South Africa is 1 233 404km² in size and is edged on three sides by nearly 3 000 km of coastline, with the Indian Ocean to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. South Africa has three capitals, nine provinces and eleven official languages.
Cape Town is home to the world famous Table Mountain and Robben Island. With an international airport and busy port, the city is a bustling metropolis that is particularly popular with international travellers for its cultural mix, urban sophistication and stunning scenery.
Visitors’ visas are required for international travellers (citizens of other countries) who have permanent residence outside of South Africa and who wish to visit the country on a temporary basis, for tourism or business purposes, for a period of 90 days or less.
Please visit the website of the South African Department of Home Affairs, listed below, which provides general information about South African visas: www.dha.gov.za
Requirements for visitors’ visas differ from country to country and the requirements are subject to change.
Please visit the website below, which provides a list of passport holders, who are exempt from visas for South Africa:
Each application is treated as an individual case and you should make enquiries with your nearest South African mission or consulate abroad to see whether or not you are required to apply for a visa.
Please visit the website below to access the contact details of South African Embassies and Consulates located abroad:
Visas are not issued at South African ports of entry, and airline officials are obliged to insist on visas before allowing passengers to board. If you arrive without a visa, immigration officials are obliged to put you onto a flight back to your home country.
South Africa requires a valid yellow fever certificate from all foreign visitors travelling from an infected area or having been in transit through infected areas. Infected areas include Zambia and Angola in southern Africa.
South Africa’s three major international airports are:
OR Tambo International Airport, located in Johannesburg
Cape Town International Airport, located in Cape Town
King Shaka International Airport, located in Durban
South Africa is a multiethnic society encompassing a wide variety of cultures, languages, and religions. Its pluralistic makeup is reflected in the constitution's recognition of 11 official languages, including, English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa, Tswana, South Sotho, North Sotho, Tsonga, Swazi, Venda and Ndebele. Although only about 10% of the population has English as its mother tongue, English is the language most widely understood, and is the second language of the majority of South Africans.
The South African electricity supply is 220/230 volts AC 50 HZ and two or three-prong (round pin) plugs are used.
Time: GMT +2 hours
South Africa's currency is the South African Rand (ZAR), which offers visitors great value for money. The rand comes in a range of coins (R1 = 100 cents) and note denominations of R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200.
Value-Added Tax (VAT)
South Africa has a value-added tax of 14% on purchases and services. Foreign visitors can reclaim their VAT on collective purchases of more than R250 at the VAT refund office which is located at Cape Town International Airport.
Weekdays: 9:00 am – 3:30 pm
Saturdays: 8:30 am – 11:00 am
ATMs are widely available.
South Africa has a modern and sophisticated banking and commercial system, and most shops, restaurants and hotels accept major credit cards.
As a rough guide: give 10% to 15% to a waitron in a restaurant and approximately US$ 3 (or equivalent) to hotel porters and taxi drivers.
South Africa is known for its long sunny days, hence the title, ‘Sunny South Africa’. The 17th ICDRA will be held in Cape Town, in the Western Cape Province.
December marks the beginning of the summer season in Cape Town, making it one of the most popular times to visit. If you visit during this month, you can expect temperatures of up to 25 °C in the daytime, dropping to a cooler 15 °C after sunset. The evenings can get quite chilly, so make sure you come prepared and pack some warm clothes with you.
Country Code: +27
Cape Town Area Code: 021
Directory Inquiries: 1023
To report any safety incident, call the following numbers:
All Emergencies (from your mobile phone): 112
All Emergencies (from a landline): 107
South African Police Service: 10111
Table Mountain National Park Emergencies: 0861 106 417
Practical Safety Tips
Practical Safety Tips
Avoid carrying large sums of cash, don’t carry cameras in plain sight and do not leave belongings unattended.
Heed the advice of your hotel concierge or hosts on where to go (and which places to avoid) after dusk.
Avoid walking in deserted and dark places at night.
Never allow strangers to assist you in any way at ATMs.
There are no compulsory vaccination requirements for persons entering South Africa, except for those travellers over one year of age entering South Africa from yellow fever endemic regions or who have passed through such regions. Proof of vaccination will be required. Please refer to Annexure 1.
However, certain areas of the country are malaria regions. Malaria risk due predominantly to P. falciparum exists throughout the year in the low-altitude areas of Mpumalanga Province (including the Kruger National Park), Limpopo Province and north-eastern KwaZulu-Natal. Please refer to Annexure 2.
Risk is highest from October to May.
It is recommended that anyone planning to travel to a malaria area take prophylactics (such as atovaquone–proguanil or doxycycline or mefloquine chemoprophylaxis) before arrival and the necessary precautions (including mmosquito bite prevention such as wearing protective clothing and use of insect repellents) while in the area.
For comprehensive general health information on travelling to South Africa, see:
It is strongly advised that participants take out appropriate health and travel insurance before travel and bring with them any medicines they take on a regular basis (together with a copy of their prescription).
Most ports of entry in South Africa have temperature screening for any condition that may cause a fever, such as viral hemorrhagic fevers and Zika virus disease.