South Africa

One of the most culturally and geographically diverse places on earth, South Africa, fondly known by locals as the 'Rainbow Nation', boasts 11 official languages, and its inhabitants are influenced by a fascinating mix of cultures. Discover the gourmet restaurants, impressive art scene, vibrant nightlife, and beautiful beaches of Cape Town. Enjoy a local braai (barbecue) in the Soweto township, browse the bustling Indian markets in Durban, or sample some of the world's finest wines at the myriad wine estates dotting the Cape Winelands. Some historical attractions to explore include the Zululand battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal, the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, and Robben Island, just off the coast of Cape Town. Above all else, its untamed wilderness is astonishing: wildlife roams freely across massive unfenced game reserves such as the world-famous Kruger National Park.

Banking and Currency

Local currency: South African Rand 
Symbol: R 
ISO code: ZAR 
Subunit: Cent (1/100 of a Rand) 
Banknotes: R10, R20, R50, R100, R200 
Coins: 10c, 20c, 50c, R1, R2, R5 

Card Transactions: Widely accepted 
ATMs: Yes 
Mastercard: Yes 
Visa: Yes 
American Express: Yes 
Diner’s club: Yes 
Banking Hours: Weekdays: 09:00 – 15:30 
Weekend: Saturdays: 08:30 – 11:00 
Public Holidays: Closed 
Foreign exchange services: Yes 

Travel, Transport and Getting Around

Main airlines: South African Airways, Comair 
International Airports: O.R. Tambo (Johannesburg), Cape Town International, King Shaka (Durban) 
Domestic Airports: Numerous across the country 

Driving on the: Left 
Tar roads: Yes, well-maintained in most areas 
Gravel roads: Yes, especially in rural areas 
Valid International Driver's License needed: Yes 
Car hire available: Yes 
Taxis: Yes 
E-hailing services: Yes, including Uber and Bolt 

Inter-city bus services: Yes 
Local city bus networks: Yes 

Railway system: Yes, including luxury options like the Blue Train 
Subway System: Gautrain in Gauteng 

Ferries: Limited, mainly in coastal cities 
Water taxis: No 
Leisure cruises: Yes, especially from Cape Town and Durban 

Food, Drink and Cuisine Advice

Food and water safety: 
Can you drink the tap water: Yes, in most urban areas 
Fresh fruit and veg: Yes 
Ice: Yes 
Meat: Yes 
Street food: Yes, widely popular and generally safe 

Local cuisine: 
South African cuisine is diverse and flavorful, featuring dishes like biltong (dried, seasoned meat), bobotie (spiced minced meat baked with an egg-based topping), and boerewors (farmers' sausage). The culinary scene includes a strong tradition of barbecuing, known locally as "braai." 

Notable local drinks include Rooibos tea, craft beers, and South African wines. 
Tipping: Customarily 10-15% in restaurants and for services. 

Climate and Weather

Annual rainfall: Varies widely, Cape Town (winter rainfall, 515 mm), Johannesburg (summer rainfall, 713 mm) 
Average temperature: Varies, Cape Town 17°C, Johannesburg 15.5°C 

Average highs: 28°C (Cape Town), 26°C (Johannesburg) 
Average lows: 16°C (Cape Town), 15°C (Johannesburg) 

Average highs: 18°C (Cape Town), 17°C (Johannesburg) 
Average lows: 8°C (Cape Town), 4°C (Johannesburg) 

Best time to visit: 
The best time to visit South Africa is from May to September for wildlife viewing, as animals are more concentrated around water sources. For beach holidays, mid-December to March is ideal, especially in Cape Town. 

Clothing and Dress Recommendations

Spring and Summer 
Cool, light, breathable and comfortable: Yes 
Lightweight warm clothes: No 

Winter and Autumn 
Jerseys, cardigans, sweaters, jackets: Recommended 
Heavyweight clothing and boots:  Yes 
Umbrella and raincoat: Yes, during the rainy seasons 
Warm gloves, hat and scarf: In winter, particularly in high-altitude areas 
Swimming costume (bathing suit): Yes 
Hat, sunglasses, and sunblock: Essential 
Walking shoes: Yes 
Casual: Yes 
Smart-casual attire: Yes 


Internet Availability

Internet cafes: Yes, mainly in urban areas 
Accommodation options: Yes, with good connectivity 
Restaurants: Yes, in major cities 
Cafes: Yes, with Wi-Fi available 
Shopping malls: Yes 
Public parks: Yes, in major cities 
Libraries: Yes 

Electricity and Plug Standards

Plug Type: M, N 
Voltage (V): 230 V 
Frequency (Hz): 50 Hz 
*Travel plug adapter and voltage converter might be necessary depending on your appliances. 

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