Q. Do I need a visa?

A. Visitors from most Western European countries including Sweden, Japan and USA do not require visas, they automatically receive a 3 month tourist visa upon arrival. If you are not entitled to an entry permit you will need to apply for a visa prior to your arrival. All visitors must be in possession of a passport valid minimum 6 months after their return date in order to enter the country. The passport must also contain at least two unused pages when presenting the passport for endorsements in South Africa. Additional pages will be necessary if you are also traveling to other countries during your trip.

Q. Can I book a rental car in South Africa or should I make arrangements before departure? 

A. If essential, book car rental prior to coming to South Africa, as car rental companies may be fully booked when you get her, particularly in peak travel times such as November and December. However, there are a number of well-known car rental companies to choose from at international airports and in locations across the country, so on the spot bookings should generally not be a problem in low season.  Gonana can assist you with booking a rental car.

Q. Do I need an international driver's license for South Africa? 

A. Foreign driving licenses are valid in South Africa for up to 6 months, but must be printed in English. However if you don't have such a license, you'll need to get an International Driving Permit.

Q. How much do I tip?

A. 10-15 % for waiters, taxi drivers, hairdressers and room service if the service fee is not included. It’s customary to tip porters R10-15 per luggage, coach drivers R10 per person per day, tour guides R15-20 per person per day and caddies 15-25 %. 

Wages are generally extremely low and the staff live off the tip’s so don’t be shy to reward good service. Hotel rates do not, by law, include a service charge.

Q. What clothes should I bring? What is the weather like?

A. For the summer, bring clothes that are cool and comfortable. Also bring an umbrella or light rain jacket as this is when most of the country gets rain, which comes in the form of quick thunder showers and shouldn’t affect your trip too much. The Cape Town area is the only area that has no rain in summer. A light jacket or wrap is a good precaution. Don’t forget swimwear!

The winter is generally mild, comparing favourably with European summers. Some areas, such as Durban, have temperatures above 25°C in winter. South Africa can be a great destination even in the off-season, but there are some days when temperatures sky-dive, especially in high-lying areas such as the Drakensberg, so be prepared with jerseys and jackets. It snows in the Drakensberg in winter. If you are going to the Cape, rain gear will be needed in this season.

The country is so large in size, and temperatures therefore varied, that it is a good idea to enquire depending on where you are going.

Q. Are food and water safe in South Africa?

A. South Africa offers health and sanitation standards on par with the developed world. Food and beverages in tourist areas are prepared under hygienic conditions and water is safe to drink from the tap. Travellers run little or no risk of contracting traveller’s diarrhoea.

Q. Which diseases do I need to protect myself from when visiting South Africa?

A. The most important diseases to be aware of are malaria and tick-bite fever. Malaria is limited to a small geographic area. Tick bite fever is limited to some rural areas and may affect hikers and adventure travellers. South African private health care facilities compare with the best in the developed world. Visitors are encouraged to take travel health insurance. Take malaria prophylactics if going to a malaria infected area such as Kruger National Park. Malaria is only found in the north eastern part of the country and is also seasonal.

Q. I have heard that South Africa has a high crime rate. What are the safety concerns?

A. Although South Africa is a safe destination for international travellers, it is wise to take certain standard security precautions. No country can claim to be 100% safe. 

We recommend that you follow these guidelines: 

  • Carry a copy of your passport and not the original document when moving around locally.
  • Do not travel with expensive jewellery.
  • Be careful and descreet when handling money, expensive cameras or jewellery.
  • Take note of onlookers and keep your possessions in sight at all times.
  • Use your hotel safety deposit box.
  • Never leave baggage unattended, especially at airports.
  • Do not wander the streets of the city after dark; be street-wise.
  • Do not pick up hitchhikers. 
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