Welcome to South Africa


International flights

Most countries offer flights to O.R. Tambo International Airport outside Johannesburg, and to Durban International Airport and Cape Town International Airport.

Domestic flights within South Africa

Cape Town and Durban receive a limited number of international flights, but domestic flights from Johannesburg to these destinations are quickly and easily arranged. South Africa also has a number of smaller airports that receive charter and cross-border flights from other African countries.

Airport tax: An arrival tax of R100 is included in the price of an international air ticket, R100 in the price of a regional ticket, and R34 in the price of a domestic ticket.


O.R. Tambo International Airport
+27 (0) 11 921 6262

Cape Town

Cape Town International Airport +27 (0) 21 937 1200


King Shaka International Airport
+27 (0) 32 436 6000

Overland into South Africa

Most border posts observe normal working hours and some, like those with Mozambique and Botswana, are open from 06:00 to 00:00. The posts at Ficksburg Bridge and Maseru Bridge (Lesotho), Nakop and Vioolsdrift (Namibia) and Beit Bridge (Zimbabwe) are open 24 hours a day.

Travel by sea

Cape Town and Durban receive international cruise ships.

Travelling with Children

Please note that a number of changes have been made to the South African Immigration Act with regard to travelling with children.

Read more



No international immunisation is needed when entering South Africa. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers entering South Africa within 6 days of leaving an infected area. Some areas in Zululand are subject to malaria. Before entering these areas, you are advised to consult a doctor or pharmacist to obtain necessary medication.

Medical care

Medical care is readily available. Doctors are listed under “Dental and Medical Practitioners” at the end of the phone book, and Hospitals under “Hospitals & Nursing Homes”.


Credit Cards

Most major credit cards are accepted.


South African currency works on the decimal system with the 1 rand equalling 100 cents.

  • Denominations of rand notes: R200, R100, R50, R20, R10
  • Denominations of coins: R5, R2, R1, 50c, 20c, 10c, 5c
Financial Institutions

South African banks can handle all international transactions and are situated throughout the country.

Banks are open Monday to Friday 09:00 to 15:30, Saturdays 08:30 to 11:00.

Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) are available in most towns and cities and offer a 24-hour service.

Foreign Exchange

Traveller’s cheques and foreign currency notes of all major currencies can be exchanged at any commercial bank. American Express offices and most hotels have exchange facilities for guests. Fluctuations in foreign exchange markets are reflected daily.

Tax refunds

Foreign tourists visiting South Africa can have their sales tax - known as Value Added Tax (VAT) - refunded at a port of exit, provided the value of items purchased exceeds R250.

You will need a valid passport, proof of payment for the goods, and the goods themselves in order to get a refund. Refunds can’t be claimed on restaurant bills, hotel and other accommodation bills or car hire.

Practical facts


English is South Africa’s first language and is spoken throughout the country; English speaking visitors will have no problems while travelling through South Africa. All signs are in English.

There are 11 official languages spoken in South Africa: English, Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, Ndebele, Swazi, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Tsonga, Tswana, and Venda.

Electricity supply

The electricity supply is 220/230 volts, AC 50Hz. US-made appliances may need a transformer.


International dialling and e-mail facilities are widely available. Phone cards and cellular phones are also readily available. International dialling codes can be found in South African telephone directories.

Time zone

South Africa is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)

Trading hours

Normal trading hours are 08:30 to 17:00 on weekdays and 08:30 to 13:00 on Saturdays.

Many shopping malls and centres have extended trading hours and are open on Sundays.


Australia: (031) 261 6233
Belgium: (031) 303 2840
Chile: (031) 312 8608
China: (031) 563 4534
Denmark: (031) 202 9396
Finland: (012) 343 0275
Germany: (031) 266 3920
Greece: (011) 214 2300/ 214 2316
India: (031) 335 0300
Italy: (011) 728 1392
Madagascar: (031) 312 9704
Mozambique: (031) 303 7130
Netherlands: (031) 266 9291
Norway/Sweden: (031) 303 5212
Pakistan: (012) 362 4072
Portugal: (031) 312 4854
Spain: (012) 460 0123/ 422 2415
United Kingdom: (012) 421 7500
USA: (031) 305 7600
Uruguay: (031) 262 7331