South Africa

This vast country is undoubtedly one of the most culturally and geographically diverse places on earth. Fondly known by locals as the 'Rainbow Nation', South Africa has 11 official languages and its multicultural inhabitants are influenced by a fascinating mix of African, Asian, and European cultures.

Spend your days: discovering the gourmet restaurants, impressive art and nightlife scenes and fine beaches of Cape Town; enjoying a typical local braai (barbecue) in the Soweto township; browsing the bustling Indian markets in Durban; or sampling some of the world’s finest wines at the myriad wine estates dotted around the picturesque Cape Winelands.

Due to its rich and turbulent history there are plenty of historical attractions to explore including the Zululand battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal, the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg and Robben Island, just off the coast of Cape Town.

Above all else, South Africa’s attraction lies in its remarkably untamed wilderness with its astonishing range of wildlife roaming freely across massive game reserves such as the world famous Kruger National Park.

With all of this variety on offer, it is little wonder that South Africa has fast become Africa’s most popular tourist destination. 

Entry Requirements

Please check with a South African Embassy or consulate or on the website below what entry requirements apply to your nationality:

The passport must still have at least two blank pages, more if you are travelling through eSwatini (Swaziland) or a neighbouring country. (*6 months is required by the neighbouring countries through which one usually travels on a round trip.)

Most passport holders wanting to travel to eSwatini (Swaziland), Lesotho or Zimbabwe can get a visa at the border, but there are some exceptions!  Check if you need a visa before you arrive at the border.


Revised: November 2019

The requirements for children travelling to or from the Republic of South Africa are aimed at giving effect to the Children’s Act, 2005.



1.1.        The documents listed under paragraph 2 must on request be produced at a port of entry by South African children entering and leaving the Republic, as well as by unaccompanied minors, regardless of their nationalities.

1.2.        Foreign children who apply for a South African visa at any mission or VFS service point must submit, as part of the applications, the documents required under paragraph 2 prior to such visa being issued.







- copy of his /her birth certificate

- parental consent letters

- copy of the passport(s)/identity document(s) of the parent(s) / legal guardian(s)

- contact details of the parent(s)/ legal guardian(s)

- letter from the person who is to receive the child in the Republic, containing his / her residential address and contact details in the Republic where the child will reside

- copy of the identity document / valid passport and visa or permanent residence permit of the person who is to receive the child in the Republic

- where applicable-

- copy of an adoption order

- copy of a death certificate of the deceased parent/ parents or legal guardian.

- copy of a court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or legal guardianship in respect of the child


- valid passport

- letter from the Provincial Head of the Department of Social Development where the child resides authorising his or her departure from the Republic as contemplated in section 169 of the Children’s Act (Act No. 38 of 2005).


3.1.        South African children travelling on South African passports may travel to South Africa without birth certificates.

3.2.        Supporting documents are not required where children are in direct transit at an international airport.

3.3.        Children in possession of valid South African visas are not required to produce the documents already submitted as part of their visa applications when travelling through a port of entry of the Republic.

3.4.        A child presenting a passport which contains the details of his or her parent or parents is not required to produce a birth certificate/equivalent document.

3.5.        In the case of school tours, the parental consent letter may be replaced with a letter from the school principal confirming that the schools hold the consent letters.  Upon producing this letter, immigration officers at ports of entry and South African missions abroad would not require any additional documents from individual scholars such as parental consent, birth certificates, death certificates, court orders or copies of the passports or identity documents of the parents and of the person receiving the child in SA. This special dispensation applies to all schools registered with the Department of Basic Education in South Africa and its equivalent abroad in respect of South African and visa required children.


Where parent/s recorded in a BC/ equivalent document are unable to consent to the travel by a child due to recent death or mental or physical disability, persons acting on behalf of the child/children may apply for a special dispensation in lieu of parental consent by directing a request and full motivation, together with all supporting documents (for example, treating medical practitioners certificate), to the Office of the Director-General of Home Affairs, at the following e-mail address:


- This dispensation only applies to incapacity, and not where a parent is either unwilling to consent or unable to be located due to separation or divorce.

- Where a parent refuses to give consent, a court order in terms of section 18(5) of the Children’s Act, 2005 (Act No. 38 of 2005), may be presented in lieu of parental consent.


