South Africa

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South Africa

South Africa is located at the southern tip of Africa. It is bordered by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho (which is completely surrounded by South Africa). It is a vast country with widely varying landscapes and has 11 official languages, as well as an equally diverse population. South Africa is renowned for its wines and is one of the world’s largest producers of gold. South Africa has the strongest economy in Africa, and is an influential player in African politics. In 2010, South Africa hosted the first Football World Cup to be held on the African continent.

Understand

If you want to travel in southern Africa then South Africa is a good place to start. While you can fly into any country in southern Africa, most flights will route through South Africa anyway. South Africa is also a good place to get used to travelling in the region (though some would argue that Namibia is better for that). Of course South Africa is not only a jumping off point, it is itself a superb destination rich in culture, fauna & flora and history.

Outsiders’ views of South Africa are coloured by the same stereotypes as the rest of Africa. Contrary to popular belief, South Africa is not devastatingly poor with an unstable government. South Africa is to a large extent two countries within one . On the one hand it is a first world state, especially the major cities such as Cape Town and Johannesburg, and on the other hand it is under-developed and has large scale poverty. South Africa is one of the most unequal countries in the world where opulence and severe poverty can often be observed together. The rural part of South Africa remains among the poorest and the least developed parts of the world and poverty in the townships can be appalling, progress is being made. The process of recovering from apartheid, which lasted almost 46 years, is quite slow. In fact, South Africa’s United Nations Human Development Index which was slowly improving in the final years of apartheid, has declined dramatically since 1996, largely due to the AIDS pandemic, and poverty levels appear to be on the increase. South Africa boasts a well-developed infrastructure and has all the modern amenities and technologies, much of it developed during the years of white minority rule. Lately, white farm owners have come under attack by mobs of blacks after they were disarmed by the government. A wave of violent crime against any whites has engulfed the country and caution is recommended.

History

The tip of Africa has been home to the Khoisan (collective name for Hottentot (Koi) and Bushmen (San)) people for thousands of years. Their rock art can still be found in many places throughout South Africa. It is estimated that Bantu tribes may have started to slowly expand into the northernmost areas of what is today Southern Africa around 2,500 years ago and by around 500 AD the different cultural groups had been established in the lush areas to the north and east of the what is today known as Eastern South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. The desert and semi-desert areas of the Western and Northern Cape provinces, as well as the western parts of the Eastern Cape province remained unsettled by the Bantu as the arid climate, limited seasonal rainfall, sparse vegetation and scarcity of natural sources of water could not sustain large migrations of people and herds of cattle, cattle being the primary livestock reared by the Bantu and fulfilling numerous cultural and economic functions within the tribal society (cattle served as a rudimentary currency and basic unit of exchange with a mutually agreeable value between bartering parties, thus fulfilling the function of money). The “Khoisan” existed in these areas as nomadic hunters, unable to permanently settle as the movement of desert game in search of dwindling water supplies during winter months determined their own migration. Not until the “Boers” (see next paragraph) moved into these areas and established boreholes and containment ponds could any permanent settlements be established in these areas. Today, with more reliable sources of water and modern methods of water conservancy the agricultural activity remains limited mainly to sheep and ostrich ranching as these animals are better suited to the sparse feed and limited water.

The first Europeans to reach South Africa were the Portuguese, who named the end of the country “Cape of Good Hope” in 1488, when they managed to sail around it to reach India. Permanent European settlement was only built at Cape Town after the Dutch East India Company reached the Cape of Good Hope in April 1652. In the late 1700s, the Boers (Dutch for farmers) slowly started expanding first eastward along the coastline and later upwards into the interior. By 1795, Britain took control of the Cape, as a consequence of the Napoleonic wars on the Dutch, in 1820 a large group of British settlers arrived in the region. In 1835, large numbers of Boers started out on the Groot Trek (the great migration) into the interior after becoming dissatisfied with the British rule. In the interior, they established their own internationally recognized republics. Some Boers were initially able to get along with the locals (as with the Tswana) and in other areas Boers clashed badly with native populations (especially the Zulu). On 16 December 1838, a badly outnumbered Boer unit slaughtered over 3,000 Zulus at the Battle of Blood River in what is now KwaZulu-Natal.

Two wars for control over Transvaal and Natal were fought between the Boers and the British in 1880 and 1899. The second war occurred after British settlers flooded into the area surrounding Johannesburg known as the “Witwatersrand” (white water escarpment) in response to the discovery of gold in 1886. The Second Boer War (Afrikaans: Die Tweede Vryheidsoorlog or ‘Second War of Independence’) was particularly unpleasant, as the British administration contained the Boer civilian population in concentration camps. Thousands of Boer civilians died in the camps from starvation or disease. Boer farms, livestock, crops and homesteads were also largely destroyed.

After peace was restored by the 1902 Treaty of Vereeniging, the Union of South Africa was formed in 1910, consolidating the various Boer republics and British colonies into a unified state as a member of the British Commonwealth. In 1961, the Republic of South Africa was formed and SA exited the Commonwealth. Meanwhile, during the early 20th century, a number of Afrikaner thinkers began to articulate a philosophy of white supremacy. This philosophy was given a theological foundation by the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa, which preached that there would be no equality in church or state.

In 1948, the Afrikaner-dominated National Party came to power and began full implementation of its long-cherished dream of white supremacy, at the expense of blacks and coloureds. In addition, the NP sought to promote Afrikaner culture at the expense of English culture and either co-opted or marginalized English-speaking whites.

The NP introduced numerous apartheid laws during the 1950s which mandated classification of all persons into arbitrary racial categories (which in many cases resulted in nonsensical results since interracial couplings had been occurring in the country for over 300 years and siblings within the same family could end up in different “races”); limited the vote to white persons (previously, coloureds were able to vote in the Cape Province which made up most of the country’s territory); mandated segregation of all public amenities (and ensured that non-whites always got the inferior ones); and divided both cities and the countryside into “group areas.”

All adult citizens were required to carry a “passbook,” a kind of internal passport. Non-whites had to obtain special permission from whites to be present in white-only areas. Police (who were always white) could demand to see non-whites’ passbooks at any time, arbitrarily strike out the holder’s permission to be in a white-only area, and then promptly arrest, fine, and imprison the holder for being present in a white-only area without permission. Some existing districts (such as Sophiatown in Johannesburg and District Six in Cape Town) were either too prosperous or too racially integrated from the government’s perspective; they were summarily re-designated as white-only and all non-white residents were summarily evicted.

As the Cold War took shape in the early 1950s, the NP attempted to justify apartheid as necessary in the face of an alleged communist conspiracy to take over South Africa. The NP’s focus on anti-communist propaganda was particularly ironic, as South Africa under the NP ended up with a much higher level of state control of the economy than the vast majority of anti-communist countries. Many state-owned enterprises were later spun off into private enterprises after the end of apartheid.

In order to fight communism, state censorship was omnipresent, and the freedoms of speech, press, and public assembly were all vigorously suppressed. The technology of television was also banned and suppressed. It was reluctantly allowed into the country only after South Africa suffered the embarrassment of being one of the few countries where the November 1969 moon landing could not be watched live, even by its wealthiest citizens.

However, apartheid was never one unified program. It existed in a state of constant tension between those Afrikaners who envisioned most of the country completely purged of non-whites and those Afrikaners (particularly businessmen) who recognized that it would take decades, if not centuries, to either create enough white children or import enough white immigrants to provide a sufficiently large labour force which would make up for the eventual long-term expulsion of all non-whites from South Africa’s cities.

As a result, on the one hand, all non-whites were designated as citizens of one of several quasi-sovereign national “homelands” (known as “bantustans”) which were intended to be like Native American reservations in the United States, but on a much larger scale. (Like Native American reservations, the homelands were usually allocated to the worst-quality land, while whites were allocated the best-quality land.) On the other hand, the government forcibly relocated urban non-whites into areas on the edges of South Africa’s cities (Cape Flats near Cape Town and Soweto near Johannesburg) where whites could use them as cheap labour. Those non-whites, then, had to put up with lengthy, miserable commutes on overcrowded trains and taxi vans into white-controlled areas (where their permission to remain could be revoked at any time) and work for wages that were a pittance compared to those available to similarly qualified white employees.

The African National Congress (ANC) initially resisted all these developments with non-violent protests. The ANC managed to score a handful of legal victories during the 1950s, as the South African judiciary still had many fair-minded judges appointed by the previous United Party. Many of those judges still respected the rule of law and were willing to give a fair hearing to a well-reasoned legal argument even if they personally despised the defendant on account of his race.

In 1960, a breakaway group of former ANC members formed the Pan Africanist Congress under the leadership of Robert Sobukwe, who attempted to organize protests against the hated pass laws. An outnumbered police unit panicked and fired into a crowd of unarmed protesters at Sharpeville. As a result, the NP declared a state of emergency and used it as an excuse to tear up the remaining shreds of the rule of law in South Africa. ANC leadership correctly recognized that the ANC would soon be banned (along with all other anti-apartheid political organizations) and would no longer be able to openly operate within South Africa as a political organization. Therefore, the ANC founded an armed wing called Umkhonto we Sizwe (“Spear of the Nation”, known as MK for short) to implement a program of domestic sabotage and terrorism. In 1963, a police raid at a farm in Rivonia enabled the government to seize enough evidence to arrest and convict a large number of ANC and MK leaders (including Nelson Mandela) in 1964, at what was later known as the “Rivonia Trial.”

The apartheid regime’s power peaked during the late 1960s and 1970s, after the anti-apartheid resistance had been brutally crushed. During that era, South Africa’s white citizens enjoyed the fruits of strong economic growth and rapid infrastructure development in the form of the highest-quality lifestyle in Africa (that is, nearly equivalent to First World living standards), and were content to keep quiet and not ask too many questions.

The ANC and MK quietly rebuilt themselves in exile, trained numerous operatives, and began to launch new domestic uprisings and terrorist attacks. At the same time, the black majority’s frustration with their miserable situation continued to build. It finally boiled over and exploded in the form of the famous Soweto uprising of 1976, followed by the Black Consciousness Movement. South Africa’s prisons were soon flooded with a new generation of BCM radicals. Ironically, BCM caused the government to shift to a more lenient approach towards the older generation of ANC-MK activists, because it had its hands full with suppressing BCM activists.

By the early 1980s, the United States had finally overcome its own historical experiments with white supremacy and racial segregation, and was no longer willing to tolerate the apartheid regime. Thus, the international community belatedly began to turn against South Africa, by implementing strict weapons and trade embargoes. South Africa was banned from the Olympic Games and most other international sporting competitions. Many international celebrities, such as Bruce Springsteen, noisily boycotted South Africa, composed protest songs attacking South Africa, and harshly criticized any performer or athlete who was willing to perform or play in South Africa.

