Currency: Rand (ZAR)
In all larger towns there are ATMs where you can withdraw cash with international debit and credit cards (Visa & Mastercard preferred). Your card needs to have a chip and pin. Direct payment by credit and debit cards is also widespread possible. However, it is advisable to always have some cash with you in case of emergencies or if you want to buy something in remote areas.
While changing money at a Bureau de Change is possible, it is not recommended as it is often a complicated and lengthy process.
Please be sure to advise your bank before you travel that you will be using your card in a different country as they may block access to your card if they do not know that you are currently travelling.
For current exchange rates please use this website.
Official languages: South Africa has 11 official languages: English, isiZulu, isiXhosa, isiNdebele, Afrikaans, siSwati, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, Tshivenda, Xitsonga
Visa Requirements: Most visitors to South Africa (e.g. most nationals of the EU, the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) receive a visitor´s/tourist visa for a maximum of 90 days at the port of entry. Passports must be valid for at least 30 days after the intended date of departure and should also have at least two blank pages.
Please find a list with countries that require a visa here.
There are special requirements for travelling to South Africa with children under the age of 18. Parents wishing to apply for a visa for their child to enter South Africa will need to submit additional documentation. There are different requirements for unaccompanied children entering South Africa.
Check the advisory from the South African Department of Home Affairs for more details and consult your nearest South African high commission or embassy if you have any questions about these requirements.
Independence: 31 May 1961 from Britain
Religion: Christians account for 79.8% of the population. There are an estimated 200,000 indigenous traditional healers in South Africa, and up to 60% of South Africans consult these healers, generally called sangomas or inyangas. These healers use a combination of ancestral spiritual beliefs and a belief in the spiritual and medicinal properties of local fauna and flora, commonly known as muti, to facilitate healing in clients.
Souvenirs: Beadwork crafts and wood carvings are available anywhere in South Africa, from curio shops to street corners. The products are all handmade and range from almost any animal you can think of. Handmade baskets have become extremely popular in interior decor and South Africa is the place to take your pick. Baskets are available in all shapes and sizes, colours, and styles.
The creamy Amarula liqueur made from the fruit of the African marula tree, is possibly the best-known South African drink. Serve it over ice or at room temperature and, for those that like to indulge, it is delicious over ice cream.
Agricultural products: Maize, wheat, sugar cane and sunflowers
Main Industries: Mining (gold, platinum, diamonds, uranium), Agriculture, Manufacturing (food processing, textiles, electronics, chemicals, technology, and automobiles)
Best time to visit: The best time for a Cape Town beach holiday is from late January to late April, the tail end of the city’s dry summer months. Cape Town enjoys a temperate climate with warm, dry conditions from October to April.
Best time for a safari in the Kruger region is during the dry winter season (May – September) when animals congregate around water sources, making for good game viewing. Day temperatures are pleasant with cold nights below 10°C degrees.
This does not mean, however, that game viewing is impossible during the summer season (October to March). November and December marks the calving months which are an excellent time to witness nature’s own timetable of regeneration. Summers (particularly from December through to February) can become exceptionally hot, and rain may make some roads muddy and impassable.