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About us

AfriFriends is a Safari and Tour Operator based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

We are a owner operated safari company, established in 2005, that offer a highly personal and flexible service to our guests. At the heart of every journey we design, is our love of wild places. 

It is important to us that we grow the love and respect of these wild places to the point where all people will simply refuse to let these places, with their abundant wildlife and natural beauty disappear, but that they will remain and expand to be explored by all like minded travelers.

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Fast facts

GEOGRAPHY

South Africa has a landmass of 1,233,404 square kilometers with nearly 3000 kilometers of coastline with the Indian Ocean in the east and the Atlantic Ocean in the west. The northern borders is Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. It also has within its borders two independent countries, Lesotho and Swaziland. 

CAPITALS

We have three capitals: Cape Town - Legislative. Pretoria - Administrative. Bloemfontein - Judicial.

POPULATION

About 53 million of which about 80% is African and the rest, white - Afrikaans and English, Coloured, Indian and Asian.

CLIMATE

Known as 'Sunny South Africa' it has a temperate climate. Only the Western Cape has winter rainfall. Winter - May to August. Spring - September to October. Summer - November to February. Autumn - March to April. 

PROVINCES

There are 9 provinces (States), Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Northern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

COMMUNICATIONS

We have a well-developed infrastructure. Mobile Signal, Internet and Wi-Fi is available in urban areas and at most Safari destinations except in the most remote areas.

WATER

The water in South Africa is drinkable from the taps in urban areas as well as in Safari Lodges, but it is not always palatable for the foreigner, so you might prefer bottled water which is available.

MALARIA

Most of the country is malaria-free but always check for the areas you intend visiting and take the required precautions.

SAFETY 

It is safe to travel in South Africa if you take commonsense precautions. Do not take a taxi unless it has been vetted, don't walk at night, don't display expensive jewelry in the street, leave mobile phones, laptops or money in your room, etc.   

Answering some Q's 

Isn't Johannesburg a dangerous destination?

Absolutely NOT. Like any major city there are do's and don'ts, but you will be with your guide who knows the where and what not's.

What makes your Safaris different?

We live here. We are South African and this is our home and you will be a guest in our home. Not only do we know the country, we delight in sharing it with you on a personalized and hospitable journey of discovery.

All our itineraries are put together by ourselves in collaboration with you (no standard off the shelf stuff here). You know what you want, we know what is possible and together we will sculpture a journey based on your desires, needs, interests and our local knowledge.

We have extensive experience in the tourism industry and use that to sculpture these exclusive journeys. We host our journeys personally and therefore great effort is put into the planning and execution, as we can only do a handful of these journeys per year. 

What is the difference between National Parks and Private Reserves?

National Parks are administered by South African National Parks which ensures a standardized, comfortable level of accommodation and facilities at a lower rate than Private Lodges. Accommodation in the Private Lodges are far more luxurious with attentive service and a good choice if you want to be spoiled. The game watching experience is the same, (the animals don't know where you are staying) but with certain restrictions - you have to be back in camp at a specific time and can only start your game drive when gates open in the morning.

Will I be 'roughing it' on your journeys?

If you wish, it can be arranged, but normally - absolutely NOT. The choice of accommodation and levels of luxury is up to you. We recommend you make use of a range of accommodations, that we will suggest, to enhance your experience. This way you will enjoy the country, its people and the wildlife to its fullest. 

Aren't wild animals dangerous?

YES! All wild animals are dangerous. Like you, they will protect themselves, their offspring and their territories fiercely. However most animals are frightened by the sight and smell of humans and rather than attack, they will flee.

While on safari there is always a degree of danger as the behaviour of animals cannot be guaranteed. You will be accompanied by your guide who has an understanding of the wildlife and their behaviour that they share their lives with. It is therefore important that you follow your guides directions and when in doubt - ASK! 

So, I will be in danger?

NO! If you listen to your guide and follow commonsense, you are going to have a unforgettable experience. 

What are the Don'ts on safari?

  • Observe the animals silently with a minimum of disturbance to their natural activities. Loud talking will frighten the animals away.
  • Never attempt to attract an animals attention. Don't imitate animal sounds, clap your hands, whistle, pound the vehicle or throw objects.
  • Never stand up in the vehicle.
  • Don't feed or attempt to feed any wild animal.
  • Never smoke on game drives. The dry African bush ignites easily and causes animal deaths.
  • Litter can poison and choke animals and birds. DON'T LITTER!
  • Respect your guides judgement about the proximity to wildlife. Don't insist that he/she take the vehicle closer so you can get a better photograph - pack that long lens.
  • Wear subtle coloured clothing.

Are there lots of bugs?

Generally no, sometimes yes. Near a carcass you are going to have flies; In the evening near illuminated areas you will have bugs; At night you might find the odd mosquito or two (not every mosquito is a malaria mosquito and we do offer malaria free safaris). So, take precautions, use bug repellent, we all do!     

Will I see the 'big five' on my safari?

You may well see them all several times but as with all wildlife, nothing can be guaranteed. We plan your journey so that we visit different areas to optimize your chances.   

 

S

samoosa - a small, spicy, triangular-shaped pie deep-fried in oil. From the Indian and Malay communities.

sangoma - traditional healer or diviner.

sharp - used as a greeting, a farewell, for agreement, often doubled up as sharp-sharp.

shebeen - a tavern, usually in a private house in a township. 

shongololo - large brown millipede, from the isiZulu "to roll up".

sjambok - a stout animal hide whip.

slap chips - french fries, soft and oily, drenched in vinegar with lots of salt.

sosatie - a kebab. Meat, peppers, onions and sometimes dried fruit on a stick grilled over an open fire.

spaza - informal shop anywhere.