Simultaneously, by the late 1980s, many white moderates began to recognize that change was inevitable. International sanctions and internal strife were beginning to take a severe toll on South Africa. White moderates recognized that white supremacy could not be indefinitely maintained through the naked use of force, and allowing black rage to keep building would only result in an even more explosive endgame similar to what had happened in many other African countries (e.g., Algeria). On the ANC side, black moderates had already long recognized that taking revenge by expelling all whites from South Africa was neither just nor wise. (In his famous speech at his 1964 trial, Nelson Mandela noted that he had fought both “white domination” and “black domination.”) They recognized that for better or worse, South Africa was the only home which most white South Africans had ever known, and any peaceful resolution would have to accommodate that fact. From a purely pragmatic perspective, the white monopolization of the best educational resources had resulted in a situation where the vast majority of qualified executives and professionals capable of operating a modern industrialized economy were white. Summarily expelling those professionals and executives risked creating a huge economic disaster (as had occurred in many other African countries during the decolonization process), and would do nothing to improve the long-term prospects of the black majority.

Accordingly, white moderates within the security service and the National Party itself began to quietly reach out to ANC leaders to find common ground and negotiate how to dismantle apartheid. The actual process began with the freeing of political prisoners in 1990. The freeing of Nelson Mandela from Victor Verster Prison near Cape Town on 11 February 1990 was covered live on television around the world.

Political violence worsened badly during the early 1990s as extremists of all kinds and races attempted to derail the peace talks at the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) in favour of their own deranged visions of the future of South Africa. Thousands of people were murdered in riots or terrorist attacks. Regardless, in 1992, 73% of the voting white population voted in a referendum in support of the abolishment of apartheid.

During this terrible and dangerous period, the CODESA negotiations became gridlocked and stalled numerous times; then the parties backed off and tried a new process on 1 April 1993 called the Multi-Party Negotiating Process (MPNP). A few days later, the assassination of popular political activist Chris Hani on 10 April 1993 threatened to push South Africa to the brink of civil war. That night, Mandela gave a televised speech which was later seen in retrospect as “presidential” in terms of his ability to calm the country’s severe racial tensions. In turn, Hani’s death became a catalyst for pushing all sides back to the bargaining table.

The MPNP ultimately led to the enactment of a new interim constitution at the end of 1993 and then the nation’s first truly democratic election in April 1994, in which all SA adult citizens were allowed to vote regardless of their ethnic and cultural background. Former political prisoner Nelson Mandela was selected as the country’s first democratically elected president. The ANC won a 63% majority and proceeded to form a Government of National Unity with the NP.

As part of the peace talks, it was recognized that once apartheid was abolished, it made no sense to allow its opponents to continue to maintain their own paramilitary resistance forces. Accordingly, a process was set up in 1994 by which the various guerilla units (including MK units), as well as bantustan defence units, were all integrated into the South African Defence Force, which subsequently became the South African National Defence Force.

In 1996, the interim constitution was replaced with South Africa’s current constitution. The ANC solidified its control over the electorate in subsequent years. The National Party subsequently withered away; its remnants joined with other opposition parties to form the current opposition, the Democratic Alliance.

Place names

Many region, city, street and building names in South Africa have been changed several times after the end of apartheid. Some of them are still being changed today. These changes can sometimes lead to confusion as many of the new names are not yet well known.

The underlying problem is that the 1994 Government of National Unity immediately began changing names so that they would be neutral and non-offensive. This included the principle that if at all possible, places should not be named for particular persons so as to avoid offending any particular racial group. For example, Jan Smuts International Airport became Johannesburg International Airport.

After the ANC assumed full control of the government in 2004, the ANC reversed course and moved towards a policy of changing European names to African names, and to name places after leaders of the apartheid resistance. For example, under the new policy, Johannesburg International Airport became O. R. Tambo International Airport in October 2006, after the ANC leader who was dispatched overseas to keep the organization alive in exile.

This travel guide will use the official new names, but also mention the previous names where possible.

Climate

The climate in South Africa ranges from desert and semi-desert in the north west of the country to sub-tropical on the eastern coastline. The rainy season for most of the country is in the summer, except in the Western Cape where the rains come in the winter. Rainfall in the Eastern Cape is distributed evenly throughout the year. Winter temperatures hover around zero, summers can be very hot, in excess of 35° Celsius (95°F) in some places.

The South African Weather Service provides up-to-date weather information, forecasts and satellite imaging. SAWS has also implemented a network of high-resolution Doppler radars to improve the quality of its forecasts. Unfortunately, SAWS radar imaging is not syndicated to commercial news services and is thus difficult to find online.

Public Holidays

The public holidays in South Africa are:

  • New Year’s Day (1 January)
  • Human Rights Day (21 March)
  • Easter weekend (4-day long weekend in March/April) – Consisting of “Good Friday”, “Easter Saturday”, “Easter Sunday”, and “Easter Monday”, the dates are set according to the Western Christian tradition.
  • Freedom Day (27 April)
  • Workers Day (1 May)
  • Youth Day (16 June)
  • Woman’s Day (9 August)
  • Heritage Day (24 September)
  • Day of Reconciliation (16 December) – see Bloodriver.
  • Christmas Day (25 December)
  • Day of Goodwill (26 December) – Often referred to as ‘Boxing Day’.

If a public holiday falls on a Sunday, then the Monday following will be a holiday

School holidays occur early December to middle January, early in April, middle June to middle July and late September. Most South Africans go on leave during these times and accommodation will be harder to find.

Tourism Offices

South African Tourism operates a number of offices in other countries. You might wish to contact the office in your country for any additional information or assistance

  • Australia, Level 1, 117 York St, Sydney, +61 2 9261-5000 (info.au@southafrica.net, fax: +61 2 9261-2000).
  • France, 61 Rue La Boetie, Paris, +33 1 456-10197 (info.fr@southafrica.net, fax: +33 1 456-10196).
  • Germany, Friedensstrasse 6-10, Frankfurt, +49 69 929-1290 (info.de@southafrica.net, fax: +49 69 28-0950).
  • Italy, Via XX Settembre 24, 3F, Milano, + 02 4391-1765 (info.it@southafrica.net, fax: +39 02 4391-1158).
  • Japan, Akasaka Lions Bldg, 1-1-2 Moto Akasaka, Minato-Ku, Tokyo, +81 33 478-7601 (info@southafricantourism.or.jp, fax: +81 33 478-7605).
  • Netherlands, Jozef Israëlskade 48 A, Amsterdam, +31 20 471-3181 (info.nl@southafrica.net, fax: +31 20 662-9761).
  • United Kingdom, No 5 & 6 Alt Grove, Wimbledon, London, +44 20 8971-9350 (info.uk@southafrica.net, fax: +44 20 8944-6705).
  • United States, 500 Fifth Ave, 20F, Ste 2040, New York, +1 212 730-0000 (info.us@southafrica.net, fax: +1 212 764-1980).

Regions

South Africa is divided into 9 provinces, they are:

Regions of South Africa

Gauteng
Pretoria the administrative capital of the country. Johannesburg is the seat the provincial government, also the economic heart of Africa and the most common entry point into Southern Africa.
Western Cape
Cape Town, the mother city, the legislative capital and seat of Parliament, with famous landmarks as Table Mountain and the Cape of Good Hope. The winelands near Stellenbosch, the Whale Coast along the Overberg, Agulhas where the Atlantic and Indian Ocean meet and the Cape Floral Region. The Garden Route, one of the top destinations, running along the Southern Coast from Mossel Bay to Port Elizabeth, with cities like Knysna and ostrich capital Oudtshoorn.
Eastern Cape
The remainder of the Garden Route, known as the Tsitsikamma. The former homelands, the Wild Coast, spectacular coastlines without the tourist crowd. Superb beaches in Port Elizabeth, East London and Jeffreys Bay, the surfing mecca of South Africa. Great parks like Addo Elephant National Park and Tsitsikamma National Park.
Northern Cape
Capital Kimberley, famous for its diamonds and the “Big Hole”. Biggest province with fewest people, Upington is the second big city, a good base when exploring the Kalahari desert, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and the Augrabies Falls on the Orange River. Also Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park and the semi-desert Karoo.
Free State
Capital Bloemfontein which also hosts the Supreme Court of Appeal, the highest court in non-constitutional matters (the Constitutional Court is in Johannesburg since 1994). The world heritage site Vredefort Dome, remnants of the largest and oldest meteorite impact crater.
KwaZulu-Natal
Durban, the largest city in the province and third largest in South Africa and popular coastal holiday destination for South Africans. The Drakensberg mountain range, if you like hiking and also the Tugela Falls, the world’s second highest waterfall.
North West
Rustenburg, famous for Sun City and Pilanesberg Game Reserve.
Mpumalanga
Capital Nelspruit, gateway to Mozambique and southern section of the Kruger National Park. The Drakensberg Escarpment with the Blyde River Canyon is the third largest Canyon in the world.
Limpopo
Capital Polokwane (formally known as Pietersburg) a good jump off point for visits to the northern parts of the Kruger National Park and Zimbabwe.

Territories
  • Marion Island
  • Prince Edward Islands

Cities

  • Pretoria – The administrative capital of South Africa
  • Bloemfontein – Location of the Supreme Court of Appeal, the highest court in non-constitutional matters. The Constitutional Court in Johannesburg became the highest court in constitutional matters in 1994.
  • Cape Town – The legislative capital and seat of Parliament. A world-class city named for its proximity to the Cape of Good Hope. Also within a stone’s throw of South Africa’s winelands. One of the most beautiful cities in the world, nestled between the sea and Table Mountain, it is a popular summer destination by both domestic tourists and those from abroad.
  • Durban – Largest city in KwaZulu-Natal, third largest in South Africa and popular coastal holiday destination for South Africans.
  • Newcastle – 3rd largest city in KwaZulu-Natal, one of the large regional cities in South Africa and Capital of Northern KZN. Famous for Steel Production, Coal Mining, Heavy Industry and is South Africa’s Textile Industry Capital.
  • Johannesburg – The economic heart of Africa and the most common entry point into Southern Africa.
  • Kimberley — Capital of the Northern Cape Province. Famous for its diamonds and “Big Hole”.
  • Polokwane – Capital of Limpopo (formerly known as Pietersburg) and a good jump off point for visits to the northern parts of the Kruger National Park and Zimbabwe.
  • Port Elizabeth – Coastal city in the Eastern Cape with Addo Elephant National Park located close by.
  • Upington – Located in the arid Northern Cape province, this city is a good base when exploring the Kalahari desert and the many national parks located in the Northern Cape.

