You will need to arrange your own flight to Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Please do not book any flights until your place at Marine Hope Conservancy has been confirmed. Momondo and Skyscanner are wonderful apps to identify the cheapest flight. Once you arrive at the airport we will pick you up and take you to your accommodation. The accommodation is a 5 minute walk from grocery stores, beach front, and the harbor.
You will also need to arrange for you own comprehensive travel insurance for the duration of the time you plan to spend in South Africa, including the period you will be interning for. Your travel insurance should cover you for repatriation and also for any activities you may wish to take part in during your stay. These will depend on both the project you will be working on and your own interests. It is important to ensure that you are covered for extramural activities such as horse-riding, abseiling, bungee jumping, SCUBA diving etc. should you plan to participate in these.
Vaccinations– The only vaccinations you will need are updated tetanus and polio injections, although some doctors also immunise against yellow fever, should you be planning to travel elsewhere in Africa. It is advisable to consult a doctor or pharmacist before you leave to make sure you are covered against all eventualities.
Malaria– The majority of South Africa is free of malaria, so unless you are planning to travel in the Northern area (i.e. Kruger National Park and surrounding areas) or into Mozambique or Swaziland, you will not need to take any anti-malaria medication. All anti-malaria drugs are freely available in South Africa and, in general, much cheaper than overseas so it’s advisable to purchase them over here if need be. It is also worth bearing in mind that many South Africans choose not to take anti-malaria medication even when in malaria areas. This is because there are three different strains of malaria, and the presence of anti-malaria drugs in your bloodstream can make the strain harder to identify and, therefore, more difficult to treat promptly. There are a wide variety of very effective mosquito repellents available in South Africa, so you do not need to worry about buying any before you leave as they are usually much cheaper over here.
Many prescription drugs will go under a different name in South Africa than the one you are familiar with. So, if you are on any prescription medication of any kind, or are taking birth control pills, please make sure you bring the packet with you so a doctor can easily identify the equivalent product.
The weather in South Africa is not the continual hot tropical heat many expect. Being further South, the weather is variable and different areas experience different conditions depending on the time of year. During the winter months (mid-Winter being around June), it can get quite cold. Throughout the year the evenings can often get quite chilly so don’t leave all of your warm clothes at home! Having said that, the summer months are often hot and sunny, although summer rainfall can also be quite high.
South Africa is a modern country and all of the big cities will have a range of stores that will stock much of the same produce you are used to in your home country. Please don’t worry about bringing toiletries etc. as you will probably be able to buy your usual brand here. You will also find that many clothes and, particularly, outdoor or camping equipment will be much cheaper here.