Safety: How to make the trip

While the route south from Zambia to South Africa is far removed from highway driving in the United States, there’s no reason to be alarmed. There are a few things to remember when traveling in the area, most of which should be common sense.

Just keep these things in mind and your trip should go smoothly!

Dealing with the wildlife: How to stay safe

When’s the last time an elephant crossed the road in front of your car? Most likely, that’s never happened. That won’t be the case when you are driving through Southern Africa.

Philip Smethurst explained the situation of what commonly happens are people are rushing to get to the Martin’s Drift border crossing, “You’re planning on borders and border patrols and racing to make the border before it closes at 8 p.m. The last 30 miles before you get to Martin’s Drift border crossing there are wild animals that can be right by the road.”

“Nobody expects it. You’re already racing that road to get to the border. But if you hit an animal you could die.”

“It’s better to make the Martin’s Drift border before it closes and sleep on the South Africa side of the border,” Smethurst added.

A few important things to remember when driving on safari: don’t get out of your car! Park rangers often remind people that national parks are not petting zoos. The animals truly are wild and walking about in their own habitat. The traveler is the visitor in their world. Be wise, stay in the car.

Personal Safety

It’s best to keep in mind what time the border closes. This ensures an overnight stay in your car at a border crossing won’t happen.

Smethurst pointed that the Kazungula river ferry to cross out of Zambia and into Botswana closes at 6 p.m. The Martin’s Drift border to cross from Botswana into South Africa closes at 8 p.m.

Both Smethurst and Stirling advised against changing money on the street with a person. It is best to change with a money exchange bureau that is readily available in almost all cities, even the smaller ones.

“Just don’t do it. You are definitely going to get ripped off,” Stirling said referring to changing money on the street.

As for other personal safety issues along the way – it’s best not to go out alone at night. It’s a good idea to go out in pairs and remain aware of your surroundings.