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South Africa Travel Guide
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South Africa Travel Guide

It's hard to match the variety of experiences South Africa offers. Whether your thing is wildlife spotting in nature reserves, kicking back on gorgeous beaches or letting loose in energetic cities, this culturally diverse country won't disappoint.

What you'll find in this guide:

Top things to do in South Africa

Practical info

Facts about South Africa

Getting to South Africa

Getting around South Africa

Top things to do in South Africa

  • Cape Town and Table Mountain half-day tour

    Cape Town and Table Mountain half-day tour

    Explore Cape Town and take a cable-car up Table Mountain, which offers the best views of the bustling city and vast ocean.

  • Chimpanzee Eden and Botanical Gardens tour from Hazyview

    Chimpanzee Eden and Botanical Gardens tour from Hazyview

    Visit the first and only chimpanzee sanctuary in South Africa, ran by the Jane Goodall Institute, then discover the country's largest collection of trees at the Lowveld Botanical Gardens.

  • Full-Day best of the Cape, Cape of Good Hope and Stellenbosch Tour

    Cape of Good Hope and Stellenbosch Tour

    Explore the best of the Cape on this guided tour, including Cape Point, Stellenbosch, Zevenwacht Wine Estate and more.

  • Cape Peninsula full-day tour from Cape Town

    Cape Peninsula full-day tour from Cape Town

    Observe wild animals in the Cape Point Nature Reserve and enjoy spectacular views of the Twelve Apostles.

What time zone is South Africa in?

GMT +2

What currency do they use in South Africa?

South African rand (ZAR)

What languages do they speak in South Africa?

English, Afrikaans and many more

What power adaptors do you need for South Africa?

Type C, D, M and N

What is the average flight time to South Africa?

11hr 30

Some facts about South Africa

South Africa may well be where it all began for us humans. Scientists generally agree that the very first humans probably evolved in eastern or southern Africa, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Gauteng province nicknamed the 'Cradle of Humankind' is home to the largest concentration of human ancestral remains in the world. This paleoanthropological site includes the Sterkfontein Caves, where the famous 2.3-million-year-old fossil 'Mrs. Ples' and the 3.5-million-year-old 'Little Foot' were found.

Fast forward to today and South Africa remains unique in so many way. It has three capital cities – Pretoria, where you'll find the President's official residence, Cape Town, where Parliament sits, and Bloemfontein, home to the Supreme Court of Appeal. It also has a grand total of 11 official languages, recognising the country's cultural and linguistic diversity following years of apartheid that divided the nation. Both Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, in 1984 and 1993 respectively, for their efforts in fighting apartheid and contributing to the country's transition to democracy.

Practical Info

Culture and etiquette


South Africans practice lots of different religions, with various branches of Christianity making up the majority of the religious population.


A tip of around 10% to 15% is usually expected in restaurants.


Smoking is banned in public places like bars, restaurants and public transport.

Jabs, visas and other advice

South Africa has a high crime rate, so it's important for tourists to remain vigilant when they visit the country. We recommend checking the government's website before you go for up-to-date advice on jabs, visas, safety and security.

Emergency numbers

In an emergency, you can call 112. You can also call 10177 for ambulance or fire, 10111 for police, 112 or +22 87 094 9774 for the National Sea and Rescue Institute, and either 10177 or 10111 for Search and Rescue.

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    South Africa Airport Transfers

    Book your South Africa Airport transfers, with free cancellations.

  • South Africa Car Hire

    South Africa Car Hire

    Book your South Africa car hire, with free cancellations.

  • South Africa experiences

    South Africa Ultimate Experiences

    Make the most of your trip and book South Africa's top experiences before you go.

  • South Africa Travel Insurance

    Travel Insurance for South Africa

    You'll want a reliable travel insurance policy for your trip to South Africa.

Getting to South Africa

There are plenty of flights from the UK to South Africa. It takes around 11 hours 5 minutes to fly from London to Johannesburg, and 11 hours 35 to Cape Town.

Getting around South Africa

South Africa is a huge country, so if you wanted to visit multiple towns and cities it makes sense to take an internal flight. Flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town take around 2 hours and 15 minutes, and from Johannesburg to Durban it's 1 hour 10.

Flights can be quite expensive, so another option is to hire a car. Road networks were improved in preparation for the FIFA 2010 World Cup South Africa hosted, so roads between major towns and cities are generally in good condition. But be prepared for a long drive if you go down this route – it takes 14 hours to drive between Cape Town and Johannesburg, but there are plenty of interesting places to stop off along the way.

Public transport can be pretty unreliable, but there are buses and trains in most towns and cities. Taxis aren't cheap but are probably the more reliable option of getting where you need to go.

The Good Trip Index

South Africa ranks 42nd on the Good Trip Index

This score is calculated based on Sustainability, Human Rights, Women's Rights, Press Freedom, Quality of Life, LGBTQI+ Rights and Animal welfare

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