South Africa shares her borders with Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho, creating unmatched diversity.
- The population stands at 56.5 million since the recent survey in 2017.
- South Africa has 11 offical languages. It's neighbour Zimbabwe, currently hold the offical guinness world record with 16!
A country so rich in culture and history, South Africa holds something special for each one of her visitors.
Some interesting facts about South Africa:
- SA has 3 capital cities; Pretoria (The Administrative Capital), Cape Town (The Legislative Capital) and Bloemfontein (The Judicial Capital).
- SA is divided into 10 provinces.
- SA is governed by a democratic government, chosen by its citizens.
- The first official election occurred in 1994, and abolished apartheid.
- SA trades in a currency called Rands.
Each corner of the land holds something perfectly suited to every visitor. Attractions in SA are world renown for their beauty and wonder. From the Cradle of Mankind to the Caves along the shore line, SA has adventure written all over it.
Best Time to Visit South Africa
When planning a trip to a foreign country, it can be difficult to decide which season to visit in. So to help you make a more informed decision, we have broken it down to the pros and cons each season in South Africa can bring.
South Africa doesn’t really experience a dramatic change in season as the Autumn and Spring seasons are short and converge seamlessly with their counterparts. Winter brings in colder weather but you will still see South Africans laying out on the beaches or enjoying the endless beauty the country landscape offers.
SUMMER: 1 December - 29 February
Summer in South Africa can be hot and humid depending on which region you are visiting. The coastline along the Indian Ocean sees very humid and hot conditions whereas the coastline further South brings cold ocean winds with hot dry sunny days.
If you are venturing inland during the hot season, finding accommodation with a pool is vital as the temperatures can reach well into the 30’s. (Temperature is measured in Celsius)
- Cape Town
- Average temperatures reach 26 degrees.
- Summers here are hot and windy.
- Average temperatures reach 24 degrees.
- Summer brings heavy rainfall and epic thunder and lightning displays.
- Average temperatures reach 27 degrees.
- Summer brings a humid tropical heat with showers in the heart of the season.
- Average temperatures reach 27 degrees.
- Summer season stretches into March and expects heavy rainfall during this season.
WINTER: 1 June - 31 August
Winter is the rainy season for a small selection of the inland area of South Africa, the main rainy season is spring and late winter. The tropical temperatures experienced along the east coast get wetter and slightly colder during winter. South Africa experiences heavy storm weather near the coastline.
- Cape Town
- Average temperatures reach 15 degrees.
- Winter in Cape Town brings, rain, sun and wind. The weather changes so frequently it’s always a good idea to have something warm on standby.
- Average temperatures reach 14 degrees.
- Winter is the sunniest time of year for Joburg, with frost like temperatures.
- Average temperatures reach 23 degrees.
- Winters are hot and sunny.
- Average temperatures reach 19 degrees but can feel warmer in the sun.
- Winters are dry and warm during the day and after the sun has set temperatures plummet.
Winter often finds hotter days scattered between the colder ones. Temperatures along the coast seldom drop below zero, however, it is not uncommon for the inland areas to wake up to a frost covered landscape.
Is South Africa Safe?
Exploring a new country can seem quite daunting. Travelling to South Africa is often met with concern about safety. Unfortunately, South Africa has a reputation for crime, strikes and taxi wars.
To ensure public safety the government has made policing a top priority, The South African Police are there to serve and protect. If you find yourself requiring police assistance call 10111 or visit your local police station.
South Africa isn’t particularly more dangerous than any other developing country. It is important to note that being safe largely depends on your own vigilance and knowledge of the area you are in.
That being said, remember that tourists are often the victims of petty crimes regardless of where they are visiting. Locals (friends or people at your accommodation) can advise you about safe areas and areas to avoid. Avoid visiting informal settlements without someone who is familiar with the area.
Visa Requirements & Application
In most cases, to enter into a foreign country you require a Visa which affords you permission to visit said country. Some countries have special relationships with the Republic of South Africa and their citizens do not require a Visa to enter, to see if which citizens are exempt from requiring a Visa to enter SA click here.
If you need a Visa for your visit, it can easily be obtained from the South African Mission in your own country. You will need a valid ID and passport with two blank pages for the Visa stamp. To check the list of requirements for Visa application, click here.
There is no appointment required to apply for your Visa and certain countries are exempt from paying Visa fees for the application.
Places to Visit, Things to Do & Tourist Attractions
South Africa really does cater to everyone! Whether you want to enjoy relaxing bushveld spa retreats or get your blood pumping at one of the many thrill seeking, bridge-jumping activities SA has to offer.
The city of Cape Town is famously known for its laid back beach lifestyle with an opulent feel.
