There are actually three capitals in South Africa: Pretoria (the main; administrative capital, because the country’s government is located there); Cape Town (legislative, because there is a parliament) and Bloemfontein (judicial, because there is the Supreme Court).
About 57.5 million people (26th in the world).
The abolition of visas to South Africa for Russians came into force in March 2017. Citizens of the Russian Federation can stay in the country without a visa for up to 90 days.
You can import duty-free into South Africa: 400 cigarettes; 50 cigars; 250 g of cigarette or pipe tobacco; 2 liters of wine; 1 liter of other alcoholic beverages; 50 ml of perfume; 250 ml of toilet water; gifts, souvenirs and other goods in the amount of not more than 500 rand.
Persons under the age of 18 are not allowed to carry tobacco and alcoholic beverages.
A strict ban applies to the import of weapons and drugs. You can not import vegetables and fruits.
Rough diamonds are not allowed to be exported from South Africa, and for precious metal products and diamonds, you must have an appropriate certificate from the store.
Tourists have the right to take out of the country any number of legally purchased goods. If you have purchased and want to take with you skins, stuffed animals or ivory, as well as products made from them, you must present the documents received upon purchase at customs.
You can bring an unlimited amount of foreign currency into South Africa. However, the import of local currency is limited to R500 per person. This corresponds to the amount you can have when leaving South Africa. If you need to export a larger amount, you must obtain permission from the Reserve Bank of South Africa (The South African Reserve Bank, tel. (27 12) 313 3911; POBox 427 Pretoria 0001).
English is widely used – one of the 11 state languages.
Banks and currency
The monetary unit is the South African rand (R), equal to 100 cents with the international symbol ZAR. In circulation are banknotes in denominations of 200, 100, 50, 20 and 10 rand and coins in denominations of 5, 2, 1 rand, as well as 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents. January 2019 1 USD = approximately 13.5 ZAR.
For cash payments, it is customary to use only the local currency. Foreign currency exchange is carried out at airports, train stations, hotels, and numerous bank branches. Currency market fluctuations are reflected in the exchange rates on a daily basis.
All shops, hotels and restaurants accept all major credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners Club. Traveler’s checks are also valid in major currencies. Credit cards are not accepted at gas stations, but there are usually ATMs there. The banking system of South Africa is quite developed. South African banks throughout the country can carry out any international transactions. Banks are open from Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 15:30, on Saturday – from 8:30 to 11:00. ATMs are available in most cities and provide 24-hour service. Commercial banking services are available around the clock at airports.
When exchanging foreign currency for rands, a receipt is issued, which should be kept until departure from the country, this document is necessary for the reverse exchange of rands for dollars or another currency upon departure.
Travel and transport
Traveling in South Africa is relatively easy, both by air, road and rail.
The main air routes are operated by South African Airlines and British Airways operated by Comair. There are 2 low cost carriers on the main routes: Kulula.com and Mango. Facilitating travel in South Africa are 10 airports operated by Airports Company South Africa (Acsa). In addition, there are about 90 regional airports in South Africa, including the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport in Nelspruit and Skukuza Airport, which provide access to the Kruger National Park.
The extensive road system of South Africa makes traveling by car easy and convenient. Although in the countryside, you will still encounter gravel roads. Please note that you must have a valid International Driving Permit with you. In South Africa, driving is on the left. Wearing seat belts in a car is mandatory, and mobile phones can only be used hands-free. Speed limits are usually set at 120 km on freeways, 100 km on secondary roads and 60 km in urban areas. Tolls apply on certain national roads. Petrol stations are widespread throughout the country. Most of the world’s car rental companies have offices in South Africa.
Another means of transportation in South Africa are intercity buses such as Greyhound and Trans-Lux. Metrobus buses are available as public transport. Chartered taxis should be ordered by phone. Cape Town and Johannesburg have open back buses.
The South African rail system includes long-distance and low-cost Shosholoza Meyl Metrorail trains. More luxurious options are the Blue Train and Premier Classe trains and the Rovos Rail steam locomotive. The province of Gauteng also has a new Gautrain high-speed rail system that links Johannesburg, Pretoria, Ehuruleni and O.R. Tambo.
As in most parts of the world, tourists are advised to take reasonable precautions. For example, you should not walk alone on unfamiliar deserted streets after dark or draw attention to your money and jewelry. To store valuables, you can use safes, which are always available in hotels. However, in the main tourist areas of the country, the situation is quite calm and safe. The exception is a number of industrial areas and cities, such as Johannesburg, where a significant number of unemployed contribute to the criminal environment.
