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South Africa

The country we have been most surprised by in our travels so far, is most likely South Africa. This country is filled with breathtaking landscapes, vibrant cultures, and fascination wildlife. From the iconic Table Mountain to the animal encounters in Kruger National Park, there’s almost nothing that this country does not have. Besides all the famous sights, you will also be showered with culture, unique experiences around every corner and ever-changing landscapes as you cross the country.

 It is a huge country with tons of interesting things to see and do. To help you on your way to plan your trip, we’ve written down all our experiences in our South Africa blog posts. Get ready to immerse yourself in the spirit of this incredible country and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Best Time to visit

South Africa is a year-round destination but the best time depends on what you want to see and do. It’s important to note that South Africa is located in the Southern Hemisphere, so the seasons are opposite to those in the Northern Hemisphere.

The overall best time to visit South Africa is from May to October. During these winter months you can expect more pleasant temperatures and less rain as this period is dry season. It is also the best time for seeing wildlife as there’s less vegetation so you’ll have a better visibility.  

If you want to visit South African cities, it depends on which city you want to visit.

For Cape Town, summer is the best period, from November to March. This period offers warm and sunny weather, perfect for enjoying the city’s beautiful beaches and outdoor activities. However, it’s also the peak tourist season, so expect larger crowds and higher prices. Alternatively, the spring and autumn months (September to October and April to May) offer pleasant weather and fewer tourists.

Johannesburg can be visited at any time. It has a mild and temperate climate throughout the year but the spring and autumn seasons (September to November and March to May) are particularly pleasant. Summer months (December to February) can be hot and humid, while winter months (June to August) can be cool, especially in the evenings.

As South Africa is such a large country, the cities are far apart. That is why there can be a big difference on the weather. Therefore, it is recommended to check the specific city’s weather patterns for your visit.


The official languages in South Africa are Afrikaans, English, Zulu, Xhosa, Sepedi, Swazi, Sesotho, Setwana, Xitsonga, Tshivenda and Ndebele. English is widely spoken and understood, particularly among those working in the tourism industry, government institutions, and businesses.

The official currency in South Africa is South African Rand (ZAR) and you can pay by credit card in bigger restaurants, hotels and shops, but not everywhere. It is therefore always useful to have enough cash with you, also to give tip. Sometimes it is also not possible to pay with the card because of load shedding.

You will find ATM’s in every touristic area and/or major cities where you can withdraw money, but not in the more remote places.

As South Africa is an African country, European roaming charges don’t count. It is therefore best to buy a local SIM card (e.g. at the airport) to be able to use mobile data at low cost.

Most power plug sockets in South Africa are of type D. The standard voltage is 220 V and the frequency is 50 Hz.

The time zone in South Africa is GMT+2.

What is load shedding and why is it important for travelers too?

South Africa is experiencing load shedding. This is when electricity is intentionally cut off in certain areas to balance the limited power supply with high demand. It helps prevent a complete blackout and is done on a rotating schedule. In some places, they use alternative energy sources during these outages. If not, it can affect your schedule, for example when you can cook or charge electrical devices. This is definitely something you should take into account during your visit to South Africa

Capital City

Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria


± 60.000.000


South African Rand (ZAR)


Afrikaans, English, Zulu, Xhosa, Sepedi, Swazi, Sesotho, Setwana, Xitsonga, Tshivenda & Ndebele

Driving side


Calling code


Power plugs


Time zone

GMT +2


Safety in South Africa is an important consideration for travelers. Even though South Africa has a high crime rate, the risk of violent crimes against visitors in the main tourist areas is generally low. While the majority of visits are trouble-free, it’s essential to take precautions to ensure a safe trip. Be particularly alert in major city centers and township areas. Try to avoid traveling after dark and displaying expensive items or large amounts of cash.

Keep an eye on your belongings and be cautious of pickpockets. We never felt unsafe in South Africa, but we have always been careful and have avoided risky situations. To our opinion, South Africa is no more dangerous than any other country, as long as you use your common sense.

Travel tips

Tipping in South Africa is generally expected and customary in many service-oriented industries, including restaurants, cafes, and bars. While tipping is not mandatory, it is considered a common practice to show appreciation for good service.
In restaurants, it’s common to leave a tip of around 10%-15% of the bill. However, some restaurants may include a service charge, so it’s always a good idea to check the bill. If the service charge is already included, an additional tip may not be necessary unless you wish to show extra appreciation.
In hotels, it is common to tip the hotel staff who provide services such as carrying luggage, cleaning rooms, or providing assistance. A small tip of around 10 to 20 ZAR per service is considered appropriate.
At gas stations, petrol attendants will fill up your tank and clean your windshields. If required, they will also check your tire pressure and oil. In this situation it is common to give a tip of 5-20 ZAR.

Haggling is relatively common in certain situations in South Africa, particularly in informal markets, flea markets, and some tourist areas. In these settings, it is often expected and accepted to negotiate prices with vendors. But unlike other countries where haggling is a real thing, here they don’t start with ridiculously high prices to bargain from. It’s always a good idea to approach haggling respectfully and be prepared for both successful negotiations and situations where the price may not be flexible. 

It is safe to drink tap water in bigger cities. In more rural areas, not all tap water is safe for consumption.

In South Africa, the dress code is generally casual.

Tourists are often taken advantage of and get scammed. A few common scams in South Africa are ATM fraud, unofficial guides, pickpockets and street beggars. Always be vigilant about this.

Blogposts about South Africa