FAQ

We have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions below. If you have any queries at all, please get in touch using the contact bar to the right, or via our contact page here >

When is the best time to visit South Africa?

South Africa is a year-round destination, and the best time to visit depends on what you want to do and see on your trip. The best season for a beach holiday is Summer (December to March). Summer temperatures reach on average 28 to 32°C, and the warm waters of the east coast make for almost year-round swimming. Safaris are best in the dry Winter months (May to October) when the vegetation is sparse, making game viewing easier, and the temperatures are milder.
Southern Right and Humpback whales can usually be viewed along the Western Cape Whale coast June and November.
In the Western and Northern Cape provinces, Namaqualand has a sensational floral event in Spring (mid-August to mid-October), when the desert-like terrain is transformed into a carpet of wild flowers, drawing thousands of visitors.

What is the time difference?

GMT +2

What is the local currency and how should we manage carrying our money?

The local currency is the South African Rand (ZAR) There are numerous currency exchange outlets and the main credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, Amex and Diners) are normally accepted everywhere. Most petrol stations and toll roads take credit cards, but always have a small amount of cash on you for tips etc. Numerous ATMs can be found in all the big towns.

What are the Passport and Visa requirments?

1. European Union and U.S. passport holders can get a visa on demand at the point of entry for entering South Africa.
2. But note that the expiry date of the passport must exceed at least one month the date set for the end of the stay in the country.
3. Important: The passport must have two blank pages face to face for the stamp of entry and exit of South African territory.
4. Allow at least three clear pages for stopover flights.
5. Note: In the event of travelling to other African countries (Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia) the passport must be valid 6 months after the set date of return (not 1 month as above)
6. If you are travelling with your children they must have their own passports. However, if the child is less than 15 years of age and is in the passport of one of the parents, which has been issued before the 12th of June, 2006, this is acceptable until the expiry date of the passport.

What is the normal luggage restriction on internal flights in South Africa?

Scheduled flights in South Africa generally have a luggage restriction of 20kg per person. However if you are taking a charter flight, luggage us usually stricted to 15kgs and soft bags only due to smaller luggage compartments on the aircraft.

Is tipping the norm?

Tipping is common practice in South Africa. Some guidelines concerning tipping:

  • In the bars and restaurants the tipping is normally 10%.
  • The car parks are monitored by guards or watchmen they will often ask if you want them to keep an eye on your car while you are away. If you accept, offer to them a tip of 5 Rands or more according to the parking time.
  • In South Africa the petrol station attendants will fill your car with petrol, will check your tyre pressure, oil and water levels and clean your wind screen. This typical South African service is around 5 Rands or more at your discretion.
  • Tipping is always welcome in South Africa.

How can I be certain that my valuables will be safe where we are staying?

Most lodges and hotels will have safes for your valuables either in your room or at reception.

What side of the road do cars drive on in South Africa?

The left-hand side.

Is it safe to to self-drive?

Parts of South Africa such as Cape Town, the Cape Winelands, Garden Route and the South Coast of Kwazulu-Natal are excellent self-drive destinations. The roads are very good and very well signposted, which enables easy navigation and enjoyable independent travel. We would not recommend self-driving to the game reserves areas or in Johannesburg or Pretoria as the roads are more complicated and you would be driving through non tourist areas. We would arrange your transportation for you.

  • It is necessary to be in possession of a valid driver’s license, issued for at least 5 years, and for the driver(s) to be over the age of 25.
  • The main roads are generally in very good condition but the smaller roads are less reliable, and to be avoided at night.
  • As the driving is on the left side a certain attention should be paid especially at cross roads. The traffic lights are sometimes above or on the other side of the road to cross.
  • When “stop” signs are displayed on the sides of cross roads, priority is based according to the order of arrival of the vehicles. In general the speed is limited to 60 km/h in town and 120 km/h on the national roads and highways.
  • Petrol stations only accept cash, and a few Rands are a welcome as a tip to the pump attendant.
  • It is mandatory to wear a seat belt for all occupants, and it is advisable to keep the car windows always closed and the doors locked.
  • Do not leave any clothing or other other articles in view inside the car when you leave it in parking lots to avoid a break in.

What is public transport like? Can we use it?

Avoid using public transport altogether. Public transport in South Africa is generally unreliable, and most of the routes serviced do not include many areas that tourists would want to visit. At night, public transport is less frequent and is not always safe. There are many reputable taxi and shuttle companies to contact, but either we or your hotel could easily arrange safe and reliable transport for you.

Should I be concerned about Malaria?

Seek professional medical advice before travelling to a Malaria area. Affected areas are the provinces of Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Kwazulu Natal to the borders of Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe more particularly the Kruger Park area. While on a safari, it is necessary to protect yourself against mosquito bites by using repellents applied on the skin or on clothes.
For protection against mosquito bites:

  • Wear long sleeves and long pants from the evening until dawn, when you are outside.
  • Use repellent creams or sprays.
  • Sleep under mosquito nets – most safari lodges in affected areas provide nets.

Which reserves are malaria-free?

All game reserves in Madikwe, the Pilanesberg and the Eastern Cape are malaria-free.

Can I bring my children on safari?

Yes. There are many extremely child-friendly lodges with excellent children’s programmes and family accommodations. However, even child-friendly lodges generally do not allow children under the age of six to go on the guided game drives for safety reasons.

What electricity voltage do South African plugs require?

South African plugs have a voltage of 220 to 240V and a frequency of 50 Hertz. The plugs have three round-prongs.

Is there electricity at the safari lodges?

This depends on where you’re staying, but most lodges do have electricity.

Do I need any vaccinations?

No vaccination is mandatory for entering South Africa except for yellow fever for passengers arriving from areas affected by the disease.

Should I be concerned about safety in general?

The majority of South Africa is safe for travellers, provided that they take safety precautions as in all major countries and big cities. In the big cities and their outskirts like Johannesburg and Cape Town, because of security concerns, certain safety rules should be followed:

  • Do not wander alone neither in town nor in the townships, especially at night.
  • Do not show signs of ostentatious wealth (watches, jewellery, cash).
  • Carry photocopies rather than originals of your ID documents.

You will find advice regarding security for your stay in South Africa on the following web site (this link will open in a new browser window): http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/sub-saharan-africa/south-africa

Will you help plan my flights?

Yes, we will help with every part of your holiday, from all connecting flights, to a representative there to meet you at the airport if necessary.  

Can you offer family friendly holidays?

Yes! We have so many options for accommodation and exciting excursions for your whole family to enjoy. 

Can I get the internet?

Yes! Almost all of our lodges, hotels and locations have broadband internet access – and we can make sure you have a full list of places where you can ‘sign in’ during your travels. 

Will my mobile phone work – should I bring it?

Much of Southern Africa has good cellular coverage – in some places it is faster than much of Europe – we can advise you as we plan your itinerary together. 

What happens if something goes wrong or I get lost?

You should never be far from a member of staff, a lodge caretaker, a tour guide, an saSafari representative or ranger. We will also provide you with an emergency telephone number just in case. We make every effort to make your holiday as stress free and as safe as possible.

What’s the food like?

The food is magnificent. And it can be as familiar or exotic as you like; beef-steak, super fresh sea food, green salads, fresh fruit or maybe you’d prefer a buffalo steak with an ostrich egg! Vegetarian or non vegetarian – you will be impressed, and you can be as adventurous as you like! Why not have a professional chef visit your lodge and cook something wonderful from scratch just for you!

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