Useful Facts for Visitors
Here we provide useful facts and information that provide general tips to help you prepare for or enhance your visit to South Africa.
Public Holidays in South Africa:
1 January - New Year's Day
21 March - Human Rights Day
27 April - Freedom Day
1 May - Workers’ Day
16 June - Youth Day
9 August - National Women's Day
24 September - Heritage Day
16 December - Day of Reconciliation
25 December - Christmas Day
26 December - Day of Goodwill
Good Friday and Easter Sunday are also Public Holidays.
As in other countries, services, shops and public transport may be affected, so check locally if this applies.
Smoking Laws: The law prohibits smoking in public spaces, including airports and railway stations.
Most restaurants and pubs have designated smoking and non-smoking areas.
No one under the age of 18 may buy cigarettes, or enter a designated smoking area. Both the venue operator and the smoker can face substantial fines if they ignore the law.
South African Standard Time (SAST): South Africa does not change its clocks during the year, and there is one single time-zone throughout the country. South African Standard Time is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (+2 GMT/UTC).
South African Electricity Supply: The South African electricity supply has the following ratings - 250 Volt earthed, 13 Ampere and maximum appliance power of 3,600 Watts.
South African round 3-Pin plugs are required if you wish to bring electical appliances along with you. They can be purchased before travelling to South Africa or they are readily available at the Airports and stores across South Africa.
Mobile Telephones: Any Tri-band, roam enabled mobile telephone will work in South Africa.
Another option which is available at all South African airports is to rent one for the duration of your visit and benefit from South African rates which are cheaper than call charges when roaming.
The International Dialling Code for South Africa is 0027.
Tipping: Tipping is common practice in South Africa for a range of services. In restaurants the accepted standard is around 10% to 15% of the bill, although sometimes a gratuity will be included. Barmen are tipped a similar percentage.
Petrol stations are staffed by attendants who can be tipped around R5 to R10 for filling up with petrol, checking oil, water and tyre pressure, and cleaning windscreens.
Hotel porters are tipped around R20. It is also appropriate to tip taxi drivers, tour guides and even hairdressers.
If you park a car in a populated area such as near a shopping centre, informal car guards will usually ask whether they can watch over your car and, in return, should be paid a small fee - anything from R5 upwards.