Judicial Capital - Cape Town
Legislative Capital - Bloemfontein
Administrative Capital - Pretoria
Independence Day - 31 May 1910
Time - GMT +2 hours
Area - 1,219,912 km²
Currency - South African Rands (ZAR)
USD $1.00 = R10.00
Euro €1.00 = R13.00
British Pounds £1.00 = R14.90
There are 11 official languages in South Africa:
Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho,
Swazi, Tsongo, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu. The
English-speaking visitor will have no problem while
traveling through the country.
The people of South Africa are made up of many diverse
cultures and hence it is known as the Rainbow nation. It has
been a difficult task to unite the people under laws that
represent the traditions and beliefs of all groups. The
struggle to live together peacefully still continues, but
South Africans are generally optimistic about living in
harmony with each other, as well as the land that is so
undeniably beautiful Ubuntu We exist because we other people
exist. That's the crux of the concept of Ubuntu. It is the
belief that we are human only because we interact with other
people. If we were to ignore the rest of humanity, and try
to live in a vacuum, we'd be less than human. It's certainly
not a new idea. But is the mind-set that has kept us going
through all our turbulent history - and kept us working
towards a society where we can live by that principle. And
it is in that spirit that we invite you to come to our
country, to visit us, stay with us, and play with us.
Celebrate with us the adventure of living on this amazing
planet - of being on our astonishing continent, and in our
wonderful country. And when you leave, take a little of the
magic with you. We have plenty to spare.
South Africa is a big country just south of the tropic
of Capricorn, but it is the topography and surrounding
oceans that influence its climate, rather that the latitude.
Although the climate varies from region to region, it is
generally mild and sunny throughout the year. On the whole
it is a dry country with a mean annual rainfall of 502 mm.
Snowfall is limited to the highest mountain peaks. Summer
average between 15 - 30 degrees C (60 - 96 degrees F) at
midday. Kwa Zulu Natal has a sub-tropical climate with high
humidity in summer. The southern Gauteng region has hot
summers with occasional thundershowers and frosty winters,
while in the eastern part of this region (known as the
Lowveld) enjoys mild winters. The Cape interior and the Free
State have similar weather conditions to the southern
Gauteng region. The Western Cape region has a Mediterranean
climate with ward, dry summers and cold, wet winters.
The unit of currency is the rand R, which is divided
into 100 cents. Notes are in R200, R100, R50, R20, R10.
Coins are in denominations of R5. R2, R1 and 50c, 20c, 10c,
5c, 2c, and 1c.
The exchange rate tends to be in the international
tourist's favour. The continuing devaluing of the rand means
that you should find most local goods very affordable, but
imported and specially manufactured items tend to be very
expensive. Generally, you will find that fine cuisine, wine
and entertainment cost a fraction of the tariff charged by
equivalent establishments elsewhere in the world.
Banks in South Africa are generally open from 09h00 to
15h30 on weekdays and 08h30 to 11h00 on Saturdays. Most
banks change all traveler's cheques in major currencies, but
commission can differ greatly.
Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Diners Club are
honoured by most restaurants, stores, hotels, car rental
firms and other points of sale and service. Proof of
identity may be requested in some instances and it is
therefore useful to carry a passport or some form of photo
identification at all times.
This is customary depending on the service and then
between 10 - 15%.
VAT of 14% is levied in South Africa. Overseas visitors
taking goods out of South Africa are able to reclaim the
VAT, which they paid on these goods. Reclaiming VAT is only
applicable for goods that you are able to produce at the
airport and not for any services whatsoever. When purchasing
your products you should request a tax invoice. The shop's
VAT number must appear on this invoice. VAT Reclaim Offices
are found at Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town airports.
Colloquialisms: Ag Shame - poor thing
Biltong - dried beef
(similar to jerky)
Just now - anything from 10
minutes to 1 hour
Lekker - really nice
Now now - under 10 minutes
Nice - really
Robot - traffic light
Totsiens (Afrikaans) - goodbye