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Fast Facts: South Africa

Below are some of the most common questions from our travelers.

Do I need a passport? What is required for entry?

U.S. citizens must have a passport which is valid for at least 90 days after your return date, though we strongly recommend at least six months. Passports must have at least two blank pages for each entry into South Africa. (You will need four if visiting Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe during your trip.)

U.S. passport holders do not need a visa prior to travel to enter South Africa. Tourist visas will be issued upon arrival for stays up to 90 days. Consult the South African Embassy or the U.S. Dept. of State website for more information.

Booked on one of our packages with Scheduled Dates? If you do not hold a U.S. passport, you are responsible for obtaining any necessary visas and meeting all entry requirements. If a visa is required, we recommend using a fee-based visa service, such as our preferred provider VisaHQ.

Children under 18 must present an original or certified copy of their birth certificate which lists both parents. If the birth certificate is in a language other than English, it must be accompanied by a sworn translation. Children traveling alone, with one parent, or with a third party must have written authorization and copies of the identity documents or passports from the absent parent, as well as other documents. See the information leaflet from the South African government or the U.S. State Department website for more information.

More information about passports & visas.

What is the weather like?

South Africa is very mild throughout the year. Spring is an ideal season for touring, (October). In the mountains, snow is a possibility June through August. November thru February is best for visiting Cape Town. For those planning on viewing animal life, winter is the best time, June through August. The grass is short and animals gather around watering holes.

Check out the current weather conditions in South Africa.

Are there any health precautions I should take?

Consult your doctor about Malaria suppressants if you plan to visit game parks in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, or Kruger National Park. Don't swim in any lakes or rivers without checking with authorities since certain parasites exist. AIDS is also a concern in South Africa.

South Africa requires proof of yellow fever vaccination upon entry for passengers arriving from Zambia, Tanzania and some other countries. Passengers travelling to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe should note that if they choose to visit Zambia during their stay, they may be required to show proof of yellow fever vaccination upon return to South Africa.

Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization

What is the currency?

The currency in South Africa is the rand. Please review the current exchange rate for the rand.

What are the best items to shop for?

South Africa is the best place to buy art from all over Africa due to the value of the rand against most currencies. Gold, diamonds and semi-precious stones are very reasonable, especially in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Shop for beadwork, baskets, rugs, and wood carvings.

What are the voltage requirements?

220/230 volts. Plug M. You will need a voltage converter and plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit before your South African vacation. View more information about electrical standards around the world.

Can I take my cell phone?

See our blog post on using your cell phone abroad.