logo
  • $United States Dollarunited-states-of-america flag
  • $Australian Dollaraustralia flag
  • Euroeuropean-union flag
  • £British Poundunited-kingdom flag
  • $Singapore Dollarsingapore flag
Heart-shaped favorite button
Table Mountain
Cape Town
The beautiful Table Mountain in Cape Town

Cape Town

The beautiful Table Mountain in Cape Town

Top 5 Things to do in South Africa (2023 Guide)
Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town
Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
V&A Waterfront is a busy retail, dining and entertainment district with gift and design stores, diverse museums, and a restaurant scene which covers burger joints to posh bistros

Victoria & Alfred Waterfront

V&A Waterfront is a busy retail, dining and entertainment district with gift and design stores, diverse...

Betty's Bay, South Africa
Betty's Bay
Stony Point Nature Reserve is home to one of the largest successful breeding colonies of African Penguin in the world. Located in the quaint coastal town of Betty's Bay in the Overberg, the Stony Point Nature Reserve is home to a unique colony of African Penguins.

Betty's Bay

Stony Point Nature Reserve is home to one of the largest successful breeding colonies of African Penguin in...

Kruger National Park - South Africa
Kruger National Park
Lionesses surveying the scene in Kruger

Kruger National Park

Lionesses surveying the scene in Kruger

South Africa flag

South Africa Travel Information

Temp icon
Overview icon

Key facts

Capital:

Pretoria (administrative capital); Cape Town (legislative capital); Bloemfontein (judicial capital)

Location:

Southern Africa, at the southern tip of the continent of Africa

Currency:

South African Rand (ZAR)

Area:

1,219,090 sq km

Population:

56,978,635 (July 2021 est.)

Languages:

isiZulu (official) 25.3%, isiXhosa (official) 14.8%, Afrikaans (official) 12.2%, Sepedi (official) 10.1%, Setswana (official) 9.1%, English (official) 8.1%, Sesotho (official) 7.9%, Xitsonga (official) 3.6%, siSwati (official) 2.8%, Tshivenda (official) 2.5%, isiNdebele (official) 1.6%, other (includes Khoi, Nama, and San languages) 2%; note - data represent language spoken most often at home (2018 est.)

Religion:

Christian 86%, ancestral, tribal, animist, or other traditional African religions 5.4%, Muslim 1.9%, other 1.5%, nothing in particular 5.2% (2015 est.)

TimeZone:

UTC+2

Tel Code:

+27

Things to Do

  • 1. Safari in Kruger National Park

    Embark on an exciting safari adventure in Kruger National Park, home to a wide variety of wildlife including elephants, lions, and rhinos. Explore the vast savannah plains and witness the beauty of nature up close.

  • 2. Cage Diving with Great White Sharks

    Get your adrenaline pumping as you come face to face with great white sharks in the waters off the coast of South Africa. Dive in a secure cage and get a thrilling experience with these majestic creatures.

  • 3. Table Mountain Hike

    Embark on a challenging hike up Table Mountain and be rewarded with breathtaking views of Cape Town. Marvel at the panoramic vistas of the city, coastline, and surrounding mountains.

  • 4. Bungee Jumping from Bloukrans Bridge

    Take a leap of faith and go bungee jumping from the Bloukrans Bridge, the highest commercial bungee bridge in the world. Experience the thrill of freefalling and the rush of adrenaline as you soar above the beautiful landscape.

  • 5. Wine Tasting in Stellenbosch

    Indulge in a wine tasting experience in the beautiful vineyards of Stellenbosch. Sample a variety of locally produced wines, learn about the winemaking process, and enjoy the picturesque surroundings.

  • 6. Hiking in Drakensberg Mountains

    Discover the breathtaking beauty of the Drakensberg Mountains through a scenic hiking adventure. Explore the rugged peaks, stunning waterfalls, and picturesque landscapes of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  • 7. Cape Peninsula Tour

    Embark on a scenic tour of the Cape Peninsula and visit popular attractions such as Cape Point, Boulders Beach, and Chapman's Peak Drive. Enjoy panoramic views, beautiful beaches, and rich wildlife.

  • 8. Surfing in Jeffreys Bay

    Ride the world-class waves of Jeffreys Bay, known for its legendary surf breaks. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced surfer, this renowned surf spot is a must-visit for wave enthusiasts.

  • 9. Big Five Game Drive in Addo Elephant National Park

    Embark on a thrilling game drive in Addo Elephant National Park, home to the iconic Big Five - lions, elephants, buffalos, leopards, and rhinos. Get close encounters with these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.

  • 10. Crater Hike in Pilanesberg National Park

    Explore the ancient volcano crater of Pilanesberg National Park through a scenic hike. Encounter a wide array of wildlife and enjoy panoramic views of the unique landscape formed by volcanic activity.

Weather

Climate

South Africa is a country located at the southern tip of Africa, and it has a diverse climate, with different regions having different weather patterns. The country can be broadly divided into four regions: the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and the interior.

The Western Cape, which includes places like Cape Town and the Garden Route, has a Mediterranean climate with mild, wet winters and warm, dry summers.

