A practical guide to South Africa
National holidays and celebrations
The majority of the South African population is Christian, so they celebrate many of the same festivals as we do in the UK. In addition there are a number of national holidays of cultural and historical significance.
If you're not sure when is the best time to travel, have a chat with one of our travel advisers who can help you make the most of South Africa's many and varied cultural experiences.
Non religious public holidays
- New Year's Day: 1st January
- Human Rights Day: 21st March
- Family Day: Last day of Easter break
- Freedom Day: 27th April
- Workers' Day: 1st May
- Youth Day: 16th June
- National Women's Day: August bank holiday
- Heritage Day: 24th September
- Day of Reconciliation: 16th December
- Day of Goodwill: 26th December
Religious public holidays
- Good Friday: Friday before Easter
- Easter Sunday: Varies each year
- Christmas Day: 25th December
Money and currency
The official currency in South Africa is the rand (R), which comes in easily identifiable notes and coins. The rate with the British pound fluctuates constantly so it's a good idea to check before you travel. Nevertheless, the exchange rate is usually favourable, making South Africa a relatively cheap destination for UK travellers.
You should have very little trouble changing British pounds at most banks upon arrival. ATMs are also widely available in most towns and cities but check with your bank that your card will work beforehand.
In all inclusive resorts you won't need as much cash but it's always a good idea to take some for tipping and emergencies.
As with everything in South Africa, the food varies depending on where you are in the country. Most cities, like Cape Town and Durban, will have a huge choice of fine dining eateries and local delicacies to choose from, including some excellent seafood.
Sample the 'biltong', a traditional dried meat similar to jerky in the U.S. The local 'bobotie' is often described as South African moussaka and made with mince and spices topped with baked egg. And don't forget to try some of the delicious domestic wines.
As diverse as the people and wildlife it is home to, in South Africa the weather depends on where you are located and what time of year you visit. It can range from sunshine-filled skies in the south west to sub-tropical storms in the north west plateau. The weather in South Africa is always exciting, but you can usually expect a healthy dose of sunshine whenever you visit.
- Summer season is from October through to February and winter is May to July, due to its southern hemisphere location.
- It's a relatively dry country, with the Western Cape region receiving the least rainfall each year.
- UK autumn is considered the best time to go as most of South Africa experiences virtually no rainfall and warmer temperatures during this period.
South Africa Holidays Browse all
Enjoy a stay within Cape Town's historical city centre for an intriguing South African adventure.
- The Modern and elegant interior design creates a comfortable atmosphere within which to unwind.
- Relish views of Table Mountain, the Dutch East India Company Gardens and Lion's Head.
- The Cape Town historical city centre location provides easy access to Cape Town's major attractions, including Bohemian markets, 18th century buildings, museums, art galleries and quaint squares.
Travel through the wonderful winelands region of South Africa before a short stay in a fully-equipped Dubai city hotel
- Doubletree by Hilton Al Barsha is set in Dubai's Al Barsha area, close to world-class shops, restaurants and popular Dubai attractions, just behind the Mall of The Emirates.
- Rental car included for the tour of South Africa
- Travel through the Winelands and Cape Peninsula in one of the most beautiful areas of the world
Best of Cape Town, Garden Route & Safari tour is your perfect choice to find out about the country, its history and culture.
- Your journey includes 3 exciting game drives to spot Africa's "Big Five": lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros
- Highlights includes: Cape Town Garden Route seeing the Cango Caves and the Swartberg Mountain, safari game drives, The Winelands, Monkeyland, Knysna Forest and more
- Excellent services included in the tour: 10 days Toyoto Corolla Car rental with GPS and additional driver option
Relaxing and unforgetable experince with 11 nights tour including an excellent range of facilities
- Experience the fruitful lifestyle of the Cape Region
- Discover the spectacular landscapes of the Kruger region
- Travel to Karongwe Private Game Reserve to get exclusive access, day and night, to a wide range of animals including the "Big Five"
From the amazing Blyde River Canyon to the iconic table Mountain, this tour has it all!
- Explore the underground Cango Caves at Oudtshoorn
- Visit a real Chief's village in Swaziland
- Go in search of Africa's 'Big Five' in Kruger National Park
Explore the natural landscapes and wildlife that South Africa has to offer, before experiencing the Paradise of Seychelles.
- Have the time of your life, combining the best of both worlds!
- The resort is set between a turquoise lagoon and verdant green hills, beside its own bay of white sands. The resort is on the west coast of Mahe, just 35 minutes from the international airport.
- 5 days self drive tour in South Africa
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