Other destinations

National Parks

South Africa is a paradise for anyone interested in natural history. A wide range of species (some potentially dangerous) may be encountered in parks, farms, private reserves and even on the roads.

  • The Kruger National Park is exceptionally well managed and a favourite tourist destination.
  • Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in the heart of the Kalahari desert with wide open spaces and hordes of games including the majestic ‘Gemsbok’. This is the first park in Africa to cross political borders.
  • There are also a large number of smaller parks, like the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park, Addo Elephant National Park, Pilanesberg National Park or the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

See African Flora and Fauna and South African National Parks for additional information. There are hiking trails available in almost all the parks and around geographical places of interest, Hiking in South Africa contains information on those.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • The Cradle of Humankind, near Johannesburg is a must see for anyone interested in where it all started.A large collection of caves rich in hominid and advanced ape fossils.
  • Robben Island just off the coast from Cape Town where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for many years.
  • The Cape Floral Region in the Western Cape
  • iSimangaliso Wetland Park,
  • Mapungubwe Kingdom, in Limpopo
  • Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park, for its landscape, biodiversity and rock art.
  • Vredefort Dome, remnants of the largest and oldest meteorite impact crater.

Get in

Visas

The following nationalities do not need a visa for a stay of 90 days or less: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, Russian Federation, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania (90 days per 1 year), United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, and citizens of British Overseas Territories.

The following nationalities do not need a visa for a stay of 30 days or less: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Gabon, Guyana, Hong Kong (BNO passports or SAR passports), Hungary, Jordan, Lesotho, Macau, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Peru, Poland, Seychelles, South Korea, Swaziland, Thailand and Turkey.

Important note for travelers to surrounding countries and people intending to do visa runs:

Section 11(5) of the Immigration Act states that if you leave South Africa and come back without first going back to your country of residence, then you will not be reissued the above number of days, but simply the remainder given at your first entry. So if you enter on 7 March, and your passport is stamped to be valid for staying in South Africa until 6 June, then any re-entries to South Africa before 6 June (in theory even if you enter on 5 June), will only be stamped valid for stay until 6 June. If you enter after 6 June, you get only 7 days in the country. It is not clear whether you can do multiple visa runs to neighbouring countries for an additional 7 days each after this, and a number of border posts contacted give conflicting answers in this regard and even Home Affairs Head Office cannot give conclusive answers in this regard. So if you do want to try this, speak to a supervisor at the border post first before attempting this and see if this will work, and then re-enter through that same border at a time when that same supervisor is on duty.

It would appear that this rule was created to discourage people working in South Africa after admission as a tourist (or wanting to do tourism for extended periods of time), in which case it makes sense, but the unfortunate (and likely unintended) consequence of this, is if you for example fly into Johannesburg, spend one night there, fly to Zambia to visit Victoria Falls and then travel on in Botswana and Namibia, etc. for three months (or one month in the case of nationals entitled to 30 days stay only), come back to South Africa (especially over a land border where this is more likely to be noticed), you will only be given 7 days stay in South Africa, as “the 90 (or 30) days have expired”, despite you having only been in South Africa for 1 day. This should not impact most short-term visitors from for example Europe coming for a month holiday, but it is important to note for overlanders and long-term travellers who do not return to their country of residence regularly.

The above rule is not applicable to nationals of countries sharing a border with South Africa or to nationals requiring visas to visit South Africa (in which case the rules of the visa apply).

If you overstay the seven days before exit (or for that matter overstay any period of stay granted), you will be banned from re-entry to South Africa (for 1 year if overstay is less than 30 days, or up to 5 years if more). If banned, you can/should petition Home Affairs to waive the ban, which may be done via E-mail – details on their website.

Citizens of India have to apply for tourist visas but the visa is issued gratis. The same applies to South Africans visiting India. This is because of the reciprocity that India shares with a lot of countries like Argentina, Uruguay and Mongolia.

Do not show up without a visa if you are required to have one. Visas cannot and will not be issued at ports of entry. If needed, you can extend your visa in South Africa. With an extension the total amount of time you are allowed to stay is 6 months. Additional information as well as Visa application forms can be found at the Department of Home Affairs +27 12 810 8911.

The Department of Home Affairs is notoriously inefficient and may not always apply rules uniformly or know how to apply rules for situations that are out of the ordinary, so make sure to apply for visas and visa extensions as early as possible.

Make sure you have one blank page (two if you require a visa) and that your passport is valid for at least 30 days after your intended date of departure, or you will be sent back! Most international airlines that serve South Africa now check for these specific issues at check-in. They will not let you check-in or board your flight if your passport does not meet both of these strict requirements, because they know from painful experience that you will be summarily denied entry.

In addition, if you do not have a return ticket (knowing the reservation number is enough), you will need to pay a refundable deposit. Be wary of arriving with a damaged passport as new security measures might trip up your entry.

By plane

South Africa has 10 international airports, the two major ones being Cape Town International and OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.Durban International Airport is the third biggest airport. Regular Flights from and to: Blantyre, Cairo, Gaborone, Dar es Salaam, Harare, Lilongwe, Livingstone, Luanda, Lusaka, Kinshasa, Maputo, Manzini, Maun, Mauritius, Nairobi, Victoria Falls and Windhoek.

Direct flights also arrive from major European centres, including: Amsterdam, Athens, Madrid, London, Paris, Istanbul, Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich and Lisbon. There are also direct flights from Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha, New York, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Buenos Aires, Mumbai, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Sao Paulo, Singapore, Sydney and Perth. You may also want to have a look at Discount airlines in Africa.

See Air travel in South Africa for detailed information. Note: Baggage theft at airports is common especially at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg so avoid putting valuables such as jewellery and expensive devices in your main luggage if you can and place them in your hand luggage.

By car

Should you be entering from one of the other countries in Southern Africa you might want to do so by car. South Africa operates a number of land border posts between itself and immediately neighbouring countries. The more commonly used ones are:

Botswana border

  • Skilpadsnek, (On the N4, 54km (34 mi) from Zeerust), +27 18 366 1469. 06:00-22:00.

Lesotho border

  • Maseru Bridge, (15km (9 mi) from Ladybrand on the N8 towards Maseru), +27 51 924 4004. Open 24 hours.
  • Ficksburg Bridge, (Just outside Ficksburg), +27 51 933 2760. Open 24 hours.
  • Sani Pass, (In the KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg park), +27 51 430 3664. 08:00-16:00.

Mozambique border

  • Lebombo, (On the N4 btwn Nelspruit and Maputo), +27 13 790 7203. 06:00-22:00.
  • Kosi Bay, (R22 btwn Hluhluwe and Ponta do Ouro), +27 35 592 0251. 08:00-16:00.

Namibia border

  • Nakop, (132km (82 mi) from Upington on the N10 towards Ariamsvlei), +27 054 571 0008. Open 24 hours.
  • Vioolsdrift, (On the N7 N of Springbok), +27 27 761-8760. Open 24 hours.

Swaziland border

  • Oshoek, (120km (75 mi) from Ermelo on the N17 towards Mbabane), +27 17 882 0138. 07:00-12:00.

Zimbabwe border

  • Beit Bridge, (On N1 approximately 16km (10 mi) N of Messina), +27 15 530-0070. Open 24 hours.

By boat
Open times are often extended during South African holidays.. For a full list of entry ports or any additional information see the South African Border Information Service or contact them on +27 86 026 7337.

Most of the larger cruise lines, such as Princess Cruises offer Cape Town as one of their destinations, but you can also try something different

  • RMS St Helena, +44 20 7575 6480, This passenger/cargo ship is the last working Royal Mail Ship and stops at Cape Town on its way to St Helena.

Get around

By plane

South Africa has a well established domestic air travel infrastructure with links between all major centres. There are numerous local airlines you can use to get around the country. Use a flight comparison tool to compare rates and find a good deal for you.

See Air travel in South Africa for detailed information.

By road

Hail taxis are generally not available in South Africa and to get a meter taxi you need to walk to a public rank or pre-book a private taxi service through a call centre which usually gives the price of your trip.

All measurements use the metric system; distances on road signs are in kilometres (1.6 km is about 1 mile) and fuel is sold by the litre (3.8 litres=1 US gallon).

To acquire a car in South Africa, there are basically three options: you can hire a car (“car rental” in North American English), buy one or use the so-called buy-back option. Hiring a car is fairly easy and bookings can be made online and in all major cities, although you can get better rates by calling some of the smaller operators. Buying a car takes a bit more work (Roadworthy license, registering the car, insurance), but there is a lively used car market in South Africa. The third option is a combination of both, as you buy a car with a guarantee that the rental company will buy-back your car at the end of the contract.

Most cars in South Africa have manual transmissions and the selection of second-hand automatics may be limited and definitely pricier than a manual. Gear shift is operated using the left hand while the foot pedals are, from left to right: clutch, brake, accelerator.

Renting a car in South Africa can range anywhere from USD15 per day and upwards of USD200 per day depending on the car group, location and availability. The major rental agencies are Avis, Bidvest, Budget Car Hire, Europcar, Hertz, Tempest Car Hire, Thrifty, Dollar, Long Term Car Rental and Luxury Car Rental. The car rental agencies maintain branches around South Africa including smaller towns and game reserves and national parks and perhaps most popularly found at airport terminals.

Most rental fleets in South Africa largely have manual transmissions and vehicles with automatic transmission are limited and tend to be much more expensive. Renting a vehicle with complete loss damage waiver (as is available in the United States) is expensive and hard to find; most agencies will provide only reduced waiver ceilings or waivers for certain types of damage such as to the glass and tires. If you plan to drive on dirt roads in South Africa, check with the rental agency about (1) whether that is authorized for the vehicle you intend to rent and (2) do your own research into whether the vehicle(s) offered are adequate for expected driving conditions.

If however you don’t have a driving licence or are uncomfortable with driving yourself around then you can hire a pre-booked taxi service or a chauffeur driver from the various service providers in this industry.

Rules of the road
Road traffic in South Africa (and its neighbouring countries) drives on the left.

South African vehicles are right hand drive, but the levers on the steering column are not reversed (as is sometimes the case in Australia and New Zealand). Just like with most U.S. and UK vehicles, Americans, Canadians, and visitors from the majority of countries that drive on the right can almost always safely assume that the left lever is the indicator lever (headlights and turn signals) and the right lever controls windscreen wipers. However, many other controls will be necessarily reversed and must be operated with the opposite hand, especially the gearshift and console controls (such as radio).

