South Africa is a world in one country. With its diverse mix of people, variety of scenic
landscapes and abundant flora and fauna, it is an experience not to be missed!
Location and size
South Africa is located on the southern tip of Africa and is boarded by the Atlantic Ocean on the
West and the Indian Ocean on the South and East. In the North it is boarded by Namibia, Botswana,
Zimbabwe and Mozambique and it encompasses the independent kingdoms of Swaziland and Lesotho. South
Africa covers an area of 1 221 040 square kilometers.
South Africa has a wonderful climate with warm sunny days most of the year. Due to altitude and
proximity to the oceans however, climatic conditions can vary considerably. Climate in some of the main tourist areas:
Johannesburg and surrounding areas
In summer the days are pleasantly warm and the nights cool. In winter the nights are cold but during
the day the sun shines. This area has summer rainfall from October to February.
Durban and coastal KwaZulu Natal
The coastal areas of KwaZulu Natal have a subtropical climate with high humidity. Rainfall can be
expected from October to April. Winters are mild to warm. Throughout the year it is warm enough to
swim in the Indian Ocean.
Drakensberg and Natal Midlands
Moderate temperatures occur because of the height of the Drakensberg. Highest rainfall can be
expected mostly from December to February. Winters are warm during the day but at night can be
extremely cold and at the highest points it snows on the mountains.
Kruger National Park and surrounding areas
Summer temperatures can be high, sometimes reaching 40 degrees. Rainfall can be expected from
October to April. In winter days are warm and nights cool. For game drives at night a jacket is
recommended. Winter is the ideal time for game viewing as the grasses are lower and because it is
the dry season, game frequent the waterholes.
Cape Town has a Mediterranean climate with lovely warm summers. Winters are cool and rainfall can
The Garden Route
The Garden Route has a Mediterranean Climate with warm summers and mild to cool winters. The
western part of the Garden Route has winter rainfall and in the eastern part it rains in the summer.
The best time to visit the Garden Route is in spring and summer between September and April.
South Africa has 11 official languages including English which is very widely spoken. All road
signs and official documentation is in English.
South Africa operates 2 hours ahead of GMT throughout the year.
Money and Banks
The South African currency is the Rand. Most major credit cards are accepted and foreign currency
can be exchanged at local banks and exchange bureaus.
Passports and visas
All visitors to South Africa must be in possession of a valid passport. Travelers from certain
countries do not need visas. To check whether you require a visa visit the South African Home
Affairs Department website at http://www.home-affairs.gov.za/visas.asp
South Africa has a very good infrastructure. The road network is very good making it easy to
travel long distances. Accommodation establishments are world class. Tap water in South Africa is
safe to drink and standards of hygiene in food preparation is high. Medical facilities are equal to
the best in the world.
There are a large number of public and private health care facilities and hospitals available.
However, visitors should always ensure that they have adequate medical insurance.
Malaria is found in the Lowveld area of Mpumalanga and Limpopo and on the Northern coast of
KwaZulu Natal. There is a lower risk of Malaria during the winter months. The use of insect
repellent creams and lotions is highly recommended. If you intend on visiting a malaria area,
consult your medical doctor before departure from your country.
The African sun can be very harsh. Sunblocks, hats and sunglasses are essential during the summer
For tourists South Africa is as safe as any other destination. Take advise from locals and from
your hosts. Also use common sense, for example, do not flaunt cash or wear a lot of expensive
jewellery. Only certain areas such as downtown Johannesburg should be avoided.
All visitors intending to drive require an international drivers permit. The use of seatbelts is
required by law.
Visitors entering South Africa from Yellow Fever areas must have a Yellow Fever inoculation
certificate. No other vaccinations are required.