Destinations

South Africa safari FAQs

SOUTH AFRICA FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

South Africa has a huge amount to offer anyone look for a wildlife safari experience, beach getaway, family holiday, cultural experience and more. If you have some burning questions on South Africa, have a read through our frequently asked questions below.

  • What is the accommodation like in South Africa?

    South Africa plays home to some of the most luxurious lodges in Africa. Here you can find beautifully traditional safari lodges in the middle of the bush, some with rooms each with their own plunge pool and deck.

    There are stunning boutique hotels and intimate guesthouses, and even some incredible farms and country houses.

    Please see our South Africa accommodation section for more details.

  • When's the best time to go?

    South Africa is a year round destination, so the best time to go will depend on where you want to go and what you want to see.

    The game viewing is at its best between June and October, at this time the vegetation isn’t too think so the wildlife has fewer places to hide. In private reserves, the game viewing is good all year round. Birding is at its best in October (when the intra-African migrants arrive) and November (when the palaeoarctic migrants arrive). For marine enthusiasts looking to spot whales, southern right whales can be seen mid-June to October and humpback whales can be seen from August to December. Or if you fancy diving (possibly shark cage diving!), the best time is April to September.

    For more details, head to our When to Go Guide for South Africa.

  • What currency should I bring?

    The local currency is South Africa is the South African rand which can be broken down into 100 cents.

    Upon entry to and exit from South Africa, you are required to declare all foreign currency in any form. We suggest you change your money as and when required, there are lots of facilities to do so in hotels and lodges.

    All major credit cards are usually accepted, however some form of identity may be required.

  • Can I do a self drive in South Africa?

    There are lots of different ways to travel South Africa, and self-drive is definitely one of them.

    South Africa is a great destination for a self-drive safari. Similar to Namibia, the infrastructure is good, the roads in good condition and the areas well signposted in English. A self-drive will give you flexibility which is fantastic if you have a family with you.

    If your driving licence is printed in English with a photo, you will not need an international license.

    Take note that in South Africa they drive on the left hand side of the road and give way to the right. Overtaking on the inside, or ‘undertaking’, is not illegal in South Africa, it is common practise, so make sure you beware of cars on the inside when changing lanes. There are a number of toll stations; these are clearly signed before you reach them.

    The major roads and highways are in excellent condition. The more rural roads can be bumpy and a little less cared for. You must beware of wildlife on the roads.

  • Is South Africa good for families?

    South Africa is an excellent destination for families. There are malaria-free game reserves where you stand a good chance of seeing the Africa "Big 5" which can easily be combined with exciting activities in Cape Town.

    Please read our South Africa Family Safaris page for more details. You must bear in mind that care must be taken with young children on safari. Some accommodations are more child friendly than others, we can arrange for you to stay at the best possible accommodation for your family.

  • What languages are spoken in South Africa?

    English is widely spoken throughout South Africa. South Africa boasts 11 official languages; however the major languages are still English and Afrikaans.

    The other 9 languages are African; Zulu, Tswana, Tsonga, Northern Sotho, Southern Ndebele, Xhosa, Sotho, Swati and Venda.

  • What is a Township?

    During the time of the apartheid, black South Africans were forced to live in segregated areas or towns. These areas came to be known as townships.

    Townships still remain today, despite the apartheid ending, and struggle with poor housing, poverty and overcrowding. It is possible to go and visit townships during your South African holiday, a great way of truly experiencing the energy and optimism of this fascinating country.

    A popular township to visit is Soweto (South Western Township) which is thriving with 48 schools and a huge population. Many townships are not as large as this, but all seem to have the same kind of community vibe.

  • How do I travel in South Africa?

    South Africa has a fantastic infrastructure and lots of different ways to travel. You can enjoy a self-drive safari, fly, or even travel on a luxury train.

    Similar to Namibia, South Africa is fantastic for self-drive safaris, which are great value for money and offer wonderful flexibility. Driving between destinations can be great fun and very adventurous. When you are actually on a wildlife safari, you would usually join a guide with their vehicle. Guides are well trained in spotting signs of wildlife and explaining why things are just so, so this can really enhance your experience. It is possible to drive yourself in Kruger and Addo National Parks.

    If you don’t want to drive yourself, we can arrange for you to have your very own private guide and vehicle.

  • What is the weather like in South Africa?

    Summers (from October to April) are hot and the nights can come alive with exciting big thunderstorms.

    During the day the weather is hot and the sun strong, making this a great time to visit if you are looking for beach time or bird watching. The winters, from May to August, are a bit cooler, averaging at about 15 degrees per day. This is the preferred time for wildlife watching, but the temperatures at night can drop to 0 degrees, so you need to make sure you have warm clothes for the evenings.

  • Is tap water safe to drink?

    The tap water in South Africa is safe to drink and to cook with throughout the country.

    It is possible to purchase bottled water throughout South Africa if you so desire.

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