SOUTH AFRICA

GENERAL INFORMATION:-

Situated at the southern tip of Africa, South Africa has a landmass of 1 233 404 km² edged on 3 sides by a nearly 3000km coastline washed by the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic. It is bordered in the north by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and also wraps itself around two independent countries, Lesotho and Swaziland.

South Africa's immensely varied terrain supports a rich diversity of animals, birds and plant life and offers an incomparable range of experiences.

Whether you're in South Africa on safari or to enjoy the beaches, breathtaking drives, whale watching or the unspoiled wilderness, South Africa is a diverse country.

Top 10 South African 'Must See & Do' Experiences:-

1: Cape Town and the Cape Peninsula up to Cape Point, are famous for scenic beauty; beaches; Table Mountain; whale-watching and the gaps in between are filled with fine dining restaurants, down-to- earth food markets, museums, and more leisure activities than you can count on both hands.

2: The Cape's official wine routes and brandy routes, are among the most scenic in the world, featuring many historic wine estates that date back centuries. Take your time exploring this magnificent part of South Africa's Western Cape province and sample the magnificent wines and brandies.

3: The famous Garden Route is an area rich in natural beauty and charm, attracting adventure-seekers and outdoor enthusiasts.

4: The ‘City of Gold’ - Johannesburg, with its endless opportunities for shopping, entertainment, freedom tours and eating out.

5: Kruger National Park is nearly 2 million hectares & features 16 ecosystems. Spot the Big Five on a 4x4 game drive or walking safari.

6: For those with fun and sun on their minds, SA’s sunshine city, Durban, has something for the whole family - golden beaches, surfing and a marine park.

7: The island’s most famous prisoner, Nelson Mandela, has turned Robben Island, into a symbol of the triumph of the human spirit over enormous hardship.

8: South Africa’s largest and most famous township, Soweto, gives you the opportunity to visit Freedom Struggle sites and eat at a shebeen or township restaurant.

9: Most famous for God’s Window, the panoramic splendor of the Blyde River Canyon makes it ideal for scenic drives and hiking trails.

10: Rugged and untamed, the Wild Coast offers deserted beaches, dolphins, horseback and hiking trails, quaint hotels, golf courses, casino's and mystical history. Visit Xhosa heritage sites and don't miss the Hole-in-the-Wall.

Visa Requirements:-

Every person seeking to enter South Africa must be in possession of a valid passport for travel to South Africa and, where necessary, a visa. Enquiries can be directed to South African diplomatic representatives abroad or the Department of Home Affairs in Pretoria. Visitors who intend travelling to South Africa's neighbouring countries and back into South Africa are advised to apply for multiple entry visas.

In terms of existing arrangements, passport holders of certain countries are exempt from visa requirements. Tourists must satisfy immigration officers that they have the means to support themselves during their stay, and that they are in possession of return or onward air tickets. They must also have valid international health certificates.

Visit the website of The South African Department of Home Affairs at http://www.home-affairs.gov.za/ for more info

Languages:-

There are 11 official languages including English, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda and Zulu. View more information about each language at South African Languages including the origins of the language and where it is spoken in South Africa. Includes some "South Africanisms" and useful Xhosa and Zulu phrases.
English is spoken everywhere you go. English is the language of the cities, of commerce and banking, of government and official documents. All our road signs and official forms are in English and at any hotel, Bed and Breakfast or Guest House, the service staff will speak to you in English.

Security & Safety:-

As South Africa is a developing country, crime does exist, so we would advise you to take a few basic precautions. All valuables, passports, cameras, should be locked in the safe of your hotel. Valuables should be carried discreetly when walking in cities. Gold and other expensive items offered for sale by street vendors are likely to be fakes or stolen property. Do not participate in pavement games as they are operated by well organised gangs and money can be stolen while you are distracted.

Public transport is available in South Africa so there is no need to hitch-hike. Local residents will advise you on safe transport. If driving, do not pick up hitch-hikers and ensure that your car doors are locked at all times. The South African Police are easily recognised in their blue uniforms and by their white and blue patrol vehicles.

BANKING HOURS:
Monday to Friday from 09h00 to 15h30.
Saturday from 09h00 to 11h00.
Auto banks (ATM's, automated teller machines) are found in most towns and operate on a 24 hour basis.

TRAVELLERS CHEQUES:
Most international traveller's cheques are accepted provided they are in an acceptable currency and may be cashed at most banks. Many hotels and shops also provide this service.

Tipping is customary in South Africa. A guideline for visitors is the following: Porters R5 per item, taxis 10%, waiters and waitresses in restaurants 10-15%

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