10 Things You Must Know When Travelling To South Africa

26 March, 2024

Travelling to South Africa offers a lot of experiences which makes it a destination unlike any other. From iconic Table Mountain in Cape Town to the vast savannas of Kruger National Park, South Africa boasts an incredible variety of landscapes, as well as indoor and outdoor activities for any budget and age. In this article, we list the 10 most important things to consider when planning your trip to this beautiful country.

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  • First things first: take a look at the visa requirements. Check if you need a visa to enter South Africa based on your nationality. You can find more information on that here. Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your intended departure date. There are lots of companies online that organise your South African visa, but please beware of scams! Never disclose your personal information or transfer money before you make sure you’re dealing with a legitimate service provider.
  • Health Precautions: healthcare is very expensive in South Africa, so it is vitally important that you obtain medical aid when making travel plans. Moreover, even though the risk of getting malaria in South Africa is very low, it is still a malaria-risk country, especially in certain regions. Consult your healthcare provider for necessary vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis, especially if visiting rural areas or game reserves.
  • Currency and budget planning: The official currency is the South African Rand (ZAR). Most places will accept credit and debit cards, but it’s also important to have some physical cash, for example, to buy souvenirs or tip the petrol attendants. Ensure you have enough local currency when travelling to rural areas as credit cards may not be accepted there. You can find more information on money exchange in our article about money exchange.
  • Safety Precautions: While South Africa offers stunning landscapes and vibrant culture, it’s essential to be vigilant about safety. Avoid displaying valuables in public, stay informed about local news and be cautious when exploring unfamiliar areas, particularly at night. Download a panic button app (choose one from this list) and make sure you book accommodation in a safe area.
  • Emergency Contacts: Save important contact numbers, including local emergency services, your country’s embassy or consulate and your travel insurance provider. Keep copies of essential documents like your passport and travel insurance policy in a safe place.
  • Transportation: South Africa has a well-developed transportation network, including domestic flights, buses, trains and rental cars. Travelling by car is the best way to see and get to know South Africa. There are multiple car rental services that offer a wide range of models. Make sure you have a valid driver’s license as well as a credit card with enough money for a deposit. If you can’t drive a car, use one of the taxi apps. Choose the most suitable mode of transport based on your itinerary and budget and prepare to enjoy the beauty of South Africa!
  • Weather: South Africa experiences a varied climate. Pack appropriate clothing based on the season and region you’re visiting. It is advisable to always have a second layer of clothes (a thin jacket or jersey) that is easy to put on and take off when necessary. The country’s summer months (November to February) are generally hot and sunny, while winters (June to August) are cooler, especially in the Western Cape.
  • Cultural Diversity: South Africa is known as the “Rainbow Nation” due to its diverse population and cultures. Respect cultural differences and embrace the opportunity to learn about the country’s rich heritage and traditions.
10 Things You Must Know When Travelling To South Africa
  • Language: South Africa has 12 official languages, with English widely spoken. Learning a few basic phrases in one of the indigenous languages can enhance your travel experience and show respect for local culture.
  • Wildlife Viewing: If planning a safari or wildlife viewing excursion, research reputable tour operators and game reserves. Contact us to plan your perfect safari mission! When in the park, adhere to the regulations, maintain a safe distance from animals and avoid feeding or disturbing wildlife.
10 Things You Must Know When Travelling To South Africa

South Africa is a country like no other. It is a place that leaves its visitors feeling inspired, enriched and rejuvenated. By considering these 10 factors before travelling to South Africa, you can ensure a smooth and rewarding journey in this diverse and beautiful country.