Tuesday, September 28

South Africa Travel – Tips for the First Timers

Know before you go to South Africa.

Public transportation is not recommended, except for luxury services; taxis are expensive and may not be reliable; mini-buses are generally not a safe travel option. Rental vehicles (some with drivers) are available. In South Africa (SA), it is illegal to use a hand-held cell phone while driving. Economic restraints prevent South Africa from conducting road safety studies, making it difficult to accurately identify and correct traffic black spots.

Drivers tend to travel speed, especially on thoroughfares. The speed limit has been lowered to 100 km/h (60 mph), but 69% of drivers exceed this limit. Drivers tend to be aggressive and irresponsible Tailgating at high speeds or passing on blind curves is not unusual. Many drivers maintain a following distance of less than two seconds.

Most South African travel and information portals will tell you that South Africa has a very sophisticated banking sector. It does. There are automatic teller machines all over the place. Something they don’t tell you though, is that using plastic, you can only take R1000 at a time out of an ATM. Now R1000 will pay for accommodation for two, a decent meal and a bottle of wine in a good guest house. What about spending money? Petrol? (Which you can’t pay for in South Africa with a credit card. No, I don’t know why.) The bottom line is you’re going to need to draw more than once a day. For every R1000 debit that hits your bank account bank back home, it’s accompanied by bank charges, and in the case of some banks, it’s 5 Euro a pop. That adds up.

South Africa is a big place - the size of France and Spain combined. Now while most travel and information portals will tell you that “South Africa has a well-developed road infrastructure”, that’s only kind of true. Yes, the N1 that links Johannesburg and Cape Town is as good as you’ll find in Europe, as is the N3 that links Johannesburg and Durban. And the N2 that links Cape Town and Durban is mostly good. But other than the main auto-routes, even if a road is shown as “surfaced” on the map,don’t assume that that means fast motoring. And some of the “un-surfaced” roads – well, you’ll be glad you’re in a hired car.

Detailed crime statistics are now published annually by the South African Police Services. For a while they weren’t published at all because the Great and the Good thought it would be better to suppress bad news. Now that we know what’s going on, most South African travel and information portals are going to try and put a positive spin on crime without getting into too much detail. “It’s getting better”. And so it is.

To enrich the experience take a South Africa SIM Card , a local service here in US at the wholesale rates to save up-to 85% on international roaming. South Africa SIM Card includes FREE incoming calls with service across South Africa plus lowest call charges back to US.

Don't have a Unlocked Cell , struck with your present US carrier rent a South Africa - compatible cell phone from RebelFone, renting a South Africa Cell Phone at $1 a day.

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