Traveller Essentials

South Africa

Useful Tips


South African Rand is the official currency of South Africa. The currency code is ZAR. Bank notes include denominations of R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200.

South African Rand can also be used freely in Namibia to make purchases. 


You will need some cash to tip your guide, or by some water or souvenirs. Otherwise credit cards are widely accepted in South Africa. 

Credit card

Most international credit cards are accepted including Visa and Mastercard. American Express and Diners Club might be more limited. 

Currency exchange

Foreign currency can be exchanged at the airport, at local banks or licensed currency exchange shops across the country. Currency can also be exchanged at hotels, although rates might not be the most advantageous. We advise you to change money at the airport on arrival, so you do not have to waste time during your holidays. 

Return of currencies, can be done at the airport on departure. 


ATMs are widespread and Rands can be withdrawn from banks with credit cards. Ensure you let your bank know you are travelling to Namibia. Normally there is a limit to the amount of cash that can be withdrawn per day. 

Banking hours

Monday to Friday : 09 :00 to 15 :30

Saturday: 09:00-11:00

Health and Vaccinations

South Africa has a well-developed healthcare system. Ensure to have a medical insurance before travelling. Well qualified doctors and specialists can be easily found.


No special vaccinations are required for South Africa. It is, however, recommended to have all vaccinations that are needed in your home country, e.g. Tetanus, diphtheria, polio and hepatitis A and B. Ensure you are fully aware of all health information about South Africa before travelling. 


Malaria is transmitted through the bite of a female Anopheles mosquito, which has previously bitten a person infected with malaria. This mosquito-borne disease is more prevalent in the Kruger National park and the low-lying areas of northern KwaZulu-Natal. If you are going to be visiting these areas, it is advised to take the necessary precautions. The basic ones include using an insect repellent, wearing long sleeves, long pants, sleeping in a mosquito-free setting or using an insecticide-treated bednet. 

Yellow Fever

South Africa is a safe zone and requires that all travellers journeying from or transiting through yellow fever risk countries to show proof of yellow fever vaccinations by means of a valid yellow fever certificate. You can check the list of countries to see if you require to get the yellow fever vaccination before travelling to South Africa. 

Water, Electricity and Internet


Urban areas of South Africa: known to have the safest and cleanest drinking water in the world. In more remote areas, it is advised to drink bottled water, available from most shops. It is important to stay hydrated when visiting South Africa.


In South Africa the standard voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. You will need a 3 round pin plug or a Type M plug adapter  if your plug won't fit in a South African power outlet.

Ninety percent of South Africans have access to electricity, and 80% in rural areas have been electrified through the integrated national electrification programme. 

Internet & Communications

South Africa has a well developed communications infrastructure. There are a number of network providers that offer national coverage. Internet and Wi-Fi are easily accessible in most urban areas at hotels, restaurants, shopping centres and public places.

Safety and Security

We hear a lot of things about security in South Africa. However, as a tourist, like in any other city of the world, you need to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions as you travel around.

Some advices are: 

  • Do not venture out to unpopular places on your own. 
  • If you have a car rental, always lock the car safely. Do not stop to any kind of signals from people on the road. 
  • Don't carry a lot of camera equipment - especially in major cities.
  • Always keep an ID with you or a copy of your passport (although nowadays police request the original documents)
  • Don't walk on your own at night, always take a taxi. 
  • Keep your valuables locked safely away - that includes jewellery, watches, cameras, and money. Most hotels provide a safe or secure place for valuables.
  • Don't carry too much cash with you.

Always keep an eye on travel advisories issued by foreign governments. 

Travel Insurance

It is advised to always take a travel insurance whenever you go on holidays.

