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Practical information about South Africa

On this page you will find answers to frequently asked questions about South Africa. You can read more, for example, about weather, visa and currency. See also our selection of South Africa Holidays.

1. Weather and climate in South Africa

South Africa is a great travel destination all year round. South Africa encounters summer when we have our winter. However, the South African winter is never really that cold.  Summer and rain seasons run from November to February. During this period the weather fluctuates heavily from sun to rain and you may even encounter some tropical storm weather. However, you are mainly likely to enjoy sunny weather.

Statistics
JAN
FEB
MAR
APR
MAY
JUN
JUL
AUG
SEP
OCT
NOV
DEC
Average temp.
29
29
28
27
25
23
23
25
27
27
27
28
Night temp.
19
19
18
14
10
6
6
9
12
14
17
18
Statistics Average temp. Night temp.
JAN 29 19
FEB 29 19
MAR 28 18
APR 27 14
MAY 25 10
JUN 23 6
JUL 23 6
AUG 25 9
SEP 27 12
OCT 27 14
NOV 27 17
DEC 28 18

The above are average temperatures during summer months (Oct., Nov., Dec., Jan., Feb.) and you can expect extremely high temperatures and humidity.
Often, during the high summer (November, December, January), it will be 40 degrees (or above) almost every day. The humidity can reach up to 90%
and therefore, what we call the ‘real feel temperature’ is often a lot higher than a thermometer will display.

2. Terms & Conditions

Please read our booking terms and conditions carefully. These terms and conditions constitute the basis of your package purchased from africasafari.co.uk.  Click here to read our terms and conditions.

All the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate

3. Travel insurance

We are an ATOL protected agency giving you complete peace of mind. It is a condition of booking that the sole responsibility lies with the guest to ensure that they carry the correct comprehensive travel and medical insurance to cover themselves, as well as any dependants/traveling companions for the duration of their trip.

In cooperation with our partner we can offer advantageous travel insurances. Learn more here.

4. Vaccinations

We always advise that you contact a specialist, your GP or an authorized vaccination clinic. You can also read more about the rules for travel & vaccinations at the central NHS Fit for Travel website: here

Please be aware of the rules about yellow fever – especially if you are entering via another African country.

5. Visas

For UK citizens, a visa for stays of up to 90 days will be issued on arrival in South Africa.

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 90 days from the date of exit from South Africa.
Read more about the rules and procedures at southafricahouseuk.com.

If planning a combination tour to Victoria Falls, UK citizens must have a visa for Zambia. You can apply for a visa here: zambiahc.org.uk. Alternatively you can purchase a visa at Livingstone airport for 50 USD / approximately £33. Remember to have cash ready for this.

Read more about the rules and procedures for obtaining visas at: zambiahc.org.uk.

South Africa – when travelling with children under the age of 18

As of 1 June 2015, new regulations have come into effect regarding entry into/transit in South Africa with children under the age of 18.

As a result, children (under the age of 18) now need to bring a copy of their birth certificate with them. This applies even though the child may be travelling with both parents. If the child is travelling with just one parent – or without either parent – then he/she must have written consent from his/her parent(s) in the form of official authorisation to travel, along with a copy of his/her birth certificate. This also applies regardless of any joint custody agreement.

If one of the parents is deceased, the other parent or the child must bring a copy of the relevant death certificate as well as a copy of the child’s birth certificate.

Please note that official authorisation to travel is only valid when authenticated by an official authority (Apostille).

Additional information

For additional information about the new entry regulations, see: http://www.nwivisas.com/nwi-blog/south-africa/new-immigration-regulations-for-parents-travelling-with-kids/

We abide by the Foreign Ministry’s recommendations and refer you to their website for further information.

For more information about your specific case, contact the South African Embassy. For details, see: http://southafricahouseuk.com/

Link to explanation of the Apostille stamp:
https://www.gov.uk/get-document-legalised

6. Flight reservations and airline tickets

We will send you your flight reservation as soon as you book your trip. You can see times and routes on the itinerary. It is important to check your name for spelling mistakes. The name on the reservation must be exactly as in your passport.  If you find any mistakes in the names, please contact us immediately.

Today, there are only electronic airline tickets (e-tickets), so you do not receive a physical ticket for use at the airport check-in. When you check in at the airport, you use your passport and a booking reference. The booking reference is on your itinerary.

7. Service letter

Once you have purchased a tour through us, you will receive our service letter before your departure. The service letter contains important information about online check-in, what to do in the event of a delay, our agreed guidelines for tips, etc. In addition, you will find important telephone numbers for our local agents as well as our emergency telephone number.

