Information to International Delegates
INFORMATION FOR INTERNATIONAL VISITORS TO SOUTH AFRICA
ELECTRICITY / PLUGS IN SOUTH AFRICA
A typical SA plug would look like:
It is strongly advised that visitors to South Africa buy a plug adaptor at the airport on arrival in South Africa.
Alternatively the organisers will have some SA / International adaptors available for sale at the conference.
CAR HIRE IN SOUTH AFRICA
This website will give visitors to South Africa all the information they will need when hiring cars in this country.
Buses and trains
South Africa is well served by an extensive and well-maintained road network, but it’s a big country so if you’re not used to driving long distances, travelling by bus or train may be a better idea than hiring a rental car.
There are several private bus companies in South Africa, most of
which travel a variety of national routes, as well as offering charter services. Check out:
- Citiliner: Book on your mobile phone by dialing
*120*GoByBus#call. Customer care 011 611 8000.
- City to City: phone bookings and info 0861 589 282.
- Eldo Coaches: travels between Johannesburg and Durban
via Lenasia, Heidelburg, Harrismith, Estcourt and Pietermaritzburg. Contact 011 859 1933/31.
- Greyhound: Online bookings. Book via your mobile phone by visiting m.greyhound.co.za. Customer care 083 915 9000.
- Intercape: An extensive network throughout South Africa as well as other African routes, including Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia. Online bookings. 24-hour customer care 0861 287 287.
- SA Roadlink: Seven major routes, covering most of the country. Online bookings. Contact 011 333 2223.
- Translux: offers more than 20 routes (100 destinations) in South Africa, as well as to other Southern African countries. Phone bookings and info 0861 589 282.
For backpackers, there’s the Baz Bus, a hop-on, hop-off service between Johannesburg/Pretoria and Cape Town; Cape Town and Durban; and Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. Buses are 19-seaters and can carry surfboards and bicycles. Calls within South Africa: 0861 229 287. International callers: +27 (21) 422 5202.
If you want to go upmarket, Compassline Africa offers tailor-made, personalised tours in luxuriously equipped Mercedes buses with a maximum of 12 spacious seats.
Spoornet is the parastatal railway that covers the routes between the major cities. Its long-distance passenger service, known as the Shosholoza Meyl, is by no means luxurious or fast, but it’s comfortable, clean and safe, and offers a relaxed way to see parts of the country. The train travels between Johannesburg and Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, East London, Komatipoort and Musina. The tourist class has sleeper cars for two (coupé) or four people (compartments). Contact 086 000 8888.
Premier Classe, the upmarket service operated by Spoornet, travels between Johannesburg and Cape Town, and Johannesburg and Durban every week. Trains are air-conditioned, and offer single-berth coupés, two-berth coupés and family compartments. Fares include bedding and meals. Contact 011 773 9247.
- African Sun Service offers an independent online booking service for train travel.
- For detailed information, reviews and schedules, see Seat61’s overview.
For real luxury, you have to try one of the world’s most luxurious railways, the Blue Train, which runs between Cape Town and Pretoria, a 27-hour journey of 1 600km, through diverse and spectacular scenery.
Another classic upmarket option is Rovos Rail, which operates beautifully restored, spacious carriages, which are drawn by steam locomotives at the start and end of each trip. Old Edwardian carriages are available for charters.
Passionate independent operators work hard to keep the romance of steam train travel a reality in South Africa. Friends of the Rail is operated by enthusiasts and is committed to preserving South Africa’s steam train and coach heritage. Its vintage steam train runs fairly regularly from Pretoria to Cullinan, an historic diamond village. Their “Tshwane Xplorer” trip travels around Pretoria.
Atlantic Rail runs day trips along the beautiful Cape Peninsula, usually from Cape Town to Simon’s Town. The steam locomotive is a 1949 Class 49 steam loco, and the vintage coaches date from 1922 to 1938. One of the coaches is a lounge car with a full cash bar service.
For another short scenic trip, don’t miss the Umgeni Steam Railway, located near Durban. Run by volunteers, the 100-year-old steam engine carries passengers through the Valley of a Thousand Hills. The service usually runs on the last Sunday of every month.
Unfortunately, the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe, which travelled along the picturesque Garden Route coastline, no longer runs as the railway line was damaged in floods in 2006 and Transnet, its owner, says it does not have the funds required to repair it.
The Gautrain is a suburban rapid rail service, linking Johannesburg (Sandton) and OR Tambo airport, as well as Johannesburg (central and Sandton) to Pretoria. It’s new, efficient and safe – and an excellent way to travel between Joburg and the airport, the journey taking less than 15 minutes.
Although Johannesburg’s suburban trains, operated by Metrorail, are generally not considered safe, commuters are better served in Cape Town. It’s a pleasurable way to travel to Stellenbosch and Paarl, or to enjoy the view between Muizenberg and Simon’s Town as the railway hugs the rocky shoreline.
See Cape Metrorail for schedules and fares.
