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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
 

   Do I need a visa to travel to South Africa?

   When is the best time to travel?

   Is it safe to travel to South Africa?

   Do I need vaccination to enter South Africa?

   Can I use my cellular phone in South Africa?

   Can I drive in South Africa?

   Can I use my laptop in South Africa?

   Can I bring pet into South Africa?

 
DO I NEED A VISA TO SOUTH AFRICA?

Nationals of the USA and Canada who hold valid passports do not require visas to enter South Africa for a maximum of ninety (90) days if the purpose of such a visit is for a bona fide vacation, business or conference attendance. Film production people who intend to shoot films and/or commercials in South Africa require visas to enter.

Nationals of the United Kingdom, Great Britain and Northern Ireland including the British Islands Bailiwick of Guernsey, Isle of Mann and Virgin Islands, Australia and also the Republic of Ireland are the only passport holders who are totally exempt from South African visa control.  They may enter on their visa exemption and will be issued with visitor's permits at the South African port of entry on arrival.   Permits must be obtained if intending to work and/or study over 90 days in South Africa.

For further information about visa, please check the Consular Page.

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WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO TRAVEL

On the Highveld, there is sunshine the year around. Summers are hot and thundery; winters bright, dry and cold. At the Cape, the summers and early autumn months from Jan to May are best; winters can be wet and chilly. In KwaZulu-Natal, summers are hot, thundery and humid at sea level. June/July is a good time to visit Durban and the eastern seaboard. June-August are the best months for game viewing.

To check weather condition in South Africa, you may visit the website of the SA Weather Bureau.

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IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL TO SOUTH AFRICA?

Generally speaking, it is safe to travel to South Africa.  However, traveling to any overseas destination nowadays has its risks. The South African Police Service has introduced plans to ensure the safety of tourists in South Africa.  We do advise tourists to exercise normal safety precautions in South Africa as with anywhere in the world.

The U.S. Department of State has a travel advisory website that gives travel advice and  travel warnings to Americans.

South African Tourism has compiled a brochure containing traveler safety tips which include:

  • Do not draw attention to yourself by flaunting large amounts of cash or jewelry.

  • A camera round your neck identifies you as a tourist – carry it in a shoulder-bag or holdall.

  • Avoid dark, unlit places.

  • When returning to your hotel or motel late in the evening, use the main entrance.

  • Be observant and look around before entering car parks.

  • Park in well lit areas and never pick up strangers.

  • Ensure that car doors are kept locked at all times.

  • Do not leave packages or personal items on the seat of the car, put them in the boot.

  • Plan your route in advance, use maps and when in doubt ask to the safety of specific areas or which route to take – contact the police.

  • Close the door securely when you are in your hotel room and use all the locking devices provided.

  • Put valuables in the hotel safety deposit boxes.

  • Do not needlessly display guest room keys in public or carelessly have them on restaurant tables, at the swimming pool, or other places where they can be easily stolen.

  • Always keep your baggage or handbag close at hand, never leave items unattended.

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DO I NEED VACCINATION?

Vaccinations for cholera and smallpox are not required, but travellers from a yellow fever zone must have a valid certificate. Visitors to game parks should take anti-malaria tablets, which are available across the counter at any pharmacy (drugstore). South Africa has no national health service, so medical treatment and hospital fees must be paid direct. Special travel insurance is recommended. Most hotels have a list of doctors, whose names may also be found in the 'medical' section of telephone directories.

Malaria regions include Northern Province, Mpumalanga and north-eastern KwaZulu-Natal. The rest of the country is malaria-free. Preventative medication is obtainable at all pharmacies. It is important to consult a pharmacist for advice on the best drug or drug combination to take. In a malaria region, avoid wearing perfume or after-shave lotion, and wear long sleeves and trousers at night. The bilharzia parasite is present in streams, rivers, lakes and dams in some of the northern and eastern parts of the country, and visitors should therefore avoid contact with the water in these regions. The Eastern Cape is bilharzia-free.

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CAN I USE MY CELLULAR PHONE?

U.S. mobile phones may not work in South Africa, but rental mobile phones are widely available. The nationwide number for the police flying squad is 10111, and the nationwide number for ambulance service is 10177. It is not necessary to dial an area code for these numbers.. 

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CAN I DRIVE IN SOUTH AFRICA?

Drivers must have a valid driving license with a photograph and is either printed or authenticated in English and/or an international driving permit (It is suggested that you have both). South Africans drive on the left. The speed limit on motorways is 120/kmh (75 mph); 100 mph km/h (60 mph) elsewhere and 60km/h (35mph) in built-up areas. 

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CAN I USE MY LAPTOP IN SOUTH AFRICA?

The electricity supply in South Africa is 220/230 volts AC 50 Hz.  Appliances of lesser voltage require a transformer.  Laptop brought from the USA requires an adapter which is obtainable locally.

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CAN I BRING MY PET INTO SOUTH AFRICA?

Before any pet can be brought into South Africa, a veterinary import permit must be obtained from the following

The Director of Veterinary Services
Private Bag X138
Pretoria 0001
Republic of South Africa
Tel: (011-27-12) 319-7514
Fax: (011-27-12) 329-8292

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