tourist info

South Africa is a diverse country at the tip Africa – the world’s second largest and most populous continent – and Cape Town is at the most south-western tip of South Africa.

Bordered by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland, and with a population of around 48 million, South Africa is truly part of the African continent, and eleven official languages are recognised in our Constitution.

With a long coastline that stretches more than 2,500 kilometres across two oceans, and a climate that ranges from desert to subtropical, South Africa is truly a unique place to visit.

The country has emerged from a turbulent past, and since the first democratic elections in 1994, unity is sought through diversity – in a place where all people are now equal.

Best time to visit

Generally mild climatic conditions make South Africa a perfect year-round destination.

Current weather forecast for Cape Town: (temparatures are shown in °Celsius)
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
It is forcast to be Scattered Clouds at 10:00 AM AEST on May 04, 2015
Scattered Clouds
29°/23°
It is forcast to be Clear at 10:00 AM AEST on May 05, 2015
Clear
28°/22°
It is forcast to be Clear at 10:00 AM AEST on May 06, 2015
Clear
28°/22°
It is forcast to be Clear at 10:00 AM AEST on May 07, 2015
Clear
28°/23°
It is forcast to be Clear at 10:00 AM AEST on May 08, 2015
Clear
28°/25°
It is forcast to be Scattered Clouds at 10:00 AM AEST on May 09, 2015
Scattered Clouds
27°/23°

Getting there

South Africa is serviced by many of the world’s major airlines with direct flights to Europe, America and the Middle East on a daily basis.
South Africa’s three main gateway airports are:

  • Cape Town International Airport
  • Oliver (OR) Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg)
  • King Shaka International Airport (Durban)
Emergency numbers

The South African Police can be reached at any time on:

  • Dial 10 111 (National)
  • Dial 107 while visiting Cape Town
  • Dial (021) 480 7700 if using a Cell Phone
Public holidays

1st January: New Year’s Day
21st March: Human Rights Day
10th April: Good Friday
13th April: Easter Monday
27th April: Freedom Day
1st May: Workers Day
16th June: Youth Day
9th August: National Women’s Day
24th September: Heritage Day
16th December: Day of Reconciliation
25th December: Christmas Day
26th December: Day of Goodwill

Health

South Africa has both private and public hospitals in most areas and many well-qualified general practitioners to help with most medical matters.
Malaria is found only in some parts of the Lowveld of Mpumalanga (including the Kruger National Park) and on the Maputaland coast of KwaZulu-Natal. It is advisable to take prophylactics before visiting these areas.

Language

Although there are eleven official languages in South Africa, most people understand and speak English. English is spoken in the cities and all the road signs are in English.

Water

South Africa is one of only 12 countries in the world with drinkable tap water. Our tap water quality is the third-best overall in the world. It is advisable though, to take bottled water with you when traveling to remote rural areas and the bush.

Media

South Africa has a wide range of newspapers, magazines and radio and television stations. Internet is also readily available with many hotels and guest houses offering high speed internet access. Internet cafes are also a common sight in most cities and large towns in the country.

Time

South Africa’s time is GMT + 2.

Safety

South Africa is as safe as any country in the world, but there are certain basic precautions that people should take note of:

  • When in the car, keep all doors locked and windows up at all times.
  • When using an ATM be alert at all times. If you see something suspicious stop your transaction and leave.
  • To avoid being mugged ensure that you carry your bag around your neck and diagonally across your body. Do not carry it hanging over one shoulder. Do not carry large amounts of cash on your person.
  • When sightseeing, use only registered and qualified tour guides. Registered tour guides can be identified by a certificate that they carry.
Tipping

It is customary in South Africa to tip 10% when dining out.
Tipping obviously depends on the quality of the service.
It is also generally accepted to tip petrol pump attendants a small fee when filling up.

Mobile (Cell) Phones

South Africa has an advanced cell phone infrastructure as well as numerous service providers. SIM cards for the various networks can be purchased upon arrival.
Check with your service provider regarding the ‘roaming’ capabilities
of your cell phone.

Banking

South Africa’s currency is the South African Rand (ZAR), which offers most visitors great value for money.
The rand comes in a range of coins and note denominations of:
R10, R50, R100 and R200.
Banking hours from Monday to Friday are generally 09:00 to 15:30. (Some banks close at 16:00)
ATMs are found almost everywhere. Visa and Mastercard can be used to withdraw money from ATMs, but check with your bank first.
Banks and Bureau de Change at major airports remain open until the last flight departs.

Driving

Driving in South Africa is on the left hand side of the road.

Customs Allowances

The following goods may be included in a passenger’s baggage by non-residents, but must not exceed the following limits:

  • Two litres of wine per person
  • One litre of spirits and other alcoholic beverages
  • 200 cigarettes per person
  • 20 cigars per person
  • 250g pipe tobacco per person
  • 50ml perfume per person
  • 250ml eau de toilette per person
  • New or used goods not exceeding a total value of R 3000
  • Allowances may not be pooled or transferred to another person