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The most important information when travelling in South Africa

Here's some essential information to help you prepare for your trip to South Africa and ensure that you don't forget anything.

When to go

You can visit South Africa at any time of the year, but it's best to go between October and April.

Entry requirements

US, UK, and Canadian citizens require a passport that is valid for at least 30 days after date of departure from South Africa. A three month tourist visa is automatically issued on arrival. Warning the formalities for family travel in South Africa have changed recently and are relatively restrictive, make sure you check them out in plenty of time before leaving!

Health advice

The hospitals in the major cities are excellent, but very expensive. Make sure you take out medical insurance cover before you leave. No particular injections are required, but malaria is present in the north-east of the country. Nearly 18% of the adult population of South Africa is infected with HIV, so be sure to take precautions.

Airline tickets

It depends on the airline. the purchase date and the route, but the average cost of a flight from the UK to South Africa is around £450.

Time difference

South Africa is 1 hour ahead of the UK. When it's midday in London it's 1 pm in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Language

English is spoken throughout the country. In addition to English, each region has speakers of one of the 11 other official languages, including Afrikaans, Ndebele, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, and Zulu.

Relevant contacts

South African High Commission in London.

South Africa House, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DP

southafrica.info/travel

British High Commission in Pretoria

255 Hill Street, Arcadia, Pretoria, Pretoria 0028

Tel: +27 12 421 7500

gov.uk/government/world/organisations/british-high-commission-pretoria

Phone and internet connection

Telephone prefix: +27

You can get internet access in city hotels and guest houses and in some bars and restaurants. 

Electricity

Power points are on alternating current and the supply is 220-230 volts. You will need an adapter.

Culture and Discovery

Questions about customs in South Africa

To take out certain goods (tobacco, food, currency), you need to respect the customs rules of the destination country! South Africa applies customs rules similar to those...
Nicolas Landru 3 February 2016

Safety in South Africa: keeping safe in towns

South Africa has a very high rate of crime, particularly in urban areas. The poverty and inequality that resulted from the apartheid era have created a criminal breeding...
Nicolas Landru 3 February 2016

Safety in South Africa

Travel around South Africa by taking some basic precautions!
Anne Ribes 25 November 2014

What budget for South Africa?

Find all practical information on South African local currency, the RAND and your budget estimate for your trip to South Africa. 
Anne Ribes 11 January 2016

Play the ecotourism card in Limpopo!

South African Province situated at the far North-East of the country, mostly rural and distanced from large touristic tours Limpopo is an ideal region to practice ecotou...
Laetitia Santos 21 August 2015