Skip to Content

Wireless 3G Internet & Cell phone Access

Discuss and find information on the Kruger National Park
PeteTuba
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2014 8:27 pm

Re: Wireless 3G Internet & Cell phone Access

Unread postby PeteTuba » Wed Sep 03, 2014 8:51 pm

Hello,
We will soon be making our 3rd trip to Kruger and will be coming from the United States. On previous trips we tried getting prior approval through our USA phone company so that my iPhone would work in South Africa but it never did work. On our last trip I purchased a basic MTM phone which was good for phone calls only. Does anyone know if I can purchase a South Africa SIM card for my iPhone for use while in country? If so, will I have access to the internet? What do data plans cost? I understand that WiFi is sold at a premium from inside the camps. Any information you give me will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
PeteTuba

User avatar
saraf
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 8943
Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2005 3:19 pm
Location: Portsmouth, England

Re: Wireless 3G Internet & Cell phone Access

Unread postby saraf » Wed Sep 03, 2014 9:02 pm

Not sure about getting an iPhone SIM card as you'd have to unlock it. You can buy a 3G dongle from the Vodacom shop in OR Tambo airport, if you are bringing a laptop. Or I believe you can rent a phone from them.

3G coverage is patchy in the park, especially in the north. The best camps seem to be Lower Sabie, Skukuza or Satara.

There used to be a couple of internet cafes in the southern camps but last time I was there the Skukuza one had closed. Not heard of wifi being offered at all, but it has been a couple of years since I was there.

For me, data roaming outside Europe is prohibitively expensive so I just have my iPhone for emergencies. I find it extremely liberating.
Website Community Choice Award - Kudu Awards 2015. Voting is now open - see here for details

User avatar
DinkyBird
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 46495
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2004 5:54 pm
Location: Across the Equator, otherside the Atlantic

Re: Wireless 3G Internet & Cell phone Access

Unread postby DinkyBird » Wed Sep 03, 2014 9:16 pm

Info I posted a while back that might be helpful PeteTuba:
DinkyBird wrote:Assuming you are from US, I checked with my son who lives there:
A nano sim is good - its the one that fits the iPhone 5.

Most US phones are locked to a network though so you can't use them on another mobile network, so check if this is the case. There are two kinds of mobile networks: GSM and CDMA. S.A.'s are all GSM, but US has some GSM and some CDMA and some devices can only work on one and not the other. So if you are on CDMA here (US) it might not work in SA.


You might be well aware of the above, if not, I hope it is helpful.


Pay as you go data prices for Vodacom :
250MB - R59
500MB - R99
1GB - R149

Saraf is correct, there is no 'wifi' really in the park, as in hot spots etc. Best bet if you do need to connect to the internet is to set yourself up either with a laptop and dongle, or use a smartphone.

And have lots of patience - sometimes the speed/connection is ok, other times ... well you are in the African bush :lol:
Sawubona
Dalene

User avatar
DinkyBird
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 46495
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2004 5:54 pm
Location: Across the Equator, otherside the Atlantic

Re: Wireless 3G Internet & Cell phone Access

Unread postby DinkyBird » Wed Sep 03, 2014 9:23 pm

PS to above:

I have just checked with my son, as they use their iPhones when coming to SA.

We phoned our network and they unlocked the phone for us.
Sawubona
Dalene

ctm7943
Posts: 108
Joined: Sat Nov 16, 2013 9:52 am
Location: USA

Re: Wireless 3G Internet & Cell phone Access

Unread postby ctm7943 » Thu Sep 04, 2014 3:40 pm

http://b4i.travel/index.php/en/
Link to Vodacom - You can purchase a SIM or rent a phone (with charger). There are data packages available.
You pick-up @ the airport (JNB/CPT).
They email you your new SA phone number 2 weeks before you depart for your trip.

PeteTuba
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2014 8:27 pm

Re: Wireless 3G Internet & Cell phone Access

Unread postby PeteTuba » Thu Sep 04, 2014 5:52 pm

ctm7943 wrote:http://b4i.travel/index.php/en/
Link to Vodacom - You can purchase a SIM or rent a phone (with charger). There are data packages available.
You pick-up @ the airport (JNB/CPT).
They email you your new SA phone number 2 weeks before you depart for your trip.



Thank you for this information. It's a big help. I realize that once we're out of the camp areas cell coverage is minimal but it's good to be able to check emails, etc. Thanks again,
Pete

PeteTuba
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2014 8:27 pm

Re: Wireless 3G Internet & Cell phone Access

Unread postby PeteTuba » Thu Sep 04, 2014 5:53 pm

saraf wrote:Not sure about getting an iPhone SIM card as you'd have to unlock it. You can buy a 3G dongle from the Vodacom shop in OR Tambo airport, if you are bringing a laptop. Or I believe you can rent a phone from them.

3G coverage is patchy in the park, especially in the north. The best camps seem to be Lower Sabie, Skukuza or Satara.

There used to be a couple of internet cafes in the southern camps but last time I was there the Skukuza one had closed. Not heard of wifi being offered at all, but it has been a couple of years since I was there.

For me, data roaming outside Europe is prohibitively expensive so I just have my iPhone for emergencies. I find it extremely liberating.


