What you need to know about traveling to – and in - South Africa
Although South Africa has 11 official languages, English is widely spoken.
The Garden Route is a 200km stretch of Southern Cape coastline that starts at Heidelberg, approximately 276km east of Cape Town. It winds through many coastal towns including Mossel Bay, George, Knysna and Plettenberg Bay, and ends at Storms River, 60km east of Plettenberg Bay. The area is serviced by two airports – George Airport at George in the Garden Route, and Port Elizabeth Airport, approximately 200km east of Plettenberg Bay. Both airports offer daily flights to and from South Africa’s main cities.
Cape Town International Airport and Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport are South Africa’s main international airports, serving over 45 international airlines. Keep in mind that all passports must have at least one unused page when presented for endorsements, or entry to South Africa may be refused. Please check with your travel agent if you will require a visa to enter South Africa.
The Garden Route is a malaria-free area, but visitors who enter South Africa from a yellow fever zone must be in possession of a valid international yellow fever inoculation certificate. A large network of private hospitals all offer excellent medial services. Please ensure that you have adequate health insurance to cover unexpected medical expenses.
The tap water in most South African centres meets international safety standards, but please ask your host/guide about the availability of drinking water when traveling through rural areas.
Appliances that are not compatible with South Africa’s 220/230 Volts AC 50Hz electrical system will require a transformer.
The Rand is South Africa’s monetary currency, denoted by the ‘R’ symbol. 100cents make up R1, or one Rand, and foreign currency may be exchanged at local banks and Bureaux de Changes. Most major international credit cards are widely accepted.
Non-residents are permitted to drive in South Africa if they are in possession of a driving licence issued by and valid in their own country, provided it bears the photograph and signature of the holder, and is in English. If your driver's licence does not meet these requirements, an international driver's licence is required. Motorists drive on the left hand side of the road in South Africa, and the wearing of seatbelts is compulsory by law.
South African summers (October – March) are warm and lightweight, cool clothing and beachwear is recommended. A jacket or sweater should be sufficient on cooler summer days and evenings. While the Garden Route experiences many balmy winter days (April – September), warm clothes are needed for early mornings and cold nights.