Monday, June 25, 2018 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

Travel Guide to South Africa – A Visitors Guide to South Africa

Located at the Southernmost tip of the African continent, South Africa has very distinct features, including several ecosystems, making it an ideal destination for an assortment of activities such as going on safari or heading to the beaches of the Western Cape. With its many National Parks, mountains and reserves with amazing views, hiking is a very popular activity and lets you enjoy the very best of South Africa up close.

South Africa
Capital
South Africa has three separate capitals! Pretoria is the executive or administrative capital, Cape Town the legislative, and Bloemfontein the judicial.
55.3 MILLION People
South Africa's population reflects diverse origins, cultures, ethnicities, languages, and religions. It continues to work at moving past its history of colonial rule and apartheid.
Main Airport
Cape Town International Airport
This establishment opened its doors in 1954 and today is South Africa’s top ranked airport. Over two dozen airlines fly out of this airport to over 100 destinations worldwide.
When to Go
Best Time
  • Spring: ~24°C (75°F)
    September - October
  • Summer: ~26°C (79°F)
    November - March
  • Autumn: ~21°C (70°F)
    April - May
  • Winter: ~16°C (61°F)
    June - August
Currency
R
Rand
10 Fun Facts
  • • South Africa has the largest economy of any African country.
  • • Cave paintings over 75,000 years old have been discovered here.
  • • After 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela was elected president in 1994.
  • • The Bloukrans Bridge is the highest bridge for bungee jumping in the world.
  • • You can swim with colonies of Jackass penguins at Boulders Beach, Cape Town.
  • • The first human heart transplant was performed in a Cape Town hospital in 1967.
  • • South Africa's coastline stretches over 2500 kilometres (1553 miles) in length.
  • • South Africa is the only country where Mercedes Benz produces right hand drive cars.
  • • South Africa has 11 official languages, including Zulu, Afrikaans, Xhosa and English.
  • • South Africa is the only country to have hosted the Soccer, Cricket and Rugby World Cups.
Basic Phrases
Zulu
  • Hello
    Sawubona
  • Please
    Ngiyacela
  • Goodbye
    Hamba kahle

  • THANKS
    Ngiyabonga
  • English
    Isizulu
Food and Drinks
  • Boerewors
  • Chakalaka and Pap
  • Vetkoek
  • Braai/Shisa nyama
  • Koeksister
  • Samosa
  • Bunny chow
  • Malva pudding
What to Tip
  • 15%
    Waitstaff
  • 15%
    Bartenders
  • 5R - 10R
    Taxi Drivers
  • None
    Porters per bag
  • 10R
    Tour Guides

South Africa's population reflects diverse origins, cultures, ethnicities, languages, and religions. It continues to work at moving past its history of colonial rule and apartheid. The population of South Africa is approximately 55.3 million people. South Africa's currency is the Rand.

South Africa has three separate capitals! Pretoria is the executive or administrative capital, Cape Town the legislative, and Bloemfontein the judicial.

The main airport serving South Africa is Cape Town International Airport. This establishment opened its doors in 1954 and today is South Africa’s top ranked airport. Over two dozen airlines fly out of this airport to over 100 destinations worldwide.

South Africa experiences four seasons.

  • Spring: September - October. Average temperature is ~24°C (75°F).
  • Summer: November - March. Average temperature is ~26°C (79°F).
  • Autumn: April - May. Average temperature is ~21°C (70°F).
  • Winter: June - August. Average temperature is ~16°C (61°F).

Visitors will want to be sure they don’t miss these top tourism attractions in South Africa.

Here are some interesting and fun facts you may not know about South Africa.

  • South Africa has the largest economy of any African country.
  • Cave paintings over 75,000 years old have been discovered here.
  • After 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela was elected president in 1994.
  • The Bloukrans Bridge is the highest bridge for bungee jumping in the world.
  • You can swim with colonies of Jackass penguins at Boulders Beach, Cape Town.
  • The first human heart transplant was performed in a Cape Town hospital in 1967.
  • South Africa's coastline stretches over 2500 kilometres (1553 miles) in length.
  • South Africa is the only country where Mercedes Benz produces right hand drive cars.
  • South Africa has 11 official languages, including Zulu, Afrikaans, Xhosa and English.
  • South Africa is the only country to have hosted the Soccer, Cricket and Rugby World Cups.

Don't leave your electronics at home. Here are the best South African travel apps you'll want to download to your iPhone or Android device before your visit.

For a real South Africa experience, you need to try these iconic foods and drinks. Some are traditional South African dishes while others have been "borrowed" from immigrants and neighbors.

  • Boerewors
  • Chakalaka and Pap
  • Vetkoek
  • Braai/Shisa nyama
  • Koeksister
  • Samosa
  • Bunny chow
  • Malva pudding

Work off that amazing food, enjoy the great outdoors, or just try something new. These favorite South African activities let you get out and enjoy the country the way the locals do.

Every country has its own ideas of who should be tipped and how much. Nobody wants to overtip or, worse, be considered a rude guest. Here’s what to tip in South Africa.

  • Waitstaff – 15%
  • Bartenders – 15%
  • Taxi Drivers – 5R - 10R
  • Porters per bag – None
  • Tour Guides – 10R

From casual comfort to luxury accommodations, South Africa has plenty of great hotel choices for you to relax and unwind.

  • The Last Word Franschhoek – South Africa’s epicurean capital. Its valley, steeped in the rich tradition of wine-making exemplifies this region’s heritage as the French corner of the Cape.
  • The Westin Cape Town – Memorable experiences await you at the Westin Cape Town. Enjoy our with unique views over the V&A Waterfront and Table Mountain.
  • Schoone Oordt – Schoone Oordt Country House is a charming country hotel in Swellendam South Africa, possibly the best of Swellendam accommodation.
  • South Beach Camps Bay – With its Miami inspired look and feel, this hotel offers the perfect blend of self catering accommodation in a 5-star hotel, allowing you to enjoy the best of both worlds.
  • Hilton Durban – The Hilton Durban is an iconic landmark hotel offering superior accommodations in a supreme location near the Durban International Convention Center.
  • Hilton Durban – In a converted waterfront warehouse dating from 1904, this ultra-chic hotel has views over Alfred Basin and the city centre to Table Mountain.

South Africa is blessed with amazing beaches, that are a powerful draw for locals as well as visitors. From whale watching to sunbathing to surfing, the coasts are extremely popular. South Africa also offers great shopping, casinos, and cultural activities from live events to fashion to wine-tasting. There truly is something for everyone in the diverse country of South Africa.


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