Ideally travel insurances should cover:

  • Medical expenses and hospital benefit. 
  • Personal accident and liability.
  • Cancelling and cutting short your holiday.
  • Abandoning your trip.
  • Delayed departure.
  • Accommodation cover.
  • Scheduled airline failure.
  • Loss of baggage
  • Loss of personal belongings

Some tips when buying your insurance : 

  • With the medical coverage, check there’s a 24-hour medical emergency number. 
  • Most insurances exclude so-called dangerous sports unless an extra premium is paid: in South Africa such sports could mean scuba-diving, windsurfing and climbing, bungee jumping, shark cage diving among others. 
  • When securing baggage cover, make sure that the limit per article, will cover your most valuable possessions, like a camera or phone or tablet. 
  • If you need to make a claim, you should keep receipts for medicines and medical treatment.
  • In the event you have anything stolen, you must obtain an official statement from the police.

What to pack

Before you go

  • Check airline baggage restrictions (most charter flights to luxury lodges have strict limits, usually around 15kg)
  • Arrange for appropriate travel insurance 
  • If you are doing multi destinations, visit your doctor for vaccinations and anti-malaria tablets at least 3-4 weeks before your departure. 
  • Inform your debit-/credit-card company that you are travelling

Travel documents

  • Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months past your arrival date.
  • Return ticket and tour reservations are important documents to have handy on arrival for immigration. 
  • Have your International Vaccination Card (or Yellow fever vaccination certificate) ready, it might be requested depending on the countries you have visited before.
  • Vouchers: Keep your tour voucher or safari voucher or transfer voucher in an easily accessible place, as you will have to submit them to your welcome ground agent on arrival. 
  • Insurance documents


Take some cash with you. You can exchange money on arrival at the airport, and this might be the most practical. You do not want to waste time during your holidays to go look for ATMs or foreign exchange bureaus. 

What to wear

  • South Africans are very laid back, so you can take it easy, just as you might want to dress up a little on one night. 
  • Loose-fitting, light casual wear is recommended for your tours and sightseeing. At night time, depending on where you are staying, you might need some nicer clothes for dinner. It could be that you decided to treat yourself as well on a night, so be prepared. South Africa has some great addresses in terms on restaurants. 
  • Neutral-coloured safari clothing for your game drive. 
  • Wind- and waterproof jacket depending if you are doing a nature tour, walking safari, or a trek. 
  • Warm clothes, early morning and late night can be a chill. 
  • pair of comfortable trainers or shoes for the game drives, a pair of flip flops for relaxing during the day, and a pair of closed shoes for the evening

Travel Aids

  • A destination travel guide. 
  • A pen – this is important to have as you might be required to fill in forms upon arrival.  
  • Toiletries: Sun glasses, Sun cream, beach hat and insect repellent
  • Charger, transformer, Electrical adaptor
  • Binoculars 
  • Torch (flashlight)
  • First aid kit

Visa and Immigration

For entry into South Africa, there is a list of countries which are exempt from visa for a period of 90 days or 30 days depending on the country and type of visa. If the names of your countries are not listed, it means you need to apply for visas. 

For tourist visa, the following documents are required at entrance into the country, irrespective of visa requirements:

  • A valid and acceptable passport or travel document for your intended stay
  • At least one blank page in your passport for endorsements
  • Sufficient funds to pay for your day-to-day expenses during your stay
  • A return ticket

Yellow fever certificates if your journey starts or entails passing through the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America.

Some useful phrases


- Molo (Xhosa)       

- Sawubona (Zulu)        

- Môre (Afrikaans)        

- Howzit (everyone else)


- Hamba kakuhle (Xhosa)         

- Hamba kahle (Zulu)         

- Totsiens (Afrikaans)       

- See you!/Bye! (everyone else)

Thank you 

- Enkosi (Xhosa)       

- Ngiyabonga (Zulu)

- Dankie (Afrikaans)

- Thanks, hey! (everyone else)

How are you? 

- Unjani (Xhosa & Zulu)

- Howzit (everyone else)

- Hoe gaan dit? (Afrikaans)

How much is this?

- Yimalini (Xhosa)

- Okuningi yilo (Zulu)

- Hoeveel kos dit? (Afrikaans)