Frequently Asked Questions
Below you will find some commonly asked questions and issues that will help prepare you for your next hiking adventure in Southern Africa.
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Due to risks involved with young children in the bush – especially on foot, Dust and Boots recommends only bringing children over the age of 15 years of age on the tour. Dust and boots advise that guests above the age of 65 years of age get a medical clearance from their general practitioner.
Reception is generally good in the civilized parts of Southern Africa – and generally non-existent in the rural and natural areas.
In Swaziland we have one network provider, MTN Swaziland – check with your cellphone company if you will get reception here (Some work and others do not). We have spare Swazi sim-cards available which you can borrow, while you’re here, if you need to get in touch with home.
In South Africa most foreign networks are recognised, but in the Kruger area reception is non-existent outside the main camps. Be prepared to be off the grid, while we are on trail in the Kruger National Park for 5 days.
In Namibia reception is generally good in populated areas, but non-existent in more remote areas. Be prepared to be completely off the grid in the Fish River Canyon and in some of the more remote destinations.
Swaziland’s climate varies from sub-tropical/tropical in the East to temperate in the West due to difference in altitude.
Summer months are hot and humid (December is midsummer), whereas as winter months are cool and dry (June is midwinter).
Rainfall is generally expected during thunderstorms in midsummer with an annual rainfall of 500-900 mm/year (in the East and Low veld) to 1000-2000mm/year (in the West and Highveld).
Kruger National Park
The climate is similar to Swaziland’s low veld, with an approx. annual rainfall of 555mm. In the wet season (midsummer) an average 7 days of rain/month is expected – usually in thunderous afternoon downpours. Winter months are dry and cool.
|Dry Season/ Winter (May-September)||Average morning Temp||Average afternoon Temp|
|Wet Season/ Summer (October-April)|
South Africa has a bad reputation when it comes to crime, however we will not be visiting dangerous areas. The Kruger National Park region is considered safe. Swaziland is a peaceful country with very little crime compared to its two neighbors, South Africa and Mozambique. Regardless of where you are, Dust and Boots recommends that you never carry or display things that you are not willing to loose. As in all parts of the world, certain people can be tempted by flashy jewelry or the latest smart phone – keep your valuables safe.
Southern Africa is home to both venomous and dangerous animals. As we spend most of our tours in the wild, we are likely to come across some of these. If you follow a few precautions and guidelines – which we will carefully go through on arrival – there is absolutely nothing to fear!
Dust and Boots’ lead guide has got an updated first aid certificate and has experience with snakes and venom treatment, so should disaster strike you are in safe hands. When we walk in big game areas we are always in the presence of an armed ranger, who knows exactly how to deal with all situations in the bush.
Malaria: Swaziland is considered malaria FREE, whereas the Northern part of Kruger is a risk area during the rainy season (Always consult with your doctor, before departure)
Tuberculosis: Unfortunately, many local Swazis die from this both preventable and curable disease every year. Talk to your GP regarding a vaccination. Contracting this disease is not considered a risk on Dust and Boots’ tours, as it is transferred through prolonged exposure to people carrying the disease.
HIV/aids: Swaziland is suffering massively with the HIV/aids epidemic – it’s considered that as many as 25-35% of the population are affected. The disease is incurable, but can be prevented by eliminating contact with fluids from a carrier of the disease.
Ebola: Swaziland and South Africa are NOT affected; and are further removed (geographically) from the risk area in West Africa than Europe is.
As this is mainly a hiking tour, Dust and Boots recommends a certain level of fitness, but you do not have to be an athlete to participate. We will always walk at the pace of the slowest hiker and we take lots of breaks to enjoy the stunning view this region of the world has to offer. Where appropriate we walk to the 50:10 principle; walk 50 minutes, rest 10 minutes. Obviously, if we are ascending mountains we will rest more frequently — as much as we need.
When we go on the backpack trail in the Kruger National Park guests are expected to carry their own backpack, and backpacks usually weight about 15-18 kgs, so you must be strong enough to carry this for 4 days in the bush. Generally, it is recommended that you do not carry more than the equivalent of 33% of your weight in a backpack, however we aim to not excess more than 25%. (For a person weighing 70 kg this equals 17,5 kg).