Cell Phones / Mobiles
If you wish to avoid paying excessively high international roaming rates, you can purchase a South African Prepaid Sim Card. Prepaid SIM cards offer you the benefits of using your own phone at local rates. Simply replace your SIM card with a prepaid South Africa SIM card and you will be set up to make all those important phone calls and send quick messages across the world. Prepaid SIM cards should be purchased at the airport OR International Airport.
BANKING IN SOUTH AFRICA
Below is a list of the banks in South Africa – there are branches of the following locally controlled banks in all of South Africa’s main centers. In the smaller centers most of the following banks have local small branches and ATMs (automatic telling machines – cash dispensing machines)
- First National Bank
- Standard Bank
Locally-controlled banks in South Africa are
- First National Bank
- Absa Bank
- African Bank Limited
- Bidvest Bank Limited
- Capitec Bank Limited
- FirstRand Bank – A subsidiary of First Rand Limited
- Grindrod Limited
- Imperial Bank South Africa
- Investec Bank Limited
- Nedbank Limited
- Sasfin Bank Limited
- Teba Bank Limited
- Standard Bank of South Africa
Foreign-controlled banks in South Africa
- Barclays Africa Group
- Albaraka Bank Limited
- Habib Overseas Bank Limited
- Habib Bank AG Zurich
- Mercantile Bank Limited
- South African Bank of Athens Limited
Branches of foreign banks
- Bank of Baroda
- Bank of China
- Bank of Taiwan
- BNP Paribas
- Calyon Corporate and Investment Bank
- China Construction Bank Corporation
- Citibank N.A.
- Deutsche Bank AG
- JPMorgan Chase Bank
- Société Générale
- Standard Chartered Bank
- State Bank of India
- Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation
- Royal Bank of Scotland
Foreign Bank Representatives
- AfrAsia Bank Limited
- Banco Africano de Investimentos
- Banco BIC
- Banco BPI SA
- Banco Espirito Santo e Comercial de Lisboa
- Banco Santander Totta S.A.
- Bank Leumi Le-Israel BM
- Bank of America
- Bank of Cyprus Group
- Bank of India
- Barclays Bank Plc
- Barclays Private Clients International Limited
- Commerzbank AG Johannesburg
- Credit Suisse AG
- Export-Import Bank of India
- Fairbairn Private Bank (Isle of Man) Limited
- Fairbairn Private Bank (Jersey) Limited
- First Bank of Nigeria
- First City Monument Bank Plc
- Hellenic Bank Public Company Limited
- HSBC Bank International Limited
- ICICI Bank Limited
- Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
- KfW Ipex-Bank GmbH
- Lloyds TSB Offshore Limited
- Mauritius Commercial Bank Limited
- Millennium BCP
- National Bank of Egypt
- Royal Bank of Scotland International Limited
- Société Générale
- Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation
- The Bank of New York Mellon
- The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Limited
- The Export-Import Bank of China
- The Royal Bank of Scotland N.V.
- UBS AG
- Unicredit Bank AG
- Union Bank of Nigeria Plc
- Wells Fargo Bank
- Zenith Bank Plc
INNOCULATIONS, MEDICAL CARE, DRINKING WATER ETC
If you’re an adult, you won’t need any inoculations unless you’re travelling from a yellow fever endemic area (the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America), in which case you will need certification to prove your inoculation status when you arrive in South Africa. It is recommended that you have the required inoculations four to six weeks before you travel to South Africa. A yellow fever inoculation certificate only becomes valid 10 days after inoculation – after which it remains valid for 10 years. Hepatitis B inoculations are recommended for children up to the age of 12 who have not completed the series of injections as infants. Booster doses for tetanus and measles can also be administered.
Medical facilities in cities and larger towns are world-class, offering specialist services by highly skilled professionals. Doctors are well trained and must be registered with the Health
Professions Council of South Africa.
You will find that in rural areas the clinics and hospitals deal with primary health needs, and may not offer the range of medical care that the large metropolitan hospitals do. Trained medical caregivers are deployed round the country, so help is never far away.
Provincially run emergency services are supplemented by a privately operated services, which attend to roadside and other emergencies, transporting patients in well- equipped ambulances and emergency vehicles to appropriate hospitals.
Pharmacies are well stocked, and equivalents to most international medicines are available.
Pharmacists may not dispense Schedule 3 drugs and up without a prescription, so visitors on chronic medication should carry their own prescription. It is a good idea to take out comprehensive medical insurance before travelling to South Africa as private medical care can be expensive.
We have a warm sunny climate and pollution and ozone layer damage has led to extremely high UVA and UVB penetration over South Africa. Protecting yourself against the harsh sun with sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses is essential – especially between 10am and 4pm, and regardless of whether there is cloud cover or not.
You can still get sunburned even if you have a dark complexion – especially if you are from a cooler climate and have not had much exposure to the sun.
Use the highest possible UV protection It is the UVA rays (that don’t cause burning) that you are trying to block out. Ideally you should aim for an SPF of 30 or more to offer protection.
