General


Climate

South Africa has a varied climate, with the northern provinces such as Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga experiencing generally hot and rainy summers(October – April) an mild, dry winters (May – September).  The Western Cape climate is more Mediterranean with cold and wet winters and hot, dry summers.  KwaZulu-Natal is hot and humid in summer and warm in winter.  The use of a hat and sunscreen is recommended.

Provinces

South Africa is divided into nine provinces: Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, Limpopo, Northwest and Western Cape.

Geographical features

With an area of 1 227 200 km2 (472 359 sq. miles), South Africa is situated at the southern most tip of Africa.  South Africa’s west coast borders the Atlantic Ocean and the eastern coastline runs along the Indian Ocean.  On the North, South Africa borders Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe and in the Northeast, Mozambique and Swaziland.

Currency

Currency in South African is Rand (R) and the international symbol is ZAR.  R1 = 100 cents.  Traveller’s cheques and foreign currency notes of all major currencies are accepted.  Currencies can be exchanged at airports, banks, bureau de change and major hotels.  Fluctuation in foreign exchange markets are reflected in rates quoted on a daily basis.  Most major credit cards are accepted. Fuel can not be paid for with standard credit cards.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

Value Added Tax is included in the price of most goods and services.  Visitors are required to pay VAT on purchased goods.  VAT refunds may be claimed at airports, harbours and customs offices on items taken out of the country when the total value exceeds R250.

Electricity

The electricity supply in South Africa is 220/230 Volts AC 50 Hz.  Appliances of lesser voltage require a transformer.  Adapters are obtainable locally.

Water and food

South Africa tap water is extremely palatable and perfectly safe to drink.  Bottled water is also available in all retail outlets.  In general food is clean and safe, with a fast network of supermarkets and chain stores around the country offering everything from basic foodstuffs to imported brands.

Language

South Africa has 11 official languages: However, English is understood and spoken by most people.

Clothing

Comfortable, light clothing made of natural fabrics is recommended.  In the rainy season rain gear is essential, as is a warm jacket or jersey in winter.  Winter mornings and evenings can be very cold, especially in the bush.

Health

Visitors are advised to take pre-arrival precautions against malaria, hepatitis A, polio and typhoid especially in the northern parts of the country.  Medical facilities throughout South Africa are excellent (Ensure you have medical insurance.  Public and private healthcare is available.)

Communication

The country has an advanced and sophisticated telecommunication network with good international connections to most cities around the world.  Telephones, fax and Internet are widely available.  BosveldAvontuur has a telephone to use to phone home and stay in touch.  Rates are very good.

Entry Regulations

All visitors require a passport, valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of the intended visit.  Travellers must ensure passports contain at least one unused page.





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