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Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT ARE THE VISA REQUIREMENTS FOR SOUTH AFRICA?

To find out if you need a visa to visit South Africa, visit the South African Department of Home Affairs website which provides detailed information on South Africa’s visa requirements.

For nationals of countries requiring visas, your visa application must be submitted ahead of your departure as visas are not issued upon arrival. The visas must be affixed in your passport and shown to an immigration official upon landing.

To apply for a visa before your trip to SA, you will be required to provide particular documentation to meet South Africa’s visa requirements.

These include, but are not limited to:

  1. A passport valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of the intended visit, and at least 1 unused page for entry/departure endorsements (sometimes referred to as the visa page).
  2. Payment of an application fee, if applicable.
  3. A vaccination certificate, if required (travel through the yellow fever belts of Africa and South America requires inoculation)
  4. Proof of financial means in the form of bank statements, undertakings by your hosts in South Africa, or available cash, including credit cards or travellers’ cheques.
  5. If travelling by air, a return or onward ticket.

Take care to request the correct duration of stay and type of visa.  Also, please note your visa’s processing time so that there is no last-minute panic before your trip to South Africa.

Please be aware that Ates Africa is not responsible for assisting with your South African visa. Any information above should be confirmed directly through your nearest embassy. For a guideline on whether your country requires a visa to enter South Africa, please see this downloadable PDF for reference. Please note that Ates Africa is not responsible for any out-of-date information, and travelers should always do their own research before traveling. 

WHAT IS THE WEATHER/CLIMATE LIKE IN SOUTH AFRICA IN WINTER AND IN SUMMER?

It is a known joke amongst the locals that you can experience all four seasons in one day in Cape Town. It can be windy and cold in the morning, and then the sun will shine during the late afternoon. On the other hand, Johannesburg has its warm rainy season in summer but cold and dry winter.

As with any other trip, be prepared for drastic weather changes during your visit to South Africa.

Summer:

From December to March, the weather can change depending on the area. It can range between 22 to 35ºC, but some areas experience strong winds in the late afternoon and temperatures drop to 10 ºC. Other cities near the Indian Ocean can experience high levels of humidity.

Autumn:

From April to May, throughout the country you will experience the beautiful mild and moderate climate, in which temperatures can fluctuate between 9 to 30ºC depending on the area.

Winter:

From June to September, some areas in winter can be dry yet cold, with temperatures ranging between 5 to 25ºC. It is always recommended to wear warm clothes during the winter season.

Spring:

Lasting from September to November, this season is enjoyed by many travelers, with mild temperatures (not too cold but not too hot) ranging between 10 to 30ºC. This season is perfect for lovers of outdoor activities, however this season is not quite beach friendly weather.

WHAT IS THE CURRENCY OF SOUTH AFRICA?

The unit of currency for South Africa is the Rand (ZAR).

For conversion from your currency, please refer to www.xe.com.

WHAT IS THE LANGUAGE IN SOUTH AFRICA?

South Africa, the country well described as the Rainbow Nation, is a country known for it’s multicultural diversity.

Among native black South Africans, there are many different ethnic groups and eleven officially recognised local languages. These are: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu. Fewer than two percent of South Africans speak a first language other than an official one.

The Zulu and Xhosa speakers are the two largest groups – accounting for nearly 40% of the population – with Pedi, Sotho, Tswana, Tsonga, Swati/Swazi, Venda and Ndebele speakers making up the rest. Most locals know English and will communicate with you easily. However, it never hurts to learn a few “local” slang terms or phrases upon arrival.

DO I NEED ANY VACCINATIONS FOR SOUTH AFRICA?

How to avoid malaria

Prevention of malaria relies on adopting personal protection measures designed to reduce the chances of attracting a mosquito bite, and the use of appropriate anti-malarial medication. Both personal protection methods and anti-malarial medication are important, and neither should be neglected at the expense of the other.

