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Planning

Practicalities

Visas and Passports

Please note the information below is relevant to British passport holders. Passports should be valid for at least 6 months after the expiry of the intended visit. You should also carry your return flight ticket with you.

South Africa

A visa is not required for trips less than 3 months in duration. Please note travellers must have two blank pages in their passport facing each other for their temporary residence permit issued free of charge on arrival.

For further information with regards to entry requirements, see www.southafricahouse.com

Mauritius

Passport holders do not require a visa for stays of up to three months. You will be required to complete a form on arrival and departure and will be issued with a free entry permit. For further information see www.mauritius.net

The Seychelles Islands

A one-month visitor permit will be issued on arrival free of charge.

Oman

A one-month tourist entry visa costing 6 Omani Rial or equivalent will be issued on arrival. It is also possible to apply in advance for a fee.

Dubai

A 60-day visa will be issued on arrival free of charge.

Maldives

A free 30 day Visa upon arrival will be issued for visitors.

Morocco

A visa is not required to enter Morocco for up to 90 days although a form will need to be completed on arrival.

Tunisia

No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.

Health

Innoculations

No innoculations are required for our destinations if visiting from the U.K., but we would recommend consulting your doctor to make sure your children are up to date with all they require for their personal health and well-being.

Malaria

None of the regions we feature on this web-site with the exception of the Bushtracks itineraries are malarial, so prophylactics do not need to be taken. Should you wish to feature further off the beaten track with younger travellers, paediatric malarone can now be prescribed for children weighing 11 – 40 kg and offers 97% protection.

Doctors and Medical Facilities

Private health care facilities are of an good to excellent standard in all our destinations, so do ensure you have adequate travel insurance in place so that you can access these if required. Doctors will generally come to your hotel for a fee, if you or your child would prefer not to travel to a local surgery or it is out of hours.

For further information about health issues, please see the Health Advice for Travellers pages in the Department of Health website.

Safety and Security

Mauritius, The Seychelles Islands, Maldives, Oman & Dubai are very safe destinations to visit. You will also find that petty theft has been greatly reduced in North Africa over the last 10 years.

Most crime in South Africa occurs in the townships and isolated areas away from the tourist destinations, and the South African government is actively trying to address the issue amongst local communities.

We appreciate that you may feel particularly vulnerable if you are travelling with children, and therefore only include main tourist areas in the regions we feature. If you would like to visit a township, please do so only as part of an organised tour run by a reliable operator (our representatives in South Africa can advise should you wish to do so).

As a holiday-maker therefore, South Africa is as safe as most destinations, as long as you take basic common sense precautions (e.g. not walking around with expensive jewellery and photographic equipment on show). We would also recommend that you seek the advice of your hotel with regards to local issues, such as whether it is safe to walk to a restaurant at night.

For further information, please see the Foreign & Commonwealth Office Travel Advice.

Language

South Africa has 11 official languages, of which English is one and is widely spoken, whether it be for shopping, restaurants, doctors, or child care.

English, alongside French, is also widely spoken in Mauritius, The Seychelles Islands and North Africa (although you may need an English/French phrase book to help you if you visit Djerba!). English is the main language of tourism in the Maldives, Dubai and Oman.

Travelling with Children

In the accommodation details for each hotel and lodge we feature, we also provide further information about the facilities and activities provided for children at each location.

Kids Clubs

Mauritian hotels have some of the best children’s clubs in the world whilst the Maldivian resorts are fast catching up followed by The Seychelles Islands. All the hotels we feature in Dubai offer excellent facilities for younger guests as well as the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah in Oman.

A babysitter can generally be arranged in advance for those visiting North Africa, but Clubs are not available at the Hotels we feature.

Hotels in South Africa are responding to the needs of parents and providing some good facilities where child carers can play and look after children, such as those at Hunters Country House and The Kurland on the Garden Route. The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa in Cape Town has some great facilities that will appeal to children including picnic walks, a rock formation swimming pool and even a 16-seater cinema!

Some of the South African hotels in our portfolio such as the Mount Nelson and Le Franschhoek also offer supervised activities during the school holidays, whilst others such as The Fancourt, George and Sun City Resort provide this year round. The safari lodges generally offer educational programmes for children, sometimes including special game drives.

Childcare Costs

Childcare in South Africa is very affordable, generally in the region of 30 – 50 rand per hour (well under £5). Often there is no charge for activities organised in the school holidays.

Generally there is no charge for the Children’s Clubs in the Indian Ocean / Middle East, unless your child is under the age of 3 or 4, when a babysitter may also need to be hired. Costs here are likely to be higher.

Generally a ratio of 1 babysitter for a maximum of 2 children is requested.

Childcare Staff

In South Africa, some more remote hotels and lodges, this may be provided by staff who may or may not have relevant qualifications. In the main cities such as Cape Town, this will be provided by a professional agency.

Staff in the Indian Ocean / Middle East have generally undergone training of some sort and their employment is focused on Childcare.

Supplies

Shopping in main towns is a pleasure and good value in South Africa. It is easy to park and Mall’s are air-conditioned. It is possible to purchase good value children’s clothes at supermarkets such as Pick ‘n’ Pay. Woolworths stores (the South African equivalent of M&S) generally have a small food hall full of tempting goodies if you need to stock up before a journey! Please note that imported baby products such as nappies and wipes are very expensive (close to double that in the UK).

Availability is not so straight forward in Mauritius, Maldives, The Seychelles Islands, North Africa and Oman with regards to children’s items and so we recommend that you bring these with you. In Dubai the selection is excellent and tempting.

For further information, see our ‘Shop Till You Drop’ pages.