Weather & climate
Despite regional differences, South Africa’s climate is generally mild throughout the year. It’s a relatively dry country, with a mean annual rainfall of 502mm and snowfall limited to the highest mountain peaks. January to March is the peak of summer and the rainy season in most of the country. Days are normally warm, with quick and occasional afternoon showers. During April to May, morning temperatures start to drop and the evenings get cooler. Rainfall is limited and as freestanding waters dry out, wildlife starts to congregate at perennial water sources. Winter, which lasts until August, features cold mornings, sunny days with occasional cold snaps and windy spells towards the end of the season. Days are much warmer in spring, which starts in September, but expect the occasional cool evening and morning. The days become very warm and sunny from October, with warm evenings and sporadic rains – larger showers are usually only expected around December. Wildlife sightings can vary, depending how early the rains started.
Passports & visas
No visa is required for Australian and New Zealand passport holders. You will need a current passport with two blank pages and six months’ validity from the date you return home.
Consult your GP or a travel doctor at least six weeks before you travel. You may be required or recommended to get vaccinations for yellow fever, typhoid and hepatitis A & B, among others. Malaria is present in some regions of South Africa so malaria prophylactics are recommended. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for anyone entering South Africa from a yellow fever endemic country, including: Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda, Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola, as well as South America. You may be denied entry into South Africa if you don’t have this proof of vaccination, so please carry your certificate with you and present to immigration.
South Africa has three international airports, in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Kruger Mpumalanga. There are also domestic airports and airfields that connect major towns and safari destinations. The national airline is South African Airways. Depending on your arrival time, you may require a night in Johannesburg.
Due to the distances between cities and wildlife parks, most of our itineraries involve regional flights. Self-drive and private transfers are a great option in the Cape Winelands and Garden Route regions. Stick to your driving directions, and you’re good to go!
Currency & language
The local currency is the South African Rand (ZAR). Credit cards are widely accepted, although American Express to a lesser extent. There are 11 official languages spoken in South Africa, including Afrikaans, English, Xhosa, Zulu and Sotho. English is widely spoken.