The Eastern Cape, which includes places like the Wild Coast and the Eastern Cape Parks, has a subtropical climate with hot, humid summers and mild winters.

KwaZulu-Natal, which includes places like Durban and the Drakensberg, has a subtropical climate with hot, humid summers and mild winters.

The Interior, which includes places like Johannesburg, Pretoria and Kruger National Park, has a subtropical climate with hot summers and mild winters.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit South Africa depends on the type of activities you want to do and your preferences. The peak tourist season is from December to January, when the weather is warm and sunny and many of the beaches and national parks are crowded. This is also considered the peak tourist season, and the prices for accommodations and activities may be higher.

The shoulder season, which is from April to May and September to November, is considered the best time to visit as the weather is still good and the crowds are less. This is also considered the low season for tourism, and the prices for accommodations and activities may be lower.

It's worth noting that the best time to visit the Western Cape is from September to April, when the weather is mild and the flowers are in bloom. The best time to visit the Eastern Cape is from May to September, when the weather is mild and the beaches are less crowded. The best time to visit the KwaZulu-Natal and the Interior is from June to August, when the weather is mild and the wildlife is more active.

Visas

Here are some general travel tips regarding entry requirements that apply across all countries:

Passport

Make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months from the date of your arrival in the country you are visiting. Some countries will not allow you to enter if your passport is set to expire within a certain period of time.

Visa

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if you need a visa. Some countries require a visa for entry, while others do not. Make sure to apply for a visa well in advance of your trip as the process can take several weeks. Check the latest Visa requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Health Requirements and COVID-19 Rules

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if there are any health requirements for entry. Some countries require vaccinations or proof of medical insurance. Check the latest health requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Travel Insurance

Consider purchasing travel insurance, especially if you are traveling internationally. Travel insurance can cover you in the event of trip cancellation, medical emergencies, and other unexpected events. Our travel insurance partner is SafetyWing. For dangerous activities and/or countries consider a rescue service like those offered by our partner, Global Rescue.

Customs

Be familiar with the customs and laws of the country you are visiting. Some countries have strict laws regarding drug possession, alcohol consumption, and dress codes.

Currency

Check the currency exchange rate and make sure you have enough local currency for your trip. Some countries may not accept credit cards or travelers cheques, so it is always good to have some cash on hand. At WhereNext we recommend use a Wise debit card, which provides low cost currency conversions and ATM withdrawals.

Research the country

Research about the culture, customs and laws of the country you are visiting. It will help you to understand the place more and also prepare you better for the trip.

Contact Information

Make a copy of your passport and keep it in a separate place from your passport. Also, leave a copy of your itinerary and contact information with a friend or family member at home.

COVID Status

I am vaccinated 
South Africa Open
Test
Not required
Quarantine
Not required

Check Visa Requirements

      Accommodation

      Hotels

      South Africa has a wide range of hotels, from budget-friendly options to luxury resorts. You can find hotels in most of the major cities, towns, and tourist destinations. Many of the hotels in South Africa are eco-friendly and have a strong focus on sustainability.

      Guesthouses

      Guesthouses are a popular option in South Africa, as they offer comfortable and budget-friendly accommodations. They are typically run by local families, and they offer a unique way to experience the local culture and hospitality.

      Vacation Rentals

      Vacation rentals such as apartments, villas, and houses can be rented on a short-term basis. This is becoming an increasingly popular option in South Africa, and it can be a great option for those looking for more privacy and space.

      Tented camps and lodges

      Tented camps and lodges are a popular option for those who want to experience the natural beauty of South Africa, they are typically located in the national parks and reserves, and they offer comfortable and eco-friendly accommodations.

      Homestays

      Homestays are a great way to experience local culture and hospitality. They are typically run by local families, and they offer comfortable and budget-friendly accommodations.

      Luxury lodges

      South Africa is also a popular destination for luxury lodges, which offer a range of facilities and activities, and all meals and drinks are included in the price. They are popular with families and couples, and can be found in the major tourist destinations such as Kruger National Park, the Cape Winelands, and the Garden Route.

      Transportation

      Air travel

      South Africa has several international airports including O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg, which is the largest city, Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town, King Shaka International Airport (DUR) in Durban and George Airport (GRJ) in George. From there, you can take a domestic flight to reach other destinations in South Africa. Most of the domestic flights are operated by major airlines such as South African Airways, Mango, and kulula, and they connect the main cities and tourist destinations.

      Bus travel

      Buses are a popular and convenient way to travel around South Africa, with extensive networks of long-distance and local buses that connect most of the cities and towns. Bus travel is relatively inexpensive, safe and comfortable. There are several bus companies that operate in the country, such as Greyhound, Intercape, and Translux.

      Car rental

      Car rental is a great option for those who want to explore South Africa at their own pace, it's widely available in most cities and towns. It's worth noting that the road conditions can be challenging in some remote areas, and it's important to have a valid driver's license and insurance. It's also important to be aware of the traffic rules and regulations, and be prepared for long-distance drives, as some of the tourist destinations can be far away from the major cities.

