Useful Information when visiting South Africa
- Warm clothes are advised for the winter months.
- Lightweight, short sleeves and short pants are best for the summer months.
- Bring a light jersey/jacket for the cooler evenings.
- Bring a swimming costume.
- A rain jacket is usefully for those rainy days, especially when hiking.
- If you are hiking or doing game walks be sure to pack the correct boots or walking shoes.
- Mackaya Bella Country Lodge is not in a malaria area.
- Malaria is found occasionally, in low lying areas, and is a very low risk in the winter months.
- The use of preventative mediation can be considered on the advice of your medical professional.
- Personal protection such as mosquito nets and the use of a good insect repellent are advised.
- It is recommended to use an insect repellent when hiking or game viewing.
Medical Care and Hospitals
- There is a network of private and public hospitals in South Africa.
- Private hospitals can be found in the larger cities such as Durban, Pietermaritzberg, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.
- Adequate health insurance is advised for visitors to cover the fees at private hospitals.
- Use your common sense as you would travelling anywhere in the world.
- Do not display items of value and do not walk alone in deserted areas, especially in cities or town.
- Do not carry large amounts of cash.
- Most shopping centres and malls open from Monday to Saturday from 8h00 to 18h00 and Sunday from 9h00 to 14h00.
- In the smaller towns and in the rural areas’, shops are generally closed on Sundays.
- Most petrol stations run 24/7 convenience stores for essentials, however, it is advisable you remain vigilant if going there at night.
Banking and ATMs
- ATMs are available 24 hours and accept most international cards.
- When using an ATM, it highly recommended to watch your surroundings and not let anyone near you.
- Always protect your PIN code. Never accept help from anyone.
- Visa and Mastercard are generally accepted everywhere.
- If using American Express or Diner’s Club, it recommended to confirm with an establishment if they accept them before purchasing an item as they are not as widely accepted as Visa or Mastercard.
- Most banks are open during the week from 8h30 to 17h00 and 8h30 to 13h00 on Saturday.
- If in doubt, rather go into a bank branch and use their facilities instead of using an outdoor ATM.
Food and water
- Tap water is generally safe to drink and it is treated in large cities.
- In rural area, water is often from natural springs or boreholes.
- In Nightspots, Restaurants, Hotels, Lodges, Bed and Breakfast and Guest Houses, standards of hygiene and food preparation are generally very good as they are regulated.
- It is safe to put ice in your drinks and eat fresh fruit or salads.
- Most restaurants do not add a service charge to the bill. It is customary to leave a 10% or 15% tip, depending on the service received.
- It is also acceptable to tip Parking and Petrol Attendants, your Accommodation Staff, Game Rangers/Game Trackers and anyone in the service industry.
- Our roads are generally safe and in good condition, but there are places where road conditions have deteriorated, keep a look out for potholes in the road.
- You will find many unpaved roads in rural areas.
- Distances between towns can be significant. It is a good idea to plan your itinerary to not have to drive long distances between you next destination/accommodation.
- It is advised not to travel at night as road conditions are much more unpredictable then.
- If you are traveling in rural areas watch out for stray animals on the road, especially livestock.
- Ensure your travel agent or car rental company briefs you on the insurance company to contact in case of an emergency.
- Stick to the speed limits advised in our National Parks.
- Some National Roads can cut through residential areas so there may be a speed limit of 60 to 80 km/h.
- Speed limit on the open road is generally 120km/h, some areas are 100km/h.
- 100 km/h on the smaller roads and 60 km/h and 80 km/h in towns.
- We recommend downloading Waze, it is an app similar to Google Maps but also includes the speed limit on the road you are driving on.
- Additionally we cannot guarantee the speed limit at most areas, this is for informative purposes only.
- Toll roads, where applicable must be paid at official toll plazas only.
- Regretfully, traffic officials in South Africa are renowned for their corrupt activities.
- If you are pulled over for a traffic infringement, real or fictitious, please do not pay cash to the officer, as it is illegal. Fines should be paid at a police station or magistrates court, where a receipt must be issued.
- Additionally, if pulled over, try and remain around other bystanders, such as motorists or pedestrians. Do not follow anyone to an isolated area.