Alternative Care

- Section 167 of the Children’s Act, 2005 (Act No. 38 of 2005), states that a child is in Alternative Care if the child has been placed in:

 foster care.

 the care of a child and youth care centre following an order of a court in terms of that Act or the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act No. 51 of 1977); or

- temporary safe care.

Birth Certificate

- An extract from the Birth Register containing the particulars of a child and his / her parent(s). Birth certificates containing the details of a child as well as his/her parent/s are accepted for the purposes of these Requirements regardless of the country of issue.

- In the case of countries that do not issue BC, an ’Equivalent Document’ containing the particulars of the child and his / her parent/s, issued by the competent authority of that country, or an embassy of that country may be produced.


- South African law regards any person younger than 18 years as a child.

Equivalent Document

- In the case of countries that endorse the particulars of parents in children’s passports, or other official identification documents, these documents shall be acceptable for the purpose of establishing the identity of the parents of the travelling child.

Letter of special Circumstances

- Letter issued by the Director-General of Home Affairs in lieu of parental consent in the event of recent death or mental or physical disability.


- Unless the context indicates otherwise, the word “parent” includes adoptive parents and legal guardians.

Parental Consent Letter

- must accompany a BC when any parent is not travelling with his or her child.

- must not be older than 6 months when presented.


Banking and Currency

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

Banks are found in most towns, and are 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.

For self-drive clients: some petrol stations accept foreign credit cards, please ask before filling up.

Travel, Transport and Getting Around

Travelling around South Africa is easy by air and by road. 

Facilitating travel around South Africa are 10 airports managed by the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA). In addition, there are numerous regional airports, including Lanseria in Johannesburg, as well as Phalaborwa, Hoedspruit, Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport near Nelspruit and 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.   

For self-drive guests, please 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  with a ‘hands free' device.
  • Speed limits are 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. Payment for petrol can only be made in cash or with a credit card issued by a South African bank. 
  • Most global car hire firms have branches in South Africa.
  • GPS units are not to be completely trusted in rural areas, driving to safari lodges etc. Instead, use the lodge's own directions to find the best route.
  • Do not drive after dark!
  • If you plan to arrive at your guest house after 18.00 (6 pm), you must call ahead and advise them that you are arriving late.
  • Minibus taxis are found in through out the country, however we do NOT recommend using them, as these taxis are often not in a roadworthy condition, drivers break the traffic rules often and these minibus-taxis are often involved in accidents.

Health and Medical Information

There are a few basic health matters that require care and attention. Please consult your doctor if in doubt and check with your health department prior to departure for any changes in health regulations.

Malaria, including celebral malaria, is common during the summer months in north eastern South Africa, northern Namibia, northern Botswana (year round), northern Zimbabwe and Mozambique. This is particularly the case during the rainy season and just thereafter. As the strains of malaria as well as the drugs used to combat them, change frequently, it is advisable to seek medical advice before departure. Wearing long sleeves and trousers, closed shoes, sleeping under a mosquito net, using repellants and mosquito coils are some of the precautions that can be taken to avoid being bitten. The following website: 

gives up-to-date information regarding Malaria and precautions to be taken.

Visitors are advised to take necessary precautions against HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Bilharzia is a treatable, but unpleasant disease brought about by parasites found in fresh water in Southern Africa, particularly water that is stagnant or does not move. Swimming in such water is not recommended. Enquiries should be made at the accommodation establishment of the area for up-to -date information about the prevalence of bilharzia there.

The intensity and effects of the sun and heat are often underestimated. It is essential to take preventative measures to avoid problems related to this, such as drinking sufficient water, using sunscreen, wearing a wide brimmed hat, avoiding excessive exposure to the sun and limiting the intake of alcohol, as this causes dehydration.

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.

Biltong is a South African meat (beef / venison) delicacy. It is spiced, dried, and cured. Each butcher has his own recipe, and biltong can be found at almost every butchery. Bunny-Chow is mostly available in Durban, and consists of a hollowed half or quarter loaf of bread filled with curry.

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 quite dry. Much of the rain falls in the Western Cape in the winter (May - September), differing from the rest of the country, which experiences summer rainfall.

