Heading to South Africa? Need to know what to pack? Unsure about visas or malaria? Here is what you need to know:
Do you need a Visa to visit South Africa?
South Africa is a Visa-free country to a large number of countries and for those that are not on this list a Visa can easily be organised at your local South African embassy. The following countries are exempt from needing a Visa – but remember it is always a good idea just to contact the South African embassy to confirm.
Visas are NOT needed by the following nationals:
-Australia -Austria -Belgium
-Canada -Denmark -Finland
-France -Germany -Greece
-Iceland -Ireland -Italy
-Monaco -Netherlands -Norway
-Portugal -Russian Federation -Spain
-Sweden -Switzerland -United Kingdom
-United States of America
South Africa has been described as having the best climate in the world. It’s an ideal holiday destination year round as the country enjoys warm, sunny days throughout the year and mildly chilly nights during the winter months. Rainfall occurs in the summer months, (November to March) except for the Cape region which has the bulk of its rainfall during the winter months of June to August.
When is the best time to visit? Although South Africa can be visited at any time of the year safaris best undertaken during the winter months of April to October while Cape Town and the Garden Route are great to head to in summer months from October to March.
There are some areas in South Africa where malaria occurs. Malaria is a common illness found in the Sub-Saharan areas of Africa and is transmitted via the female anopheles mosquito. Most of South Africa is malaria-free though.
The anopheles mosquito that carries the malaria disease are found in the far north and east of the country in the Limpopo, Mpumalanga and northern Kwa-Zulu Natal areas.
Which areas are known for having malaria?
The following areas are known for being high risk Malaria areas; the Kruger National Park. the game parks and coastline in the northern half of KwaZulu-Natal and the northern and eastern parts of Limpopo.
The high risk months are the summer months of September to May when rainfall is at its highest.
What precautions to take?
– Speak to your local doctor about taking anti-malaria prophylactic medication.
– It is advisable to wear long-sleeved shirts and long-sleeved trousers at night (mosquitoes tend to be most active in the early evening).
– Make use of insect repellents on a regular basis, spraying any exposed skin every hour.
– If possible burn insecticide oils or candles in your bedroom.
– Sleep under a mosquito net. Nets are available in most upmarket safari lodges in malaria areas.
South Africa is a country of warm smiles, sun filled days and fascinating cultural diversity. It unfortunately also has a reputation for being a country with a high crime rate. While not completely inaccurate, statistics are high/ However most crime takes place in ‘crime hotspots’ which are mainly focused in inner city and some economically depressed urban areas. Although it is unlikely that one will experience crime first hand, it is advisable to always be aware of your surroundings, keep an eye on belongings and do not flash them about and follow your guide or accommodation’s recommendations of which areas to avoid.