South Africa is 2 hours ahead of GMT and does not observe daylight saving hours, so in the summer the time difference is only one hour.
The currency is the rand, divided into cents. Notes are available in ten, 50, 100 and 200 denominations, and coins are one, two, five, ten, 20, 50 cents, and one and two rand. Cash machines are available in all major cities and airports in South Africa, and Mastercard and Visa are accepted everywhere.
Banks are open from 09:00 to 15:30, Monday to Friday (some open Saturday mornings from 08:00 to 11:00). Petrol pumps in South Africa are not usually self-service, and usually the attendants are tipped a few rand for their service.
You have to pay to access parks and reserves, whether public or private, and lodges also charge for parking and residence.
Electricity and Plugs
The voltage is 220 volts, and the plugs have three large round pins in a triangle. Plug types D, M and N are often used, so you will need a travel adaptor.
Most shops are open from 09:00 to 18:00, Monday to Friday, and from 08:00 to 15:00 on Saturdays. In larger cities, some shops are open on Sundays from 09:00 to 13:00. Museums and attractions close usually around 17:00. Indicative opening hours from Kruger Park: from 05:30 to 18:00, from September to March; from 06:30 to 17:30 the rest of the year. These times may vary, so we advise you double check opening times arrive two hours before the park closes, as it is forbidden to drive around after closing.
South Africa has an established state-owned and privately-owned broadcasting scene, with a handful of major publishing houses dominating the press. Newspapers and magazines are affordable and available everywhere, and are part of the daily lives of South Africans. Handily, many titles are in English.
With regards to television there are three public channels and one free private channel, and more are available by subscription in a variety of languages. As for radio, there's something for all languages and tastes.
Post offices are open from 08:30 to 16:30, Monday to Friday and from 08:00 to 12:00 on Saturday. Express mail systems are available constantly, with door to door services between major cities. It will take between two and six days to deliver a letter to Europe from South Africa.
To call South Africa from the UK dial 00 27, plus the area code (e.g. 21 for Cape Town) and then the land phone number. To call a mobile dial 00 27 and then the nine digit mobile number. To call the UK from South Africa, use 00 44 before dialling the number (without the first zero).
Internet and Mobile Coverage
Mobile and internet coverage across South Africa is generally very good, but we suggest that you check with your service provider for specific details before travelling.