Planning Your Trip To South Africa

Planning your trip to South Africa | Entry requirements, the best time to visit & other useful information

South Africa is the southernmost country in Africa and is the 25th largest country in the world with close to 65 million people. It's bordered in the north by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and wraps itself around 2 independent countries, Lesotho and Swaziland.

The country is surrounded by 2 oceans. To the right you will find the warmer Indian Ocean and to the left you'll find the colder Atlantic Ocean. South Africa boasts a long coastline that stretches more than 2,500 km.

Getting to South Africa

Oliver Tambo International Airport in Johannesberg (Gauteng Province) is the major airport in South Africa and is the hub for 45 airlines from all 5 continents. Direct flights between the USA and Johannesburg or Cape Town are about 15 hours, and flights between London and Johannesburg take about 12 hours. Onward travel is mostly by car.

Because of excellent roads in South Africa, some people choose to hire a vehicle and explore the country without the assistance of a guide. However, due to the extent of attractions and activities, many people prefer to do guided tours instead.

There are frequent domestic flights throughout the country and various airlines fly to and from safari camps. Book your international and domestic flights here.

Passport, Visa and other entry requirements to South Africa

To enter into South Africa, you will need a visa that will allow you to travel to a South African port of entry. Visitors are restricted to the activity or reason for which their visas were issued.

Requirements for visitors' visas differ from country to country and the requirements are subject to change. You should make enquiries with your nearest South African Department of Home Affairs (embassy) to see whether or not you are required to apply for a visa.

In order to apply for your visa, you're required to have a passport or travel document valid for no less than 30 days with 2 unused pages for entry / departure endorsements. You may also be required to have a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate.

If you're traveling with children, you will need to provide proof of guardianship or consent from the guardian in the case of an unaccompanied minor.

It's also mandatory to have a return or onward ticket.

The best time to visit South Africa

South Africa is a great place to visit year round but the best time to visit may depend on your intention of visiting. South Africa’s winter months (June, July, August) have the least rainfall (except for the Western Cape with its Mediterranean climate) and is peak time for game viewing as a shortage of water means animals gather at watering holes. 

Although many tourists flock to Cape Town to take advantage of the summer heat, beaches and outdoor activities, Cape Town's Autumn and Winter months also come with their own charm.

If you're looking for a beach holiday any time of the year, Durban in KwaZulu Natal is great as the ocean is gloriously warm and temperatures are consistently moderate to hot.

If you'd like to find out more about South Africa, you can read about it in this blog.