Good to Know
Time difference: South African time is GMT+2 throughout the year. Therefore, South Africa is one hour ahead of France in winter. In summer, however, the time in Paris is the same as in South Africa.
Practices and Dress code: There is no need to dress up like a professional ranger to visit the reserves, but the browns or beiges of traditional safari outfits have their advantages. Subdued colours are less disturbing to the animals. When in the open vehicles used by the private parks, wear a hat, sunglasses and plenty of sunblock. At night, long sleeves, long pants and socks will help protect you from mosquitoes.
Telephone: The code for South Africa is 0027. To phone a South African number from abroad, replace the 0 at the beginning of the number with 0027.
Example: to call 081 260 3148, dial 0027 81 260 3148.
Once in South Africa you can simply dial the number with the original zero.Example: 081 260 3148.
To call a foreign number from within South Africa dial 00 (or + on a cell phone), indicating an international call, followed by the code of the country to which you are calling (e.g. 32 for Belgium, 33 for France, or 41 for Switzerland), and then the number you wish to call, simply omitting the zero in front of the original number.
Example: to call 01 10 20 30 40 in France, dial 00 33 1 10 20 30 40.
Currency: The currency used in South Africa is the South African Rand, the international symbol being ZAR (1ZAR = 100cents). The Rand is printed in bills of 200, 100, 50, 20, and 10.
Cash: Do not keep too much cash on your person. You can easily draw money as you need it from ATM's, which are found everywhere. (If you struggle to find an ATM you will find one at the nearest petrol station.) You will be able to draw between R2000 and R3000 at a time. The ATM's operate 24/7.
Rules of the Road
In South Africa we drive on the left-hand side of the road, and our cars – rental cars included – are right-hand drive vehicles.
Keep to the left and pass right
All distances, speed limits (and speedometers) are in kilometers.
There are strict drinking and driving laws - with a maximum allowable alcohol blood content of 0.05%. Translated that means about one glass of wine for the average woman and perhaps 1.5 or two for the average or large man.
Four-way-stops are commonly found at the quieter intersections – the first vehicle to arrive has priority. On roundabouts, give way to the right, although this is often overlooked and it is wise to proceed with caution.
Wearing of seat belts is compulsory. All occupants of a vehicle are required to wear seatbelts whilst traveling, if you are caught without you will be subject to a fine.
Using hand-held phones while driving is against the law – use a vehicle phone attachment or hands-free kit, if you want to speak on your mobile phone.
The general speed limit on national highways, urban freeways and other major routes is 120km/h (75mph).
On secondary (rural) roads it is 100km/h (60mph).
In built-up areas it is usually 60km/h (35mph) unless otherwise indicated.
Malaria is a parasitic infection of the red blood cells. It can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated at an early stage.
In South Africa malaria is found in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the north-eastern part of KwaZulu-Natal. The peak period is between September and May.
If you travel to a malaria risk area you must:
• prevent mosquito bites throughout the year
• take prevention drugs from September to May.
Avoid mosquito bites:
• stay indoors between dusk and dawn
• wear long sleeves, long trousers and socks
• apply insect repellent containing DEET to exposed skin
• close doors and windows or protect them with screens
• switch on fans or air conditioners
• use a mosquito-proof bed net
• spray the inside of the house with an aerosol insecticide
• use mosquito mats or coils during the night
• treat clothes with an insecticide registered for this purpose.
Consult with a doctor to prescribe the correct medication.
For further info see:
Pregnant women and children under five should not travel to malaria risk areas.
TEMPERATURES CAPE TOWN
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As of 1 June 2015 children travelling into, through and out of SA are required to produce an unabridged birth certificate.
This notification from Home Affairs
The new requirements for children travelling to or from the Republic of South Africa take effect on 1 June 2015. The requirements are aimed at establishing the principle that all minors require the consent of their parents when traveling into or out of the Republic.
1. APPLICATION OF THE NEW REQUIREMENTS
1.1. The documents listed under paragraph 4 shall upon request be produced at a port of entry by:
South African minors upon leaving the Republic, and Minors who are foreign nationals and who are visa exempt when travelling through a port of entry of the Republic.
