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.
Most international credit cards are accepted including Visa and Mastercard. American Express and Diners Club might be more limited.
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ATMs are widespread and Rands can be withdrawn from banks with credit cards.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 Normally there is a limit to the amount of cash that can be withdrawn per day.
Monday to Friday : 09 :00 to 15 :30
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.
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.
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.
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:
Always keep an eye on travel advisories issued by foreign governments.
It is advised to always take a travel insurance whenever you go on holidays.
Ideally travel insurances should cover:
Some tips when buying your insurance :
Before you go
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
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:
Yellow fever certificates if your journey starts or entails passing through the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America.
- Molo (Xhosa)
- Sawubona (Zulu)
- Môre (Afrikaans)
- Howzit (everyone else)
- Hamba kakuhle (Xhosa)
- Hamba kahle (Zulu)
- Totsiens (Afrikaans)
- See you!/Bye! (everyone else)
- 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)
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