So you're interested in a summer holiday on the South African coast but have some questions. How do you get to your destination from the airport? Will your Airbnb have a pet lion? (no, they wont). Will the locals understand English? All valid questions that we will attempt to answer for you. Except the lion one, of course.
#1- Do I need to learn to speak African before visiting?
South Africa has 11 official languages, English being one of them. More than 90% of the population will be able to converse with you in English. Of course, it is a good idea for you to learn a few of the local colloquial terms (mostly derived from the other 10 official languages) which most locals use to add color to their speech. So check out our blog post on the SA lingo here.
#2 - How do I travel around the area?
If you can afford it and have the relevant driving license, its always a good idea to hire a car at the airport. Especially if you intend to travel between towns. Most towns and cities are spread far apart (anywhere from an hour to Two hours between each town). If you intend to stay in one place for your entire stay then Uber will do just fine. There is public transport but they can be a bit unreliable at times. Chat to your host as well, many accommodation establishments offer shuttle services to and from the airport.
#3 - Is South Africa a high risk area for Malaria?
The majority of the country is Malaria free with only a few small areas along the borders that are considered risk areas, albeit a very small risk. If you intend on traveling to these areas between September and May, your doctor might insist on prescribing Malaria medication.
#4 - Are there ATMs in South Africa?
Yes. Every city, town and village has an array of ATMs available. Debit and credit cards are widely accepted as well. Avoid using travelers checks as most establishments wont accept them.
#5 - Do I need a power converter or adapter for my electronics?
South Africa uses 220/230 volts electricity and requires a type M plug. You will need a voltage converter for 110 volt devices so its best to travel with your own adapters.
#6 - What food can I expect to find in South African restaurants?
This really depends on your personal taste. We have every type of cuisine imaginable. There are many local establishments that offer authentic African dishes like the Mopane worms, Bunny Chow or Pap and wors. But you'll also find your basic Macdonalds, KFC and Burger King in most towns. Do yourself a favor though and give the local dishes a try, you wont be disappointed. Ok, maybe skip the worms...
#7 - What essentials should I pack?
Sunscreen is always a good idea, especially if you plan on spending a lot of time on the beach. Comfortable walking shoes and flip flops are a must. It's a good idea to pack at least One sweater as the evenings can get chilly and we do have the occasional rainy day.
Dont forget to bring your camera along!