Travel

Introduction to South Africa

As I have spent some time in the city of Cape Town in South Africa, I have decided to come with a few blog posts about this amazing place. This first blog post is about some information, which can be useful to know before your own trip.

 

 

Visa : Before your travel to South Africa, make sure you don’t need visa to enter the country. There are plenty of countries in Central and East Europe whose nationals need Visa. If you are coming for holidays for less than 3 months, you have to apply for ‚Visa less than 3 months‘ application. Reason why I decided to include Visa application to my blog post is I found out I need visa just after reading blog of my friend and I applied for my visa really the last minute. Don’t make the same mistake! 😀

 

Vaccinations : There are no compulsory vaccinations for South Africa required for travellers from Europe to gain the entry. However, a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate could be required for travellers coming from some endemic zones in Africa and the Americas. BUT remember it is advisable to be vaccinated against hepatitis A, tetanus and typhoid.

 

Safety : I have to admit Cape Town is much safer than I expected, but you always have to remember it is a city with high criminality, and therefore you have to be very careful at all times. If you stay in a hotel, you eat and visit only touristic places and for transport you use Uber or a private driver, you are absolutely safe. You can occasionally meet some beggars or junkies, but if you politely tell them you have no money for them, in majority of cases they will leave you and try their luck with other person. If you are gonna rent a car and wander yourself around the city, on many parking places you will deal with junkies who will ask you for money and will stand in front of your car until you give them at least some money. For these situations it is always good to have some cash with you. It is also very useful to know where are located townships and make sure you are not wandering around the city anywhere near by.  There are different townships located in Cape Town and some of them are more dangerous than the others. The most dangerous townships are famous for its shootings between rival gangs also during daylight, so you want to be sure you are not gonna find yourself in the middle of this mess. There are also 3 townships where are offered tourist tours if you are interested how it looks in there. Our driver took us to one of them and showed us around, it was definitely an experience! It is not advisable to wander around city after sunset and before sunrise, as majority of criminality happens during night. What you can also very often see in Cape Town are electrical fences around houses, schools etc as a protection against robberies. I was visiting Cape Town with my boyfriend and we were walking around the city, trying to see as much as possible and sometimes we got to districts, which were probably not that save and based on people‘s appearance you know it is better to leave. We were in a few awkward situations when I was just expecting someone will pick a knife and try to rob us, but I guess we were really lucky and we haven’t brought home any bad experience with us.

 

Transport : There is no built infrastructure of public transport in Cape Town. You can find there some buses connection, but not all places in Cape Town are possible to reach by public transport. Also the safest way of transportation if you are a foreigner is Uber or having a private driver. I personally used just Uber and our private driver to make sure we will be safe. If you plan to visit other cities or surrounding parts of Cape Town, local people will also tell you it is not really safe to use the train.

 

Water : It is stated that tap water in South Africa is drinkable, even though all hotels I have been to supply you with bottles with water every day. I personally used tap water to brush my teeth etc, but for drinking I used only bottle water. Also South Africa has been facing water crisis caused by extreme droughts so make sure you are not wasting the water and take only short necessarily showers etc.

 

Power plug : Power plug used in South Africa is completely different from power plug used in the UK or Europe. If you are gonna stay in a hotel, there is no need of having power plug adapter as hotels happily offer them for you.

 

Money : Currency used in SA is South African rand. From my own experience in Cape Town almost everywhere you can pay by credit card, and therefore you don’t need to have so much cash with you. If you are withdrawing money, remember there are plenty of ATM scams around Cape Town and it is always safer to use ATM directly in the bank or shopping center etc.

 

 

Hope you will find some of the information useful for your own trip and soon you can read my next blog post about all the amazing places you shouldn’t miss while visiting Cape Town!

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