Cosmopolitan Cape Town awaits those wishing for a steady introduction to African exploration. Beautiful beaches, diverse population and culture. There are 11 official languages but seldom is English not spoken. South Africa has legendary scenery and is becoming a favoured destination for those seeking experiences of natural wonder.
Situated on the Southern tip of Africa, South Africa has 3 capitals of which Cape Town is the legislative. Having overthrown its Apartheid policies, South Africa has enjoyed democratic government since 1994 and is considered politically stable. World-class facilities and enviable weather make this a great location to start or end your safari holiday.
South Africa is +2 hour time difference to London GMT.
Safety – High Level
Most parts of South Africa and Cape Town in particular, can be safely visited providing you take sensible precautions. Security risks increase after dark – avoided deserted areas and dim-lit places. Be vigilant, keep all vehicle doors locked and windows closed when driving and remain aware of your surroundings, especially after dark. Don’t wear flashy jewellery and don’t accept offers of assistance at ATM’s.
TOP TIP – Use a smaller wallet for day to day things, replenish as required; Prying eyes will not then see your main cash. Make photocopies of important documents like tickets, insurance papers, passport, and visa and keep them separate. It is also recommended to scan these documents and email a copy to yourself and somebody at home, along with your flight and other travel details. If you don't have a scanner, you can leave photocopies with somebody at home.
Direct flights to Cape Town or Johannesburg are readily bookable from the UK. Cape Town is a 2 hour flight on from Johannesburg where there are connections to most major cities.
Daily flights from Johannesburg to Livingstone or Lusaka international is the route to Zambia and if forwarding to Chobe a journey of 35 minutes from Livingstone.
Both international and domestic airport taxes should be included in your ticket price. Note - for charter flights and seat rate charters these are NOT included
Passport & Visa
You need to ensure you have a valid passport with at least six months remaining between date of departure from the country and the date of expiry, as well as sufficient blank pages for visa and stamps. Most nationalities do not require a Visa to enter South Africa.
Cape Town is not a malaria area. However for those intrepid travellers moving on you MUST have malaria protection and we would recommend tetanus, yellow fever and the hepatitis vaccinations. A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is required for all persons arriving from a country with risk of Yellow Fever or who have transited for more than 12 hours through an airport in a country with risk of Yellow Fever.
It is advisable to know your blood group type in case of emergency.
Chemists / Pharmacies - travellers naturally should carry an adequate supply of their prescribed medicines with them. Cape Town has world class medical facilities with an exceptionally high quality network of state and private hospitals.
Medical Insurance - medical insurance should be purchased before you leave your own country and should include emergency air evacuation coverage if you’re spending any time in remote parts of an African country. Personal effects insurance is also advisable. Check that your insurance policy will be accepted by service providers in South Africa and any other country you will be including in your journey. Ensure that you are treated by licensed medical personnel to enable you to provide your insurance company with appropriate documentation and receipts.
Tap water throughout Cape Town is safe to drink. Bottled water is readily available but ensure at all times to carry sufficient water when travelling by road.
Cash, credit cards and Travellers’ cheques are accepted widely. US dollars, sterling and euros are all easily convertible currencies – although it is worth asking for only new US dollar bills - i.e. ones with large heads as some US$ banknotes may not be accepted due to the high levels of counterfeit currency in circulation in Africa.
The currency in South Africa is the South African Rand. ATM’s accept foreign visa cards as do most shops hotels and restaurants.
Much of South Africa’s summer, which lasts from mid-October to mid-February, is mostly hot and sunny. Autumn in South Africa is from mid-February to April. It offers the best weather in some respects. Very little rain falls over the whole country, and it is warm but not too hot, getting colder as the season progresses.
In Cape Town, autumn is fantastic, with hot sunny days and warm, balmy nights which many people spend outdoors. Winter in South Africa is from May to July. Nowhere in South Africa is spring, which lasts from August to mid-October, more spectacular than in Northern Cape and Western Cape.
Local Laws and Customs
Always carry your identity documentation or a copy of your passport.
Respect the local people – ask before taking any photographs. Do not worry if you do not speak the language as a smile and gesture will be understood.
Respect local etiquette – tight fitting or revelling clothes may be insensitive to local feeling and public displays of affection are very inappropriate
Greetings – African society is rarely as rushed as westerners. When you first meet someone you should always greet them leisurely “Good morning/Afternoon, how are you” before embarking on any questions.
Strong insect repellent, high factor sun screen, anti-histamine cream AND tablets, brimmed hat, sun glasses, good walking shoes/boots.
Binoculars and a torch…who wants to pass binoculars on when there is a leopard or elephant to be seen?
Most camps and lodges do regular laundry – don’t over pack!
Glasses (for safety pack two pairs) – safari is a dusty adventure; those with contact lenses may find this a difficulty.