A few common sense tips and advice on travelling in and around Southern Africa and South Africa. The Garden Route falls outside of the Yellow Fever and Malaria bands, but you may want to extend your trip into one of these areas or you may come to us from an area that is listed for Yellow Fever, so we’ve included this for your convenience.
The so-called Yellow Fever Belt is the name given to a group of countries in Africa and South America in which there is a realistic chance of contracting yellow fever. If your travel itinerary includes one of these countries, your South African visa application has to include certification that you have been vaccinated against yellow fever at least 10 days before departing on your journey. This is because the yellow fever vaccine only takes effect 10 days after it is administered to your body. If you do not obey the 10-day rule, you can be refused access to South Africa by the immigration officer.
CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) maintains a list of the countries within the Yellow Fever Belt
Most of South Africa is malaria free, but not mosquito free! You should most definitely bring mosquito repellent with you. The only area of South Africa where anti-malaria medication is recommended is the very far north east. A malaria map for South Africa can be seen here Map of Malaria Free Area
It’s always best to get advice from a doctor or travel clinic before travelling.
South Africa is an amazing country for a self drive holiday, with new vistas literally around each corner. The country is vast and offers the avid motorist hours of breathtaking driving experiences. Exercise a little common sense, much as you would in any country and you will be hard pressed to find a better place for a self drive holiday.
A few pointers then to keep you safe on your travels.. Try and keep your doors locked whilst driving and ideally do not drive with your windows all the way down and have expensive cameras and mobiles lying on your dashboard within easy reach through an open window.
Most theft is opportunistic and if it can’t be seen, then there is no reason to try and steal it. Certain areas in South Africa like Johannesburg, experience high levels of car related crime, whereas the Western Cape experiences very low levels of car related crime.
Never pick up hitch hikers and always have your route clearly planned. Carry an up to date map of the areas you will be travelling through in the event you need to deviate from your planned route, which can happen with road closures and accidents. When you leave your vehicle for any period of time, ensure the doors are locked and all valuables have been locked in the boot, out of sight.
If you are going to be travelling in remote areas with long stretches between towns, carry a bottle or two of water and blankets in the car. Africa can become very cold in the evenings in certain areas, with snow in the upper lying, mountainous regions and if you become stranded, a blanket can keep you warm until help arrives. Also ensure your mobiles are charged before setting off and have the number of a roadside recovery service programmed into your contacts.
The tap water in South Africa is perfectly safe to drink. Bottled water is widely available if you prefer.
Most of the points below are common sense and would apply to travellers in almost any country across the globe.
Never carry large amounts of cash with you in public. Only take enough for your excursions and leave the rest at your accommodation. Most places have a safe and will happily lock up your valuables for a short while.
Make copies of your travel documents, passports and flight tickets. If you are using Traveler cheques, make a note of the numbers. Again, choose to have these items locked away in a safe where possible or leave them in a secure place in your lodgings.
Don’t wander around wearing all your expensive jewellery, cameras and watches if you can avoid it. South Africa is a poor country and most petty crime is opportunistic so if at all possible, avoid temptation by leaving your “bling” at home when exploring.
Some shops and attractions will only accept cash, especially in rural areas, so ensure you keep a small float of cash on you and only carry a single visa or master card with you. Diners and Amex are not widely accepted in South Africa.