traveltips

SOUTH AFRICA TRAVEL TIPS

Time Zone

GMT + 2 hours.

Travelling with children

Regulations aimed at improving the safety of children travelling in and out of Namibia, South Africa and Botswana have been implemented. All children under the age of 18 will require an unabridged birth certificate together with a valid passport when travelling to or from any of the above-mentioned countries, as well as travellers in transit with a transit visa. The following documents will be required when travelling:

Child and both parents

  • An unabridged birth certificate (UBC)
  • A valid passport for the child

Child and one parent
Parent must produce

  • An unabridged birth certificate (UBC)
  • A valid passport for the child
  • A court order (where applicable) / death certificate (of any deceased parent reflected on the UBC) / affidavit confirming the absent parent has given permission for the child to travel.
  • Certified copies of both parents’ ID / passport.

Child and guardian
Guardian must produce

  • An unabridged birth certificate (UBC)
  • A valid passport for the child
  • A court order (where applicable) / death certificate (of deceased parent/s reflected on the UBC) / affidavit confirming the parents have given permission for the child to travel.
  • Copies of parents / guardian ID / passport.
  • Contact details of parents / guardian

Child unaccompanied

  • An unabridged birth certificate
  • A valid passport
  • A court order (where applicable) / death certificate (of deceased parent/s reflected on the UBC) / affidavit from both parents or legal guardian confirming permission to travel.
  • A letter from the person who will receive the child including their full contact details and residential address and a certified copy of their ID / passport.
  • Contact details of parents / guardian.

Currency

The monetary unit of South Africa is the Rand, divided into cents and abbreviated as R and C.

Notes currently in circulation are to the value of R200; R100; R50; R20 and R10.  Coins are in denominations of R5; R2; R1; 50c; 20c; 10c; 5c. All currency must be declared on entry into South Africa.

Money Matters

Banking hours
Monday to Fridays 9:00am - 3:30pm
Saturdays 8:30am - 11:00am
Sundays and Public Holidays all banks are closed.

Credit cards All major credit cards are accepted at most establishments, although visa and master card are the most widely accepted.

Tax Value Added Tax (VAT) of 15% is levied in South Africa. Overseas visitors taking goods out of South Africa are able to reclaim the VAT, which they paid on these goods. Reclaiming VAT is only applicable for goods that you are able to produce at the airport and not for any services whatsoever. When purchasing your products you should request a tax invoice. The shop’s VAT number must appear on this invoice. As you are checking in at the airport ready to depart from South Africa, you should approach the customs official who will compare your invoices with the goods purchased. Once your invoices have been approved and stamped, the VAT Reclaim Office will refund you the appropriate amount. VAT Reclaim Offices are found at Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town Airports.

Weather

For full details on climate, please see Best Time to Go.

Clothing

Casual, comfortable wash and wear clothing is most useful. Jackets and ties are required in city hotel restaurants and golf clubs. All hotels offer extremely quick laundry turnaround, usually within a couple of hours. It is certainly not necessary to bring a separate change of clothing for each day and evening, and it is recommended that you keep luggage to a minimum for your own comfort and ease of transport, especially if you are using light aircraft transfers.

• Shorts & Cotton T-shirts
• Swimming costume
• Good comfortable walking shoes (hiking boots are not required unless you have booked a walking safari)
• Casual lightweight cotton, khaki or neutral coloured clothes for safari
• Fleece or sweater and a warm jacket for game drives or cool evenings
• Wide brimmed hat/cap
• Personal toiletries, sun barrier creams; lip balm and insect repellent
• Binoculars, camera and accessories
• Sunglasses
• Rovos Rail guests pack elegant wear for ladies and jacket and tie for men

For travel to South Africa in summer months, lightweight clothing made of a natural, “breathable" fabric is recommended with a warm sweater or jacket for cooler evening temperatures. In winter, warmer clothing is suggested, especially for evenings and you will want to pack an extra sweater or hooded warm-up jacket, a warm hat and gloves. All luxury hotels and most game lodges offer a same-day laundry service (at additional charges). This is a good reason not to pack too many clothes.

Health

It is important that you check with a qualified health professional for the most current information concerning your travel itinerary and personal health history.

Anti-Malarial precautions are an absolute necessity when visiting the game parks in the region. It is important that you check with a qualified health professional for the most current information concerning your travel itinerary and personal health history.

South Africa offers excellent medical facilities, and is the preferred country for treatment in the region. We do advise you to take out travel insurance to cover any possible medical treatment, and if necessary, emergency evacuation. All hospitals charge tourists as private patients and may require payment by cash.

The sun in the southern hemisphere is extremely strong - do wear an effective sunscreen and hat during the summer. It is advisable to avoid the noonday sun. Recommended SPF is 30.

Throughout Southern Africa it is safe to eat all foods and drink tap water in cities and towns. Purified water in flasks or bottled water is provided at game lodges throughout the region. It is also suggested that you bring a smaller traveller’s kit with remedies for minor stomach ailments or motion sickness. You should include an adequate supply (in your hand luggage) of any prescribed medication you may require while traveling.

If you are entering South Africa from a yellow-fever zone you will need a valid international yellow-fever vaccination certificate.

Travelers with physical disabilities and those who require frequent or on-going medical attention should advise us of their health situation at the time of booking (or at the time such a situation occurs should this be after the reservation is made).

We do recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance to cover you in the event of a medical emergency.

Electricity

South Africa's electrical system is 220/230 volts A/C 50 cycles.

Arrival and Departure Formalities

Visas cannot be obtained at port of entry but must be applied for at South African diplomatic or consular representatives abroad. Minimum of two blank pages in passport.

Local Food

Throughout South Africa it is generally safe to eat all foods, including salads and fruit served in restaurants.  It is also safe to drink the tap water in cities and towns.  Purified water in flasks or bottled water is usually provided at Game Lodges.

Other Notes

Common sense should prevail and precautions should be taken as in any major city.  Use hotel and lodge safety deposit boxes.  If walking in towns or cities only carry small amounts of cash, do not wear obvious jewellery and keep a close eye on your handbag or wallet.  Never leave valuables, especially money and documents unattended in the hotel room or vehicle.

Rather than walk, we recommend that you take a taxi in cities at night.  Ask the hotel or restaurant doorman to arrange your cab.

Tipping

Tipping is not compulsory. You are travelling on an independent itinerary and the cost of your program does not include gratuities. Tipping is a very personal matter and should only be considered when the staff have gone above and beyond for you. Should you feel you would like to acknowledge their service, please consider the following as a rough guide, per day.

Tour Director - 205
Driver / Guide (Half day) - 110 
Driver / Guide (Full day) - 165
Hotel Porters - 40
Professional Guide - 205
Ranger - 205
Tracker - 110
Lodge staff - 165

Please note: Currency is in ZAR

The above tipping guidelines are recommendations only and are not compulsory. Please use your own discretion in tipping, based on quality of service.

Restaurants 
It is customary to add 10% to the bill in restaurants, if the service has been satisfactory.

Taxis
Taxi drivers do not expect to be tipped but they appreciate the fare being rounded up.

Porterage 
If you are being transferred by our representative from the airport to a hotel, then porterage and tipping of porters is already included. You are not expected to tip our representative. Porterage and tipping of porters for transfers from one hotel to another is as above.

Blue Train and Rovos Rail
Tip at the end of your journey ZAR 205 per person per day. These gratuities may be placed in a central box or an envelope, which will be provided.

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