Banks and foreign exchange in SA
South Africa's unit of currency is the rand.
You'll find South Africa an easy destination. From the moment you step off the plane you'll start seeing banks, bureaux de change and automatic tellers all over.
The banks are generally open from 9am to 3.30pm Mondays through Fridays, and 8.30am to 11am on Saturdays, but those at the airports adjust their hours to accommodate international flights.
All major credit cards can be used in South Africa, with American Express and Diners Club enjoying less universal acceptance than MasterCard and Visa.
Monday to Friday from 09h00 to 15h30.
Saturday from 09h00 to 11h00.
Auto banks (ATM's, automated teller machines) are found in most towns and operate on a 24 hour basis.
Most international traveller's cheques are accepted provided they are in an acceptable currency and may be cashed at most banks. Many hotels and shops also provide this service
If you're an adult, you won't need any inoculations unless you're travelling from a yellow-fever endemic area (the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America), in which case you will need certification to prove your inoculation status when you arrive in South Africa.
It is recommended that you have the required inoculations four to six weeks before you travel to South Africa (a yellow fever inoculation certificate only becomes valid 10 days after inoculation - after which it remains valid for 10 years).
Hepatitis B inoculations are recommended for children up to the age of 12 who have not completed the series of injections as infants. Booster doses for tetanus and measles can also be administered.
Medical facilities in cities and larger towns are world-class. Trained medical caregivers are deployed round the country, and help is never far away.
Do I need to take malaria tablets?
If you plan to book a pre or post conference tour, please note that the Kruger National Park, the Lowveld of Mpumalanga and Limpopo, and the northern part of KwaZulu-Natal do pose a malaria risk.
Many local people and some travellers do not take malaria prophylaxis, but most health professionals recommend you do. Consult your doctor or a specialist travel clinic for the latest advice concerning malaria prophylaxis, as it changes regularly.
There are 11 official languages including English, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda and Zulu.
English is spoken everywhere you go. English is the language of the cities, of commerce and banking, of government and official documents. All our road signs and official forms are in English and at any hotel, Bed and Breakfast or Guest House, the service staff will speak to you in English.
Safety & security
As South Africa is a developing country, crime does exist, so we would advise you to take a few basic precautions. All valuables, passports, cameras, should be locked in the safe of your hotel. Valuables should be carried discreetly when walking in cities. Gold and other expensive items offered for sale by street vendors are likely to be fakes or stolen property. Do not participate in pavement games as they are operated by well organised gangs and money can be stolen while you are distracted.
Public transport is available in South Africa so there is no need to hitch-hike. Local residents will advise you on safe transport. If driving, do not pick up hitch-hikers and ensure that your car doors are locked at all times. The South African Police are easily recognised in their blue uniforms and by their white and blue patrol vehicles.
South African standard time
South African standard time is two hours in advance of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT +2), one hour in advance of central European winter time and seven hours in advance of United States eastern standard time throughout the year. There are no time zone differences within the country.
Phoning overseas from South Africa
If you wish to make a call overseas, you must first dial 00, which is South Africa's international access code. You then dial the country code, area code of the city or region and the number of the person you wish to call. e.g. if you make a call to Sydney, Australia, telephone number 456 1234 you must dial 00 612 456-1234
220/230 volts AC at 50 cycles per second. Three pronged plugs are universal, so take an adapter. Most hotel rooms have 110 volt outlets for electric shavers and small appliances