PERSONAL PROTECTION MEASURES

Personal protection measures against mosquito bites include spraying appropriate insect repellant containing di-ethyl toluamide (also known as deet), wearing clothing that conceals as much of the body as possible, sleeping under a mosquito net, and spraying your sleeping quarters at night with a suitable pyrethroid containing insecticide. If at all possible, avoid being outdoors at night, since malaria carrying mosquitoes are more likely to bite during late hours.

We strongly recommend visiting your doctor for more clear advice on what type of malaria pill to take.

Anti-malaria tablets

Chloroquine, Proguanil and Maloprim: In certain parts of Africa (north of South Africa), malaria-carrying mosquitos have become chloroquine resistant. Therefore, these drugs are decreasing in their popularity and fewer people are taking them.

Mefloquine (Larium): For many years, Larium has had a “nightmare” reputation. It is a very effective Malaria Prophylactic but it needs to be carefully dispensed, as patients with a history of psychiatric disturbances can get unpleasant side effects during the night.

Malarone: This prophylactic has virtually no side effects and only requires a simple daily dose. It is becoming an increasingly more popular choice for travelers.

This is the Prophylactic that we recommend – but would urge you to check your personal suitability with your doctor prior to travel.

Doxycycline: This is an antibiotic that provides a perfectly good alternative to taking the traditional anti malaria tablets. However, Doxycycline can make you particularly sensitive to the sun, and has documented effects on contraception tablets. Be warned – travelers may return from their holiday with more than just a sun tan!

Vaccinations

South Africa and many of the surrounding countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination upon entry. If you come from yellow fever areas (countries), you need to bring your yellow fever vaccination book.

DO I NEED TO LOCK MY SUITCASE?

Yes, we do recommend that you lock your suitcase, as there have been cases of luggage being opened at the airport. Please keep valuable items in your hand luggage and carry-on bags.

WHAT KIND OF POWER CONVERTER DO I NEED?

South Africa uses Type M power supply plugs. Type M is a “15 A/250 V” version of electric plug D, with the standard voltage of 220/230 volts and frequency of AC 50 HZ. Most plugs are 15 amp 3-prong or 5 amp 2-prong, with round pins. These plugs and converters are widely available and can be purchased upon arrival.

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How many people intend to travel? (required)

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ 1 WHAT ARE THE VISA REQUIREMENTS FOR SOUTH AFRICA?

To find out if you need a visa to visit South Africa, visit the South African Department of Home Affairs website which provides detailed information on South Africa’s visa requirements.

The website gives particulars about which nationals require visas and which are exempt.  Enquiries regarding South Africa visa information can also be obtained from South African missions in your home country, or the one nearest to you.

For nationals of countries requiring visas, application of the visa must be made ahead of your departure as visas are not issued on arrival. The visas must be affixed in your passport and shown to immigration officials on landing.  Applications must be made through South African diplomatic or consular representatives.

To apply for a visa you’ll be required to furnish particular documentation to meet South Africa’s visa requirements.

These include:

  1. A passport valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of the intended visit, and at least 1 unused page for entry/departure endorsements (sometimes referred to as the visa page).
  2. Payment of the prescribed fee, if applicable.
  3. A vaccination certificate, if required (travel through the yellow fever belts of Africa and South America requires inoculation)
  4. Statement and/or documentation confirming the purpose and duration of your visit.
  5. Two identity photographs (guidelines on website).
  6. Proof of financial means in the form of bank statements; salary advices; undertakings by your hosts in South Africa; bursaries; medical cover; or cash available, including credit cards or travellers’ cheques.
  7. If travelling by air, a return or onward ticket; or proof of sufficient funds; or a cash deposit of equivalent value to an air ticket must be lodged.

Take care to request the correct duration of stay and type of visa.  Also check on processing time so that there is no last-minute panic.

FAQ 2 WHAT IS THE WEATHER/CLIMATE LIKE IN SOUTH AFRICA IN WINTER AND IN SUMMER?

It is not really a very accurate weather season, Cape Town could be chilli in summer (15 degrees about)

Johannesburg instead has its warm rainy season in summer but cold and dry winter.

