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Tips & advice of travelling in South Africa
south african currency Banks & foreign exchange in South Africa

South Africa is a very inexpensive destination to travel due to the favourable exchange rate. Our financial institutions are world class and you will have no trouble with finding banks, automatic tellers and places to exchange your money. The currency is the South African Rand which is divided into cents. All major credit cards can be used in South Africa, with Mastercard and Visa enjoying more universal acceptance than others. In the smaller towns, you might find that you need to use cash. The banks are generally open from 9.00am to 3.30pm Mondays to Fridays and 8.30am to 11.00am on Saturdays but you will be able to exchange your money at all hours at the airports where they adjust their hours to accommodate international flights. The road tolls, on major routes between cities, can be paid using MasterCard or Visa.
south african roads Driving in South Africa

South Africa has excellent road infrastructure and has plenty of stunning scenery to make self-driving an enjoyable option. Most drivers licences are acceptable in South Africa but you may require an international drivers licence so it is worth confirming this with your travel agent. In South Africa, you drive on the left hand side of the road and distances and speed limits are marked in kilometers so become familiar with kilometers if you are used to miles. Wearing a seatbelt is compulsory and it is against the law to use a mobile phone while driving. At petrol stations, an attendant will fill up for you, offer to check oil and water and clean your windscreen. It is polite to give a tip of up to R5. South Africa is a huge country, so plan your journey carefully before embarking on long journeys. Make sure you have a credit card or cash available as many of the national roads have toll gates wher you will need to pay a toll fee. In rural areas, keen an eye out for animals on the road which can be hazardous.
safety south africa Safety & crime in South Africa

Crime in South Africa can be a problem, but taking the usual sensible precautions and following some basic safety rules will keep you safe. Always watch your possessions, don't walk alone in unsafe areas, look your doors at night and always lock your car doors. Like anywhere else in the world there are areas known to be riskier than others, check with the locals which areas to avoid. If you cannot avoid these areas then avoid wearing visible jewellery, cameras, handbags etc and keep your phone and wallets tucked away. Never hitchhike or accept or carry items from strangers. Always be alert when you are driving, parking or at traffic lights and keep your valuables in the boot to avoid "smash and grabs" or hijackings. When using ATM's in South Africa, never accept help from a stranger and keep your pin hidden. If you need any safety advice or want to check areas you plan to visit beforehand you can ask the local police or the hotel staff.
south africa weather South Africa weather & climate

South Africa is famous for it's sunshine and is a relatively dry country. The Western Cape gets most of it's rainfall in summer while the rest of the country has summer rainfall. Across South Africa, summer (October to March) is usually hot and sunny, with occasional afternoon thunderstorms (the Western Cape being the exception) and has an average summer temperate of 30ºC. In Winter (May to July) the interior is characterized by dry, sunny crisp days and cold nights. In the Western Cape, it is often rainy and can get cold however there these are always interspersed with sunny, warmish days. The humid Kwazulu Natal coast, as well as Limpopo, offer fantastic winter weather with sunny, warmish days and hardly any wind or rain. South Africa makes a wonderful all year destination and depending what kind of holiday you are after, offers year round highlights including flower season, whale season, varying surfing conditions, excellent winter and summer hiking and much more.
hospital Health facilities and tips in South Africa

In South Africa our levels of water treatment and hygiene make it a safe destination but there are a number of health issues to be aware of. South Africa has one of the highest rates of HIV/Aids in the world and you should always take precautions. Most of the main tourist areas are malaria-free but there are a few areas in the Kruger National Park and the northern part of Kwazulu Natal that do pose a malaria risk and you might need to consult a doctor to see if you need to take malaria tablets. The majority of tap water is of high quality and, other than informal and shack settlements, is safe to drink from the tap. Bottled water is readily available in most places. Drinking water from rivers and streams could put you at risk of waterborne diseases. The sun we love so much can also be dangerous so always wear sunscreen and a hat when you are outdoors. Medical facilities in the larger cities are generally world class but clinics in the rural areas do not offer the range of medical care as the larger hospitals.
general General advice for travelling inSouth Africa

In the major cities most stores, cinemas and restaurants are open year round. The exceptions are Christmas, Easter and New Years day where a lot of the shops may be closed. Smoking in public enclosed spaces is prohibited although most restaurants have designated smoking areas. South Africa does not change its clocks during the year and is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean time. Tipping is common courtesy in South Africa and it is an accepted standard to tip about 10% of the bill at restaurants. It is also polite to tip petrol attendants, hotel porters and car guards. It is best to get a comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling to cover you for any unfortunate events. South Africa has 11 official languages but you can get by speaking English which is widely recognized throughout the country and is the main language used in business but you will always be met with a happy smile if you learn some local greetings.
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