1.2. Minors who apply for a South African visa at any mission or VFS service-point shall be required to submit as part of the application, documents listed hereunder at paragraph 4, prior to such visa being issued.
1.3. Where a minor applies for a visa inside South Africa or at a South African embassy abroad it shall be standard practice for all supporting documents to be submitted prior to the visa being issued. Sworn translations of the documents should be submitted with the visa application as stipulated in Regulation 9(4) of the Immigration Regulations, 2014. However, persons who are visa exempt need not submit any translations when reporting to an Immigration Officer at a port of entry. Supporting documents should either be the originals or certified copies of the originals.
Minors who began their journey prior to 1 June 2015 shall not be required to produce the documents listed in paragraph 4 should the return leg of the journey occur after 1 June 2015.
No supporting documents will be required in the case of minors in direct transit at an International Airport.
Minors in possession of valid South African visas shall not be required to produce the documents listed in paragraph 4 when travelling through a port of entry of the Republic.
In the case of countries that endorse the particulars of parents in children’s passports, or other official identification documents, these documents shall be acceptable for the purpose of establishing the identity of parents of the travelling minor. Example: Indian passports record the parents’ names on the passport. In this instance, the requirement of an Unabridged Birth Certificate as stated in paragraph 4 may be dispensed with.
3.1. Alternative Care
Section 167 of the Children’s Act, 2005 (Act No. 38 of 2005), states that a child is in Alternative Care if the child has been placed in:
foster care; the care of a child and youth care centre following an order of a court in terms of that Act or the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act No. 51 of 1977); or
temporary safe care.
South African law regards any person younger than 18 years as a child or minor.
3.3. Equivalent Document
Any official document (Example: identity document or passport issued by the relevant authority of any country) or letter issued by a foreign government (including a foreign embassy) or a letter issued by the Director-General of Home Affairs of the Republic of South Africa, recording the identity of the parents of a child shall be accepted in lieu of an Unabridged Birth Certificate. These instruments shall serve to identify the parents of the child intending to travel through a port of entry of the Republic.
Unless the context indicates otherwise, the word “parent” includes adoptive parents and legal guardians.
3.5. Parental Consent Affidavit
Parental Consent Affidavit is an affidavit which must accompany an Unabridged Birth Certificate or Equivalent Document when any parent is not travelling with his or her child.
A South African Embassy in the traveller’s country of residence may be approached to commission the oath or solemn declaration required in the Affidavit free of charge.
The Affidavit must not be older than 4 months when presented. The same affidavit will still be valid for the departure or return in relation to the same journey regardless of the period of the journey.
A suggested format of the Parental Consent Affidavit is here: ParentalConsentAffidavit
3.6. Unabridged Birth Certificate
In South Africa, an Unabridged Birth Certificate (UBC) is an extract from the Birth Register containing the particulars of a minor and those of his or her parent or parents. UBCs are official documents issued by the Department of Home Affairs in terms of the Births and Deaths Registration Act, 1992 (Act No. 51 of 1992). All birth certificates containing the details of a child as well as the parents of the child shall be accepted for the purposes of these Requirements as UBCs , regardless of the country of issue.
In the case of countries that do not issue UBCs, an ‘Equivalent Document’ containing the particulars of the child and his or her parent or parents, issued by the competent authority of that country, or an embassy of that country may be used instead of an UBC. A suggested format for such an Equivalent Document is available at: http://www.dha.gov.za/files/EquivalentDocumentForeignGov.pdf
4. DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR TRAVEL THROUGH A PORT OF ENTRY OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA
4.1 Where both parents are travelling accompanied by one or more of their children, such children have to produce:
Valid passports and an UBC or Equivalent Document for each child travelling.
4.2. Where only one parent is travelling with a child, (or children), each child has to produce:
A valid passport, an UBC or Equivalent Document for each travelling child and the Parental Consent Affidavit from the non-travelling parent whose details are recorded on the UBC or Equivalent Document.
