General Info South Africa

General Info South Africa



All foreign nationals require a passport which is valid at least 6 months beyond the date of departure from South Africa.
Please inquire with the South African Embassy in your country of itizenship/residence if you require a visa on top of the valid passport.

For a visit to South Africa no vaccinations are conpulsory.
For visiting the Kruger National Park and adjacent Private Game Concessions/Reserves Malaria Prophylaxis is recommended.
A vaccination centre or pharmacist in your country of residence will gladly advise you on the product best suitable.
The risk of contracting malaria is medium during the South African Summer months
(December, January, February, March) and low during the dry autumn, winter and spring months (May to November).
Vitamin B Complex tablets regularly taken well in advance and during a visit to malaria areas are an alternative to drugs.

The local currency is the South African Rand (ZAR or R).
1.00 EUR = ca. ZAR 10.00
1.00 USD = ca. ZAR 7.00

Import: ZAR 5000 + Notes in foreign currency can be imported without limit.
Export: ZAR 500 + Notes in foreign currency can be exported without limit.

It is recommended to change money after arrival in South Africa only as you may get
a better exchange rate within the country.
After clearing the customs and luggage claim areas you find in the arrivals hall at
Johannesburg and/or Cape Town Airports:
banks, exchange bureaus as well as ATM machines.
Here you can change foreign currency for the official rates.
Eurocheques cannot be exchanged in South Africa.
We further do not recommend that you take traveller cheques with to South Africa.
Recommended are cash and credit cards such as VISA and/or MASTERCARD.
Please make sure you know your PIN no. for cash withdrawals from ATM machines.
Ask your bank manager at home to make sure your creditcard is unblocked for cash
withdrawals abroad.
There is a good network of ATM machines all over South Africa. Most of them are 24
hours open. If you prefer to change monies in a bank or exchange bureau, please be
aware of the papertrail involved and the commissions.
The lowest commissions start at 1.5% plus VAT (14% of the commission amount).
This applies for changing monies with ABSA (Amalgamated Banks of South Africa).
Certain establishments charge commissions of up to 5%.
If on a guided tour, liase with your local guide for the best spots to change monies.
For changing monies over a counter you always require your passport on you.

Time Difference
Sydney & Johannesburg: Australia is 8 hours ahead.
Perth & Johannesburg: Australia is 6 hours ahead.

Many markets and Souvenir Outlets will please the traveller with a good selection of
local crafts and goods.
Leather goods, colourful bead works, ethnic table cloths and cusion covers, wooden
and stone carvings and jewellery in precious and/or semi precious stones are some of
the articles sought after.
Please be careful with wooden and grass goods as you might not be able to import
them to Australia.
Please ask your local guide for the best addresses to buy articles such as Ostrich
Leather Goods and Precious Stones such as Diamonds and Tanzanites.
Cape Town is usually the best place for those and the guides know the most
reasonable addresses for genuine goods with international certification.
All goods exported from South Africa are VAT excempt. Provided you received an
official VAT (Value Added Tax) invoice with your purchase.
The 14% VAT may be claimed-back at the airport of departure from South Africa.
Your local guide will inform you on the procedure. Please collect all receipts for
purchases and make sure you always asked and received a VAT invoice. Goods
consumed within South Africa such as food and beverages are excempt from the
refunds. Goods qualifying for refund have to be shown for inspection at the airport of
departure. It is recommended you transport such goods in your hand luggage should
you be on a domestic connecting flight within South Africa before leaving the country
from Johannesburg, as your luggage will be checked through to your final destination.

Tipping forms part of the income of many people working in the South African
Tourism and Hospitality Services Sectors. Hotel staff, restaurant waitrons, porters,
local bus & coach drivers and local tourist guide(s) are happy if you honour their
work by tipping them.
Tipping in restaurants is equal to a service fee and ranges from 10 to 15% of the total
bill, depending on your satisfaction with the service rendered.
Porters at Airports and/or Hotels expect R 5.00 to R 10.00 per piece of luggage.
Tipping for local bus and coach drivers is recommended from R 30.00 per
Your local guide will be happy with an amount from R 50.00 per day/person.
Chambermaids/rooms cleaners at hotels should be happy with R 10.00 per room per

