South  Africa  is a land of wide open spaces and sunny blue skies.  It is best  known  for  its  scenic  game  parks,  but  its  cosmopolitan  cities, rugged mountains, beautiful beaches, and friendly people also make it a coveted tourist destination.

It  is  a  country  of  contrasts  ranging  from the Mediterranean climate, superb  beaches  and  vineyards of the southwestern Cape to the bleak desert landscape of the northwestern Cape which breaks out into fields of  colour  during  Spring  when the  Namaqualand daisies bloom.  The African  bushveld  interior  boasts  many  game  reserves,  including the Kruger National Park,  promising  sightings  of  the Big Five  (Elephant, Buffalo, Lion, Leopard, and Rhino).

South  Africa's  predominantly  sunny and dry climate makes it the ideal destination  for  outdoor enthusiasts, offering watersports, hiking, fishing, climbing  and  river  rafting,  to  name  but  a  few.  If  you prefer visiting cosmopolitan cities historic Cape Town, tropical Durban, or the 'City of Gold', Johannesburg maybe just what you are needing.

The new South Africa is a beautiful and affordable destination



                               Highlights                               
Wildlife : Kruger National Park · Private Game Reserves
   
Cape Town: Table Mountain · Winelands · Whale Watching ·
Robben Island · Beaches · Waterfront · Spring Flowers · Penguins at Boulders · Museums · Art · Music · Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
   
Garden Route: Outinequa Tjoe-Choo · Knysna Lagoon · Tsitsikama Forest · Stunning Beaches · Cango Caves · Ostriches
   
Other :

Sun City · Drakensberg · West Coast Spring Flowers · Blyde River Canyon ·
Pilgrim's Rest · Township Visits · Natural Beauty


                               Important Information about South Africa                               

VISAS
Most passport holders need visas to enter  South Africa.   Check with your local travel agent or nearest South African representative to determine if you need one.  Visas must be obtained before leaving  your  home  country as  they will  not be issued on arrival in South Africa.   A multiple entry visa is needed if you intend to travel in and out of South Africa during the  period  for  which the  visa is valid.  Upon arrival you must be able to provide proof  that you have enough money to support yourself during your stay.   You must also have a valid return ticket.

VISA ENQUIRIES CAN BE DIRECTED  TO  SOUTH AFRICAN DIPLOMATIC REPRESENTATIVES ABROAD OR TO THE DEPARTMENT OF HOME AFFAIRS
TEL : +27 12 314 8911
FAX : +27 12 326 8328

HEALTH AND IMMUNISATION
Generally visitors to  South  Africa  do not need  immunisation.   However,  if you have recently travelled through the Yellow Fever zone in Africa,  vaccination against  Yellow Fever is required before arriving in  SA.   A certificate of proof of this vaccination must be produced on arrival. Malaria is endemic in certain parts of the country and it is  vital that necessary  precautions  be taken  if  you are  intending to enter a malaria zone.   If you're travelling to neighbouring countries,  ie.  Zimbabwe, Mozambique or Botswana, anti-malaria  tablets  are also crucial.  Consult a doctor or pharmacist  as to which prophylactics are the most suitable.   Some need only be taken  24 hours prior to entry into the malaria zones,  while others must be taken  at  least a week beforehand. Prophylactics must continue to be taken  for  at least four to six weeks after leaving the area.

There is  no  immunisation  against  Bilharzia  -  a  microscopic  organism that is fund in rivers, streams, pools and dams (both stagnant and flowing) in the northern and eastern parts of the country.   You  must  not  drink,  wash,  paddle  or  swim  in  this  water  - regardless of how inviting it may appear.  In  major  cities  and  towns,  as well as most game reserves, tap water is purified and 100% safe to drink. In fact South Africa's water has been classified as one of the world's safest drinking waters by the World Health Authority.

There is no national health scheme  and  patients are  responsible for their own medical bills.  It is thus advisable to obtain travel insurance to cover such costs.