Make sure you familiarize yourself with and understand South African road signs. South Africa previously used an unusual system of road signs which combined American typefaces with English and German design elements. This was problematic as American typefaces were not designed to accommodate the long place names typical of Afrikaans. The result was that place names were often abbreviated or hyphenated and broken across two lines to fit them on signs. Since 1994, South Africa has been implementing a system of road signs almost identical to Germany’s system, with suitable modifications for local conditions (German, like Afrikaans, also has long place names). However, older signs may still be in use.

A special kind of intersection very commonly found in both city and highway driving is the roundabout (referred to by locals as a ‘four way stop’ when talking with foreigners who have roundabouts that follow different traffic habits) where the car that stops first has right of way. Outside of the country the rule may be the car on the left or right may have the right-of-way, but in South Africa, which car gets to proceeds first is based upon timing — not spatial arrangement.

Sections of the nation’s major roadways, such as the N1, are two-lane at times. With some vehicles having a max speed of 80 kmh, some drivers may display signs of aggressive behavior and attempt to pass even when it may be prohibited during that section. Thus it is always good to remain alert, especially when driving at high speeds. Yellow lane driving is common, whereas a vehicle in front may use the shoulder to let a speedier vehicle pass. Once passed, it is customary in South Africa to turn one’s hazard lights on for a few seconds to thank the passed vehicle, while that driver will reciprocate with a quick flashing of their headlights. Some vehicles, such as fuel trucks, are prohibited from yellow line driving and will be designated with a sign on the rear of the vehicle. Yellow line driving is not always practiced by drivers, so if wanting to pass, a speedier driver may need to wait until multiple lanes are available or a dotted line (passing zone) is legal. Slower moving vehicles may have a speed limit posted on the tail of the vehicle, designated with a yellow circle and number in the middle. For example, trucks may notify fellow drivers they are prohibited from driving over 80 kmh, or a commuter van may have a self-imposed limit of 100 kmh.

Left (or right) turns on red at traffic lights are illegal. You will, however, find traffic lights and ‘four way stops’ that have an accompanying yield sign explicitly permitting a left turn.

The wearing of seat belts is compulsory. The front seat occupants of a car are required to wear seat belts while travelling, and for your own safety, it is recommended that those in the rear seats do so as well. If you are caught without that, you will be subjected to a fine.

The use of hand-held cell (mobile) phones whilst in control of a vehicle is illegal. If you need to speak on your cell phone, use either a vehicle phone attachment or a hands-free kit. Or even better (and safer), pull off the road and stop. NOTE: only pull off the road at safe places, such as a rest area (denoted with a sign with a tree on it) with picnic tables or a petrol station. Pulling over and stopping along roads can be dangerous. The majority of petrol stations are open 24/7.

Safety
South Africa has a high rate of traffic accidents. It regularly ranks somewhere between 8 to 11 among the countries with the highest per-capita traffic-related death rates in the world (31.9 killed per 100,000 per year as of 2011). You should at all times exercise extreme caution when driving, especially at night in urban areas. Watch out for unsafe drivers (minibus taxis), poor lighting, cyclists (many of whom seem not to know about the “drive on the left” rule) and pedestrians (who are the cause of many accidents, especially at night). South Africans pedestrians in general tend to be rather aggressive, like pedestrians from some Southern European countries, and you must be alert for pedestrians who will step into traffic and expect you to stop or swerve for them.

You will also encounter a very large number of people walking along the freeways or running across them simply because that is the fastest route on foot to where they want to go and they cannot afford a car, taxi, or minibus to take them there. Look out for South Africa’s notorious taxi and minibus drivers, who will sometimes even stop on freeways to pick up or drop off fares.

When driving outside of the major cities, you will often encounter animals, wild and domestic, in or near the roadway. The locals tend to herd their cattle and goats near the road. If you see an animal on or by the road, slow down, as they are unpredictable. Do not stop to feed wild animals!

Should you find yourself waiting at a red traffic light late at night in an area where you do not feel safe, you could (illegally) cross over the red light after first carefully checking that there is no other traffic. If you receive a fine due to a camera on the traffic light, you can sometimes have it waived by writing a letter to the traffic department or court explaining that you crossed safely and on purpose, due to security reasons. The fact remains that, for whatever reason, you have broken the law. Do not make a habit of this.

When stopped at a traffic light at night, always leave enough room between your car and the car in front of you so you can get around them. It is a common hijacking maneuver to box your car in. This is especially prevalent in the suburbs of Johannesburg.

So far as possible, and especially when driving in urban areas, try not to have any belongings visible inside the car – keep them out of sight in the glove boxes or in the boot (trunk). The same applies, but even more so, when parking your car. It is also considered safe practice to drive in urban areas with the car windows closed and the doors locked. These simple precautions will make things less attractive for potential thieves and criminals.

As you would do in any other country, always be alert when driving. The safest way is to drive defensively and assume that the other driver is about to do something stupid / dangerous / illegal.

Road system
Speed limits are usually clearly indicated. Generally, speed limits on highways are 120km/h, those on major roads outside built-up areas are 100km/h, those on major roads within built-up areas are 80km/h and those on normal city/town roads are 60km/h. But beware – in some areas, the posted speed limits may change suddenly and unexpectedly.

The roads within South Africa, connecting most major cities, and between its immediate neighbours are very good. There are many national and regional roads connecting the cities and larger centres, including the N1 running from Cape Town through Johannesburg and Pretoria up to Harare, Zimbabwe, the N2 running from Cape Town to Durban, which passes through the world-famous Garden Route near Knysna, and the N3 between Durban and Johannesburg.

Some portions of the national roads are limited access, dual carriage freeways (the N3 between Johannesburg and Durban is freeway almost all the way) and some sections are also toll roads with emergency assist telephones every couple of kilometres. Toll roads generally have two or more lanes in each direction.

The large fuel companies have rest stops every 200-300km along these highways where you can fill up, eat at a restaurant, buy takeaways, do some shopping or just stretch your legs. Restrooms at these facilities are well maintained and clean. Most (but not all) of these rest stops also have ATMs.

Some of the main roads have only one lane in each direction, especially where they are far from urban centres. When driving on such a road, it is common that a truck or other slow-moving vehicle will politely move onto the hard shoulder (often marked by a yellow line) to let you pass. Once you have passed it is customary to flash your hazard lights once or twice. This is considered a thank you and you will very likely receive a my pleasure response in the the form of the slow vehicle flashing its headlights once. Bear in mind that it is both illegal and dangerous to drive on the hard shoulder – although many people do.

In many rural areas, you will find unpaved “dirt” roads. Most of these are perfectly suitable for a normal car, although a reduced speed might often be advisable. Extra caution is required when driving on these roads, especially when encountering other traffic – windscreens and lights broken by flying stones are not uncommon.

Whilst it is not compulsory, more and more drivers are adopting the practice of driving with their headlights on at all times. This greatly increases their visibility to other road users.

The N1 between Gauteng and Cape Town and the N3 between Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal can become very busy at the start and end of Gauteng school holidays, due to many people from Gauteng spending their holidays at the coast. If you are planning on using these two highways, it is wise to try and avoid the two days after schools break up and the two days before they open again. School holiday calendars for South Africa can be found here.

The N3 normally has a Highway Customer Care line during busy periods, 0800 203 950, it can be used to request assistance for breakdowns, accidents or general route information. Current toll fees, road and traffic condition can also be found on the N3 website.

Fuel stations

Fuel stations are full service with lead free petrol, lead replacement petrol and diesel available. Pump attendants will offer to wash your windscreen and check oil and water in addition to just filling up the car. It is usual to tip the attendant approximately R5 – if you don’t have change filling up R195, for example, and let the attendant keep the change, it is a courteous idea. Most fuel stations are open 24 hours a day.

Major chains include international chains Shell, Total, and Caltex (the last one is part of US oil giant Chevron), as well as domestic chains Engen and Sasol.

Historically, South African fuel stations were cash only, which was and still is indicated by many guidebooks. However, after a period in which fuel stations accepted only their own proprietary credit cards, in 2009, the government authorized them to begin accepting major credit cards like Visa and MasterCard. As of 2013, only the most remote or rural fuel stations are still cash only. If a fuel station is in a reasonably sized town (at least a few thousand people), you can safely assume that it will accept major credit cards. Thus, you do not need to carry large amounts of cash to pay for fuel, unless you are absolutely certain you will need to purchase fuel in a very remote area that does not yet support credit cards.

The law
Law enforcement (speed and other violations) is usually done by portable or stationary, radar or laser cameras.

Unlike other countries like Australia, South Africa does not post signs expressly warning you that you are approaching a speed camera. In fact, many speed cameras in South Africa are classic speed traps: positioned just around curves or crests or behind columns so that you will not see them until it is too late to brake. In major cities, one clue that you are approaching a known speed camera is when traffic in all lanes on an otherwise busy freeway suddenly slows to the speed limit. On less busy freeways and highways, there may not be enough traffic from which that pattern can be discerned until it is too late.

Local police forces, especially in rural areas, direct a lot of their efforts in to fining motorists (so to raise revenue rather than to improve road safety). If you see an oncoming car flashing his headlights at you then he or she is probably warning you of an upcoming speed camera he has just passed. Non camera portable radar and laser systems are also used and you may be pulled over for speeding (or other violations) and given a written fine. Fines can be sent to the registered address of the vehicle you are driving, but paying on-the-spot fines is also common, usually the policeman will hold your license whilst you go to the local police station to pay the fine, you get a receipt, and drive back to where you were stopped hand the receipt over to to the policeman get your license back – this can take a good hour or more, which can be more of an annoyance than the R400 fine.

In general, the police are pretty honest, but they do respond to politeness and deference to their authority. Sometimes when a traffic police officer stops you, they will ask for some ludicrous piece of paperwork which a tourist would neither need nor have on them (a letter from some government ministry, the car’s roadworthiness certificate, etc.) and warn that you will be in a lot of trouble if you don’t have it. This is not true. The only paperwork a South African registered car is required to carry is a round licence disc in the front left of the windscreen. You need to produce only your valid driver’s licence and passport. Be firm, stay cool and friendly and be patient. In general, the police want an easy life and can’t be bothered to argue for ages if they think you aren’t going to offer a “tip.”

South Africa currently does not have a merits system and does not share traffic violation information with other nations.

Licence requirements
If your driver’s licence is in any of South Africa’s 11 official languages (e.g. English) and it contains a photo and your signature integrated into the licence document, then it is legally acceptable as a valid driver’s licence in South Africa. However, some car rental and insurance companies may still insist that you provide an International Driver’s Permit.

