Fact file: South Africa.

Did you know?
The word for 'traffic light' in South Africa is 'robot'.
Language
There are 11 official languages: English, Afrikaans, seSotho, isiXhosa and isi Zulu are most common. Forms and other documents are usually printed in English and Afrikaans.
Visas
Not required for British citizens; entry permit valid for up to 90 days.
Getting there
There are direct flights from the UK to Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.
Flying time from London
11-12 hours
Getting around
With excellent roads but limited public transport, South Africa is geared towards car travel. There are long-distance buses and trains between major towns, but local buses are limited in all but the largest cities - and tend to stop running shortly after the evening rush hour.
Currency
Rand
Costs
Bottle of beer 50p; roll of camera film £2.40; moderately-priced restaurant meal £7.50; litre of petrol 24p; four-mile taxi ride £4-6. All prices may vary.
Weather
Cape Town and the Western Cape have a Mediterranean-type climate, with temperatures up to 80F (26C) in summer and mild, changeable, wet weather from May-September, 42F-63F (6C-18C). The Durban and the KwaZulu-Natal coast enjoy a sub-tropical climate: hot, thundery and humid December-January, dry and sunny June-August with temperatures in the 70s. The highveld in the interior follows a similar pattern, with less rain.
Time difference
Two hours ahead of GMT
International dialling code from the UK
00 27
Voltage
220/250V, 50Hz AC. Sockets take round three-pin plugs, so adaptors are necessary for British appliances.
Opening hours
Rather limited in most places, though Cape Town is like other Western cities. Shops close at 5pm on weekdays and by lunchtime on Saturday, and bars tend to close by 11pm except in the major cities. Outside the cities it's difficult to get a drink without a meal on a Sunday.
Health - Before you go
Vaccinations are not required but typhoid, polio, hepatitis A and anti-malaria tablets (depending on area) are recommended. Take out adequate travel insurance to cover health costs as medical care is expensive.
Health - When you are there
Dial 10177 for an ambulance. The public health system is underfunded, overcrowded and not free. With adequate insurance you should head to a private hospital or clinic, which are generally excellent, and doctors can be recommended by your hotel or consulate.
Warnings
Dangerous creatures include snakes and ticks, which can spread typhus or tick-bite fever and are mostly in scrubland. Crime rates in cities are soaring and special care should be taken at night. Although the majority of locals are welcoming, it's advisable to visit townships in the company of a trusted guide.
Emergency
Dial 10111 for police, 10177 for an ambulance. British High Commissions: Cape Town, 91 Parliament Street, Cape Town 8001, Tel. 21 461 7220. Pretoria, 255 Hill Street, Arcadia 0083. Consular Section: Liberty Life Place Block B, 1st Floor, 256 Glyn Street, Hatfield 0083 Postal Address: PO Box 13611/13612 Hatfield 0028. Tel. 12 4831200/12 3422200.
Customs
When driving on a two-lane road, pull into the emergency lane to let faster vehicles pass.
Pets
Animals returning to the UK will be subject to quarantine restrictions.
Tipping
Pretty much a necessity due to the very low wages that workers receive. Around 10-15% is usual.
Tourist office
South African Tourism, 6 Alt Grove, Wimbledon, London, SW19 4DZ. Tel. 08701 550044 for enquiries and brochure requests.


Telephone

+44 (0) 203 696 2870

Mon – Fri 8:30am – 5:30pm

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