Thank you for your help. I appreciate the information.
Pete

alexmagda
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:59 pm
Location: De Klinge - Belgium

can we buy a sim-card at Kruger Airport or in camp shops

Unread postby alexmagda » Mon Sep 29, 2014 8:25 pm

We come begin november and will arrive at Skukuza Airport.The European charges for phone and data is extremely high (150ZAR for 1MB) and we have to close the smartphone and only use it in case of emergency.
Can we buy a prepaid sim-card (use for voice and data) at the airport or in the shops?Can someone give us advice to the different services?As I understand even a prepaid card is with a monthly agreement.
As we are for 14 days in KNP (and SA) we are looking for a prepaid card jus for this period of 2 weeks.
I think Vodacom is the best and has the best range in KNP?
Alex

User avatar
saraf
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 8943
Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2005 3:19 pm
Location: Portsmouth, England

Re: can we buy a sim-card at Kruger Airport or in camp shops

Unread postby saraf » Mon Sep 29, 2014 9:09 pm

I really, really doubt it, sorry. Skukuza airport is very new so there are very few facilities there - they are only just getting the car hire kiosk set up. I'm fairly sure the camp shops don't sell airtime.

However, if you are flying into OR Tambo (Joburg) from Europe then you are going to have to transfer between the International arrivals to the Domestic departures terminals and that means you will pass the Vodacom shop - they will be able to sort you out. Have a look at this thread for more information - Wireless 3G Internet and Phones
Website Community Choice Award - Kudu Awards 2015. Voting is now open - see here for details

User avatar
DinkyBird
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 46495
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2004 5:54 pm
Location: Across the Equator, otherside the Atlantic

Re: Wireless 3G Internet & Cell phone Access

Unread postby DinkyBird » Tue Nov 11, 2014 4:51 pm

Shingwedzi:- Signal for data and cell is very intermittent. It can drop a couple of times a week for 24 hours.
MTN 2G, very very slow.
Vodacom 2G, better connection than MTN and can upload small pics.

Punda Maria:-

MTN 2G, very very very slow.
Vodacom 3G, good connection as far as bush signals go
Edit:- both Vodacom and MTN dropped for 3 days while we were in camp. Cell C was still working. According to staff, this does not happen often.
Sawubona
Dalene

User avatar
PNF
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 3315
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2009 4:09 pm
Location: In the heart of the Waterberg; Deep in Limpopo

Re: Wireless 3G Internet & Cell phone Access

Unread postby PNF » Wed Nov 12, 2014 8:56 am

Agree with Dinkybird - just would like to add:

Mopani
Had Wi-fi available in Conference Centre (June 2014)
Best reception with 3G dongle (Vodacom) was in the Laundry!
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
Benjamin Franklin

Us and The Ant:
Shingwedzi 20 - 24 Aug
Tsendze 24 Aug - 5 Sept

User avatar
arks
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 4185
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2005 5:53 pm
Location: Cambridge, MA (and home from home in Darling, WC)

Re: Wireless 3G Internet & Cell phone Access

Unread postby arks » Thu Nov 13, 2014 8:20 pm

Cell signal for my phone has been fine in most camps I've stayed at or visited - Punda, Shingwedzi, Letaba, Olifants, Satara, Tamboti - but my computer connection with my Vodacom dongle was extremely slow at both Punda & Olifants. Strangely, here at Tamboti it's great! Go figger.
RSA 2015
1-30 June Darling
30 June-8 July National Arts Festival, Grahamstown
8-15 July Mountain Zebra
16-22 July Cape Town
* * *
16-28 November Cape Town
29 November-20 January Darling

ThisIsLawrence
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Aug 02, 2014 3:42 pm

Re: Wireless 3G Internet & Cell phone Access

Unread postby ThisIsLawrence » Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:24 pm

A tip for saving some money using Vodacom and the b4itravel website ...

I have an iPhone 6 Plus phone here in the States. Initially, I was going to go to B4iTravel.com website to buy a SIM card plus a voice and data package. They email you the telephone number two weeks before arriving in the country.

Instead, I just paid the R99 for the SIM card only. (yeah, I know - tourist price!!)

I also downloaded and installed the myVodacom app on the iPhone.

Once your telephone number is emailed to you for the SIM two weeks before, you can use the app to buy your data and voice MUCH CHEAPER than the B4iTravel website or at the Vodacom airport. ie: Non-tourist ripoff prices.

Then all you need to do is pick up the SIM at the airport and you have all the features you want at a lower price...

User avatar
Shutterbug
Posts: 159
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:11 pm
Location: Canada - West Coast - Victoria

Re: Wireless 3G Internet & Cell phone Access

Unread postby Shutterbug » Sat Nov 15, 2014 8:54 pm

A tip for saving some money using Vodacom and the b4itravel website ...


Hi Lawrence,

That "b4i.travel" looks like a great idea, thanks for the post, when you walk into Vodacom to pick up your card do you have to wait in the lineup (if there is one) or do they have a pickup counter in the Johannesburg airport? We have a very short time between our arrival and departure and last year we had to wait 45 minutes to get our card from MTN.

User avatar
DinkyBird
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 46495
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2004 5:54 pm
Location: Across the Equator, otherside the Atlantic

Re: Wireless 3G Internet & Cell phone Access

Unread postby DinkyBird » Sun Nov 16, 2014 9:58 am

Thanks for the feedback PNF and arks.

Letaba:-
Vodacom - 3G, working well, speed good enough for me to post pics and read the forums. Phone calls are fine.
MTN - 2G, weak signal
Sawubona
Dalene


Return to “Kruger National Park”