Most passport holders need visas to enter South Africa.
Check with your local travel agent or nearest South African representative
to determine if you need one. Visas must be obtained before leaving
your home country as they will not be
issued on arrival in South Africa. A multiple entry visa is needed
if you intend to travel in and out of South Africa during the period
for which the visa is valid. Upon arrival you
must be able to provide proof that you have enough money to support
yourself during your stay. You must also have a valid return
VISA ENQUIRIES CAN BE DIRECTED TO SOUTH AFRICAN DIPLOMATIC
REPRESENTATIVES ABROAD OR TO THE DEPARTMENT OF HOME AFFAIRS
TEL : +27 12 314 8911
FAX : +27 12 326 8328
HEALTH AND IMMUNISATION
visitors to South Africa do not need immunisation.
However, if you have recently travelled through the Yellow Fever
zone in Africa, vaccination against Yellow Fever is required
before arriving in SA. A certificate of proof of this vaccination
must be produced on arrival. Malaria is endemic in certain parts of
the country and it is vital that necessary precautions be
taken if you are intending to enter a malaria zone.
If you're travelling to neighbouring countries, ie.
Zimbabwe, Mozambique or Botswana, anti-malaria tablets are
also crucial. Consult a doctor or pharmacist as to which
prophylactics are the most suitable. Some need only be taken
24 hours prior to entry into the malaria zones, while others
must be taken at least a week beforehand. Prophylactics
must continue to be taken for at least four to six weeks
after leaving the area.
There is no immunisation against Bilharzia
- a microscopic organism that is fund in rivers, streams,
pools and dams (both stagnant and flowing) in the northern and eastern
parts of the country. You must not drink,
wash, paddle or swim in this water
- regardless of how inviting it may appear. In major
cities and towns, as well as most game reserves, tap
water is purified and 100% safe to drink. In fact South Africa's water
has been classified as one of the world's safest drinking waters by
the World Health Authority.
There is no national health scheme and patients are responsible
for their own medical bills. It is thus advisable to obtain travel
insurance to cover such costs.
The unit of currency is the Rand (ZAR). There are 100
cents (c) in one Rand (R). Traveller's cheques and foreign
bank notes of all major currencies
can be exchanged at all commercial banks.
Most hotels, shops and businesses also accept traveller's cheques
and foreign currency, although commission on exchanging these does vary.
International credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard, American
Express and Diner's Club are widely accepted.
Average Rate of Exchange (as at 13 July 2006) is:
ZAR 7.31 = US$ 1.00
ZAR 13.45 = £ 1.00 (GBP)
ZAR 9.32 = € 1.00 (EURO)
South Africa's climate
covers a wide spectrum of different weather zones : the Western Cape
has a Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers
and cold, wet winters, while the temperate northern
areas have hot summer days ending in spectacular evening thunderstorms
and frosty, clear, dry winters. The coastal areas of KwaZulu-Natal
are sub-tropical which means year-round beach weather with very high
humidity in summer and balmy "winter" conditions. Temperatures
range from below 0 C (32 F) to 20 C (68 F)
in winter (April to September). In summer (October
to March), the average temperatures range between
15 C (60 F) and 35 C (96 F). With
midsummer in December, South Africa is a welcome
winter getaway for visitors from the Northern Hemisphere. The
South African sun is strong, with a high ultraviolet rating, so screening
products with SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 15
and over are highly recommended.
FOR UP TO DATE WEATHER CONTACT
OUR WEBSITE ON THE INTERNET
Standard Time in South Africa
is two hours ahead of GMT, one hour ahead of Central Europen Winter
Time and seven hours ahead of Eastern Standard Winter Time (USA). There
is no daylight saving. There are no time zone changes between South
Africa and her neighbouring countries, as well as between the 9 Provinces.
As in most developing
countries, crime exists in South Africa, so it is advisable
to take a few basic precautions. Passports,
money, cameras and other valuables should be locked in the
safe of your hotel.
When walking in the cities,
your valuable should be carried
discreetly and securely. Do not
involve yourself in pavement games or
gambling as they are operated by
well organised gangs and money can be stolen
while you're distracted. Gold, diamonds and other expensive items offered
for sale by street vendors are likely to be fakes
or stolen property. Ensure that your visit to
South Africa is both safe and enjoyable by
taking the following simple precautions
as you would in any other foreign country.
Use only the main entrance of
your hotel and plan your journey before you leave
your hotel. If you intend travelling off the beaten track,
ask hotel staff at the reception desk to check your intended route with
local community liaison officers. Ensure that the
hotel room door is securely locked when
you are in the room and whenever you leave
it. Never leave your property unattended in any public place
- even if you are on a guided tour.
Although limited in comparison to the United Kingdom or Europe,
public transport is available in South
Africa. There is no needto hitchhike.