MONEY
The unit of currency is the Rand (ZAR).  There are  100 cents (c) in one Rand (R).  Traveller's cheques  and  foreign  bank  notes  of  all  major  currencies  can  be  exchanged  at  all commercial banks.   Most hotels, shops and businesses  also accept traveller's cheques and foreign currency, although commission on exchanging these does vary. International credit cards such as  Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Diner's Club are widely accepted.
Average Rate of Exchange (as at 13 July 2006) is:
ZAR 7.31 = US$ 1.00
ZAR 13.45 = £ 1.00 (GBP)
ZAR 9.32 = € 1.00 (EURO)

WEATHER
South Africa's climate covers a wide spectrum of different weather zones : the Western Cape has a Mediterranean climate with  warm,  dry  summers  and  cold,  wet  winters, while the temperate northern areas have hot summer days ending in spectacular evening thunderstorms and frosty,  clear, dry winters.   The coastal areas of KwaZulu-Natal are sub-tropical which means year-round beach weather with very high humidity in summer and balmy "winter" conditions.   Temperatures range from below  0 C  (32 F)  to  20 C (68 F)  in winter  (April to September).   In summer  (October to March),  the average temperatures  range   between  15 C  (60 F)  and  35 C  (96 F).   With  midsummer  in December,  South  Africa  is a welcome  winter  getaway for visitors from the Northern Hemisphere. The South African sun is strong, with a high ultraviolet rating, so screening products with  SPF  (Sun Protection Factor)  of  15 and over are highly recommended.

FOR UP TO DATE WEATHER CONTACT OUR WEBSITE ON THE INTERNET
http://www.weathersa.co.za/

TIME
Standard Time in South Africa is two hours ahead of GMT, one hour ahead of Central Europen Winter Time and seven hours ahead of Eastern Standard Winter Time (USA). There is no daylight saving. There are no time zone changes between South Africa and her neighbouring countries, as well as between the 9 Provinces.

SECURITY
As in most developing countries,  crime exists in South Africa,  so it is advisable to take a few  basic  precautions.  Passports,  money, cameras and  other valuables  should be locked in the safe of your hotel.

When  walking  in   the  cities,   your  valuable  should   be  carried  discreetly  and securely.    Do  not  involve  yourself  in  pavement  games   or   gambling  as  they  are operated  by  well  organised  gangs  and  money can be stolen while you're distracted. Gold, diamonds and other expensive items  offered  for sale by street vendors are likely to  be  fakes  or  stolen  property.   Ensure that your visit to  South  Africa  is both  safe and  enjoyable  by  taking  the  following  simple  precautions as you would in any other foreign country.

Use  only  the  main  entrance  of  your  hotel  and  plan your journey before you leave your hotel.  If you intend travelling off the beaten track,  ask hotel staff at the reception desk to check your intended route with  local  community liaison officers.   Ensure that the  hotel room  door  is  securely  locked  when  you  are  in the room  and whenever  you  leave  it.   Never leave your property unattended in any public place - even if you are on a guided tour.

Although limited in comparison to the  United Kingdom or Europe, public  transport  is available  in  South  Africa.   There  is  no  needto  hitchhike.   The  so  called,   "informal  taxis"   operate  extensively   throughout   the   country  -   both   locally  and   between provinces.  If  driving,  do  not  pick  up  hitchhikers and ensure that your car doors are locked at all times. Avoid deserted areas after dark and stay in well lit, populated areas.

The South African police are easy to recognise in their blue uniforms and white patrol vehicles. They are contactable 24 hours a day.

ELECTRICITY
Throughout   South  Africa  the  standard  power  source  is   220/230  volts  AC.  The exceptions  are  Pretoria (230v)  and  Port Elizabeth (200/250v).  Adaptors for electric razors and hair dryers can be obtained locally.

CUSTOMS
Apart  from  personal  possessions,  when  entering  South  Africa,  you  are  restricted to  400 cigarettes,  50 cigars,  250g cigarette or pipe tobacco, 2 litres of wine, 1 litre of spirits, 50ml of perfume, 250ml of eau de toilette and other gifts, souvenirs and clothing (new and used)  up to the value of R500.  No person under 18 is entitled to tobacco or alcohol allowance. Certain goods (for example: seeds, flowers, fruit, honey, margarine, vegetable oils,  animals,  birds, poultry, dairy products, endangered species of plants or wildlife)  are  restricted  unless  you  have  obtained  the  necessary  permits.   A permit is  required  if  you  plan  to  bring  a  firearm   into the  country.   Before  any  pet  may be  brought  into  the  country  an  import permit must be obtained from the Director of Veterinary Services.

