Tips & FAQs about Traveling to South Africa

Travel to South Africa can be an unforgettable experience. Here is everything you need to know to prepare for your trip. 

Quick Links:

INOCULATION ADVICE:

CDC: Center for Disease Control Travelers’ Health

Health Canada

GOVERNMENT TRAVEL WARNINGS & ADVISORIES:

United States Department of State

Government of Canada Travel Advice

SOUTH AFRICAN REQUIREMENTS FOR MINORS TRAVELLING INTERNATIONALLY:

Home Affairs Department, Republic of South Africa

Quick Facts:

PASSPORT VALIDITY: Minimum of 6 months after intended date of departure

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES: 2 consecutive empty visa pages per entry

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED: No, if visiting 90 days or less

VACCINATIONS: Yellow fever at least 10 days before arrival is required for travelers originating from or transiting through WHO-designated yellow fever countries

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY: ZAR 25,000; Foreign currency unlimited if declared; No Kruger coins.

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT: ZAR 25,000; Foreign currency unlimited if amount was declared on entry; Up to 15 Kruger coins if proof purchased with foreign currency

Frequently Asked Questions about Traveling to South Africa

Is it safe to travel to South Africa?

If you follow these guidelines you will feel totally safe.  Some areas you visit will be quite poor by our standards and it is thoughtless to flash money or jewelry. Leave jewelry at home and carry only small amounts of cash. Leave valuables and passports in the hotel safes or with camp managers.

You will find the people very friendly, helpful and eager to please. The beauty and tranquility of the land, the magnificent wildlife, and the hospitality of the people will all contribute to a lifetime of memories!

What are the entry requirements?

Citizens of Canada and the United States have visas/entry permits issued free of charge on arrival in South Africa.

All Non-South African passport holders are required to have at least two, entirely blank (unstamped) visa pages in their passport, each time entry is sought into South Africa. These pages are in addition to pages that are required for other countries you are visiting on the same trip

Passports must be valid for a minimum of 6 months after intended date of departure. If you are extending your journey to other countries, please estSouth ablish entry requirements for those countries as well.

Children: Children travelling in and out of South Africa are required to carry an unabridged birth certificate reflecting the details of both parents, as well as a valid passport.

Is the water safe to drink?

In many parts of South Africa the water is perfectly safe but because this depends on location, we do suggest that you drink bottled water.

Do I need inoculations?

This will depend on where you will be visiting. We suggest that you check with your travel consultant.

Malaria Information:

  • Most areas in Africa are malarial areas. Your safari consultant will let you know if you are visiting a non-malaria area. Otherwise we strongly advise you to consult with your physician prior to the commencement of your holiday, for information on precautions against malaria. If you are visiting Thornybush, we suggest you contact your physician or travel clinic for advice as to which treatment is recommended. Malaria transmission is at its highest during the warmer and wetter months of November through to April.

Yellow Fever Information:

  • Vaccination against yellow fever is required if arriving within 10 days from Kenya, Senegal, Uganda, or countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. This list changes often so please check with the CDC or Canada Health for the most up to date information. (See quick links)

Exempt from yellow fever vaccination:

  • Children under 1 year provided a medical certificate can be submitted stating that it is undesirable to inoculate the baby.
  • Those not leaving the airport in the countries with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Will someone be at the airport to meet us on arrival?

Yes, you can feel secure in knowing that we arrange for a “meet and greet” for all our clients. With our local offices in South Africa providing 24 hour  emergency assistance and having personnel on hand to deal with any issues that may arise, our clients can feel safe and secure in travelling with us.

Should I get travel insurance and what is the cost?

We recommend purchasing travel insurance. A comprehensive travel policy is available through our insurance partners—your South Africa Specialist will be able to direct you to more information. Cancellation fees are charged by our suppliers and are beyond our control. Insurance will cover you for costly cancellation penalties, trip interruption and missed connections, and offer you protection in the event of illness or accident while abroad. Read more on Travel Insurance here

Where is the best place to exchange money?

We suggest you get local currency on arrival at your first destination at the bank / exchange bureau or ATM in the airport. Read more on what to talk to your bank about before traveling here

What currency will I need?

South Africa – South African Rand

Will I need to worry about a Value Added Tax?

VAT is 14%, levied on most products and services. Foreign tourists can have VAT refunded at a port of exit provided the value of each invoice purchased exceeds ZAR 50.00 and the total value of all items exceeds ZAR 250.00 You must have a valid passport, valid tax invoices and must produce the goods if requested. The invoice must stipulate that it is a VAT invoice and show the amount charged.

Will I be safe in an open safari vehicle?

The safari vehicles are very safe as long as you take heed of your guide’s instructions – no standing in the vehicle and no loud talking or shouting.

Can I bring children on safari?

Children under the age of 6 are rarely accepted at lodges and it is not recommended to bring young children on safari. If they are accepted, they will not be allowed to go on game drives and will have to be left at the lodge under the care of a babysitter or guardian. Some lodges will allow children 6 and over to go on game drives and other lodges only allow children over the age of 12. It is best to check with your Lion World safari consultant as to which lodge is the best for you to consider.

Can I purchase wine?

South Africa produces some of the world’s finest wines so if you are a wine lover we suggest you have a box shipped to you. Both Canada and the USA have restrictions on how much can be brought in duty free, and anything over that amount will be charged import duties.

USA:

One American liter (33.8 fl. oz.) of alcoholic beverages may be included in your returning resident personal exemption if:

  • You are at least 21 years old.
  • It is intended exclusively for your personal use and not for sale.
  • It does not violate the laws of the state in which you arrive.
  • Read this article for more details on bringing wine and spirits back into the states. 

Canada:

Only one of the following is allowed:

  • 5 litres (50.7 US ounces) of wine, or
  • 14 litres (38.5 US ounces) of liquor, or
  • A total of 1.14 litres (38.5 US ounces) of wine and liquor

Can I use a credit card?

In most cases Visa, MasterCard and American Express are widely accepted.

Are there restrictions on photographs or security measures I should worry about when using my camera?

Do not take photographs of the local people without their consent. Never take photographs of military, military institutions, armed forces barracks, policemen, any government official, or airports.

 

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