Travel Tip: Traveling with Kids to South Africa

Update as of 9/2/2015: A Child Visa Checklist has been created by a South African tourism consortium and is now available online to make the process of gathering documentation easier. Once you answer a series of questions, the site will tell you what documents you need for your child. Access the checklist here


Starting June 1, a new South African law will affect children entering the country. Any parent or guardian traveling with a minor under age 18 must present the minor’s unabridged birth certificate to immigration authorities. In addition:

  1. If only one of the parents listed on the certificate is traveling with the child, additional documents must be provided showing that the parent has the right to travel internationally with the child.
  2.  When children are traveling with guardians, guardians must have affidavits of consent to travel from the child’s parents.

Recognizing that the required documentation can be difficult for parents to obtain, South Africa’s tourism ministry is in talks with legislators to change the regulations. In the meantime, children who do not have the required documents may not be allowed  to board flights to South Africa or may be turned away upon arrival in the country.

The full South African immigration regulations concerning traveling with children are:

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Featured Organization: David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Orphaned elephants learn to socialize and play with each other at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Orphans' Project, Nairobi, Kenya. Photo taken by Kathryn Kingsbury on an Ujuzi safari.
Orphaned elephants learn to socialize and play with each other at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Orphans’ Project, Nairobi, Kenya. Photo taken by Kathryn Kingsbury on an Ujuzi safari.

Born from one family’s passion for Kenya and its wilderness, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is the most successful orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world.

At the heart of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s conservation activities is the Orphans’ Project in Nairobi, which offers hope for the future of Kenya’s threatened elephant and rhino populations as they struggle against the threat of poaching for their ivory and horn, and the loss of habitat due to human population pressures and conflict, deforestation and drought.

To date the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has successfully hand-raised over 150 infant elephants and effectively reintegrated orphans back into the wild herds of Tsavo East National Park. Many healthy calves have been born in the wild from former-orphaned elephants raised by the Trust.

Many safari-goers enjoy spending a day or two in Nairobi upon arrival in Kenya to adjust to the time difference. A visit to the orphanage is a wonderful way to learn about elephants and have a chance at close interaction that would be impossible in the wild.


Visitors watch a feeding at David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Karen, Kenya.
A curious elephant checks out a visitor at David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Karen, Kenya.
Caretakers watch over baby elephants at David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Karen, Kenya.
A baby elephant plays with a branch at David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Karen, Kenya. This is important practice for adulthood, when trees and shrubs become an important source of food.

Endangered species day: Grey crowned crane, East Africa

A grey crowned crane in flight.
The grey crowned crane is a majestic bird threatened by destruction of wetlands, the illegal pet trade, and collisions with powerlines. Learn how you can help at the International  Crane Foundation. Photo taken by John Traeger on an Ujuzi Safari to Tanzania.

Celebrate Endangered Species Day

Endangered Species Day is this Friday, May 15. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to many endangered species that are beloved the world over. It is a privilege to be able to introduce people to this amazing creatures through Ujuzi Travel. I hope these safari photos of endangered animals inspire you to protect them for future generations!

(A list of organization dedicated to protecting vulnerable animals is included below.)

Ellen Wilson took this amazing photo of a young gorilla while traveling with Ujuzi in Rwanda.
Ellen Wilson took this amazing photo of a young gorilla while traveling with Ujuzi in Rwanda.
Elephant family. Photo by Petra Kilian-Gehring.
African elephant family. Photo taken by Petra Kilian-Gehring on an Ujuzi safari to Uganda.
Beautiful grey crowned cranes.
Beautiful crowned cranes spotted on an Ujuzi safari to Tanzania.

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Namibia: Cheetahs, Caracals, and More

namibia5Scientific American recently posted a fascinating slideshow about the cheetah breeding program of the Cheetah Conservation Fund and the Smithsonian National Zoo Center for Species Survival. The program seeks to end the practice of capturing wild cheetahs for zoos, and also helps scientists understand breeding and health issues that affect cheetah populations in the wild.

The Cheetah Conservation Fund has a wonderful sanctuary program in Namibia that rehabilitates injured and orphaned cheetahs while educating the public. Visiting the sanctuary is the highlight of many Namibian safaris. Visitors who wish to spend more time among the big cats may wish to stay at Okonjima Lodge, about 50 kilometers to the south. The Lodge is home to the AfriCat Foundation, which rehabilitates lions and leopards in addition to cheetahs. It offers many opportunities to see these cats, in addition to occasional viewings of the caracal, a smaller but still majestic cat species.

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