South Africa lies almost wholly within the southern temperate zone, and its climate is more equable than that of corresponding northern latitudes because of its surrounding waters. Cape Town and the southernmost part of Western Cape has a Mediterranean-type climate and is warmer than some areas further north that are affected by the cold Benguela Current on the west coast of Southern Africa. The winter months are mild and changeable, this is also the time when most the rainfall occurs. The Durban and Kwa-Zulu-Natal coastline is affected by the warm Mozambique current and enjoys a sub-tropical climate, with plenty of sunshine throughout the year, but the summer months can become very hot and humid. Throughout the country, however, the mean annual temperature is just below 15.6°C (60°F). On the high veld there are sharp differences of temperature between day and night; but there is less daily fluctuation nearer the coast. Rainfall is unpredictable in large parts of the country, and prolonged droughts are a serious restriction on farming in such areas. While the mean annual rainfall is 18.6 inches, nearly 30% of the country receives less than 10 inches and 65% receives less than 20 inches. Much of South Africa gets its rain in the summer months, but the western coastal belt is a winter rain area. Along the Cape south coast, rain falls during both seasons. Generally the winter months are between April and August with summer being from September to March
Entry permits are issued on arrival to holiday visitors from most British Commonwealth countries and to holders of Japanese, Irish, Swiss and German passports. Currently holders of Scandinavian and Finnish passports do not require visa but this situation could change and it is advisable to check with your nearest South African Embassy/Consular. South Africa has at least consular representation in most countries. It is possible that, on entry into South Africa, you will be asked to show sufficient funds to support your stay or have an onward ticket. Visa extensions are expensive and can be difficult to obtain because of the recent influx of illegal immigrants.
Listing of South African Tourist offices and/or embassies located around the world
New Rules come into force on June 1, 2015 (postponed from 1st October 2014) regarding travelling to South Africa with Children
Official Currency: 1 South African Rand=100 cents
Current Exchange Rate: Today's Exchange Rate
Credit and charge cards are widely accepted, including American Express, Bank of America, Diners, MasterCard, Standard Bank Card and Visa. Some ATM's give cash advances. Travellers cheques are also widely accepted and exchanged. Different commission charges are incurred depending on which bank you use and which travellers cheques you have.
Domestic Flights within South Africa:
You can get to all the major cities by air but may need to book in advance, especially during school holidays.
The railway system is South Africa is well established and mostly privately run. All the major towns are connected.
There is a Metro service in and around several cities.
Metrorail - metropolitan and suburban rail services in South Africa (Johannesburg and Cape Town)
The Blue Train, which runs between Pretoria and Cape Town, is famous for its sheer luxury, people come to South Africa just for the experience. If the whole trip is out of your budget you can take just a section of it. The train is very popular and bookings will need to be made in advance. The train recently started a new service "Zimbabwe Spectacular" where two nights are spent on board.
You can also experience a steam train tour, including "Apple Express" from Port Elizabeth, the "Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe between Knysna and George the "Banana Express" along KwaZulu Natal South Coast and "Magaliesberg Express" from Johannesburg to Magaliesberg.
If you are train enthusiast then South Africa offers you an experience not found elsewhere.
A number of coach operators operate an inter city service. Translux Express offers very flexible passes, enabling visitors to make up their own itineraries to explore the country. It is advisable to book in advance.
Greyhound Coach Lines
specialising in luxury coach transport. This competitively priced go as you please pass allows unlimited travel over a specified number of days with as many stop overs as required. It's the ideal way to see the country, especially when passengers want flexibility with their holiday itinerary.
Luxury Inter City Transport provider covering Southern Africa. Travel in the lap of excellance with Intercape Mainliner.
Services throughout South Africa and to major cities in Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Hitching is not advisable.
South Africa is an excellent country to drive in. Road conditions are good, there are plenty of petrol stations often open 24 hours and fuel is relatively cheap. Driving is on the left hand side and a valid national licence is accepted provided it carries your photograph otherwise an International Driving Licence is recommended.
January 1st New Years's Day
March 21st Human Rights Days
March/April Good Friday
March 31st Family Day
April 27th Constitution (Freedom) Day
May 1st Worker's Day
June 16th Youth Day
August 9th National Women's Day
September 24th Heritage Day
December 16th Day of Reconciliation
December 25th Christmas Day
December 26th Day of Goodwill
In South Africa it is advisable to pre-book accommodation in game parks, hotels and even campsites during the school holidays. School holidays vary slightly for different provinces.
To find out full details of school holidays in South Africa the individual provinces please visit
South African School Holiday Calender
Electric Power is 220V - 240V running at 50Hz.
The Plug type used in South Africa is: "Type D & M"