South Africa Travel Information - Guide

Britz SA 4x4 and SUV rentals brings you our South Africa Travel Information Guide.

Entry Requirements For South Africa

In order for a traveller to enter South Africa, a Passport valid for six months after date of entry is required; contact your nearest travel agent or embassy for up-to-date information.

Entry permits are issued on arrival to visitors from many British Commonwealth countries and are valid for 90 days.

South African Currency

  • The Rand (ZAR) is South Africa’s currency and is denoted by the R.
  • 100 cents make up R1 (One Rand).
  • Foreign currency can be exchanged at most banks and Bureaux de Changes.
  • Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club are accepted.

Taxes and Refunds Within South Africa

All goods and services are priced to include value added tax (VAT) of 14%. Visitors may reclaim VAT at their point of departure providing receipts are produced. Total value of purchases must be over R250.00 to reclaim VAT.

What To Wear in South Africa

  • Spring (September - November) / Summer (December - February) requires light cotton clothing and a light jersey for cool evenings.
  • Autumn (March - May) / Winter (June - August) requires warmer clothing with a sweater or jacket for cool mornings and evenings.
  • Hats, sunglasses, insect repellant and rainwear for the rainy season are essential.

Languages Spoken in South Africa

English is spoken throughout South Africa and most businesses and banks communicate in English.

There are 11 official languages in South Africa.

  1. English
  2. Xhosa
  3. Zulu
  4. Afrikaans
  5. Southern Sotho
  6. Tswana
  7. Northern Sotho
  8. Venda
  9. Tsonga
  10. Swati
  11. Ndebele

Health Services In South Africa

  • Throughout the country, there is a wide network of hospitals, both public and private, offering excellent health services.
  • International visitors should have health insurance to assist in paying for private hospital fees.
  • In cases where you are entering a Malaria infested area, medical precautions should be taken. Consult a pharmacist for more advice and insect repellant is essential.
  • In most regions within South Africa, tap water is safe and clean to drink. Please consult a health supervisor on the safety of your region.

Banking Hours in South Africa

Banks are open Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 15:30 and Saturdays from 09:00 to 11:00. Banks are closed on Sundays and Public Holidays.

Useful Numbers

Tourism Office Tel +27 (0)11 895 3000

Tourism and Safety Information Line - +27 (0)83 123 2345

Police - 10111

Fire Brigade - 1022

Ambulance - 10222

Interesting facts about South Africa

South Africa has been described as a world in one country.  Mountains, deserts, plains, sub-tropical paradise, oceans and rolling grasslands.  Snow, hail, thunder, and winds make up her mood.  As diverse as its animal kingdom is, so too are her people.  

It is a country with 11 official languages. Yet English is the most commonly used amongst most South Africans.  

The wealth of South Africa still lies in its abundant minerals.  95% of all minerals available in the world can be found in the Republic too.   

Vehicles Recommended For Traveling In South Africa 

Whilst the world land speed record will be attempted in South Africa in 2017 (October) with a supersonic vehicle known as the Bloodhound, we recommend our campers keep to the speed limits.

Britz tough 4x4 campers or SUV’s cater for the adventures, visiting rugged terrain within the country and going north to Botswana and Namibia.

Advice On Which Areas To Visit In South Africa

The most popular area to visit in the northern part of South Africa is undoubtedly the Kruger National Park. A world famous conservation area which boasts the Big Five game animals.  It is a must visit destination at least once in your life.  

The Garden Route stretching from Port Elizabeth down to Cape Town is the other highlight on a visit to South Africa.  One surprise leads to another.  Sea Horses and hidden waterfalls are merely two of the gems found in this area. Although Cape Town is known for its mountain, wine lovers will not be disappointed.    

Camping In South Africa

South Africa hosts over three thousand campsites of various standards. These facilities dovetail with Britz unique brand of 4x4 and SUV rental vehicles.  Providing necessary amenities including electricity and clean ablutions.  

Camping allows viewpoints not accessible to normal sedan car travellers.  Being in nature facilitates a whole new experience when traveling.

Points/Places Of Interest In South Africa

Africa is about nature. Africa is about unspoilt beauty.

Primary must see places in South Africa include;

  • The Panorama Route in Mpumalanga,
  • Gods Window,
  • Bourkes Lucke,
  • Pilgrims Rest,
  • seven waterfalls,
  • trout fishing in nature,
  • Kruger National Park,
  • Swaziland,
  • St Lucia World Herutage site,
  • Hluhluwe Nature Reserve,
  • The Dolphin Coast,
  • Drakensberg,
  • Golden Gatre Nature Reserve,
  • Lesotho,
  • Zebra Mountain National park,
  • Addo Elephant Kingdom,
  • Storms River,
  • Tsitsikama Nature Reserve,
  • Knysna,
  • Oudtshoorn Ostrich Centre,
  • Cape Agulhas Southern most point in Africa,
  • Cango caves,
  • Wine Lands,
  • Cape Point,
  • Table Mountain,
  • Robbin Island.  

The list is endless.  One visit to South Africa will never satisfy the wonderlist that a traveller will develop for this country.

Challenges And Precautions When Traveling In South Africa

There are no specific safety issues one needs to concentrate on.  

Applying general common sense in not flashing valuables such as cameras, wallets and other valuables will stand the visitor in good stead.  

It is not advisable to drive a camper once the sun sets.  We recommend clients camp only at designated campsites within Southern Africa.  

The misperception of “unbeaten track” is also something to consider.  Safety will always be compromised if one strays into unfamiliar territory.

Positives Points Of Traveling In South Africa for A Holiday

The weather is good. The food is great and wine is excellent. The people are friendly.  

South Africa is a diverse nation with many cultures, each enthusiastic to share their heritage with the visitor. The Rainbow Nation, as aptly named by Nelson Mandela – sets the backdrop to every encounter.

Our infrastructure is first world standard.  

As the sun rises every morning in Africa, so too a proud people rise to welcome the visitor in the spirit of Ubuntu.  Africa is known for its warmth.  A warmth, which once experienced, will draw one back to this adventure filled continent.  

Travel Tips For South Africa

The national average rainfall is 600mm per annum.  

The northern parts of the country gets rain during the summer months (October – March).  

The Cape Province, receives rain in winter. In summer, the days are pleasant, but the nights can get very cold.  

Traditionally snow falls in the Lesotho highlands between August and beginning October, resulting in cold spells in the interior.

We suggest you start checking the weather reports from a week before travel in order prepare yourself on what to pack.

Public Holidays

1 Jan - New Year's Day

21 March - Human Rights Day

25 March - Good Friday

28 March - Family Day

27 April -Freedom Day

1 May - Labour Day

16 June - Youth Day

9 August - National Women's Day

24 September -Heritage Day

16 December - Day of Reconciliation

25 December - Christmas Day  

26 December - Day of Goodwill

27 December - Public Holiday