General Visitors Information

GENERAL VISITORS INFORMATION

 

Visas
US citizens do not need to acquire a visa before entering South Africa if their stay is 90 days or less.
European Union passport holders do not require a visa to visit South Africa, but it is a good idea to check with the SA consulate or embassy in your country.
Your passport must be valid for 6 months after departure date and it must contain at least four blank pages.
Tourists must satisfy immigration officers that they have the means to support themselves during their stay, and that they are in possession of return or onward air or cruise tickets.

Travelling with children – please check with your nearest SA consulate or embassy for the latest requirements as these are subject to change:

From June 2015 any persons entering South Africa with children under the age of 18, or any children travelling alone, will be required to carry an unabridged copy of the child’s birth certificate.

In addition to the above, if ONE parent is travelling with a child, one of the following documents must be produced:

– consent in the form of an affidavit from the other parent registered as a parent on the birth certificate of the child, authorising him or her to enter the country

– a court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or legal guardianship in respect of the child, if he or she is the parent or legal guardian of the child;

– where applicable, a death certificate of the other parent registered as a parent of the child on the birth certificate.

In the event of someone travelling with a child who is not their biological child, the following must be produced:

– a copy of the unabridged birth certificate of the child;

– an affidavit from the parents or legal guardian of the child confirming that he or she has permission to travel with the child;

– copies of the identify documents or passports of the parents or legal guardian of the child;

– the contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the child.

Health matters
No vaccinations are required, but if you are coming from a country where yellow fever is present, you will need an international clearance certificate to prove you have been inoculated.
The Western Cape is not a malaria area.
Most of the main tourist destinations in South Africa are malaria free. The only areas where malaria is still prevalent are the Lowveld of Mpumalanga and Limpopo and on the Maputaland coast of KwaZulu-Natal. It does include the Kruger National Park. Make sure your doctor or travel clinic knows you are travelling to South Africa (don’t just say Africa) so s/he can prescribe the right anti-malarial medication.

Tap water
SA tap water is safe to drink in all major cities.

Money
South African currency is the Rand (ZAR). One Rand = 100 cents
Vat: (value added tax) = 14% included in prices of goods. Visitors can obtain a refund, if the total value is over R250, at various refund offices throughout the country. Keep all your receipts as proof!

The banking system is on par with international standards. Banks open from 09:00 to 15:30 weekdays and 08:30 to 11:00 Saturdays. Banks are closed on Sundays.

Credit cards: All major cards are accepted by most shops, restaurants and hotels. Some guest houses do not accept credit or debit cards so be sure to check in advance. ATM machines are available throughout SA. Never accept help from strangers at ATM machines.

Tipping:  A minimum of 10% is standard in restaurants and bars if you feel the service has been good. Tipping is also standard for hotel porters (about R5 for each bag carried).

Climate
Seasons in South Africa are the opposite of the northern hemisphere. Summer begins in December and winter begins in May. Winters are relatively mild with many sunny days.

The Western Cape enjoys a Mediterranean climate, i.e. wet winters and dry summers.  In summer coastal cities are slightly cooler than inland, and in winter the inland regions are cooler.

Even during summer, it is best to bring one or two to light medium overclothes, the sort you would wear in autumn, as some evenings can be cool outdoors.

Sunblock is advisable when spending any time outdoors.

Electricity
It is advisable to bring a multi-purpose adaptor or one can be purchased on arrival.

Communication
Internet : most guesthouses and hotels have free wifi and there are inexpensive internet cafes throughout the country. South African broadband is slower than some other countries but connectivity is still available.

Telephone: mobile telephones can be hired or purchased with prepaid credit to make calls. We can supply you with a SIM card for your telephone, and then you can simply purchase credit for it. Please advise us in advance.

Safety
Normal safety precautions should be followed when visiting any foreign country.
Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and displaying cameras etc. in plain sight.
Keep photocopies of all travel documents in a safe place.
Heed the advice of your hosts with regards where to go and how to get there.
Always tell someone where you are going,
It is advisable to remember that the weather in Cape Town can change very fast so exploring the mountains should not be done alone. There are many qualified hiking guides who should be used for this purpose.
On arrival you should make a note of emergency services telephone numbers and keep these with you at all times.

Do not hesitate to contact us for any further information or advice.