Travel Guide

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Things to know before you go...

 

Weather

Average Weather in December in Johannesburg South Africa. In Johannesburg, the month of December is characterized by gradually rising daily high temperatures, with daily highs increasing by 2°F, from 76°F to 78°F over the course of the month, and rarely exceeding 84°F or dropping below 67°F.

 

Tourist Attractions

The Apartheid Museum
Constitution Hill
Gold Reef City
Soweto & the Mandela Museum
The Maboneng Precinct
The Lindfield Victorian House Museum
South African National Museum of Military History
Wits Art Museum
Market Theatre
Johannesburg Art Gallery

 

Day Trips in Johannesburg

Lion Park
The Cradle of Humankind
Pretoria

 

Travel Visas

When traveling to Johannesburg, it is not necessary to get a visa if your stay is less than 90 days. Always check the latest regulations before you travel just to be sure. Ensure your passport is up to date. You’ll need at least one blank page in your passport for the entry stamp which they will add at customs, and they recommend that you have two blank pages, just in case you get a squirrelly customs official.

 

Vaccinations

It is not necessary to get any vaccinations unless you plan to travel through any other countries in the "Yellow Fever Belt." While the CDC recommends many immunizations for all travelers (such as measles, mumps, polio, etc.) they also suggest rabies, hepatitis A, tetanus, and typhoid, as there is a risk of exposure to all of these. These are just vaccinations recommended to anyone traveling to a foreign country. Just speak with your doctor about any concerns before traveling.

 

Currency and Using Cards

The currency in South Africa is the Rand. Using ATMs in South African will often charge a foreign transaction fee varying depending on your bank. If you plan to use your debit/credit cards in South Africa, make sure to call your bank before you leave!

If you plan to go on a safari, please note that ATMs may be unavailable in rural areas. In Johannesburg, you will most likely not have a problem using your cards. Remember to be wary of ATM fraud!

 

Getting Around

There a few options for transportation.

From the Johannesburg airport, you can take the Gauteng Rail System, the Gautrain, just make sure your hotel has a train station nearby.

If you prefer driving yourself, you have the option of renting a car during your stay. Just remember that South Africans drive on the left-hand side of the road. Fuel stations are also not self-service. An attendant will be present to fill the vehicle, and it is customary to tip the attendant for their service.

Taxis and Uber are also readily available within the city. It is recommended to use Uber instead of cabs to avoid getting overcharged.

 

Safety Precautions

Johannesburg is just about as safe as any other large city. Just remember to practice vigilance and common sense. Travelers find that with proper preparations and precautions, any altercations can be avoided. Do not flash any fancy items in the wrong places, do not walk around looking at your phone, and do not walk around foreign areas at night. 

It is recommended that if you plan to go out at night, to call for a cab or Uber. 

 

Proper Customs

South Africa is a tipping nation. If you got good service, be sure to tip. At restaurants, it is expected to tip at least 10 percent. You should also tip your porter 10 Rand (approximately USD $1) per bag. 

If you decide to drive in South Africa, often there are "car guards" in most public areas. You should tip them between 5 and 10 Rand. 

It is also more slow pace in South Africa. You may find yourself waiting for the waiter to come by or the hotel clerk to check you in, just relax and be patient. 

 

Power Converter

Yes, you will need a power converter! Most plugs in South Africa are 15 amp 3-prong, with round plugs. It is recommended to purchase one before your trip. If you forgot, they are often sold in the airports or the local supermarket relatively cheap.

 

Mobile Phone Coverage

There will be 3G coverage in South Africa. Most travelers may find it cheaper to purchase or bring a cell phone and get a local number. 

 

Learn some new words!

Ag (a-ch): The South African equivalent of a Homer Simpson d’oh!

Braai: barbecue or grill, both as noun and verb

Bra/bru: Terms of basic male endearment, along the lines of brother or dude

Donkeys: lots or loads

Howzit? How’s it going? The standard greeting throughout South Africa, and the easiest and most immediate way to demonstrate that you’re paying attention. 

Just now: Maybe in five minutes, maybe in a couple days

Lekker: Cool! Nice! Great! All of the above, used with amazing frequency

Robot: traffic light

Yebo: Yes in Zulu, but used colloquially by most everyone.