South Africa’s currency is the rand, which offers visitors great value for money. The rand comes in a range of coins (R1 = 100 cents) and note denominations of R10, R50, R100.
Most retail purchases carry a VAT levy of 14%, which is refunded to foreign tourists at departure points, subject to stipulated amounts spent, completion of the necessary forms, and presentation of original tax invoices.
For more information on VAT refunds, duty and duty-free goods, for the ‘Travellers Guide – customs requirements when entering and leaving South Africa’ visit the South African Revenue Service’s website
South Africa requires a valid yellow fever certificate from all foreign visitors and citizens over 1 year of age travelling from an infected area or having been in transit through infected areas. For visa requirements, please contact your nearest South African diplomatic mission. In addition, you can visit the website http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/immigration-services for more information.
South Africa has a temperate climate and is known for its long sunny days, hence the title: ‘Sunny South Africa’. Most of the provinces have summer rainfall, except for the Western Cape (winter rainfall). Winter is from May to August; Spring from September to October; Summer from November to February and Autumn is from March to April.
South Africa is a multi-lingual country and there are 11 official languages including: English, Afrikaans, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, Siswati, Tshivenda and Xitsonga.
Tap water is potable. However, ensure that you take bottled water with you when travelling to remote rural areas and the bush.
The South African electricity supply is 220/230 volts AC 50 HZ. With a few exceptions (in deep rural areas) electricity is available almost everywhere.
The 3 major international airports in South Africa are: OR Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg), Cape Town International Airport and King Shaka International Airport (Durban) as well as 90 regional airports including the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) in Nelspruit.
Travel by road and rail
South Africa has an extensive road infrastructure including national highways and secondary roads. Speed limits are set at 120 kilometres on highways; 100 kilometres on secondary roads and 60 kilometres in urban areas.
While supermarkets and bigger shopping malls stay open on public holidays from around 10h00 – 15h00 or 16h00, this is not the case with the corporate world which closes on public holidays.
Banking, shopping, office hours
Banking hours in South Africa
08h30/09h00 – 15h30/16h00 Monday-Friday
08h00/09h00 – 11h00/11h30/12h00 Saturday
Shopping hours in South Africa
09H00- 17h00/18h00 Monday-Friday
08h30/09h00 – 13h00 Saturday (smaller centres)
09h00 – 17h00/18h00 Saturday (urban areas)
10h00 – 15h00/16h00 Sunday (urban areas)
Office hours in South Africa
08h30/09h00 – 17h00 Monday – Friday
Government department hours in South Africa
08h30 – 16h40 Monday – Friday
Post Offices hours in South Africa
08h30 – 16h30 Monday – Friday
09h00 – 12h00 Saturday
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (www.cdc.gov), the following vaccinations are recommended for South Africa: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rabies and typhoid. Yellow fever is not a risk in the region, but the certificate is an entry requirement if you’re coming from an infected region.
It’s also important to take antimalarial meds.