South African Coast

Are you planning a trip to a new tourist destination in 2022? Your best bet is South Africa. South Africa is home to a wealth of attractions and fun experiences. For the first-time visitor, the experience of adventure touring around the country’s popular wildlife conserves is a must as well as visiting its many landmark centers. From Jo’burg, Capetown, and Pretoria to the beautiful city of Durban, South Africa has some of the most iconic urban centers in the African continent and beyond. Even if you choose to keep things crusty, many of the country’s beautiful rural and township settlements will be thrilling.

The choice of iconic locations, wildlife experiences, and exciting urban centers can be overwhelming so it can make sense to choose a South Africa tour package. These packages have preselected some of the best places and activities and all the travel and hotel booking is taken care of which means you can simply enjoy your trip.

Giraffe in South Africa
Wildlife experiences are a must

However, it is not a simple “pack and split” process if you ever choose to make it down to South Africa. There are a few things you need to have in place to make your trip, not just a memorable one but, one that is safe and free of stress. This is a one-stop essential travel guide for first-time visitors to South Africa.

Here, we will share five tips to help you plan your trip to South Africa. Please read on…

Safety First

The first thing to make a top priority on your trip to South Africa is safety. People tend to be worried about their safety whilst in the country and want to know things like; “How safe is it in South Africa?” Or “Does South Africa have some of the most dangerous cities in Africa?” The truth is that the crime rate is quite high in South Africa, and as a first-time visitor, you are most vulnerable.

Safe Backpack
Keep technology hidden in a secure bag

The country has a high incidence of armed robbery, carjacking, and petty thievery. However, should that prevent you from exploring South Africa? Not at all. You need to be aware of the risks and alter your behavior so you can enjoy your holiday safely. Be careful where you go, and don’t just drive or walk blindly as you might find yourself in a high-crime area. Don’t be flashy by wearing lots of expensive jewelry or carrying lots of electronics. Be discrete with your possessions and make sure they are securely stored in bags out of sight. Please refer to the UK government’s safety guidance for South Africa.

Getting Around

Getting around in South Africa for a first-time visitor is relatively easy. South Africa has well-planned urban city centers and rural areas. Transportation is freely available allowing you to access almost all nooks and crannies!

But as we discussed in the first point, you need to make safety a priority. Keep all valuables like cameras and smartphones out of the view of potential criminals. Always move around with a small backpack. If you need to get across town, the country’s cities have a pool of cabs and ride-sharing services like Uber to take you anywhere.

Money and Transactions

The official currency used in South Africa is the rand (R). Monies are available in different paper-format denominations: R10, R20, R50, R100, and R200. The South African currency also comes in coin denominations such as the 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents and their R1, R2, and R5 equivalents. The exchange rate of the rand to the dollar often fluctuates, so it is best to always check with your local bank for clarification so you can budget accordingly.

The Rand
The Rand, the currency of South Africa

Before setting out on your trip, you may want to do some currency exchange to have disposable cash on you when you get to South Africa. Alternatively, you can use your International credit/debit cards to make transactions while on your trip.

Learn Street Slangs

One of the things you will discover as soon as you get to South Africa is that people communicate in local vernacular mixed with the English Language. To adapt to your environment quickly, it is best to learn some of the most commonly-used South African slang words. Get a load of some of them below:

Howzit. A casual type of greeting used in place of “hi” or “how are you?”
Now Now. Meaning “right now” or to get something done immediately.
Aikona. To forbid something outrightly.
Eish. To express surprise or shock.
Eina. To express a sharp or intense pain.
Babbelas. Used to signify a hangover.
Lekker. A word of affirmation to something good, great, or awesome.

Tipping Etiquette

There is a tipping culture in South Africa. From restaurant wait staff, cabbies, and gas station attendants to packing lot guards, most service or utility workers appreciate a good tip for a job well done. Though it is not mandatory to tip, the act shows a sign of goodwill, and you should most certainly expect better service if you are a good tipper. 10% is a good guide.

Cape Town Marina
Cape Town Marina

Get Ready to Explore South Africa

You’ve just learned five essential travel guides for first-time visitors to South Africa. South Africa, just like any other country, has its unique challenges. Understanding these hurdles will better prepare you for a fun experience in a beautiful African country. Wishing you all the luck…

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