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SOUTH AFRICA FAQ’s

Home Icon Find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions from our customers

  • Is there a time difference?

    Cape Town, Johannesburg and Victoria Falls are all GMT +2hrs

  • What is the currency?

    South African Rand

  • What will the weather be like?

    Weather patterns around the world are becoming less predictable. However, as a general guide, in the Western Cape areas of Cape Town and the Garden Route, summers tend to be warm, cooled by ocean breezes, with rain falling occasionally. Durban and Ubizane, found in KwaZulu-Natal can have very hot summers and you should consider adequate protection, including sun-hats and high factor sunscreen. Johannesburg and Pretoria are situated at altitude on the highveld plateau and generally enjoy a hot climate with the occasional thunderstorm. Due to the altitude evenings can be a little cooler. Read the South Africa climate guide for more details.

  • What clothing should I take to South Africa?

    Dress for our tours is generally relaxed and informal during the day, dressing to suit the weather conditions and the activity you are undertaking. It’s likely there will be occasions when exploring you’ll be walking on uneven surfaces, so we recommend sturdy and comfortable walking shoes. Wearing layers of clothing means it’s much easier to deal with potentially varied weather conditions and it’s always advisable to carry a waterproof.

    Any included evening dinners are also informal, with smart casual dress being the norm. We would also recommend taking good insect repellent, a high factor sun-screen lotion and a hat for protection from the sun. Whilst on safari in South Africa, is it recommended to wear natural colours such as khaki, green or beige as bright colours can attract insects and cause diversions for the wildlife. For the safaris (which take place in the morning and evening in open vehicles) we recommend sun lotion and hats as well as warm clothing, as it can get very cold. If you have them, binoculars will provide a great opportunity for closer wildlife viewing. If travelling on Rovos Rail, evening attire is more formal – for gentlemen, a jacket and tie is a minimum requirement, while for ladies a cocktail /evening dress or suit is suggested.

  • What is the best way to pay for things in South Africa?

    Major credit cards and cash machines are widely available throughout your tour and your Tour Manger will be on hand to help you find the best places to exchange your money. If travelling to Zimbabwe on our Victoria Falls extension, we recommend taking US dollars. A currency card also offers an easy way to buy currency and enjoy a great exchange rate. Distant Journeys recommends the ‘Global Traveller’ MasterCard, provided by Caxton FX. The MasterCard is simple to set up, easy to use, a convenient way to pay and is ‘chip and PIN’ secure. For more information please see distantjourneys.co.uk/currency-cards/ Local currency is always recommended for small purchases and tipping. Coins and small bills are ideal. When you change money, ask for some small bills and keep these separate from the larger ones, so that they’re readily accessible. We also recommend advising your bank of your travel plans in advance so you do not encounter potential problems when trying to withdraw cash.

  • How much should I tip in South Africa?

    Tipping is common practice in most destinations and should ideally be paid in the local currency. In South Africa generally tipping is expected. For restaurants 10%-15% is the norm unless a service fee has been added to your bill. In these circumstances tipping is optional, but of course still well received if offered. Hotel porters would normally expect a tip of 10-20 Rand. If you wish to tip other hotel staff, similar amounts should be offered. Tipping for taxi drivers is not expected, however rounding up the final fare and leaving the driver with the change is appreciated. If the driver has gone out of his way to help maybe consider tipping up to around 10%. If you have received great service from your Tour Manager, guides or driver you may wish to tip them for their service. We are frequently asked for guidance on this and would suggest a minimum of £2 per person per touring day, dependent on your level of satisfaction.

  • What are the entry requirements for South Africa?

    The following information on entry requirements, passports and visas is for British citizens only. Holders of a British Subject passport, non-British citizens and holders of a passport endorsed in any way should check immigration requirements with the relevant embassy or consulate of the country to be visited, as should clients with dual nationality or renounced citizenship. If travelling with a child aged under 18, there are additional immigration rules that apply. Please call us for further details and refer to the

    Foreign Advice website as shown below.

  • Do I need to renew my passport?

    A ten-year British passport is required for all holidays, valid for a minimum of 6 months after your return date to the UK. When travelling to South Africa you must allow two blank pages for immigration. If you are planning to join our Victoria Falls extension, we recommend four. If you are not currently in possession of a valid passport please make sure you leave plenty of time before your holiday to apply for this document. Our recommendation is that you should apply at least three months before your holiday.

  • Will I need a visa to enter South Africa?

    Currently no visa is required to enter South Africa. If you are considering our Victoria Falls extension you will be required to obtain a visa for entry into Zimbabwe. This is usually arranged on arrival at Victoria Falls Airport. The cost is approximately US$55 per person for a single entry. If you are considering taking a trip to neighbouring Botswana (for Chobe National Park), we recommend purchasing a Kaza UniVisa, which allows multiple entry into Zimbabwe, for 30 days. The cost is approximately US$50. Payment for both visas is made on arrival at Victoria Falls Airport and we recommend you have the correct amount is US Dollars, as change is not always available. Currently a visa is not required for any customers entering Botswana. For more information on passport information and entry requirements please visit the Government Passport Office website: www.gov.uk/browse/abroad/passports and the Foreign Office website: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice It is important to note entry requirements may change and it is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of all necessary travel, passport, visa, other entry requirements before departure. All costs incurred in obtaining such documentation must be paid by you. We regret we cannot accept any liability if you are refused entry onto any transport or into any country due to failure on your part to obtain and carry all required documentation.

  • Do I need to have any vaccinations for South Africa?

    Health facilities, hygiene and disease risk vary worldwide. In South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana, many of the main tourist areas we visit are malaria free. However, some of the areas we visit may pose a low malaria risk. You should take health advice from your GP or local travel clinic about your specific needs as early as possible and ensure that vaccinations or preventative measures are taken early enough (which may be a month or more prior to departure) to be fully effective by the date of travel. For more information on health and vaccinations please visit the Foreign Office website www.gov.uk/foreign-traveladvice and NHS Travel Vaccinations website on: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/travel-vaccinations/

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Distant Journeys has won 10 awards in the last five years, at the British Travel Awards, and we have been awarded Feefo’s highest Platinum Trusted Rating for customer satisfaction.

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For your peace of mind, if Distant Journeys is unable to operate your tour due to Covid-19, you will be given the choice of changing your tour or you may choose to receive a full refund.

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