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It is our aim with this section to provide a detailed guide for travel and tourism in South Africa, with important information on the country, local conditions, important regulations and everything that you should need to plan hassle-free business trips, inland visits or coastal vacations.

If you need any additional information not mentioned on this site, please feel free to email us for complimentary assistance.




 

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Travel And Tourism Information



Quick links to specific Tourist and Travel information

| travel agents | accommodation | climate and clothing | doing business | driving | general standards | going out |
| smoking policies | local travel | money matters | official language | religion | safety and security |
| shopping | staying in touch | television | time zones | tourist assistance |
| things to do | visa information | more information |

Safety & Security



In terms of safety, the Durban area is one of the safest in South Africa and Durban North in particular still sees people walking freely. The North Coast beach areas are also safe for families to relax and enjoy a day or an evening out, while the Durban beachfront and promenade enjoys a high police presence as an extra insurance of your safety.

When on holiday (vacation) there is often a tendency to relax to such an extent that we forget all our normal rules of safety and security. While we want people to relax and forget the stresses of everyday life and, regardless of how safe an area may be, there are basic guidelines that should always be adhered to. Some general pointers in this regard are:

Don't venture into a bad area at night, nor on your own during the day. As with all countries in the world, there are areas which are more prone to criminal activity than others.

Lock your car doors when you park somewhere, even if you are just "popping in for a minute". As an extra precaution, it doesn't hurt to keep your doors locked even while driving. There may be a one in a million chance of anything happening, but who's to say who that one is?

Don't walk around dripping with gold and diamonds. Apart from the fact that this is generally good advice for any country, if you intend doing anything active, including a romp in the sea, you risk damage or loss to your valuables. Rather use the safe available at your accommodation. Most establishments listed on this site provide a safe, either centrally or within your room. Leave your valuables there.

Avoid going to quiet beaches on your own. Try to go to the beach when other people are bound to be there or visit a beach that enjoys passing traffic. This is especially true for very early mornings and after dark. The Durban beachfront and most North Coast beaches are popular spots and meet these criterion. The North coast beaches in particular are such that you can enjoy a sense of privacy and solitude without actually being isolated from other people.

If your accommodation has a private entrance, please lock your doors at night. Feel free to keep windows open if there is no air conditioning, but check that these have burglar bars. This is more for the mischief of monkeys than for any bad apple that may wonder along!

Avoid walking along quiet streets or in quiet areas at night or very early in the mornings, especially on your own. If you desperately need something and don't have a car, the chances are that your accommodation establishment would be able to assist you. The establishments listed on this site are all more than happy to help you in whatever way possible to make your stay a safe and pleasant one.

If you want to go into areas that you are unsure of, there are numerous tour operators who specialize in local and city tours. Not only will you feel safer with them, but they will also ensure that you get to see the best on offer within your area of interest. There can be few things as frustrating as planning an excursion only to end up spending all your time trying to find your way and the Durban area, thanks to its hills, does not always consist of square blocks or straight roads.

If in doubt, ask your accommodation host for advice. They know the region and are happy to have you benefit from that knowledge.

Shopping in South Africa

All services (including accommodation) and goods purchased in South Africa bear 14% V.A.T. (value added tax). As a foreign visitor, you are exempt from this on any item that has a purchase price over R250.00 provided that you have a VAT receipt that bears the vendor's VAT registration number. This should be presented to airport customs when you leave, along with the item purchased. Refunds on the 14% can be obtained from the VAT refund administrator.

Staying in Touch

Not all cellphones (mobile phones) are compatible with the South African dual band system and it would be worth checking this before leaving your country. Also make sure that your phone is set for international roaming, but bear in mind that phone calls made from outside South Africa to your cell phone will incur high cost to both yourself and the caller.

If your telephone does not work in South Africa, cellphones can be hired for the duration of your stay, at a very reasonable cost.

To dial a number from a landline in South Africa, the full number, including area code, must be dialed.

