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South Africa

South Africa Travel Planning & Travel Tips

Embassy Contact Information:Americans living in or visiting South Africa are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the nearest U.S. consulate and obtain updated information on travel and security within South Africa. The U.S. Embassy is located at 877 Pretorius Street, Arcadia in Pretoria, telephone (27-12) 342-1048 (from South Africa 012-342-1048), fax (27-12) 342-5504 (from South Africa 012-342-5504). The U.S. Embassy web site is

South Africa Climate: The climate is mild throughout South Africa. There's really not a bad time to visit, but October is our favorite month-it's spring then, an ideal season for touring. Snow is a possibility June-August in the mountain areas. It generally rains in the afternoon during the summer (November-February) everywhere in the country except in the Cape Province, where it rains during the winter. 

Durban has a very moderate climate, with swimming possible year-round. November-February is best for Cape Town. During the rest of the year, it's usually quite cool, often rainy/windy/foggy and too cold to lie on the beach. Johannesburg, at 5,700 ft/1,735 m above sea level, can be quite cool in the winter. 

Those who go to South Africa specifically for animal viewing may want to go during winter-grass is short, and the animals tend to gather around watering holes.

Calling Internationally: If you have problems getting through to anyone, or need a new number, use the directory assistance service by dialing tel. 1023 for numbers in South Africa, and tel. 0903 for international numbers. Be patient, speak slowly, and check spellings with your operator. 

Pay phones require a minimum of 40¢ for a local call; because hotels often charge a massive markup, it's worth purchasing a telephone card (used in specific pay phones) for international calls--these card pay phones are also often the only ones working. Cards are available from post offices and most news agents, and come in units of R10 ($1.25), R20 ($2.50), R50 ($6), R100 ($12), and R200 ($25). Vodacom has 24-hour desks at all major international airports offering mobile phones for rent.

Electricity: Electricity in southern Africa runs on 220/230V,50Hz AC, and sockets take round- or flat-pinned plugs. Most hotel rooms have sockets for 110V electric razors. Bring an adapter/converter combination, but also be aware that many bush camps do not have electricity at all. 

Travel Insurance for South Africa Trips: You should consider the benefits of travel insurance as part of your South Africa travel planning. Most travelers look for travel tips that discuss the importance of travel insurance and travel insurance through Travel Guard can provide important coverage for your trip.

Whether you’re taking a family vacation or business trip, Travel Guard has a plan for your South Africa travel. These plans may include valuable medical expense coverage, trip interruption, medical emergency assistance and treatment services and more. And with Travel Guard’s 24-hour assistance line, your coverage can act as a travel guide should your plans change.*

For more than 20 years, Travel Guard’s plans have covered millions of travelers throughout the world. We're America's leading provider of travel insurance plans and assistance programs and we're here to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Coverage provided through Travel Guard is easy to buy and with our 24-hour emergency travel services it's even easier to use.

*Non-insurance services provided by Travel Guard.