South Africa General Information

South Africa General Information

Capital Cities

Cape Town [legislative] (2,351,000)

Pretoria [administrative] (1,081,000),

Bloemfontein [legal] (30100 0).
Another major city is Johannesburg (1,916,000)


Most of the year it is 1 hour behind the local. However, the time difference depends on summer time, the dates of which are not the same in Belarus and South Africa.


A state in the extreme south of the African continent. It borders Namibia to the northwest, Botswana and Zimbabwe to the north, Mozambique and Swaziland to the east, and Lesotho is an enclave in the eastern part of the country. In the east and south it is washed by the Indian Ocean, in the west by the Atlantic Ocean. The total area of ​​the country is about 1.22 million km2.

Most of the country is occupied by high flat Karoo plateaus and low (up to 2500 m) mountains, only a narrow strip of plains stretches along the coast, separated from the elevated regions by a ridge of the Dragon (Great Ledge) and Cape Mountains. The highest point in the country is Mount Mont-au-Source (3299 m).


About 43.1 million people, most of whom (up to 76 πŸ™‚ are Africans – Zulu, Xhosa, Nguni, San (Bushmen), Hottentots (Koykoin), Nguni, Suto-Tswana, Venda, Tsonga, etc., mestizos ( 9:), Indians, immigrants from Europe, mainly Afrikaners (Boers), Englishmen (13:), etc.

Political structure

Republic with a presidential form of government. Independent member of the British Commonwealth. The legislature is a bicameral parliament (the Senate and the National Assembly). Each of the 9 provinces of the country has its own parliament, legislature and government, accountable to the Prime Minister of South Africa.

Money in South Africa

The South African rand (R, ZAR) is equal to 100 cents. In circulation there are banknotes of 200 (orange), 100 (magenta), 50 (pink), 20 (brown) and 10 (green) rand, coins of denomination of 5 (silver), 2 and 1 rand, as well as 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cent. In circulation are coins of both old and new issues, the denominations of which, with different denominations, are quite similar to each other. For cash payments, only the local currency is used.

Banks and currency exchange

Banks are open from Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 15:30, on Saturday – from 8:30 to 11:00. ATMs are open around the clock, as are banking offices at airports. Foreign currency can be exchanged at airports, railway stations, hotels and numerous bank branches. It is relatively unprofitable to exchange money in hotels, as the exchange rate is usually somewhat overpriced and a commission fee is charged (approximately 1:). It is necessary to keep currency exchange receipts for reverse conversion when leaving the country.

All major shops, hotels and restaurants accept major credit cards. Only cash is used for payments at gas stations. Traveler’s checks can be cashed at banks and tourist offices (commission approx. 1:).

VAT and tax-free

Value Added Tax (VAT, 14:) is included in the price of all goods and services. VAT refund is possible at the airport at the VAT REFUND counter upon presentation of a refund receipt (issued in the store). At the same time, tourists must also present a valid passport, all required forms of documents and cash receipts, as well as the goods themselves, and the minimum purchase amount must exceed 250 rand. In the event that the amount of VAT itself exceeds 3 thousand rand, compensation is often issued non-cash, by bank transfer to the account.

Communications and communications in the Republic of South Africa

The country has a modern telecommunications network. Payphones mostly use payment cards in denominations from 10 to 200 rand (green machines), but in a number of areas there are devices that work with 2 rand coins. Phone cards are sold at post offices and most major stores.

For international calls from payphones, 09 and the country code are dialed. To call to another city within the country, you must dial the code of the desired city before the subscriber’s number, while “0” is dialed before the city code. You can call from all post offices and hotels (rates are much more expensive), and in large shopping centers there are communication points from where you can make a call to anywhere in the world or send a fax. To call South Africa, dial 8 – 10 – 27 (South African code) – area code – subscriber number. Codes of major cities: Johannesburg – 11, Pretoria – 12, Pietermaritzburg – 331, Cape Town – 21, Darling – 22, Durban – 31, Bloemfontein – 51, Port Elizabeth – 41, East London – 43, Aberdeen – 49, Cradock – 48, Kimberley – 53.

Cellular operators (MTN, Vodacom) have a fairly complete coverage of the country, but in mountainous areas there are often areas with uncertain reception. In the offices of mobile communication companies and in stores, you can buy SIM cards and rent phones, which is much more profitable, since local tariffs are much lower than international roaming.

Transport in the South African Republic

Intercity bus transportation is carried out by modern cars (air conditioners are required) from Greyhound, Intercape Mainliner and Translux. Fares are usually slightly higher than when traveling the same distance by train, but buses are noticeably faster, since the railway track in the country is narrow. Tickets are purchased at the ticket offices of bus stations (it is recommended to book tickets in advance for long-distance flights), only on some local routes the driver accepts the payment. On many routes, a passenger can pre-book a trip with intermediate stops at any of the destinations, and without changing the ticket price. There are special fares for long distance travel.

The system of intracity bus lines is very different from each other in different cities of the country. In Cape Town and Durban, almost the entire urban area is covered by a network of municipal bus routes operating from 6:00 to 23:00. In Pretoria, the bus network is poorly developed. In many cities, public transport is practically non-existent.

