Do you want to live in South Africa or even go on vacation? - Here you will find some tips and explanations of what to watch out for in South Africa.
The climate in South Africa
Climatically, trips to South Africa are possible at any time of year. When it’s winter, it’s summer in South Africa. Average temperatures in South Africa:
- in winter: 18-25 ° C during the day and 5-15 ° C at night
- in summer: during the day 25 - 32 ° C and at night 12 - 20 ° C
Visitors from Germany do not need a visa for a stay of a maximum of 3 months. However, the passport must be valid for 6 months after the planned return date. Make sure that there are still enough vacancies - there must be at least 2 vacancies in your passport - in your passport. You will get some stamps.
Please check whether your health insurance covers the costs outside of Europe in the event of illness. Medical care in the country is good, but there is no social agreement between Germany and South Africa. As a rule, travel health insurance abroad is therefore unavoidable. There are many snakes, some of which are poisonous, but these are not exactly lurking for tourists. Excessive fear is therefore inappropriate; nevertheless, you should pay attention to your way. The animals usually flee long before you can see them. Should it still happen that the snake has bitten: don’t panic! Above all, remember the color and shape of the head of the snake so that the treating doctor or other competent helper knows which counter-serum is appropriate.
The official languages are Afrikaans and English. With the English language you can communicate practically anywhere.
The currency in South Africa is the South African rand. It is advisable to bring € travelers checks with you (safe, as it is insured against theft). Euro checks are generally not accepted. Credit cards can be used in larger stores, hotels, restaurants with airlines, rental car companies and other branches or the tourism industry. VISA and MasterCard (= EuroCard) are particularly common.
To eat and drink
Basically, the South African cuisine is European. Particularly popular with South Africans is the “Braaivleis”, i.e. the grilling of different meat products: pork or beef, pieces of mutton or lamb or the popular “Borewors”. In addition, various fish dishes are offered, especially in the coastal regions. “Biltong” air-dried meat from game (e.g. kudu or ostrich) is widespread. Salads can be eaten anywhere without hesitation, because food hygiene is exemplary. Likewise, you can drink water from the public water supply anywhere. With your meal you can drink the local beer or the excellent South African wines.
South Africa has excellent medical care that can absolutely compete with European standards (the first heart transplant, as is well known, took place in South Africa). You can find the telephone numbers of the local hospitals at the beginning of the telephone books.
- Nationwide police emergency number: 10111
- Nationwide emergency number for ambulances: 10177
Important for visitors from overseas: European health certificates are not accepted in South Africa. Visitors have to pay for the costs themselves. It is therefore essential that you take out international health insurance. Some private health insurers cover the international risk - please inquire before you travel. Malaria prophylaxis is very advisable when visiting the Kruger National Park, the neighboring wildlife parks and when visiting the wildlife sanctuaries of Kwazulu-Natal. Drugs for malaria prophylaxis are available in pharmacies. When it gets dark: wear long trousers and long sleeves. During the day: use mosquito repellent. When swimming in the ocean, you have to watch out for currents and possible hazards from sharks. But the risk of falling to the opera with a shark is very, very small.
In South Africa, pharmacies are also drugstores. They are called “Apteek” (Afrikaans) or “Chemist” (English). As in Europe, there is also an emergency service.
Left-hand traffic prevails in South Africa. The following speed limits apply:
- within built-up areas: 60 km / h
- on country roads: 100 km / h
- on certain highways (freeways): 120 km / h
The South African road network is of good quality and relatively dense, the most important connections are paved. It is mandatory to wear seat belts and a blood alcohol limit of 0.8 for drivers. If the limit is exceeded, severe penalties must be expected.
Important: The driver needs an international driver’s license.
The filling station network is dense in South Africa. Opening times from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Large petrol stations of the Shell, BP etc. chains are open 24 hours.
Attention: Petrol cannot be paid for by credit card, only in cash.
- Area code to South Africa: 00 27
- Dialing code for Germany from South Africa: 00 49
South African time is identical to European summer time. In European winter, the clock has to be set one hour ahead (if it is 12 noon in Frankfurt, it is 1 p.m. in Johannesburg). Due to the closer proximity to the equator, the transition from day to night is much faster. It will be pitch black within a maximum of 30 minutes. The days in the South African summer are shorter than the European summer days, but the South African winter days (= dry season) are longer than the European winter days.
In summer it gets dark around 7.15 p.m., in winter around 5 p.m.
- Casual Clothing
- Earplugs against aircraft noise and for better sleep
- thick socks (so you can easily take off your shoes without getting cold feet)
- do not eat too much or too heavy, only moderate alcohol
- an eye patch shields light and helps you fall asleep
- drink enough (the air on the plane is very dry)
People with previous illnesses (especially of the lungs and heart, but also with a risk of thrombosis or venous disorders) should speak to a doctor who is experienced in altitude and aeromedical medicine before traveling. In the case of children with a cold, parents should make sure that decongestant nose or ear drops are administered about half an hour before landing, and chewing gum can be added if necessary.
It is essential that you reconfirm your flight no later than 72 days before departure. Changes to the flight plan are possible at short notice at any time, and you can only find out about such changes if you reconfirm in time. The airlines may dispose of new seats that are not or too late in arrears.
It is preferable to bring clothes that you will wear in warm climates. In the holiday areas, clothing is casual, in hotels and restaurants (especially in the evening) it is formal. Don’t forget to bring a wool jacket or anorak for cooler evenings or days. In summer you should pack summer dresses, shorts and light suits, which are also advisable in “winter”. You need warm clothing in winter in the southwestern Cape and in high areas (e.g. Johannesburg). A sun hat, comfortable shoes and bathing suit also belong in your luggage. For safaris, clothes in neutral, muted colors are best. To avoid mosquito bites (malaria), it is advisable to wear long clothes in the evening. Sunglasses, binoculars and a torch are also recommended (for camps in the national parks and on campsites). Don’t worry if you’ve forgotten something: you can buy (almost) anything in South Africa.
The voltage in the city and in the country is 220/230 V alternating current, 50 Hz. Since the plugs have a different format than ours, an adapter is required, which can be bought in electrical and department stores in South Africa. Larger hotels, on the other hand, have suitable sockets in the bathroom.
It is not as common in South Africa as it is in Europe. It should be given according to the scope and quality of a service. As a guideline, the tip should be 10% of the price. A tip of 10% is usually included in restaurants. Nevertheless, if the service is particularly attentive, you should tip at your own discretion. Taxi drivers expect a tip of around 10%.