South Africa - Visitor Information
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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
Climate Chart for Cape Town
today's weather forecast see:-
CNN - Africa Weather
LATEST TRAVEL ADVICE
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
US State Department - Travel
VISAS & IMMIGRATION
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.
--> click for listing of
South African Tourist offices and/or embassies located around the
Currency: 1 South African
--> Click for today's Exchange Rate for RAND to
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.
Most banks are open Mon-Fri 0900-1530 and Sat 0900-1100. Autobanks are found in
most towns and operate on a 24-hour basis.
South Africa is two hours ahead of GMT
Domestic Flights within South
You can get to all the major cities by air but may need to book in
advance, especially during school holidays.
South African Express Airways
flights throughout South Africa.
is the fuss-free alternative to
conventional travel. With exceptionally low fares, online booking and easy
check-in, kulula.com is flying made easy for everyone.
Railways / Train
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, Cape Town
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
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
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
Greyhound Coach Lines
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.
throughout South Africa and to major cities in Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and
Self Drive / Car Hire:
Travel Map of South Africa
Buy in USA
Buy in UK
Published by New
Holland Publishers (U Series Globetrotter Travel Maps
A revised map of
South Africa which caters specifically for the needs of tourists and visitors.
Special features include: nature reserves, parks and places of interest;
highlighted scenic routes; town maps of major tourist centres, including
legends in English, French and German.
--> Other Maps & Atlases for
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.
AA in South Africa
There are numerous smaller local companies that
offer competitive car/camper van rates, but if you want a one way rental this
can be a problem with some of them.
The major companies, such as Avis
and Budget are represented, but their rates are one of the highest. The
advantage of using them is that you can often book through an agent in your
home country (or on-line) and this can in fact work out to be cheaper than
booking on arrival in South Africa.
Specialist travel agency offering
discount online bookings for reliable rental cars in South Africa. Enquire
easily online and save big!
||New Years's Day
||Human Rights Days
||Constitution (Freedom) Day
||National Women's Day
||Day of Reconciliation
||Day of Goodwill
SCHOOL HOLIDAYS IN SOUTH AFRICA
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
To find out full details of school holidays in South Africa
the individual provinces please visit
--> click for South African School Holiday
Electric Power is 220/230V (Grahamstad
& Port Elizabeth 250V; also found in King Williams) running at 50Hz. The
Plug type used is:
--> click to view "South African" Plug
If you need medical care whilst in South
Africa, it is best to be aware that medical providers may not accept payment
through your medical insurance company. In these circumstances you will have to
pay in full after your treatment and file a claim with your insurance company
for reimbursement when you return home.
Therefore you should have
access to cash, either from a credit card or by wire transfer. If you need
assistance contact the country's local embassy or representative.
compensated you must be treated by licensed medical personnel and provide your
insurance company with proper documentation and receipts.
advisable to always ensure you have a comprehensive travel insurance policy
which covers you for repatriation to your home country.
You can check
out the following websites which specialise in long term travellers, adventure
travellers, backpackers and workers based abroad.
||Insure and Go - UK Travellers
it's for a one off holiday or if you travel many times over the year, if you're
off backpacking before university or you're retired and looking to explore the
world; if you're after winter sports cover or if it's for a business trip, a
wedding abroad or a golfing weekend away, we have a policy at the right price
to ensure you have the peace of mind that you are covered for the unexpected
while you're away.
InsureMyTrip - USA travellers
A trusted resource
that serves millions of customers worldwide, our licensed customer services
representatives help travelers find the right insurance plan, offering one of
the industry's largest customer ratings and reviews forum and a unique customer
advocacy program that provides one-on-one assistance to travelers before,
during, and after their trip.
Downunder Insurance - UK - Australia and New Zealand
offers travel insurance to travellers and residents in the
UK, Australia and New Zealand. Our cover ranges from basic to highly
comprehensive, with affordable policies aimed at backpackers and gap-year
students, but with cover available to travellers and holiday makers up to 55
years of age.