South Africa

Travel Facts

US State Dept Travel Advisory

The US Department of State currently recommends US citizens exercise increased caution in South Africa due to crime and civil unrest. Consult its website via the link below for updates to travel advisories and statements on safety, security, local laws, and special circumstances in this country.

Passport/Visa Requirements

US citizens should make sure their passport will not expire for at least 30 days after they enter the country even if they do not intend to stay that long. They should also make sure they have at least 2 blank pages in their passport for any entry stamp that will be required. A visa is not required as long as you do not stay in the country more than 89 days. Currently South Africa requires that children travel with birth certificates, valid passports, and (if not traveling with both of the parents on the birth certificate), a parental consent letter from both of the parents.

US Embassy/Consulate

[27] (12) 431-4000; US Embassy Pretoria, 877 Pretorius St, Arcadia, Pretoria, South Africa;;

Telephone Code


Local Emergency Phone

Ambulance: 10177; Fire: 10177; Police: 10111


Yellow fever vaccine, at least 10 days before arrival, is required for travelers originating from or transiting through WHO-designated yellow fever countries. See WHO recommendations.


Mostly semiarid; subtropical along east coast; sunny days, cool nights

Currency (Code)

Rand (ZAR)

Electricity/Voltage/Plug Type(s)

230 V / 50 Hz / plug types(s): C, M, N

Plug Type CPlug Type MPlug Type N

Major Languages

IsiZulu, IsiXhosa, Afrikaans, Sepedi, Setswana, English, Sesotho, Xitsonga, siSwati, Tshivenda, isiNdebele

Major Religions

Christian 86%, ancestral, tribal, animist, or other traditional African religions 5.4%, Muslim 1.9%

Time Difference

UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Potable Water


International Driving Permit


Road Driving Side


Tourist Destinations

Kruger National Park; Cape Town; Kgalagadi (Kalahari) Transfrontier Park; Stellenbosch; Drakensberg; Garden Route; iSimangaliso Wetland Park; Cape of Good Hope; Robben Island (Nelson Mandela's prison); Cradle of Humankind, Gauteng

Major Sports

Rugby, cricket, soccer, boxing

Cultural Practices

Placing both hands together with fingers pointing up is a way to say "thank you."

Tipping Guidelines

It is customary to tip 10-15% for good service in restaurants. For private drivers, 100 rand per person per day is appropriate.


Zulu spoons, Zulu beaded items, seshweshwe fabric, Rooibos tea, wine and liqueur

Traditional Cuisine

Bobotie — minced meat simmered with spices, especially curry powder, herbs, and dried fruit, then topped with a mixture of egg and milk and baked

Please visit the following links to find further information about your desired destination.

World Health Organization (WHO) - To learn what vaccines and health precautions to take while visiting your destination.

US State Dept Travel Information - Overall information about foreign travel for US citizens.

To obtain an international driving permit (IDP). Only two organizations in the US issue IDPs:
American Automobile Association (AAA) and American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA)

How to get help in an emergency? 
Contact the nearest US embassy or consulate, or call one of these numbers:
from the US or Canada - 1-888-407-4747 or from Overseas - +1 202-501-4444

Page last updated: Wednesday, October 05, 2022