About South Africa
South Africa is perhaps one of the most attractive countries on the continent. A vibrant mixture of diverse African cultures and European heritage, majestic nature and amazing wildlife, the legendary Cape of Good Hope, vast sultry deserts and nature reserves excite the imagination of travelers for many years. The Veld and the Dragon Mountains with their resorts can be called one of the most amazing natural monuments on the planet. This is the most economically developed country on the continent, which allows tourists to enjoy the unique natural and cultural attractions of the continent.
Geography of South Africa
According to best-medical-schools, the Republic of South Africa is located at the southern tip of the African continent. In the north, South Africa borders on Botswana and Zimbabwe, in the east – on Swaziland and Mozambique, in the northwest – on Namibia. In the eastern part of South Africa is the kingdom of Lesotho, an enclave state. From the west, the country is washed by the Atlantic Ocean, and from the east and south by the Indian. Most of the territory of South Africa is occupied by “karu” – high flat plateaus and mountains of medium height (about 2500 m). The highest point is Mount Njesuti (3408 m), located in the Dragon Mountains. In the southwestern part of the country is the Namib Desert with an area of over 100,000 square kilometers. South Africa also owns part of the Kalahari Desert.
The area of South Africa is 1,219,912 km2. sq., occupies the 24th place in the world by area.
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State currency – South African rand
The official languages are English, Afrikaans, Venda, Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele, Swati, Northern Sotho, Sesotho, Tswana and Tsonga.
Visa to South Africa
To enter the territory of South Africa, citizens of Russia need to apply for a visa. This can be done, for example, at the South African Consulate in Moscow (in person or by courier service). To obtain a visa, you must submit a completed application form; a passport valid for at least 30 days after the intended end of the trip; a copy of all completed pages of the internal passport; 2 color photographs; confirmation of the purpose of the trip (an invitation from a South African travel agency indicating the purpose and timing of the visit, as well as confirmation of the hotel reservation); confirmation of financial solvency (account statement for the last 3 months or certificate of purchase of traveler’s checks); confirmation of the availability of air tickets. The passport must have at least 2 blank pages for visa and stamps. A yellow fever vaccination certificate may be required if you are entering South Africa from an infected area. Visa costs 1800 rubles. and processed within 5 business days. All documents must be provided in English.
Weather in South Africa
South Africa is represented by a variety of climatic zones, from the subtropics in the east to the dry desert of Namib. Due to the presence of mountain heights, the climate even between neighboring regions can differ dramatically. In the southwest of the country, the climate is extremely similar to the Mediterranean, with hot, dry summers and rainy winters. Strong winds blow here all year round, especially in the area of the Cape of Good Hope. Further east, the so-called “Way of the Gardens” begins, where precipitation falls more evenly. On the east coast, the climate is very humid, almost tropical. The average temperature in January ranges from +18 to +27 depending on the region, in July – from +7 to +10. Spring is considered the best time to visit South Africa, although it is better to go to national parks in June-July, when the heat subsides.
Currency exchange in South Africa
The official currency is the South African rand, divided into 100 cents. The exchange rate for January 2012 is 1.00 USD=8.13 ZAR. You can exchange money at banks, airports, some bus stations and hotels, although the latter charge a fee and offer a relatively unfavorable exchange rate. Exchange offices are not common, they can be found only in large cities and then extremely rarely. Large hotels, shops and restaurants accept cards, with the exception of gas stations, where payment is always in cash. ATMs operate around the clock. Banks are open from Monday to Friday from 9.00 to 15.30, on Saturday – from 8.30 to 11.00.
Mains voltage 220V/50Hz. Sockets type C (two round pins), M (three round pins placed at the vertices of a triangle), and IEC 60906-1 (two round pins, narrow plug).
The religious composition of the population is very diverse: about 36% are Christians, about 10% are adherents of the Zionist churches, and 7.5% are Pentecostals. Also represented are Methodists, Dutch Reformed, Muslims, Anglicans, and others.
The crime rate in the country is very high, Johannesburg is considered one of the most criminogenic cities in the world. Drug addiction, economic instability and inequality provoke frequent street robberies and pickpocketing along with car theft and other crimes. Despite the fact that tourists, as a rule, manage to avoid trouble, safety measures should be observed. In big cities, it is recommended not to walk the streets at night, and also not to carry cameras and jewelry in the evening, avoid showing large sums of money in public, and keep an eye on bags. It is not recommended to go on a tour alone, always gather with a company. When traveling by car, you should always lock the doors, do not pick up fellow travelers, check the route well before departure, and do not leave things in the cabin when parking. Do not hail a taxi on the street, it is better to book a car in advance by phone. Credit card fraud is extremely common, especially when paying (when the card is handed over to a hotel or restaurant employee). The incidence of AIDS in South Africa is about 20%, follow appropriate safety measures, especially with intimate contact. In Cape Town, the crime rate has decreased in recent years, but walking in the evening is still strongly discouraged – take a taxi. Car theft and robbery are common in Johannesburg. The Alexandra, Hillbrough, Soweto and Kettlehong areas are not recommended. Drinking water and local drinks are generally safe, but unopened bottled water is preferable. Food in cafes and restaurants, as well as street bistros and stalls, is considered safe.
Purchasing international health insurance is mandatory. All passengers traveling to Zambia from South Africa and from Zambia to South Africa (including transit passengers) are required to carry a yellow fever vaccination certificate. Some areas (Kruger Park, parts of Limpopo and Mpumalanga, on the border with Mozambique) are at risk of malaria, so appropriate prophylaxis is recommended when visiting these areas. Private health care is well developed in South Africa, however, and its cost is consistent. State medicine is practically free, but the queues in the state. hospitals are very long.