Travel Information on South Africa
Luxury Safari Lodges in South Africa
Singita Boulders Lodge
Singita Ebony Lodge
Singita Lebombo Lodge
Singita Sweni Lodge
Londolozi Tree Camp
Londolozi Pioneer Camp
Londolozi Granite Suites
General Information on South Africa
Basic Facts on South Africa:
Official Name: Republic Of South Africa [GMT +2]
Independence: 31st of May 1910
Area: 1,219,912 km sq
Capital City: Cape Town [Judicial]; [Pretoria Administrative Capital]
Currency: Rand [ZAR]
President: Mr. Thabo Mbeki
Language: 11 official languages in South Africa including English, Afrikaans and Zulu
Cape Town International (CPT)
Johannesburg International (JNB)
Port Elizabeth (PLZ)
East London (ELS)
[This should be used as a guide for reference purposes, please confirm the information with your local South African consulate office]
Passport valid up to 6 months beyond intended length of stay & sufficient pages for entry stamps. Obtain Multiple-entry visa for journeys to neighboring countries which later re-enter South Africa. Nationals of USA, UK & Northern Ireland, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Luxemburg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland do not require a visa for South Africa. There are a few more visa exceptions for nationals of other countries [such as in South America] please check with your local South African consulate office for up to date information.
All other nationals should obtain an entry visa from the nearest South African Consulate, which is issued free of charge. An application form and passport photograph is required. All visitors to South Africa may be requested to show proof of sufficient funds and onward travel / return ticket.
Water is safe to drink in South Africa. Although most area in South Africa have no major malaria threat, it is advisable to take precautions. Consult your doctor for Malaria prophylactics. If you are traveling from a Yellow Fever infected region within 6 days prior to your arrival in South Africa, a Yellow fever vaccination certificate is required. Medical facilities in South Africa are available in most urban areas, and major game reserves or beach regions, however they may be difficult to find elsewhere. Carry cash as well as a major credit card [Visa, AMEX etc] and we strongly recommend that you have travel & medical insurance prior to your arrival in Africa. If you are under medication, ensure that you bring enough supplies of it to last through your duration of stay. If you wear contact lenses or glasses, carry an extra pair if you have one, incase one pair gets damaged. Take precautions against the sun & heat which can cause sunstroke. It is important to wear sunscreen and a hat and avoid over-exposure to the sun especially when on the beach.
Safety is not an issue in Game Reserves & Tourist areas with regards to crime however care should be taken against wild animals. As elsewhere in the world, major cities and towns are where most of the crime occurs therefore visitors are advised to be on guard & be aware of everything that goes on around you. Ensure that you do not leave personal belonging lying around and do not wear expensive jewelry when walking in the streets. As with most major towns & cities, walking at night is not advisable. Do not leave valuables in the car or unattended at any given time. Camera bags should be worn around your shoulders on kept on top of the table if in an open-air restaurant/cafe.
Winter falls between May to August and Summer between September to April.
Foreign exchange services are offered at Standard Bank of South Africa, Nedbank, Allied Bank, Volkskas and First National Bank. Credit Cards such as Visa, Mastercard, and American Express are accepted in major shopping centres, hotels & restaurants, however it is advisable to carry some cash with you. Banking hours are: Mon-Fri: 09001530 / Sat: 0830 or 0900 to 1030 or 1100.
Rennies Travel are the South African agent for Thomas Cook and have several branches. American Express Foreign Exchange services have offices in major cities. If you carry travelers cheques ensure that you have the numbers & value safely noted down somewhere, incase you lose them.
When to travel to South Africa:
During Christmas and between July & September air tickets are usually expensive due to the Holiday period & Summer and availability on flights in scarce. To be able to travel on the dates you like it is advisable to book at least three months in advance. August and September is Peak winter in Cape Town and it gets quite cold, often snowing on the Mountains. When it rains there are usually heavy storms. The best time to visit most game parks is between May and August, though this is the dry season it rarely gets too hot.
What to Pack:
If you are flying or traveling by road pack in a small suitcase or duffel bag. If you will be hiking or camping a rucksack would be the most appropriate as they are more convenient to carry around. Whatever the weather, as a general rule when traveling to Africa always carry something warm for the cold evenings and mornings.
