THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE VISITING SOUTH AFRICA & SAFETY TIPS.
South Africa (SA), officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. SA is renowned for its varied great natural beauty, and cultural diversity, all of which have made the country a favoured destination for travelers since the legal ending of apartheid (apart-racial separation).
It is always important to do research to prepare for any trip one is interested in taking. Here are the important things you need to know before travelling to South Africa.
(In no particular order)
The currency used in SA is called Rands (R).
Although SA is listed as a developing country, you will soon realize that South Africa is performing well and should be in line with most developed countries. There is cellphone coverage and it is broad, you won’t need to worry about how you will get hold of family, friends, or help when needed. There are many network plans, such as Cell C, Vodacom and MTN, and Telkom
There are many forms of transport in SA, from Ubers to trains. There are many car rental companies that you could choose from. Renting a car means more freedom for movement.
My Citi bus
MyCiti bus has made huge headway in paving the path towards a stress-free, secure, affordable, and eco-friendly means of travel.
Click here to access the routes and timetable for the MyCity bus.
With Uber and Bolt, you get to see how much your ride would cost before requesting it, usually it’s best to have both Uber and Bolt in order to compare prices.
Bolt has a women-only option for the ladies who feel more comfortable and safer with having another woman driving them.
1. Make sure not to flaunt your jewellery.
2. Don’t leave your belongings unattended when out in public.
3.Don’t walk around with air pods on.
The crime rate is unfortunately high in SA and the list above is relevant for any country you wish to travel to. It is important to take the proper precautions when you’re on the go.
It is important to be vigilant, especially for a female travelling on her own. If you can, travel with a friend or send someone you trust your live location using Google Maps just before getting into your ride, this allows your friend to track your ride to your destination.
- Make sure their Gmail address is part of your Google Contacts.
- Choose how long you want to share your location.
- Tap the profile of the person you want to share your location with. If asked about your contacts, give Google Maps permission.
- Tap Share.Languages and Cultures
South Africa boasts many different languages and cultures. There are eleven official languages in SA:
- Southern Sotho
- Swazi or siSwati
- Afrikaans (Similar to dutch)
It’s always great to learn a little bit of the slang words and phrases used in SA, they are lekker (pronounced lak-kerr): great, cool, nice e.g. “It’s a lekker day today”, or “You look lekker in that dress”.
Connect with Locals
Connect with locals from many cultures. One of the things that many love about South Africa is that the people are very welcoming and friendly, this makes connecting with the locals easy and that connection makes for an even more enriching, fulfilling, and raw experience.
SA is more than a Safari
South Africa is very diverse with beautiful beaches, wildlife, wine farms, and vibrant cities. There are endless things to do and many canyons to explore, one could never be bored.
There are more activities to do other than Safari’s, but a good old safari is a must. There are many places to go on a safari, such as Kruger National Park and Addo Elephant Park. Many visit these parks in the hope of spotting the big 5 ( Lion, Rhino, Leopard, Elephant & Cape Buffalo).
Accommodation & Electricity
There are many options for accommodation in SA, from camping to luxury stays. Yes, we do have electricity in most parts of SA.
Having electricity is unfortunately accommodated by scheduled load shedding (LS). Load shedding is the cutting of power in different areas in SA at a time in order to protect the electricity power system from a total blackout. LS comes in different stages depending on how strained the power system is. Some accommodation establishments have generators to keep them going when the power is scheduled to go off. One could always see load shedding as a convenient excuse to have a candlelit dinner with takeout.
Check entry requirements
Checking entry requirements is not fun to do but this will save you from enduring a massive headache.
You will need two blank pages on your passport to present to immigration when you enter SA. You will also need to check what the visa requirements are. Luckily for some nationalities such as Europeans, Americans, Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians can visit South Africa for 90 days without the hassle. Since Covid-19 hit South Africa, there are more requirements and restrictions for travel.
Other than that it’s all worth it for an unforgettable trip filled with adventures of a lifetime.
The best times to visit SA
- Autumn/Fall – 1 March – 31 May.
- Winter – 1 June – 31 August.
- Spring – 1 September – 30 November.
- Summer – 1 December – 28/29 February.
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