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Travel Tips South Africa

Updated on May 20, 2012

So you have decided to travel in South Africa

South Africa remains one of the most cost effective destinations to travel on a budget as well as one of the worlds most premier destinations for wildlife viewing.

The country can be travelled from end to end in a mere two days leaving the trip along the way wide open for special events and tours that are easily arranged within short notice whilst in the country.

Below you will find an in depth description of what you can expect and what you will be amazed to know about your travels in sunny South Africa.

Apart form South Africa having eleven officially recognized languages, it remains a predominately English speaking country with most of the population easily understanding english communication. A big plus for tourists and travellers

Arriving at the Airport

As with most countries, special mention must be made of the following tips;

  • Always keep your bags where you can see them and be aware of them
  • If the people around you make you feel uncomfortable or behave in a strange manner, report them to the nearest security officer or airport personnel
  • Do not allow other people to tamper with your bags
  • Ensure that when travelling, the most effective security measure is to cellophane wrap your bags as a preventative
  • Willful interference with any security personnel may find yourself back on the next flight to where you came from.Never take it upon yourself in a foreign country to get involved in incidents

In a car or taxi

There are normal modes of transport options available in South Africa

Metered taxis are the most expensive option available to tourists.When staying in a hotel, a hotel shuttle is usually available and recommended from the airport to your first destination. Mini bus taxis have a round blue Taxi Association sticker on the rear for easy recognition.These are the most cost efficient and plentiful forms of transport around the city centers of South Africa. They are what I like to call extreme drivers and if you can stomach the trip a must for the experience. The mini bus taxi ride is for adrenalin junkies for sure.

Rental cars are easily obtained at the airport or most hotels and city centers. They are rented with a deposit by credit card and the normal processes for most countries apply. Manual or automatic transmission is available.Fuel in South Africa will cost in the region of one Euro a litre or about $1.75 estimate. In Rands (local currency) expect to pay roughly R 11.30 at time of writing.This equates to roughly 12 km a litre of fuel in most cars with the country being approximately 1600 kilometres end to end.

If you use South Africa as a base to travel across border to other African countries, it is advisable to hire a Toyota double cab or a Landrover as parts are readily available throughout South Africa and its neighboring countries.4x4 guided tours are easy to find in the Getaway magazine form any local news stand.

Some vehicle travel tips to South Africa

South Africans drive on the left side of the road

Always know where you are going and maps are available from any tourist info department in cities.

Smash and grabs can occur in isolated cases, so always drive with doors locked and windows open up to only 5 cm as a precautionary measure when you approach quiet areas at night.

Never pick up strangers and do not stop along deserted stretches of road

Do not drive whilst talking on a cellphone as fines of up to R 6000 are imposed

Never display your valuables in the car

Beware of your surroundings when stopping at a traffic light

Alcohol is not tolerated whilst driving under the influence and poses heavy fines and imprisonment. Legal limit is 0.08 ie.about two glasses of wine or beer

Consumption of alcohol in public places is illegal

Speed limits are strictly enforced with 120kmh being the national limit and 40 -60 kmh in city limits and residential areas


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