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South Africa

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Currency information

Code ZAR
Symbol Rs
Coins
R1, R2, R5, 5c, 10c, 20c
Banknotes
R10, R20, R50, R100, R200

Expert tip

Book your trip to South Africa during the off-peak season to take advantage of discounted rates. Most travellers book their African safari during animal migration season and pay enormously inflated prices.

ATM access

5/5 stars  there are ATMs everywhere. 

Tipping

Tipping is customary and expected in South Africa. In restaurants and bars, it is expected that you pay a tip of around 10-15% of the total of your bill. Porters in hotels expect a tip of R10 – R20 each time they assist you.

Bargaining scale

2/5 stars – bargaining is acceptable in some places.

Haggling is not customary in South Africa. However, in some touristy marketplaces, the prices are inflated with the expectation that tourists will haggle. Only try to negotiate the price if you genuinely feel it is too high.

Card access

Debit and credit cards are widely accepted in South Africa, although, the international transaction fees are known to be very high. Pay in local currency to avoid hidden conversion fees that can eat into your travel money. Consider using a prepaid currency card to ensure you aren’t wasting your money on hidden fees. Avoid having your cards blocked by informing your bank of your travel plans and dates. If you forget, your international activity may appear suspicious to your bank.

Cost of a coffee

R20.45 (regular cappuccino)

Transport

South Africa offers several options for getting out and about, including bus, taxi, train and hire car. The train tends to be the most appealing for tourists as it covers a wide range of cities and attractions. It also offers economical transport options or more luxurious, spacious accommodation for longer journeys. The Blue Train is South Africa’s most famous train, offering top of the line luxury for an African safari.

Pickpocket security rating

2/5 stars  theft is common.

Pickpocketing and theft are quitecommon in South Africa, particularly in the townships. It is advised that you do not walk the streets at night and, if you can, always travel with someone. Tourists are generally targets of pickpockets, particularly if they are well- dressed and wearing expensive jewellery. Try not to draw attention to yourself and consider leaving non-essential valuables at home.

Scammers and ripoffs

Credit card fraud is known to be an issue in South Africa. When you are using your credit card for transactions, never let it out of your sight and ensure the transaction is performed in your clear view. Also, avoid “helpers” at the ATM, who are just trying to get their hands on your card details.

Departure tax

Any airport or departure taxes are included in the price of your air ticket.

Visa Costs

To enter South Africa for a holiday, Australians and New Zealanders do not require a visa, but do need to have at least six months’ validity on their passport after their planned date of return to Australia. In other circumstances, a visa is required. They are also required to have at least two blank pages in their passport on which the entry permit can be endorsed.

Australian-South African dual nationals need to be aware of the legal requirements pertaining to passports and to travelling with children. If you need more information regarding visas and other travel document requirements for your trip, please ask your travel consultant or visit the Smartraveller website.

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