Visas & Passports
If you’re visiting South Africa for less than 90 days, you won’t need a visa to enter the country. However customs officers will place a sticker in your passport, so be sure to have at least two empty pages available. You should also make sure that your passport is valid for 90 days after your return to the UK and that you have a flight ticket in your possession for a confirmed return or stop-over flight. If you are arriving from a country with yellow fever, make sure you have a yellow fever certificate issued at least 10 days before arrival otherwise you’ll be denied entry if you do not have a valid certificate.
Travelling with Children
From June 2015, parents travelling with children under the age of 18 to or from South Africa must produce an unabridged birth certificate of each child which shows details of the child’s parents. Where one parent is travelling with a child, they must also produce consent in the form of an affidavit from the other registered parent authorising them to enter or depart from South Africa with the child.
Local Currency in South Africa
The currency in South Africa is the South African Rand (ZAR). You can use your card at ATMs in large cities and at airports, but be sure to only do so during the daytime and in populated areas. If you prefer, Visa and MasterCard are accepted at many locations but with the notable exclusion of petrol stations where cash is the only option. Travellers Cheques can be exchanged at most banks, however you will probably have to stand in long queues and fill out a lot of paperwork to do so. Exchanging ZAR back to GBP is not generally a problem and you’ll usually be able to do so at fair exchange rates. You’re only allowed to bring a limited amount of ZAR back home with you.
Local Currency in Swaziland
The South African Rand is widely accepted in Swaziland, so there’s no need to purchase any Swazi Lilangeni. If you receive your change in Lilangeni, be sure to use it or exchange it before leaving the country.
Local Currency in Lesotho
Like the Lilangeni, there is no need to purchase any Lesotho Ma loti as the South African Rand is widely accepted in Lesotho. Again, if you receive your change in Ma loti, be sure to use it or exchange it as you leave.
Tips and Haggling
Wages are low in South Africa and tipping is expected. In restaurants and cafes, you’ll find that 10% is the norm, and for hotel porters and petrol attendants 5-10 Rand is acceptable.
If you are travelling to rural areas in Lesotho or Swaziland then tipping isn’t expected beyond rounding up the bill.