4.3. An unaccompanied minor has to produce:
A valid passport; an UBC or Equivalent Document; Parental Consent Affidavit; letter from the person who is to receive the minor in the Republic containing such person’s residential and work address and full contact details in the Republic, a copy of the identity document or valid passport and visa or permanent residence permit of the person who is to receive the minor in the Republic.
4.4. A person who is travelling with a child who is not his or her biological child, such child must produce:
A valid passport, an UBC or Equivalent Document and Parental Consent Affidavit.
These requirements apply also to children travelling with school groups.
4.5. A child in alternative care shall produce:
A valid passport and a letter from the Provincial Head of the Department of Social Development where the child resides authorising his or her departure from the Republic as contemplated in section 169 of the Children’s Act (Act No. 38 of 2005).
4.6. Explanatory Notes:
One of the following documents may be presented in the absence of a Parental Consent Affidavit referred to above:
A court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or full legal guardianship of the child exclusively to the travelling parent ;
A court order granted in terms of section 18(5) of the Children’s Act, 2015, (Act No. 38 of 2005) which is a court order granting permission for the child to travel in the event that there is a dispute or no consent forthcoming from the parent/s of a child; or
a death certificate of the deceased parent.
Where only one parent’s particulars appear on the UBC or equivalent document, no parental consent affidavit is required when that parent travels with the child.
In the case of divorce, where custody of a child/children is shared, parental consent by both parents is required.
Where a Parental Consent Affidavit is presented, also required are full contact details and copies of the identity documents or passports of the parents or legal guardian of the child.
The consent of parents recorded as such on the Unabridged Birth Certificate or Equivalent Document shall be required regardless of the marital status of the parents of the child.
5. INABILITY TO CONSENT DUE TO RECENT DEATH OR MENTAL OR PHYSICAL DISABILITY:
5.1. Where any parent/s recorded in an UBC, or equivalent document, are unable to consent to the travel by a child due to recent death, or mental or physical disability, persons acting on behalf of the child/children may apply for a special dispensation in lieu of the parental consent affidavit by directing a request and full motivation, together with all supporting documents (example, treating medical practitioners certificate), to the Office of the Director-General of Home Affairs, at the following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
5.2. Explanatory Note:
This dispensation only applies to incapacity, and does not apply where a parent is either unwilling to consent or unable to be located due to separation or divorce.
Where a parent refuses to give consent, a court order in terms of section 18(5) of the Children’s Act, 2005 (Act No. 38 of 2005), may be presented in lieu of such parental consent.
See pdf document here
Safety / Protection against Criminals
When driving anywhere in South Africa, try to apply the following safety precautions:
Always drive with your doors locked and windows wound up, especially when stopped at traffic lights.
Don't ever stop to pick up hitchhikers, however innocent, lost or appealing they look. If you are worried about someone's plight, stop at the next town and report it to someone there.
Do not leave anything valuable on show in your car when you leave it unattended, and always lock your car when you leave it, even if you are only going to be gone for a few minutes.
Try to always park in a busy, well-lit area.
Take advice from your hosts where you are staying, and ask if there are any areas that tourists should avoid driving through
Do not confront aggressive or abusive road users.
If possible avoid traveling at night or in remote areas.
Thieves have been known to employ various methods to make a vehicle stop, enabling them to rob the occupants. One such method is the placing of large stones in the middle of the road. In the circumstances it is prudent to carefully drive around the stones or obstacle, rather than stop the vehicle.
General tourism and road safety tips for driving in South Africa
If you need directions it is best to stop at a petrol station and ask the attendants.
Always respect the warnings on road signs – be aware that the roads in many rural areas are not fenced, so you could find dogs, chickens, sheep and even horses or cows on the road, so it may be dangerous to drive at night.
Large antelope crossing the road can also be a hazard in certain areas – watch out for the road signs depicting a leaping antelope, and take it slowly, especially towards evening.
In Case of Emergency
When you need assistance, kindly call the following numbers
ER24 - 084 124
Arrive Alive Call Centre 0861 400 800
Netcare 911 082 911
If you are calling from a mobile you can also get emergency services by dialling 112.
More information / Contact Us