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South Africa - Travel Advice

Passport and Visa Requirements

Passports must be valid for at least six months from the date of exit from South Africa. Passengers traveling to South Africa with passports which do not comply with these requirements, will either be stopped from boarding the aircraft in their country of departure or risk deportation on arrival in South Africa. If you are subject to visa requirements, you should apply for your visa at least four weeks before your departure for South Africa, and await the outcome of your application before departing. Visas are NOT issued at South African ports of entry, and airline officials are obliged to insist on visas before allowing passengers to board. If you arrive without a visa, immigration officials are obliged by law to refuse you entry to South Africa and to place you on a return flight to your country.

Getting to South Africa

There are many ways to get to South Africa. You could sail from almost anywhere in the world and come overland from Egypt to Cape Town. OR fly into one of the two International Airports in South Africa such as Cape Town International Airport, Durban International Airport, George Airport, Hoedspruit Airport, Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, O R Tambo International Airport and Port Elizabeth Airport.

South Africa has a fairly decent passenger rail service (take the trans-Karoo Express from Johannesburg to Cape Town or the weekly train from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, if you have the time). There are several luxury train trips on offer, including the classic Blue Train journey between Cape Town and Pretoria, and as far as Victoria Falls; Rovos Rail offers similar trips.

What to Pack

* Wear neutral colors; khaki, olive-green, grey, brown so as to blend in with the environment.
* Bring a hat and sunglasses for protection against the blazing sun.
* Lightweight cotton clothing is advised or wear a cotton scarf
* Also bring sufficient film (if required) and spare batteries for your camera. Some camps have 220/240V electrical supplies for recharging video and digital camera batteries, but others do not. Bring a good supply of batteries to keep you going at the camps where you can’t charge, or better, obtain a 12 volt charger which can be used from vehicles.
* Bring binoculars
* Use long-sleeved baggy clothing which will keep you just as cool while avoiding sunburn

Banks, Currency & Forex Rates

Currency is exchanged at all banks, airports American express select travel agents and big hotels in cities.
100 cents = 1 Rand
Coins issued 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, R, R2 & R5.
Notes include R10, R20, R50, R 100 & R200.

Banks are open from 09h 00 -15h 30, Monday to Friday and 08h 30 - 11h 00 on Saturday. All Debit cards and major international credits are allowed in banks e.g. Visa American Express Master card, Diners etc. In most towns and petrol stations you can find ATMs.


Tipping is a common practice for a series of service. 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). Bar-men 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.



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