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About country

The Republic of South Africa is located in the Southern part of Africa. It is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean.  To its North are Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and the Kingdom of Lesotho.

South Africa has a very diverse population and culture. The country recognizes eleven (11) official languages. Foreign tourists will not have a hard time communicating in South Africa because English is commonly used.

The climate in South Africa is sunny for most of the year. The country also experiences winter but winter in South Africa is fairly mild and dry.  Summer months are from November to February with an average temperature of 67 degrees.

To get more information regarding South Africa, visit: http://www1.southafrica.net.

 

Accommodation

Travelers have a lot of options when it comes to accommodations in South Africa. A traveler can book accommodations online or can have the accommodations arranged by a travel agent.  There is ample information online to determine the quality of service and room rates of various types of accommodations from luxury hotels to affordable inns.

 

Airport Tax

The airport tax of R 100.00 (South African Rand) is often included in the airline ticket price.  The airport tax of R 100 is charged to air travel from South Africa to a destination outside of the country. However, only R50.00 is charged for the following destinations: Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland.

 

Arrival and Departure

There are two major airports in South Africa: Oliver Tambo International Airport (aka Jan Smuts Airport/ Johannesburg International Airport) and the DF Malan Airport.  The Oliver Tambo International Airport is located in Johannesburg while the DF Malan Airport is located in Cape Town.

The Oliver Tambo International Airport is the busiest airport in South Africa.  It is the primary domestic and international airport in the country and serves as the main hub of the South African Airways.

The DF Malan Airport or the Cape Town International Airport is the second-largest airport in South Africa.   The airport has five terminals servicing domestic and international flights.

 

Currency

The national currency of South Africa is the Rand. It is available in banknotes of 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 Rand denominations and 7 coins: 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, R1, R2, and R5 denominations.  US Dollars can be easily exchanged for South African Rand in banks and commercial money changers.

 

Money Changers

Banks in major cities in South Africa have foreign exchange counters where travelers can exchange US Dollars and other foreign currencies to South African Rand. Banks offer the best exchange rates but they may also charge exchange fees.  There are also plenty of commercial money changers in airports, hotels and other commercial areas.  Make sure to change money at authorized money changing agents to avoid being shortchanged.

Banking

The banking system in South Africa is efficient. Banks offer efficient service and travelers should have no trouble dealing with financial institutions. Banking hours are usually from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM. There are plenty of ATMs around the country where tourists can withdraw cash using an international credit or debit card.

 

Credit/Charge Cards

All major credit cards are widely accepted in cities in South Africa including Visa, Master card and American Express. Make sure to carry enough cash when visiting remote areas to ensure that you have money to use in areas where there may be no credit card facilities.

 

Food  

Because South Africa is a melting pot of different cultures, the foods in the country are also pretty varied.   There are restaurants serving South African food such as Komkomer Sambal, Biltong and Geel Rys. There are restaurants that serve fantastic meals of different cuisines at affordable costs.  Those who enjoy food will definitely delight in the affordable restaurants in Cape Town and other cities in the country. There are also McDonald’s restaurants in the country for those looking for familiar foods.

 

Drinking Water

The quality of the drinking water in South Africa has greatly improved in the last decade and water from tap is generally safe to drink almost everywhere in South Africa. Water in some areas may be high in minerals and cause gastric discomfort. If you want to stay on the safe side bottled water may be purchased just about anywhere in the country.

 

Electricity

The electricity in South Africa is 220/230 volts alternating at 50 cycles. The only exceptions are in Port Elizabeth where the electricity is at 200/ 250 V and in Pretoria where it is 230V.  Most  plugs have three round pins so travelers from the United States may need an adapter.

 

What to Wear

If you’re visiting South Africa for a vacation then casual cool clothes are acceptable attire for both men and women.  Shorts, simple shirts and sandals can be worn by both men and women.  Men should bring light trousers and women should bring simple dresses for going out to restaurants.

 

Mobile Phones

There are rental units of mobile phones in South Africa that can be used by travelers while in the country. These mobile phones may be rented from rental kiosks in airports.  If you have an existing mobile phone that is not locked to any particular carrier, you can also use it with a prepaid South African SIM that can be easily purchased.

 

Payphone Services

There are pay phone services in most commercial areas in South Africa but the most convenient way to communicate is to use a South African SIM card with an existing mobile phone or to rent a mobile phone.

 

Postal Services

There are postal offices in almost all towns of South Africa. These postal offices are open from Mondays to Fridays from 8:00AM to 4:30 PM.   They are also open during Saturdays from 8AM to 12 noon.

 

Transport

South Africa is a very vast country and the mode of transportation you will be using depends on your destination. For remote destinations it is always best to take the plane.  There are also some bus companies that travel to remote destinations. This is the cheaper alternative to air travel. When traveling around cities, you can hire a car so that it would be more convenient for you to get around.  

 

Visa and Entry Facilities

Nationals from the following countries do not require visas to enter South Africa provided the stay does not exceed 90 days:

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Ballwick of Guernsey, Belgium, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, N. Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Malta, Isle of Mann, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Portugal, Spain, St Helena, Sweden, Swaziland, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay and Venezuela.

 

Country Code

The country code to South Africa is 27. Different cities have city codes.

 

Useful Telephone Numbers

Emergency:     107  

Police:             10111

Ambulance:     10177

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