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South Africa

CLIMATE

South Africa's climate is generally sunny and pleasant, but there is considerable regional variation: the northwest is very arid, the south is temperate, and the northeast has a more typically tropical climate. Winters (May to August) are generally mild; most of the rest of the country receives only a brief cold spell, when snow falls on the mountain ranges and occasionally in lower-lying areas. The rainiest months in Cape Town are May to August; Johannesburg receives most of its annual rainfall in the summer, between November and March.

PASSPORTS & VISAS

Passports are required by all foreign visitors and must be valid for 6 months after the intended length of stay.  Please ensure that there are two blank pages per country to be visited.  It is imperative to check visa requirements with the South African embassy as it may vary according to your nationality.  Visitors who intend travelling to South Africa's neighbouring countries and back are advised to apply for multiple entry visas.

INSURANCE

It is essential adequate travel insurance be taken out prior to departure.  This should cover any medical situation such as hospitalisation, as well as cancellation, curtailment of arrangements and baggage.

FIRST AID

Medical services in South Africa are readily available. Although most hotels and lodges are equipped with a First Aid kit, we suggest that you bring a small airtight container with a few well-chosen articles such as: plasters, travel sickness tablets, antiseptic cream, antihistamine cream, pain relieving tablets for headaches, indigestion tablets, sunscreen, eye drops, insect repellent, medication for upset stomachs and after-sun moisturiser.  We remind travellers who have any allergies i.e. insect stings, or an asthma condition, to pack the required medication. Medicine may be purchased at pharmacies and emergency pharmacies.

MONEY

Most hotels, lodges, airports, cities and towns have foreign exchange facilities. Credit cards and traveller cheques are widely accepted. Automated teller machines (ATM's) are found everywhere.

Banking hours:

Monday-Friday: 09h00-15h30

Saturday: 08h00-11h00

The currency is the South African Rand (ZAR).

R1 = 100 cents.  Notes are in denominations R200, R100, R50 and R20.

Travellers taking goods out of South Africa are able to reclaim VAT.  VAT Reclaim Offices are found at Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town International Airports.

HEALTH REQUIREMENTS

Please consult your physician before you travel to South Africa for advice on precautions against malaria should you be visiting affected regions. Anyone who has any special medication should take enough supplies to last the visit.  Yellow fever certificates are required if the journey starts or passes through the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America.

LANGUAGE

There are 11 official languages in South Africa although English is widely spoken.

CLOTHING

As a general guide, comfortable, casual wash and wear clothes are recommended. Please note that muted colours are recommended for game-viewing. Game-drives are conducted in the early morning and late afternoon, which can be very cold, especially in winter.

The most practical items to pack for safari are:

  • Khaki, green, beige and neutral colours
  • Shirts with long sleeves (even in summer, as protection from the sun and mosquitoes)
  • T shirts
  • Shorts or a light skirt
  • Jeans or safari trousers for evenings and cooler days
  • A jacket and sweater are recommended for early morning and evening game drives
  • Lightweight water-proof jacket
  • Swim and beachwear
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Sun block, sunglasses, hat, insect repellent, moisturizer and lip-salve are all essentials
  • Binoculars and camera equipment
  • Good quality safari clothing is available in safari shops
  • Jackets and ties are required in some city hotel restaurants and golf clubs

 

ELECTRICITY

200/240 volts AC, 50Hz. You will need an adaptor, which can be purchased in South Africa. Some of the game lodges do not have electricity.

FLIGHTS

Check-in is one hour prior for domestic departures and two hours prior for international departures.  Some scheduled regional flights may involve multiple stops before reaching final destination.

LUGGAGE ALLOWANCE

Federal Air baggage allowance on all flights is restricted to 20kg per person in a soft bag. This weight allowance includes hand luggage. Any excess luggage may incur huge additional cost which must be settled direct.

CHECK-IN TIMES

In accordance with global practice most hotel and lodge check-in/out times are as follows:

Check-in:   14h00

Check-out: 11h00

 

AGE RESTRICTIONS

An adult relative or guardian must accompany guests under 18 years. Car rental companies generally only rent vehicles to guests between the age of 21 years and 76 years. This may differ from company to company.

DIETARY

Most dietary requirements can be catered for. Please advise of any specific dietary requirements and these will be communicated to all the properties you will be visiting. Should you require kosher meals these will incur additional costs as these meals are specially flown in. Two weeks prior notice is required for kosher meals.

PHOTOGRAPHY

Please be sure to bring sufficient memory cards, film and batteries as although these are readily available in all South African cities and towns there might be no stock available in the safari lodges.  Please remember to ask permission before taking a photograph of any South African resident.

GRATUITY

It is customary to tip 10% of the bill at all restaurants and 10% of the fare to taxi drivers. It is also the custom to tip local guides and drivers. We also recommend an approximate R15-R 20 for porters at hotels/airports.

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