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Here are some basic precautions which can ensure that your stay in Southern Africa is as safe and pleasant as possible
Place of Stay - Hotel or Guest House
1. Never leave your luggage unattended.
2. Always store valuables in the Hotel's safe.
3. Keep your room locked, whether you're in or out.
4. Always check who it is, before opening your room door.
5. Hand in your keys at the front desk of Hotel / Establishment, before going out.
6. When going out, always inform the Hotel desk / Establishment about your planned movements that day.
Outdoors - In the Street
1. Avoid ostentatious displays of wealth.Cameras, mobile phones, expensive jewellery and other valuables, should be stored discreetly.
2. Don't carry large amounts of cash on your person.
3. Avoid dark, isolated areas - night or day.
4. Explore in groups, sticking to well-lit busy streets.
5. Plan your route beforehand.
6. A Policeman, law enforcement or traffic officer will always assist you if you get lost.
7. Be very wary of vagrants and street children
Outdoors - In the Car
1. Plan your route in advance.
2. Keep your doors locked and keep the windows wound up at all times!!! Best to hire a air-conditioned car in the summer.
3. Be aware of pedestrians walking between cars at traffic lights.Some will just be vendors or beggars. But this is a prime hijacking territory.
4. Lock valuable items in the boot of car. Don't leave packages or possessions displayed in car.
5. Park in well-lit areas at night.
6. Never give a lift to strangers.
7. If in doubt about the safety of an area, call the police for advice on 10111
1.PROVINCES: South Africa exists out of 9 provinces. Western Cape, Eastern Cape , Northern Cape, Freestate, KwaZulu Natal, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, North West and Limpopo Province.
2. LANGUAGES: We are a multi-cultural country, with 11 official languages. English is the main language used by tourists. But German, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian speakers can be found in most major towns.
3. CLIMATES: We have different climate ranges.Westerncape Coast-Mediterranean climate and KwaZulu Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo Provinces have sub-Tropical climates. The rest of the country enjoys moderate temperatures and summer thunderstorms. Winter is from May - August and the best time for GAME VIEWING, because of the lower density of grasses and ground water.
4. CLOTHING: Casaul clothing is accepted in most venues, apart from some small restaurants, clubs and concerts. It is wise to carry a jumper at night, because the temperature tends to drop significantly at night.
5. CURRENCY: The local currency is the South African Rand (ZAR) which is divided into 100 cents. Foreign exchange outlets can be found in most major airports and shopping malls. Most banks are open 9am - 3.30pm on weekdays and 8.30am - 11am on Saturdays.Banks closed on Sundays.
6. WATER: S.A. tap water is some of the cleanest in the world.
7. ELECTRICAL CURRENT: The current in S.A. is 220 -230 volts,AC - except Pretoria which is 250volts and Port Elizabeth which is 200 - 250 volts. Wall sockets accommodate 15amp plugs with three round pins.
8. TIPPING: Tipping is not compu.sory, but is appreciated. 10-15% for waitrons is usual, with rangers and trackers usually recieving ZAR 50-75 per day.
9. TIME ZONE: There is only one time zone in S.A. - 2h ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.
10.VAT: Value-added tax of 14% is added to the price of most items and services. As a tourist, you can claim your VAT back on goods priced over ZAR 250 at the airport or some shopping centres prior to departure. You will need the original tax invoice, a VAT refund control sheet, your passport and the goods.
Most of S.A is malaria-free,however.....
Malaria is endemic in the Lowveld Region of Mpumalanga and Limpopo Province, and on the Maputaland coast of KwaZulu Natal where the summer months are the time of great risk.
*Symptoms to look out for*
1. Flu-like symptoms
5. Muscular & Joint pains
6. Shivering Attacks
*If you experience any of these symptoms within 6 months of leaving a malaria area, insist on having blood tests done, so that any malaria infection can be diagnosed and treated punctually*
The best precautions when visiting the areas are:
1. Use mosquito repellent products day and night on al exposed skin.
2. Wear light, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, shoes and socks if outdoors, especially from dusk to dawn.
3. Close windows and doors at night unless they are screened.
4. Burn mosquito coils and mats in sleeping areas.
5. Sleep under a mosquito proof bed-net.
6. Malaria medication is highly recommended if you are travelling in a high risk area, but the medication is not foolproof, and all other precautions should be taken as well. The medication must be taken strictly as instruced, with most requiring the individual to start a course of medication long before entering a malaria area.