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The Western Cape, Northern Cape & Eastern Cape have a Mediterranean type Climate. The winter months [April - August] are mild and changeable, during these months most of the rainfall occurs; which is opposite to the rest of the country, which experience summer rainfalls. The Kwazulu Natal coastline has a sub-tropical climate with lots of sunshine throughout the year. The summer months [November - April] can become very hot and humid (with up to 80% humidity) where high rainfalls are experienced. The Freestate, Gauteng and North-West Province enjoy moderately cold winters and warm to hot summers [November - April]. These areas get their rainfall during the summer months. Mpumalanga and Northern Province enjoy mild winters and hot summers [November - April]. During the winter months, there can be a significant difference between day and night temperatures.
South Africa has 11 official languages. English is spoken almost everywhere.
01 May Workers Day
16 June Youth Day
09 August National Women's Day
24 September Heritage Day
16 December Day of Reconciliation
25 December Christmas Day
26 December Day of Goodwill
Moveable Holidays: Good Friday, Easter Monday / Family Day
Note: When a Public Holiday falls on a Sunday, the following Monday is declared a Public Holiday as well.
ELECTRICITY / VOLTAGE:
The supply is 220/230 Volts AC, 50 Hz, 3 round pin plugs.
HEALTH RISKS / IMMUNIZATION:
Food and tap water are generally safe in South Africa. When coming from a country in tropical South America or Sub-Saharan African, a yellow fever vaccination certificate may be required. This applies to any person over one year of age. In South Africa, there is no risk of yellow fever. Malaria is encountered in northern and eastern Mpumalanga, Northern Kwazulu Natal and some areas in the Northern- and North West Provinces. Transmission of malaria is the highest during the rainy season, i.e. November to April. It is recommended to take anti-malaria tablets before entering any of the above regions (consult your GP or pharmacist for details). Also, ensure that you are well covered with mosquito repellent. If you are bitten by a wild or domestic animal a rabies and tetanus vaccination is advised. The following vaccines are recommended for health care workers and other persons who will be in close contact with the local population: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid. For adults, as needed, a booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria, measles and a one-time dose of polio vaccine.
Important: With effect from 01st July 2011 if you are flying to South Africa (including being in transit) from a Yellow Fever Zone, you must have a Yellow Fever Certificate stating that you have been immunized at least 10 days prior, or an exemption certificate (if applicable). This includes (but is not limited to) travelling from Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda or Kenya. We suggest you consult your GP or nearest travel clinic for the most up-to-the-minute advice.
In urban areas as well as in the vicinity of game parks, the medical facilities are good. In other areas, these facilities are often limited. When visiting a doctor / hospital, immediate cash payment is often required (credit cards are generally accepted).
SAFETY / SECURITY:
Although most visitors enjoy their travels in South Africa without incident visitors are advised to take note of the following points:
In general, restaurants and accommodation establishments do not include a service charge in their bill. Depending on the standard of service, normally 10 - 15% is applied as a basis for tips.
Rand = 100 cents. (ZAR = International symbol for Rand).
All large game at the wildlife reserves is to be considered dangerous and therefore the reserve’s rules should be strictly adhered to. To avoid snakebites while on a walking safari, wear boots, socks and long trousers. Neutral coloured clothing is recommended and in the cooler months warm clothing is recommended for game drives. Do not swim in the rivers in wildlife areas. Afternoon / evening game drives typically start between 15h00 – 16h00 so please ensure that you arrive in time.
When visiting South Africa for a period of up to 90 days, travellers from the UK and most (not all) visitors from the European Union do not require a visa. Visitors who intend to work in South Africa must apply for a work permit abroad at the South African Consulate or Embassy. Before departing for South Africa, check with the nearest South African Consulate or Embassy for any possible changes regarding the visa requirements.
Passports must carry a validity of 30 days beyond intended date of departure from South Africa and have two consecutive blank pages (left & right pages facing each other).
TRAVELLING WITH CHILDREN:
South Africa's immigration laws have recently undergone an intense revision, with two vital amendments that you need to know about if travelling with children under the age of 18:
09h00 - 15h30 Monday to Friday
08h30 - 11h00 Saturday
Automated Teller Machines are available in most towns & shopping centres and certain petrol service stations and operate on a 24-hour basis. Foreign Exchange Services are offered by the major banks.
All major credit and charge cards (American Express, Diners, Mastercard and Visa) are widely accepted, but not for petrol.
Post Office hours are as follows: 08h30 - 16h30 Monday to Friday
08h00 - 12h00 Saturday
Value Added Tax (V.A.T.) is currently at 14% and is included in most products and services. Goods purchased from shops which are part of the export incentive scheme (recognizable by the V.A.T. logo) and are taken back to the country of residence of the traveller, qualify for the refund of V.A.T. The total value of items for which a refund is being claimed must exceed R250,00
South African telecommunication facilities are of a high standard. Facilities available are IDD, telex, facsimile, e-mail and cellular telephones. The international country code for South Africa is: 27.
Widely accepted at banks, hotels, restaurants and shops.
Driving is on the left-hand side. Requirements for driving in South Africa are a valid national licence provided that it carries a recent photograph or an International Driving Licence. In general, road conditions are good. Along the main highways, petrol is available 24 hours a day. While driving, do not pick up hitch-hikers and ensure that your car doors are locked at all times. As driving in South Africa is an adventurous affair, travellers are advised to drive defensively. On the toll-roads, there are telephones available in case of breakdown or in case of an accident. Along these roads, petrol stations operate on a 24 hour basis. Some of these petrol stations include a workshop. Always wear seatbelts. It is a law in South Africa that back-seat passengers should wear their seatbelts as well. Cellular telephones are not allowed to be used in a car without a handsfree kit. Cellular telephone rental services are available at all international airports.
Travellers are strongly discouraged to hitch-hike in South Africa.
Although the public transport is under-performing regarding the needs and requirements, a public transport system is available but mainly in the bigger cities. The public busses face fierce competition from minibuses (of which many operate illegally). Travellers are advised to be careful in choosing minibusses as a means of transport as occasional violence between the drivers of minibuses does erupt and many of the (illegal) minibuses are not roadworthy.
Taxis are available at most airports and hotels. With regard to other venues, taxis should be called from a rank.
A voluntary tourism levy scheme is operated in South Africa, with the levy being equal to 1% of the nightly accommodation rate. Where possible we will indicate where this has been paid, in some instances you may be asked to pay locally.
There are many day tours available in South Africa, visiting some wonderful sights. Please note that a few of the day tours (i.e. Robben Island) need to be pre-booked. See www.robben-island.org.za, to book tickets online.
NATIONAL EMERGENCY NUMBERS:
Department of Home Affairs 012 810 8911; Medical Rescue Netcare 911 082 911; ER 24 084 124 / 011 803 7707; Automobile Association 083 843 22 (Toll free – select options 1 or 2); Life Line 13 11 14; Police 10111; Ambulance 10117.
If you are calling from a mobile you are able to contact emergency services by dialling 112.
AFRICA COLLECTION CONTACT INFORMATION:
Office Hours: 09h00 – 17h30, Tel: +44 (0) 1403 256655, Fax: +44 (0) 1403 253325
ENJOY YOUR SOUTH AFRICAN SOJOURN
Please Note: Whilst we have made every effort to ensure the information provided in this document is accurate, Africa Collection is in no way responsible for the information provided. We will endeavour to communicate any amendments to the information in a timely manner.