Considering travel to South Africa? South Africa is one of the most beautiful and diverse countries on earth, and a world class destination for all types of travelers. In this article you’ll find tips to help you in your planning.
Americans and Canadians will need a passport with at least six months of validity. You’ll also need at least two pages available in your passport for stamps. If you do not have two pages, you must get extra passport pages before traveling to South Africa. If you are visiting for under 90 days, you will not need a visa. Currently no vaccinations are required for entry, unless you are coming from a designated yellow fever country.
Average Day Time Temps
South Africa is in the Southern Hemisphere which means the seasons are opposite of North America. Winter seasons are from June to August, and mostly dry with evening temperatures getting into the low 30’s. There is minimal grass or brush cover and safari tours are the best at this time due to animals being easier to spot.
Spring can be an ideal time for visitors from September to November with ideal temperatures. Summer starts December and runs through March with usually hot temps reaching 100* with lush green landscapes. Umbrellas and rain coats should be an essential part of your wardrobe in summer months.
City Summer (Dec – Feb) Winter (Jun – July)
Cape Town 80 65
Johannesburg 77 62
Durban 82 73
Kruger Nat’l Park 90 79
Currency and Tipping
The currency is the South African Rand with 100 cents making up 1 Rand. Currency can be exchanged at local banks and most major international credit cards are widely accepted. ATMs are widely available in most major cities. When in South Africa, tipping is widely accepted. Restaurants do not add a service charge but customary tips are 10 to 15 percent. Parking and gas station attendants should be given any small change available and tips are always appreciated. Hotels do charge a service fee for groups and tips is appreciated for concierge services.
Food and Water
Tap water in South Africa is safe to drink. In hotels, and restaurants the standards of hygiene and food preparation are top-notch.
South Africa’s transport infrastructure is excellent and the roads are generally in good condition. Drivers operate their vehicles on the left side of the road and the steering wheel is on the right hand side of the car. South African law does not require an international driver’s license. A valid driver’s license from any U.S State or territory that has a signature and photo of the driver is valid to drive in South Africa for stays of less than six months. There is limited enforcement of traffic laws and traffic lights are frequently out of order. A reminder to always be cautious while driving in a foreign country.
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