Tourists flock here all year round! Even though the colder seasons bring the temperatures down, the weather doesn’t hamper the list of fantastic things to do. Cape Town is a thriving multicultural community and is known as one of the friendliest places in South Africa.
The most popular attractions in Cape Town are:
- Table Mountain
- Robben Island
- The Castle Of Good Hope
- V&A Waterfront
- Blue Flag Beaches
- Camps Bay
Durban’s subtropical weather has beach goers on the sand all year round. It offers visitors things to do and activities for every member of the family, from taking the big swing at the Moses Mabhida Stadium to enjoying a day on the course at one of Durban’s finest golf courses.
Apart from the beautiful beaches and amazing boardwalk shopping experiences, there is a lot more to Durban than meets the eye. The city boasts a selection of attractions and things to do, to read more about Places To Visit ,Tourist Attractions and Things To Do in Durban.
The most popular attractions in Durban are:
- Shark Cage Diving
- Umhlanga Lighthouse
- Moses Mabhida Stadium
- Ushaka Marine World
- Boardwalk Mall
The cosmopolitan city of Joburg, otherwise known as the city of gold, is home to a dazzling array of things to do.
One of the largest cities in South Africa, Johannesburg is the business hub of South Africa. The people work hard and play even harder around here. Joburg is also home to the famous holiday resort on the outskirts of Joburg, Sun City, which offers a world of its own. A trip to Sun City can be fun, relaxing and exhilarating with the selection of water activities on offer.
The most popular attractions in Johannesburg are:
Pretoria is a large university town known today as the city of Tshwane, or the Jacaranda city (named after the hundreds of Jacaranda trees planted down the streets that fill the sky with bright purple blossoms.)
The most popular attractions in Pretoria are:
- Pretoria Zoo
- The Voortrekker Monument
- Fort Schanskop
- Union Buildings
Safari, Tours & Travel, What Are Your Options?
South Africa is famously known for its wildlife and natural landscape, there are many safari and tour option available. Township tours can be fun and informative and will have you leaving with a newfound appreciation for those who live there.
Where ever you decide to travel in South Africa, there is no shortage of quality controlled game parks and reserves. The Kruger National park is the biggest game reserve in South Africa. Our choice tour companies that visit this National Park are:
- Africa Spear Kruger Park Safaris - Day Tours
- Nomad Africa Adventure Tours
We have compiled some simple guides of the Game Reserves in South Africa for your perusal:
- Game Reserves in Cape Town
- Game Reserves in Durban
- Game Reserves in Johannesburg
- Game Reserves in Pretoria
SA is all about conservation and sustainability and its National Botanical Gardens reflect just that. To find out more about the National Botanical Gardens, where they are and what exactly they do, click here.
Travelling Around South Africa
Getting around can be challenging in a foreign land, however South Africa has many options available to suite any budget. A road trip along the coast should always be on the cards and SA offers many Car Rental options.
If you do plan on hitting the road, plan your route carefully as some mountain passes are for 4X4 only. Our choice rental options are:
MINI BUS TAXI
These low-cost mini buses can be quite dangerous on longer journeys as they are often overfilled and are involved in 80% of the accidents on the National roads. However, travelling within the city in one of these is a unique experience of its own.
Learning the routes can be difficult but the drivers are generally friendly and helpful. Always carry change as breaking big notes can be problematic.
There are many ways to get around in South Africa. If you are travelling within the city, using the Uber or Taxify app is the safer alternative for travelling as learning the mini-bus taxi routes can be challenging.
If you want to see the sights and have an on hand tour guide the City Sight Seeing tours are the best ways to see them. These hop on hop off tours allow you to take in the sights at the various stops at your own pace. They run in most of the bigger cities in South Africa
- More Info: Website
The recently upgraded MyCity bus services are efficient and reliable as they often have their own private lane. These schedules can be found here. Private long distance bus shuttles can also be booked at the main city station of each town.
These providers are:
Travelling by train can be fun and eye-opening, however, the city’s inner train services are not as efficient as they used to be and hopping aboard an empty carriage on your own can be dangerous. It is one of the most cost-effective ways to get around within the cities.
You can view the Metro Rail train schedule here.
If you are in the Gauteng area, the newly renovated Gautrain is the best way to travel from city to city. This rapid transport system makes visiting museums and sights easy. To view the Gautrain schedule, click here.
Everyone should experience visiting South Africa by means of the long distance train services. The old rail roads are still used today, where the train meanders through the valleys and mountains of the South African landscape. To view the train routes or schedule, click here.
- Tip: Museums offer discounts when using the Gautrain to get around, so keep your ticket handy.
Whether you’re travelling by plane or car, road tripping or trekking, South Africa has stops and destinations that will have you returning again and again. Each visit to this diverse landscape offers exciting adventures and and opportunity to make new friends, a trip to SA is always memorable.
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