|Safari and Travel Tips||
Weather | Travelling to SA | Entry Requirements | Infrastructure | Electrical Supply | Driving Rules |Tribes and Languages | Health | Personal Security | Shopping | Currency | Cuisine | Gratuities |
Public Transport | Telecommunications
“Sunny Skies” says it all about South Africa. A reputation established because of a moderate climate and sunshineall year round. It does rain and we do get times when we will have overcast weather for some days on end but 70%+ days are bright and sunny. Summers are hot with occasional violent electric thunderstorms in the afternoons in large parts of the country lasting an hour or two and then we are back to sunshine. Winters are mild with average overnight temperatures well above freezing and on average in the low to mid teens while day temperatures average around the early twenties. It is the ideal destination (weatherwise) for those who get tired of grey, wet, sunless days and freezing temperatures. More…..? Visit S A Weather Bureau web site.
Travelling to SA
You could sail here or travel overland through Africa to get here but the easiest and quickest way is to fly here.
O.R. Tambo International Airport (formerly Johannesburg International, formerly Jan Smuts Airport) is air transport hub of Southern Africa. Cape Town International is South Africa's second-largest airport, and a prime tourism gateway serving millions of visitors annually.
All visitors to South Africa must be in possession of a valid passport with many countries not requiring visas within a time limit. It is however safer to check with your nearest SA Embassy or mission. Some inoculations are mandatory for persons travelling out of infected areas and a certificate an official requirement.
South Africa boasts world-class transport infrastructure, telecommunications, banking, medical and tourism facilities.
Accommodation caters for all needs and is accredited by the national Tourism Grading Council, which upholds very high standards.
Electricity supply is 220/230 volts AC 50 HZ, with the exception of Pretoria (230 V) and Port Elizabeth (200/250 V).Most plugs have 3-pin or 2-pin. Adaptors can be purchased, but may be in short supply. US-made appliances may need a transformer. Most hotel rooms have 110 volt outlets for electric shavers and appliances.
The rule of the road in South Africa is “Keep Left” and “Buckle Up”. Urban speed limits are set at 60Km / hour and on open roads and freeways it is generally 120km/hr maximum. Non-residents may use their English language driving licence issued and valid in their own country if it has a recent photograph and signature of the holder. For all others an international driver’s licence is required.
Tribes and Languages
The following population groups are to be found in South Africa. Nguni tribes (incl. Zulu, Xhosa, Swazi);Sotho-Tswana; Tsonga; Venda; Afrikaners; English; Coloureds; Indian; Khoi and San; and immigrants from Africa, Europe and Asia giving rise to 11 official languages. English is widely spoken and most South Africans are at least bilingual with English being the second (or first) language. Although known traditionally as a Christian country, alternative religious practice is guaranteed by the Constitution.
Malaria is found in the Lowveld of Mpumalanga (incl. the Kruger National Park) and Limpopo (north-eastern areas and near the Zimbabwean and Mozambican borders) and on the Maputaland coast of KwaZulu-Natal (north-eastas far south as the Tugela River). Malaria risk is highest October-May. Take adequate precautions if you choose to visit these areas and besides malaria prophylactics, insect repellants offer good protection if used on all exposed body areas. It is good practice to leave as little of the body exposed as possible which means trousers and long sleeves in the evening. Medical services equal the best in the world with exceptional service delivered by private clinics and hospitals. It is important that you ensure adequate medical insurance cover whilst travelling Southern Africa. Yellow fever inoculations are mandatory for all visitors older than 12 months entering the country within six months of having been in an infected country.
Like in all countries in the world one has to take precautions to ensure personal safety. It can easily happen that the tourist may enjoy their visit so much that they throw common sense to the wind and start unhealthy personal safety practices.
So, as a reminder, do not;
- walk alone in deserted areas at night
- flash expensive jewellery
- leave personal baggage and handbags unattended
- leave photographic and computer equipment unattended
- (when driving, do not) leave windows wide open in city areas
- carry around a lot of cash (rather use Cr Cards)
- drive around without car doors being locked
Basic Safety Tip guidelines are available at hotels and tourism information offices. If you are in doubt as to the safety of a particular area or attraction, play it safe and contact the National Tourism Information and Safety Line on 083 123 2345. You may also use this number for assistance in replacing lost documents.
Modern shopping malls and complexes can be found in and around most major cities and larger towns where every conceivable product may be found, many of them the brand names you trust and use at home. Art & craft markets, flea markets and informal vendors provide a wide variety of curios and shopping experiences.
South Africa is a world leader in producing gold and diamonds and jewellery and products using these can be found in jewellery shops around the country with many jewellers offering exclusive designer items at very affordable prices.
Most major shopping centres and malls operate 7 days a week, but small town shops are often closed on Sunday.
Traveller’s cheques and foreign currency notes of all major currencies can be exchanged at any commercial bank.
Rennies Foreign Exchange Bureaux or American Express and most hotels have exchange facilities for guests but at less attractive rates. AVOID EXCHANGING CURRENCY WITH ANY BUT THE OFFICIAL OUTLETS.
Because the Rand is weaker than most major international currencies like the US $, Australian $, British £, and the Euro it causes South Africa to be a destination affording cheaper luxury accommodation than can be had in the countries of origin of these currencies.
Most major international credit cards such as American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted.
Tap water is safe to be used for drinking as every town or city has a purification plant where water is cleaned and treated before being piped to consumers. Should you prefer to not use tap water, then there are large varieties of bottled water, often in exotic flavours, to be bought over the counter in most shops and hotels throughout the country.
Restaurants are of high standards and food may be had with peace of mind. Larger franchise businesses are spread across the country and favourite brands like Kentucky Fried Chicken and Macdonalds shops are available in all the major centres. South African cuisine is very varied and we enjoy so many diverse methods of preparing food that it can make a visit to a restaurant a real taste sensation.
It is normal to tip waiters, taxi drivers, porters, room attendants, golf caddies, game rangers and trackers, tourism guides and drivers provoded the service was satisfactory. The going rate is normally 10% of the cost of service provided as it is common practice that these people in many cases have gratuities as their only source of income.
For tour guides and drivers a recommended rate would be R40-R50 per person per day in the group.
Inter city transport facilities are well developed with regular private bus services being complemented by the spoornet rail and bus services. In spite of taxis being on call at airports and hotels, it will be difficult to find taxi services in smaller towns and visitors should therefore make arrangements for a car. Feel free to contact Inabus Tours to assist you with guides, car hire and or drivers.
A sophisticated network exists in the country and international dialling, telex, fax and electronic mail facilities are freely available. There are also telephone cards and cell phones are readily available throughout the country.
Most of all, enjoy your visit to our marvellous country.
Inabus Tours and Safaris