LANGUAGE
South Africa has eleven official languages:  English,  Afrikaans, Ndebele, North Sotho, South Sotho,  Swati,  Tsonga,  Tswana,  Venda,  Xhosa  and   Zulu.   English is widely spoken throughout the country  (except in the most remote rural areas) and is regarded as the country's lingua franca. English will be found on road signs and official notices. In hotels and shops in the larger centres,  German, French, Portuguese and Italian are also spoken.

VAT (VALUE ADDED TAX)
Currently set at  14%,  VAT  is  included in the retail price of most goods and services. Foreign tourists may claim refunds of VAT paid on goods which they take out of South Africa.   VAT  Refund  Administration offices  are situated at the following international departure  points:  Beit Bridge  border  post  (Zimbabwe),  Cape Town,  Durban  and  Johannesburg International Airports.  In order to claim a VAT refund, you will need the original tax invoice reflecting the following  information:  the  words  "Tax Invoice"  must appear in a prominent position, the amount of VAT charged or a statement to the effect the VAT is included in the costs of the goods, a tax invoice number, the date of issue of the tax invoice,  the seller's  VAT  registration  number,  the cost of the goods in Rands, the  seller's  name  and  address,  a  description of the goods purchased and the buyer's name.  Please  note  that  goods consumed or services rendered in South Africa do not qualify for a VAT refund.

RESTAURANTS
Eating out  in South Africa is a pleasure.  Not only is the quality of the food favourable, but  South  African  wines  are  world-famous  and  very  reasonably  priced.    In most major  cities  you'll   find  something  for  your  tastes  from  Indian,  Greek,  Asian  and Italian restaurants, to traditional South African fare.

TIPPING
A  10% tip is customary,  but this depends on the  standard of service you've received. Restaurants do not usually include a service charge in the bill. On safari, US$25,00 per day  for  your  ranger  and  tracker  is  acceptable with a further US$10,00 per day for camp staff.

GETTING AROUND
Air Services :
After years of isolation, both Johannesburg and Cape Town International Airports now bustle with the influx of international tourists. Besides SAA, the country's official airline, dozens  of  international  airlines  now  service  this  route.   Although most tourists land in  Johannesburg  which  acts  a   gateway  to  the  rest  of  the  country,  Cape Town is now  receiving  an  increasing number of direct international flights. There are regular air services  that  radiate  out  from  all the major cities to most destinations. There are nine major airports operating  in  South Africa.   These  include  Bloemfontein,  Cape Town, Durban,   East  London,   George,   Johannesburg,   Kimberley,   Port   Elizabeth   and Upington. The airports in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town are classified as international airports.

Apart  from  SAA,  several  other  smaller  airlines also operate the major routes within South Africa.  There  are  also  charter  companies  that  can  take  you  to inaccessible destinations and distant neighbouring countries.

Bus Services : Each city has its own commuter bus service. Long distance inter-city coaches run daily.

Train : There  is  no  better way to see the breath-taking expanse of South Africa's countryside than  by  train.  Regular  passenger  services  run  between  the  major  cities. The most luxurious are the Blue Train (renowned worldwide) and Rovos Rail (Africa's equivalent of the Orient Express).  South Africa  has a number of steam train enthusiasts and many of  these  trains  still  operate on scenic routes.   Don't miss out on the  Outeniqua Choo Choo which runs between George and Knysna or the Banana Express on the Natal South Coast.

FACTS ABOUT SOUTH AFRICA THAT MIGHT SURPRISE YOU
So you thought that you're visiting the crime capital of the world? Wrong! According to The Economist, World in Figures, 1999,  South Africa is not the crime-infested country it is reputed  to  be.  In terms of violent assaults, Sweden is considered the most violent and  dangerous  place  on  the  planet,  followed by  Jamaica, Swaziland, Australia and New Zealand. SA is number six on the list. When it comes to consumption of wine and spirits,  the top three countries are  Portugal,  France and Luxembourg. South Africa is still  the  world's  leading  gold  producer,   followed by  the US, Australia, Canada and Russia. We also have the second highest waterfall in the world, , the Tugela, with Venezuela's Angel taking the lead.

 


P.O. Box 37546
Valyland 7978
Cape Town
South Africa
Phone: (+2721) 782-6979
Fax: (+2721) 782-3499
E-mail:
afritours@afritours.co.za

 

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