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South Africa Travel Guide

>> South Africa Safaris & Tours    Map for planning your South African Safari & Tour

The Republic of South Africa lies at the southern end of the African continent.

With beautiful rural areas such as the Cape Winelands, the towering dunes of the Wild Coast, the magnificent game parks of Kruger and Zululand and the Kalahari and Karoo deserts, the possibilities for tourists are endless.

As an alternative the visitor finds sophisticated cities such as Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town, or charming historic towns like Stellenbosch or Pietermaritzburg. Even the once infamous townships like Soweto are growing into vibrant cities in their own right.

Favourite Destinations
The Kruger National Park - one of the world's largest game reserves.
The Cape Town & Peninsula - includes Table Mountain, Cape Town and the famous Cape Point.
Sun City - like Las Vegas, but created in the bush with facilities for sailing, swimming, golfing, gambling and game viewing.
Pilanesberg - a few km from Sun City and closest Big Five Game Reserve to Johannesburg.
The Garden Route - a stretch of coast 200km.'s long of beaches, forests and mountains.
Kwazulu Natal Parks - various game parks in Zululand and the St. Lucia Lake area.
The Drakensberg - enjoy the scenic splendor of South Africa's highest mountains and mountain resorts.
Johannesburg - trace the history of the "city of gold" and visit the sprawling ‘township’ of Soweto and see a different South Africa
Winelands - a haven of gracious, white-gabled farmsteads evoking a rich, elegant heritage.
Durban - on the east coast and 3rd largest city in South Africa.
Port Elizabeth - popular tourist destination in the Eastern Cape.

Language
English is widely used.
The official languages are Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, Siswati, Tshivenda and Xitsonga.

Time
GMT + 2.

Electricity
220/240 volts AC. Three-pin round plugs are in use.

Communications
Telephone: IDD is available. Country code: 27. Outgoing international code: 09.
Mobile telephone: GSM 900/1800 networks.
Fax: Most main hotels have this service.
Internet: Visitors can access their e-mail from larger hotels and internet cafes around the country.

Passports
Passport valid for at least 30 days longer than the period covering stay in South Africa required by all.

Visas
Although these are correct at the time of publishing, please check with the necessary authorities, as such details are liable to change.

Required by all except:
(a) nationals of Britain, Australia, Canada, the USA, Japan and EU countries;
(b) nationals of Andorra, Argentina, Bahrain, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, Cape Verde, Iceland, Israel, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Namibia, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Singapore, Swaziland, Switzerland and Uruguay for business, tourist or transit purposes;
(c) nationals of Costa Rica, Ecuador and St Helena for business, tourist or transit purposes of up to 90 days;
(d) nationals of all other South and Central American countries (except nationals of Colombia), Barbados, Belize, Benin, Comoro Islands, Czech Republic, Ivory Coast, Congo, Cyprus, Egypt, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Gabon, Hong Kong, Hungary, Jordan, South Korea, Kuwait, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Morocco, Mauritius, Mexico, Nicaragua, Oman, Panama, Peru, Poland, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Slovak Republic, Surinam, Taiwan (China), Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela and Zambia for business, tourist or transit purposes of up to 30 days.

Please verify information with the relevant authorities as it is subject to change without notification.

Public Holidays
Jan 1 New Year’s Day
Mar 21 Human Rights Day
Apr 9 Good Friday
Apr 12 Family Day
Apr 27 Freedom Day
May 1 Workers’ Day
Jun 16 Youth Day
Aug 9 National Women’s Day
Sep 24 Heritage Day
Dec 16 Day of Reconciliation
Dec 25 Christmas Day
Dec 26 Day of Goodwill

Note: Holidays falling on a Sunday are observed the following Monday.

Money
Currency: Rand (R) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of R200, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of R5, 2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents.

Currency exchange: Money can be changed at banks, bureaux de change, some hotels, and larger shops and restaurants. Automated foreign exchange machines and ATMs are available at various locations.

Credit & debit cards: MasterCard and Visa are preferred. American Express and Diners Club are also widely accepted. Some ATMs will give cash advances with credit cards.

Travelers cheques: Valid at banks, hotels, restaurants and shops. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travelers are advised to take travelers cheques in Pounds Sterling or US Dollars.

Banking hours: Mon-Fri 0830-1530, Sat 0800-1130.

Climate
South Africa’s climate is generally sunny and pleasant. Winters are usually mild, although snow falls on the mountain ranges of the Cape and Natal and occasionally in lower-lying areas, when a brief cold spell can be expected throughout the country.

Required clothing: Lightweight cottons and linens and rainwear. Warmer clothes are needed for winter.

Health
A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over 1 year of age arriving within 6 days from infected areas (such as Zambia and Tanzania).
Vaccination against typhoid is advised.
Malaria risk, predominantly in the malignant falciparum form, exists throughout the year in the low altitude areas (eastern part) of the Limpopo Province, eastern part of Mpumalanga (including the Kruger National Park) and northeastern KwaZulu/Natal as far south as the Tugela River. The risk is highest from October to May.
Bilharzia (schistosomiasis) is endemic in the north and east. Avoid swimming and paddling in fresh water; swimming pools which are chlorinated and maintained are safe.

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