You will have to find your own flights, as this part of the journey will vary from group to group. We meet at O.R. Thambo Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa (Airport code: JHB), unless anything else is stated in the tour programme. Your guide will pick you up at the designated airport and the tour starts from there. Likewise the tours ends at the designated departure airport, as stated in the programme.
The site www.momondo.com is great for finding cheap flights.
Personal comprehensive travel insurance is a prerequisite for joining Dust and Boots’ tours (We will need a copy prior to tour departure).
Dust and Boots also recommends a cancellation insurance in case the traveller has unforeseen events happen that prevent participation in the tour.
It is the personal responsibility of the guest to acquire suitable insurance. Please read our Terms and Conditions
Credit cards, such as Visa, MasterCard are accepted by most ATMs, so there is no need to exchange money from home. Dust and Boots recommends withdrawing money upon arrival in Johannesburg airport. (Remember all essentials are already paid for from home, so you only need spare cash for souvenirs, gifts, and small odds and ends).
The currency in South Africa is called Rand. The Rand notes (10, 20, 50, 100 and 200) are also accepted in Swaziland and Namibia. In addition Swaziland has got its own currency called the Lilangeni – these are not accepted in South Africa, although they are on a par with the Rand. The same goes for the Namibian dollar (N$).
In Southern Africa Dust and Boots focus on Swaziland and South Africa. We are based in the heart of the beautiful kingdom of Swaziland and most of our tours begin here.
Southern Africa is a region consisting of a multitude of different cultures, climates and distinguishing factors – too much information to share on this one website. Below you will find some highlights.
Swaziland is a miniature landlocked kingdom in Sothern Africa ruled by the absolute Monarch, King MSwati III. Swaziland gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1968. There is a functioning parliament with an acting prime minister, however the legal status of political parties remains unclear. In 2006 King MSwati claimed that parts of Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal belong under the Swazi Kingdom.
Swaziland is highly dependent on South Africa for the majority of its imported goods (90%), likewise 60% of the country’s export goes to South Africa. The major export goods are sugar and soft drink concentrate, whereas motor vehicles, foodstuff and petroleum products are imported. The Swazi currency, Lilangeni, is pegged to the South African Rand.
Swaziland is situated in Southern Africa, 26 30 S, 31 30 E. The country shares its borders with South Africa to the North, West and South, and with Mozambique to the East. With an area of just 17,364 sq. km it is one of the smallest countries in Africa. The topography of the country is diverse with high cool and wet mountains that run from North to South in the Western part of the country, whereas the Eastern part of the country is dominated by hot and dry lowland. The highest point is Emlembe, 1,862 m and the lowest point is the Great Usutu River, 21 m. The climate varies from tropic in the Lowveld to near temperate in the Highveld.
Swaziland is rich in natural resources: asbestos, coal, clay, cassiterite (the main ore of tin), hydropower, forests, small gold and diamond deposits, quarry stone and talc. There are a few concerns regarding the environment as wildlife populations historically have been and are continually being depleted due to excess hunting, overgrazing, soil degradation and soil erosion.
Swaziland was never influenced by the apartheid regime in South Africa, and consists of one people (one tribe, namely the Swazis). 97% of the population are Swazi, whereas the rest are considered of either European or other decent. The Swazis are a peaceful people in a generally troublesome region of the world. The crime rate is very low compared to South Africa and Mozambique.
There are two official languages, English and SiSwati, and a literacy rate of 87.8%. Life expectancy is low, 50 years, due to the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the world, 26.5%; an epidemic that has left many children orphans.
1,403,362 people live in Swaziland. 21.2% of the population lives in urban areas, mainly in the capital, Mbabane, and the one other large city, Manzini. The unemployment rate is 40% and 70% of the people are considered to live of subsistence farming. 69% of the population lives under the poverty line.
Swaziland is a hiker’s paradise. Tall picturesque mountains dominate the West, whereas rough bush teeming with wildlife is characteristic of the East. Most of the reserves in Swaziland are safe to walk in due to lack of big game.
Read much more about Swaziland here
South Africa is a nature lover’s paradise. The country has it all; bush, beach, mountains, plains, desert etc. Dust and Boots’ founder Marie Dahl, has been exploring the South African bush for 14 years, and every time we venture out there we experience something new, something exciting or something that just makes us fall even further in love with this remarkable region.
