Travel Preparation Tips – South Africa

 Travel Preparation Tips - South Africasouth-african-fans I was in South Africa for a conference earlier this year; my trip was a last-minute thing because of the delay by the embassy to issue the visa. I however got to Durban (the host city of Tourism INDABA) and realized that I was far from prepared. It took two hours of painstaking search to get an adaptor to power my laptop which was flat-out of battery. This only complicated everything further as all the necessary information both for my hotel reservation and conference details was contained in the laptop. After going through these rigors I then realized that my post paid phone line wouldn’t roam, I should have prearranged that before leaving Nigeria. Let me not bore you with the long list of nasty surprises that I got because of my lack of preparation/information. I resolved to not let folks go through what I did so in a series of “Travel Preparation Tips” posts, I will be detailing all the necessary information that you will need to have a hitch free trip. So here we go with South Africa. Feel free to share any additional tips you might have ELECTRICITY:

 Travel Preparation Tips - South AfricaTravel-AdaptorThe voltage of electricity in South Africa  is 220/230 volts. Most socket are 3 pin or 2 round pins(like what obtains in Europe), based on this your usual Nigerian three pin plug might not work so you'll consequently require a travel/universal adapter picture to the right. I'll advice to always travel with this adapter as it will more often than not come in handy.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS: The usual practice of prefixing the country code, area code and actual phone number with is obtainable in South Africa. You can get country dialing codes from the internet or telephone directory which is usually available at the hotel. You can also get a 24hour help by dialling 10903.  Numbers starting with "08" are toll free while numbers starting with "0860" will be charged at local call rates. "0861" numbers are charged a fixed rate. The popular local city codes are 041 - Port Elizabeth, 031 - Durban,  021 - Cape Town, 011 - Johannesburg and 012 - Pretoria. TIPPING: This is a common practice in South Africa, it is usually about 10% of the value of the service received. Now this is not compulsory, you do it only out of magnanimity. At car parks, the attendants will usually ask if they can watch over your car for you while you're away. If you agree a two Rand tip is usually adequate. In South Africa, they still have the luxury of Fuel station attendants, then can perform additional tasks like checking tire pressure, oil check and windscreen cleaning, a two Rand tip or more is usually adequate for their service. At the airports or hotels, a five Rand tip would be adequate per piece of luggage. WHAT TO WEAR: South Africans are generally laid back so dressing up might not be a very good idea. During their summer which spans from mid-October to Mid-February, cool and comfortable clothes are advisable rain jacket and umbrella will be handy additions too as it rains a lot in this season. Don't forget your swimming trunks too. Winter spans from May to July, the winter is usually not a harsh as America/European winter but it will be helpful to have adequate worm clothing. A hat and sun glasses can come in handy too as the sun gets really strong despite the season. If you are a business traveler,standard formal dressing will be okay although some sectors like the Media dress down. IF you are going for a game drive(wildlife viewing in the wild), neutrally toned clothing will be adequate. You can have a casual smart outfit if you're going for an evening fine dinning. SOUTH AFRICAN PUBLIC HOLIDAYS 1. New Year Day - 1st January 2. Human Right Day - 21st March 3. Good Friday - Variable 4. Family Day (Monday after Easter) - 5. Freedom Day - 27th April 6. Worker's Day - 1st May 7. Youth Day - 16th June 8. Women's Day - 9th August 9. Heritage Day - 24th September 10. Day of Reconciliation - 16th December 11. Christmas Day - 25th December 12. Day of Goodwill - 26th December Public Holidays that fall on a Sunday are moved to the next Monday. CUSTOMS: Visitors to South Africa are allowed to bring in the following items duty and VAT free; 1. Personal effects like clothing shoes etc 2. Other new or used items not worth more than R3000, additional item worth above R3000 but least than R12,000 will incur a 20% duty. 3. Not more than 2 liters of wine per person above eighteen years 4. Not more than one liter of distilled liquor for person above eighteen years. 5. Not more than 200 sticks of Cigarettes and 20 sticks of cigars for person above eighteen years of age. 6. Not more than 250g of cigarette tobacco/pipe tobacco for each person older than eighteen years old 7. Not more than 50ml of perfume and 250ml of toilet water per person. If you have items within the allowed quantities you can take the green channel(nothing to declare, otherwise take the red channel and declare the excess. When leaving you are allowed to take a maximum of R500, you will have to pay a 20% charge for any amount above R500. YELLOW FEVER ENTRY REQUIREMENT Nigerians are required to have a valid yellow fever vaccination card in order to travel to South Africa. Actually you have to get one if you have transited through a country that s considered to be an infected area. This is based on the International Health Regulations of 2005.A valid vaccination should be administered at least 10 days before departure to South Africa That’s all, please do not hesitate to add any points not mentioned in the comment thread.It will be great if you can share your thoughts on the ones mentioned

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