Need to KnowHere you will find things you need to know for example Currency, Voltage, Gratuity and Language.
Tipping / Gratuities.
Tipping is customary in South Africa. A guideline for visitors is the following: Porters R5 per item, taxis 10%, waiters and waitresses in restaurants 10-15%.
Currency and Exchange Rates.
One Rand (R) = 100 cents (c). Notes issued R200, R100, R50, R20, R10; coins R5, R2, R1, 50c 20c, 10c, 5c.
Currency exchange rates are available at banks and published daily in the press or see South Africa Current Exchange Rates which are updated daily.
220/230 volts AC at 50 cycles per second. Three pronged plugs are universal, so take an adapter.
Most hotel rooms have 110 volt outlets for electric shavers and small appliances.
Malaria Risk Areas.
This disease is to the larger extent under control in South Africa.
Regions that are affected are the Northern Province and Mpumalanga, northern Kwa-Zulu Natal and Zululand. The risk of contracting the disease is negligible provided that you take the standard precautions.
Malaria tablets, a good insect repellent particularly in the evening, long-sleeved shirts and mosquito coils are advisable precautions.
Please also see our Malaria risk area map.
South African Standard Time
South African standard Time is two hours in advance of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT +2), one hour in advance of central European winter time and seven hours in advance of United States eastern standard time throughout the year. There are no time zone differences within the country.
No international immunization is needed when entering South Africa.
The only inoculation requirement is a yellow fever vaccination certificate from travellers over one year of age entering South Africa within six days of leaving an infected country.
Visitors who travel through or disembark in these areas are advised to be inoculated against the disease before visiting South Africa.
There are 11 official languages including English, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Needle, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda and Zulu. View more information about each language at South African Languages including the origins of the language and where it is spoken in South Africa. Includes some “South Africanisms” and useful Xhosa and Zulu phrases.
English is spoken everywhere you go. English is the language of the cities, of commerce and banking, of government and official documents. All our road signs and official forms are in English and at any hotel, Bed and Breakfast or Guest House, the service staff will speak to you in English.
Every person seeking to enter South Africa must be in possession of a valid passport for travel to South Africa and, where necessary, a visa. Enquiries can be directed to South African diplomatic representatives abroad or the Department of Home Affairs in Pretoria. Visitors who intend travelling to South Africa’s neighboring countries and back into South Africa are advised to apply for multiple entry visas.
In terms of existing arrangements, passport holders of certain countries are exempt from visa requirements. Tourists must satisfy immigration officers that they have the means to support themselves during their stay, and that they are in possession of return or onward air tickets. They must also have valid international health certificates.
Visit the website of The South African Department of Home Affairs for more info.
Security and Safety.
As South Africa is a developing country, crime does exist, so we would advise you to take a few basic precautions. All valuables, passports, cameras, should be locked in the safe of your hotel. Valuables should be carried discreetly when walking in cities.
Gold and other expensive items offered for sale by street vendors are likely to be fakes or stolen property. Do not participate in pavement games as they are operated by well organised gangs and money can be stolen while you are distracted.
Public transport is available in South Africa so there is no need to hitch-hike. Local residents will advise you on safe transport. If driving, do not pick up hitch-hikers and ensure that your car doors are locked at all times. The South African Police are easily recognized in their blue uniforms and by their white and blue patrol vehicles.