The so called, "informal taxis"
operate extensively throughout the
country - both locally and
between provinces. If driving, do not
pick up hitchhikers and ensure that your car doors
are locked at all times. Avoid deserted areas after dark and stay in
well lit, populated areas.
The South African police are easy to recognise in their blue uniforms
and white patrol vehicles. They are contactable 24 hours a day.
Africa the standard power source
is 220/230 volts AC. The exceptions
are Pretoria (230v) and Port Elizabeth (200/250v).
Adaptors for electric razors and hair dryers can be obtained locally.
Apart from personal
possessions, when entering South Africa,
you are restricted to 400 cigarettes, 50 cigars,
250g cigarette or pipe tobacco, 2 litres of wine, 1 litre of spirits,
50ml of perfume, 250ml of eau de toilette and other gifts, souvenirs
and clothing (new and used) up to the value of R500. No
person under 18 is entitled to tobacco or alcohol allowance. Certain
goods (for example: seeds, flowers, fruit, honey, margarine, vegetable
oils, animals, birds, poultry, dairy products, endangered
species of plants or wildlife) are restricted unless
you have obtained the necessary permits.
A permit is required if you plan to
bring a firearm into the country.
Before any pet may be brought into the
country an import permit must be obtained from the
Director of Veterinary Services.
South Africa has eleven
official languages: English, Afrikaans, Ndebele, North Sotho,
South Sotho, Swati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda,
Xhosa and Zulu. English is widely spoken throughout
the country (except in the most remote rural areas) and is regarded
as the country's lingua franca. English will be found on road signs
and official notices. In hotels and shops in the larger centres, German,
French, Portuguese and Italian are also spoken.
VAT (VALUE ADDED TAX)
set at 14%, VAT is included in the retail price
of most goods and services. Foreign tourists may claim refunds of VAT
paid on goods which they take out of South Africa. VAT
Refund Administration offices are situated at the following
international departure points: Beit Bridge border
post (Zimbabwe), Cape Town, Durban and
Johannesburg International Airports. In order to claim a VAT refund,
you will need the original tax invoice reflecting the following information:
the words "Tax Invoice" must appear in a prominent
position, the amount of VAT charged or a statement to the effect the
VAT is included in the costs of the goods, a tax invoice number, the
date of issue of the tax invoice, the seller's VAT registration
number, the cost of the goods in Rands, the seller's name
and address, a description of the goods purchased
and the buyer's name. Please note that goods
consumed or services rendered in South Africa do not qualify for a VAT
Eating out in
South Africa is a pleasure. Not only is the quality of the food
favourable, but South African wines are world-famous
and very reasonably priced. In
most major cities you'll find something
for your tastes from Indian, Greek,
Asian and Italian restaurants, to traditional South African fare.
A 10% tip is customary,
but this depends on the standard of service you've received.
Restaurants do not usually include a service charge in the bill. On
safari, US$25,00 per day for your ranger and
tracker is acceptable with a further US$10,00 per
day for camp staff.
Air Services : After years of
isolation, both Johannesburg and Cape Town International Airports now
bustle with the influx of international tourists. Besides SAA, the country's
official airline, dozens of international airlines
now service this route. Although most tourists
land in Johannesburg which acts a gateway
to the rest of the country, Cape
Town is now receiving an increasing number of direct
international flights. There are regular air services that
radiate out from all the major cities to most destinations.
There are nine major airports operating in South Africa.
These include Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban,
East London, George, Johannesburg,
Kimberley, Port Elizabeth
and Upington. The airports in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town are
classified as international airports.
Apart from SAA, several other smaller
airlines also operate the major routes within South Africa. There
are also charter companies that can
take you to inaccessible destinations and distant neighbouring
Bus Services : Each city has its
own commuter bus service. Long distance inter-city coaches run daily.
Train : There is
no better way to see the breath-taking expanse of South Africa's
countryside than by train. Regular passenger
services run between the major cities.
The most luxurious are the Blue Train (renowned worldwide) and Rovos
Rail (Africa's equivalent of the Orient Express). South Africa
has a number of steam train enthusiasts and many of these
trains still operate on scenic routes. Don't miss
out on the Outeniqua Choo Choo which runs between George and Knysna
or the Banana Express on the Natal South Coast.
FACTS ABOUT SOUTH AFRICA THAT MIGHT SURPRISE
So you thought that you're visiting the crime capital of
the world? Wrong! According to The Economist, World in Figures, 1999,
South Africa is not the crime-infested country it is reputed to
be. In terms of violent assaults, Sweden is considered the most
violent and dangerous place on the planet,
followed by Jamaica, Swaziland, Australia and New Zealand. SA
is number six on the list. When it comes to consumption of wine and
spirits, the top three countries are Portugal, France
and Luxembourg. South Africa is still the world's
leading gold producer, followed by the
US, Australia, Canada and Russia. We also have the second highest waterfall
in the world, , the Tugela, with Venezuela's Angel taking the lead.