South Africa Travel Information

South Africa travel guide

Read our South Africa Travel Guide – This post provides all the information you need when you are planning a visit to majestic South Africa.South Africa is one of Africa’s most popular destinations for foreign travellers and has good reason to be. Its stunning natural wonders include beautiful beaches, vast expanses of semi-desert snow, mountains, and game reserves full of wonderland wildlife. Explore world-class restaurants, theatres and art galleries in Cape Town and Johannesburg, or get an insight into the tribal cultures of the rural villages in South Africa. 

Also we recommend you check out the 10 things you simply must do when visiting South Africa.

south africa travel information blog

Visa Information

Nationals of most countries including the US, Canada, UK, most European countries, Australia and New Zealand do not need a visa to enter South Africa for tourism purposes as long as the USDA is not out of the 90-day requirement. Entry for Exempt Visa Citizens include a valid passport with proof of at least a blank page for return or continued travel and proof of yellow fever vaccination if you are a yellow fever traveller. Your passport must be valid for at least 30 days after the intent to leave. Make sure to check the South Africa Home Affairs website for an updated list of visa-exempt countries and for how to apply for a tourist visa if your country is not in the list.

south africa tourist visa

South Africa Safety Information

The crime rate in South Africa is relatively high, the rate of petty theft and more serious crimes are among them. Car theft, house break-in, rape and murder, violent crimes are most common in informal settlements and poorer areas of major cities. Don't advertise the fact that you are carrying cash or expensive jewellery. The countryside in South Africa is among the best in Africa and renting a car is a great way to get around, but always try to travel during daylight hours. Keep windows and doors closed when driving in major cities and don't leave valuables in plain sight. -

south africa travel safety advice

Best time to visit south africa

Most South Africans plan their holidays during the long school vacation from mid-December to the end of January so quickly book hotels and hostels during this time. South Africa is true “all year round” destination. Some seasons are better than others with regards to specific activities However if you plan to go in the Dry Season for a safari, June to September is traditionally considered the best time to see wildlife. June to November is well seasoned along the east coast while August and September are the best months to watch the annual wildflower bloom on the West Coast (Namaqualand is something to behold!). Summer is also the best time for sunny beach days in and around Cape Town. If your time is limited the quickest and easiest way to traverse the great distances between South Africa's major cities and tourist destinations is by plane.

best time to visit south africa

South Africa Transport information

South Africa has a wide choice of domestic airlines with the largest being South African Airways, Sa Link, South Africa Express, Kulula & Fly Safair. Renting a car is extremely easy, and provides a great and reasonable way to get around. South Africa has a well-maintained road network, allowing you to travel around the country with ease. There are a ton of large car-rental companies to choose from – some of the biggest ones being Europcar, Hertz, Budget Car Rental & Thrifty Car Rental and are all found in all the major cities. There are trains that mainly connect the big metropolitan centres, and are a good option when travelling between the major cities. Taxis are available in the big South African cities, but if you are considering using taxis, make sure they are from the larger Taxi companies. Uber is now available in several southern African cities including Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth, and Durban. Finally, many long-distance bus companies operate between South Africa's largest towns and cities - Intercape and Greyhound are two of the biggest companies in this space.

south africa transport information

Medical & Health information

South Africa has some of the very best doctors and private hospitals in the world, although the standard of care in some government facilities is often poor. For this reason, it is strongly advised to take out a comprehensive travel insurance plan prior to travel, which will cover you in the private hospitals in the case of an emergency. The tap water is generally safe to drink throughout the state although it can taste and appear discolored in some areas Remember that drinking untreated water from rivers and lakes puts you at risk of contracting schistosomiasis. Additionally, South Africa has one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the world so be sure to take the necessary precautions to avoid contact with contaminated body fluids. CDC advice is that all travellers make sure their routine vaccinations are up-to-date before visiting South Africa. Hepatitis A and typhoid vaccines are recommended for all visitors while Hepatitis B and Rabies vaccinations may be required for some travellers depending on Intended destination and activities. Malaria is a risk in the Limpopo-Mpumalanga regions and the province of KwaZulu-Natal.

Money & Foreign Currency

South Africa’s local currency is called the South African Rand (ZAR). All local merchants will accept payments in Rands. South Africa has a strong banking system which is comparable with any first-world banking systems. There are ATM machines situated in abundance across the country, so you will have no problem getting access to withdrawals. There are also a number of Currency & Forex companies that have retail outlets in all the major cities that you can swap your currency at, so make sure you shop around to get the best deal. Visa and Mastercards will also be accepted by all local merchants.


Sun City

Travel vaccines for South africa

Travel Vaccines for South Africa are recommended, depending on where you plan to visit, especially if you are also travelling to a neighbouring country. So, almost ready for your trip to South Africa but just need to make sure you have the necessary vaccines?

We have you covered. Its time to start getting excited! You truly are in for a trip-of-a-lifetime. South Africa is a remarkable country and we can promise you that this is a trip that you will never forget! From outdoor adventures, surfing, and safari, to vibrant cities boasting an energetic nightlife, both South Africa’s natural beauty and urban scene are sure to impress any visitor. Make sure all your travel vaccines for South African are in order before you depart.Its also imperative that you have your own health insurance.

