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Find out more about the South Africa visa and vaccination requirements. Learn about the currency, weather, electricity supply and more.



Although your passport should be valid for at least 30 days at the time of leaving South Africa, it is advisable to have a minimum of six months validity on the date of arrival. Your passport should also have two pages or more blank.


The UK Health Security Agency and FCDO recommends that UK citizens are up to date with routine vaccinations and are inoculated against the following before travelling to South Africa:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Tetanus
  • Typhoid

There is no risk of yellow fever in this country, however, there is a certificate requirement.

You will need to be vaccinated a certain number of weeks prior to departure, check with a health worker as these times vary. Some travellers may need additional vaccinations. Check the TravelHealthPro website for further information.


The currency of South Africa is the Rand; notes come in denominations of R200, R100, R50, R20 and R10. There are 100 cents to the Rand; denominations include 10c, 20c, 50c, R1, R2 and R5.

There are banks easily found in most towns and open from 09:00 to 15:30 on weekdays, with reduced weekend hours.

Cash, bank cards and credit cards are widely accepted, as well as travellers cheques. Cash is obtainable from ATMs. It’s always worth advising your bank and credit card provider of your travel plans to ensure they do not block your card if they notice any unusual spending.


Most roads are generally good quality with tarmacked surfaces. Drive on the left. English language driving licences with a photo and signature should suffice. An International driver’s permit is recommended however. Driving is very straightforward but bear in mind the following important rules:

  • Overtaking The general advice is to keep left, and pass right, provided it’s safe.
  • Roundabouts Also called traffic circles; traffic entering from the right has priority.
  • Seatbelts Are mandatory; children under the age of three must be constrained in a car seat.
  • Mobile phones It is illegal to hold and use a mobile phone while driving.
  • Traffic lights When turning at traffic lights (also colloquially called robots), priority is given to oncoming traffic, even when the light is green.
  • Speed limits 60km/h in urban areas; 100km/h on rural roads; 120km/h on freeways, highways and main roads.
  • Drink Driving You are driving under the influence if your blood alcohol content is over 0.05g per 100ml. That is equivalent to a glass of wine, a beer (over 350ml), or a single spirit shot. The legal breath alcohol level is less than 0.24mg per 1,000ml of breath.

          Many major roads are toll roads, indicated by signs with a large black 'T' on a yellow background. Credit and debit cards that are not issued by South African banks are not accepted so make sure you are carrying cash.

          Eating & Drinking

          Food standards are generally high, especially in hotels, restaurants and bars. Enjoy the fresh fruit, vegetables and excellent meat as you would at home, though exercise common sense when buying street food.

          Water from taps in urban areas is safe though bottled water is popular with visitors especially in rural areas.


          Despite having the sea on three sides, South Africa is a dry country with highs of 28°C in summer. Daytime temperatures in winter can average 18°C.

          The rainy season is summer, especially December-January. During winter, between the months of May and August, there is less grass and fewer water holes so this is the best time for watching game as they congregate to drink.

          Clothing recommendations

          Generally you’ll need lightweight, casual clothing that is comfortable to wear, and a pair of decent walking shoes that will be suitable for most days. For the cooler evenings a warm jacket or fleece is important and you may want a mac or small umbrella in the event of showers.

          A good quality sunhat is important, as well as sunscreen – the sun can be deceptive, even in winter.

          Plug Types & Electricity

          South Africa uses types C, D, M and N. When purchasing a travel plug, make sure it's specifically for South Africa. If it just says 'Africa', the likelihood is that it won't work. An international all-in-one plug will probably have the correct plug. Visit the Electrical Safety First website for more information.

          The South African current is 220/240v.