Holidays in South Africa - amazing beaches, wildlife and outstanding beauty
What you need to know before your holiday in South Africa

 

South Africa essential information

 Weather

February is the  height of summer in South Africa when temperatures inland in the semi-desert regions can hot 40 C plus. The coastal areas are more temperate with weather similar to the Mediterranean.  Take great care when out in the sun, always apply sunscreen, even if it is cloudy.

Mountain regions can get very cold during the winter. It is sometimes possible to ski in the Drakensberg Mountains. 

 

Currency

The unit of currency is the Rand. To ensure that you can withdraw cash in rands from an ATM in South Africa you may need to inform your bank of your holiday dates in advance, especially if you're travelling from the UK.

Debit and credit cards are widely accepted and again to make sure that you're not embarassed, let your bank know when you will be in South Africa.

You can change foreign currency at banks and Foreign Exchange Offices. You will need your passport to confirm identity. 

 

 Time Zone

Time zone is GMT + 2  - no jet lag for northern European visitors

 

Safety

There are incidents in South Africa but the level of crime is much exaggerated.  Behave sensibly and you should not experience any problems. Behave in  the cities as you would London, New York or any other large city in the world; don't flaunt your wealth,  remain sober and alert, don't leave possessions lying around on the beach, or on view inside your car.

The doors of South African hire cars lock as soon as you start the engine and it is s sensible precaution to keep doors locked. As difficult as it is when you see people with heavy bags hitching lifts, offering a lift exposes you to unnecessary risk.

Many people have wonderful holidays in South Africa and experience nothing but polite helpful people.

 How safe is Cape Town?

 

Health

South Africa offers excellent healthcare. The first heart transplant, you will hear Cape Town taxi drivers boast, was performed in Cape Town. They will even point out the hospital to you as you drive into Cape Town from the airport.

Malaria is prevalent in certain areas such as around the Kruger National Park and in low-lying parts of Swaziland and Eastern South Africa, but not in the Western Cape or Eastern Cape. Perhaps that is one reason why more people are visiting the Addo Elephant National Park rather  than the Kruger National Park in recent years.

 

Visas

UK citizens do not require a visa but residents of certain other countries do. See countries exempt from a visa and how to obtain a visa for your holiday to South Africa.