Wild facts

Practical and important information

Time of departure

The perfect time of departure all depends on your wishes as what to experience, and how you feel about a warm climate. We have no low season at Mpala. All year round you have excellent opportunities to experience the amazing animal life as there is no rainy season and none of our animals migrate as it happens in e.g. Kenya.
From May to October it is really dry and the trees lose their foliage. The animals have a hard time hiding and you can usually find them close to the river or near the water holes. This period is also the coolest but not cold at all. Temperatures during the day are app. 20-25⁰. Some days even a little warmer, some days not so much. This will suit the ones, who are not so fond of the very high temperatures in Africa during the summer.
From December to February, you have the warmest months with temperatures during the day up to 35-40⁰ C. As the weather is mostly on the dry side, the warmth will feel much more pleasant that one might think.
In the period November-April, the bush is filled with lush vegetation and there is plenty of food for the animals. Here, the animals spread out more. It is also at this time of year that the animals have their babies.


The rules for luggage are often changed and the various airlines have different rules. Please check with the airline you use. Most of the airlines have a max of 20 kg luggage on Economy as well as 1 piece of hand luggage weighing 5-7 kg. NB! The airlines can change the rules for luggage without warning! There are strict rules for fluids in your hand luggage and more. Please make sure to check the latest information from your airline before departure.

You can have your laundry done at the Mpala Lodge from day to day so you do not need to bring clean clothes for each day. You can rent golf equipment at the Hans Merensky Golf Club so golf players do not have to bring bags and more. The equipment may be somewhat worn. Please be aware that every pointy or sharp object – even as small as a nail cutter or file – is prohibited as hand luggage!

Please note that even if your luggage is checked in and tagged all the way to Hoedspruit, you must always pick it up yourself at the luggage belt right after passport control in Johannesburg. You must take it through customs and check it in again at Domestic. We have had guests who have been told otherwise at the airport from home, but this is a mistake. You will not get your luggage on the last flight if you do not collect it yourself in Johannesburg.

If any luggage is missing in Johannesburg, you must go to the counter and report it missing, so that you will receive a receipt with a reference number. Otherwise, it is very difficult to get the luggage to you.

Remember to pack all your medicine and all valuables in your hand luggage. Also consider carrying some clothes in your hand luggage so that you can manage a day or 2 without your luggage.


Tips are therefore an important part of the income for the Africans. At the restaurants, we recommend 10-15% tips.
Porters in the airport or at a hotel are often paid app. 10 rand a suitcase.
For the driver on a roundtrip we recommend app. 50-75 rand per person per day.
Do you want to give the staff at the Mpala Lodge a tip, we recommend that you put the money in an envelope and give it to the hostesses Estel or Stacey.  They will then distribute the tips among the staff so everybody have a share.
A normal amount for a lodge is app. 1000 rand per room per week for the ranger – and for distributing among the rest of the staff app. 750 rand per room per week.


There are two locale airports; Hoedspruit and Phalaborwa, app. 1 hour drive away from the Mpala Safari Lodge. We will pick up our guests at these airports on arrivals Mondays between noon and 2 o’clock. You must therefore make sure that your flight is consistent with this. We need to know about your arrival well in advance. If your travel is delayed for whatever reason, so your time of arrival is changed, we will appreciate to be told so we can come and get you just the same. Please make sure you have a minimum of 2 hours for each stopover so you have a buffer for eventualities like delays, passport control, luggage handling etc. When you are going back home, we will drive you to one of the two above mentioned airports of your choice, Mondays (and Saturdays) between noon and 2 o’clock. There is a later flight from Phalaborwa that we recommend that you avoid as our guests often have missed their connecting flight from Johannesburg due to delays on this route. Mpala cannot offer to fetch or bring guests to and from other airports or at other times than the here mentioned without a prior agreement and at a fee