Try to be prepare for weather changes while in your trip.

Summer:

From December to March, the weather can change depending on the area, it can be between 22 to 35ºC), but some areas can experience strong winds late afternoon and temperature drops up to 10 ºC. Other near the Indian Ocean can the high levels of humidity.

Autumn:

From April to May, throughout the country you will experience the beautiful mild and not too hot climate, temperatures can fluctuate between 9 to 30ºC depending on the area.

Winter:

From June to September, some areas in winter can be dry but cold where temperatures can be between 5 to 25ºC. It is always recommended to wear warm clothes.

Spring:

From September to November, many travelers enjoy the most this time of the year, the temperatures becomes mild (not too cold but not too hot), between 10 to 30ºC, perfect for the lovers of the outdoor activities, not beach friendly weather jet.

FAQ 3 WHAT IS THE CURRENCY OF SOUTH AFRICA?

The unit of currency for South Africa is the Rand (ZAR), symbol R.

For conversion to other currency, please refer to www.xe.com.

FAQ 4 WHAT IS THE LANGUAGE IN SOUTH AFRICA?

South Africa, the country well described as the Rainbow Nation because it’s Multicultural diversity.

Among native black South Africans, there are many different ethnic groups and eleven official languages recognised local languages. There are : Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu. Fewer than two percent of South Africans speak a first language other than an official one.

The Zulu and Xhosa speakers are the two largest groups – accounting for nearly 40% of the population – with Pedi, Sotho, Tswana, Tsonga, Swati/Swazi, Venda and Ndebele speakers making up the rest.

FAQ 5 DO I NEED ANY VACCINATIONS FOR SOUTH AFRICA?

How to avoid malaria

Prevention of malaria relies upon adopting personal protection measures designed to reduce the chances of attracting a mosquito bite, and the use of appropriate anti-malarial medication. Both personal protection methods and anti-malarial medication are important, and neither should be neglected at the expense of the other.

PERSONAL PROTECTION MEASURES

Personal protection measures against mosquito bites include the use of an appropriate insect repellent containing di-ethyl toluamide (also known as deet), the wearing clothing to conceal as much of the body as practical, sleeping under mosquito nets, and the spraying of sleeping quarters at night with a suitable pyrethroid containing insecticide, or the burning of an insecticide laden coil. If at all possible avoid being outdoors at night, when malaria carrying mosquitoes are more likely to bite.

We strongly recommend to visit your doctor for more clear advice on what type of malaria pill to take.

Anti-malaria tablets

Chloroquine, Proguanil and Maloprim : Malaria in certain parts of Africa (north of South Africa) have become Chloroquine resistant and therefore these drugs are decreasing in their popularity and fewer people are taking them.

Mefloquine ( Larium) : For many years Larium has taken a bit of beating. It is a very effective Malaria Prophylactic but it needs to be carefully dispensed as patients with a history of psychiatric disturbances can get unpleasant side effects.

Malarone : This prophylactic has virtually no side effects and with a simple daily dose it is becoming increasingly more popular choice for travelers.

This is the Prophylactic that we recommend – but would urge you check your personal suitability with your doctor prior to travel.

Doxycycline : This is an antibiotic and for many people it provides a perfectly good alternative to taking the traditional anti malaria tablets. However, Doxycycline can make you particularly sensitive to sun, and the effects of antibiotics on contraception tablets are well documented. Be warned … travelers may return from their holiday with more than a sun tan!

Vaccinations

South Africa and many of the countries surrounding require proof of yellow fever vaccination for entry. If you come from yellow fever areas (countries) you need to bring your yellow fever vaccination book.

FAQ 6 DO I NEED TO LOCK MY SUITCASE?

Yes, we do recommend that you lock your suitcase, there have beeng cases of open luggage at the airport, please keep valuable on your hand luggage.

FAQ 7 WHAT KIND OF POWER CONVERTER DO I NEED?

Electric power plug M has the official name of BS 546. Type M is a “15 A/250 V” version of electric plug D: 220/230V 50 Hz.