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South Africa - Traveling

Contents extracted from the comprehensive atlas of international trade by Export Entreprises

Entry requirements

Organizing your trip

Means of transport recommended in town

Transport system is comparatively better in major centers but can be unreliable in smaller towns. Hiring a car is advisable to avoid difficulty traveling in those areas. On a general note public system in the country is unreliable and inefficient.

Road signs are in English and Afrikaans. Metros are extensive though low on comfort quotient. Foreigners need to be extra cautious while traveling; do not carry expensive articles and jewelry.

Taxis are generally available in all towns and are relatively more expensive. Taxis do not cruise in South Africa and need to be called from a rank. However, it is not advisable to flag down taxis in the street but rather one should use taxi companies recommended by four and five star hotels.

Maps of urban networks: Mapblast

Means of transport recommended in the rest of the country

Buses and suburban rails operate in all the main towns of South Africa. Fares are not expensive.
In some cities conventional buses face stiff competition from minibuses and combi-taxis (both legal and illegal). Although cheap and very fast, these should be used with care.
Name Type Domestic flights International flights
South African Airlines Major Yes Yes
Kulula Low cost Yes Yes
1time Low cost Yes No
Mango Low cost Yes No
South African Express Major Yes Yes
Airlink Major Yes Yes

Traveling by yourself

Recommendation: The road infrastructure in South Africa is good, so driving is a viable option. However, South Africa is a huge country and in case you not used to driving long distances, rather break the journey, as fatigue is a major contributing factor in motor vehicle accidents. While most national roads are tarred and in good condition, the more rural the road, the more likely it is to be pot-holed and poorly surfaced. Wearing of seat belts is compulsory. Using hand-held phones while driving is against the law. Visit : Self Drive –Southern Africa
Find an itinerary: Via Michelin


Different forms of tourism

Historical: The country’s rich culture and its colonial past is being reflected by its historical places. Some of them are Robben Island, Cradle of Humankind, Apartheid Museum, Voortrekker Monument, Bo- Kaap, Castle of Good Hope.
Religious: Cathedral of St George's in Cape Town and the Roman Catholic cathedral at Pella Mission station in Cape Town an incredible sight.

Kimberley’s St Cyprians Anglican Cathedral – said to have the longest nave in the country.

Johannesburg’s oldest monument to Islam is the Jummah Mosque. However, one of the most significant mosques in the city is the Hamidia Masjid (found in Newtown).

In Durban the Juma Masjid (mosque) is a bold testament to Islam.

For information on Hinduism in South Africa, visit:

For information on Islam in South Africa, visit:

Thermal: Bela Bela is the destination for hot springs. Natural hot water springs also found near the town of Citrusdal in the Western Cape of South Africa.

Visit: The Baths.

Beach: South Africa has numerous beautiful beaches. Visit: Drakensberg

The country is a paradise for sea lovers. Visit: Tourism Office.

Winter sports: Winter sports are not common in south Africa. Drakensberg in the eastern cape offers skiing options.
Outdoor activities: Whale watching, shark-cage diving, reef diving, surfing, Bungee jump, fishing, hand gliding.

Visit: Adventure Activities in South Africa

Shopping: South Africa is renowned for its exceptional quality of gemstones and hand crafted precious metal jewelry. The country offers unique shopping experience of high end boutiques and shopping malls along with vendors selling local crafts. Visit:

African Craft Market

Gateway Theatre of Shopping

Red Shed Craft Workshop

Canal Walk

Tourism organizations: South African Tourism Board

Living conditions

Health and safety

Health precautions: - A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travelers over one year of age arriving from an infected area. There are no other obligatory vaccinations.

-Malaria risk exists throughout the year in the low altitude areas of the country. Risk is highest from October to May.

-Avoid swimming and paddling in stagnant or slow-moving water as there is a low risk of contracting bilharzia.

-Vaccinations against tuberculosis and hepatitis B are recommended.

- Tap water is of good quality but those with a sensitive digestive system are advised to drink bottled water.

- Mosquito repellant and nets (and even mosquito-proof rooms) are advisable to prevent contracting malaria.

- Take into account that South Africa has an epidemic of HIV/AIDS.

For further information on sanitary conditions: Department of Health

Time difference and climate

Map of the time zone: Pretoria (GMT+2)
Summer time period: None
Climate: South Africa experiences pleasant and sunny summers, mild winters, with occasional snow falls on the mountain ranges of the Cape and Natal and in lower-lying areas. There are heavy rains along the south coast from June to September.


Food specialties: South Africans like to eat out so. This has resulted into creation of a wide range of restaurants. Fruity and sweet Cape Malay cuisine can be found in Cape Town, while the Indian influence in Durban provides some authentic Asian food on the KwaZulu-Natal coast, and Mozambique peri peri spicy chicken and prawns are popular all over the country. Braais (barbeques) are hugely popular and every campsite. Meat is a well-loved staple in South Africa, although vegetarians are offered at least a couple of dishes in even small-town eateries.
Drinks: Legal drinking age is 18. Some of the most common drinks in South Africa are:

• Umqombothi: a home-brewed sorghum beer.

• Excellent local red and white wines (including chardonnay), sherries and brandies.

• Rooibos: a red-leafed tea grown in the Western Cape.

• Amarula Cream: a sweet creamy liqueur made from the fruit of the Marula tree.


Getting some knowledge: The Travlang website gives you some typical phrases to learn in South Africa.
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