Can I drink the water?
High-quality tap (faucet) water is available in South Africa’s urban areas, but not all water in rural areas is safe to drink straight from the tap.
In some areas, the water is mineral-rich, and you may experience a bit of gastric distress for a day or two until you get used to it. Bottled mineral water, both sparkling and still, is readily available in most places.
Drinking water straight from rivers and streams could put you at risk of waterborne diseases – especially downstream of human settlements. The water in mountain streams, however, is usually pure and wonderful.
In the Cape, particularly, the water contains humic acid, which stains it the colour of diluted Coca-Cola – this is absolutely harmless, and the water is wonderful. You may also find this colouring in tap water in some areas. It’s fine – it just looks a bit weird in the bath.
The responsibility to provide clean water rests with local water services authorities, which regularly monitor the quality of drinking water. They are rated by the Department of Water Affairs according to the Blue Drop Certification System.
Find out about the quality of the water of the area you plan to visit
See South Africa’s tap water ‘word class’
Do I need to take malaria tablets?
Many of the main tourist areas are malaria-free, so you need not worry at all. However, the Kruger National Park, the Lowveld of Mpumalanga and Limpopo, and the northern part of KwaZulu-Natal do pose a malaria risk in the summer months. (Transmission is seasonal, with peak rates of infection
occurring in April and declining by June.) Many local people and some travellers do not take malaria prophylaxis, but most health professionals recommend you do. Consult your doctor or a specialist travel clinic for the latest advice concerning malaria prophylaxis, as it changes regularly.
Whether you take oral prophylaxis or not, avoid being outside at night as far as possible as the anopheles mosquito, which carries malaria, operates almost exclusively after dark. Always use mosquito repellent, wear light-coloured long pants, long-sleeved shirts and closed shoes at night, and sleep under a mosquito net in endemic areas. Also use an insect repellent and electronic vaporising mats or burning insecticide coils are also helpful. It is advisable to avoid malarial areas if you are pregnant.
As in other countries, always take precautions when having sex. South Africa has one of the highest rates of HIV in the world.
See South Africa’s HIV/Aids battle plan
Other health issues
Tuberculosis is an infectious disease, spread through the air when a person with untreated TB coughs or sneezes. But prolonged exposure to a person with untreated TB usually is necessary for infection to occur.
Bilharzia can be a problem in some of the east-flowing rivers, but it is easily detected and treated if it is caught early. Perhaps it would be a good idea to have a routine test a month or two after you get home – just to reassure yourself.
Ticks generally come out in the early spring and may carry tickbite fever, which is easily treated. Take precautions against being bitten.
You should also be aware of hepatitis, for which you can be inoculated.
SAinfo reporter and South African Tourism
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A citizen who is a holder of a national passport of the following countries is not required to hold a visa in respect of an intended stay of 90 days or less and when in transit:
- African Union Laissez Passer
- Chile (only ordinary passport holders)
- Czech Republic
- Trinidad & Tobago (only ordinary passport holders)
- BritishIslands Bailiwick of Guernsey and Jersey, Isle of Man. British Oversees Territories namely:
- Anguilla, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Flakland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, St Helena and Dependencies (Ascension Island , Gough Island and Tristan da Cunha), Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands, the Sovereign Base Areas of Cyprus South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and the Turks and Caicos Island.
- United States of AmericaUruguay
- Zambia (90 days per year)
SOUTH AFRICAN CURRENCY EXCHANGE RATES
South African Rand ( Top 10 )
Currency Name 1 Rand in Rands
- British Pound 0.0555 18.01
- Euro 0.0704 14.21
- Swiss Franc 0.0846 11.82
- American Dollar 0.0871 11.49
- Canadian Dollar 0.1 10.03
- Australian Dollar 0.105 9.548
- Chinese Yuan Renminbi 0.538 1.86
- Russian Ruble 4.73 0.2112
- Indian Rupee 5.4 0.1852
- Japanese Yen 10.4 0.0964
- South Africa, Rand
The South African Rand is the currency of South Africa. Our currency rankings show that the most popular South Africa Rand exchange rate is the ZAR to USD rate. The currency code for Rand is ZAR, and the currency symbol is R.
Name: South African Rand
Symbol: R Cent: c
1/100 = Cent
Freq Used: R1, R2, R5, 5c, 10c, 20c
Freq Used: R10, R20, R50, R100, R200
South African Reserve Bank
As a trading center, multiple currencies circulated throughout South Africa. The first official currency used was the Guilder. During the late 17th century, the Rixdollar was used and was the first South African currency to include paper notes. During British occupation, in 1826, the Cape Colony was put on a sterling basis, though other currencies, including Spanish Dollars, US Dollars, French Francs, and Indian Rupees continued to circulate. In 1921, the Reserve Bank of South Africa was established as the central bank. In 1961, the South African Rand replaced the Pound under a decimalized system. The ratio was 2 ZAR to 1 GBP.