wishing for a slightly different experience, the forests of Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania provide sightings of gorillas and our closest relatives, chimpanzees.
  • How much will my safari / holiday cost?
    • Many will tell you that a safari isn't really a 'cheap' holiday. It is the 'once in a lifetime' holiday that you need to be prepared to save for. The cost of a safari differs depending on the following: when you book, the country and region you select, your choice of accommodation, the time of year that you travel and whether you do a fly-in safari or not.
    • People are often shocked at the per night prices of some safari lodges and camps but it is important to remember the cost of actually running these camps / lodges in the middle of nowhere. There are park fees needing paid to conserve the parks; food and drink have to be flown in or driven long distances; camps and lodges often have to pay towards the upkeep of nearby bridges and airstrips and many also support their local communities.
    • For a consultant to put together itinerary ideas for you, having a budget to work within is absolutely vital because of the wide range of choices on offer. If you are looking for guidance on starting prices don't be afraid to call up one of our specialists who will be able to guide you on what prices you should expect for various times of the year, types of accommodation and regions.
    • Remember booking early is essential to receive the dates and accommodation you wish and to ensure a reasonable price. Many properties can have reservations booked a year or more in advance, so ensuring you book early is of great importance.
  • What kind of accommodation should I expect on a safari?
    • There is a wide a variety of accommodation options across Africa including lodges (large and small), luxury tented camps and more 'rustic' mobile camps. The prices vary dramatically depending on location and season. Where you stay is usually determined by three things; personal preference, the time of year you travel and budget. Our experienced travel consultants will be able to provide you with a choice of options which would best suit your individual requirements.
  • What should I pack?
  • What is the baggage allowance for my holiday?
    • When travelling to destinations where light aircraft or helicopters are used, certain airlines have a baggage allowance of 15kg including hand luggage (we will inform you in which instances this is the case). There is no option to pay for extra luggage. To avoid luggage being left behind, the airlines prefer soft bags that are lockable as they are unable to transport hard suitcases. We advise that you pack an extra set of clothes in your carry-on bag.
  • What about travel insurance and emergencies?
    • We would recommend booking your travel insurance as soon as you have confirmed your holiday. This insurance should include cover for the duration of the holiday and cover against any unforeseen circumstance that may result in you having to cancel your holiday before you leave. Travel insurance to cover medical, theft, cancellation and curtailment is highly recommended. Medical cover is the most important aspect because medical care in Africa is not free, and the best medical care can be expensive. Simply getting to a hospital can be a costly exercise, so please make sure that you are covered for ambulances (land and air) and emergency flights home.
    • We offer a 24/7 emergency contact service so our UK team can be contacted at any time throughout your travels. There will also be local telephone numbers provided for on-the-ground assistance at every destination.
  • What's the tipping etiquette in Africa?
    • Tipping varies by location and can be confusing to keep track of without advice. Before jetting off on your holiday we would guide you on how much to tip and who to give it to.
  • What if I can't eat or don't like African cuisine, what will I eat?
    • Hotels and lodges are extremely accommodating regarding food and will often go out of their way to ensure you are comfortable with what you're eating. If you have any special dietary requirements then a property will make sure to accommodate you, while for those who would rather steer clear of local foods and stick with what they know, international cuisine is often a staple part of many menus.
  • Can I drink the water?
    • In some countries, such as South Africa, the tap water is perfectly fine to drink but in most instances we recommend that you drink bottled water or the purified water provided by the lodge (this is often preferable from an environmental standpoint).
  • I'm scared of bugs and creepy crawlies, what will I encounter and how will I cope?
    • For many this is a deciding factor as to whether they are willing to venture to Africa at all. In most safari lodges the area is sprayed and with air-conditioning and fans it is rare to encounter a friend of the insect variety. That said you may encounter some, more so in tented accommodation, but again it is very rare and shouldn't put anyone off an 'under canvas' experience. If this is still a concern for you, be sure to question your consultant who will be able to recommend a more suitable accommodation for you.
  • What vaccinations should I get before I go on holiday?
    • Any vaccinations or malaria medication you may require will be determined by the destination you choose to visit. The best idea is to talk to one of our experts as well as to your GP, who will be able to advise you on the necessary jabs for the destination you decide to visit.
  • Will I require a visa?
    • This depends on your own nationality and the country you are visiting. Most African countries do require a visa and in most cases these can be obtained on arrival, however, visa requirements change constantly and you are ultimately responsible for obtaining the appropriate visas for the countries you are travelling to. Please ask your travel consultant for the latest advice.

Honeymoon

  • Can I ask family and friends to pay money towards my holiday as a wedding present?
    • The Mahlatini Honeymoney service is tailored for just that purpose. Your friends and family can make secure online credit/debit card payments through PayPal or use their PayPal account if they have one. The contributions can either go towards the overall cost of your trip or for purchasing fancy extras, such as hot air balloon safaris or couples massages.
  • I'm about to travel on my honeymoon, what name should I travel under?
    • We would advise you to travel under the name that is stated on your passport at the time of travel, for most this would be your maiden name.