Frequently Asked Questions
Find all the must-know travel requirements and destination information on South Africa before you embark on your adventure
In terms of personal safety, the same rules apply as to every international destination in the world. Keep your belongings close and guarded at all times, don’t go wandering about alone at night and, when in the cities, be on the alert for pickpockets.
Banking hours at most commercial banks are Monday to Friday from 09h00 to 15h30 and on Saturday from 08h00 to 11h00.
ATMs are found throughout the country, at airports, petrol stations and shopping centres.
The currency is the South African Rand. R1 is made up of 100 cents. Please check with your hotel for daily exchange rates. No other currency is accepted as a form of payment.
Visa, American Express, Diners Club and MasterCard are honoured by most restaurants, shops, hotels, car rental firms and other points of sale. Proof of identity may be requested, so be sure to carry a passport or some form of photo identification at all times. Visa and MasterCard are accepted at most petrol stations.
You will be required to declare all foreign currency in any form when entering/exiting South Africa and therefore we advise that you only change money as required. Most international airports have banks where money can be changed and facilities are usually available at reputable hotels and lodges. Please note that 15% Value Added Tax is levied in South Africa.
It is advised you check with your tour operator or hotel concierge – they will know if there are any potentially unsafe areas along your travel route.
It is wise to avoid deserted areas, particularly at night, and if you are on a self-drive adventure then please ensure your car is locked at all times – park in well-lit, busy areas.
Dress-down (i.e. don’t wear excessive jewellery) when exploring Africa’s diverse cities. Concealed travel wallets are recommended.
Stopping for hitch hikers is not recommended.
South Africans are a very warm and hospitable nation – please do not hesitate in asking for assistance at any time.
Summer is from October to April and winter is from May to August. Summers tend to be quite hot, with daytime temperatures hovering around 30ºC (86ºF). Most provinces except for the Western Cape are known for summer rainfall.For beach holidays and bird watching, summer tends to be the preferred time to visit. Winter is the best time for game viewing, as temperatures are lower, wildlife tends to concentrate in areas where water is available and the bush is less dense, improving visibility. Winter temperatures during the day are around 15ºC (59ºF) and nighttime temperatures can fall to as low as 0º (32ºF). Snowfalls are rare but occasionally occur on the higher mountains.
Be aware of ticks on safari. Like most wilderness areas, ticks can be found in the bush. To avoid getting bitten guests are advised to take precautions when going on bush walks by wearing long trousers, socks and boots..
Tap water is safe to drink in South Africa but bottled mineral water is available for purchase.
It is customary to tip 10 to 15% of the bill at hotels and restaurants and 10% of the fare to taxi drivers. It is also the custom to tip local guides and drivers. Hairdressers and theatre ushers are not usually tipped for their services.
Most types of film material are readily available in all major centres and holiday resorts. Please be sensitive when photographing people. South Africans are renowned for being friendly; however it is courteous to ask permission before snapping away.
Passport & Visa Requirements
It is a mandatory requirement that you travel to Africa with at least two blank passport pages per country visited and that your passport is valid for 30 days after the date of travel if you are visiting South Africa and 6 months after the date of travel if you are visiting the rest of Africa. Our recommendation is that you have at least 3 blank pages in your passport (or even 4 if you are travelling through more than one country on your journey). If there is insufficient space in the passport entry into a country could be denied. Visitors who intend travelling to South Africa’s neighbouring countries and back are advised to apply for multiple entry visas.
What the Experts Say
- Internet facilities are available in all cities and most rural areas.
- Hospitals, transport and educational facilities are world-class.
- Accommodation ranges from guesthouses and boutique hotels to exclusive tented camps.
- If you are going into game parks by yourself, remember to remain in your car and not get out to photograph the wild animals.
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