What images does South Africa conjure up when you imagine a trip to this diverse country? Safaris, adventure, wine, or bustling cities? South Africa is all these things and more. It is also a relatively easy country to navigate and get around, plus the language barrier is removed as much of the population speaks English. But there are still some useful things to consider before you set off on your trip of a lifetime to South Africa. Here are some tips to make sure your vacation goes as planned.
1. Visa Requirements
If you are visiting for less than 90 days it is likely you won’t need a visa, depending on which country you are from. You must have at least 30 days left on your passport when you enter. Before you travel, check the need for a visa with the South African embassy in your country.
2. Currency and Money
The local currency in South Africa is the Rand, which you will use to pay for everything from hotels to food. Check the exchange rate before you go as it can vary at short notice. You will be able to get Rand out of ATMs in the country with your credit card but keep in mind that you will be charged a fee by your bank for this procedure. You can visit a bank to change travellers cheques but beware – banks close early. If you are heading out on safari then it is wise to remember that you will probably not have access to ATMS on your trip – plan ahead and withdraw money beforehand, storing it carefully in one or two money belts beneath your clothes.
3. Getting Around
You can easily rent a car within South Africa if you are not traveling around with a tour guide. It is a good idea to take a tour or book your own car because the road network is good and you’ll be able to cover a lot of ground under your own steam. If you think you will be travelling into the bush, rent a 4×4 to make sure you can cope with the terrain. Use a GPS and make sure you have a mobile phone with you if you go off the beaten track. Public transport, apart from in the cities, is not great and it can take a long time to get where you are going.
South Africa is in line with major US cities in terms of homicide rates, although there is a fairly high level of crime that affects tourists like muggings and theft. Be extra careful in the major cities and take precautions at night – don’t walk around on your own and take licensed cabs. Theft from hotels is relatively rare and you probably won’t encounter any problems if you stay in a tourist area. For help choosing a hotel in South Africa visit Tsogo Sun Hotels. Tsogo Sun Hotels offers a selection of accommodation that is located in interesting areas close to all the main attractions of the city or resort.