Questions And Answers
Can I drink the tap water in South Africa?
The tap water in most cities and urban areas is perfectly safe to drink but it is always advisable to purchase bottled or mineral water.
Can I purchase a local SIM card at JHB / CPT airport?
Yes, when you land in JHB or CPT airport, you will be able to buy a South African SIM card from a popular vendor, which includes MTN, Cell C and Vodacom. You will also be able to purchase data bundles and airtime for calls. That being said, most hotels and many restaurants offer free Wi-Fi access.
Does South Africa have malaria?
South Africa does have malaria, but it is localised to the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga (the Kruger National Park area) and Kwa-Zulu Natal (the National Parks of Zululand area).
Tipping in South Africa
The right thing to do, when you eat out at a restaurant or go on a game drive in the company of a local guide, a ranger or a tracker, is to give a tip. In restaurants, the norm is to give between 10% – 15% of your bill’s total as a tip, and for guides and trackers, a tip of between 10 – 50 ZAR per activity, night or service is advisable.
Do I need Travel Insurance for South Africa?
It is always advisable to take out travel insurance when you travel to South Africa, because crime can be a problem. South Africa is also home to plenty of outdoor activities and extreme sports, and accidents do happen. It is best to be covered.
Why book with ATC?
ATC Travel is one of the African continent’s leading travel companies and we offer our guests a well-rounded, all-encompassing African holiday. With more than 25 years in the industry, we have become travel experts, able to give guests the best recommendations. We create standard travel packages as well as tailor made itineraries and we offer those who travel with us a price guarantee. As an established travel company, we are covered by international insurance and we offer our guests a refundable deposit, should they have to cancel. We also have the latest visa and travel requirement information and should something happen during your trip, we can assist you with rearranging your tour.
What is South Africa’s best kept secret?
It is difficult to name a single secret, because as one of the most diverse and stunning country’s in the world, there are plenty of places and attractions considered to be a best kept secret. A visit to any small town, or a place off the beaten track is worth the trip because few people see it. To be more specific, the best hidden places you should visit include Clarens in the Free State, Riebeek Kasteel in the Western Cape, the Owl House in the Eastern Cape, the Sterkfontein Caves in Gauteng, the Drakensberg Amphitheatre in Kwa-Zulu Natal, and Pilgrim’s Rest and its surrounding mountains in Mpumalanga.
Is it safe to drive by car?
It is safe to travel South Africa by car but it is always advisable to rather book a tour that will include the transport. South Africa’s roads are not always in the best of shape, depending on where you are travelling to and South African drivers can be quite intense. If you want to have a more relaxed and laidback experience on the roads, book a tour or organise an alternative way to travel.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much time does it take to explore Cape Town's winelands?
It can take a couple of hours to a couple of days or even a week to explore every bit of the Winelands. To keep things short, you can spend a morning or two on the wine estates of Franschhoek, Paarl or Stellenbosch, or you can pop over to Constantia, which is a few minutes from the city. For a more in-depth tour, you can make a weekend of it, and book at a wine estate and really get that full wineland experience.
If you are looking for inspiration, check out our wineland’s tour page where we list our best wine tours.
What do I do in an emergency, and what is the healthcare situation like in Cape Town?
Cape Town is home to some of South Africa’s best healthcare facilities, but only if you are visiting a private hospital. When you are travelling to South Africa, always have insurance and always double check that it covers good medical care.
If you have an emergency while in the city, you can access medical assistance by dialling 082 911/ 112 on your phone. The contact number of the police service is 10111.
Why do a tour in Cape Town?
Cape Town is one of the most exciting and diverse city destinations on Earth. There are so many interesting places to see here and many are guarded with such secrecy that only those on a Cape Town tour with a local guide will be guaranteed to see all the must-visit spots. When walking the streets of the city, or visiting any of the nearby places, you can be sure to make many memories all while bumping into fellow travellers.
Some of the must-visit spots include Cape Point, Simon’s Town, and, of course, the various wineries. You should also indulge in some local culture by visiting some of the top rated places to eat and by visiting art and historic attractions. To be sure that you don’t miss a thing, booking a Cape Town tour is a must, especially as transport is often included in the deal.
What is the best time of year to visit?
Cape Town is best visited during the summer months. From about November to March, the city is alive and full of excited tourists from all over the world as well as from all over South Africa. The weather during the summer is warm and dry and just wonderful. One thing to keep in mind though, is that at this time of the year, the wind tends to kick up a bit, but it is a lovely relief from the heat. In the summer, the days are also much longer, which is an added bonus.
From the end of March to May, the weather is warm, but there is that distinct nip in the air that says winter is coming, and by the end of May and into June the weather turns nasty. The Cape enjoys its rainfall during the winter months and so the days are wet, windy and pretty gloomy sometimes. This not only puts a damper (pun intended) on touring but it makes visibility difficult.
