PASSPORT & VISA
It is very important for you to know that TWO BLANK pages are required in your passport when traveling to South Africa. This is a local requirement that is out of our control and you will not be allowed on your flight to Johannesburg if you do not have the two blank pages.
When checking in at the airport, a passport (valid for six months after your return date) is needed as proof of identification to enter South Africa. Citizens of several nations are required visas to enter South Africa, make sure your nation’s passport is not among them. If you require a visa and do not have one, you will be denied entry.
Click HERE to confirm that you are exempt from visas to South Africa.
The period of the tour is the summer season in South Africa that lasts from mid October to late February. The temperature is usually characterized as hot sunny weather, often with afternoon thunderstorms that clear quickly leaving a warm climate. Cape Town, with its Mediterranean climate, is the exception, and may be a bit cooler than the city of Johannesburg.
Here is a little experiment that you (and your travel partner) may want to try. Watch a local news program for your community on television. Then ask yourself, based only upon what you have seen on the news does your city sounds like a safe place to visit? How would you answer someone with the concerns raised by what they saw on the news? You’d likely say, “This is really a very safe place”. Of course there are some places you would want to be careful, or avoid at night if you were alone; but overall – you will really enjoy your visit to South Africa. Just come and plan on a having a marvelous time. Forget just about everything you have read in the newspapers or seen on TV. The media tends to focus on the negative aspects of everything. Overall, South Africa is a very safe place to visit.
You should plan to dress summer casual. It is important to point out however, that we will be in different climates while on the tour. For example, while in Cape Town you may experience all climates on any given day (sunny, windy, rainy, etc). Also, Table Mountain in Cape Town will likely be cooler than the rest of our stops on the tour; so a light jacket or sweater is recommended.
Choose comfort over fashion. Wearing expensive jewelry is a good way to attract unwanted attention. For the things you will need to carry with you daily, bring a lightweight travel pouch that attaches around your waist or across your body or a backpack. Travelers have different opinions regarding carrying wallets and purses. Some people believe it’s safer to put valuables in a pouch or conceal them, others opt to bring only minimal valuables or to leave them in hotel safes. Whichever you choose, just be cautious of attracting unwanted attention. It is highly recommended that you bring a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.
Keep in mind that you’ll probably be moving around a good deal; packing and unpacking is less fun than relaxing and touring. Travel light is the rule of thumb. Another good idea is if you are traveling with a companion, is to cross-pack. (This means that you would put half of your items in your companion’s luggage and vice-versa).
Do not over-pack. Before you leave on the trip, please find out from your airline how many checked luggage you are allowed. In addition, one carry on and one personal item are usually allowed on the flight.
Remember to leave room in your suitcase for souvenir purchases.
WHAT SHOULD I PACK
You will need to bring along necessary converters and adapters to operate any 120 volt, 60 Hz appliances such as hair dryers, electric razors, etc. You will also need converters for cell phones and laptop usage. Most hotels in South Africa will have electric convertors to lend you of the durations of your stay. However we do recommend that you purchase your own prior to arrival.
The currency in South Africa is the Rand; sometimes called ZAR. As the economy fluctuates, it is wise to keep an eye on rates of exchange as you approach your departure date. We recommend that you withdraw money from ATM machines in South Africa in order to get the best exchange rates. Current exchange rate is approx. $1USD = 14 Rand/ZAR. Please keep in mind that this rate fluctuates daily.
It is a good idea to have some cash with you for emergencies and small purchases. If you bring an ATM card you can get a better rate of exchange from local banks without having to worry about fees; if you go inside the bank, you’ll have to pay a fee.
Hotels and Foreign Exchange Companies usually have the worst rates and highest fees. Beware of money changers on the street. Most businesses accept credit cards.
Many seasoned travelers are not aware that their health insurance will not cover them outside of the country. For a minimal amount of money, travel insurance is a strong consideration.
If you need to cancel your trip due to an unforeseen emergency or serious illness, most of your trip may be nonrefundable.
In the event you become ill during your travels, finding and receiving medical care may be very frustrating. Travel insurance also covers lost baggage, and worldwide emergency assistance coverage. We highly recommend you cover yourself with your own insurance company with such travel insurance.