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Get to know South Africa

Geography

South Africa is 1 233 404km² of beautiful, rugged and sometimes wild land, with the Indian and Atlantic Oceans bordering 3 sides of the country. To the North, South Africa is bordered by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique. South Africa wraps itself around the independent nations of Lesotho and Swaziland.

Provinces

9 provinces make up South Africa. The Eastern Cape, Free State, Western Cape, Kwazulu-Natal, Gauteng, North West, Northern Cape, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga

Climate

South Africa has a temperate climate and Summer rainfall, except for the Western Cape that has winter rainfall. Winter (May – August), Spring (September – October), Summer (November – February) and Autumn (March – April).

National Symbols

The South African flag quickly became a national symbol after the fall of Apartheid and the birth of a new country. Other symbols include the National bird: Blue Crane, National animal: Springbok, National fish: Galjoen, National flower: Protea, National Tree: Yellowwood.

Languages

South Africa has 11 official languages, English, Afrikaans, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, Siswati, Tshivenda, and Xitsonga. In 1899, Enoch Sontonga composed the Xhosa hymn ‘Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika is South Africa’s national anthem.

Population

South Africa has a very diverse population. Of the 49m people, Africans are the majority and make up 80% of the population, followed by the white population that makes up approx 4.4m, the coloured population approx. 4.2m, and the Indian/Asian population approx. 1.2m.

Capitals

South Africa has 3 capitals that all have different duties. The Legislative capital being Cape Town, Pretoria being the Administrative capital and Bloemfontein being the Judicial capital.

Animals and Plants

South Africa has been made one of the world’s 18 megadiverse destinations. As a leader in responsible tourism, South Africa has many conservation projects to protect the fauna and flora of the country. South Africa is home to the Big 5, the rhino, elephant, lion, leopard, and the buffalo.

Religions

Approx. 80% of the population is Christian, other religions include Hindus, Muslims, Jews, and Buddhists.

Political System

Since the fall of Apartheid in 1994, South Africa has enjoyed a democratic system of rule, President Jacob Zuma being the current leader of the country as well as of the leading party, the ANC.

Economy

South Africa has had steady economic growth since the early 90’s and is considered an emerging market. The country has a well developed financial sector as well as a very active stock exchange. The country’s central bank is the Reserve Bank.

Currency

The South African currency is the rand. It comes in a range of coins (R1 = 100 cents) and the note denominations being 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200.

Tourism

Since the fall of Apartheid, international tourist arrivals have seen a drastic increase. With a very strong focus on adventure, sport, nature, and wildlife travel, as well as being a pioneer in responsible tourism.

Communications

South Africa has many cell-phone and landline service providers as well as a well developed communication infrastructure. Because of this, internet and WIFI is easily accessible in almost all urban areas.

Water

Tap water is potable, but take bottled water with you when travelling to remote rural areas.

Electricity

Except for a few very rural areas, electricity is supplied everywhere. The supply is 220/230 volts AC 50 HZ.

Airports

South Africa has 3 major airports, O.R Tambo International (Johannesburg), Cape Town International Airport (Cape Town) and King Shaka International Airport (Durban). There are also 90 regional airports spread across the country.

Travel by road and rail

South Africa has a large and well developed road network, which includes national highways and secondary roads. Speed limits are, highways: 120km/h, secondary roads: 100km/h, urban areas: 60km/h.

To use one of our bus services, visit :

Airlines in South Africa

Entry requirements

All foreign visitors, citizens and children over the age of 1 year require a valid yellow fever certificate if travelling from or through an infected area. Contact your local South African diplomatic mission for visa requirements.

Health and safety

There are many world-class private hospitals around the country, especially in the urban areas. Most of South Africa is malaria free, but always check with the game reserve you will be staying at before arrival and take the necessary precautions. Take common sense precautions when travelling.

Safety Tips for Travelling South Africa.

Visiting any new country is a wild and exciting adventure. Whether you’re enjoying the snow in the Alps or the beach in Cape Town, a new city means new experiences. South Africa is most definitely one of those exciting cities. From the hustle and bustle of Jo’burg, to the calm and laid back Mother City, South Africa offers beautiful scenery, wildlife and captivating city skylines.

With most holidays though, safety is essential. Here are some tips to ensure your South African holiday doesn’t turn into a South African nightmare.

Make sure you have a Plan B.

The first thing you should do is make copies of all your important documents. Your passport, itinerary, important travel documents and anything else that has essential information on it. Keep these copies safely locked away in your hotel room safe or stored somewhere secret in your bag or clothes. Theft is always a possibility when travelling, as well as misplacing a bag or backpack.

Have a hidden cash stash.

Money is king. If you don’t want to get caught penniless, stash some of that hard earned cash in a safe spot. Roll some up with your socks, in your pillow case, or just in an envelope in your cupboard. You never know what could happen when exploring, and having some cash always available can be a lifesaver.

Get travel insurance.

Nobody wants to think about their holiday being ruined by a foreign illness, a freak accident, or being robbed, but these things do happen. No matter how safely you play it, sometimes things just go a bit sideways and you end up in a police station reporting a theft, or in a hospital bed. Travel insurance makes sure these things don’t turn your holiday pear shaped.

Nobody wants to worry about an exorbitant hospital bill or having to replace stolen gear, travel insurance has you covered.

Simple car safety.

South Africa is unfortunately home to many poverty stricken people. In some areas crime is a harsh necessity for many peoples survival. Cars are good targets for these criminals as they can make a quick escape while you are stuck in a vehicle.

Be wary when travelling, don’t lean out the window to take photos if there are people around, and keep your door locked. A locked door is more than enough to deter anyone from trying something sneaky.

Taxi services

While you are travelling you are obviously going to want to just jump into the first taxi and see where the drive takes you. Uber and Taxify are two taxi apps that will make that drive enjoyable, affordable and safe. If you haven’t downloaded their apps, you definitely should, and the fact that you can pay with either a credit card or cash means you won’t get stuck anywhere. Your hotel or lodge will also most likely offer a taxi service and having their information at hand means you can always get back to where you started no matter where you end up.

Safety is sometimes overlooked or sometimes too much emphasis is placed on it, either way, being caught off guard can quickly ruin a holiday. Being smart and cautious won’t do anything but ensure you have a backup plan, and using these easy tips will make sure this doesn’t turn into a holiday to forget.

 

That is everything you need to know about this beautiful country, all that is left is for you to get out there and explore. No matter where you end up, or if it’s for a weekend or a month, we are sure you’ll have an unforgettable stay.

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