      Taxis

      Taxis are widely available in most cities and towns, and they are a convenient and safe way to get around. It's worth noting that it's best to use a licensed taxi and to agree on the fare before starting the journey.

      Train travel

      Train travel is also a popular way to travel around South Africa, with the main train station being located in the city of Johannesburg. There are several train companies that operate in the country, such as Shosholoza Meyl and the Blue Train.

      Money

      Money Tips for Travel

      • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
      • Notify your bank and credit card companies of your travel plans to avoid any potential issues with international transactions.
      • Bring a mix of cash, credit, and debit cards--and possibly a travel money card.
      • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.
      • Make sure to have a backup option for accessing money in case your primary method doesn't work.
      • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
      • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
      • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
      • NEVER accept currency conversion at ATMs! Always get your home bank to convert at much better rates.
      • Think about getting a Wise or other travel debit card; these can provide much better rates and some free ATM withdrawals.

      ATM and Credit Cards

      • Research the availability of ATMs and credit card acceptance at your destination before you depart.
      • Keep your ATM card in a safe place and be mindful of your surroundings when using it.
      • Try to stick to using ATMs that are affiliated with major banks.
      • Keep your credit card information safe and secure, and be aware of potential scams.
      • Make sure your cards have the necessary security features, such as chip and pin.
      • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.

      Exchange Rates

      • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
      • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
      • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
      • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
      • Be careful of places that may offer to exchange money at rates that seem too good to be true.

      Insurance

      Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It covers a wide range of needs--even some you might not expect!

      Medical Coverage

      Travel insurance can provide coverage for medical expenses if you become ill or injured while traveling. This can include coverage for doctor visits, hospital stays, and emergency medical transportation. It's also a good idea to ensure that your travel insurance covers COVID-19 related illness and delays!

      Trip Cancellation and Interruption

      Travel insurance can provide coverage if you need to cancel or interrupt your trip due to unexpected events such as illness, weather, or travel bans. It can also provide coverage if your trip is delayed or if your travel provider goes out of business.

      Lost or Stolen Luggage

      Travel insurance can provide coverage for lost or stolen luggage, as well as personal items such as passports and electronic devices.

      Emergency Assistance and Evacuation

      Many travel insurance plans offer emergency assistance services, such as providing information on local hospitals and doctors, assistance with replacing lost or stolen documents, and help with arranging transportation in the event of an emergency. At WhereNext we have partnered with Global Rescue for evacuation services, which are highly recommended if you are undertaking dangerous activities or are travelling to dangerous parts of the world.

      Liability coverage

      Travel insurance can also provide liability coverage in case you cause an accident or harm someone while you are traveling.

      Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It can help cover the costs of medical expenses, trip cancellations, lost or stolen luggage, and more. It's always a good idea to review the coverage and compare the different options available before making a decision. At WhereNext we both use and have partnered with Safety Wing for general travel insurance.

      Mobile

      When traveling, getting mobile access is very important these days. If you are working remotely, wanting to update social media, or need to access your banks SMS authentication messages having a reliable service is a must. At WhereNext we recommend:

      eSIM

      Services such as those offered by our partner, Airalo, allow you to easily order and install an eSIM for different countries or regions that you are traveling in.

      Dual SIM phone

      If you have a phone that supports dual SIM's then you can get a SIM on arrival for each country, this is probably better done at a telco store rather than at the airport.

      Extend your home plan

      Depending on where you live and your mobile service provider you may be able to extend your plan to cover mobile roaming at reasonable rates.

      Keep your primary SIM

      With the amount of accounts we all have that require two factor authentication via SMS, keeping a constant number for these accounts is a must.

      Community

      There are several online communities and platforms that you can use to meet people while traveling, both for making new friends or for networking professionally. Some popular options include:

      Facebook groups

      There are many Facebook groups dedicated to connecting people while traveling, from expat groups and travel communities to groups specific to certain cities or regions of the country. You can search for groups based on your interests or location and connect with others who share similar interests.

      Meetup

      Meetup is a platform that allows you to find groups of people that share your interests in your local area. There are Meetup groups all around the world, and they cover a wide range of topics, such as language exchange, sports, and cultural activities.

      Internations

      Internations is a social network for people who live or work abroad. It has a large community of expats and organizes regular events, activities and gatherings that allow members to connect and socialize.

      Couchsurfing

      Couchsurfing is a platform that connects travelers with local hosts, who offer free accommodation and a chance to experience the local culture. It's a great way to meet locals and make friends!

      Reddit

      Reddit has a large community, and there are several subreddits dedicated to connecting expats and travelers. You can use it to ask questions, get advice, and connect with others who are also living or traveling in the country.

      Linkedin

      LinkedIn is primarily a professional network, but you can also use it to connect with people who work in the same industry or have similar backgrounds. It can be useful to connect with people before you arrive and establish a few professional contacts to help you get started.

      At WhereNext, we use Nomad List as a global community and then research more local ones for our destination. These are just a few examples of online communities you can use to meet people; please suggest any others that you think are appropriate for this destination.