The Drakensberg however, receives up to 1600mm per year, mostly in summer, and a summer afternoon storm is welcome to lower the temperatures. These storms are common in the eastern half of the country and normally do not last more than an hour or two. 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

Bring clothes that are cool, light and comfortable because summer temperatures can get well into the 30 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).

The winters are generally mild, comparing favourably with European summers. But there are days when temperatures drop, 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. Johannesburg winters will require jeans and a jersey during the day, with evenings dropping very close to zero degrees. If you have booked on a safari during winter, bring a warm windproof anorak, a scarf and a warm hat, the early mornings sitting on an open safari vehicle can be extremely cold!

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 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.

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 adaptor plug should be brought for your electrical appliances, commonly known in South Africa as a "double adaptor". This will also allow you to use a standard 2 pin plugs (mobile phone chargers, small appliances). These are available at Airport shops, and majority of "Grocery shops" - just ask.

General Guidance

Value Added Tax (VAT)
The VAT is 15% and in most cases is already included in the price. For items you export, the VAT will be refunded to you at the airport if the amount exceeds R 250 per item. You will need a TAX invoice from the seller (an invoice with the address and VAT number from the shop).

The Post Office is open from 08h00 - 16h00 Monday to Friday and on Saturday from 08h00 - 12h00.

Swimming in the sea should only be done at official beaches supervised by lifeguards, due to currents in the oceans. Swimming in the rivers is not advisable.

South Africa has 11 official languages; English is the most widely used. Other languages are Afrikaans, Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho, Ndebele, Swazi, Pedi, Tswana, Tsongo and Venda.

Your mobile phone will have a good reception coverage in most towns and villages, but cannot be guaranteed in more remote areas and in National Parks. Mobile phones can be used along the national roads and in most places.

Official emergency numbers:

  • Police (flying squad) 10111
  • Ambulance 10177

Other telephone numbers:

  • Information (Enquiries) National 1023
  • Information (Enquiries) International 10903#

Gratuities (tipping)

  • In restaurants, hotels and other accommodation, a service fee is not included, but left to your discretion if you are satisfied with the service. As a rule, about 10 % is widespread practice.
  • Porterage - about ZAR 10 per piece of luggage
  • Taxi driver - about 10 % of the amount
  • Housekeeping staff - about ZAR 10 – 20 per day
  • Safari (Game) lodges:  Tipping is widespread practice, provided you have enjoyed your stay and received good service.   The recommended average is: 
    • Game Ranger – ZAR 100-150 per visitor per day.  
    • Game Tracker:  ZAR 50–60 per visitor per day.  
    • Lodge staff (kitchen, bedroom, reception and dining-room staff) approx. ZAR 100–150 per visitor per day. Please look out for a General Tipping Box for back of house lodge staff at reception. This is widespread practice in many establishments.
  • For clients on city sightseeing tours: Driver-Tour guides: ZAR 100-150 per visitor per day.  
  • For clients on group coach tours:
    • Driver: ZAR 30 - 40 per visitor per day
    • Guide:  ZAR 60 – 80 per visitor per day
  • For Self-Drive clients:
    • Parking attendants receive about ZAR 5-10. You do not pay on arrival, but only when you return to your car. (Official car park attendants are usually dressed in orange or yellow vests).
    • Petrol attendants - about ZAR 5 Rand (Refuelling is done by a petrol attendant who checks the oil, water and tyre pressure and often washes your windscreen.)


Situated in the southern reaches of Africa, Botswana is renowned for its pristine wilderness areas characterised by deep lagoons, wetlands, lush palms, rugged hills and desert plains scattered with scrubland.

The country’s primary tourist drawcard is undoubtedly the vast red expanse of the Kalahari Desert and its remarkably beautiful Okavango Delta, the largest inland delta in the world. These natural wonders provide a tranquil haven for an abundance of African wildlife to thrive.

Other highlights include the impressive Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, where visitors are privy to massive zebra migrations during the flood season; the Savuti plains, which host large prides of lions; and the Tsodilo Hills, where 4500 rock paintings form a unique record of human settlement over many millennia. (ITT)

Entry Requirements

Citizens of most European and Commonwealth countries do not require a visa for entry into Botswana.

