Internet and cell phones southern africa

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Internet and cell phones southern africa

Postby chi01 » Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:00 am

Hi There,

I was wondering if anyone knows what internet coverage is like in southern africa?? I am going on the vic falls to cape town southern africa adventure soon and was wondering will there be stops at internet cafes on the way?

I won't be bringing a laptop or smartphone, so will need to rely on internet access from other internet cafes etc and was hoping to be able to access internet at least every 2-3 days?! I hear in south africa internet access is supposed to be really good, but in more remote places it's more difficult to access. Also, does anyone know how long internet access might be, e.g you might get 20-30 minutes in a small town on the tour?

Also was thinking of buying a simcard when I arrive in Livingstone, Zambia. Does anyone know if one can be bought at the airport or near the starting hotel, the zanaibar lodge resort i think? At the moment I am thinking of going on international roaming with my phone.....as they said it would work in south africa and mozambique, and the rates aren't too bad! And I am not planning using my phone 24/7 really just to make texts to family etc!

thankyou in advance!
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Re: Internet and cell phones southern africa

Postby tletter » Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:22 am

chi01 wrote:what internet coverage is like in southern africa??

There was Internet of some sort available at most of our overnight stops in Botswana and South Africa. There were also Internet cafes available towns that we stopped in, including Victoria Falls.

chi01 wrote:hoping to be able to access internet at least every 2-3 days?!

This should be possible but there is the issue of sharing a limited number of computers during any stop. It's the same issue with recharging batteries.

chi01 wrote:And I am not planning using my phone 24/7 really just to make texts to family etc!

Cell phone coverage is surprising good in many parts of Africa but sometimes it is nice to not be tethered to the world you left behind.

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Re: Internet and cell phones southern africa

Postby kateyb » Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:18 pm

I did this trip in March and there was a few places that we stopped that you could use the internet. One girl on our trip had her cell phone and was able to use it a couple of times.
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Re: Internet and cell phones southern africa

Postby collywobbles » Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:26 pm

hi chi01

I did capetown to livingstone last year and internet speed was vry sporadic in the towns we stopped in in swkopmund it kept breaking down power outtages it affectected some atms and banks in botswana in maun it was more or less the same you might have it for a while then it will pack up its a bit hit and miss i think people did a bit better in livingstone wit internet access but after several attempts in botswana and namibia i gave up so as not to put you off the trip you might be lucky when you get there with the internet it may have gotten better or not 8)

ps my phone did not work on this trip could just be my service provider

enjoy trip ita a blast
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Re: Internet and cell phones southern africa

Postby chi01 » Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:34 am

Hi

Okay thanks so much for the advice! Good to hear internet access is available every so often- I am not surprised at patchy cell/internet coverage, was to be expected! And yes I agree some time away from real 'western' world would be good!

just while here, anyone who has done this tour have any money advice?! Zambia appears to accept U.S dollars, and you need to pay a US$50 arrival tax I believe, was thinking of arriving with money loaded onto my visa debit card, having around $US 200 in $50 bills and then some local zambian cash (which I will get at airport before i leave or joburg). kind of tricky that all countries in southern africa don't use same currency haha

any thoughts?

thanks again!
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Re: Internet and cell phones southern africa

Postby collywobbles » Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:49 pm

Hi Chi01 :D

What nationality are you ? I know most nationalities had to pay 50usd for their visa at the border when we landed off the ferry But i was one of the lucky ones i did not have to pay, Yes zambia do take dollars if you want to do optional trips payment is in dollars. I put my money into my visa card and was able to withdraw money when i needed it only one word of warning when withdrawing money in zambia its kwecha and there is about one hundred thousand kwecha to a usd or more not too sure just be careful how many zeros u put into the atm dont do what i did and put in i million and got i million kwecha, i nearly had a heart attack ithough i cleaned out my visa card and had to sweat it out until i came home only to discover it was only about 100 euros phew :? u will have no problem using atm in other places rands are accepted in south africa namibia parts of botswana so u should be fine just as i said opptional trips in usd,

have a ball :D
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Re: Internet and cell phones southern africa

Postby Zuleika » Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:01 pm

If you have a smart phone I found free wifi at a cafe in Swakopmund - in one of the indoor arcades - sorry I cant be more specific, but Swakopmund isnt that big! Also free wifi hotspot at the airport which do the the over flights for the Okavango.
Apart from that my phone picked up phone coverage in lots of out of the way places so I could text - maybe my provider of course.

