Southern Africa Travel Advice:
General tips and advice for
travelers and visitors to Southern Africa.
& Passport Information
The Project Visa and VisaHQ provide valuable information and are
excellent places to check whether you need a visa or not.
In many places any obvious tourist or newcomer will be
swamped with offers of guides, hotels, and taxi
services. It's important to look like you know what
you're doing, and not be forced into accepting an offer
just because you arrived unprepared.
In many places, it is better to avoid the people yelling
"taxi?" inside the airport or train station; they are
often touting for or driving unlicensed taxis without
meters. You are better off taking the airport bus or
going outside and looking for a real taxi with a license
and often a meter.
In almost all countries in the region you can often get
by with just English. However, try acquiring some
knowledge of the local language.
Tipping is common practice for a range of services. In
restaurants the accepted standard is around 10% of the
bill, although sometimes a gratuity will be included
(often in the case of a large party). Barmen are tipped
a similar percentage.
Petrol stations are manned by attendants who will expect
a small tip for filling up with petrol, checking oil,
water and tyre pressure and cleaning windscreens. Hotel
porters should be tipped and it is also appropriate to
tip taxi drivers, tour guides and even hairdressers.
In South Africa if you park a car in a populated area
such as near a shopping centre, street security guards
will usually ask whether they can watch over your car
and in return should be paid a small fee - anything from
two rands upwards.
Summer - mid-October to mid-February
Autumn - February to April
Winter - May to July
Spring - August to October