South Africa

Marketed as the world in one country, South Africa truly lives up to its reputation. From the deserts to the forest-fringed coastline of the Garden Route; from the flat, dry Karoo interior to the craggy Drakensberg Mountains and the vineyards of the Cape to the wilds of the Kruger National Park, South Africa is exceptionally diverse.


Banking and Currency

Currency

The currency is the Rand, which is divided into 100 cents. There are R200, R100, R50, R20 and R10 notes. Coins come in R5, R2, R1, 50c, 20c, 10c and 5c.

Banking

Banks are found in most towns, and are generally open from 09h00 to 15h30 on weekdays and 08h30 to 11h00 on Saturdays (Closed Sundays and Public Holidays). Most of them offer foreign exchange services - with cash, bank & credit cards as well as travellers cheques. You can also obtain cash from automatic teller machines (ATMs). Several international banks have branches in the main city centres. Always advise your bank that you are travelling outside of the country as they might block your purchases if they are not informed.


Travel, Transport and Getting Around

Travelling around South Africa is relatively easy by air, road and rail.

Principal air routes are serviced by SAA and British Airways, operated by Comair. There are 2 low-cost carriers on main routes, namely Kulula.com and Mango.

Facilitating travel around South Africa are 10 airports managed by the Airports Company South Africa (Acsa). In addition, there are some 90 regional airports, including the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport in Nelspruit and the Skukuza Airport, offering access to the Kruger National Park.

An extensive tarred road system makes travelling in South Africa by vehicle convenient and easy. You will find gravel roads in rural areas though. Note:

A valid international driver's licence is required.

We drive on the left hand side of the road.

Wearing seat belts is compulsory and cellphones can only be used ‘hands free'.

Speed limits are generally set at 120km on freeways, 100km on secondary roads and 60km in urban areas.

Toll fees apply on certain national roads.

Petrol stations are widespread.

Most global car hire firms have branches in South Africa

Another means of getting around South Africa are luxury inter-city bus services such as Greyhound and Trans-Lux. Metrobus buses are available for in-city transport. Metered taxis must be ordered by telephone. There is a hop-on-hop-off bus in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Our rail system includes the long-haul, inexpensive Shosholoza Meyl Metrorail trains. More luxurious options are the Blue Train, Premier Classe and the steam train Rovos Rail. There is also the new Gautrain rapid transit railway system in Gauteng Province which links Johannesburg, Pretoria, Ekhuruleni and OR Tambo International Airport.


Food, Drink and Cuisine Advice

Standards of hygiene in relation to food health and safety in South Africa, are generally high in hotels, restaurants, pubs and nightspots. Tap water in South Africa is safe to drink and cook with when taken from taps in urban areas. Not all tap water in rural areas is safe for consumption, so take precautions if necessary.

It is safe to eat fresh fruit, vegetables and salads, and put ice in your drinks. South Africa's fish, meat and chicken are of excellent quality, so there is no need to limit yourself when enjoying the local cuisine.

Restaurants are subject to South Africa's food safety control legislation, which is implemented by local government. Regulations include certification and regular inspections by health inspectors to ensure hygienic standards are maintained.

Street food is not as common in South Africa as it is in other countries, although vendors selling traditional snacks and meals can be found in city centres and townships. Food safety in such instances cannot always be guaranteed.


Climate and Weather

South African temperatures, which are measured in centigrade, average at highs of 28°C to average lows of 8°C in the summer months while winter temperatures range from 1°C at night to around 18°C in the day.  Average annual rainfall is on the low side at under 500mm a year, making the country somewhat dry.  Much of the rain falls in the Western Cape in the winter, differing from the rest of the country, which experiences summer rainfall. On the plus side, the South African climate boasts more than its fair share of sunshine, recording an average of 8.5 hours a day.


Clothing and Dress Recommendations

Summer

Bring clothes that are cool, light and comfortable because summer temperatures can get well into the 30 - 40 degree Celsius range in some areas.Also bring an umbrella or raincoat during summer as this is when most of the country gets its rain, but don't forget a swimming costume (bathing suit).

Winter

The winters are generally mild, comparing favourably with European summers. But there are days when temperatures dive, especially in high-lying areas such as the Drakensberg, so be prepared with jerseys and jackets. Cape Town gets its rain during the winter season so it’s advisable to bring rain gear along.

General

Always bring a hat, sunglasses and sunblock as the sun can be strong even in the winter months.

Walking shoes are a good idea all year-round, with warm socks in the winter.

If you are doing business in the country, business attire (suit and tie) is generally called for in the corporate sector, but media for example generally dress more casually.

For game viewing, a couple of neutral-toned items will be useful, but there's no need to go overboard. A good pair of walking shoes is also advisable.

For the evening, if you are dining at an upmarket restaurant or seeing a show, smart-casual attire is recommended.


Internet Availability

Most accommodation offer Wifi (free or paid) in their business centres, rooms or restaurants. Internet cafes are found in most business areas and shopping malls. In addition, some South African restaurants offer WiFi access (free or paid).

There are also outlets such as PostNet that offer internet, fax and postage facilities.  


