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flag South Africa South Africa: Travelling

In this page: Entry Requirements | Organizing Your Trip | Visiting | Living Conditions | Eating | Paying | Speaking | Useful Resources


Entry Requirements

Passport and Visa Service
South African Department of Home Affairs
Visiting South Africa
Diplomatic Representations
Department of Foreign Affairs
IATA Travel Center

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Organizing Your Trip

Means of Transport Recommended in Town

Transport system is comparatively better in major centers but can be unreliable in smaller towns. Hiring a car is advisable to avoid difficulty traveling in those areas. On a general note public system in the country is unreliable and inefficient.

Road signs are in English and Afrikaans. Metros are extensive though low on comfort quotient. Foreigners need to be extra cautious while traveling; do not carry expensive articles and jewelry.

Taxis are generally available in all towns and are relatively more expensive. Taxis do not cruise in South Africa and need to be called from a rank. However, it is not advisable to flag down taxis in the street but rather one should use taxi companies recommended by four and five star hotels.

Maps of Urban Networks
UT Library online
Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa
Map of Western Cape Rail Network
Map of South African provinces

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Transportation From Airport to City Centre:






Car Rental
Cape Town (CPT) 22km / 15.5 miles ZAR 200 / 20-40 min - - Available
Durban Intl (DUR) 18km / 11.2 miles south 18km / 11.2 miles south of Durban ZAR 100 / 20-25 min - - Available
Johannesburg Intl (JNB) 21 km / 13 miles ZAR 273-363 / 30 min ZAR 109 / 45 min - Available
Pretoria - Wonderboom National Airport (PRY) 11 km/7 miles N of Pretoria city centre and 64 km/40 miles NNE of Johannesburg. ZAR 200 Available to Pretoria: StarLine Bus #162 - Available
Lanseria Intl (HLA) 30 km/19 Miles NNW of Johannesburg, 35 km/22 miles SW of Pretoria. Available - - Available
Port Elizabeth (PLZ) 5 km / 3 miles ZAR 91 shuttle service available - Available

Means of Transport Recommended in the Rest of the Country

Buses and suburban rails operate in all the main towns of South Africa. Fares are not expensive.
In some cities conventional buses face stiff competition from minibuses and combi-taxis (both legal and illegal). Although cheap and very fast, these should be used with care.
Rail Companies
Railroad association of South Africa

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Name Type Domestic Flights International Flights
South African Airlines Major Yes Yes
Kulula Low cost Yes Yes
1time Low cost Yes No
Mango Low cost Yes No
South African Express Major Yes Yes
Airlink Major Yes Yes

You Can Consult the List of Airlines Banned Within the EU. Look Also at the rating of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

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Traveling By Yourself

The road infrastructure in South Africa is good, so driving is a viable option. However, South Africa is a huge country and in case you not used to driving long distances, rather break the journey, as fatigue is a major contributing factor in motor vehicle accidents. While most national roads are tarred and in good condition, the more rural the road, the more likely it is to be pot-holed and poorly surfaced. Wearing of seat belts is compulsory. Using hand-held phones while driving is against the law. Visit : Self Drive –Southern Africa
Road Maps
Maps of South Africa
Brabys Road Maps
Find an Itinerary
Via Michelin
Routes Travel Info Portal

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Different Forms of Tourism

The country’s rich culture and its colonial past is being reflected by its historical places. Some of them are Robben Island, Cradle of Humankind, Apartheid Museum, Voortrekker Monument, Bo- Kaap, Castle of Good Hope.
Fossil Hominid Sites of Sterkfontein, Swartkrans, Kromdraai, and Environs

Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape

Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape

Robben Island

Cape Floral Region Protected Areas

Greater St Lucia Wetland Park

Vredefort Dome

uKhahlamba / Drakensberg Park

Cathedral of St George's in Cape Town and the Roman Catholic cathedral at Pella Mission station in Cape Town an incredible sight.

Kimberley’s St Cyprians Anglican Cathedral – said to have the longest nave in the country.

Johannesburg’s oldest monument to Islam is the Jummah Mosque. However, one of the most significant mosques in the city is the Hamidia Masjid (found in Newtown).

In Durban the Juma Masjid (mosque) is a bold testament to Islam.

