South Africa, the beautiful country is situated at the southern tip of Africa, bringing to you diversity of culture and great places to explore on your South African Holidays. Holidays in South Africa are famous for its wildlife, culture, history, wines and its largest production of gold.
Climate of South Africa
The weather of South Africa ranges from subtropical on the Eastern coastline to desert and semi desert in the North western part of the country. Summer brings a lot of rains except for the Western Cape where you would see rains coming in winter only. Eastern Cape gets rains throughout the year. South Africa brings to you lovely sunshine with average rainfall of 464 mm.
• Summer months: South Africa is glazed with beautiful sunshine in summers from mid October to mid February.
• Autumn: Autumn in South Africa is from mid February to April which is the best weather to travel. With very little rainfall along with warm weather and not hot is the best time to be experienced in South Africa.
• Winter: Winter months in South Africa are from May to July with sunny days and cold nights. The majestic Drakensberg Mountains and the high mountains of Cape are generally seen snow capped during winter months.
• Spring: South Africa looks really beautiful during spring time which from August to mid October with plains covered with a variety of colourful flowers all over.
The Best time of the year for South Africa holidays is Spring or Autumn where the best of weather can be experienced. Also, if you are interested in catching a sight of whales, visit the place anytime between June to October as they hang around off the coasts and can be seen easily.
Getting around South Africa
South Africa’s cities are well connected with each other; therefore, you can hire taxis or take out your private cars to reach the various cities.
Also, by plane, South Africa has a well developed infrastructure for air travel offering well established links between cities.
South Africa also offers scheduled bus services between the major cities like Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban. Some of the bus companies are Translux, Intercape Mainliner, SA Roadlink and Greyhound.
All the cities are also well connected with Trains. The national rail operator in South Africa is The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA). You would also see computer rails in big cities of South Africa run by metro rail.
The South African currency is Rand (ZAR) which is divided into 100 cents. The size of the notes depends on their value as the higher value notes will be bigger in size as compared to the notes which have lesser value. The denomination of notes is R200, R100, R20 and R10. A watermark and a security tip is seen on the each note. As far as coins are concerned, they are in the denominations of R5, R2, R1, 50C, 20c, 10c and 5c.
Apart from cash, traveller’s checks, Visa and MasterCard are accepted everywhere, however, Diner’s club and American Express cards are accepted too but not as widely as Visa and MasterCard.
You would see ATM machines all across the country with dispensing money in the mixture of R200 and R10 denominations.
It is very important to drive safely and with extra caution during your holidays in South Africa as it has the high rate of accidents. Drive carefully especially in urban areas during night and always be careful of minibus drivers, cyclists and poor lighting. You may encounter wild and domestic animals outside the major cities; therefore, it is advisable to be really cautious of animals on or by the road.
Additionally, while parking your car or stopping your car at red lights, try not to make your valuable things visible and always keep them inside the boot or in the glove boxes to make them less attractive to potential criminals and thieves. Try to keep your doors locked always.
Hijacking of cars is quite prevalent in the suburb areas of Johannesburg; therefore, always leave some space between your car and the car in front.
South Africa comes on top due to largest HIV infection rates all across the globe. Advised to take all precautions to prevent yourselves from HIV infection. When it comes to hospitals, it is better to go for private hospitals than government hospitals.
Drinking water is safe in South Africa’s western part. However, do not try to drink from still water as it involves a high risk of Bilharzia.
Areas around National Kruger Park are prone to Malaria from November to May, advised to use DEET based mosquito repellent and mosquito net during sleep hours.
You would find South African people quite warm, polite and friendly. The behaviour is just like the European public behaviour. Do not frown if you see any homosexual displaying affection in public. The South African government has recognised same sex relationships and homosexual marriages. South African women greet with a kiss on cheeks, whereas, men greet with a firm handshake.
Most people get up to a 3 months entry upon arrival. You should check with your travel agent to know if the visa has to be prearranged. You can also extend your visa if there is any need for that and then you can stay for another 3 months in South Africa. For more information, you can contact Department of Home Affairs at +27 (0)12 810 8911
The country code of South Africa is 27 and the phone numbers are in the format of 0XX YYY ZZZZ. If you are dialing a South Africa number outside the country, you must dial +27 XX YYY ZZZZ
Following are some of the important phone numbers from a fixed line:
• Emergency – 107
• Police- 10111
• Ambulance – 10177
• The National Sea Rescue Institute – 082911
From cell/mobile phone:
• All emergencies – 112
• The National Sea Rescue Institute – 082911