It is generally best practice to acquire an International Driver’s Permit in your country of origin, prior to starting your journey, regardless of whether your licence is legally acceptable or not.

Note that police may ask for a bribe (between R200 to R600) if you produce a foreign driver’s licence (see also Stay safe section). Don’t pay it, ask for their name and ID number and report them.

Useful links

  • National Roads Agency, has latest toll tariffs and road condition reports.
  • South African Automobile Association, ph: +27 083 843 22.

Motorhomes
With the abundance of caravan parks available in South Africa, motor homes are becoming ever more popular with international visitors. It gives you the freedom to move around as well as a place to stay wherever you are.

A number of companies offer motor home rentals

  • Helderberg Camper Hire, +27 021 855-3818 (reservations@helderbergcamperhire.co.za, fax: +27 021 855-1184). Based in Cape Town with branches nationwide Prices depend on camper size and which options are selected. Definitely the cheapest of them all..
  • Bobo Campers, +27 011 395-4621 (info@bobocampers.com, fax: +27 011 973-4555), Branches in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Windhoek, Namibia From R900 to R1500 per day depending on camper size.
  • Kea Campers, +27 011 230-5200 (+49 211 2297 5440 (European contact number), reservationssa@keacampers.co.za). Branches in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Windhoek, Namibia
  • Auto International, +27 011 883 2787 (reservations@autointernational.co.za, fax: +27 086 657 7161).
  • Maui, 173 Tulbagh Rd, Pomona, Kempton Park, Johannesburg, +27 011 396-1445 (maui@iafrica.com, fax: +27 011 396-1757).

Offroad vehicles

Should you want to wander off the beaten path, a 4×4 or other high clearance vehicle might be required. Often it is possible to have camping gear included with the vehicle rental allowing you to combine your transport and accommodation requirements in one.

  • Bushlore, Unit A5, Sanlam Industrial Park, Masjien Road, Randburg, Johannesburg, +27 011 792-5300 (info@bushlore.com, fax: +27 011 792-3947), Branches in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Kasane, Victoria Falls and Windhoek.
  • Bush Trackers, +27 011 465-5700 (bushtrackers@iafrica.com, fax: +27 011 465-5700).
  • Kea Campers, +27 011 230-5200 (+49 211 2297 5440 (European contact number), reservationssa@keacampers.co.za), Branches in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Windhoek, Namibia
  • Around About Cars, +27 021 422 4022 (info@aroundaboutcars.com, fax: +27 021 422 4083).
  • CABS Car hire, +27 021 386 5500 (info@cabs.co.za, fax: +27 021 385 1110).
  • Exeque Car Rental, +27 010 235 0898, Long Term Car Rental lat=”” long=”” email=”info@exequecarrental.co.za” fax=”+27 086 720 1311″>Cheap Cash Car Rental and long term car rental (Cheapest Rates)
By bus

There are scheduled bus services between Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and other cities (with stops in between), as well as connections to neighbouring countries. The main bus companies are:

  • Greyhound, +27 083 915-9000.
  • Intercape Mainliner, +27 021 380-4400.
  • Translux.
  • SA Roadlink, +27 011 333-2223.
  • Booking for the above can also be done via Computicket.

Smaller services include City Bug and Lowveld Link.

An alternative is the Baz Bus, It offers a regular hop-on-hop-off service on some of the most interesting routes for the tourist (Cape Town to Durban via the Garden Route;Durban to Johannesburg via the Drakensberg). Baz Bus picks you up and drops you off at many hostels along the route, so you don’t have to hang around at a downtown bus stop at night.

If you’re really in a pinch, you can use minibus taxis. They are poorly maintained and rarely comply with safety standards. They also require patience as they make many detours and changeovers at the taxi rank (hub) where the driver will wait for passengers to fill up the bus. But they cover many routes not covered by the main bus service and are quite cheap (25 cents per kilometre per person on the main routes).

Warning: Many buses are removed from service by the police, due to lack of legal road-worthiness. Seek up-to-date advice on which companies are more reputable. Occasionally, the driving can be rather wild, and if you’re prone to motion sickness, be prepared.

By train

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) is the national rail operator. There are budget passenger services between major South African cities.Shosholoza Meyl has three classes.Including tourist class,economy class(known as Shosholoza Meyl) as well as Premier Classe between Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

The gautrain that operates in the Gauteng province is a modern day high speed train. This can be very efficient from OR tambo air port in Johannesburg. Central Reservations (for both Shosholoza Meyl and Premier Classe) can be contacted as follows :

From within South Africa, phone 086 000 8888 (share-call)
From outside South Africa, phone +27 11 774 4555
Email mmabathop@spoornet.co.za or info@premierclasse.co.za
To book tickets, phone Central Reservations on one of the numbers given above and make your booking. You can pick up and pay for the tickets later at any train station.

There are also commuter trains in larger cities (Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and East London) ; these are run by MetroRail. Most services are perfectly safe, but certain routes are overcrowded and not always safe.

Mid-range

  • Bushveld Train Safaris, +27 014 736-3025 (info@boon.co.za), Offers rail Safaris across South Africa
  • Shongololo Express, +27 011 781-4616 (info@shongololo.com), Rail Safaris across South Africa

Splurge

  • Blue Train, +27 012 334-8459 (Cape Town +27 021 449 2672, UK +44 1403 24 3619, central Europe +44 2089 245126, U.S. +1 305 864 4569, BlueTrain@Spoornet.co.za), This world famous luxury train operates between Pretoria and Cape Town, with a stopover in Kimberley. They advertise as a “five-star hotel on wheels” and charge accordingly: 2009 prices start from R9,215 one-way per person (low-season “Deluxe” twin-sharing) and climb to a whopping R18,405 (high-season “Luxury” single). The trip takes 27 hours, and your fares includes a private suite with attached bathroom as well as all meals and drinks (except champagne and caviar).
  • Rovos Rail, +27 012 315-8242, Offers luxury rail travel throughout Southern Africa. Destinations include Cape Town, Pretoria, Durban, George, Swakopmund in Namibia, Vic Falls in Zimbabwe and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
By thumb

Hitchhiking in South Africa is not so hard, but most people will think you are catching a ride with the local taxis and thus expect you to pay. You may want to tell them you are looking for a free ride before climbing aboard. The main issue is crime: some drivers may hijack you and your belongings. Hitchhiking is generally frowned upon and considered unsafe. Drivers are also wary of potentially criminal hitchhikers. Never hitchhike at night.

By bicycle

Cycling can be a good way to experience the country, as you really get to admire the views and get the opportunity to mingle with the locals. While it could be considered unsafe to cycle through the cities, because of crime and reckless drivers, there are many farm/dirt roads throughout South Africa. Locals and Farmers are generally willing to provide you with food and a place to sleep, as long as you are willing to talk.

  • The Freedom Trail, +27 845674152 (info@freedomchallenge.org.za), The Freedom Trail
  • Heritage Tours Private Travel: U.S. based company focusing on private travel experiences in Southern Africa, including luxury accommodations, transportation, expert guides, safari and more. Contact us at 800-378-4555 or www.HTprivatetravel.com
  • GoTravel24.com, +27 011 925 0225, great package holidays geared to your requirements – book and pay online! Destinations include Cape Town, Johannesburg, Kruger Park, Winelands, Garden Route, Victoria Falls and Mauritius.

Talk

South Africa has 11 official languages, namely Afrikaans, Southern Ndebele, Xhosa, Zulu, Swazi, Northern Sotho (Sepedi), Southern Sotho (Sesotho), Tswana, Tsonga, Venda and English. Most people other than rural black Africans speak English as a second language. Only about 8% of the population speak English as a first language, almost exclusively in the white population which is ironically declining as a first language, while it is already a lingua franca among South Africans, and about 60% of the population can understand English. South African English is heavily influenced by Afrikaans. Afrikaans is also widely spoken, especially by the majority of the white and coloured population. Often Afrikaans is incorrectly called ‘afrikan’ or ‘african’ by foreigners. Note this is very incorrect as ‘African’ for a South African corresponds with the native-African languages: Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi etc. (and, of course, there are thousands of languages in Africa so no single language can be called ‘African’) Afrikaans has roots in 17th century Dutch dialects, so it can be understood by Dutch speakers and sometimes deciphered by German speakers. Other widely spoken languages are Zulu (mainly in KwaZulu-Natal – South Africa’s largest single linguistic group) and Xhosa (mainly in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape), as well as Sotho and Venda. This changes, according to the region you are in.

A few words you may encounter are:

  • eish – as in, “eish, it’s hot today”, “eish, that’s expensive” or “eish, that’s too far to drive”
  • lekker – nice, enjoyable
  • howzit – how is it? (generally a rhetorical question)
  • yebo – yes
  • boet, bru, china or ou – brother or man (equivalent to dude or bro)
  • koppie – a small hill (can also mean a cup)
  • Madiba – Nelson Mandela
  • Molo – Hello (in Xhosa)
  • robot – traffic light
  • tannie – (auntie) respectful term for an older woman
  • oom – (uncle) respectful term for an older man
  • tinkle – phone call
  • just now – sometime soon (from Afrikaans “net-nou”)
  • now now – sooner than just now! (from Afrikaans “nou-nou”, pronounced no-no)
  • braai – barbecue.
  • cheers – we use this for saying good-bye, as well as saying thank you and for the occasional toast.
  • heita – hello
  • sharp – (usually pronounced quickly) OK or good
  • sure-sure more pronounced like sho-sho – Correct, Agreement, Thank you
  • ayoba – something cool
  • zebra crossing – a crosswalk. named for the white & black stripes that are generally painted on crosswalks.
Spelling

In general, English spelling follows British rules rather than American; litre rather than liter, centre rather than center, etc.

See

Wild animals in their natural habitat
  • Whale watching in Hermanus (Walker Bay)
  • Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga and Limpopo and the private reserves bordering.
  • The annual Sardine run off the Wild coast and KZN south coast
  • Great White Sharks of Gansbaai
  • Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape
  • Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park between South Africa and Botswana
  • iSimangaliso Wetland Park (World Heritage Site) and Sodwana Bay in northern KwaZulu-Natal
  • The Whale Route in Hermanus
  • Zilkaatsnek Nature Reserve in Hartbeespoort
Areas of natural beauty and botanical interest
  • Table Mountain and Cape Point in the Table Mountain National Park in Cape Town
  • The Garden Route in the Western Cape Province
  • Botanical Paradise Grootbos Nature Reserve
  • Tsitsikamma in the Eastern Cape
  • Augrabies Falls in the Northern Cape
  • Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park between South Africa and Namibia
  • Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park (World Heritage Site) in KwaZulu-Natal
  • Drakensberg (KZN)
  • Blyde River Canyon in Mpumalanga
Cultural heritage

Robben Island (World heritage site) off Cape Town

Do

  • Dive, see Diving in South Africa for details.
  • River Rafting: The Orange River on the border to Namibia is a popular destination for rafting tours. Several tour operators launch 4-6 day trips in blow-up boats from Vioolsdrif with camping under the stars.
  • Volunteering: The Rainbow Nation offers many different opportunities for volunteering and giving back, such as wildlife conservation with the Big 5, construction or social work. There are many ways to get in contact with the desired volunteer project, one of which is a comparison platform. On Volunteer World, a social startup from Germany, for example, you can search and compare all volunteering options in South Africa.

