When is the best time to visit

With our year round temperate climate, your decision about the best time to visit South Africa will not so much be based on the weather but more about the experiences and adventures you wish to have.


For example, South Africa’s winter months (June, July, August) – which have the least rainfall, except for the Western Cape with its Mediterranean climate - is a peak time for game viewing as a shortage of water means animals gather at watering holes. Foliage is also less, which makes game spotting easier. But depending on the experiences you seek, there may be another time that's more suitable to visit South Africa's game parks.


For example, if you want to see newborn animals, then September/October/November is a good time to visit. December and January is peak season in South Africa, the local schools are on summer holiday and most holiday destinations in South African are very busy around this time, we definitely recommend you book well in advance if you decide to travel to South Africa during this time.



Visa requirements

Requirements for entry into South Africa differ from country to country, and are subject to change. Always make enquiries before travelling to South Africa.

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You will need:
  • A valid passport or travel document that will be valid for the length of your intended stay. Your passport should have at least TWO blank facing pages in it and must be valid for at least 6 months from date of return to your home country

  • Own passport and/or travel document with an unabridged birth certificate (in English, or a legal document, issued by the relevant authority in their home country, containing information similar to South Africa’s full birth certificate) for all children under 18.

  • A valid visa, if required.

  • Sufficient funds.

  • A return or onward ticket.

  • Yellow fever certificates – if your journey starts or passes through the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America.


Money Matters

With a favourable exchange rate for many international currencies, you'll find South Africa an inexpensive destination. And an easy one – our financial institutions are world-class, with no shortage of banks, bureaux de change and automatic tellers.


South Africa's unit of currency is the rand, which is divided into 100 cents. Notes come in denominations of R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200; and coins come in 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, R1, R2 and R5. There are two R5 coins in circulation, both of which are legal currency. All transactions are rounded down to the nearest 5c.


Credit Cards & Cash

All major credit cards can be used in South Africa, with American Express and Diners Club enjoying less universal acceptance than MasterCard and Visa. If you have a so-called "chip card", you will be required to enter a pin code. Pin-based debit cards are often accepted too. Remember to notify your bank in advance that you will be travelling.


When it comes to paying for fuel, you can pay cash or use your credit card. Filling stations – or garages as we call them – used to be cash-only operations, until the government changed regulations in 2009. This means that some smaller stations may still not accept cards – check with the attendant what payment method they accept before filling up. Luckily, most filling stations have ATMs on site.



All South Africans pay Value Added Tax (VAT) as it included in the price of most goods and services. It is currently set at 14%. Visitors are not exempt from paying it, but if you are a foreign passport holder you can claim it back on the items you are taking out the country if their value is more than R250. Be sure to request a tax invoice when buying goods.



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 jewelry 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.

  • 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 to, from and in South Africa

 You can either opt to activate international roaming with your local mobile phone provider, or buy a local SIM card upon arrival. WiFi is available in most accommodations nowadays.


If you're dialing a number in South Africa from outside the country, it must be preceded by +27, South Africa's international country code (the + sign represents the international access code for the country you're calling from); and either:

the area code of the city or town in South Africa you're calling (leaving out the first zero), if you're calling a landline; or

the mobile network code (leaving out the first zero), if you're calling a cellular/mobile network.



Things to remember:
  • International Driver’s License

  • Travel Insurance

  • Good map of South Africa

  • Binoculars

  • Camera

  • Comfortable shoes

  • Warm jersey or jacket

  • If you’re going to watch game, bring some clothing with neutral colours (does not have to be a full safari outfit!)

  • Cap

  • Sun glasses

  • Credit Card (you can buy anything you forget here)