If you are going to be using a telephone provided at your place of accommodation, please avoid any unpleasant surprises and find out before you start making calls, what the establishment's telephone rates are.

To make an international call from within South Africa, the number must be prefixed with 09, followed by the international code of the country you are dialing and then the rest of the number.

If you are outside South Africa and trying to make a call to a South African number, our incoming international dialing code is 27. Our area codes all begin with a 0 and this should be dropped. For example, 031 555 5555, when dialed from outside South Africa, would become (your outgoing code) 27 31 555 5555.

Television

Our basic television service has 3 channels, SABC 1, SABC2 and SABC3. SABC stands for the South African Broadcasting Corporation. These three channels broadcast news, sport, sitcoms, drama, reality shows and general standard fare.

A fourth channel, called e-TV offers a further selection, but does not enjoy clear reception in all areas.

Mnet is our local channel service and generally provides more current movies and actuality shows.

DSTV is our satellite television service.

All accommodtion establishments have standard television channels and most offer Mnet. Some offer DSTV as well.

Time Zone

The South African time zone is GMT+2 and is consistent throughout the country. We do not have daylight savings time and our clock therefore remains the same through summer and winter. This means that the time difference between South Africa and countries who do use daylight savings is not consistent, but varies between winter and summer.

Tourist assistance

Should you need any assistance once in the country, there are various options available to you. First of all, if you are staying with one of the accommodation establishments listed on this site, they will be happy to assist you in any way possible.

Further assistance is also available through the Tourist Protection Unit 031 368 2207 (also listed under emergency numbers on this site) and the official Tourist Junction 031 304 4934.

Things to Do

Make the most of your holiday (vacation) by knowing what's available before you even arrive. Even a business trip doesn't have to be all work!

Our vast selection of options to suit every taste is what makes this a prime holiday destination for locals and international visitors. From the finest restaurants, through to ethnic cuisine, from the hottest Western nightspots to the best in African Jazz; theatres, cultural tours, land and ocean safaris, golfing holiidays and extreme sport. - The list really never ends. This is also one of the few destinations where you can receive instruction in almost any sport and activity. With this mixture, the wonderful climate, warm ocean and golden beaches, it would be no exageration to call this "the coast of dreams".

For more information on exactly what is on offer, take a stroll through our section on things to do. We even have a featured storytime to give you a taste of a real african safari. If you have ever been drawn to the wilds, this warm and wonderful first-hand account of the African wilds is a must read. If you don't have the time, drop us a line and we will happily email you a printable copy to read at your leisure.

Visa Information

When you enter South Africa for a visit, this will be on a visitor's visa which grants you the right to remain in the country for a set period. This is normally 3 months, but please be sure to check and make sure that your passport is stamped correctly when you enter.

Should you want to stay longer than 3 months, please apply for an extended visa from your country before your trip, as your application for extension may be refused if you apply once here, particularly if your ticket indicates that you had originally intended staying longer than 3 months in the first place.

There are certain countries for whom the granting of a 3 month visa is automatic at the port of entry, while others have to make special application for a visa before leaving their country. All visitor visas are however free.

Even if you are traveling on a passport from a country with an automatic visa, this only applies to the initial period and not any extended period beyond that.

A list of countries that currently enjoy automatic visitor visas, as well as further information regarding different types of visas, immigration, etc. is available here.

More Information

We have tried to make the information on this site as pertinent as possible, but if you still have any questions that have not been answered, or you need assistance with any travel arrangements related to services mentioned on this site, please feel free to drop us a line. We will make every effort to assist and get back to you as soon as possible.

Quick links to specific Tourist and Travel information

| travel agents | accommodation | climate and clothing | doing business | driving | general standards | going out |
| smoking policies | local travel | money matters | official language | religion | safety and security |
| shopping | staying in touch | television | time zones | tourist assistance |
| things to do | visa information | more information |

 

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