Electricity and Plug Standards

Current is 220/240 volts at 50 cycles per second. A three-point round-pin adapter plug should be brought for your electrical appliances - such adapters are also available at major airports.


Mozambique

Mozambique beckons with its coastline and swaying palms, its traditions, its cultures, its vibe and – most of all – its opportunities for adventure. This enigmatic southeast African country is well off most travellers' maps, but it has much to offer those who venture here: long, dune-fringed beaches, turquoise waters abounding in shoals of colourful fish, well-preserved corals, remote archipelagos in the north, pounding surf in the south and graceful dhows with billowing sails. Add to this colonial-style architecture, pulsating nightlife, an endlessly fascinating cultural mix and vast tracks of bush populated with elephants, lions and birds galore. Discovering these attractions is not always easy, but it is unfailingly rewarding. Bring along some patience, a tolerance for long bus rides and a sense of adventure, and jump in for the journey of a lifetime


Banking and Currency

Currency

The unit of curency in Mozambique is the Metical (M) which is divided into 100 centavos. South African Rand and US$ are also widely accepted.

Banking

Local banks have branches in cities that are generally open on weekdays from 07h45 to 12h00. ATMs are spreading across the country, but travellers cheques are difficult and expensive to exchange.


Travel, Transport and Getting Around

Public transport is not recommended within Mozambique, however there are reliable bus shuttles to the north and international/local planes.

There are scheduled flights into Maputo and Vilankulo. Flights are generally routed via Johannesburg in South Africa. There are a variety of smaller airstrips for smaller charter flights (to the islands, etc).

Driving is on the left in Mozambique. You need to make sure that you are carrying ID, your drivers licence, the car registration papers and your insurance details. It is also obligatory to carry a warning triangle and I would also recommend a high viz vest. The wearing of seat belts is compulsory.

The roads are generally not in good repair. Many of the main roads have an awful lot of potholes and some are very deep.


Health and Medical Information

Malaria

Im ganzen Land besteht hohes Malariarisiko - auch in der Trockenzeit. Tropenärzte beraten über geeignete Prophylaxe sowie über sonstige Schutzimpfungen. In Bezug auf Ernährung und Trinkwasser sollten zur Vermeidung von Infektionen die üblichen Vorsorgemaßnahmen betrieben werden.


Food, Drink and Cuisine Advice

Mozambique offers some of the best cuisine in Africa, providing a popular blend of Portugese, Indian and African influences. The country is well known for its seafood, which includes excellent prawns and crayfish, and the wildly popular grilled catch of the day, locally known as peixe grelhade. Local dishes, mainly along the coastal areas have a certain flair which makes them unique from the foods found in neighbouring countries. Mozambicans believe in the liberal use of coconut milk and their favourite local hot pepper, peri peri to add a zesty burn to their meals. For more carnivorous visitors, there is a decent variety of high quality meats, usually, bought into Mozambique from neighbouring South Africa.

In Mozambique all town treat their drinking water, travellers are however advised to boil the tap water before drinking it, alternatively would be to buy mineral water. Tap water can safely be used for showering and brushing your teeth.


Climate and Weather

The Mozambique coastline stretches for almost 2,000km, covering latitudes from about 11° to 27° South, and has a tropical ocean current running north to south along its length for the whole year.

Despite this range of latitudes, the whole country broadly follows a southern African weather pattern, with the rains falling largely between December and March.

This does vary a little between the north and south of the country, with the rains lasting a few weeks longer in the north than the south, but the pattern is the same. Humidity can be uncomfortably high during this period.

Most of Mozambique's rain arrives on moist southeast trade winds, but glance at a map to see that it lies in the rainshadow of Madagascar. This gives Mozambique a relatively low annual rainfall – and a great deal of protection from the tropical storms and the occasional cyclone which head towards it during this period.

By around April or May the rains subside, the sun comes out and the humidity drops – better weather spreads gradually from the south to the north.

June to October is the dry season, with often perfect tropical weather: clear skies, plenty of sun and almost no rain. This is the best time for most people to visit Mozambique. Although still tropical, JuneJuly and August are Mozambique's coolest months; you'll need a light duvet at night, even though the temperature reaches over 30°C by day. During September and October it remains dry as daytime temperatures climb, though it cools down a lot at night.

November is a less predictable month of transition. Sometimes the rains start, although many days remain sunny and hot. The rains generally start earlier in the north of the country.


Clothing and Dress Recommendations

Light clothing is a must for most of the year (do not forget your swimminwear and sunscreen!). However, during winter (June-August) it can be chilli in the evenings, so pack something warm. When visiting game reserves, remember to pack sensible walking shoes, a hat and colour appropriate clothing (browns, greens, etc). In the evenings, it is advisable to wear long sleeved shirts to protect from the mosquitoes.


Internet Availability

There are many internet cafes in Maputo and almost all major hotels have internet access. Outside Maouto internet access is erratic and typically available in places frequented by tourists. 


Electricity and Plug Standards

Current is 220/240 volts at 50 cycles per second. A three-point round-pin adapter plug should be brought for your electrical apliances. Such adapters are also available at the major airports.


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