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A subtropical location, moderated by ocean on two sides of the triangle-shaped country and the altitude of the interior plateau, account for the warm temperate conditions so typical of South Africa. South Africa has a temperate climate and is known for its long sunny days, hence the title: 'Sunny South Africa'. Most of the provinces have summer rainfall, except for the Western Cape (winter rainfall). Winter is from May to August; Spring from September to October; Summer from November to February and Autumn is from March to April.
Please bring and wear a money belt. Use this to keep your money, credit cards and passport safe. A money belt is not used instead of a purse, but in addition to it. The items in your money belt should stay there for safekeeping – it is not meant to be accessed to get to the money you plan to spend on a daily basis.
The summers in the Cape attract lots of tourists. This season is warm and dry. Summer in Cape Town begins in November and December, and lasts till January and February.
What do the climate charts say about the temperatures in Cape Town during summer? The average temperature during summer is 20 degrees. The warmest months are January and February with a maximum temperature of roughly 26 degrees. It won’t get any colder than 14 degrees at night, so don’t bother to bring your fur coat. Or an umbrella, for that matter: rainfall is between 24mm (November) and 14mm (January).
Do bring some sun tan lotion, after sun and a hat. The sun shines approximately 10,5 hours a day during the summer months in November, December, January and Febuary. Humidity is lowest during summer.
Nice fact: the highest temperature measured in Cape Town was a steaming 41,3 degrees in January. Don’t worry; the Cape Doctor will blow a cool breeze your way. A strong south-eastern wind visits the Cape Peninsula during summer. When the Berg Wind (a wind blowing in from the Karoo) hits Cape Town you’ll be feeling hot, hot, hot.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Documents - Visa & Passport Requirements
All visitors to South Africa require a passport valid for six months from date of departure as well as at least one completely blank page in your passport, excluding the final page.
Visitors from the USA, most Commonwealth countries (including the UK and Australia), most Western European countries and Japan don’t require visas but will be issued a free entry permit on arrival valid for up to 90 days. Visitors of nationalities other than those listed above will need to obtain a visa prior to travel from a South African embassy or consulate.
Other Important documents
Make two copies of all your important documents, such as your passports, itinerary and emergency contact information.
Take one copy with you, packed in a different bag to the original, and leave a copy at home with an easily contactable person.
Try to memorize all your important details – passport numbers, credit card numbers, etc. If you lose your bag, this information will be very important.
Health Insurance Documents
Health insurance card (your regular plan and/or supplemental travel health insurance plan)
Proof of international yellow fever vaccination (if required – depending on your country of origin), take your completed International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis card or medical waiver
If you are on any pharmaceutical drugs or medications, bring them along as well as a spare prescription. Copies of all prescriptions
Make sure prescriptions include generic names. Bring prescriptions for medicines, eye glasses/contacts, and other medical supplies.
Custom regulations allow you to bring in one month’s supply for your personal use.
Carry a contact card containing the street addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of the following:
Family member or close contact remaining in your country.
Check your passport isn't about to expire and whether you'll need visas.
Check and double-check your travel details and don't forget to confirm your flights – including onward connections and returns.
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Never walk around any city at night, even if you are part of a group. If you need to go anywhere after dark, ask your hotel or guesthouse to order a reliable taxi for you. Do not just hail any passing taxi on the street!
When out walking anywhere, avoid wearing flashy, expensive watches and jewelry and carrying large amounts of cash. Carry your camera unobtrusively in a bag, rather than slung over your shoulder.
Walk purposefully as if you know where you are going and are not a “lost tourist.” Hold your bag close to your body and beware of pickpockets and other confidence tricksters on the streets and in crowded stores. Be aware of ATM theft—never distracted by a stranger asking for assistance at an ATM!
It is best to walk in a group at any time of the day or night. Avoid walking in isolated areas (even groups) after dark.
Each hotel has a safety deposit box available to you to keep your valuables safe.
The water in South Africa is potable and delicious – it is ranked third in the world for safest drinkable tap water. Bottled water is available for sale if you’d rather.
Money & Purchases
South Africa’s national currency is the South African Rand. Foreign currency can be readily exchanged at banks, bureau de change and many hotels but most travelers simply draw cash at ATMs (cash machines) which you’ll find throughout South Africa’s towns and cities. Not only is this far more convenient but ATMs also tend to offer a better rate of exchange.
We’d advise against carrying large quantities of cash, however, so for big purchases rather use your credit card. Most major credit cards (Amex, Mastercard, Visa and Diners Club International) are widely accepted in shops, restaurants and hotels but are not always accepted at many petrol stations.
You can claim back the VAT (the 14% value-added tax) on products you purchased in South Africa and are taking out the country (provided the total value of purchases exceeds R250) so be sure to keep your tax invoices and claim your cash back at the airport when you leave.
IMPORTANT: Alert your credit card company that you are traveling to South Africa, or they may put a block on it when they see a charge from a foreign country.
Hotels provide laundry services should you need them.
Most everyone in South Africa speaks English. There are several other languages, the most popular of which are Afrikaans, Zulu and Xhosa.
South Africa uses 220V electrical current. Bring a power outlet converter. South African outlets are only compatible with type M outlets. Type C and G outlets are also found on occasion. Converters for use with standard American plugs, type A and B, can be found in most hardware stores. Here is a photo of the common electrical plug found in South Africa:
Bring extra batteries for your camera.
It is very important that you not exceed the luggage allowances per your airline’s policy unless you are prepared to pay for it. We highly recommend you bring a portable luggage scale as it really helps you know what to expect when you get to the airport.
We recommend that you take out travel and medical insurance to cover personal accident, medical expenses, loss of effects, and all other expenses which might arise as a result of loss, damage, injury, inconvenience or delay. We cannot accept financial responsibility for any unexpected loss or occurrence.
We do not have any recommendations for travel insurance – sorry! Please check with your insurance agent.
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What to Bring – Sample Checklist
- Good quality sunglasses, preferably polarized
- Sun hat
- Golf/Polo-shirts, T-shirts and long-sleeved cotton shirts for the evening
- Long trousers/slacks
- Underwear (sports bra recommended on game drives as the roads can be bumpy and uneven), and socks
- Good walking shoes (running/tennis shoes are fine)
- Sandals or slip-slops
- Swimming costume
- Camera equipment and plenty of film, batteries or charger, extra memory card
- BINOCULARS – ESSENTIAL (Night vision binoculars are not essential but highly recommended if your safari includes night activities)
- Personal toiletries (basic amenities supplied by most establishments)
- Prescription medicines for duration of your stay
- Malaria tablets (where applicable)
- Moisturizing cream & suntan lotion, and after-sun lotion
- Insect repellent e.g. Tabard, Rid, Jungle Juice
- Basic medical kit (aspirin/ paracetamol, plasters, Imodium, antiseptic cream and anti-histamine cream, etc.)
- Tissues / “Wet Ones” towelettes
- Ear plugs and eye mask for sleeping
- Waterproof /dust proof bags or covers for your cameras, and a UV filter for your lens
- Visas, tickets, passports, itinerary, vouchers, personal money
- Nearly all resorts and hotels offer laundry facilities (indeed, many lodges include this service in their rate).
- Pack something warm for game drives: a windbreaker or hoodie is ideal.
- South Africans are relatively casual, but you'll need something more formal to change into at the hotels .