T

taxi - a minibus, the most common way to transport people, 16 passengers at a time on a set route. The conventional metered taxis are also available.

tom - money.

toppie - old man.

township - low cost housing suburbs outside cities and towns.

toyi-toyi - a form of dancing used during protests.

tsotsi - hoodlum or gangster.

U

ubuntu - South African philosophy that holds as its central tenet that a person is person through other persons.

V

veld - grassland. Afrikaans for "field".

vetkoek - "fat cake", a dough that is deep-fried and served with jam and cheese or a savory mince.  

voetsek - buzz off, go away, normaly used for dogs.

vrot - rotten, not nice.

vuvuzela - a colorful plastic trumpet with the sound of a foghorn, made famous during the 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa.

W

windgat - show-off. Taken from the Afrikaans, literally "wind hole".

witblitz - "white lightning" from the Afrikaans, home-made distilled alcohol.

Understanding us

South Africa has 11 official languages. Most people speak English but that doesn't mean that you will always understand us.

 

A

Afrikaans -  a language spoken by mostly white South Africans of Dutch origin, coloured people of the Cape and some black people. It is not an African language.

Amarula - a cream liqueur made from the fruit of the maroela tree.

amasi - a popular drink of thick sour milk. From the isiZulu language.

apartheid - was the policy of separate development implemented by, the then ruling party, the National Party from 1948 - 1990.

Aweh - Great, awesome.

B

babbelas - a hangover.

bakkie - a small pick-up truck.

biltong - dried, spiced and salted meat, similar to beef jerky.

bobotie - a dish of Malay origin, made with minced meat, an infusion of spices, dried fruit, topped with beaten egg and baked.

boerewors - a savoury sausage developed by Boers (Farmers) - today's Afrikaners - some 200 years ago. Traditional fair at its best.

boet/bru - brother, not necessary family.

bra - friend / mate.

boma - an outside area where one can sit around a fire - sometimes with a thatched roof.

braai - outside barbecue, a must when visiting.

bunny chow - an Indian curry served in a hollowed-out half-loaf of bread.

bushveld - the bushveld is a terrain of thick scrubby trees and shrub, with grassy ground-cover between.  This is where you will find our game.

C

china - a buddy, good friend, not the country.

ching - money.

chommie - from the English chum.

D

deurmekaar - an Afrikaans term meaning confused, disorganized or stupid.

dinges - a thing, whatzit, whachamacallit or whatsizname.

dop - a alcoholic drink of any kind. "Can I pour you a dop with dam?", a drink with water.

dorp - a small town.

droewors - a thin sausage, wind-dried, eaten as a snack, like biltong.

Durbs - city of Durban, capital of KwaZulu-Natal.    

E

eina - ouch! or sore

eish - used to express frustration, wonder or 'I don't really know'.

Eita - Hello.

F

frikkadel - a traditional meatball.

fundi - expert, knowledgeable.

fynbos - a vegetation unique to the Cape Floral Region - some 6 000 species, including many types of protea.

G

gatvol - fed up - I've had enough.

gogga - insect, bug.

gogo - from isiZulu, grandmother or elderly women.

H

hokaai - hold it! or slow down.

howzit - hello or "How are you?"

I

indaba - a meeting, from the isiZulu.

inyanga - a herbalist or traditional healer.

izit - is it, often used in conversation "really", "is that so?"

J

ja - yes.

jawelnofine - "yes well no fine", 'How about That?"

jislaaik - expression of surprise.

jol - having fun or "We are partying". 

Jozi - the city of Johannesburg, also known as Jo'burg, Joeys or Egoli.

just now - sometime later, not now but in the future.

K

khaya - home, from the Nguni languages.

kif - cool, neat or great.

koeksister - a traditional platted dough dipped in a sticky syrup. From the Dutch "koekje". 

kraal - a village of huts or enclosure for livestock.

kwaito - music of the urban black youth.

L

laduma! - used when celebrating a goal scored in soccer, from the isiZulu for "it thunders".

lekgotla - a brain storming session.

lekker - nice, great, tasty or cool.

M

mahala - free, cheap, costs nothing or almost nothing.

mampara - an idiot, a silly person, from the Sotho language.

mampoer - a potent drink made from distilled fruit, similar to moonshine.

mealie - corn. Mealie meal is maize meal or pap.

melktert - "milk tart". A sweet pastry crust containing a creamy filling made from milk, flour, sugar and egg.

moegoe - a buffoon or unsavory  person.

muti - traditional African medicine.

Mzansi - a popular word for South Africa.

N

nê - really? Is that so?

now-now - shortly, in a bit.

O

oke - guy, bloke.

ou - guy, bloke, from Afrikaans.

oubaas - old man. Sometimes used for sir.

P

pap - local staple food, a porridge made from maize meal. 

pavement - sidewalk.

platteland - farmland, countryside from Afrikaans meaning flat land.

"Plastic?" - when asked this question, the person wants to know if you want to buy a plastic bag for your shopping. 

potjie - a three-legged cast-iron pot used on an open fire.

potjiekos - a traditional stew cooked on a fire. 

R

robots - traffic lights in South Africa.

rooibos - a tea made from the Cyclopia genistoides bush (red bush), popular for its health benefits.

rusks - a biscuit served to be dunked in morning coffeethe traditional way to start a day. Balls of dough are packed into loaf tins and baked in the oven. Once cooked, the risen balls are then separated and dried out completely in a warm oven for a couple of hours.