Money - A lot of the Southern African countries accept SA rand, except Zambia, I believe. It is legal tender in Namibia (as well as their own currency). Change your local money as you leave each country as often you cant back home. If you want to change cash in Namibia there are no exchange shops you have to go to a bank and be prepared for 'African time' to do this - it took me 45 mins and 4 bank tellers to change-up £40 and so I missed my lunch - I'm a Londoner and we rush rush rush - so this was ultra frustrating for me - an ATM card is therefore my recommendation! Also be aware that the banks shut at around 3pm and shut at weekends. Spare Cash for emergencies- take this in rand - you can get that at home prior to the trip. Dollars for Zambia. You need a US$50 note to get your Zambian visa if going in from the Botswana-Zam river crossing - this is a very interesting process and mainly seems like disorganised mayhem! lol.
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Re: Internet and cell phones southern africa

Postby chi01 » Tue Nov 08, 2011 12:11 am

Hi Guys

Yeah I am Australian :) Yeah I will be arriving in Livingstone, Zambia by the airport and believe a payment of U.S $50 is required in cash to get this visa. And think I might be doing this Botswana river crossing! Does it seem like a smart move to bring around $300-400 in U.S dollars, in $50 denominations??

Okay I am definitely taking U.S dollars now, didn't realize optional tours need to be paid in U.S dollars- thanks! Ahh collywobbles that is confusing, if 100 000 kwecha is about $US1, than taking out a million kwecha would be US$10 lol?! Does that mean you should enter the amount you want at the ATM in Zambia in U.S dollars or kwecha- I would assume kwecha.....so wouldn't you have to put in at least say 50 million kwecha, because that is equivalent to $US 50?

And yep good to hear rand is accepted mostly, I will probably exchange some money before I leave into rand too! lol i believe aussie dollars are useless in southern africa, so thanks for advice!
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Re: Internet and cell phones southern africa

Postby ballu » Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:02 am

I haven't done this stretch but....If it's an overland tour, you'll be stopping every couple of days to stock up on supplies (food etc)...most of these places will have an internet cafe somewhere.

When I went to Africa I started in Uganda...bought a cheap phone there for $35 USD, sim card was like $2, then it was "pay as you go" cards from there. I mostly used it for texting.

You should be able to use ATMs as you go, but the 3-400 USD is also a good idea as sometimes the ATMs don't work with your card or they run out of money. If you've got the cash you can exchange. The countries I went to had a smaller exchange rate for bigger bills.

Most of the expensive optional tours (especially at Vic Falls) can be paid with credit card.
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Re: Internet and cell phones southern africa

Postby collywobbles » Wed Nov 09, 2011 5:22 pm

Hi Chi01

Youll be grand just get enough rand and you will be sorted and yes as zuleika posted the crossing between botswana and zambia best described as organized chaos haaha when we came to the ferry port there was a queue of trucks to cross the river there are 2 ferries you might get lucky the tourist truck might be left to board the ferry 1st it only takes 2 trucks but the crossing is only about 15min it depends on the good nature of the guards then the footpassenger board and oh boy its a free for all if you can find something to hold on to you are on board the ferry everything but the kitchen sink is loaded on board :lol: :lol: its great watching people scrambling for space the guards are there with guns to keep order organizes chaos immigration hut in zambia is an experience you will enjoy it be prepared to queue up just remember this is Africa haha evrything is done in African time patience is a virtue you will need plenty of it have a ball :D
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Re: Internet and cell phones southern africa

Postby chi01 » Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:57 am

okay thanks again for advice! Yep will bring around 300-400 in U.S Dollars and some Rand too! Okay mmm hadn't thought about buying a phone there, might be a good idea! I think I will stick with global roaming, not planning to use phone that much really! does anyone know if i buy a sim card in livingstone or joburg would it work in all the southern africa countries?? or does each country need its own sim?

Wow that border crossing sounds crazy! Lol guys with guns?? I am scared now, do people get left behind?! Sounds like something really unusual haha
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Re: Internet and cell phones southern africa

Postby collywobbles » Thu Nov 10, 2011 3:46 pm

:D ah no chi01

those guys are there so the boat does not over crowd . just to keep a bit of sense in a mad place haha enjoy :lol:
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Re: Internet and cell phones southern africa

Postby nataliejuk » Tue Mar 26, 2013 3:58 pm

Hi everyone

Just wondered what the latest research anyone has done (or can speak from experience) about what the best thing to do about phone coverage is.

My home provider, 02 from the UK is going to charge me £1.50/per minute to make calls, £1.25/minute to receive calls and 40p to send texts. I don't think i'll be calling home that much, but you never know! My mum does want me to stay in touch quite a bit until I have joined the guided tour (doing solo for the first 4 days at livingstone!)

Anyway... whats it like in terms of cost (relative) if I bought a phone, and bought a SIM card... how long do the sim cards last - how many minutes will i get for my money?

Advice appreciated!

I am doing 'explore livingstone' and then joining the YOLO SA & Swazi Quest which does Kruger NP, Durban & ends in cape town.

- Nat
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Re: Internet and cell phones southern africa

Postby georginal » Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:37 pm

Livingstone has enough internet access and phone card as well as WIFI availability for anyone that wants to call home on arrival. Internet cafe's are available once every few days once you've left Livingstone

You probably wont need a phone at all, and I couldn't speak for the first element of your tour and mobile phones, but when you get down to South Africa, that's just a case of picking up a PAYG with passport as id.

IF your on an organised tour the best thing to do is not worry about lack of phone contact. Tell the folks at home exactly what the score is, and tell them you'll be in touch when you can.
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