So it is important that you print out the service letter and bring it with you.

8. Seat reservation, upgrades and extra legroom

We recommend that you make a seat reservation on the plane. Many airlines also offer to upgrade reserved tickets for seats with extra space and comfort, e.g. Economy Comfort at KLM and Premium Voyageur at Air France. You can do this through the airline’s website. Most airlines have a point in the menu called “manage my booking”. Please note that many airlines require payment for seat reservation, so you should have your credit/debit card to hand when you get started.

Unfortunately, rules differ as to when seat reservation is opened. We recommend that you try to make a seat reservation as early as possible and you will then know when you can make a seat reservation if it cannot be done right away. It is very common for seat reservation to be opened between 72 and 24 hours before departure.

help there.

9. Your luggage

We use many different airlines to South Africa, so it may vary how much you can carry in both your checked luggage and your hand luggage. See your airline ticket for information or contact us if you have any questions.

We recommend that you pack your things in soft bags when going on a safari holiday. It’s easier to pack the safari cars with soft bags than suitcases. Hardcase suitcases are particularly difficult to fit in to the safari car. So, if possible, avoid using suitcases with hard edges.

You should also make sure you carry all your important and indispensable things in your hand luggage. This applies to items such as passports, visas, airline tickets, insurance documents, credit cards, money and cameras, as well as information about your health and vital medicines.

The air conditioning on the plane can make it chilly, so have a windcheater in your hand luggage and perhaps also your safari hat.

10. Transport in South Africa

On our safari to Kruger National Park you will be welcomed by our local guide in the airport in Johannesburg. From here, you will drive in a safari bus through the scenic South African countryside to your lodge. The drive from the airport to Kruger takes around 4–5 hours.

 

On our safari tours in Eastern Cape, you will be met at the airport in Port Elizabeth and driven to the lodge, and if you arrive by plane in Cape Town, you will also be met by our local representative at the airport.

 

On our self-drive holiday, you will not be met the airport as you will be picking up your hire car.

11. Driving Distances on safari

From Johannesburg to Kruger National Park: approx. 400 km – around 4–5 hours

Full day in Kruger National Park: approx. 200–250 km – around a 10-hour drive with stops along the way.

Full-day excursion to the Drakensberg Mountains: around a 200-km drive to the first viewpoint, total approx. 10-hour drive, approx. 480 km full day

 

On our self-drive holiday, you can see the distances under each driving day.

 

Remember all distances and times are approximate and subject to weather and traffic conditions.

12. Conditions for self-drive holidays in South Africa

It is relatively easy to self-drive in South Africa. It gives you tremendous freedom to have your own car and to decide where and when you make a stop.

When picking up your rental car, you are required to present your passport and international driving licence. A deposit is reserved on your credit card. This will be reimbursed to your credit card when you return the car. You also have to pay for GPS, any additional drivers and one-way rental, if applicable.

Please note that main roads in South Africa are often shared with animals, pedestrians, cyclists, buses and lorries. So take extra care when driving.

You will probably see the hard shoulder being used for overtaking, but we discourage you from doing this yourself. The hard shoulder is for emergencies – not for overtaking. Having overtaken, it’s not unusual to say “thanks” with your hazard lights.

Street lighting is poor and at times there are holes in the road, so we recommend that you don’t drive after dark. Almost all cars in South Africa have automatic locking, so your car door is locked when you drive. You should avoid having the window rolled down while you’re stationary. South Africa is a poor country, where a few people have a lot and many have little – but by exercising common sense, you will enjoy a wonderful self-drive holiday!

The minimum age for renting a car is 18, and you must have held your driving licence for at least one year.

13. Food and Beverage

The safari tours, which are half-board, include breakfast and dinner. This is typically a large self-service buffet. On half-board holidays, drinks and lunch are at your own expense. As a guideline, our guests generally spend around £100 per person on lunch and drinks for the whole holiday.

 

Safari tours with full-board include all meals and (local) drinks.

14. Currency in South Africa

The South African currency is the Rand. Using your international credit card, you can withdraw cash from cash machines. Start with the one at the airport. You can withdraw up to 2,000 Rand per day per card.

We recommend you bring some Euro with you for the stopover.

15. Tipping

Tipping is important in a country such as South Africa where serving staff are often so badly paid that they cannot live off the wages they earn alone.

Tipping is, of course, voluntary and it’s completely up to you how much you want to give.

