South Africa is as beautiful as it is diverse, with a huge range of geography, weather and attractions – there really is something for everyone, and tourism in the country is rising.

Here are 7 tips for making the most of a trip to South Africa.

1. Rent a mobile phone when you arrive.

Even if you have a great contract on your normal mobile and think you’ll be fine – rent a South African mobile when you arrive anyway. It’s important to have a mobile phone for your safety, and people like your tour driver or staff at the hotel will expect that you have a local mobile. Nobody will want to dial the international number of your normal mobile, and making calls to South African numbers will be expensive even on the best international roaming tarrif. You can usually hire a mobile phone from the airport when you arrive.

2. The water is perfectly safe to drink.

“Can you drink the water” has to be one of the most-asked questions when it comes to travelling abroad, and there are still countries where it’s not advised – but the water in South Africa is perfectly safe, and there’s no reason not to enjoy ice in your drink or to eat fresh fruits and vegetables washed in tap water.

3. Tip your service personnel

The standard for tipping in South Africa is 10% though of course you can pay more. One important thing to remember is that unlike the UK and US, you need to state what your tip will be before your card is run through the card machine – there is no opportunity to add a tip after this point.


4. Book internal flights online

South Africa is a large country and it makes sense to fly from one destination to the next whilst travelling. For the best deals, flight bookings are best made online using a comparison site such as Domestic Flights South Africa which offers flight comparisons for all airlines.

5. Pack warm PJs

South Africa is cold at night during June and July, so if you’re travelling around that time, be sure to pack thick winter pyjamas and even bed socks.

6. Drive on the left

If you’re going to rent a car and drive yourself, remember that in South Africa they drive on the left! It’s also worth brushing up on the laws and what to expect when driving in South Africa. This article has some useful tips.

7. You can probably get away with speaking English

There are eleven official languages in South Africa. The most commonly spoken are Afrikaans (a derivative of Dutch), isiZulu, isiXhosa and English. English is spoken in most major towns and cities so you should be fine.


This post is a collaboration with Domestic Flights South Africa

Vicky Charles

Vicky is a single mother, writer and card reader.


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