Where is South Africa located?


South Africa is located on the southern tip of Africa and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the west and the Indian Ocean on the south and east. Its neighboring countries are Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland. The Kingdom of Lesotho is situated in the eastern central plain of the country.


How big is the area of South Africa?


South Africa’s total land area is 1 219 912 sq km (471,011 sq mi). The country is five times larger than Great Britain and three times the size of Texas.


  • Cape Town – 2,499 square kilometers
  • Johannesburg – 1,644 square kilometers
  • Durban – 2,292 square kilometers
  • Kruger National Park – 18,989 square kilometers


What are the different areas of South Africa?


South Africa is divided into 9 provinces: Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, North West and Mpumalanga. Major cities include Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Bloemfontein.


What is the Capital City of South Africa?


South Africa boasts 3 capital cities. These are:


Bloemfontein: The judicial capital and location of the Supreme Court of Appeal, the highest court in non-constitutional matters. The Constitutional Court in Johannesburg is the highest court in constitutional matters.
Cape Town: The legislative capital of South Africa and home to the seat of Parliament.
  • Pretoria: The administrative (executive) capital of South Africa.

    How big is the Population?


    South Africa is a diverse country filled with a myriad of traditional origins, languages and beliefs, and is home to over 50 million people from all walks of life. The population of South Africa is divided into four ethnic groups, black Africans, whites, coloureds and Asians. 

The Black Africans make up the majority of the population, which accounts for 76% of the entire countries population. Whites account for 12%, coloureds (mixed White and Black descent) make up for 9% and Asian account for 3%.


    What type of Government does South Africa have?


    Officially the Republic of South Africa, this country is a constitutional democracy with a government and independent judiciary, all operating under a parliamentary system. The national, provincial and local levels of government all have legislative and executive authority in their own regions. Advisory bodies operate at both national and provincial levels and are drawn from traditional leaders of South Africa. 

The South African government is undertaken by three inter-connected arms of government, namely Legislative, Executive and Judiciary. The Legislature consists of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces, the Executive consists of the President, who is Head of State and Head of Government, and the Judiciary, the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court of Appeal and the High Court.


    What time zone is South Africa?


    South Africa is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GTM), and 7 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Wintertime. There is no daylight saving and no time-zone changes between South Africa and its neighboring countries, or between the 9 provinces of South Africa.


    When is the best time to visit for my holiday to South Africa?


    South Africa is a year round holiday destination, but it all depends on what kind of experience you are looking for. Different activities are better suited to different seasons. 

For the best game watching, visit during a South African spring (August – October), however for all other tourism South Africa is best visited from spring through summer and early autumn (mid September – early May).


    What currency do I need for my South Africa holiday?


    The unit of currency is the South African Rand, denoted by the symbol R. One hundred cents makes up one Rand (R1). Coins are available in denominations of 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, R1, R2 and R5, and notes in denominations of R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200. 

The Rand is weaker than the US Dollar, and fluctuates according to market conditions. You can get an idea of what the rate of exchange is currently by visiting the following web site:-

    Your foreign currency can be exchanged at most local banks and Bureaux de Change. There are many banks and ATM’s all around South Africa, including airports, petrol stations and malls.

    Can I use my credit card?


    Credit cards are widely accepted, including American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa. All charges to your card will be made in local South African currency and converted back to your currency at the ruling rate of exchange at the time. Please note that US credit card companies charge different rates for foreign transactions. Please check with your service provider to establish their applicable charges before traveling.


    How much should I Tip?


    In South Africa it is customary to tip for good service. Taxis and waiters and waitresses in restaurants receive 10% of the bill. In South African restaurants the service charge is not included in the total bill. Porterage at airports and hotels will be included in your tour cost.


    What kind of clothes do I need to pack?


    South Africa is generally a very casual country, with warm days and (in winter) chilly nights. Denims, t-shits and skirts are fine for during the day. In summer, the day’s range from pleasant, to very hot and evenings are balmy. In some areas of South Africa, winter is wet and windy during the day, while in other areas it is dry, hot and humid.

Winter nights are, however, always cold. Semi-formal attire is worn to upper-class restaurants and clubs. Casual wear is accepted at most restaurants, pubs and bars.