The following is customary:

Guide/driver: 100–150 Rand for a full day excursion with two people travelling together

Waiting staff: 10-30 Rand or 10% of the bill

Cleaning staff: 10–20 Rand a day

Tips for staff at the place where you are staying are paid in cash. At restaurants/bars, you can add a tip to the bill.

16. Public holidays

It is always special to experience the traditions and celebrations of other countries. Below is a list of public holidays, important festivals and other special occasions.

Please note that some museums and attractions may be closed on these days.

 

17. Tourist tax

Tourist tax is payable in South Africa. This is not included in our packages. You will be required to pay around 6–8 South African Rand (ZAR) per room per night. This is paid as part of the room bill when you check out of the hotel. We accept no liability for changes in tax.

18. Time difference

During the summer time South Africa is one hour ahead of the UK. During the winter months South Africa are 2 hours ahead of us.

19. Booking extra excursions

Our itineraries often include free days, depending on the choice of tour, allowing you to choose what you want to do.

Extra excursions are booked at your lodge or through our partners. The excursions are paid for no later than 24 hours before in South African Rand (ZAR). Payment can also be made by credit card.

Read more about possible extra excursions in our tour programmes on the website.

20. Safari Tours

The set tours are adapted to the weather and other circumstances. As a rule, the tours cannot be changed to something else or refunded. Safari tours among wild animals take place in open-topped vehicles. All other driving is in air-conditioned minibuses.

21. Mosquito Net

Mosquitoes come out when the sun goes down and the temperature drops. Most people are bitten when dusk falls, so it’s a good idea to wear long trousers and perhaps a long-sleeved shirt, and spray your ankles, wrists, hands and neck. Some places have mosquito nets over the beds – others over all the windows. As a rule, it is not necessary to bring your own mosquito net, but be sure to have a good mosquito repellent with you.

22. Children on safari in South Africa

Our safari tours are extremely child friendly. The wildlife on the African savannah is exciting – for children, too, who are welcome on our safaris whatever their age.

However, for safety reasons, they must be over the age of 12 to participate in a bush walk with rangers, and 6+ to participate in an evening safari in an open-topped vehicle.

23. Electricity

In South Africa the standard voltage is 220 V. However, you may need an adapter with three large, round pins, as the sockets are different

24. Luggage which is important to bring
  • Bright summer clothes for safari trips (Strong colours can attract unwanted attention from flies found in certain areas of the parks).
  • Nicer clothes for evenings at the hotel and lodge, such as long pants and long-sleeved shirts to protect you against mosquitoes after sunset and, if necessary, against the sun
  • A good jacket, as it can be cool in the morning and evening
  • Summer Footwear (e.g. sports shoes and cotton socks). Avoid bare feet and legs at night due to mosquitoes
  • Power adaptor with 3-4 sockets – this enables a shaver, trimmer, electric toothbrush and any batteries to be charged via a single adapter
  • Small flashlight and extra batteries
  • Hat that shields against the sun
  • Sunscreen and lip balm
  • A mosquito repellent for example
  • Nail clippers and file
25. Important items to have in your hand luggage
  • Passport, money, tickets
  • An adapter with 3 large, round pins
  • Sunglasses
  • The medicine you take at home (always in your hand luggage)
  • Over-the-counter medicines: painkillers, allergy pills, anti-diarrhoea tablets (Imodium?), malaria pills, plasters and disinfectant wipes.
  • Binoculars (so you can see that leopard all the way out there in the tree)
  • Camera and more memory cards than you expect to need + the battery charger and a bag to protect your camera from Africa’s fine, red dust.
  • Zip-up shoulder bag with a sturdy strap or a money belt or good inside pockets that zip up.
  • A couple of photocopies of all your personal papers such as passports, visas, airline tickets, travel insurance, vaccination cards, international credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, etc.), driving licences and whatever else you have in your wallet – spread between each other’s suitcases and bags.
  • Telephone numbers for immediate cancellation of missing credit cards and for contacting your insurance company, etc.
  • Postal addresses of those you want to send a postcard to and e-mail addresses of those you want to send a holiday e-mail.
  • Notebook and pens
  • A good book or two for the flights there and back
26. Travellers with reduced mobillity

Please note, this tour is generally not suitable for persons with reduced mobility. Please contact us for information about the possibilities according any specific needs.

Help, Advice or Booking

Contact our experts now:
0845 805 7207
info@africasafari.co.uk

Hours of opening:
Mon, Wed & Fri: 8 - 16 Tue&Thu: 8-21 Sat: 9-17

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