Buy

Money

The currency of South Africa is the Rand for which the symbol, R, is conventionally placed immediately before the amount. On Forex display boards, the three letter code is usually ZAR. The Rand is divided into 100 cents (c). Notes are in denominations of R200, R100, R50, R20 and R10. Higher value notes are slightly larger in physical size than small value notes. All notes have a metallic security strip and a watermark. Note that there are two types of R5 coins in circulation. One is a silver-coloured coin while the other is silver-coloured with a copper insert. Both are legal currency.

Coins are in denominations of R5, R2, R1, 50c, 20c, 10c and 5c. Production of 2c and 1c coins was suspended in April 2002, but those still in circulation remain legal tender. All transactions are rounded down to the nearest lower 5c, so as not to require the use of 2c and 1c coins.

Conversion rates vary wildly depending on politics. It’s best to import or carry US$, € or GB£, as conversion between any of them and the Rand can be done at any bank without trouble. South Africa is part of the Southern African Common Monetary Area and the Rand can be used in Namibia (where it is an official currency along with the Namibian Dollar) as well as Lesotho,Swaziland, Mozambique and the southern half of Zimbabwe (where it is widely accepted, but not an official currency)

Traveller’s Cheques are a safe way of carrying money around. You can exchange them at all banks (which are found throughout the country even in rural areas) and you will get a refund if they are stolen. The disadvantage is that you cannot pay with them and you will need change when exchanging them into Rand. Use ATMs instead if possible.

Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), linked to all major international networks, are available throughout the country and will generally dispense money in a mixture of denominations between R200 and and R10, with about 80% of the value requested being high value notes and the rest in smaller denominations. You can use any Cirrus or Maestro card as well as all major credit and debit cards at the ATMs. South African bank ATMs do not charge any fees above those levied by your own financial institution.

It is best to use only ATMs that are inside a mall or other building. Always be careful to make sure no one is watching you enter your PIN, and be vigilant about scams (e.g. machines that seem to eat your card and won’t give it back after you enter the PIN). Do not accept help from strangers when withdrawing money at an ATM. If you are approached and offered unwanted help, rather cancel the transaction immediately and go to a different ATM. The till points at some major retail stores (such as Pick ‘n Pay) also act as ATMs; simply tell the checkout clerk that you would like to withdraw money.

VISA and MasterCard are accepted almost everywhere. American Express and Diners Club are also accepted, but not as widely.

Most retail stores accept credit cards and pin based debit cards as payment. While South Africa largely uses a chip-and-PIN credit card system like Europe, most stores can still operate on the traditional credit card system in which the user merely signs the receipt after the transaction is approved. Thus credit card users from countries also still on that system (like the United States) will have no problem using their credit cards in South Africa, provided that they have notified their bank in advance of their travel plans.

VAT (Value Added Tax) is levied at 14% on almost all products in South Africa. By law, advertised prices should be inclusive of VAT except when explicitly stated otherwise. Foreign passport holders may claim back the VAT on products that were bought in South Africa and are being taken out of the country, provided that the total value of the goods exceeds R250. Full details of the procedure to follow are available from the Department of Foreign Affairs and their new TAX Refund for tourists website. VAT Refund Administrator’s offices are available at both Johannesburg (O.R. Tambo) and Cape Town International Airports. Refunds will be credited to a Travelex Visa card that you will be given, denominated in US dollars or Euro, the fees in conversion associated with this card can leave you with up to 10% less than you thought you were getting. The cards can only be used outside of South Africa.

Costs

Petrol and diesel
Liquid fuel prices in South Africa are regulated and are fixed by region monthly. In general petrol is cheaper near the ports (Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth). In January 2014 a litre of petrol cost around R13.50. See the current prices.

Toll roads
Toll roads are becoming increasingly popular. Most tolls are under R30 and are spaced at about every 100km. The most expensive toll gate in South Africa is the Swartruggens toll plaza on the N4 between Swartruggens and Zeerust, cost is R75 for a normal car. In total, road tolls between Pretoria and Nelspruit or between Johannesburg and Cape Town will cost you just under R100. Sometimes there will be signposted ‘alternative routes’ to avoid the toll road – generally these are slower back roads. Traveling on highways around central Gauteng will also incur charges from the E-Tag system implemented late in 2013, although payment is rarely enforced.

Food
South Africa is famous for delicious, high-quality food at relatively low prices.

  • You can buy three McDonald’s burgers (a hamburger, cheese burger or chicken burger) for around R20 each
  • A sit down lunch in an average establishment will cost you between R50 and R100 per person.
  • A decent 30cm pizza will cost you between R50 and R80

Pricing
Prices in shops are fixed, but prices in open markets or from street vendors are open to barter.

South Africa is not a place to find bargains for most goods. For example, most ordinary consumer goods, electronics, and appliances are all manufactured in China nowadays, while most luxury goods are manufactured in Europe. This means the prices in South Africa will have the cost of transporting them there built-in. However, South Africa is a superior destination for buying African art, curios, and souvenirs which are far more difficult to obtain outside of Africa.

Retail
Major supermarket chains include Checkers, Pick n Pay, Shoprite, Spar, and Woolworths Food. Major department store chains include Stuttafords, Woolworths, Edgars, and Truworths.

At first glance, South African supermarkets and department stores look like their counterparts elsewhere, but a close examination soon reveals major differences.

Both supermarkets and department stores tend to feature primarily South African, African, or European brands, as well as a small number of American and Asian brands. Thus, tourists from the Americas will have the greatest cultural shock. Apart from a few familiar brands of soft drinks, candy, electronics, batteries, cosmetics, accessories, magazines, and personal healthcare products, everything else is completely different.

Americans in particular will notice that many items taken for granted in the United States simply have no equivalent on South African shelves, such as lactose-free milk for the lactose intolerant.

While South African supermarkets are able to operate at the same level as their contemporary First World counterparts in terms of store décor and organization, South African department stores are lagging behind. This is especially evident in details like mannequins, some of which may look obsolete or old-fashioned to First World tourists.

South African malls tend to feature primarily local boutiques and local chains, with some European, Asian, and American boutiques at the most prestigious malls (V&A Waterfront and Sandton City).

Since Amazon.com has not yet entered the South African market, South Africa’s domestic book retailers are still thriving. They haven’t yet experienced the collapse of the book retail industry that occurred in the United States and elsewhere. Thus, South African malls still feature bookstores like Exclusive Books, where one can find postcards, South African calendars, and South African literature.

Tipping
Tipping is the norm in restaurants and at gas stations (which are all full-service). Indeed, most of these businesses pay their staff the legal minimum-wage, relying on customer-tips to bring staff incomes up to liveable levels. Tips of around 10% of the bill are considered the norm.

Eat

South African cuisine is just as diverse as its cultures, with influences from British, Dutch, German, Indian, Malay, Portuguese and of course the native African influences.

  • Braaivleis, meat roasted over an open wood or charcoal fire, is very popular and generally done at weekend social events. The act of roasting the meat as well as the social event is referred to as a braai.
  • Pap, a porridge made with corn meal. Slappap (runny porridge), is smooth and often eaten as a breakfast porridge, Stywepap (stiff porridge) has a doughy and more lumpy consistency and is often used as a replacement for rice or other starches. “Krummel” pap also called umphokoqo (crumby porridge) is drier, resembles couscous and is often served at a braai covered in a saucy tomato relish.
  • Potjiekos, a meat and vegetable stew made in a cast iron pot over an open fire. A favorite at braais.
  • Boerewors, a spicy sausage. Boerewors Rolls are hotdog buns with boerewors rather than hotdogs, traditionally garnished with an onion and tomato relish.
  • Biltong and Droëwors, seasoned meat or sausage that has been dried. Beef, game and ostrich meat is often used. A favourite at sports events and while travelling.
  • Bunny chows, half a loaf of bread with the inside replaced by lamb or beef curry is a dish not to be missed when traveling to KwaZulu Natal.
  • Bobotie, meatloaf with a Cape Malay influence, seasoned with curry and spices, topped with a savoury custard.
  • Morogo, a wild spinach on its own or with potato. Sometimes served with pap.
  • Waterblommetjiebredie, mutton and indigenous water lily stew.
  • Masonja, for the culinary adventurer, fried Mopanie worms.
  • Melktert, “milk tart”, a milk-based dessert.
  • Koeksisters, a deep-fried sticky dessert.
Fast food

You will find the usual array of international fast food outlets. McDonald’s, KFC, Subway, Wimpy, and Cinnabon are well represented throughout the country. McDonald’s archrival Burger King recently entered the South African market.

Local franchises worth mentioning are Black Steer and Steers for the best burgers and Nando’s for peri-peri chicken.

Pizza delivery is available in most urban areas; the dominant national chain is Debonairs.

Drink

Municipal tap water is usually safe to drink. In some area such as Hartebeespoort Dam, it is advisable to boil your water before drinking.

Milk is widely available at most supermarkets, but bottled orange juice not-from-concentrate is much harder to find than in North America. Most South African retailers carry only orange juice reconstituted from concentrate or orange juice blended with other juices or milk.

Soft drinks like Coca-Cola and Pepsi are widely available. Consider trying popular domestic soft drinks like Appletiser (carbonated apple juice), as well as the unique Creme Soda and Iron Brew produced by Sparletta.

The legal age to purchase and drink alcohol in South Africa is 18. Almost all restaurants are licensed to serve liquor.

If offered Witblits or Mampoer; those are locally distilled under the auspices of the Department of Agriculture, and allocated a manufacturers’ license. They are safe and enjoyable to consume and does not resemble the names for moonshine or firewater. The alcohol content is controlled by the Department, so is the quality.

Beer

Local beer production is dominated by SABMiller with Castle Lager, Castle Lite, Hansa Pilsner, Carling Black Label and Castle Milk Stout being most popular brands. There are also Micro Breweries all over South Africa. Imported beers such as Stella Artois, Peroni, Heineken, and Grolsch are also widely available. Namibia Breweries Limited brands such as Windhoek Lager are also popular and generally available.

