Frequently Asked Questions
South Africa’s premier tourist attractions are the lovely city of Cape Town, with its picturesque setting between the Atlantic Ocean and Table Mountain, as well as the Kruger National Park, one of the premier game reserves in the world. High numbers of game, as well as a huge diversity of mammal species and bird life, combined with the great roads in the park and lovely accommodation, make Kruger a must-see destination. Beaches on the Garden Route are very popular too, as they are pristine and white, featuring soft sand and warm Indian Ocean waters. The subtropical city of Durban and nearby game reserves like Phinda Private Game Reserve are also favourites.
What kind of accommodation is available in South Africa?
A wide variety of accommodation can be found, from five-star hotels to guesthouses, game lodges, “bed and breakfasts”, caravan parks and camps. In the cities there are also award-winning boutique hotels and spa resorts. It is strongly recommended that you reserve all your accommodation as far in advance as possible.
When is the best time to visit South Africa?
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). 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.
Is South Africa a good family destination?
South Africa is a great family destination. There are activities for children of all ages and plenty of adventure for the whole family. During the summer months, the beaches are wonderful for children of all ages and numerous adventure activities like boat rides and cruises, horse riding, surfing, hiking and many others are offered. Many safari lodges allow children but it would be wise to check with individual lodges for requirements regarding children.
Should I take out travel insurance before visiting South Africa?
Health insurance is advisable. The health services in South Africa are of a high standard but a private system for which you would require medical insurance is in operation. Insurance is also recommended to cover loss of baggage.
What should I be aware of when driving in South Africa?
South Africans drive on the left and give way to the right. Drivers must have a valid driver's licence, with photo, or an international driver's permit. Seatbelts are mandatory. Driving in South Africa is easy to adapt to, with sign posting in English and rental cars easily available in all major cities. There are a number of toll roads in South Africa that are clearly indicated well before reaching the toll stations, where payment may be made at an attended booth. Overtaking on the inside is not illegal in South Africa and is a common practice. When changing lanes be aware of cars on the inside. In general, speed limits are 120 km/h (75 miles) on freeways and 60 km/h (37 miles) in towns and cities.
Are there special health requirements when travelling to South Africa?
Travel to South Africa poses no medical threat, but there is the risk of malaria in certain areas. Please consult your medical practitioner for the latest health and anti-malaria precautions when travelling in South Africa.
Is the tap water safe to drink?
Tap water is safe to drink in South Africa but bottled mineral water is available for purchase.
Can I use my credit card in South Africa?
All major credit cards, including Visa, American Express, Diners Club and MasterCard, are accepted at most hotels, shops and restaurants. Proof of identity may be requested in some instances and it is useful to carry a passport or some form of photo identification at all times.
Where can I change currency?
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. The unit of currency is the rand, which is divided into 100 cents.
Is tipping expected and how much should I give?
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.