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South Africa, billed as a “world in one country” occupies the southern tip of Africa is divided into nine provinces.  The country is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the west and the Indian Ocean on the south and east.  Its neighbouring countries are Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland. South Africa completely surrounds the Kingdom of Lesotho.

South Africa is the powerhouse of Africa and it is the most advanced country of the continent.  The country is home to over 47 million people of different cultures, religions, languages and beliefs, making it one of the most diverse countries you will ever visit.  South Africa boasts three capital cities: Pretoria (executive), Cape Town (legislative) and Bloemfontein (judicial).

South African flag

South Africa is a year round holiday destination, but it all depends on what kind of experience you are looking for. Different activities are better suited to different seasons.

For the best game watching, visit during a South African spring (August – October), Whale watching from mid June to the end of October and for diving and surfing, April to September. The beaches of Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban are great and best visited in the peak of summer (November – February), but are often overcrowded.

South Africa offers many exceptional destinations to explore and which span a vast landscape from warm sunny oceans to wilderness areas situated amongst impressive mountain ranges. Cape Town, often ranked amongst one of the world’s best holiday cities is known for its sophisticated life style as well as its beautiful scenery, and stunning vistas.  Durban, also on the coast but approximately 1600km (1000 miles) northeast from Cape Town, is one of South Africa’s holiday playgrounds and the country’s busiest ports. Durban has a number of interesting museums as well as the renowned Durban Botanical Gardens. Situated about half-way between Cape Town and Durban lies Port Elizabeth with its warn water beaches, famous Opera House, aquarium and popular Malaria-free game reserves. As most international flights arrive in Johannesburg, visitors have a number of local sites to see in the capital such as the Johannesburg Zoo, Gold Reef City and the Planetarium.

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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 climate.  The winter months are mild and changeable, this is also the time when most the rainfall occurs. The Durban and Kwa-Zulu-Natal area is tempered by the warm Mozambique current and enjoys a sub-tropical climate, with plenty of sunshine throughout the year with warm, pleasant winters and hot, humid summers.  On the Highveld there are sharp differences of temperature between day and night; but there is less daily fluctuation nearer the coast. While much of South Africa gets its rain in the summer months, the western coastal belt is a winter rain area. The South African winter months are between April and August with summer being from September to March.



South Africa is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise offering an impressive variety of sports and activities.  From world famous golf courses to hiking, camping, fishing, canoeing, swimming, snorkelling, diving, shark diving, rock climbing, mountain climbing, kite surfing, paragliding, skydiving, base jumping, bungy jumping, surfing, various motorised water-sports, yachting, dune-boarding, horse riding, mountain biking, cycling, Game safaris and many many more.  Sport enthusiasts will be bombarded with choice.

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Time:  Local time is GMT +2 hours

Electricity:  Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Round, three-pin plugs are standard as well as European two prong plugs.

Language:  South Africa has 11 official languages.  Most widely spoken is English and most business is conducted in English.  However, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Zulu and Sotho are also widely spoken.

Telephone dialling codes:  The international access code for South Africa is +27. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom).

Currency / Money:  South Africa's currency is the Rand.  Money can be exchanged at banks, bureau de change, and in larger upmarket hotels.  Major credit cards are accepted at most establishments like stores, restaurants, shops and malls.   Credit cards may not be used to purchase petrol – only cash is accepted.  ATM’s are widely available.

Note:  Please go to our Currency Converter for the latest rates

Tipping:  A tip of approximately 10% is customary in bars and restaurants, if the service has been good, and if the gratuity is not included on the bill.  Tipping is also customary for porters, taxi drivers, petrol attendants and travel guides.  Car guards in major cities, shopping malls and tourist attractions will expect a tip for looking after your car - anything from R5 upwards will do.

Passports & Visas:  While most passport nationalities do not require a visa for a stay of up to 90 days, it is best to check with your consultant upon making your reservation.  Please ensure that your passport is valid for more than 6 months after your departure from South Africa, and that you have at least 3 blank pages in your passport.

Note:  Entry requirements change, sometimes with little notice.  Please CHECK with your World Wide Travel West Coast consultant regarding updates at the time of making a travel enquiry.

Health Requirements:  The information shown below is general with regard to health requirements.  These do change on a regular basis so check with your World Wide Travel West Coast consultant at the time of making a travel enquiry.

  • Compulsory vaccinations:  Yellow Fever (if coming from an Endemic Country).
  • Recommended vaccinations:  Hepatitis A & Tetanus
  • Precautions:  Malaria Prophylaxis & advisable to drink bottled water

Note:  The information shown below is general with regard to health requirements.  These do change on a regular basis so check with your World Wide Travel West Coast consultant at the time of making a travel enquiry

General:  Visitors to South Africa should be aware of the high incidents of crime.  While this is largely localised to certain areas (like the townships) travellers should be aware of the risks and exercise the necessary precautions.  Do not drive into areas if you are unsure of where you are going, always keep your car doors locked, do not walk around on your own especially in remote areas and do not hike alone.  Be careful of loiters while using ATM’s and do not display too much jewellery or cash.

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