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 should contain at least 2 blank pages and be valid for at least six months after your return date. Passports expiring before then should be renewed as soon as possible.

Many countries also require a travel visa for entry. Some countries issue visas upon arrival, but in most cases, you need to obtain visas prior to travel. Airlines and cruises may deny boarding and your tour may be disrupted if your visa is not in order.

For U.S. citizens booked on a tour or package with Scheduled Dates, we will send you complete visa instructions and application forms after you book.

If you hold a passport from another country, or are not booked on a tour with Scheduled Dates, you are responsible for meeting all entry requirements and obtaining a visa, if required. If so, we recommend using a fee-based visa service, such as our preferred provider VisaHQ.

Minors (under 18) visiting South Africa are required to present an unabridged birth certificate, parental consent affidavit and other documents. If the Unabridged Birth Certificate is in a language other than English, it must be accompanied by a sworn translation issued by a competent authority in the country concerned. To view these requirements, visit the U.S. State Department website and click on the Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements section.

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.

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