Travel Essentials

Before you go

  • Visas & Passports – must be valid for 6 months. Visas are not necessary for EU passport holders. Other nationalities should check with the South African embassy
  • Electricity – is 240v but the standard travel adapters don’t work – you need specific SA-UK adapters which are readily available at the airport and you can get them in SA as well
  • Health – whilst insects aren’t a big problem it’s worth taking mosquito repellents particularly if you are spending time inland. If you are planning a safari trip check on vaccinations needed for the area you are visiting.
  • Currency – South African Rand are easy to get in the UK and worth shopping around for to avoid airport rates. If you are very organised you can get a current account that specialises in good value exchange rates (eg Nationwide) and then just use your cashpoint card.
  • Clothing – the temperature varies enormously depending on time of year and location. It can be cool in the mountains or on the coast even in mid-summer so it is worth taking an extra layer.
  • Driving Licence – photocard type UK driving licence is accepted by car rental companies. If taking a photocard it is imperative that supporting documentation is taken as well.

While you are there

  • Laws & Customs – South Africa has a hugely diverse ethnicity and numerous languages but the values and customs are mainly European. A stronger religious influence means off-licences are shut on Sundays – you have been warned!
  • Time difference – 2 hours ahead of GMT (ie in UK winter) and 1 hour ahead during the UK summer
  • Telephone – code dial 0044 or +44 for a UK number. The South African international code in +27
  • Dining out – there are fantastic restaurants of all different budgets and generally enormous portions. Seafood is of course fantastic and before going make sure you have our latest restaurant list.
  • Vegetarian food – well catered for
  • Phones – We highly recommend obtaining an SA sim card for your phone to ease booking restaurants and avoid the obscene roaming charges if you are using your UK phone account. R200 should last a week and there is a shop immediately you clear customs. Topping up credit on a sim card is very straightforward, most supermarkets, fuel stations and newsagents sell credit at the till even when not advertised.