Also we recommend you check out the 10 things you simply must do when visiting South Africa.

south africa travel injections

Required travel vaccines for South Africa

You need to take all the precautions necessary for a safe and healthy trip. It is recommended to visit your healthcare provider or a specialist medical travel consultant a few weeks before your vacation in order to get the latest available vaccination requirements. The main required travel vaccines for South Africa is the Yellow Fever vaccination. This vaccination is required if you are entering South Africa from a country that has transmission of Yellow Fever. Keep in mind that many of South Africa's neighbours also have strict proof of your vaccination from Yellow Fever, so if you intend on visiting any of South Africa's neighboring countries, please make sure you have proof of your vaccination from this mosquito-spread disease. A yellow fever vaccine certification is required for entrance into South Africa for all travelers who have passed through a WHO-designated yellow fever country, even if your transit in that country was as brief as a layover on a plane. Be sure to pack your original yellow fever card in your carry on luggage, as copies of the certificate will not be accepted by customs authorities

list of vaccinations for travel to south africa

recommended travel vaccines for South Africa

Travel Vaccines for South Africa - Besides for Yellow Fever, the CDC as well as the WHO have a list of recommended vacinations that all people entering South Africa should have. You should consider your current protection levels for all of the following: -

  • Mumps
  • Measles
  • Rubella
  • Chickenpox
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Typhoid
  • Rabies
  • Mumps
  • Malaria
  • Measles
  • Rubella
  • Chickenpox
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Typhoid
  • Rabies

Malaria, dengue fever, and West Nile virus may be uncommon to travelers from the United States, but may be extant in areas of South Africa, such as the Kruger Park. Malaria is a disease that is spread via mosqitoes and can lead to very serious disease and in some instances even prove fatal. Malaria is a disease that should be taken seriously, and you should make sure that every precaution is taken not to get ill. Using the appropriate treated mosquito nets at night will help you avoid bites, and be sure to spray your clothes and skin, as well. Various anti-malarial medications without prescrition are also available, but you should contact your healthcare professional when deciding on which anti-malarial drug would work best for you. Malaria is present in certain areas in South Africa throughout the year, but the risk of Malarial infection is higher from September to May.

travel information south africa

Other medical information

Private medical facilities in South Africa are comparable with the medical facilities you would expect to find in any developed country. There are both public (government controlled) as well as private hospitals located in all the provinces throughout South Africa. The quality of healthcare is generally very good, and should you fall ill while on your South African vacation, you can expect a more than adequate level of medical care. Just be advised though, that medical facilities in the rural areas are not as well equipped as in the major metropolitan areas, so make sure that you have taken out a decent travel insurance plan prior to leaving.

Okavango Delta Botswana

Protection in the Kruger National Park

. It's hard to imagine a trip to South Africa that does not include a safari in one of the country's many game parks. Indeed, South Africa has over 600 parks and reserves, so travelers can find any type of experience they desire, from complete isolation, to a group trip through Kruger National Park, the largest game reserve in the world. In this park, you will have the opportunity to see the big five: lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards, and rhinos. Regardless of the specific park into which the safari takes you, it is essential to bring the right gear. Sunscreen and hats are a must for daytime travel and adventure, but dawn safaris can be surprisingly cold. Make sure to dress in layers that you can shed as the sun and temperatures go up. Be sure to pack a pair of binoculars as well, so that you don't miss out on any of the animals. Remember, you are not allowed to leave your vehicle at any point. No matter the quality of your accommodations, a safari means plenty of time outdoors, so it is crucial to take the proper precautions against insect-borne diseases during your trip.

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South Africa Visa Requirements

South Africa visa requirements are fairy east to meet, and if you intend visiting South Africa you will require a visitors Visa except if you hold a passport for one of the following countries and intend to stay in South Africa for 90 days or less, you do not require a South African travellers visa.

These countries include: African Union, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Malta, Monaco, Namibia, Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, Russian Federation, San Marino, Singapore, Spain, St Vincent and The Grenadines, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobag, United Kingdom, North Ireland, United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

If you hold a passport for one of the following countries and intend to stay in South Africa for 30 days or less, you do not require a South African travellers visa.

These countries include: Antigua, Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Gabon, Guyana, Hong Kong, Hungary, Jordan, Lesotho, Macau, Malaysia, Malawi, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Peru, Poland, Seychelles, South Korea, Swaziland, Thailand, Turkey.

If you do not hold a passport from one of the countries mentioned above, a tourist visa will be required.

Updated South Africa visa requirements are :

When applying for a South African tourist visa you will need:

  • An original passport containing at least 2 blank pages. These pages should be labelled “visa” when shown to the consulate or embassy. The passport must be valid for 30 days after the date that the applicant intends on returning to his/her home country.
  • 2 passport photographs
  • Proof of return to the applicant’s home country such as a return plane ticket.
  • A certified copy of the birth certificate/s of a child/ children under the age of 18 who are travelling.
  • A consent form is required from one parent if a child/children are travelling alone with their other parent.
  • Proof that the traveler has sufficient funds for their travels
  • An application form must be fully completed and any prescribed fees should be paid.
  • Details regarding the purpose and duration of the applicant’s travels to South Africa must be given.
  • A Yellow Fever certificate is required if the applicant will be entering a yellow fever belt area before entering South Africa. Please click here to find out all about medical info when visiting South Africa.