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South Africa Travel Tips

Helpful Visitors Tips and Information when travelling your way around South Africa.

Banking:

Banking hours are: Monday to Friday: 09:00 to 15:30 Saturday: 08:30 to 11:00 Automated Teller Machines (ATM) are readily available in cities and towns and are available 24-hours a day. However please use with caution.

Credit Cards:

Most major credit cards (Visa / Mastercard and American Express etc) are accepted. They may also be used to draw cash from ATM’s. Some petrol stations accept credit cards too.

Currency:

The monetary unit is the Rand (R) which equals 100 cents. (The international symbol is ZAR). Banknote denominations are R200, R100, R50, R20, and R10. Foreign currency may be exchanged at local banks and Bureaux de Changes. Some hotels may also offer foreign currency exchange. Click here for a Currency Converter

Dress:

South Africa’s dress code is casual, except in some hotels, clubs and restaurants that require formal attire. Topless swimming and sunbathing are not officially allowed.

Drinking:

Water – Tap water quality in South Africa is inconsistent and depends on the location. It is advisable to always check with your host/guide or hotel about the availability of drinking water when travelling in a particular region/area. Alcohol – only over 18’s may purchase. May not be consumed in public. There is a zero-tolerance on drinking and driving in South Africa. It is advisable to always use a shuttle/taxi service when going out in the evenings in order to enjoy South Africa’s good wines and ales.

Driving:

South African’s drive on the left, and give way to the right. Drivers must have a valid licence, with photo, or an international driving permit. Speed limits on motorways is 120 kph; elsewhere it is 100 kph and built up areas is 60 kph. Talking or texting on your cell phone while driving is illegal. South Africa has an excellent road infrastructure  and public roads are well developed and well sign-posted

Electricity:

Current is 200/230 volts at 50 cycles per second. A three-point round-pin adaptor is required for razors and hair dryers. Nowadays, most establishments offer various forms of plug points and even include USB options. Please check with the guesthouse/hotel beforehand.

Health / Medical:

Vaccinations for cholera and smallpox are not required, but travellers from a yellow fever zone must have a valid certificate. Visitors to certain game parks such as the Kruger Park must take anti-malarial tablets available from pharmacies. Medical and hospital charges must be paid for immediately. Travel Insurance is strongly recommended.

Passports / Visa:

Passports must be valid for six months after date of departure from South Africa. Visas are generally required. Visitors must have a return ticket.

Note: Holders of Visitors visas are not allowed to take up employment in South Africa. Unaccompanied children must hold written consent from their parents when travelling alone.

click here for a list of foreign consulates and embassies in South Africa.

Safety:

South Africa is known to have a high incidence of crime, however, if visitors adhere to certain rules that are the same as for any big city in the world, they will be safe and have an enjoyable journey. Click here to view our safety information.

Shopping:

Shops are generally open from 08h00 – 18h00 on weekdays and 08:h30 – 14h00 on weekends. Most malls in the major city centres are open until 21h00 during weekdays and on weekends.

Smoking:

South Africa became one of the first countries in the world to ban smoking in public places in 2000. It prohibits smoking in restaurants, pubs, shopping centres and offices where there is no separate, enclosed smoking room. There are however designated smoking areas to be found around most establishments. Children under the age of 18 are also prohibited from entering designated smoking areas and purchasing cigarettes.

Taxis / Public Transport:

It is best to call for a taxi or shuttle service from the restaurant or accommodation establishment. Alternatively, ask the establishment to refer to a reputable shuttle / charter service in the area. Uber is only available in major city centres such as Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. A small tip is expected. Some centres have a good public bus system such as Cape Town with their MyCityBus. The Gautrain is a world-class transport system operating within and between Johannesburg, Pretoria and OR Tambo International Airport.

Tipping:

Waiters and taxi drivers generally expect 10% – 15% of the bill. Porters expect from R10 per bag. Certain restaurants/establishments may include the gratuity dependant on number of patrons and bill amount.

VAT:

Value Added Tax, currently at 15% is levied on most goods and services. Visitors may reclaim VAT on purchases over R250 at International departure points. Please make sure to always receive a proper Tax Invoice if you are wishing to reclaim any VAT. View more details here

Emergency Contact Nrs:

Police : 10111

Crimestop : 08600 10 111 – report criminal activity anonymously

Ambulance : 10177 (public ambulance service)

ER24 : 084 124 (private paramedic service)

Netcare : 082 911 (private paramedic service)

Fire Brigade : 998/999

Life Line : 086 132 2322

Mobile phone emergency number : 112

South African Tourism helpline : 083 123 6789

Arrive Alive Call Centre : 0861 400 800