For guided group tours we allow our tour guide(s) to propose and run a Tip Kitty for
the group(s). Tour participants pay a fixed amount into the Tip Kitty. The tour
guide will administer and distribute those tips according to a distribution list along the
tour. Such tips are used to settle service fees/waitrons tipping at restaurants where
meals are included in the tour package, local step-on guides and game rangers, etc.,
The tip kitty is transparent and each tour participant can querie the guide(s) about how
amounts are being distributed at any time during the tour.
Tipping for your principal tour guide, bus & coach driver and chambermaids are
never included in such tip kitty as this has to be decided at the end of their services
and subject to happiness by the tour participants.
It is an advantage to run a Tip Kitty as it takes the job off the travellers and the local
guide knows best where something is expected and distributes this in the name of
the group. He also knows best to whom to give the tips.

South Africa has 11 official languages. The most important are English and
Afrikaans. Those are spoken and understood all over the country. These languages are
complemented by 9 Black languages such as Zulu, Xhoza and Shangaan, etc.

Tap Water
The tap water in South Africa in Hotels and Restaurants is trikable. It might have a
slight taste of chlorine (area dependend). Most Hotels have additionally a thermos
flask with clean water in the guest’s rooms.

Alone for its many different cuisines South Africa is worth a visit.
The many people of various origins inhabiting today’s South Africa,
imported some of their traditional dishes.
Meat is most of the time of excellent quality. The bbq or „braaivleis“ is very popular
amongst locals and visitors. Kwa-Zulu Natal Province and Durban are famous for the
many curry dishes. In the Cape Region the influence of the Malay People is strong
and dishes such as „sosaties“ = marinated meat spits and „bobotie“ = minced beef
mixed with raisins and aromatic spices topped by an egg crust and served with
tumeric rice and „sambals“ are some favourites.
In Coastal Areas there is a wide selection of Sea Food and Fish available.
Pumpkin and Sweet potato are common on the menues and buffets.
Salads, ice cream and juices can be consumed without any doubts as the water
contained in them is clean.

Not all restaurants have an alcohol license. Some establishments without a liquor
license offer the guest(s) to bring their own alcohol for a corkage. It is customs to
order first the beverages in the restaurants and only thereafter the meals.

Safaris / Game viewing
We recommend binocolars for your safari(s) and game viewing experiences,
especially for bird viewing.
Memory cards for digital cameras are available at cigarette counters in supermarkets
and specialised shops. Films as well. But we recommend you take films with from
abroad as they might be cheaper there.

South Africa is south of the equator, summer and winter periods equal those of Australia.

Christmas falls within the peak of summer and winter lasts from June to August.
Relative to the size of the country temperatures between regions can vary during the same season.
Winter is mostly sunny in the central and northern areas and from time to time rainy in the Cape.
Sun itensity is very strong. Sunbathing for longer periods has to be taken with
precautions. We strongly recommend that you take adequate sun lotion with you with
higher block factors. Sun glasses and sun hats are also a must. In many national parks
and game reserves the paths to the accommodation units are often poorly lit at night.
Please take a powerful torch with you.

Electric Power
220 Volt, plugs have rounded 3-prongs. It is difficult to get adapters abroad.
Your local tour guide and/or hotels have them sometimes on loan.
Otherwise you can buy them in a local supermarket.

Many regions of South Africa have a well established self-dial network in place.
A long distance call you do from a post office at the most reasonable charge.
Hotels are charging extra for phone calls from their rooms. Some hotels charge you
the moment you take the phone off the hook.
International discount telephone cards are available from certains shops and post
offices, also in supermarkets. Alternatively, have your mobile phone (cellular phone)
unbloocked for international use (roaming) before you leave your home country.

Extra Costs
Additional costs in Hotels are on par with international norms.
Tipping of 10% to 15% is common.

The mild climate allows for a light, sporty garderobe. In highter areas and in the Cape
evenings and nights could become cool, especially during the winter months (June to
August). It is recomended you take some warmer clothing such as jerseys and a warm
jacket with you. Also a rainskin or vest should not be missed in your luggage.
There are only a few establishments in the country where formal evening wear is
expected for dinners. Usual dress code is sporty/elegant.
Please avoid shorts or sandals during dinners.

Info/wgb/June 2012

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