South Africa Travel Tips

According to the “Rough Guide to South Africa”, the tourism industry has seen a tremendous growth over the past 20 years. The Rainbow Nation is a popular destination for business, leisure and adventure tourists looking for exotic vacations with luxurious comfort. However, South African travel etiquette may not be as well-known as for other European and U.S destinations. It is important to be familiar with the cultural norms, economic policies and risks of South Africa in order to make your trip enjoyable and safe. Intakt reisen trips will allow you to discover the most important, as well as the least known, cultural and scenic highlights in the region. Intakt reisen places great emphasis on giving you as much personal access as possible to people in holiday countries to allow you to understand the daily and cultural conditions.

South Africa’s crime rate is alarmingly high. Although most vacations are uneventful and you don’t need to be paranoid, it is important to be cautious. According to safety tips in many guidebooks, it is best not to look like a tourist. Your camera should be kept in a bag so that you can take photos when you need them. It’s easy to pick up foreign accents, so be gentle. Minibus taxis can be dangerous as petty criminals often frequent them. There are ways to prevent carjackings. Keep your phone off the road and be alert while driving. Always lock the doors and keep the windows up. Don’t leave valuable items out in public.

Many areas of South Africa are free from malaria. According to the “Rough Guide to South Africa”, you might want to take malaria pills if your trip to Kruger National Park is north. You can also bring insect repellent and clothing that covers your ankles and wrists if you and your doctor disagree. HIV is the only serious threat to visitors. More than 25% of the population infected. Protect yourself if you intend to engage in sexual activity. Travel insurance is the best way to prepare for an emergency. Although there are many state-of-the art private hospitals available in every major city, they can be very expensive. Attention adrenaline junkies. Many travel insurance policies do not cover adventure sports like paragliding, mountain biking, or scuba diving. You can cancel your travel insurance and contact your home insurance provider for information about which hospitals are covered in South Africa.

According to Lonely Planet’s Cape Town City Guide, you should tip your server between 10 percent and 15% if you are satisfied with the service. For every drink, bartender tips cost a few rands (R2) Informal or formal car guards typically charge between R3 to R5 per hour for their services. Although they are not paid well, petrol station attendants often ask for your oil and water levels or to wash your windows. If you have the time and are willing to let them do it, give them R5. This is a small amount by South African standards, but it can go a long way for many.

Tax policies
According to “Globetrotter Cape Town”, South Africa’s value added tax (VAT), is currently set at 14% and is included in the cost of goods and services. After they leave the country, foreign visitors can claim VAT back. It may not cover a large portion of your expenses, but VAT will not be returned for taxi rides, hotel rooms or petrol. Keep the tax invoice when you make a purchase. Sometimes, you may need to ask the vendor. For goods exceeding R2,000, tax invoices must include your name as well as your home address.

Consider the season and whereabouts of your trip when packing. Johannesburg is warm from October to March, and cool the rest of year. Cape Town can get very hot in the South African summer months, but it can also be very windy at night. Cape Town’s winters are often cold and wet. According to Lonely Planet’s “Cape Town City Guide”, casual dress is acceptable, but smart casual wear may be required at upscale restaurants or theatres. Certain parts of the country have very conservative fashion and cultural beliefs. Women should not wear visible skin except in cities.