    What are the Visa and Passport Requirements?


    Entry is relatively straightforward to the majority of foreigners travelling to South Africa. Travellers from the USA and most European countries do not need to apply for a visa. 

Upon arrival in South Africa, travelers from these countries are given a free entry permit sticker with details of how long they may stay in the country. This permit is usually valid for a maximum of 90 days. Please be aware that your passport should be valid for at least 6-months from the date of your intended departure from the Republic of South Africa.


    What is the Country Dialing Code of South Africa?


    The South Africa country dialing code is +27. Long distance calls can be made in South Africa using the correct country code. Long distance calls can be made from your hotel, however these are very expensive and therefore we recommend you purchase a calling card.


    Can I use my Mobile Phone in South Africa?


    Your US mobile phone can be used in South Africa provided your phone is authorized for international roaming. Alternatively sim cards can be purchased almost anywhere and are relatively inexpensive. Pay-as-you-go airtime is recommended for tourists.


    What plugs and power voltage is used in South Africa?


    Electricity in South Africa runs on 220/230V, 50Hz AC and the sockets are adapted to take round or two pinned plugs. Most hotel rooms have sockets for 110V electric razors. Plugs have 3 round pins, with some plugs having 2 smaller pins. Adaptors for your US appliance can generally be rented from the hotel porters’ desk.


    What are the weights and measures in South Africa?


    Distances throughout South Africa are given in kilometers. One mile is equivalent to 1.62 kilometers. Temperatures are given in degrees Celsius (Centigrade). One degree Celsius is equivalent to 33.8 degrees Fahrenheit. Weight is measured in kilograms (kg). One kilogram is equivalent to 2.2 pounds.


    How is emergency medical cover and travel insurance arranged?

    Medical assistance:

South Africa boasts top quality medical facilities but visitors are required to pay cash for services rendered (subject to your insurance coverage). It is advised to visit a private hospital in case of an emergency as they are of world class quality and offer better facilities than public hospitals, which are often over crowded.

Check your existing insurance policies and credit card coverage before deciding which travel insurance to purchase. Your current insurance may already cover you for lost luggage, medical expenses and the like. 

The cost of travel insurance varies and depends on the cost and length of your trip, your age, health and the type of trip you are taking. A reasonable cost is about 5-8 percent of the trip itself.


    Do I need to take malaria precautions?


    Most of South Africa is considered “Malaria Free” areas, however the north-eastern areas of the country, including the Kruger National Park, are seasonal malaria areas, occurring between November and May. If you are traveling to Victoria Falls as part of your trip, then you are strongly advised to take malaria precaution. Consult your doctor before embarking on a trip to South Africa.

Ways to prevent malaria include:

1 Using a DEET based mosquito repellent
2) Covering your skin with long sleeved clothing, especially at dusk.


    Is the water safe to drink?


    Tap water is safe to drink in South Africa. Bottled water is widely available from hotels and shops.


    What are the smoking laws in South Africa?


    Smoking is banned in all enclosed public spaces, except restaurants, pubs and clubs with designated smoking areas. Travelers are therefore not allowed to smoke in buildings, offices, airports, shopping malls and theatres.


    What language is spoken in South Africa?


    South Africa has eleven official languages, namely Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda and Xitsonga. The five most commonly spoken home languages in South Africa are isiZulu, isiXhosa, Afrikaans, Sepedi and English.

English and Afrikaans is the most commonly used languages in official circles, the media and in businesses. Road signs, advertisements, directions etc are all mainly in English. Even if English is not the home language of a South African, the majority are able to speak and understand the language.


    What are the different cultures that can be encountered in South Africa?


    Due to the country’s rich cultural and traditional diversity, no uniform South African culture exists in the country. The varying ethnic and cultural groups of the country do, however, enjoy their own customs and traditions. 

Many of these customs, besides traditional African cultures, are influenced by European and Western traditions. Music, film, art and drama in South Africa are influenced by European, Western and African elements.


    What type of religions are there?


    The majority of the South African population belongs to Christian churches. Other major religious groups include Hindus, Muslim and Jews.