All persons travelling to South Africa must be in possession of a valid passport. For some of the neighbouring countries, a visa is needed. In terms of existing arrangements, passport holders of certain countries are exempt from visa requirements. In case of travelling to more than one neighbouring country it is advised to apply for a multiple visa. Enquiries can be directed to South African diplomatic representatives abroad or the Department of Home Affairs in Pretoria. All tourists must have proof of sufficient funds before entering South Africa in order to pay for their holiday, as well as provide their return ticket.
The Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is the only vaccination needed from travellers, whom are over the age of one, entering South Africa within six days of leaving an infected country. Visitors who travel through or stay over in these areas, are advised to be vaccinated against the disease before travelling to South Africa
Malaria is, for the most part, under control in South Africa.
The only regions being affected with Malaria are:
The risk of being infected with malaria is minimal when taking preventative medication. Malaria tablets are only needed when travelling to one of the above-mentioned areas, and not when travelling to Cape Town or along the Garden Route. A good insect repellent (particularly in the evening), long-sleeved shirts, and mosquito coils/nets are advisable precautions. The best tip is to get advice from your doctor. In general you will need the same precautions and vaccinations in South Africa as you would need in your home country.
It is advised not to drink water from lakes or rivers especially in the area of Durban.
220/230 volts AC at 50 cycles per second. Three pronged plugs are standard so it is best to take an adapter with you. Adapters can be bought at most retail stores. Most hotel rooms have 110 volt outlets for electric shavers and small appliances.
Opening times: Mondays - Fridays: 08:00 - 16:00
Stamps can be bought at all post offices, as well as some hotels and shops.
When calling overseas, you first dial 09, which is South Africa's international access code. Followed by the country code, area code of the city or region, and then the number of the person you wish to call.
For example, if you make a call to Sydney, Australia, telephone number 456 1234 you must dial 09 61 2 456 1234.
The connecting lines are generally very good in South Africa.
One Rand (R) = 100 cents (c).
Bank Notes: R200, R100, R50, R20, R10
Coins: R5, R2, R1, 50c 20c, 10c, 5c, 2c, & 1c.
Currency exchange rates are available at all banks, shopping centres as well as in daily newspapers. It is even possible to be sent to you via your cell-phone.
There is a link below to Oanda on-line Foreign Exchange Travel Currency Converter. Please note that the currency converter does not give the current exchange rate, thus it is advised to add ± 5 / 6 % on top of the calculated amount to get the actual amount in South Africa. The converter gives you the exact amount of the stock exchange and not the exchange rate. Bear in mind that different Foreign Exchange offices charge different percentages. In general we had good experience with Standard Bank South Africa. http://www.oanda.com/convert/classic
Traveller's Cheques are generally accepted, assuming that the cheques are made out in a valid currency and can be exchanged at South African banks and foreign exchange offices. Many shops and hotels also accept traveller cheques. It is best to find out at your bank which traveller's cheques are acceptable in South Africa
Euro master cards and other credit cards are valid in South Africa. Be aware that with Master cards you can withdraw a maximum of 1000 Dollars cash per week. We advise people to make sure that they have other possibilities to get hold of money if needed. Best is to get information from your bank.
VAT Refund (Value Added Tax - 14%)
Goods bought in South Africa exceeding R250 allow all tourists to receive a refund of the tax at the airport on their way out. It is advisable to plan an extra hour at the airport for tax refunds, and the best is to have the goods with their receipts ready for the controlling officer.
People in the service industry: Many waitresses are students who rely on tips to supplement their wages. We recommend a 10 % tip of the total sum for Taxi Drivers or Waitresses. A waitress generally does NOT receive a basic salary, and has to pay for any breakages occurring. The cleaning staff generally gets R10 off the waiters tip at the end of the evening. A lot of the students use that money to pay for their studies or help to pay for their families. Be aware that big groups at Restaurants might incur a 10% surcharge.
In Town you will find people wanting to assist you with parking as well as watching your car. Please don't see this as pestering. The best is to ask for their name, thank him or her and tip him at the end of the night with R1 or R2.
It is of vital importance that you are in possession of an international driver's licence. The best is to have a photocopy of the driver's licence on you, in case it gets lost or stolen.
General Road Information
In South Africa we drive on the left side of the road and give way to traffic approaching from the right. On multiple lanes it is advised to overtake on the right-hand side. The general speed limit is 120km/h on open roads and 60km/h in urban areas. Be aware of cameras and speed traps especially before and after small townships. In case of late arrivals at the airport, it is advisable to take a taxi, and collect your car the next morning at the hotel or holiday house.
After a day or two driving on the left will be no problem for you as it is quick and easy to adapt to.
Special Features for Car Rentals
Driving on gravel roads can be very dangerous, thus it is important to drive very slowly. The car rental companies do not compensate for damage occurring on these roads even though a comprehensive insurance is taken out before hand. The client is held liable for all the damages. In South Africa there is no obligation to take out any insurance. The best advice is to always take out a comprehensive insurance for the driver as well as the passengers. If the passenger causes an accident the insurance will not be held liable.
The big "L" on the rear window
The big "L" is for people who have their learner driver's license but have not yet passed their driving test. We advise tourists to be careful and considerate.
Keep in mind that approaching a traffic circle in South Africa does not give you right of way, traffic already in the circle has right of way.
We have a lot of four-way stops instead of traffic lights. A four-way stop means who ever approaches the stop first has right of way. This traffic rule works wonderfully in South Africa. The four-way stops hinder people speeding in small town and living areas.
The roads in South Africa become very slippery when it rains due to long periods of no rain in summer. Drive slowly and keep a fairly big distance from the car in front of you.
In South Africa we park in the direction that we drive. Always make sure that your vehicle is locked properly and no goods are lying around inside as this leads to theft. Car radios are one of the favourite items to be stolen so assure that it is always taken out and locked away.
General Safety Information
Crime in South Africa happens like everywhere in the world. South Africa's media exaggerates crime a lot in order to make people aware of looking after themselves and their goods. The best advice is to avoid walking at night and driving into areas that are unknown to you. Johannesburg is the place to be most careful.
Never accept any help from strangers at ATM's (Automated Teller Machines). Try to stand as close as possible to the machine to avoid strangers seeing your pin number. It is safest to never let your credit card out of your sight, especially in restaurants etc. In case of a lost or stolen card, report the theft as soon as possible at any police station and stop your card at your bank.
We all know that these incidences happen all over the world not only in Cape Town.