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South Africa Travel Tips

4.0 stars

Insider advice for your South Africa vacation


quativia
Buying African Art in South Africa 5 stars
When touring South Africa, one will find they have the great urge to splurge on some of the magnificent woodwork that the country produces. On arrival at places such as Oliver Tambo (JHB International Airport) or Cape Town, the duty free area is full of attractive things to buy. AVOID AT ALL COSTS. Understandably items are very marked up in airports and even shops for that matter. The best place to buy, is on the roadside. This way you will find more genuine works made by the locals and at far more reasonable prices. We bought a large black wood rhino that had come down from Zimbabwe and cost us R2000.00. In a shop he would set us back R5-8000.00. So next time you visit South Africa, keep safe, but watch out for the stalls on the side of the road, they are still the best places to buy!

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quativia
South Africa's International Commrades Marathon 5 stars
One of South Africa's main highlights is the Commrades Marathon run every year in May/June. The run takes place between Durban and Pietermaritzburg and alternates between each for the start. It takes the whole day and runners from all over the world come to participate. However, in my opinion the best part is the supporters. Lining the streets from beginning to end, people camp on the roadside, lighting braais (bbq's) and drinking beer as they join in the merryment of the occasion. In fact, if you wish to claim a good spot on the root, get there early, if not a few days before. Stands, tents, seating...everything can be placed and watched in order to secure spaces. However, if you are intending to watch the marathon, a word of warning. Many of the roads are closed for vast area's and for great lengths of time. Avoid any kind of travel unless you know alternative roots. http://www.comrades.com/ Here is a website for any that wish to learn more of the this great day!

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quativia
Bilharzia in South Africa 2 stars
Whenever one travels to another part of the world, it is always advisable to check for any medical warnings or hazards. Often, one disease that is over looked is Bilharzia. Found in stagnant water it is caused by snails and can have various side effects, especially in children including damage to one's internal organs and the stunting of growth. Malaria and AIDS are always sited but Bilharzia is nearly always over looked. One of the worst areas is Natal for its humidity and forestry and oversized snails. Simply stay out of any water that is not flowing or is inhabitted by many fresh water snails.

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quativia
South African Daisy 3 stars
You may have heard the term 'The South African Daisy' but have you ever taken the time to realise what it actually means?
It is not a flower as the term suggests but in fact a plastic bag! The South African Daisy got its name during a period when the country became so littered with plastic bags throughout the countryside that they were 'popping up like daisies'. Since then South Africa under-went a thorough clean-up in order to try rid the green belt of the plastic and to date are succeeding in many areas. This was also curbed by implementing a pay system in supermarkets for bags when you shop. So when you next visit South Africa, remember you have to pay for shopping bags and not to litter the countryside!


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quativia
Safe Driving in South Africa 5 stars
One very important tip I learnt whilst in South Africa came from the Traffic Department. Crime in South Africa is VERY high, especially when it comes to hi-jacking around Johannesburg and the Cape. In fact, it happened recently to a friend of mine, returning from hospital where they attempted to smash her windows with jump leads. Therefore, follow these three steps to a safer experience in South Africa.
1 - Women especially must NEVER travel with handbags and valuables on display. Place anything you have on the floor in front of the passanger seat or in the boot.
2 - Always travel with you windows slightly rolled down through rough areas. 2-3cm's will do. This prevents the glass from shattering when hit.
3 - Finally, as tempting as it is, DO NOT GIVE MONEY to anyone at traffic lights, especially children. It sounds harsh but 9/10 times they are syndicates where children are USED to lure people out their cars or to open their windows wide.


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quativia
South African Car Guards 4 stars
Whoohoo!!! You’ve made it through customs and out into the glorious heat of the South African sun. Where to start? The Kruger? The World famous shopping malls such as Gateway and East Rand Mall? The BEACH??? So much to do and so little time to do it. However, a little reminder to the new traveller to the south…
As eager as you are to discover the ways of South African life and flare up that braai, remember that you are on unfamiliar turf and the ways of life. When buying your amenities from the local shops or finding parking at the beach frontage, you will find a very different system from the rest of the world…Car Guards. Car Guards started functioning seriously throughout South Africa in the early 90’s as a means of employment for the out of work, handicapped and the unemployable through lack of schooling. When you park your car, you will always find a Car Guard lurking somewhere in the parking lot ready to guard your car. Always dressed in some sort of uniform (Obligatory as part of the Union) they will guard your car on YOUR notification - a nod of the head or a wave is all that’s needed. However, when on departure remember to TIP your Car Guard for their services. R2.00 – R5.00 is the unspoken amount usually expected. Although you may feel disgruntled, don’t forget that your hire car is worth a LOT MORE than a few South African Rand’s and that the Car Guards pay into a Union in order to work. Think of them when on holiday and in turn they will think of you…and your car!