Prices can vary widely depending on the establishment. Expect to pay anything from R7 to R18 for a beer.

Wine

South Africa has a well established wine industry with most of the wine produced concentrated in the Cape Winelands in the Western Cape and along the Orange River in the Northern Cape. Wine is plentiful throughout the country and very inexpensive.

Liquors

Amarula Cream is made from the marula fruit. The marula fruit is a favorite treat for African elephants, baboons and monkeys and in the liqueur form definitely not something to be passed over by humans. Pour over crushed ice and enjoy. The taste, color and texture is very similar to the world famous Baileys Irish Cream. Cape Velvet is a favorite in and around Cape Town.

Tea and Coffee

The local Rooibos tea, made from a herb from the Cederberg Mountains is a favorite for many South Africans. You will find coffee shops in most shopping malls, such as Mugg&Bean and House of Coffees. Coffee shops similar in concept to Starbucks, like Seattle Coffee Company and Vida e Caffe (Portuguese themed), are becoming commonplace.

The DigiMarCon Difference

Business and marketing professionals have a lot of choice in events to attend.
As the Premier Digital Marketing Conference & Exhibition Series worldwide
see why DigiMarCon stands out above the rest in the marketing industry
and why delegates keep returning year after year

Global Event Series

DigiMarCon is the Largest Digital Marketing Conference & Exhibition series in the world, with annual events held in all continents (North America, Latin America, Europe, UK, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa) in 10 countries (United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Singapore, India, United Arab Emirates and South Africa), across 15 cities (New York, Toronto, San Francisco, Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Orlando, Sydney, London, Amsterdam, Singapore, New Delhi, Dubai, Johannesburg and Online). Wherever you are located there is a regional DigiMarCon event nearby you can attend.

5 Star Luxury Event Venues

DigiMarCon Conferences are held in top luxury 5-star event venues across the world such as; Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships, Olympic Stadiums, Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre and JW Marriott, Marriott Marquis, Hyatt Regency, InterContinental, Loews and Sofitel Hotel properties. Discount hotel room rates at each venue hotel means no hassle getting to and from the venue each day.

Extensive & Memorable Networking Experiences

Building relationships matter! At DigiMarCon Conferences we have more networking breaks on our program than others. On average there are 8 Networking breaks at each event giving delegates ample opportunities in a relaxed atmosphere to meet others over the 2-days at the event; from 1-hour round table networking luncheons to 3-hour dinner receptions. These networking breaks are set in picturesque locations to facilitate memorable experiences while fostering new relationships. Such experiences include enjoying cocktails and the Sunset over the Pacific Ocean on a private Ocean Terrace in Santa Monica, to being on the Sydney Olympic Stadium playing arena at night enjoying cocktails under the lights, to dining at the 360 Revolving Restaurant at the top of the CN Tower in Toronto for a Dinner Reception, enjoying cocktails on a private promenade overlooking Times Square in New York City, or having fun at the Dazzles Night Club onboard the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas for a Farewell Party, etc.

Industry Thought Leaders from Leading Brands

DigiMarCon Keynotes, Panels and Master Classes are facilitated by the foremost thought leaders in the industry, from celebrity social media influencers to CMO’s from the largest Fortune 500 company brands that are disrupting the digital marketing industry, such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, Oracle, Adobe, eBay, Netflix and more. All presentations are pitch-free, and include actionable takeaways, case studies, strategies and tactics, ready to be applied when back in the office.

Premium Comfortable Meeting Spaces

At DigiMarCon Conferences you are never ‘left in the dark’…. literally, in a large room far away from the stage and speakers, crushed in tight theater seating, without even a desk, while sitting in the dark. At DigiMarCon all delegates have premium meeting space in luxurious ballroom well-lit spaces, with comfortable seating with desk enabling delegates to use their laptop to take notes with ample charging facilities onsite in a comfortable space to learn and thrive. All tables are situated close with direct view of the stage.

Value for Money & Generous Discounts

DigiMarCon Conferences are affordable to attend, from single-day event passes up to two-day VIP options at a fraction of the cost of other industry events. We offer significant discounts for early bird registrations. Additionally, on top of time-limited discount pass rates, because budgets are tight, we want to make sure all groups have a chance to attend DigiMarCon. For government employees, students, academic, startups, non-profit organizations and teams, we offer generous discounts off the prevailing registration price.

Collaborative Learning & Audience Participation

Attend DigiMarCon and you become part of the show! DigiMarCon Conferences tap into the talent of the room, drawing from the knowledge and experience of the professionals in the audience. All DigiMarCon events include regular interactive question and answer sessions with speakers and the audience ideal for collaboration, audience polls, along with ice-breaker and group exercises, steered by charismatic Emcees.

Meet the Speakers in Person

DigiMarCon Conferences put you right up and close with the speakers giving you the opportunity to meet these social media influencers which you follow in person. Speakers are never hidden in private speaker rooms away from the audience, they are in the auditorium sitting right beside you and participating.

Exceptional Customer Service

Attending a conference is a well-researched decision. There are many factors to consider such as location, time, venue, cost, speakers, content, etc. At DigiMarCon our results-obsessed Customer Service team are at your service before, during and after the event to help with your needs. It’s at the core of what we do — it drives our business. Offsite, we are ready to assist you via phone, ticket or chat. Onsite at our Conferences, friendly DigiMarCon staff serve as your hosts. They welcome your input and are happy to assist you.

TECHSPO Technology Expo

At all DigiMarCon Conferences is the co-located exclusive event TECHSPO Technology Expo, which showcases the new generation of technology and innovation, including; AdTech, MarTech, Internet, Mobile and SaaS technologies. Be inspired, amazed and educated on how these evolving technologies will impact your business for the better. Access to TECHSPO Technology Expo is included with all DigiMarCon passes.

On Demand Library Access

DigiMarCon All Access & VIP Passes include a 12-month on demand access to hundreds of hours of DigiMarCon speaker keynotes, panels and master class presentations from recent DigiMarCon Conferences, including videos, slide decks and key takeaways, available on demand so you can watch what you want, when you want.

The Largest Digital Marketing Community

Attendees of DigiMarcon Conferences gain membership to an exclusive global Digital Marketing Community of over 500,000 worldwide subscribers to our award-winning digital marketing blog and over 70,000 members to our Digital Marketing Professionals Group in LinkedIn (visit https://www.linkedin.com/groups/2661359/). This global community comprises of innovators, senior marketers and branders, entrepreneurs, digital executives and professionals, web & mobile strategists, designers and web project managers, business leaders, business developers, agency executives and their teams and anyone else who operates in the digital community who leverage digital, mobile, and social media marketing. We provide updates to the latest whitepapers and industry reports to keep you updated on trends, innovation and best practice digital marketing.

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International Users. This Site can be accessed from countries around the world and may contain references to Company Products and Services that are not available in your country. These references do not imply that Company intends to announce or provide such Products or Services in your country. The Site is controlled, operated, and administered by Company from its offices within the United States of America. Company makes no representation that the Site, or the Site Materials, Products, and Services appearing on or available through the Site, are appropriate, legal, or available for use at other locations outside the United States, and access to the Site from territories where the Site or any of the Site Materials, Products, and/or Services are illegal is prohibited. If you access the Site from a location outside the United States, you are responsible for compliance with all applicable laws.

Indemnity and Liability. You agree to indemnify and hold Company, and its subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, directors, shareholders, attorneys, agents, employees, licensors, suppliers, co-branders or other partners harmless from any claim or demand, including reasonable attorneys' fees and damages of any kind, made by any third party due to or arising out of content you submit to Company and/or transmit through the Site (including, without limitation, any content or computer viruses), your use of the Site or any Site Materials, your connection to the Site, your violation of the Terms of Use, the actions of any of your employees or agents in conjunction with the Site, or your violation of any rights of another person or entity or any and all laws and regulations applicable to these Terms of Use, and/or your use of Company's Products and/or Services.

Governing Law and Jurisdiction. This Site (excluding linked sites) is controlled by Company from its offices within the State of Delaware, United States of America. By accessing this Site, you and Company agree that all matters relating to your access to, or use of, this Site shall be governed by the statutes and laws of the State of Delaware, without regard to the conflicts of laws principles thereof. You and Company also agree and hereby submit to the exclusive personal jurisdiction and venue of the state and federal courts located in Wilmington, Delaware, USA.

General. The Terms of Use and the other guidelines, policies, licenses, and disclaimers posted on the Site constitute the entire agreement between Company and you with respect to your use of the Site. If for any reason a court of competent jurisdiction finds any provision of the Terms of Use or portion thereof to be unenforceable, that provision shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to effect the intent of the parties as reflected by that provision, and the remainder of the Terms of Use shall continue in full force and effect. Any failure by Company to enforce or exercise any provision of the Terms of Use or related right shall not constitute a waiver of that right or provision. The section titles used in the Terms of Use are purely for convenience and carry with them no legal or contractual effect.

Thank you for visiting our web site. This privacy policy tells you how we use personal information collected at this site. This privacy policy ("Privacy Policy") will tell you what information we collect about you and about your use of our Web site (“Site”). It will explain how we protect that information and what choices you have about how it is used. Please read this privacy policy before using the site or submitting any personal information. By using the site, you are accepting the practices described in this privacy policy. These practices may be changed, but any changes will be posted and changes will only apply to activities and information on a going forward, not retroactive basis. We encourage you to read this Privacy Policy carefully so that you will understand clearly how DigiMarCon, LLC ("DigiMarCon") may collect and use information provided by you.

  • What personally identifiable information of yours is collected;
  • What organization is collecting the information;
  • How the information is used;
  • With whom the information may be shared;
  • What choices are available regarding collection, use and distribution of the information;
  • What kind of security procedures are in place to protect the loss, misuse or alteration of information under our control; and,
  • How you can correct any inaccuracies in the information.

I. INFORMATION COLLECTED BY SEARCH EXPERIENCES OR ON SEARCH EXPERIENCES BEHALF

Personally identifiable information (Personal Information) is information that can be used to identify or contact you. We collect the Personal Information that you provide to us in two general and distinct ways: (1) when you choose to purchase various services or products offered by DigiMarCon and/or its affiliated business partners, or (2) when you choose to participate in surveys or send e-mails to DigiMarCon. This Site is not intended for use by persons under eighteen (18) years of age. DigiMarCon does not knowingly collect Personal Information from or about children under the age of eighteen (18).

You may view or use our Site without registering or submitting any Personal Information. In that case, the only information we collect will be non-personal information collected through the use of cookies or web beacons (see details below). However, in order to have access to certain products and services available on the Site, you are required to complete a registration form and provide other information, including Personal Information, reasonably necessary for us to provide the products and/or services for you.

