South Africa is situated at the southern-most part of the African continent. The country is surrounded by the states of Namibia, Mozambique, Botswana and Zimbabwe. The country occupies close to 4% of the total continent’s landmass with a size that is five times bigger than that of Great Britain. South Africa is a great tourist attraction due to its exotic landscape and beautiful culture that attracts visitors. The following is key information that every visitor to South Africa needs to know about .
In order to travel to South Africa, one is required to be in possession of a current passport book. This passport must remain valid for a period of up to 30 days after your departure from South Africa. You also need to have two blank pages in your passport book. These pages will be used by the immigration officials to put the temporary residence permit sticker and also for the stamps confirming your entry and departure from South Africa .
Visitors who will be spending 90 days or less in South Africa are not mandated to have a visa, so are those going to South Africa for sight-seeing, short commercial meetings or travelling through on the way to a different country. If you planning to work, pursue your studies or to stay in South Africa for a period exceeding 90 days, you will be required to have a visa .
Yellow Fever Certification
Visitors from the yellow fever belt like most West and Central African countries as well as some South American countries are mandated to possess a legal International Certificate of Vaccination. The Southern African country enforces firm guidelines concerning yellow fever vaccination. Travelers that are not from the yellow fever belt are also advised to obtain this certificate so as to be on the safer side. Immigration officers may deny one entry if he or she cannot substantiate having been vaccinated. Also, you should have received your vaccination 10 days before travelling to South Africa .
Domestic travel maps
O.R Tambo International Airport links South Africa to the rest of the world through other major airlines. The country also has other international airports that are located in the cities of Durban and Cape Town. There are also various scheduled domestic flights and chartered flights that operate from the safari camps.
Often the South African government through its ministry of foreign affairs has issued travel warning and advisories to visitors so as to ensure their safety during their visit. These travelling warning have centered on terrorism issues. No country is safe from terrorist attacks. These attacks are seen as being targeted towards UK and British nationals from militia affiliated to the insurgents in Syria and Iraq. Visitors are therefore advised to be extra careful and avoid places that are only frequented by these nationals.
The other travel advisory has been that visitors should avoid areas where demonstrations or protests are taking place. These areas can be around universities or government buildings. Crime rates are also high in South Africa. Visitors are advised to avoid isolated areas as well as areas where large crowds gather like sporting events. Foreigners are also cautioned to remain vigilant in and around the airport and also when driving away from the airport. There have been cases of visitors trailed from the airport and then robbed at gunpoint .
The host countries of these visitors through their embassies in South Africa have also often issued travel advisories in a bid to ensure the security of their citizens while in South Africa. In 2015, China, United Kingdom and Australia issued travel advisories to their citizens following xenophobic attacks. The Australian government issued a statement advising its citizens to exercise high levels of caution in South Africa following reported cases of crime and race-related violence in the various towns that it named.
There are many ways that visitors can use to move around while in South Africa. The following are the numerous transportation alternatives that exist in South Africa. Travelling by air is the fastest and most convenient means to get around South Africa. Several local airlines offer affordable costs of air travel. A local flight starting at Cape Town and ending in Johannesburg lasts for 2 hours whereas it would take one 16 hours when using road and 24 hours when travelling via rail to cover the same distance.Visitors also have the option of hiring a car. Cars on hire are relatively cheap and they are a decent mechanism to get about whenever travelling or running errands as you make plans to purchase and register your personal car. Other than renting a car, you can also move within South Africa by use of taxis. Taxis are ordered on demand by calling a few minutes to when you will need it. Taxis that are driving by cannot be hired .
Minibus taxis are another option that can be used to move from one place to another. They are mostly used by the locals and are thus not advisable for tourists and other foreign visitors. They pose various inconveniences to the users especially visitors who are not used to them. For example, they do not set off for the journey once you board them. But instead, the driver has to wait until the bus is full. Most of these minibus taxis are not in roadworthy conditions and often their drivers engage in reckless driving as they compete for passengers with the other minibuses. Commuter trains are also an alternative means of transport. They are safe, punctual and tidy. However, they are not available on most South African routes. Luxury trains also offer a great way to travel in South Africa. Even though they are not cheap and very fast, the experience they present to visitors is worth remembering .
One of the most important yet overlooked factors for foreigners moving to a different country is the issue of time zones. The South African Standard Time (SAST) is two hours ahead of the Coordinated Universal Time. Other African countries besides South Africa that use SAST all year round are Lesotho and Swaziland. When visitors familiarize themselves with the time zone, they will be able to know the date and time when they will arrive to their destinations thus being able to adjust their plans accordingly.
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