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marcus77
Changing money in SA, Lesotho and Swaziland 3 stars
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I can´t recommend bringing travellercheques and cash into these countries to change it into the local currency. Why? You get it changed but the procedure to change it takes a lot of time. In Lesotho the bank clerk copied every bill and my passport as well. After that I had to sign every copy. Not to mention the 10% comission. You will have the same problem with travellercheques. There are numerous ATMs that work with the maestro system and Visa. But look out for ATMs that are guarded because of the security.

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paulfowler
planning to visit South Africa 1 stars
I am planning to visit South Africa, can anyone suggest me some travel portal through which I could book a hotel? One of my friend suggested me asiarooms, but I am little confused.
I want to book a hotel in South Africa with them.
Do you have any experience with them?


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hosuli
Lions Head mountain, Cape Town 4 stars
Lions Head is one of the three main mountains dominating Cape Town view and also a great place to view sunset and moon rise. It is an easy 1,5 hours hike up to the mountain and towards the end of the hike you can select the easier route or slightly more challenging rope route. Take the last one I recommend because it is more fun!! A good time to do the hike is when it is full moon because first you can see the sun setting on the sea side and then the full moon rising on the mountain side, very impressive view. But it does get crowded on top when I is full moon. You also get beautiful view over the city at night when it is full moon. One of my favourite hikes in Cape Town because it is easy hike to do in the afternoon or in the evening and you have really awesome views.


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globalgypsy
HOME SWEET HOME 5 stars
First and foremost no matter where i lay my hat, home is where the heart is. There is no other country as beautiful and diverse as my own. I am proudly South African. the exchange rate is favorouble to foreigners, so for a few bucks you can live like a millionare! If the world is your oyster than Cape town is it's pearl!

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sisterjo
The Edge, Hogsback 3 stars
I stayed here for a couple of nights with my boyfriend, and loved it. You can choose the cottage you want to stay in, and we chose Lavender Cottage because it was so close to, well, the edge…. That is, the edge of the cliff where it just drops off into a massive green ravine. Every morning we’d walk to the edge with our breakfast and sit on the rocks, listening to the birds and trying to identify various tiny specks in the distance (I think they were mostly cows). Only problem was, it was really cold so I had to learn to drink my tea super fast. Fruit juice was less of a problem. The house itself was small and private. There was a fireplace that we used a lot (you use as much firewood as you want and pay for it at the end), 2 comfy armchairs, and a very tempting honesty basket loaded with chips, chocolate, wine etc. Once again, use what you want and pay at the end, but all the yummy stuff costs way more than firewood! There was a massive, very comfy bed, and a tiny tiny kitchen. The front door opens onto the kitchen, which leads to the fireplace room (living room? The TV didn’t work), which is just part of the bedroom, so there aren’t really walls diving rooms. Only the bathroom was separate. There was a shower and a big bath, and my only fault with all of it was that after every shower or bath, the steam would condense on every surface so everything in the bathroom would get wet. Also, due to the rest of the cottage being one room, I found that most of my clothes smelled like smoke by the end of our stay. It didn’t really matter, all we were doing was hiking, but I don’t like having smelly clothes…
The back door opened onto a tiny porch, with a couple of steps down to the ground, then a short path to the edge. This was the view from the bed too – greenery, path and edge. Every morning I’d leave the back door and windows wide open to let in some warmth and sunshine. I really enjoyed my stay here, but pack warm clothes, as well as spices and cheap red wine to make mulled wine for long evenings in front of the fire. If you’re a birdwatcher you’ll love this place, and there’s even a labyrinths if you get bored with everything else.


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sisterjo
South Africa: re "Coloured" 4 stars
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
In the intro to South Africa mention is made of the term “coloured” and its usage in South Africa. The information given is incorrect. “Coloured” refers to people of mixed race, similar to “mulatto” in America. The information is correct under “modern living” but I feel it is a very important distinction because it is so politically relevant, as the coloured population seems to lose out whichever party is in power. During the apartheid era, they were “too black”, and during the current era of affirmative action, they are “too white” to cash in on any of the BEE (black economic empowerment) initiatives. For example, to get accepted into a course at the University of Cape Town, everyone has to achieve a certain minimum grade. The minimum grade set for whites is the highest, coloured people have a lower minimum to achieve, but the black students have the lowest minimum grade for acceptance. It’s also worth knowing that there is a very specific coloured culture. It encompasses everything from food to accent to dialect to a whole range of customs and traditions. I think that this is what makes South Africa so special. I’m from Cape Town, and everyone here has such a strong sense of identity and culture. When I traveled in America I found all the cultures kind of blurred into one, but everyone here fights to maintain whatever it is that makes them special and unique. This results in the most amazing, vibrant local culture. Fusion food is a huge trend here at the moment, largely because nobody does “fusion”! People mix with each other and hopefully appreciate and learn from each other’s differences, but remain distinct from each other. The term “rainbow nation” is now a cliché, but the former Archbishop Desmond Tutu got it right. In other places the colours blur and everything becomes grey, but here we still have the rainbow.

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