Do I need to take malaria tablets?
Please note that the Kruger National Park, (as well as the Lowveld of Mpumalanga and Limpopo, and the northern part of KwaZulu-Natal)do pose a malaria risk.
Many local people and some travellers do not take malaria prophylaxis, but most health professionals recommend you do. Consult your doctor or a specialist travel clinic for the latest advice concerning malaria prophylaxis, as it changes regularly.
Electricity 220/230 volts AC at 50 cycles per second. Three pronged plugs are universal, so take an adapter.
South African safety precautions are not unlike those recommended when travelling to other countries and major cities. More common sense than hard and fast measures, safety precautions in South Africa mostly require vigilance on behalf of the traveller and sound travel preparation.
Important South African safety advice includes avoiding deserted areas at night; securing valuables such as photographic equipment and wallets on your person; and leaving expensive, flashy jewellery in your hotel safe while out and about.
Other safety precautions you may want to consider include:
- Locking valuables and luggage away in the car boot while travelling (never leave handbags or cameras on car seats)
- Being vigilant of your luggage and other belongings (never leave them unattended).
- Storing valuables in your hotel safe.
- Limit the amount of money you carry on your person. Also, don't accept offers of assistance at ATMs and keep your pin numbers secure.
- When using a credit card in restaurants, ask the waiter to bring a portable credit card machine to your table. Report stolen or lost cards immediately.
- Carry a current road map with you. If you're in any doubt about a place you wish to visit or how to get there, have a word with your hotel concierge first or contact the National Tourism Information and Safety Line on 083 123 2345 for assistance.
- Only use reputable tour operators and travel and transport services. If you're not sure, ask your hotel to recommend a service provider for you.
- In rural areas, watch out for wild or farm animals - road signage will warn you when you need to take care.
- If you intend travelling to malaria areas, take the necessary prophylaxis before you leave home.
Phoning overseas from South Africa
If you wish to make a call overseas, you must first dial 00, which is South Africa's international access code. You then dial the country code, area code of the city or region and the number of the person you wish to call. e.g. if you make a call to Sydney, Australia, telephone number 456 1234 you must dial 00 612 456-1234.
If you're an adult, you won't need any inoculations unless you're travelling from a yellow-fever endemic area (the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America), in which case you will need certification to prove your inoculation status when you arrive in South Africa.
It is recommended that you have the required inoculations four to six weeks before you travel to South Africa (a yellow fever inoculation certificate only becomes valid 10 days after inoculation - after which it remains valid for 10 years).
Hepatitis B inoculations are recommended for children up to the age of 12 who have not completed the series of injections as infants. Booster doses for tetanus and measles can also be administered.
Medical facilities in cities and larger towns are world-class. Trained medical caregivers are deployed round the country, and help is never far away.
South African standard time
South African standard time is two hours in advance of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT +2), one hour in advance of central European winter time and seven hours in advance of United States eastern standard time throughout the year. There are no time zone differences within the country.
Banks and foreign exchange in SA
South Africa's unit of currency is the Rand.
You'll find South Africa an easy destination. From the moment you step off the plane you'll start seeing banks, bureaux de change and automatic tellers all over.
The banks are generally open from 9am to 3.30pm Mondays through Fridays, and 8.30am to 11am on Saturdays, but those at the airports adjust their hours to accommodate international flights.
All major credit cards can be used in South Africa, with American Express and Diners Club enjoying less universal acceptance than MasterCard and Visa.
There are 11 official languages including English, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda and Zulu.
English is spoken everywhere you go. English is the language of the cities, of commerce and banking, of government and official documents. 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.