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When to go
South Africa 

Travel Tips South Africa

General Travel Tips South Africa

 General Travel Tips South Africa
Transport South Africa
Safety Tips South Africa

Public Holidays

Jan 1                New Years Day
March/April       Easter
March 21          Human Rights Day
17 April            Family Day
27 April            Constitution or Freedom Day
1 May              Workers Day
16 June            Youth Day
9 August          Womens Day
24 September   Heritage Day
16 December    Day of Reconciliation
25 December    Christmas Day
26 December    Boxing Day (Day of Goodwill)

Customs And Habits
There are 11 official languages, which demonstrates the diversity of the people of South Africa. English is by far the most common language throughout, and you will have no problem in communicating with other people.
Youll find people helpful and friendly throughout the country, and you will be able to obtain information and assistance virtually anywhere, from the small rural trading stores to the country inns.
Language can be a bit of a problem at some of the rural roadside craft stalls in KwaZulu-Natal, but enterprising and friendly Zulu ladies will be able to communicate remarkably well.
In common with travel world-wide, the best source of local knowledge is the locals themselves. One of the important parts of this region is the development of eco-tourism resources, where increasingly, the local people are gaining the skills necessary to use available resources to their own advantage by hosting and pleasing tourists (local or from overseas.)

Driving in South Africa is easy to adapt to, with sign posting in English and driving on the left on well-maintained roads.

Your home driving licence is accepted if it has your photo; if not, an International Driving Permit should be obtained.

There are a number of toll roads in South Africa that are clearly indicated well before reaching the toll stations, payment may be made at an attended booth.

A word of caution regarding overtaking on the inside: this is not illegal in South Africa and is common practice. When changing lanes be aware of cars on the inside.

In general, speed limits are 120 km/h (freeways) and 60 km/h (towns and cities).  Fines for speeding are very heavy.

It is illegal to carry petrol other than in built-in petrol tanks.

Petrol stations are usually open all week 0700-1900. Some are open 24 hours. Petrol must be paid for in cash.

Car Hire
Why not book your car online at Holiday Cars Direct  

In order to hire a car in South Africa, you must have held a valid drivers license for at least five years. The age limit for car rental is a minimum of 23, and maximum of 70 years. Self-drive and chauffeur-driven cars are available at most airports and in major city centres.

Drink Driving

Drink-drive laws are routinely flouted, making South African roads a real danger you should be concerned about.  Levels of alcohol consumption go some way to explaining why, during the Christmas holiday period over a 1000 people die annually on the roads.  People stock up their cars with booze for long journeys and even filling stations may sell alcohol.

Gay and Lesbian Travellers 
Homosexuality is legal between consenting adults of 18 or over and the constitution outlaws any discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. This means that, for once, you have the law on your side.
However, outside the big cities, South Africa is a conservative place where open displays of public affection by gays and lesbians are unlikely to go down well; many whites will find it un-Christian, while blacks will think it un-African.

South African Tourism (the official tourism organization), on the other hand, has recently realised the potential of pink spending power and is actively encouraging gay travellers - an effort that is evidently paying off with the Spartacus gay guide ranking Cape Town among the worlds top five gay destinations. Although there are gay scenes in all the major cities, Cape Town is the one that is most developed.

What to Wear
The climate of the region and the rural nature of most of the country leads to casual dress almost everywhere. Light Ts, shorts, and thongs are common. Of course, in the large city hotels, and at the more up-market country stops, longs and closed shoes are recommended for dinner, but even there daytime dress is casual. Dress for the ladies is light and colourful, and shorts are completely acceptable. The accent is informal.

It is customary to tip caddies, taxi drivers, hotel & railway porters, room maids, stewards, waiters/waitresses, tour guides & game rangers 10-15%. Due to poor wages. Tips are often heavily relied upon by staff. Many hotels have an "envelope system" with tips distributed evenly among staff.
When you park your car anywhere on a car park, there will be nearly always a South African who will watch your car while you are gone, you can give them a tip after you park your car or when you return.

Trading Hours:
Banking hours 09:00 to 15:30 weekdays, 08:30 to 11:00 Saturdays.

Normal trading hours are 08:30 to 17:00, weekdays, 08:30 to 13:00 Saturdays.
Many of the larger shopping malls have extended hours, remaining open Saturday afternoon and often on Sundays.
Well stocked convenience stores are to be found in most areas, closing about 19:00.
Most service stations (filling stations) in the larger centres have well stocked 24-hour convenience stores.

Water: Drinking water in rural areas is very poor, use bottled water.

Electricity: 220/230V, 50Hz

Weights and Measures: Metric

Dialling Code: +27

Time Zone: GMT/UTC  +2

Tourist Information
There are many sources of tourist information and assistance spread throughout South Africa. Most towns, including smaller ones, have active publicity associations, and area maps and brochures.
Official Tourism site for South Africa: 
South Africa Tourism site

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