South Africa

What you need to know before you leave…

Time difference

South Africa is GMT +2.

Visa formalities

Many nationalities do not require a visa prior to arrival: French, Belgian, Swiss, American, Canadian etc. However, please check the list on the official consulate website (, as it may be updated at any time. The passport must be valid for at least 30 days after departure from South Africa and a return air ticket must be supplied. It is imperative that there be at least two blank pages in the passport for the visa stamp. A tourist visa is issued by South African customs at the airport or border post upon arrival, for a three month period.

As of 1 October 2014, the South African authorities and airlines require children under the age of 18 to carry their own passport and birth certificate with them (certified copy of the unabridged birth certificate accompanied by an English translation by a sworn translator or Unabridged Birth Certificate for binational passport holders)

Useful contacts

In France

South African Bureau of Tourism: 0810-203-403.Open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5.30pm

South African Embassy and Consulate: 59, quai d’Orsay, 75343 Paris.

Tel: 01-53-59-23-23. Open Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 5.15pm (from 9am to 12pm for visas).

In Belgium

South African Embassy: Montoyerstraat, 17-19, Brussels 1000.

Tel: 02-285-44-53.

In Switzerland

South African Embassy: Alpenstrasse 29, 3006 Bern. Tel: (031) 350-13-13.

South African Consulate: Rue du Rhône 65, 1204. Tel: (022) 849-54-54.

In Canada

South African Embassy and Consulate (High Commission): 15 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Ontario K1M-1M8. Tel: (613) 744-03-30.


The vaccine against yellow fever is not required unless you are travelling from an infected area (such as Zambia). In this case, when passing through customs, your vaccination certificate will be required. You can be vaccinated only in approved centres.

It is essential to follow an anti-malarial treatment if you go to the national parks and game reserves to the east of the country (Kruger, Umfolozi, Hluhluwe, St. Lucia), and the northern Limpopo region. We also recommend that you bring mosquito repellent ointment and/or sprays (Malaria is transmitted by mosquito bite).

We advise you to consult your doctor or an approved centre who will indicate the most appropriate prophylaxis to take. This is a zone 3. Your vaccinations against diphtheria, polio and tetanus should be kept updated. We encourage you to get inoculated against yellow fever, typhoid and hepatitis A and B. This recommendation applies to all destinations worldwide.

Tap water is generally safe throughout the country. Bottled mineral water can be purchased almost anywhere. Food purchased in shops and restaurants can generally be consumed without fear of contamination.


The currency is the Rand which is divided into 100 Cents

10 Rand = approximately 15.50 € (01/08/2018)

The bank notes are depicted by 5 large animals (Big Five): 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 Rand

The coins are: 5, 10, 20, 50 cents and 1, 2 and 5 Rand

Credit cards are accepted in most establishments

Visa, Mastercard, Diners can be used to withdraw cash from the many ATM’s countrywide

You can take foreign currency with you which you can easily change.


There are 11 official languages ​​that correspond to each of the ethnic groups that make up the country. English remains the most commonly spoken language.


220 volts is the norm in South Africa. The plugs are made up of three large rounded pins which form a triangle or two smaller round pins. They are different from English and American plugs. Adapters can easily be found in the shops or in the hotels/lodges.


The country code for South Africa is 27

From South Africa to abroad: 00 + country code (32 for Belgium, 33 for France, 41 for Switzerland, 1 for Canada) + phone number without the 0.s and price ranges.

Climate and Temperatures

South Africa is situated in the southern hemisphere. Its seasons are inversed compared to Europe. The months of December, January and February correspond to the austral summer (and main holidays). The climate varies hugely from one region to another.

Cape Town (Cape Town) has a Mediterranean climate in summer (October to April) These months are hot and dry, with temperatures around 28°C. Winter (May to August) is temperate (17°C), but the temperature can drop to 8°C.

In Durban and on the Indian Ocean coast, the climate varies from temperate to subtropical. The coolest months are June and July. The warmer and wetter months are December, January and February.

In Gauteng (Johannesburg and Pretoria) and the Free State, the climate is dry and sunny in winter (20°C during the day and 5°C at night). From October to April, the hot days are punctuated with showers and impressive electric afternoon storms.

In the region of Mpumalanga, summers are very hot and punctuated by violent storms. The winters are mild and sunny.

In the Karoo, the heat is extreme just as in the American desert


If you take heed of the basic precautions it’s generally considered safe to travel anywhere in South Africa. It’s a popular tourist destination with an excellent infrastructure and thousands of visitors travel to South Africa yearly without the slightest security problem.

Vigilance is recommended however, especially in the big cities and towns. South Africa unfortunately has a high crime rate but it is not specifically directed against tourists.