In South Africa we focus on the famous Kruger National Park, where wildlife has roamed for centuries. Here it’s possible to see many of the iconic animals of Africa. We explore the region traditionally explored by vehicle on foot. We will take the time to get to know the bush, including its sounds, tracks and smells.
Read more about the Kruger National Park here.
Dust and Boots recommend that you speak to a travel doctor with regards to vaccinations required. Swaziland is generally safe, but Typhoid and Tuberculosis are prevalent. In the Kruger National Park Malaria occurs. Speak to your doctor!
You get a three-month visa on arrival in South Africa and a one-month visa on arrival in Swaziland (This goes for most Europeans nationals – check with your foreign affairs department – for Danish nationals have a look here).
The same applies for Namibia and Botswana, but be sure to check with the relevant embassies or consulates before departure.
It is the guest’s own responsibility to have the appropriate visa upon arrival.
Dust and Boots provide all the gear you need for the wilderness trails and other tours where equipment is needed – we have got fully equipped, quality hiking backpacks, tents, and crockery.
What you need to bring:
- Small backpack for day tours (should be light and comfortable for carrying essentials for day tours; sufficient water & snacks (which we will provide), sun cream, camera, sunhat, scarf, etc.)
- Optional: Water bladder or camel pack
- Hiking socks + normal socks
- Underwear (consider thermals for Winter nights)
- Sunhat (Preferably wide brimmed)
- Warm hat/ Beanie (for winter)
- Warm jersey (fleece or soft shell)
- Windproof jacket (for winter)
- Light windproof rain jacket or poncho (primarily Summer)
- COMFORTABLE hiking shoes/hiking boots (Comfortable shoes or boots are the most important item on the list. We will be hiking many kilometers, so your footwear can make or break this holiday – be sure to bring footwear that you know and trust to be comfortable for longer periods of time, i.e. brand new shoes is not a great idea. Our guides usually wear fairly open shoes when hiking, but hiking boots with more ankle support is generally a good idea. For the Fish River Canyon boots with ankle support is essential).
- Spare laces
- Sandals for leisure and nights on trail
- Gaiters (non-essential, but protects against grass seeds in the late summer months)
- Gloves/mittens (essential for Winter nights)
Clothes should be comfortable and suited for the time of year (remember Winter gets very cold at night in these parts – bring a sweater and warm socks; In Summer a rain poncho or light waterproof jacket is a good idea). As we will be hiking in the natural environment, we recommend neutral coloured clothes (Grey, khaki, subtle greens, greys, browns are perfect). Whites and brights can attract unwanted attention from certain animals, and should thus be avoided.
- Short and long-sleeved shirts (Lightweight, moisture management fabric, neutral colors)
- Zip-off trousers (lightweight, moisture management fabric, neutral colors)
- Bathing costume
- Sun cream
- Personal medicine
- Antiseptic cream, antihistamines, painkillers, anti-diarrhea medication, anti-inflammatories, eye drops, muscle relaxing cream, blister treatment/band-aids
- Emergency contact details + insurance details
- Money (credit cards will do – you don’t need to exchange from home)
- Vaccination certificates (consult with your doctor)
- Camera, charger
- Binoculars (optional)
Everything as described under the pricelist – generally everything excluding flights, insurance, single supplement, non-specified activities and pocket money.
We provide a full package putting emphasis on a high service level and a knowledgeable guide, who will join you throughout the tour. We provide everything in terms of food and snacks including drinks and refreshments with meals and on trails. (A late night drinking binge is on your own account)
Basic tips are included (Dust and Boots tip waitresses, guides, camp hands, etc.), but if you are particularly happy with a guide or an activity you are welcome to add an additional tip.
See tour prices under the individual tours — Click Here
In Southern Africa our seasons are the opposite of the Northern Hemisphere, however we usually divide our seasons into the rainy season (Summer months) and the dry season (Winter months).
November to February/March
The rainy season, which is also the hotter season, begins around November and lasts until February/March, the rest of the year is fairly dry.
The wet summer months are hot and comfortable – it rarely rains whole days, only in thunderous showers usually in the afternoon. In summer the bush is lush and green with lots of bird activity.
May to August/September
Winter months can be very cold at night, but the days are always warm and comfortable. Game viewing is better in winter, as the bush is less dense and you see animals more easily, but many of the migrant birds will have left the region at this time.