Ensure that you carry photocopies of your important documents [passports/visas/credit cards] and keep them separate from the originals. If you are traveling on a standard or luxury tours you only need to carry your personal toiletries [comb, deodorant, lenses and lens solution .etc], medication [if you are taking any], camera equipment [batteries/memory sticks, CDs or diskettes .etc] and clothing. Most major lodges & hotels provide soaps, shower caps, insect repellents, small bottles of shampoo & conditioner, towels etc. in the guest rooms.
What you should include in your safari packing list:
Carry Medium-sized soft duffel bags for luggage
Your travel documents:
Passport - Valid for at least six months (keep a photocopy of the passport separately from your documents)
2 passport size photos
Any Visas required
A durable dust & waterproof handbag for all your camera equipment
A small bag for carrying mineral water and other necessities is recommended on safari walks
Money belts for keeping your documents, cash etc.
Neutral colored clothing
Warm sweaters or jackets (despite the season Kenya can often be cold in the early morning and late evenings especially around the Highlands & Rift Valley region). Raincoats are also advisable.
Comfortable walking shoes are a must while on safari; Flip-flops are convenient while at the lodge or on the beach.
Swimsuit, most of the safari lodges feature swimming pools and especially on hot days a swim is a welcoming way to cool off.
Warm sleeping clothes
A cap or a wide-brimmed hat
Insect-repellent spray [though most hotels already have these in rooms]
Sunscreen [20 factor plus]
If you are under medication it would be advisable to carry enough supplies of your prescribed medicine.
Small torch (flashlight)
Camera, lenses, extra batteries, cleaning fluid, beanbag tripod & dustcover
2 rolls of film per day 100-400 ASA film or
For digital cameras Floppy disks are widely available within major cities but it would be difficult to get them elsewhere, so please ensure you have a good supply of these or extra memory cards or sticks.
Carry the necessary adapters for your electric equipment such as chargers.
Spectacles and sunglasses
Contact lens solution is available at all chemists within major cities however it is almost impossible to get it in other regions. It would be a good idea to carry a pair of prescription glasses if you have any incase of a problem with your lens (such as dust)
Small notebook and pen
Getting to South Africa:
There are direct flights to Cape Town and Johannesburg from the United States Of America & most European countries. South African Airways & Virgin Atlantic fly direct to Cape Town, South Africa. British Airways is also one of the major carriers that fly [via London] to Cape Town. The three major international airports are Cape Town, Johannesburg & Durban.
South Africa is becoming more and more accessible for travelers with disabilities; however it is recommended that you plan the trip well in advance. Most major hotels and lodges offer special rooms and facilities to make your stay more comfortable however these are generally limited in number and require advance booking. It is recommended that travelers with disabilities have a good medical & travel insurance plan as private treatment in South Africa can prove to be quite expensive. The best idea would be to talk to a travel agent and finalize a suitable itinerary with the most comfortable transportation & accommodation options.
Offices: Mon Fri between 0830 & 1700 / Sat between 0830 & 1400
Government offices: Mon-Fri between 0830 & 1630 [closed between 1300 & 1400 for lunch]
Post offices: Mon-Fri 0830-1600 / Sat 0800-1200
Shops & Supermarkets: Mon-Fri 0800-1800 / Sat 0800-1300 / Sun 0900-1300
Food & Drink:
South Africa is largely a non-vegetarian country. There are some options for vegetarians however the food tends to be rather less exciting. Always inform the hotels or travel agent of your dietary requirements when booking if you are a Vegetarian. South African’s love meat and are popular for their braais [barbecues]. Game meat is also popular and is served in some popular restaurants such as the Carnivore in Johannesburg. Beers & Wines are produced locally and are generally very good quality. South African Breweries [brewers of popular beers such as Castle & Lion] offer beer cheap; however this may not be the case in hotels or fine restaurants where the prices for drinks are usually exorbitant to City prices. Liquor can be bought from ‘Bottle stores’ however these are closed on Sundays in the evenings. South African fruit juices are amazing, the most popular packed type being Ceres. Some popular fast food chains include: Nandos, Spurs, KFC & Wimpy.
South Africa has a good network of domestic flights, budget buses, special tourist trains, intercity coaches, taxis, car hire operators & trains. The best way to see South Africa is arguably by the two luxury trains: Blue Train & Rovos Rail.
There are several cyber cafés springing up everywhere in major cities. Most hotels have internet access also.
Map of South Africa