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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For tourist stays in South Africa of less than 90 days, passport holders from France, Switzerland, most European countries and the United States are exempt from visa requirements. A 90-day residence permit will be issued at the border upon entry into South Africa (List of exempted countries on: http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/immigration-services/exempt-countries).
The passport must have two blank pages and be valid for 30 days after the planned date of exit from South Africa. Failure to do so will result in travellers being turned away on arrival.
Beyond 90 days of stay, it is possible, under certain conditions, to extend one's stay for a further 3 months by requesting, at least 60 days before its expiry, an extension of the visa from the South African immigration services (Home Affairs).
For stays of less than 90 days that are not tourist stays (internships, volunteer work, etc.), it is strongly recommended to apply for the appropriate visa before departure, at the South African embassy in your Country.
Any traveller leaving the country after the expiry date of his visa is liable to be banned from staying in South Africa for a period of 1 to 5 years.
Entry and exit of minors into and out of South Africa
Following a change in South African regulations in November 2019, accompanied foreign minors can travel to South Africa with their valid passport only . The passport must be valid for more than four months from the date of travel and have at least two blank pages.
Foreign minors travelling unaccompanied must present the following documents:
copy of birth certificate ;
letters of parental consent;
copy of passport(s)/identity document(s) of parents/legal guardian(s) ;
contact details of parents/legal guardian(s);
letter from the person who is to receive the child in South Africa, indicating his/her address and contact details in South Africa where the child will reside;
copy of the valid identity document/passport and visa or permanent residence permit of the person who is to receive the child in South Africa.
For further information, please contact your Consular Service.
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