Food and drink
Health and food safety hygiene standards in South Africa tend to be high in hotels, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Tap water in South Africa is safe for drinking and cooking when taken from the tap in urban areas. Not all rural water is safe to drink, so please take precautions if necessary. You can eat fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as add ice to drinks. Fish, meat and chicken in South Africa are of excellent quality, so there is no need to limit yourself to enjoying the local cuisine.
Restaurants are subject to South African food safety regulations. The rules include certification and regular checks by medical inspectors to ensure hygiene standards are met.
Street food in South Africa is not as common as in other countries, although vendors selling traditional snacks and dishes can be found in urban centers and settlements. Food safety in such cases cannot always be guaranteed.
Climate and weather
According to bridgat, South African temperatures, measured in degrees Celsius, range from an average of 28°C to 8°C during the summer months, and from 1°C at night to around 18°C during the day in the winter. The average annual rainfall is below 500 mm per year, which makes the country quite dry. Most of the rainfall in winter falls in the Western Cape, unlike the rest of the country where it rains in the summer. At the same time, the South African climate boasts a large amount of sunshine, averaging about 8.5 hours per day.
Bring clothes that are cool, light and comfortable, because summer temperatures in some areas can reach 30-40 ° C. Also bring an umbrella or a raincoat, because this is when it rains in most of the country, but also don’t forget your bathing suit.
Winters in South Africa are usually mild compared to European ones. However, there are days when temperatures drop, especially in high-lying areas like the Drakon Mountains, so be prepared to wear sweaters and jackets. It can rain in Cape Town in the winter, so it’s a good idea to bring a raincoat with you.
Always bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen, as the sun can be strong even during the winter months. Comfortable shoes with durable non-slip soles are a good idea at any time of the year, and in winter it would be nice to wear socks under them.
If you are in South Africa on business, business attire (suit and tie) is generally welcome in the corporate sector, while in the media sector, for example, more casual attire is generally worn.
For a safari, wear neutral colors and again comfortable shoes.
For the evening, if you are dining in a prestigious restaurant or watching a show, it is recommended to wear smart casual clothes.
Health and vaccinations
Vaccinations are not required. The danger of malaria is only in the north-east of the country in the Kruger Park area, in the reserves of the province of KwaZulu-Natal near the border with Mozambique and on Lake St. Lucia. When traveling here for prevention, it is recommended to take antimalarial drugs. Mosquito repellent should be worn in these areas, as well as long socks and long sleeves. But cases of malaria in South Africa are very rare.
One hour less than Moscow. For example, 10 am Moscow time corresponds to 9 am in Cape Town.
Power supply in South Africa is carried out by alternating current with a voltage of 220/230 volts and a frequency of 50 hertz. However, for “European” plugs of electrical appliances, you will need an adapter, which can be purchased at any of the supermarkets. Electrical appliances made in the USA may need a transformer.
South Africa has a modern telecommunications network. The means of international telephone conversations, telefax and e-mail are widely represented. Phone cards and cell phones are always available and sold.
The main Russian mobile operators have roaming with local operators (MTN, Vodacom). Codes for international calls can be found in telephone directories in South Africa. Country code: 27.
Post offices are open Monday to Friday from 8:30 to 16:30 and on Saturdays from 8:00 to 12:00. Courier services offer services for the delivery of correspondence within the country at any time of the day “from hand to hand”, and you can also use the services of companies that provide services for express delivery of correspondence to other countries of the world within 4-8 days.
As in most countries, it is customary in South Africa to tip waiters in restaurants, porters at hotels and airports, taxi drivers, tour guides. Tips in restaurants are usually 10% of the bill. As a rule, restaurants do not include tips in the bill. In taxis and on excursions, the tip is also 10%. When filling up at gas stations – approximately R 2. Porter service – R 5 for each suitcase or bag.
Useful addresses and numbers
Embassy of the Russian Federation in Pretoria (Embassy of the Russian Federation): 316 Brooks Street, Butano Building, Menlo Park 0081, Pretoria, Republic of South Africa; phone: (012) 362-1337/8.
Consular office of the Russian Embassy in Pretoria (Consular office): 135 Bourke Street, Sunnyside 0132, PO Box 5715, Pretoria 0001, Republic of South Africa); phone: (012) 344-4812, 344-4820.
Consulate General of the Russian Federation: 2-nd Floor, Southern Life Centre, 8 Riebeek Street, Cape Town, Republic of South Africa; phone: (8-10-2721) 418-3656, 418-3657.
South African Police Service (SAPS): 10111.