South Africa

South Africa Travel Tips  

Time Zone

  • GMT + 2 hours.



  • 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

  •  All major credit cards are accepted at most establishments, although Visa and MasterCard are the most widely accepted.

  • Travellers cheques can be cashed 24 hours a day in major hotels and airports.  A small commission will be charged.  Banks will change Travellers cheques during banking hours - please note: you must produce your passport. Branches of Rennies Travel provide a convenient alternative to banks for changing money as they have longer opening hours. The Rennies branch at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town is open seven days a week.

  • Some shops will give you a discount to foreign passport holders, if buying jewellery or large purchases.  They will require your passport and air ticket before doing so.  VAT at the rate of 14% is levied on most items and services.  VAT can be claimed back by tourists on departure on certain goods and services, provided the total value of all goods purchased exceeds R250.00. This can be claimed back at the International Departure Terminal on condition that you produce the original invoice as well as the item at the customs point prior to check in.



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


  • Visitors to South Africa should be sure to pack: camera, camcorder, batteries and film, insect repellent, sun block, binoculars and a torch, sunglasses and a hat.



  • Anti-Malaria tablets are absolutely necessary when visiting the Kruger National Park and surrounding game viewing areas in South Africa.  We strongly suggest that you consult your physician before departure.

  • No vaccination certificates are required from visitors into South Africa.  If you are entering South Africa from a yellow-fever zone, you will need a valid international yellow-fever vaccination certificate.

  • The sun in the Southern Hemisphere is extremely strong – we recommend an effective sunscreen and a hat during the summer.  It is advisable to avoid the noonday sun.


For up to date information on latest health and vaccination recommendations, please contact your doctor.


  • 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.


Local Handicrafts

  • Traditional South African craftwork, such as bowls, clay pots, beadwork, wirework, carvings, and paintings are good value and are readily available from craft and curio shops as well as from street side vendors.  

  • Diamond, gold and platinum jewellery items as well as gold coins are also worth a look.


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.

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