South Africa Travel Tips
South Africa’s hottest and busiest time is during the UK winter months of November to March. This is also the busiest period for tourists and locals. For a cooler temperature and less busy period, the UK summer months of July and August are a good time to go. When I visited South Africa in July and August the weather was mainly sunny and warm but not too hot so this was the best time for me to travel. It was perfect for all activities. It was nice and quiet at this time too, and this is the cheapest time to visit South Africa. I made sure I read a lot of South Africa Travel Tips before I travelled to ensure I travelled at the best time for me, which was July and August as I prefer the milder temperatures.
How to get to South Africa
The main airports are Johannesburg International Airport and Cape Town International. Flights normally take 12 hours. I flew from Manchester to Amsterdam to Johannesburg on the way there, and on the way back from Cape Town (extra £50 and extra 2 hours) to Johannesburg, to Amsterdam back to Manchester. On the way there this took about 12 hours and was all during the day so left first thing in the morning and got there in the evening, but on the way back I spent about 36 hours getting home as I had long delays between my different connections. I found Johannesburg very busy and had in fact managed to collect a lot more luggage than I started out with, but there is a place to store your luggage in the basement so you can wait for your flight without carrying all your bags around with you.
Getting around South Africa
As a general guide, public transport in South Africa isn’t very reliable but the roads are good so it’s easy to hire a car, or the Baz Bus is a very affordable hop-on-hop-off bus service for backpackers which is an excellent way to meet like minded people. You can also book an organised tour which can also be very economical. I used all three methods of transport during my travels. I started off with an organised tour which was a great way to ease me into travelling alone as you get to know new people really well, then I used the Baz Bus and met hundreds of people all travelling the same route as me, then I hired a car with 2 of the people I had become friends with on the trip. This was a great way to see South Africa by splitting the cost and having more freedom to go where we wanted to in South Africa. The best South Africa Travel Tip I can give you is to make sure you trust people before putting yourself in vulnerable positions.
Time Difference in South Africa from the UK
South Africa is 2 hours ahead of GMT and 1 hour ahead of BST, so when I travelled in the summer, I only had a time difference of 1 hour. That was excellent as it meant no jet lag
Currency in South Africa
The South African currency is the Rand (R). At the time of writing the Rand is weaker than the pound, Euro and Dollar which means you get a lot for your money. Eating out, accommodation and top attractions will be very affordable. Credit Cards can be used in most areas. I remember staying in the most beautiful hostel in the Drakensburg Mountains having a room to myself with gorgeous views, all for the equivalent of about £3 per night. There are many hostel reviews online you can read to decide where to stay. I ate out most nights and the quality of food was excellent in most places for very little money.