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Practical information

Passports and visas

For nationals of the European Union, Switzerland and Canada, the passport is compulsory and must be valid 6 months after your return and include at least two consecutive blank pages. You must also be in possession of a return or continuation ticket. For a tourist stay of less than 3 months, nationals of the European Union, Switzerland and Canada are exempt from visa. A 90-day residence permit will be issued at the border upon entry into South African territory.

For Lesotho and Swaziland, no visa is required for a period of less than 30 days. The entry visa will be issued to you free of charge at the border.

With children:

According to local regulations on the entry and exit of minors, foreigners or South Africans, in force since June 1, 2015, all parents are required to present proof of parentage with their children, at the entry as at the exit of the South African territory. This measure applies at any border point in the country.

http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/conseils-aux-voyageurs/conseils-par-pays/afrique-du-sud/#entree

This information is regularly updated, but is given for information only. It is your responsibility to check the formalities necessary for your entry into the country with the competent authorities.

Embassy of South Africa in France:
Open 8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. for visas.
59 quai d’Orsay, 75343 Paris Cedex 7
Tel. : 01 53 59 23 23
Fax: 01 47 53 99 70
Internet: www.afriquedusud.net
E-mail: info@afriquedusud.net

Health

No vaccination is compulsory. However, we recommend that you be up to date against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and poliomyelitis, hepatitis A and B,  measles, and according to the duration and type of the trip against typhoid and rabies.

Other important precautions:

Depending on where you are going to South Africa, treatment for malaria may be advised.

A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travelers from an infected area (the measure also applies to anyone who has transited for more than 12 hours in one of the countries at risk). This vaccination, which does not concern children under one year of age, must have been carried out 10 days before entering South Africa.

These are the following countries:

In Africa: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Togo, Uganda.

Outside Africa: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela.

Any traveler concerned by this obligation of yellow fever vaccination and not respecting it will be refused entry to South African territory by the local authorities.

Yellow fever is highly recommended if you are going to Victoria Falls (beware of the delay, it must be done at least 10 days before departure, or even 3 weeks if possible).

For additional safety, ask your doctor for advice.

National and / or international driving license

If you are on a self-drive or if you intend to rent a vehicle in South Africa, you must have your French license accompanied by an international license. This permit is the official translation of your French permit. You must request it before your departure from France.

Depending on your department of residence, you must contact:

  • your prefecture,
  • or your sub-prefecture,
  • and, if you live in Paris, the driving license office of the Paris police headquarters.

It is your responsibility to check beforehand on the website of your prefecture because not all sub-prefectures are competent to issue the international permit. Please note, in South Africa driving is on the left.

When to leave?

Given its huge area, South Africa has meteorological disparities. The seasons are reversed with respect to the northern hemisphere.

From November to March, it is summer in South Africa, an ideal period to visit the regions of Cape Town and the sides bordered by the Atlantic and Indian oceans. During this period, the provinces of Kwazulu Natal and Mpumalanga become very hot but in April and May, it is the best time to go and discover the wildlife.

From June to August, winter is there with a significant drop in temperatures, early in the morning and in the evening so it is the best time to enjoy a safari.

However, South Africa remains an accessible destination all year round and the best period will depend mainly on the activities you plan to do on site (safari, nautical activities, see whales, etc.).

Time difference

South Africa is 2 hours ahead of the Greenwich meridian (GMT + 2).
In winter, South Africa is an hour ahead of France.
In summer there is no time difference.

Local currency and payments

The monetary unit of South Africa is the Rand (R our ZAR) which is subdivided into 100 Cents.
January 2020:

  • 1 Euro (€) = around 16 Rand (ZAR)
  • 1 Swiss Franc (CHF) = 15 Rand (ZAR)
  • 1 American Dollar (CAD) = 14 Rands (ZAR)

There are coins of: 5, 10, 20, 50 cents and 1, 2, 5 Rands and banknotes of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 Rands. You will have a little reminder to help you recognize the tickets representing Nelson Mandela and the Big Five.

Avoid 200 rands bills because many counterfeits circulate on the market and more and more traders refuse them. You have the right to enter or leave the territory with a maximum sum of 5000 rands.

Payments: Exchange offices are available at all airports. If you make your changes in a bank or exchange office, the commission rates should be more attractive than in a hotel.

International credit cards like Visa or Mastercard are accepted everywhere except for the purchase of petrol at certain service stations. You can withdraw cash from ATMs everywhere and pay in most hotels, restaurants and shops.

Pay attention to the amount of bank charges applied by your bank during your trip to South Africa. Consult your bank before your departure.

Tips:

Tipping is not compulsory but is an important source of income in South Africa, as in many other countries. They depend of course on your satisfaction and your means. To give you an idea of ​​what is usually done in South Africa, we advise you to give the guide and the driver around 5 € per day and per person. Concerning other services such as catering, it is often customary to give around 10% of the amount of the invoice.

Electricity

The electric current operates at 220/230 volts and the sockets are fitted with 3 round plugs. Therefore, do not forget to provide an adapter.

Languages

There are eleven official languages in South Africa: Afrikaans, English, Southern Ndebele, Northern Sotho (Sepedi), Southern Sotho, Swati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu. English remains the language most spoken by the local population because it is taught in schools.   

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