We collect anonymous, non-confidential, and non-personal information when you use our site, send us e-mails, or respond to special promotions or newsletters that we may send to you from time to time. For example, cookies are small computer files that we transfer to your computer's hard drive that allow us to know how often someone visits a site and the activities they conduct while on that site (such as the chat rooms you visited, whether you submitted orders for services or products, etc.). Every computer is assigned a different cookie by DigiMarCon. The information collected by cookies helps us dynamically generate advertising and content on web pages or in e-mails specifically designed for you and also allows us to statistically monitor how many people are using our site and selected affiliated business partners sites, or are opening our e-mails. We may use cookie information to target certain advertisements to your browser or to determine the popularity of certain content or advertisements. It may be possible to link non-personal cookie information to Personal Information collected. You may be able to turn off cookies in your browser, but this may hinder our ability to provide you with certain services or your ability to enjoy certain features of the Site.

In limited circumstances we also may use "web beacons" to collect anonymous, non-personal information about your use of our Web site and the sites of selected affiliated partners, and your use of e-mails, special promotions or newsletters we may send to you from time to time. Web beacons are tiny graphic image files imbedded in a web page or e-mail that provide a presence on the web page or e-mail and send back to its home server information from the Users' browser. The information collected by web beacons allows us to statistically monitor how many people are using our site and selected affiliated business partners sites, or are opening our e-mails, and for what purposes. It may be possible to link non-personal web beacon information to Personal Information collected.

As noted in the discussions of cookies and web beacons (see above), we collect anonymous, non-personal information about your use of e-mails and newsletters that we may send to you from time to time. In some cases, when you click on a link or an advertisement in an e-mail or newsletter, your browser may be momentarily directed to the site of a third party which, acting on DigiMarCon behalf (see Disclosure to Web site Service and Content Contractors, below), notes or "counts" your response to the e-mail or newsletter before re-directing your browser to its proper destination. This re-direction process will not be apparent to you.

Sponsors, business partners or advertisers on the Site or in e-mails, special promotions or newsletters we may send to you from time to time may also use their own cookies or web beacons when you click on their advertisement or link to their site or service, or even if the advertisement simply appears on a page or in an e-mail that you are viewing. Some advertisers use companies other than DigiMarCon to serve their ads and to monitor users' responses to ads, and these companies ("Ad Servers") may also collect non-personal information through the use of cookies or web beacons on our Web site. In certain situations, information collection may be facilitated by momentarily directing your browser to the site of an Ad Server or other third party acting on behalf of the sponsor, business partner, or advertiser before re-directing your browser to its proper destination (e.g., back to DigiMarCon to show the ad, or to the advertiser's Web site); this re-direction process will not be apparent to you. We do not control these third parties' use of cookies or web beacons, or how they manage the non-personal information they gather through them. However, you should review the privacy policy of other sites you visit or link to from our site to understand how these other sites use cookies and how they use the information they collect through the use of cookies or web beacons on their own sites.

This Privacy Policy does not apply when you use DigiMarCon public forums if and when they become available. As a service to our users, DigiMarCon may feature chat rooms and bulletin boards where users can share information and support one another or where users can post questions for other users to answer. You should be aware that any information shared in a chat room, bulletin board, or other type of posting is public information and may be seen, disclosed to or collected by third parties that do not adhere to our Privacy Policy. You should think carefully before disclosing any personal information in any public forum.

This Privacy Policy does not apply to any information, such as business information, resumes, ideas, concepts or inventions sent to DigiMarCon by e-mail to the various DigiMarCon departments listed on the DigiMarCon Web site. If you want to keep business information, resumes, ideas, concepts or inventions private or proprietary, do not send them in an e-mail to DigiMarCon. We try to answer every e-mail in a timely manner, but are not always able to do so.

II. DISCLOSURE OF YOUR INFORMATION

Except as set forth in this Section II, or as specifically agreed to by you, DigiMarCon will employ best efforts to not use or disclose any Personal Information it gathers from you unless reasonably required in order to answer your questions, provide products and/or services you may request or purchase from DigiMarCon (such as, information we need to share with our credit card internet gateway), or to comply with governmental or internal record-keeping requirements as reasonably required. We may release Personal Information to third parties: (1) to comply with valid legal requirements such as a law, regulation, search warrant, subpoena or court order; or (2) in special cases, such as a financial threat to you or others. In the event that we are legally compelled to disclose your Personal Information to a third party, we will notify you unless doing so would violate the law or court order.

DigiMarCon may disclose Personal Information to its corporate subsidiaries or entities affiliated with DigiMarCon. Any Personal Information provided to DigiMarCon subsidiaries or entities affiliated with DigiMarCon will be treated by those subsidiaries and affiliated entities in accordance with the terms of this Privacy Policy.

DigiMarCon operations and maintenance contractors may sometimes have limited access to your Personal Information in the course of providing products or services to DigiMarCon. These contractors include vendors and suppliers that provide us with technology, services, and/or content related to operation and maintenance of our Web site. These contractors also may have access to your e-mail address to send newsletters or special promotions to you on our behalf or to send e-mails to you for purposes such as conducting market research on our behalf. Access to your Personal Information by these contractors is limited to the information reasonably necessary in order for the contractor to perform its limited function for DigiMarCon.

Certain content and products and services offered to you through our Web site are served on Web sites hosted and operated by a company other than DigiMarCon ("Third Party Contractor Web sites"). Therefore, if you purchase services or products through one of these Third Party Contractor Web sites, you will be purchasing it from the Third Party Contractor and not from DigiMarCon. Further, you should be aware that any information you disclose once you access these other sites is not subject to this Privacy Policy. DigiMarCon does not endorse and is not responsible for the privacy practices of these Third Party Contractor Web sites and, therefore, you should review the privacy policy posted on the other site to understand how that Third Party Contractor Web site collects and uses your Personal Information. Also, if you have reason to believe that you may be leaving our Web site and entering a Third Party Contractor Web site, you should be cautious about providing any Personal Information until you have reviewed the privacy policy posted on the other site.

DigiMarCon is a contractor and provides co-branded products and/or services to Web sites hosted and operated by companies other than DigiMarCon ("Channel Partner Web sites"). You can only access these co-branded content and products and/or services through the Channel Partner Web site. The co-branded DigiMarCon pages that you may access through a Channel Partner Web site have different registration processes and opportunities for information collection, and Personal Information that you provide on these pages may be shared with the Channel Partners. Each of these co-branded DigiMarCon sites has its own privacy policy posted on that site. Therefore, if you visit one of these co-branded DigiMarCon sites, please read the privacy policy that is posted on that site, as well as the individual privacy policy of the Channel Partner Web site.

In addition to the Third Party Contractor Web sites that you may access as described above, for your convenience there are links to Web sites operated by companies other than DigiMarCon that are not contractors who provide content, products, and/or services through our Web site ("Third Party Web sites"). These links may be found in advertisements, referenced within content, or placed beside the names or logos of sponsors or affiliated business partners of DigiMarCon. DigiMarCon does not disclose your Personal Information to these Third Party Web sites without obtaining your consent. DigiMarCon does not endorse and is not responsible for the privacy practices or content of these sites. If you choose to link to one of these Third Party Web sites, you should review the privacy policy posted on this other site to understand how that Third Party Web site collects and uses your Personal Information.

DigiMarCon may provide to third parties non-personal information about you that does not allow you to be identified or contacted and that is combined with the non-personal information of other users ("Aggregate Information"). For example, we might inform third parties regarding the number of users of our site and the activities they conduct while on our site. We might also inform a company that performs services or that provides products and/or services to DigiMarCon (that may or may not be a DigiMarCon business partner or an advertiser on our site) that "50% of our users live in the USA" or that "85% of our users have purchased products and/or services which can be downloaded from DigiMarCon Web site." Depending on the circumstances, we may or may not charge third parties for this Aggregate Information. We may not limit the third parties' use of the Aggregate Information.

DigiMarCon wants your Personal Information to remain as secure and accurate as possible. We implement appropriate measures and processes to protect your Personal Information and maintain its quality, such as encryption. Although we make reasonable efforts to protect your Personal Information from loss, misuse, or alteration by third parties, you should be aware that there is always some risk involved in transmitting information over the Internet. There is also some risk that thieves could find a way to thwart our security systems.

You will be given the option to opt in or sign up for recurring informational/promotional e-mails from DigiMarCon and/or third parties. You may opt out of receiving e-mails from or on behalf of DigiMarCon. You may opt out of receiving these e-mails and newsletters at any time. When you have received a newsletter you wish to stop, click on the "reply" button in your mail program, then type in the word "UNSUBSCRIBE" in the "Subject" field and send. DigiMarCon Customer Service will unsubscribe you.

You may also have the option of receiving e-mails or newsletters from third parties, participating in research or marketing surveys and participating in other activities. You may exercise these options by placing a check mark beside a statement that expresses a preference for receiving these communications or participating in these activities. You may change your decision at any time by following the directions regarding how to unsubscribe from these e-mails or newsletters.

This privacy statement applies only to the Site. The DigiMarCon Web site does contain links to other sites. Once you enter another Web site (whether through an advertisement, service, or content link), be aware that DigiMarCon has no control over and is not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage you to look for and review the privacy statements of each and every Web site that you visit through a link or advertisement on DigiMarCon Web site or any site that collects Personal Information from you.

You can always contact us in order to (1) delete your Personal Information from our systems, (2) update the Personal Information that you have provided to us, and (3) change your preferences with respect to marketing contacts or other activities, by e-mailing us at update@digimarcon.com. Such changes will not have any effect on other information that DigiMarCon maintains. If you have a complaint or problem you may e-mail us at support@digimarcon.com and the customer service department will forward your complaint to the appropriate internal DigiMarCon department for a response or resolution. We try to answer every e-mail in a timely manner but are not always able to do so.

You should be aware that it may not be technologically possible to remove each and every record of the information you have provided to DigiMarCon from our servers. The need to back-up our systems to protect information from inadvertent loss means that a copy of your Personal Information may exist in a non-erasable form that may be difficult or impossible for us to locate. Nevertheless, upon receiving your request, we will endeavor to delete all Personal Information stored in the databases we actively use for research and daily business activities, as well as other readily searchable media.

In the future and without notice to you, we may make significant or non-significant changes to our privacy policy affecting the use of the Personal Information you provide to us or other information we have gathered. You should visit our Web site from time to time and read our Privacy Policy then in effect to familiarize yourself with the current version.

DigiMarCon Abidjan - Inquiries

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