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South Africa

02
May 2014

SOUTH AFRICA

South Africa is situated at the southern tip of the great continent of Africa and is flanked by the warm Indian Ocean on the east (Mozambique) and the cold Atlantic Ocean on the west. Our African neighbours to the north are Namibia on the northwest, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique to the northeast.

With an area of just over 1.2 million square kilometers, South Africa is 5 x larger than Great Britain and makes up 4% of Africa. South Africa has about a total of 362 000km of roads of which 74 000 is paved. We have a well developed road system and can be compared to Europe. There is also a well developed train system which connects over the whole country.

We are home to 46 million people of great diversity, spread over 9 provinces and speaking 11 official languages. English is understood and spoken by most of the people.

South Africa has fantastic and diverse natural beauty. We are home to the Big5 in the animal kingdom which comprises of the lion, buffalo, leopard, rhino and elephant. There are many game reserves where they are home and where they and other animals can be viewed in their natural environment. South Africa also has fantastic biodiversity across the country. On the west of the country, we have a dry climate and sparse vegetation. On the east we find subtropical conditions.The seasons in the southern hemisphere are opposite to those in the north so that we have summer from November to February. The country has one of the worlds highest average daily hours of sunshine.

Telecommunications is an integral part of the infrastructure and we have 3 mobile telephone companies and a fixed line telephone company. We use the GSM mobile system so you could also roam in South Africa on a local network. Travelers to South Africa should never have a problem and can keep in touch wherever they are in the country.

We have a reliable supply of electricity and the voltage and hertz is the same as in Europe so there is no problem with European appliances.

South Africa is 2 hours in advance of Greenwich Mean Time and 1 hour in advance of central European winter time.

It is customary to tip in South Africa and the rate is 10 – 15% in restaurants if you have had good service. Tipping is voluntary.

General information

Hospitals

South Africa has good public hospitals and excellent private health care. Most of these are open 24 hours a day.

Public Transport

South Africa has an extensive rail network which connect most major towns and cities. There are long distance coach services connecting most of th

e country. When you travel by train it is best to make sure that you travel 1st class and avoid traveling at off-peak times. Taxis do not cruise as in other countries. Check with your hotel or if hailing a taxi yourself, make sure that the taxi is accredited and uses a meter system or has its tariffs displayed.

Banking and other money matters

The South African currency is Rands & Cents. R1 = 100 South African cents. Banking hours are from 08h30 to 15h30 Monday to Friday.

Bureau de change's are generally open until 17h00. Try not to change money at the airports or hotels as they offer a very bad rate. Travellers cheques are widely accepted in the cities but may be a problem in rural areas. You could also draw money directly from one of the many ATM machines but make sure that you protect your PIN nr.

Tipping

It is the norm to tip waiters in restaurants between 10 – 15% depending on the service. Restaurants will ad a 10% service fee for larger tables. Porters normally get 2-3 Rand per bag. It is also customary to tip petrol attendants 2-3 Rands.

Food

The food in South Africa is of a very high standard and in general the portions are generous. You will find many restaurants that cater for all tastes. The oceans around South Africa provide a fantastic choice of seafood and rock lobster locally known as crayfish is widely available.

Water

The water from the tap is some of the cleanest you will find in the world. It is however recommended to drink bottled water if you go to remote areas.

Malaria

South Africa is normally a low risk area. It is however advisable to take malaria prophylactics if you visit the Kruger national park and the northern borders of the country. It is best to contact your local doctor for up to date information.

Communications

Phonecalls can be made from your hotel but these are normally very expensive. International calling cards are a good option and less expensive. You could also use your own mobile phone and buy a local sim card. South Africa has a well developed mobile telephone network and good coverage over most of the country. Internet cafes are widely available.

Inoculations

No special inoculations are prescribed for South Africa apart from yellow fever vaccination but it is advisable to consult with your local doctor. Bear in mind to allow time for the medicine to reach effective levels before you travel.

VAT (value added tax)

All goods sold in South Africa are subject to vat. As a foreign visitor you are allowed to claim it back when you leave the country subject to some rules. Find out the latest rules from your hotel in the country.

Please plan to visit South Africa with us!!!!

Last modified on Monday, 14 July 2014 07:16
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