Internet Access at Lodges and Cell Phone Considerations
Unplugging from the hustle and bustle of your daily routine to immerse yourself in nature is one of the most captivating things about going on safari. But in today’s digital age where online communication reigns supreme, it can be difficult to detach from our electronic devices, even while on safari. Your WiFi access and cell phone network coverage largely depends on where you are staying and what countries you are visiting in Africa.
Be sure to check with your cell phone service provider before you go on safari to see if you will need to sign up for an international plan if your phone will not work in the countries you’re visiting. Double check the call rates to avoid amassing an exorbitant cell phone bill due to roaming fees and remember that it’s generally more affordable to text than to call. You can always consider purchasing a local SIM card or pre-paid phone card if you just want to use the phone for emergencies.
Internet connections may be slower and less reliable in some African countries than what you’re used to working with back at home, so don’t expect to be streaming any videos or any other bandwidth intensive activities.
Internet access will likely be unreliable in most rural areas and while actively out in the bush, but you can still find a fair to good connection in many urban regions. South African safari lodges will generally have the best WiFi accessibility, but connections will vary depending on your proximity to metropolitan areas.
Most hotels and coffee shops throughout Johannesburg and Cape Town offer WiFi. Due to scarce bandwidth, however, Internet connections are harder to get in other southern and East African destinations. If you’re traveling to Botswana, take note that most lodges in the Okavango will not have any Internet access. Places in Zambia like Victoria Falls and Livingstone will have better WiFi access than other areas that are more remote.
Ultimately, It can be quite refreshing to part with your screens while traveling, so consider just leaving your phone behind while on game drives and other activities in the bush. Besides, these modern technological delights will always be waiting for you back at home.