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Time Zone


Time difference = GMT +2.


Currency


The monetary unit in South Africa is the Rand (R) = 100 cents, with the international symbol ZAR. The current rate of exchange is 1 USD = ZAR 7.30. The currency exchange is subject to fluctuations and thus just an indication. Most credit cards (VISA, MasterCard, American Express) and travellers cheques in major currencies are accepted. Petrol/gasoline cannot be purchased with standard credit cards.


Electricity


220/250 V AC, 50 Hz. Plugs are of the round 3-pin variety. Bathroom plugs have two pins.


Water


Drinking water from taps is safe in towns and hotels.


Language


English is widely spoken throughout the country, although there are 11 official languages. English is commonly accepted as the business/commercial form of communication. Royal African Discoveries can provide guides in languages of your choice on request for private tours. Most common non-English languages available are: French, Spanish, Dutch, Mandarin, German, Italian and Cantonese.


Immunisation


No international immunisation is required when visiting South Africa. Malaria risks exist throughout the year in certain areas and precautionary action is advised when visiting these areas. For further information on what medical precautions to take before travelling to Africa, please visit www.travelclinic.co.za.


Climate


South Africa's climate is generally mild throughout the year with summer from October until March and temperatures between 15C/59F and 36C/97F. Winter temperatures vary between 2C/36F and 15C/59F. Rainfall occurs in winter months in the Cape and along the Garden Route, between Port Elizabeth and Cape Town; the rest of the country experiences summer rainfall.


Trading Hours


Shops are generally open from 08.30 to 17.00 Monday to Friday, and generally closing at 12.30 on Saturdays. In tourist areas shops are often open later during the week as well as over weekends.

Banks are open from 09.00 to 15.30 from Monday to Friday and on Saturday's from 08.30 to 11.00.


Taxis


Taxis cannot be hailed on the street and must be ordered by telephone.


Tipping


For service is standard and any tip is normally welcome but 10% is a good guideline. Tips are not included on restaurant bills.


Safety & Security


It is advisable to follow internationally accepted guidelines:

  1. Leave valuables in a hotel room safe or safety deposit facility
  2. Only carry as much cash as is necessary
  3. Don't enter deserted or unsafe-looking areas
  4. Ensure that you have appropriate insurance cover

Visas


Please consult your local embassy/consulate on visa requirements.


Taxation


14% VAT (Value Added Tax) is levied on goods and services. Foreign Tourists can have their VAT refunded at a port of exit, provided the value of items purchased exceeds ZAR 500.00 Proof of payment will be required for claims. No refund on services.