Southern Africa is a year round destination and it depends very much on which weather you prefer while travelling. The best time for game viewing is autumn to spring (April to October) as the vegetation allows us to have a better view into the bush. Between June and August it can get quite cold during the night but during the day the temperature is perfect with about 25 degrees. All bird enthusiasts should come between October and March as during this time you can enjoy all the migratory birds. In the bushveld the months December-February are marked as rainy season and it gets quite hot, but rather have a plunge in a swimming pool than sitting in a snowy and cold Europe. The southern right whales can be seen off our coasts from June to the end of November, and the humpback whales from August to December. Cape Town and the Garden Route coastal belt have a so-called Mediterranean climate, moderated by winds blowing in from the South Atlantic. In general: It is a year-round destination, since it is close to the equator. We gladly advise you on the best time for travelling for your private safari.
Foreign visitors / Visa:
Most visitors to South Africa (e.g. Nationals of the EU, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) receive a 90 day tourist/travel visa at the airport. As long as you carry a passport that is valid for at least six months and with at least two empty pages you will be granted a temporary visitor’s permit. Depending on your nationality (if not mentioned above), and the purpose and duration of your visit, you might check with the South African embassy before you leave your home country.
Malaria & health recommendations:
Malaria is endemic throughout the Kruger National Park and surrounding provinces like Mpumalanga, Limpopo and KwaZulu Natal. Prevention is better than cure for that reason the best of all is to minimize your contact with mosquitoes by using repellent lotions, sticks or sprays such as ‘Tabard’ or ‘Peaceful Sleep’, etc. You can find more information about malaria on the internet: www.malaria.org.
No international immunisation is needed when entering South Africa. However there are recommendation for travellers: Hepatitis A, Polio, Tetanus-diphtheria (Revaccination recommended every 10 years). In risk areas like Tanzania, Zambia, Somalia, Eritrea, or Sao: Hepatitis B, Yellow Fever, Rabies vaccination. Please consult your doctor before departure.
South African time:
South Africa does not change its clocks during the year, and there are no regional variations within the country. South African Standard Time is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT +2), one hour ahead of Central European Winter Time, and seven hours ahead of the USA’s Eastern Standard Winter Time.
English is spoken everywhere you go – all over the country. All our road signs and official forms are in English and at any hotel, Bed and Breakfast or Guest House, the service staff will speak to you in English. However, there are 11 official languages including English, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda and Zulu and you will find different dialects in different provinces of SA.
Credit Cards / ATM:
The South African currency is the Rand: 1 Rand (R)=100 cents (c). Notes issued R200, R100, R50, R20, R10; coins R5, R2, R1, 50c 20c, 10c, 5c. For up to date currency conversions, visit: www.xe.com. You will find in all bigger towns access to Auto banks (ATM’s, automated teller machines) with you credit card and purchase items with your debit/savings card.
Telephone / Cell phone:
You will find landlines all over South Africa, the country code is +27. If you have international roaming activated before you leave home, your cell phone will automatically switch on to the South African Vodacom/MTN service. Alternatively you can purchase a South African SIM for your mobile phone. Please be advised that you won´t have cellphone signal in remote areas.
All over South Africa you will find 220/230 volts AC at 50 cycles per second. Three pronged plugs are universal, so take an adapter or buy one at the airport, in supermarkets, etc. Most hotel rooms have 110 volt outlets for electric shavers and small appliances.
As South Africa is a developing country, crime does exist, so we advise you to take a few basic precautions: Valuables should be carried discreetly when walking in cities – common sense is required! All valuables, passports, cameras, should be locked in the safe of your hotel. Gold and other expensive items offered for sale by street vendors are likely to be fakes or stolen property.
Tipping / Gratuities:
Tipping is customary in South Africa. A guideline for visitors is the following: Porters R5 per item, taxis 10%, waiters and waitresses in restaurants 10-15%
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