August to October is a good time to return to the city. The weather is warmer and it starts to dry off, and it is a great time to do some whale watching. Also, during this time of the year, the tourist crowds are not all that great, so you won’t feel overwhelmed.
Where does the Garden Route start and finish?
The official start of the Garden Route is Mossel Bay and the official end of the route is Storms River. In total, the route is 300 km of pristine coastal road which spans part of the Western Cape and part of the Eastern Cape.
The route got its name from a marketing campaign, and it is a rather perfect summary of what one can expect to see along the way. Lush, dense and colourful plants can be seen all along the route and as you travel it, there are countless places where you can stop off and explore.
How long will the Garden Route take to explore?
If you want to enjoy a real full Garden Route experience, you should set aside between 3 and 14 days. This way you can be sure that you will see all of the best attractions, whether they are natural or manmade. A one way trip is 300km so a full journey, complete with a return visit, can total 900km!
There are many reasons why anyone can fall in love with this part of the world, because the scenery and the activities are enough to fill your days with things to do. You can do this route on your own or you can go as a part of a group. There are plenty of Garden Route Tours that are absolutely worth the money spent.
How is the weather like in Cape Town?
Since Cape Town is right on the tip of Africa, and since it is on the icy cold Atlantic coastline, it is well-known for being a city that can experience all 4 seasons in one day, although not to the extent that you would if you were in the northern hemisphere.
Cape Town enjoys a very Mediterranean type of climate and the summers are dry and warm, while the winters are mild and often wet, as the Cape’s rainy season falls in winter. The hottest time of the year is February, when much like most of South Africa the summer heat reaches its highest, and the coldest month of the year is July. June is normally the wettest month and all year round the city experiences its fair share of wind.
How many days should you spend in South Africa?
South Africa is a rather big country when compared to most European nations and so you should think about setting aside between 2 and 4 weeks if you want to see every part of the country. A day or two is normally enough time for most city tours while the outskirts of cities, including places like the Garden Route and the Winelands, as well as the West Coast can need more time to fully appreciate.
When is the best time of year to go on safari in South Africa?
South African safaris are best enjoyed during the dry season, which in the safari areas is between the months of May and October. During this time of year, the vegetation has all but died back, which makes visibility better, which means you will be able to see more wildlife. The cooler temperatures at this time of the year also makes it more pleasant to sit in a vehicle for hours at a time.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t visit during the summer months and really enjoy a fantastic safari experience. If you visit during the spring months, you can see the start of the birthing season which means the trip will be full of baby animal sightings.
What do tourists love about South Africa?
What is not to love about South Africa? The country is well-known for having amazing weather all year round, including clear skies, some of the continent’s most beautiful scenery and an extraordinary culture. This is a country that offers a lot of outdoor activities and it is home to all sorts of wildlife that you won’t find anywhere else.
If you decide to make South Africa your destination of choice, you will certainly be experiencing that once in a lifetime trip.
What is so great about South Africa?
South Africa is referred to by many as a world in a country because it is one of the most stunningly diverse places in the world. The country is some 1 219 090 sq km, in which there is waterfalls, forests, winelands, scenic dry coasts and lush coasts, mountains, bushveld, deserts, and so much more. A holiday here is like taking a holiday to 100 different places, and you can see it all in just a month.
Why Go to Cape Town for Holiday?
Cape Town is one of the top South African holiday destinations for a bunch of reasons. For starters, although it is a city, it has some of the best natural scenery. The city looks out over the Indian Ocean on the one side and the Atlantic on the other and its backdrop is the most iconic mountain in the world, which is Table Mountain. Within the city, there are all sorts of interesting things to see and do, like visiting restaurants and museums, and taking in that culture which the city is so well-known for.
A short drive out of the city also presents numerous exciting things to do and see. For starters, just a few minutes away from the city you’ll enter the winelands, where some of the best wines in South Africa are made. And if you head to the beach instead, you can do some whale watching in nearby Hermanus.
When is the Best Time to Visit Kruger National Park?
The Kruger National Park has one of the warmest climates in the world and while for some an African summer is bliss, it can be uncomfortable and a bit overgrown, since a Kruger summer is also the Kruger’s rainy season. The best time to visit the Kruger is between the months of June and August, when the days are cooler and the vegetation has died back enough to give you more visibility. During this time of year, wildlife is more inclined to visit waterholes, so you have an increased chance of seeing something.
A visit during the spring and summer months is certainly worth the bit of discomfort, as it is at this time of year that the plants are in full, glorious bloom, and baby animals are everywhere. Besides, getting to experience an African thunderstorm in the Kruger is quite otherworldly.
The best way to do your planning is to do a little research into what to expect from the weather when you plan to visit. And also be sure to check the weather according to the area you will be staying in.