South Africa Travelers Guide & Tips
South Africa guide – a Rainbow Nation of cultures and cuisine, landscapes and languages, wildlife and wines
South Africa is generally sunny and pleasant and the winters are usually mild. Snow mostly falls on the high mountain peaks of the Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
The South African seasons are the reverse of those of the Northern Hemisphere. Despite regional climate differences, South Africa generally enjoys a mild climate throughout the year.
The areas with the most significant differences in climate are the Western Cape with its Mediterranean climate (warm, dry summers and wet, cold winters), the northern areas (hot summer days and frequent thunderstorms) and the coastal areas of KwaZulu-Natal (subtropical, all year round beach weather and high humidity).
Average temperatures in South Africa can vary widely: Summer: October to March, 15° C (60° F) to 35 ° C (96° F). Winter: April to September, below 0° C (32° F) to 20° C (68° F).
Exposure to the sun
South Africa has one of the world’s highest daily sunshine rates and
visitors, who are not used to the sun, should take extra care, especially between 11:00 and 15:00. Sunscreen lotion with a protection factor of at least 15 is advised against the high UV rating of the South African sun. A variety of good quality products are available throughout the country. Customs
Before leaving the customs hall, duty has to be paid on items that are over the allowed limits.
Cigarettes 200 per/p, Cigars 20 per/p, Cigarette or pipe tobacco 250g per/p, Wine 2 litres per/p, Spirits or other alcoholic beverages 1 litre per person,
Perfume 50 ml per/p Eau de Toilette 250 ml per/p, Gifts, souvenirs and all other goods R 500, A flat rate of 20 percent is charged on gifts in excess of R3 000 and up to R12 000.
Important note: No person under 18 is entitled to a tobacco or alcohol allowance.
Duty-free goods can be bought at Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban
For summer months, lightweight (cottons and linens), short-sleeved clothes are best, although a light jersey might be needed for the cooler evenings.
Umbrellas and raincoats are essential for the summers and the Western Cape winters. Warm clothes will be needed for the winter months.
SA electricity supply: 220/230 volts AC 50 Hz.
Exceptions: Pretoria (230 V) and Port Elizabeth
Most plugs have three round pins but some
plugs with two smaller pins are also found on appliances. Adapters can be purchased but may be in short supply. US-made appliances may need a transformer, which is available in South Africa
South Africa has 11 official languages but English is spoken well by almost all South Africans and visitors will always be able to have their needs met in English.
Road signs and official notices are all in English. Information documents
and booklets are also available in English, e.g. maps, telephone
directories, forms and tourist brochures
Restaurants normally do not include the service charge in the account and it is customary to include an extra amount of 10 to 14 percent as a tip for the waiter, depending on the quality of the service
Some hotels keep a staffbox at reception where tips for the staff can be left; otherwise tips may be given to individual staff members personally
Tap water in South Africa, in major cities as well as in most game reserves, is purified and 100 percent safe to drink.
Bottled water is also available countrywide