South Africa is a beautiful country, home to an array of fascinating people, cultures, languages and religions.
In order to get the most out of this wonderful destination, travellers have found some of the following tips helpful:
- As with any other country in the world, there are areas in which it is not safe to walk, particularly at night. Enquire with your tour operator and / or hotel and adhere to their recommendations for your own safety.
- Do not leave your luggage, handbag or photographic equipment unattended.
- Carry only the money and equipment that you need on you and leave the rest at the hotel or guest house.
- Some areas of South Africa are prone to malaria, particularly in the regions around the Kruger National Park. Consult with a travel clinic well in advance and get the prophylaxes required. Take additional precautions by applying insect repellent, burning citronella candles and sleeping under a mosquito net.
- Summers in South Africa are generally hot and dry. Depending on the area, winters can be mild to cold. Pack the appropriate clothing as well as comfortable shoes.
- Always apply plenty of sunscreen and wear protective clothing to prevent burning your sun, neck and shoulders. Even in overcast conditions, the sun can be harsh.
- Tipping is customary at petrol stations, in restaurants and in parking areas. In restaurants, 10 to 15 % is acceptable (depending on the quality of the service). R2 to R5 is the average tip for car guards and petrol attendants.
- English is one of the 11 official languages in South Africa and tourists will get by with it.
- When embarking on safari trips, it is vital that you take warm clothing for the early morning and evening, as game drives and walks can become very chilly.
- On national roads and in rural areas, drivers need to be aware of animals and people crossing in front of cars, particularly at night.
- South Africa remains one of the areas most affected by HIV and AIDS. Visitors need to take every precaution to have safe sex and not to share needles with anyone.
- If a South African person tells you that they will do something for you “just now” or “now now”, this means that they will do it later, not immediately.
- Public transport is not considered to be reliable in South Africa, and the minibus taxis are often unroadworthy. Therefore, it is wise to hire a formal cab or a private vehicle.