If you’re a citizen of another country and want to travel to South Africa then you need a visa. The “visitor” visa is for international travellers who permanently reside outside South Africa. It’s also for those who wish to visit the country on a more temporary basis for tourism or business purposes. But it won’t last forever. Once acquired, this visa is valid for a no longer than 90 days.
The Rand is the official whole currency unit in South Africa. A Rand is the equivalent of 100 cents. Currency denominations include 5 cent, 10 cent, 20 cent and 50 cent coins, as well as 1, 2, and 5 Rand coins. Bank notes include denominations of R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200.
In South Africa, tips should be at least 10-15% of your bill. In some restaurants, the tip is included in the total.
Most international Credit Cards are accepted throughout South Africa, including Visa and Mastercard. Although widely used, American Express and Diners Club may not be accepted sometimes. ATM’s are widespread and most will allow visitors to withdraw Rand directly with bank or credit cards.
Forex desks are situated at most airports to exchange currency. In addition to this, most major retail banks are able to assist with currency exchange. These forex desks will produce a quote for the exchange which must be agreed to.
South Africa has a well developed healthcare system. There are both public and private hospitals throughout the country. Be sure to top up on medical insurance before you leave home. Well qualified doctors, dentists and specialists can be found easily, but it is advisable to make an appointment, unless it’s an emergency.
While most of South Africa is malaria-free, this mosquito-borne disease is prevalent throughout the year in the Kruger National Park and the low-lying areas of northern KwaZulu-Natal.
Consult a healthcare professional about a suitable prophylactic. Your choice of drug will depend on how long you are visiting the malarial area, the time of year and your personal health.
South Africa requires all travelers journeying from or transitioning through yellow-fever-risk countries to show proof of yellow fever vaccination by means of a valid yellow fever certificate.
Although English is widely spoken and used for informational signage, South Africa has a total of eleven official languages: Afrikaans, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, Siswati, Tshivenda, Xitsonga, and English.
The South African electricity supply is 220/230 volts AC 50 HZ.
South Africa has a well-developed communications infrastructure. A number of network providers offer national coverage and there are well-established landline phone networks. Internet and Wi-Fi are easily accessible in most urban areas at hotels, restaurants, shopping centres, and public places.
In urban areas, South Africa is known for having some of the safest and cleanest drinking water in the world. In more remote areas, travelers tend to use bottled water, which is available from most shops. Because South Africa has a warm climate, remember to always stay hydrated.
Major hotel chains have ensured facilities for travelers with special needs. If you require additional assistance, it is always advised that you verify with the accommodation the experiences you are interested in, to ensure that your needs are met. If you require additional dispensation or assistance when hiring a vehicle, most major car-rental companies are able to provide.
South Africa is in the southern hemisphere, so winter is in the middle of the year, and high summer is in December and January.
The warm season lasts for 5.7 months, from September 27 to March 17, with an average daily high temperature above 24ºC (75°F).
The hottest month of the year in Johannesburg is January, with an average high of 25,5ºC (78°F) and low of 15°C (59°F).