South Africa: Frequently Asked Questions

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DO I NEED A VISA?

Like any other country, Visa requirements depend on the country you are from. For countries like South Africa, Swaziland and Multiple-Entry Schengen VisaBotswana, you do not need a visa for stays of less than 90 days if you are from the following countries: Australia, United States of America, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, British Overseas Territories, African Union Laissez Passer, Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway , Paraguay, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Spain, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Sweden, Switzerland, British Islands Bailiwick of Guernsey and Jersey, Isle of Man and Virgin Islands, Uruguay or Venezuela. Find more information about your visa requirements here.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT SOUTH AFRICA?

South Africa has its summer from the month of October to April and the day temperature during the summer can go as high up as 30 – 36 degrees. For beach time and bird watching experience, summer tends to the best time of visit.

Winters are good if your main attractions are the game safaris as temperatures are low and wild animals come out of their shelters for water and can easily be spotted. In winter, the day time temperature goes down to as less as 15 degrees and during the night- 0 degree.

WHAT IS THE TIPPING STANDARD OF SOUTH AFRICA?

The tipping standards in South Africa are usually 10% -15% in restaurants and 10% to taxi drivers. As a tourist, many might not be aware of this but if you coming from Europe then the tipping standards are pretty much the same.

WHAT SHOULD I BE AWARE OF WHEN DRIVING IN SOUTH AFRICA?

South Africa used to be a British Colony so just like other British colonies in the World; South Africans also drive on the left and little-cartoon-funny-vector-car-sun-clouds-31013547give way to the right. Hiring a car is one of the cheapest modes of transportation within the country. If you have a European driving license, you should be able to drive in South Africa without a problem. Most sign boards are in English so it’s not that tough to adapt to the driving rules of the country. As far as I had travelled, the roads were great and driving views were breathtaking. One of the best suggested ways to explore the country is to drive from one place to another. I had limited time in the country so I flew between my major destinations but a road trip is worth taking in Africa.

WHAT SHOULD I PACK FOR SOUTH AFRICA?

Packing for your trip to South Africa mostly depends on what time of the year you are travelling in. I have written a complete post about the essentials of your packing list for South Africa which you can find it here.

WHAT ARE THE TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS IN SOUTH AFRICA?

Different parts of South Africa have different modes of transportation. Public transport, private taxi and car hire are some of the download (1)major ones available in all parts of the country. The cheapest way of transportation is to hire a car in the country and there are a variety of rental companies including Zoom Car which are available there. If you don’t drive (like me!) or don’t want to drive while on a trip, your best bet would be an Uber cab. It is comparatively cheaper, safer and quicker in terms of availability. Other than that, there is public transport widely available in different parts of the country. For example, Durban had a very good public transport bus facility system charging only 18 Rand (0.80 £) for a day long pass. Jo’burg also has a good public transport system but I would suggest avoiding it if you can since one needs to have good awareness of the local places in case of using the public transport.

HOW ARE THE PEOPLE OF SOUTH AFRICA?

The people of South Africa are extremely warm and helpful. I never had any difficulty in asking for a help from a total stranger. You might find them a little too forward in terms of expressing their thoughts to you. Especially in the bars, pubs and clubs I found that the locals were particularly expressive and one can certainly say that saves time by not beating about the bush which can be a good or a bad thing which I will leave for you to decide. If you are a solo female traveller, I advise you to be ready to expect some unexpected comments and offers but one shouldn’t judge the country based on a few unwanted incidents. Overall 90% of the people I met were exceptionally helpful and welcoming. I also lived with a few of the locals and made some really good friends.

WHAT TO DO IN SOUTH AFRICA?

There are endless things you can do in the country. Different parts of the country have different experiences to offer. Cape Town itself is full of so many different activities and adventures that you can spend innumerable weeks there. Read more about the things you can do in Cape Town here. Durban does not have much to offer in terms of touristy things but is still a worth visit- read about my experience in Durban here. The Wildlife Safari is one of the USPs of Africa and South Africa no less. You can read about my experience of the African Safari in my previous post here. Finally, Jo’burg is the place where you realise that the South African “stereotype” exists only in the minds of those who have never budged from their couches. Read more about the things to do in Jo’burg here.

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