Visitors should check with Botswana embassies or consulates, or their travel agents, before departure.

It is vital for visitors to carry a valid passport and sufficient funds to facilitate their stay.

Note: For countries with whom Botswana has no diplomatic representation, visa information and processing is available through British Embassies and High Commissions. (ITT)

Banking and Currency


Botswana's currency is Pula (which means 'rain' in Setswana). It is divided into 100 thebe (which means 'shield' in Setswana). Travellers' cheques and foreign currency may be changed at banks, bureaux de change and authorised hotels. 

The US dollar, Euros, British Pound and the South African Rand are the most commonly accepted currencies ( but foreign currency is often only accepted at an inflated rate of exchange). 


Seven main commercial banks, as well as a number of foreign exchange bureaux operate in Botswana. Operating hours are Monday to Friday 08h30 to 15h30 and Saturday 08h30 to 10h45.

Full banking services are available in major towns, although ATMs are appearing all over the country. Most credit cards are accepted at hotels and restaurants. Cultural sites and community art and craft outlets usually only accept cash.  (ITT)

Travel, Transport and Getting Around

Public transport in Botswana is geared towards the needs of the local population and is confined to main roads between major population centres. Although cheap and reliable, it is of little use to the traveller as most of Botswana’s tourist attractions lie off the beaten track.

Access to the safari lodges is by light aircraft transfer, these will be booked together with your lodge booking. Transport between Maun / Kasane and the safari lodges happen seamlessly and efficiently. There are major airports in Maun, Kasane and Gaborone with international flight connections.  

Self-drive guests should keep to the main roads only. Driving off the main roads in Botswana is only recommended to expert drivers in 4x4 vehicles with the correct equipment. Even experienced drivers often get their cars stuck in the sand so you should never drive alone, you should always travel in a convoy with at least one other 4x4 vehicle who can pull you out should you get stuck. If you plan to be driving in Botswana: your home driving licence will be accepted (with an official English translation if necessary); driving is on the left side of the road; and the national speed limit is on tarred roads is 120km/h and 60km/h in towns and villages. 

Be sure to watch out for wild animals on the roads!  Do not drive in the dark!

Health and Medical Information

Botswana is one of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa which has some of the best primary health care facilities available throughout the region. However, the following health precautions are advised.

Travel Insurance

It is essential for visitors to remote areas of Botswana to have a comprehensive medical insurance policy, to provide coverage for the treatment of serious illnesses/accidents, and if required, medical evacuation. Personal effects insurance is also advisable.

Ensure that you are treated by licensed medical personnel to enable you to provide your insurance company with appropriate documentation and receipts.

Drinking Water

Tap water throughout the country is safe to drink. Bottled mineral water is readily available in most shops and supermarkets, and at camps and lodges.

Tourists travelling by road are advised to carry sufficient water at all times.


Visitors are advised to take the necessary precautions against HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.


Malaria, including cerebral malaria, is common in northern Botswana, in the Okavango and Chobe areas, particularly during and immediately after the rainy season, from November to April.

As the strains of malaria and the drugs used to combat them frequently change, and as certain strains can become drug resistant, it is best to seek medical advice before your departure and take any medication prescribed. Pregnant or very young children are not advised to travel to malarial areas.

Other precautions are to wear long sleeves, socks, closed shoes and generally keep the body covered in the evenings (which is when mosquitoes are most active) and to use mosquito repellent.


If travelling to Botswana from areas infected with Yellow Fever, guests must have a valid Yellow Fever vaccination certificate. 

Sun and Heat-Related Problems

Always take preventive measures that include wearing a wide-brimmed sunhat and sunglasses, liberally applying sunscreen every three or four hours, regularly taking re-hydration mixes, drinking plenty of water and fruit juices (at least three litres of liquid daily), avoiding prolonged exposure to the sun, and avoiding excessive amounts of alcohol, which causes dehydration. (ITT)

Food, Drink and Cuisine Advice

Tap water is considered safe to drink, although outside main cities and towns, visitors are advised to check first and sterilise water if in any doubt. Bottled water is available in most tourist centres. Filtered water is available at most camps and shops offer bottled water - it is advised to be well stocked with bottled water if you are travelling off the beaten track. Milk is pasteurised and dairy products, local meat, poultry, seafood, fruit and vegetables are generally safe to consume.