For information on Hinduism in South Africa, visit:

For information on Islam in South Africa, visit:

Bela Bela is the destination for hot springs. Natural hot water springs also found near the town of Citrusdal in the Western Cape of South Africa.

Visit: The Baths.

South Africa has numerous beautiful beaches. Visit: Drakensberg

The country is a paradise for sea lovers. Visit: Tourism Office.

Winter Sports
Winter sports are not common in south Africa. Drakensberg in the eastern cape offers skiing options.
Outdoor Activities
Whale watching, shark-cage diving, reef diving, surfing, Bungee jump, fishing, hand gliding.


Visit: Adventure Activities in South Africa

South Africa is renowned for its exceptional quality of gemstones and hand crafted precious metal jewelry. The country offers unique shopping experience of high end boutiques and shopping malls along with vendors selling local crafts. Visit:

African Craft Market

Gateway Theatre of Shopping

Red Shed Craft Workshop

Canal Walk

Tourism Organizations
South African Tourism Board
Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT)
Lescha Tours
Tourism Organization

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Living Conditions

Health and Safety

Health Precautions
- A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travelers over one year of age arriving from an infected area. There are no other obligatory vaccinations.

-Malaria risk exists throughout the year in the low altitude areas of the country. Risk is highest from October to May.

-Avoid swimming and paddling in stagnant or slow-moving water as there is a low risk of contracting bilharzia.

-Vaccinations against tuberculosis and hepatitis B are recommended.

- Tap water is of good quality but those with a sensitive digestive system are advised to drink bottled water.

- Mosquito repellant and nets (and even mosquito-proof rooms) are advisable to prevent contracting malaria.

- Take into account that South Africa has an epidemic of HIV/AIDS.

International Hospitals
Hospital Association of South Africa


For Further Information on Sanitary Conditions
Department of Health
World Health Organization about South Africa
Health Information for South Africa
For Further Information on Safety Conditions
Travel Report South Africa
U.S. Department of State

Emergency Numbers

Police 10111
Fire 10111
Ambulance 10177

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Time Difference and Climate

Time and Time Difference
It is %T:%M %A In Pretoria (GMT+2)
Summer Time Period

Map of the Time Zone

Time zone

Type of Climate
South Africa experiences pleasant and sunny summers, mild winters, with occasional snow falls on the mountain ranges of the Cape and Natal and in lower-lying areas. There are heavy rains along the south coast from June to September.
For Further Information
South African weather service

Average Annual Temperatures and Rainfall



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Food Specialties
South Africans like to eat out so. This has resulted into creation of a wide range of restaurants. Fruity and sweet Cape Malay cuisine can be found in Cape Town, while the Indian influence in Durban provides some authentic Asian food on the KwaZulu-Natal coast, and Mozambique peri peri spicy chicken and prawns are popular all over the country. Braais (barbeques) are hugely popular and every campsite. Meat is a well-loved staple in South Africa, although vegetarians are offered at least a couple of dishes in even small-town eateries.
Legal drinking age is 18. Some of the most common drinks in South Africa are:


• Umqombothi: a home-brewed sorghum beer.

• Excellent local red and white wines (including chardonnay), sherries and brandies.

• Rooibos: a red-leafed tea grown in the Western Cape.

• Amarula Cream: a sweet creamy liqueur made from the fruit of the Marula tree.

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Domestic Currency
South African Rand
ISO Code
To Obtain Domestic Currency
It is possible to exchange foreign currency at the banks, hotels, big shops and eating joints. ATMs are available. Traveller’s cheques are also accepted. Travelers should preferably carry cheques inPounds Sterling or US Dollars.
Possible Means of Payment
MasterCard and Visa are preferred. American Express and Diners Club are also widely accepted. ATMs are available all over the towns and cities including shopping malls and petrol stations, and accept all international debit and credit cards.

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Official Language
Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu.
Other Languages Spoken
Fanagalo, Hindi, Sotho, Tsotsitaal, Venda,
Business Language
English and Afrikaans.
Getting Some Knowledge
The Travlang website gives you some typical phrases to learn in South Africa.

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Useful Resources

To Find an Accommodation
Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa
Guest House Association of South Africa

Bed and Breakfast Association of South Africa
South Africa Caravan Parks and Camping Sites
South Africa Youth Hostel Association

The Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (FEDHASA)
To Find an Apartment
South African Agents
To Find a Job
Career Web

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Last Updates: February 2015