South Africa 2021 - Helpful Hints
HELPFUL HINTS - 23/9/2020
Welcome to our first HELPFUL HINTS sheet written to assist with your forthcoming trip to South Africa. Please read this carefully and if you have any questions either email ( email@example.com ) or call on 07497 304 284
July/August is mid winter in the southern hemisphere, so dont expect hours lounging around a sparkling pool! Yes, in the Cape region the temperatures may be balmy, but here follows the averages for temperature and rainfall.
Johannesburg (5751 ft above sea level)
July: High 17C / Low 2C and 0 days of rain
August: High 20C / Low 2C and 1 day of rain
Cape Town (sea level)
July: - High 20C / Low 11C and 10 days of rain
August: High 20C / Low 12C and 10 days of rain
Everyone uses either taxis or Uber to get around in the major cities. Make sure you preload the Uber app on your mobile device before you leave the UK. Always use a pre-ordered taxi or Uber after sunset.
The RAND as of 23/9/20 is 21.5 = £1. The Rand is a volatile currency so expect many rises and falls in its value over the next few months. Whilst in the country we recommend you paying for services by credit or debit card ensuring the card is always in your eye sight when the transaction takes place.
This depends on where you are going in Africa. We suggest you speak with your local GP or visit the government website: https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/
Currently South Africa have advised the opening of their borders in the next few days. Airlines have already announced their start dates, so the tourism sector is looking ahead to more normal times. And do not forget that if your flight is via another city/country, they too may impose additional health requirements. We will update as things progress.
We have just received a report by the UK Consumer Association's WHICH magazine, which we felt was most interesting. Of particular interest was the annual travel insurance policy found only with Nationwide. Here is a LINK to the report.
VISAS (regular entry conditions, not relating to Covid 19)
Currently, UK passport holders normally do not require a tourist visa to visit South Africa. However what the regulation will be in a few months is hard to predict. However if you are travelling to other countries during your trip next year, then most do require a visa. The complication comes if travelling to Victoria Falls, where 2 countries meet at this tourist site, Zimbabwe and Zambia. And if going to Chobe you need to possibly add Namibia and Botswana. Please read further:
You’ll need a visa to visit Zimbabwe. It is no longer possible to get a visa from the Zimbabwean Embassy in London. Most visitors use the visa on arrival service. The current cost is $55 US Dollars for a Single Entry Visa and $70 US Dollars for a Double Entry Visa. Take enough cash with you in small notes to pay for your visa at the airport. For more information, visit eVisa Zimbabwe.
British passport holders need a visa to enter Zambia. You can get a visa from the Zambian High Commission in London before you travel. Single and double entry visit visas are available on arrival at all ports of entry, but multi-entry visas are not. If you plan to get a visa on arrival, make sure you have the correct amount of cash (US dollars) as change may not be available. If you enter through Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, you can make payment for single and double entry visas via credit or debit card at the Zambian Immigration desks.
British nationals do not normally need a visa to enter Botswana for stays of up to 90 days. Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Botswana.
The Botswana government has stated that dual nationals using two different passports can only enter the country on the same passport they used to exit the previous country.
Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.
Although British nationals can enter Namibia for a holiday or private visit of up to 90 days without a visa, there have been cases where visitors have only been given permission to stay for periods much shorter than 90 days, sometimes as short as only 7 or 10 days. Before leaving the immigration desk in the airport arrivals hall, check that you have been given permission to stay in Namibia for the duration of your intended visit up to the maximum allowable of 90 days and that you have been given a correctly dated entry stamp by Namibian Immigration officials, as this will be checked on departure.Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Namibia and have at least 1 completely blank page for Namibian immigration to use. If you are also going to travel in South Africa, you should be aware that although South African authorities state they require 1 blank passport page for entry, some officials insist on 2 blank pages. If you plan to take this route, make sure you have a total of 3 blank pages.
If you are travelling to a safari lodge you will normally have to pay the park entry fees in cash, on arrival. Some Lodges also participate in conservation schemes which also involve a levy being raised per day of stay. Details of all these costs can be found on that particular Lodges website.
If you have already included a rental car in your travel package bought through us, it will include details of the pick up and drop off centres. It will also give you the times of each. If you wish to extend, please contact the car hire company (numbers given on their issued paperwork) directly. It is safe to drive in the day time but we recommend you keep doors locked and windows up at all times. Pack all baggage in the boot, away from prying eyes! Rules of the road are the same as in the UK with a couple of exceptions. If travelling on a 2 lane road and the car behind wishes to overtake, it is customary to move slightly to the left (ie onto the dirt) and let then pass. If you are in a heavy down pour, reduce your speed, put on your main lights and hazards, pull to the left and be very careful. If safe, pull over and let the storm pass. If stopping for petrol or toilets, food, ensure you use a major filling station. Follow the directions of the security staff and park in the spaces under their control. Leave nothing visible in the car. On your return, thank the staff member - you do not need to tip. It is usual for the road police to meet at these road stops, so they tend to be very safe areas. Petrol costs around R14.80 per litre (approx: 75p). There are road tolls. You can add an automated road toll device to your car rental on pick up. This then automatically debits your given card when finishing the rental. Do not pick up hitch-hikers. If driving at night it is customary to not stop at traffic lights (locally known as robots) but to reduce your speed to a crawl. Some small cars do not feature built in sat-nav. These can be hired at the car rental desk.
It is normal for all hotels to offer free wifi to guests. However if you are out and about, rather than paying roaming charges, you can use a pocket wifi router. These can be hired on arrival at Cape Town and Johannesburg airports or online at places such as: https://mobilewifi.co.za/
Cost of living
Most hotels include breakfast in their nightly rate. Apartments tend not to. The average cost of 'ordinary' bistro meals (no drinks) are:
Breakfast (restaurant chain) - £1.50
Lunch - £4.50
Dinner - £9.00
Wine and beer are inexpensive and eating places tend not to load the price - as in the UK. So standard wine (bought in a supermarket) can cost anything from R25 (£1.25) a bottle.
Your comfort and safety
Every time someone mentions South Africa, you always reflect on the negative news you see on TV or read in the newspaper. But year on year, more tourists are flocking to this country from the UK, Europe and other places, ready to enjoy the colourful, friendly loving hospitality and diverse landscapes.
In order to enjoy your stay you have to first realise you are not in your home country any more. You are in Africa and in a country with enormous changing values. A place where you don’t just walk out, go down the road for a pint or a pub meal. Where shops and restaurants are generally 'housed' within a secure, gated community. Where you do not go out showing off your latest jewellery. Dress down. Don’t be showy!
Your next installment payment
For most people, the next installment is due on either the 1st of October or November. We do not send out reminders. The e-invoice was already been sent to you via email when booking.