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South Africa - Frequently Asked Questions

Table of contents

  1. When is the best time to go?
  2. Do you need a visa?
  3. How can I get there?
  4. What is the local currency and what currency should I take?
  5. What is there to see and do?
  6. How big is South Africa?
  7. Is South Africa safe?
  8. Is South Africa a good family destination?
  9. What do I need to know if I'm travelling with children?

When is the best time to go?

South Africa can be visited at any time, with mild weather conditions throughout the year. However, depending on what you want to do on your holiday, some seasons are better than others. For active breaks that will involve hiking or cycling, it's best to travel in the winter (between June and September). This is also the ideal time for wildlife-watching breaks, as animals tend to congregate around water holes due to the lower rainfall. The busiest period tends to be around Christmas and into January, which is when the schools are on holiday and the weather is at its warmest.


Do you need a visa?

British citizens and most EU citizens, as well as U.S. nationals and Australians don't need a visa for holidays in South Africa lasting up to 90 days, although your passport needs to be valid for at least 30 days after your date of departure from South Africa. Immigration officials may require you to have at least two blank pages in your passport.


How can I get there?

There are regular direct flights from the UK to South Africa, with British Airways, South African Airways and Virgin Atlantic all operating services from London to Cape Town. The average flight time to South Africa is between 11 and 12 hours.


What is the local currency and what currency should I take?

The local currency is the South African rand and it is easy to exchange U.S. dollars, Euros and sterling once you arrive in the country. There are ATMs in all of South Africa's major cities but do exercise caution when you're using them though. Credit cards - particularly MasterCard and Visa - are widely accepted across the nation.


What is there to see and do?

South Africa is an incredibly diverse country, with a lot of varied attractions. Cape Town is one of the most popular cities to visit and has a wonderful mixture of cultural, historical and natural attractions - most notably Table Mountain, Robben Island and a host of museums. There are numerous national parks within South Africa that present outstanding wildlife-watching opportunities, with Kruger National Park standing out as the best known of these. Head here for a chance to see some of Africa's spectacular wildlife, including giraffes, rhinos and lions. The Western Cape region is home to some of the country's top wineries, so a vineyard tour to the likes of Stellenbosch or Franschhoek is a must if you're keen to sample a few of the local vintages. In the Eastern Cape along the Garden Route there are some fantastic beaches and dramatic sections of coastline. Port Elizabeth and Jeffreys Bay, which is a haven for surfers, are both worth a visit. There is a wide array of activities on


How big is South Africa?

With an area of more than 1,200,000 sq. km, South Africa is five times the size of the UK. As a result, it is home to a wide variety of landscapes and cultures that you can discover on your holiday.


Is South Africa safe?

The main tourist destinations in South Africa are generally safe, but it is advisable to take precautions, particularly against theft. Keep your money and valuables - including cameras and phones - out of sight when you are walking around and make sure your bag is always with you. It's also sensible to avoid walking alone at night and to stick to the main tourist areas when you're out and about after dark.


Is South Africa a good family destination?

South Africa is an excellent destination for families, with plenty of family-friendly hotels available, as well as a wide variety of attractions that will capture the imaginations of parents and children alike.


What do I need to know if I'm travelling with children?

The new immigration rules introduced by South Africa in June 2015 relating to travelling with children remain in force. Parents travelling with children (under 18) will be asked to show the child's full unabridged birth certificate. The full unabridged birth certificate should list the child's details and both parents' details. The abridged (short) birth certificate which only lists the child's particulars won't be accepted. The South African Department of Home Affairs are not accepting uncertified copies of birth certificates or copies of the parents/guardians identification.


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