If you are visiting South Africa for less than 1 month then it is recommended to start taking your vaccinations 10 days before you depart.
All vaccinations are available from your GP and will vary in cost. As soon as you book your trip tell you doctor so they can order your vaccinations well in advance – do not leave it until the last minute as they may not stock the immunisations you need. You are recommended to have the following vaccinations at least:
- 10 days before – Yellow Fever injection.
- 7 days before – start taking daily Malaria tablets and get your Hepatitis A jab.
- 1 day before – Diptheria and Tetanus injections.
If you’re staying in South Africa longer than 1 month check traveldoctor and visit your GP for more information.
Passport and Visa details
Double check that your passport is valid for at least 30 days after you depart from South Africa to ensure you will be allowed entry. You will need at least 2 blank pages in your passport for entry and exit stamps too. If you are travelling from the UK and staying for less than 30 days – no visa is required. Contact the embassy if you are planning to stay for longer.
Be sure to have your Yellow Fever certificate of vaccination close to hand when you travel – you will need to show this to immigration once landing in the South African airport.
The South African currency is Rand (symbol R) and the rate of exchange is €1 = R11.52, £1 = R14.32, US$1 = R8.97 (correct as of Nov 2012). Getting your currency exchanged before you arrive is advisable – visit Travelex for more information.
If you’re planning to do any big spending while you’re there it is worth noting that importing and exporting of currency is restricted to R5000 cash, but you will find ATMS in all shopping centres, towns and cities.
What to wear
DO – wear neutral colours as to ‘blend in’ with the surroundings. The wildlife will not see you as a threat if you wear khakis, browns and greens whereas wearing bright colours make animals suspicious of you! Anything lightweight and quiet would also be advisable to bring; simple cotton, linen or any other easy-wash, breathable fabrics are ideal.
As the temperature can vary from cold mornings to sweltering afternoons, layering is also recommended. Bring long-sleeved shirts, combat trousers, a fleece (or safari jacket), comfy trainers (or walking boots), a hat and sunglasses too if you have them so you are protected from sunburn and mosquito bites.
DO NOT – wear camouflage. This is the uniform of the army in many countries and you could be arrested if you are caught wearing it. Avoid dark blue and black too – in Eastern/Central African the biting Tsetse flies are attracted to dark colours.
For more travel advice and tips to prepare for your safari check out the Lonely Planet guide as well.