Africa is a continent that was once seen as the 'dark continent'. Unfortunately, internationally, many people still have these incorrect perceptions. South Africa is one of the most developed countries in Africa and being five times bigger than Europe, people are surprised at how diverse it is. Being a South African, there is nothing but pride in my heart living here and I have rounded up a few questions that I get asked the most by people wanting to visit here.
When is the best time to visit South Africa?
- Peak seasons are during December over Christmas and New Year and over the Easter break in April. Game watching is best early spring from August to October as the grass is shorter and animals congregate around water holes during the dry season. However, is not restricted to this time and can be viewed all year round. It gets very hot during mid summer making malaria more common in the northern parts of South Africa.
- Whale watching takes place in mid June to the end of October along the West & South coast of the Cape.
- Diving off our beautiful coast line is best from April to September. We have very warm summers and the East Coast is warm, even in winter.
- Surfing is best in the winter months but the southern parts and the western parts can be very chilly even in summer, so bring a wet suit.
South Africa's infrastructure is very good and it is considered of world class standard. Roads are well maintained making travelling long distances a pleasure. Only in remote rural areas there are downfalls but these are not frequented by tourists. Major cities are continuously growing and there is no lack of development and world class infrastructure and technology. Banks, hotels, restaurants, telecommunications, hospitals, internet and all other necessary development are world class and there to cater for your needs.
What about apartheid?
Today, South Africa is one of the most diverse culturally mixed counties in the world. We now consider ourselves a rainbow nation and many people who visit our country say that South Africa has the most friendly, easy going people in the world. We have the remarkable ability to put the past behind us.
How far will money go?
Far. We have a very good exchange rate. Our currency is the Rand (ZAR).
How safe is South Africa?
|Image courtesy of What's Up Jozi|
Unfortunately South Africa still has a very high poverty level making crime a problem in South Africa Most of this crime occurs in poorer areas and tourists are not commonly targeted. 8 Million tourists visited South Africa in 2010 without incident. Safety is very important to us and our police service is reliable. It is best not to walk alone at night. Do not leave visible valuables where they can get stolen. If you are driving around at night be aware of what is happening around you. ATM's are best not visited at night. Do not wear flashy jewellery when visiting poorer parts of South Africa. Try not to hike alone. Malaria is high in the northern parts of South Africa during summer months and HIV is very prevalent. Always wear protection if you plan to engage in sexual activity.
Although we have 11 official languages English is the most commonly used language and you will have no problem communicating with people.
Will I see the big 5?
Game parks are spread all across South Africa and The Big 5 is something we take huge pride in. Take a game drive with a professional game ranger and they will ensure you get the best experience possible. We have an extremely diverse range of animals so you are guaranteed to see a spectacular variety of animals as well as The Big 5. Game parks like the Kruger are bigger than some European countries and are a century old. Animals live freely and you are able to see them living wild in their natural environment. Our flora is also spectacular and bird watching is a huge attraction too.
With all these great tips, why not book your trip to South Africa NOW?
Book your stay at Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve here: