Dress codes are generally very relaxed in South Africa. Safari clothing should preferably be informal in natural colors. Avoid strong contrasts in colors that will attract attention and scare the animals. It is recommended to wear long pants on the bush walk.
You should bring a pair of good walking shoes (sneakers can also work) as well as a pair of light shoes or sandals for excursions by car. A warm windbreaker is necessary on safari in open cars as the nights can be chilly. During summer, it is also necessary to bring a hat and cover your arms and shoulders, as the sun is very hot even early in the day. During winter, warm clothes should be packed, espesialy for the game drives.
Mpala Safari Lodge has its own modern laundry. Here you can have your clothes washed for a small fee.
South Africa has several climate zones. Mpala Safari Lodge and Kruger Park are located in the north-eastern part of South Africa, where winters are mild and summers are hot.
The period from November to March is summertime, with daily temperatures between 28-35o Celsius or higher and evening temperatures between 20-25o C or higher. The hottest months are December to February. During the summer period, short and powerful thunderstorms occasionally occur. Shortly after a rain shower, the air quickly dries out, so the high summer temperatures are never unpleasantly humid, but mostly dry.
From April to October the weather is fairly dry and mostly sunny. Even during the coldest month in June it is often up to 28o C. The temperature rarely drops below 18-20o C in the daytime and 8-10o C at night.
The Southern half of South Africa has a cooler climate than the northern part where Mpala is located. South Africa’s wine districts are located in the Western Cape province and well worth a visit should you have the time.
(Mpala Safari Lodge is located near Phalaborwa)
Credit cards such as Visa, Eurocard, Mastercard, American Express etc. are accepted almost everywhere. At Mpala Safari Lodge you can pay with Visa, Visa/DK and MasterCard.
ATMs are found in airports, banks and shopping centers.
You must inform us of your travel plans in advance. If your flight is delayed and this will affect your final arrival time, we would appreciate hearing from you, so that we can arrange to pick you up. Direct phone to our office is +27 (0)83 654 0883
There is a later flight out of Phalaborwa, but it has often happened that our guests have missed their onwards flight from Johannesburg due to delays of this flight. We therefore do not recommend you to book the late flight from Phalaborwa and we do also not have a free shuttle for this late flight.
Transfer to other airports or at other times than the above mentioned may be arranged on request at a fee.
Always check the latest updated information of the airlines before departure.
We offer overnight laundry service at Mpala, so you do not need to pack clean clothes for each day.
Golfers: Special rules apply to golf bags – contact your airline company for their information. Instead of bringing your own golf bag, you can rent golf equipment at the Hans Merensky Golf club.
Remember that NO pointy or sharp objects may be carried on board, including small items like nail scissors and nail files.
Knives and scissors may be packed in your checked luggage.
Telephone and e-mail
The telephone number for Mpala Safari Lodge is: +27 (0)83 654 0883
The mobile phone network works well in most areas, but far out in the bush there may be no connection. The phone at Mpala Safari Lodge may be used, and calls paid for according to the meter.
The email address of Mpala Safari Lodge is Mpala@worldonline.co.za
The internet signal at Mpala is sometimes weak and slow. We suggest that you take a rest from your busy days at home and make it a relaxing Holiday. By spending time with checking emails or surfing on the internet you may loose the most exciting moment that could take place right outside your window.
If you would like to share photos from your trip, we recommend sharing them on our Facebook Group at www.facebook.com/mpalasafarilodge
Passport and visa
IMPORTANT: For one parent travelling alone with their children, a special form and written permit from the other parent is needed. Failing to meet the requirements will result in entry ban at the passport control ! Please contact the South African embassy in your homeland for further instructions.
Lots of the animals you will see quite close and you are well off with your pocket camera. But if you are a bit nerdy with photography one of our guests have written a guidance here: Mpala Photo guide
At Mpala Safari Lodge we have a shop with African handicrafts and goods, handbags, jewelry, postcards, practical safari clothing such as short sleeved khaki shirts, fleece jackets, sun hats and caps.
During some of the excursions it is possible to shop with the locals in the many small souvenir stalls along the road.
South Africa has +2 hours to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) or to the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). For England this is 2 hours ahead of their normal time. For most other European countries this is 1 hour ahead of their normal time. During summer time in Europe the time difference is one hour less than the before mentioned.
With an insignificant time difference like this, there is almost no jet lag for Europeans.
Time of the year for visiting
The best time of the year to visit Mpala depends entirely on what you wish to experience and how you feel about the varying degrees in temperature.
Year round we offer great possibilities for observing fantastic wildlife, as the different species of animals do not migrate.
The best time to observe many a huge variety of animals is from May to October. This is the dry season when the trees drop their leaves because it hardly ever rains. During this season the animals cannot easily hide and are often found near the river or at waterholes. Though out the year bushbucks, wartogs and monkeys visit our garden daily. But in this dry season our green lawns are attracting a great number of animals: Kudu, waterbuck, nyala, hippo, impala, baboon and the very rare side stribed Jackel.
This period is also the coolest, though it is not cold. Daytime temperatures are mostly around 20-25o C. Some days are warmer and some may be slightly cooler. This suits all those people who may not enjoy the hot African summer temperatures.
This region has a large number (>500) of beautiful and interesting birds Some are migrating, so it changes over the year what to see and where to find them. If you sit quietly and watch the trees at Mpala Lodge you will find a lot of these wonderful birds.
We are often asked for advice regarding gratuities. First and foremost gratituities are entirely up to yoursef to deside, as nothing is required. If you wish to tip for the services these guidelines may be useful:
At restaurants etc. it is recommend to tip 10-15% of the total amount. Airport and hotel porters normally get about 20 Rand pr. bag. For the driver/guide on a roundtrip the average is 50-75 Rand per person per day.
If you wish to tip the staff at Mpala Safari Lodge, it is recommended that you put the tips in an envelope and hand it to our hostess, Estel or Stacey. She will make sure to distribute the tips among the staff so that everyone gets their share. From our experience, guests contribute on average per week 500 Rand per room to their ranger and the same amount for distribution among the other lodge staff, gartners, cleaners, waiter and chefs. This is however entirely to your discretion.
At Johannesburg airport, carriers will be ready and very eager to offer to help you. We recommend that you ignore them or refuse their help.
They are apparently part of a criminal network and are known to be able to scan your credit cards in handbags or wallets, as well as other more extensive crime. They know that newly arrived tourists usually arrive with only big bank notes and are easily surprised by their “help”. You will therefore feel obligated to pay them and give them far too much. If you have rejected them and they help anyway, you may refuse to pay with reference to saying NO. It’s ok to make a scene.
If you need directions to the domestic check in please ask at an info desk. These people are employed in the airport.
Malaria prophylactics are recommended for travel to the area in and around Kruger Park. It is highly recommended to get information and professional advice from your own Medical practitioner.
Remember that even when taking malaria medication, the best protection is always to avoid getting bitten. Use mosquito repellant and cover bare skin in the evening. Mosquitoes are attracted by the smell of unwashed feet, so it is a good idea to wash your feet with soap and put on clean socks before the dinner.