Are You Traveling To South Africa? Here Are The Fundamentals That Everyone Should Know
They say… Traveling to South Africa is an unforgettable, life-changing experience. We couldn’t agree more! Whether you enjoy adventure or relaxation, if you are traveling alone, with your family, or with your partner, South Africa has got something for everyone. Just imagine… You can go cage diving with Great White Sharks or experience the heart-stopping thrills of white water rafting. If you prefer a more slow-paced vacation be sure to take advantage of the many world-renowned wineries around the country, or learn about the nation’s history at the Apartheid Museum. Before you finalize your trip, we’ve compiled this handy guide for you. First, let’s start with a few interesting facts…
Discover The Facts About South Africa
- Located at the southernmost tip of the African Continent
- There are 3 capitals: Cape Town, Pretoria, and Bloemfontein
- Apartheid ended in 1994
- Also known as “Sunny South Africa” thanks to long, sunny days
- There are 11 official languages
- Declared one of the 18 most diverse places in the world when it comes to plants and wildlife
Now that you know a few of the basics, let’s dive into some more practical details about planning your trip.
Eliminate The Stress Of Traveling With Advice From The Experts
Warning! Understand Your Visa Requirements Before You Go
According to the U.S. Department Of State – Bureau Of Consular Affairs, US citizens are required to travel to South Africa with a passport that is valid for at least 30 days and has 2 consecutive empty visa pages per entry. You may stay for up to 90 days on a tourist visa. That said… Be sure to visit South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs website for the most current information.
Tipping – Here’s What We Recommend
First things first, the currency in South Africa is the Rand (R). Now, deciding how much to tip while on vacation can confusing, to say the least. Here are a few basic tips (pun intended) to get you started.
- In restaurants and bars: 10% – 15% is pretty standard
- Parking attendants and security guards: R2 should be enough
- Gas station attendants: R2 and up
- Tour guides and drivers R10 – R20 or more, depending on the service
Bottom line… When in doubt just remember, tipping is a sign of appreciation. Give what you think is fair.
What To Wear – Are You Packing The Wrong Things?
We can all agree… Deciding what to pack can be a huge hassle. For those of us that are more indecisive, here are a few suggestions.
- If you are traveling in the summer, pack clothes that are cool, light, and comfortable. It can get hot!
- Also for summer months, it does rain a lot so pack a light raincoat
- The winter season can still be pretty mild but can get chilly, especially at higher altitudes
But wait, there’s more… No matter what time of year you are there, always travel with sunscreen and a hat. A bathing suit is also a must. Most dining areas are more casual, although some upscale places may require more formal attire. Depending on what activities you will be doing you may want a good pair of walking shoes, and a fun safari outfit couldn’t hurt either.
The Shocking Truth About Health And Safety While Traveling In South Africa
Don’t believe the lies… Tourism is a booming industry in South Africa and despite what you might have heard, it is relatively safe. Like traveling to most places, common sense is usually the best way to stay safe. On the other hand… There are a few important things to keep in mind:
- Avoid deserted areas, especially at night
- Secure your valuables in your hotel safe when you don’t need them
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Don’t carry too much cash around at one time
- Always use a licensed tour operator for all of your activities
As of October 2011, all visitors are required to receive a vaccination for Yellow Fever and be able to provide proof of their vaccination if requested. Find out more about Yellow Fever from the World Health Organization.
5 Life-Changing Things To Do In South Africa
- Visit Table Mountain, National Park
- Check out the Springbok Experience Rugby Museum
- Enjoy local wine at Waterford Estate
- Go to Victoria And Alfred Waterfront
- Lose yourself at Two Oceans Aquarium