- CLIMATE & SEASONS
Given the climate, South Africa is a year-round destination. This country is ideal for all who desire to escape the rigours of winter because it offers the opposite season at the opposite end of our globe. Especially spring (September – November) as well as autumn (March – April) are recommendable because they do not coincide with the South African holiday season. The dry winter months from June to August are best suited for animal sightings because the vegetation has lost its foliage and wildlife concentrates around the water holes. The winter months are usually dry, sunny and warm with temperatures dropping to freezing temperatures at night in the highveld. During the summer months from December to February temperatures are high, usually with low humidity. In mountain regions thunderstorms occur in the afternoon and in coastal areas the ocean breezes reduce the heat.
South Africa has many different climates, which can be divided into three major climate zones:
1.) The highveld (the highlands, in which Johannesburg, Pretoria and Bloemfontein are situated) has a moderate climate with warm summers and sporadic rainshowers as well as cool dry winters with temperatures reaching the freezing point at night. The average annual precipitation is 750 mm and tapers off to 125 – 250 mm per annum in the western regions (Karoo).
2.) The lowveld (the lowlands east of Johannesburg and the Great Escarpment in which the Kruger Park is situated) is a subtropical as well as fringe-tropical region with a precipitation rate comparable to the highveld but with less pronounced temperature fluctuations. The Natal coastal region is also part of this climate zone but is characterized by a moister climate with an annual precipitation of more than 1000 mm.
3.) The Cape Region is geographically secluded and has a Mediterranean climate with warm and dry summers and cool, rainy winters and an annual precipitation of 500 – 750 mm.
- CREDIT CARDS
Most hotels, restaurants and larger stores especially in urban regions accept credit cards (American Express, Visa, Master or Diner´s Club Card). Petrol stations only accept CASH! Cash can be withdrawn at all ATM´s - so do not forget the pin number - and a sufficient deposit on your home-account before embarking. It is advisable to inquire at your home-bank to what extent you can overdraw your running account beforehand. Contact your bank immediately upon loss or theft of your credit card / ATM card.
- CRIME / CRIME RATE
Crime is a predominant problem in developing countries such as South Africa, but it is important to consider that most of the crimes are committed in impoverished areas (black and coloured townships) and therefore do not involve tourists. But it is always advisable to take precautions - and to avoid downtown Johannesburg without guides!
For further information please see SECURITY.
Alcohol and tobacco products cannot be imported by persons under the age of 18!
Each tourist is allowed to import the following products from the European Union into South Africa:
- 1 liter alcohol (including liqueurs or bitters)
- 2 liters of wine
- 50 ml perfume
- 250 ml eau de toilette
- 400 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250 g tobacco
- personal presents with a value of up to R 3000, in case of higher value a customs duty of 20% is imposed.
Currency in Rand can only be imported up to an amount of R 5,000!!!
Each tourist is allowed to export the following products from South Africa into the European Union:
- 1 liter alcohol (of more than 44 proof) or 2 liters of wine
- 50 g perfume
- other products worth up to 180 Euros
The following products cannot be exported into the European Union:
According to the regulations of the CITES agreement concerning the protection of endangered animal species fines as well as prison sentences can be imposed and the animals or their products confiscated. The international trade of ivory, products of the marine turtle and the furs of wild cats (for example leopards) is prohibited. Restrictions have been established for the trade in reptile skins, corals and certain plants as well as wild birds. The foreign office should be contacted for questions concerning specific import regulations. Usually the following illegal products can be found in South Africa: ivory, elephant-biltong (dried meat), as well as protected antelopes and their products as well as crocodile leather products and reptile skins.