Roads and driving rules

The country has a well-developed and well-maintained network of roads and highways, more than a third of which has an asphalt surface. Movement is left-handed. Traffic rules and road signs comply with international standards, but there are a number of significant differences, so you should consult the rental office staff about them before traveling. Prohibition signs are round with a blue background, danger signs are triangular with a blue background bordered by a red stripe, information boards are mostly green. The speed limit is 60 km/h in cities, 120 km/h on highways, and 100 km/h on some roads. Fines for speeding are very high (up to 500 rand, payable locally). Driving after drinking alcohol is prohibited. Seat belts for the driver and passengers must be fastened.

Some major highways and highways (marked with the letter β€œN”) are paid, payment is accepted at special machines at the entrance ($ 0.5–7 per car, depending on the type, small bills and coins or credit cards are required). In some cities, there are street signs located on curbstones. Parking on the street in settlements, as a rule, is paid, carried out with the help of special parking workers (wearing brightly colored vests). There are also multi-storey car parks (estimated cost is R5 per parking hour). Large stores have paid parking lots. The duration of the car’s stay in such a parking lot is indicated in a special ticket. When returning the car, it is customary for the valet to pay 2–4 rand. The fine for parking in a prohibited place is quite large. The country has a well-developed network of petrol stations,

Emergency services

Police – 10111.
Criminal Police – 0800-111-213.
Ambulance – 10117 or 999.
Rescue Service – 1022.
Automobile Association of South Africa – 0800-010-101.

Helpful Hints:

The overall crime rate in the country is quite high, and Johannesburg is generally considered one of the most criminogenic zones in the world. However, in the main tourist areas, the situation is quite safe. All reasonable precautions should be taken, both in regard to things and in regard to personal safety. The South African Police Service (SAPS) makes a lot of efforts to ensure security, but still areas such as Soweto, Hillbrough, Alexandra and Kettlehong in Johannesburg are not recommended for visiting. Traveling alone is frankly dangerous. You should always gather a company before you go swimming, walking in the mountains or going hiking. It is not recommended to travel alone in buses, fixed-route taxis and trains in the evenings.

When using ATMs, there is a high risk of fraud, especially if the card is transferred to the wrong hands (to pay a restaurant bill, for parking, etc.). Credit card fraud is very common in South Africa. The proportion of crimes committed by drug addicts is also high (many drugs are produced in the country, and drug addiction is considered a national disaster). The level of people infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (AIDS) is high.

The flow of holidaymakers from the cities on Christmas Eve (from mid-December to the end of January) is so great that many resorts and national parks are simply overwhelmed with tourists, and prices usually double on the coast during this period. School holidays in April, July and September are also not the best time to visit the coast and national parks.

The country has very high levels of solar radiation, so goggles, creams, hats, and light, long-sleeved clothing are highly recommended. A certain danger is represented by small schistosome helminths living in the water of local lakes and rivers, as well as poisonous snakes, mosquitoes (especially the malarial mosquito “Anopheles”, common on the coastal plains of the eastern coast), crocodiles, hippos and other wild animals.

Drinking water and most local soft drinks are generally safe to drink, but it is still recommended to use commercially packaged mineral or drinking water. The quality of food in the vast majority of cafes and restaurants meets sanitary standards. Street stalls and bistros are also considered safe.

In South Africa, they still use “English” washbasins – without faucets, water is mixed in a sink closed with a cork. For water everywhere, even in hotels, fees are charged according to the meter.

Wine and spirits can only be purchased in department stores Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm and Saturday from 8:30 am to 2:00 pm (some until 4:00 pm). Stores selling liquor are identified by the sign “Liquor stores”. On Sunday, the sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited. Alcohol is not sold to children under 18 and must be consumed in designated areas such as bars and restaurants. In supermarkets you can only buy wine, beer and spirits are not sold in them.

The mains voltage is, as a rule, 220 V., 50 Hz (with the exception of Tswana – 230-250 V. and Port Elizabeth – 200/250 V.). Most plugs have 3 round pins (grounded), but there are devices with two smaller pins. Adapters can be found commercially, but not everywhere.

Tipping is optional, but it is advisable to tip waiters in restaurants (up to 10% of the bill), porters at hotels and airports (up to 5 rand for each suitcase or bag), taxi drivers (up to 10% or rounding the amount on the meter to the nearest integer), guides on excursions, etc.


Documents for a visa

For a holiday in South Africa, citizens of Belarus require a visa, which can be issued at the consular department of the Embassy of South Africa in Moscow. To apply for a visa, the following documents are required:

– a passport valid for 6 months from the date of the intended entry into South Africa;
– 2 passport size photographs;
– certificate from the place of work in English, or with a translation (issued on the letterhead of the organization), which must indicate the position and salary.
– photocopies of all pages of the passport (two spreads of the passport on one page);
– a completed visa application form, which can be obtained at the consular department;
– an invitation, which, regardless of the type of visa, must contain a phrase that the host party bears all responsibility for the applicant during his stay in South Africa.

Embassy of the Republic of South Africa in Moscow:
113054, Russia, Moscow, B. Strochenovsky per., 15a
Phone: (+7 095) 238–0698
Fax: (+7 095) 230–6865
Consular Department: (+7 095) 255– 7893
E–mail: [email protected]

Embassy of the Russian Federation in South Africa:
Embassy of the Russian Federation
Butano Building 316 Brook Street, Menlo Park 0081, PO Box 6743 Pretoria, Republic of South Africa
Phone: (8–10–2712) 362–13–37

South Africa General Information

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