South Africa Travelling Tips
Getting Here – Air Travel
These days, with so many international daily flights and direct connections to Johannesburg and Cape Town, getting to South Africa is extremely easy. Who would have ever thought that to travel to this beautiful country from across the globe would only take up less than sisxteen hours of your time. There are so many world-class airlines flying into South Africa’s international airports on a daily basis, arriving from all over the world. Even if you choose to fly a non-direct flight to Cape Town International, and have to stop over at O.R. Tambo in Johannesburg, it’s still only an extra two hours through the amazing clouds before landing in friendly Cape Town.
Requirements for Entry
Entry to South Africa is normally pretty simple and hassle-free for most foreign nationals. Anyone travelling to South Africa must have a valid passport and most countries don’t need to have a visa in order to stay for up to a maximum number of days. We suggest getting in touch with your nearest South African embassy or mission to find out more about visa requirements. It is an official requirement that travellers over the age of one and coming from an infected area need a yellow fever inoculation and certificate.
The electricity supply is 220/230 volts AC 50 HZ, with the exception of Pretoria (230 V) and Port Elizabeth (200/250 V). Most of the plugs in SOuth Africa are the standard rounded 3-pin or 2-pin prongs and adaptors can be purchased. Appliances made in the United State or the United Kingdom might need a transformer.110 volt outlets are available in most hotel rooms for electric shavers and appliances.
When travelling to South Africa from abroad, non-residents are allowed to use their driving licence valid issued and valid in their own county, as long as it bears the photograph and the signiture of the driver and is in English. If not, an international driver’s licence can be obtained to legally drive in South Africa, where driving is on the left hand side of the road and it is compulsory to wear seatbelts.
People and Language
Known as the Rainbow Nation, South Africa is filled with a diversity of people and cultures. There are eleven official languages, including English, which is fairly widely spoken. Population groups include the majority Nguni (incl. Zulu, Xhosa, Swazi); Sotho-Tswana; Tsonga; Venda; English; Afrikaners; Coloureds; Indians; Khoi and San; and immigrants from Africa, Europe and Asia. Freedom of worship is guaranteed by the Constitution, however Christianity is the majority religion.
Travelers are encouraged not to walk alone in deserted areas at night, however most parts of the country can be safely visited. It’s also best not to flash cameras, mobile phones or jewellery around and maintaining a safe following distance in traffic is advised. Basic Safety Tip guidelines are available at hotels and tourism offices for the public to view and crime prevention programmes are run in most major cities. If you have a question regarding safety in a particular area, feel free to contact the National Tourism Information and Satey Line on +27 (0) 83 123 2345. This number may also be used for assistance in replacing lost documents or reporting incidents.
Payments and Currency
South Africa’s local currency is the South African Rand. R1 = 100 cents. Exchanging currency will be in your favour if you are travelling from a major international country. This means that when purchasing food, wine, lager, or booking a five-star luxury villa or self-catering apartment, it will be at a much lower cost than in many global cities.
Even though most international traveller’s cheques are accepted, it is advised that you bring them in a hard currency, such as US dollars or British Pounds, which can be exchaged at banks, forex bureaus as well as some hotels. Upon leaving the country, foreign tourists can have their VAT (value-added tax at 14%) refunded, as long as they provide their original tax invoices. Most major international credit cards such as American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted.
Food and Water
South Africa’s tap water is of the safest and cleanest in the world and the standards of hygiene and food preperation in hotels, restaurants and nightspots is normally top-north. Eating fresh fruit and salads is completely safe and feel free to put as much ice as you like in your drinks. It helps on a hot day at the beach or in the bush. Visitors to restaurants are normally very impressed with the wide variety of cuisines that restaurants offer and as the country’s culture is so diverse, the food is worth exploring.