South Africa have more than one climate zone. The Mpala Safari Lodge and Kruger National Park are situated in the North-East part of South Africa, where it never gets really cold and where even the winter is pleasantly warm during daytime. November-March is the summertime with temperatures during the day between 28-35⁰ C or more and temperatures in the evening at 20-25⁰ C. The hottest months are December-February. During summer, brief and heavy thunderstorms occur, but a rainy season as we know it from e.g. Kenya do not exist here. Even after some rain, the air will shortly be very dry again, so the high temperatures of summer do not feel uncomfortable. During April-October, the weather is bone dry and with sunshine most of the time. Even during the coldest months it can be up to 28⁰ C and very seldom drops to under 20⁰ C during the day and 8-10⁰ C during the night. The Cape Region to the south of South Africa has a cooler climate than the northern part where Mpala is situated. Here, the climate is similar to the one we know from the Mediterranean and have summer from October to March. The winter here offers some downpour but also sunshine. The wine districts of South Africa are situated in the Western Cape Region.


The currency of South Africa is Rand = R (or Zar). The exchange rate has dropped significantly in the later years, which means that we can go along way on our Western currencies. For a fee, you can exchange everywhere in banks and exchange bureaus. If you prefer you can withdraw cash using your credit card in an ordinary ATM at the airport in Johannesburg and in any city bank. You can use recognised credit cards like Visa, Eurocard, MasterCard, American Express and more almost anywhere. At the Mpala Safari Lodge you can pay with Visa, Visa/DK, MasterCard, and Diners. You can find ATMs in airports, banks and shopping malls.


220/240 V. You will need an adaptor. At the Mpala Safari Lodge every room has an adaptor. NB! Not for plugs with 3 legs. 


Your travel insurance must be in order at all times when traveling. Please contact your travel agency to find out how to make a travel and cancellation insurance.



Remember to bring extra batteries or charger for your camera. It would be a shame to be in the middle of an exciting situation and run out of power. You should also bring an extra memory card. The really great shot is usual one out of many so take a lot of photos without having to fear you run out of memory.


For travels no more than 3 months, citizens from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden do not need a visa for visiting South Africa. Other nationalities must inquirer local authorities about the relevant demands. Passports must be valid for min. 6 months after the time of departure from South Africa. One page in the passport must be free for stamps.

The sun

The sun in South Africa is significantly strong duriong the summer. We recommend that you protect yourself by applying a sun protection with a high factor (Min. 15-20). You can have products in the shops that will dry up quickly so you avoid a greasy surface on your skin. These quick-drying products are especially well-suited for a safari.


South Africa is a multi-lingual country. By far, most people speak fluent English, which are easy to understand. At the Mpala Safari Lodge, the staff and the guide speak English



In general:
If you need to travel for a shorter time (up to 3 weeks) to tourist areas: hepatitis A, diphtheria / tetanus
If you have to travel for a longer period of time in tourist areas, in addition: typhus, possibly. hepatitis B

If you are going on a longer stay or outside tourist areas, in addition: hepatitis B, possibly rabies, tuberculosis

Mpala Safari Lodge and all our excursion destinations are considered to be in tourist areas.

Yellow fever
Yellow fever vaccination certificate required by travelers coming from a yellow fever area, except Zambia and Tanzania
A yellow fever vaccine previously had to be renewed every 10 years. It has now been changed so that a vaccine makes you immune to yellow fever all your life.


Mpala Safari Lodge follows the applicable guidelines at all times to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

During the flight:
You must bring your proof that you have all the necessary COVID-19 vaccinations in written English. The voucher is used at check-in at the airport both on departure and on the return journey.

The authorities also accept the certificate electronically, but it can be expensive or difficult to get online when you need to show it, so it is a good idea to have it on paper. If you do not have all COVID-19 vaccinations, please read the required requirements here: Travel – Coronavirus COVID-19 | South African Government (www.gov.za)

Be aware that there may be requirements to wear medical mask in the airplane and at airports along the way.


Malaria is found in many areas of southern Africa, so we recommend that you contact your general practitioner for further information on malaria prophylaxis.

Malaria prophylaxis does not provide 100% protection against malaria.
We recommend that you avoid being stung by mosquitoes.

Use mosquito repellent and be aware that mosquitoes are attracted to smelly feet. So wash your feet with soap before dinner and put on clean socks.

If you experience side effects from the medicine or in other any way feel uncomfortable, please contact our experienced staff at the lodge for assistance.