Safari lodges and camps serve international-style cuisine, generally of a high standard, along with local beer and imported wine and spirits. Good restaurants and bars can be found in main towns, often within hotels. Beef and goat are very popular meats. Elsewhere, food is more basic: millet and sorghum porridge are the local staples.

It is usual to add a 10% tip when paying restaurant bills. In many places, a service charge is automatically added. It is customary to tip the game guide and lodge staff while on safari. (ITT)

Climate and Weather

Botswana's climatic pattern is typical of southern Africa, although its rainfall is less than countries further east. The rain in Botswana fall mostly between December and March, when average minimum temperatures are in the low 20°s (C). Some days will be bright and sunny, some will have afternoon thunderstorms, and some will just be grey.

As with Namibia, April and May in Botswana are generally lovely, with the sky clear and the landscape green. Night temperatures start to drop during these months, especially in the Kalahari. Note that places in and around the Okavango tend to have less extreme, more moderate temperatures than the drier areas of the Kalahari.

From June to August the night-time temperatures in drier areas can be close to freezing, but it warms up rapidly during the day and the sky is usually clear and blue. This is 'peak season' for most safari areas: the land is dry in most areas so the animals congregate around the few available water sources.

This continues into September and October, when temperatures climb again, drying the landscapes and concentrating the game even more. This is the best time for big game safaris – although October can feel very hot, with maximum temperatures sometimes approaching 40°C.

November is difficult to predict, as it can sometimes be a continuation of October's heat, whilst sometimes it's cooled by the first rains; it's always an interesting month.  December to end March is considered the "Green Season", this is when most of the annual rainfall comes and the land is lush and green. This is the perfect time for bird-watching. Many lodges offer low season rates during the Green Season.

Clothing and Dress Recommendations

In summer, lightweight, light-coloured cottons are preferable. Avoid synthetic materials and black clothing, as they increase perspiration and discomfort. In winter, wear trousers, long-sleeved shirts / blouses and jerseys. From May – August, night temperatures can fall below zero degrees Celsius, so warm jerseys and jackets, scarves and gloves are vital, especially on morning and evening game drives.

Garments of neutral colours that blend with the bush and forest are advisable for safaris and game viewing. Bring a lightweight jacket and/or jersey for unexpected temperature changes or rain. Closed, comfortable walking shoes or gym shoes are a must in all seasons. Special attention should be given to protection from the sun. Bring a sunhat, good quality sunscreen, sun lotion and polarised sunglasses. Wide brimmed sun hats are essential. (ITT)

Internet Availability

Internet cafes: Yes in cities 
Accommodation options: Yes 
Restaurants: Yes in cities 
Cafes: Yes in cities 
Shopping malls: Yes 
Public parks: No 
Libraries: Yes in cities 

Electricity and Plug Standards

Electrical sockets (outlets) in Botswana are the "Type M " South African SABS1661 ("Large" 15 amp BS-546) sockets. This is actually an old British standard. The "Type M " South African plug and socket is not to be confused with the "Type D " Indian plug and socket. In pictures, they look very similar, but the South African type is much larger than the Indian type, and they are physically incompatible. If your appliance's plug doesn't match the shape of these sockets, you will need a travel plug adaptor in order to plug in. Travel plug adaptors simply change the shape of your appliance's plug to match whatever type of socket you need to plug into.

Electrical sockets (outlets) in Botswana usually supply electricity at between 220 and 240 volts AC. If you're plugging in an appliance that was built for 220-240 volt electrical input, or an appliance that is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adaptor is all you need. 

But travel plug adaptors do not change the voltage, so the electricity coming through the adaptor will still be the same 220-240 volts the socket is supplying. If you need to use appliances that are not compatible with 220-240 volt electrical input, you will need a voltage converter.


General Guidance

Plastic Bags – important notice!

As of 1 November 2018 the use of plastic carrier bags and plastic flat bags will no longer be allowed in Botswana and it will be considered an offence if you are found with one. (ITT)

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