Frequently Asked Questions

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General Information

Although crime rates in South Africa are high, travelling here is not as dangerous as our reputation may suggest. Petty crimes are an international phenomenon, and it did not fail to skip South Africa. Our guides will always monitor your safety and will do their best to keep you alert when needed.

Use your common sense and travel responsibly by following these basic guidelines:

  1. Do not travel on foot at night.
  2. If you must use public transport, Uber is the safest option.
  3. When leaving your vehicle unattended, do not leave any bags or valuables behind that are visible through the window.
  4. Don’t wear expensive accessories.
  5. Don’t carry large sums of cash.
  6. Try to travel in groups, especially at night.
  7. Do not allow any person to assist you while withdrawing cash from an ATM.

South Africa uses 220/230-volt electricity and requires a plug type M. Travellers who need a voltage converter for 110-volt devices, It is best to travel with your own adapters. You can purchase your 220-volt type M adapter in Bonisa Global shop and it will wait for you on your bed when you check into your hotel. 

Although last-minute bookings are possible, the earlier you book, the better. When you book early, 10 months or more in advance, it makes it possible to plan your trip better as hotels, attractions, and guides get booked out fast. This is true for the low season but is especially true for the local high tourism season from September to March. Last-minute bookings risk higher rates as hotel occupancy fill up, vehicle rental rates are inflated, and many attractions and tour guides may be unavailable when needed.

South Africa has a number of fantastic providers; however, Vodacom has the best reception in most areas of the country. You can purchase a sim card in Bonisa Global shop, as well as data and airtime. Your purchased products  will wait for you on your bed when you check into your hotel. 

As a requirement to enter South Africa, you will need to have a yellow fever vaccination certificate if your journey starts or entails passing through the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America. It is recommended you consult with your local travel clinic regarding any vaccines you may need as per your personal medical practitioner.

The Kruger National Park and its surrounding are a malaria risk zone, the further north you go into Kruger National Park the higher the risk of malaria, especially during the rainy season from September to April. To prevent getting bitten simply use an insect repellent. It is also recommended you consult with your doctor with regards to using malaria medication.

Yes. It is your responsibility to make sure your passport requirements are valid.

Make sure your passport:

  1. Is undamaged and in an acceptable condition.
  2. Has at least two unused pages for entry/departure endorsements (if your itinerary includes crossing additional borders you will need more blank pages accordingly).
  3. Is valid for no less than 30 days after the departure date of your intended visit.

Some countries add an additional slip to extend the passport’s expiration date – these passports are not accepted in South Africa and will deny you entry into the country.

The local currency used in South Africa is the South African rand, abbreviated as ZAR.

Although foreign currency can’t be used in South Africa, you will be able to exchange most currencies into ZAR at designated and licensed service providers found in all major cities, airports, and shopping centres. Visa and Mastercard are accepted at most businesses while many will not accept American Express. It is recommended to always carry some cash on you to pay for curios, gratuities, porterage etc. It is not advisable to bring travellers’ cheques as you may not be able to exchange them into cash or use them to pay for products and services. ATM’s are widely available.

When out on a game drive it is important to remember that you are a guest in their world. You are here to observe, not to interact, and not to obstruct.

  • Minimise your disturbance of their natural activities by enjoying this experience silently – loud talking, foreign noises, and voices during game drives can scare the animals away.
  • Do not attempt to attract animals’ attention by trying to imitate animal sounds, throwing objects, pounding on the vehicle, clapping hands, standing up, or waving.
  • Never, under any circumstances, may you attempt to feed wild animals, approach them on foot, or reach out from the vehicle to try and touch them or to get close-up photographs.
  • Please always respect your guide or ranger’s judgment, especially when sighting dangerous animals and predators. Don’t insist on moving the vehicle closer to try to get a better view or photo, our team will do their very best to allow such while keeping you and the animals safe. Driving too close to the animals may cause them to react and the outcome of that won’t be pleasant.
  • Refrain from smoking on game drives; the dry African bush ignites very easily, and a flash fire can be devastating.

The only thing you can take in South Africa’s nature is photographs.

Every seed, seashell, stone, or plant plays a role in our ecosystem. If you ‘just take one seashell’ and I ‘just take one seed’ and he ‘just takes one flower’ it can cause serious damage. This type of souvenir collecting can be devastating to our nature; if you want to enjoy nature on your next visit, and care for this beautiful country and for your fellow travellers to enjoy it just like you did, the only thing you should pick up from the floor is litter.

Kruger National Park is open all year round, there is no one answer as to when is the best time to visit. The animals in the park are wild animals that roam around freely and spotting them is mainly luck, patience, and your guide or ranger’s knowledge of the park, its inhabitants, and the latest sightings. During summer (rainy season), the waterholes are more and full; the vegetation is high and lush, and the temperature is usually high. This causes some animals to rest more during the hottest time of the day to protect themselves from the direct sun, all of which makes it slightly harder to spot the more elusive animals. However, there is still a very high possibility of spotting the big five (Rhino, Leopard, Buffalo, Lion, Elephant)  , even during summer. Although Kruger National Park is the largest game reserve in South Africa and it can give you some serious bragging rights, keep in mind that there are many other private reserves that will provide you with an experience, perfect for you. Please be sure to consult with the Bonisa Global team about the best wildlife experience according to your preferences, time, budget, and itinerary.

The Hermanus peak whale season usually runs from June to mid-December, annually.  The exact date all depends on when our giant guests arrive and depart.

The African Penguin colony is open for visitors all year around

South Africa has plenty to offer for everyone! Whether you are a solo traveller, on a family holiday with your children, or here for business or a romantic honeymoon, South Africa has it all! History, wildlife, adventure tourism, backpacking, luxury travel, and luxury accommodation. There are fantastic travel opportunities and experiences to suit every type of budget. 

South Africa is a year-round holiday destination; it really depends on what experience you are looking for. Some activities are better in certain seasons. For the best game watching, visit during a South African spring (August to October), however, for all other tourism South Africa is best visited from spring through summer and early autumn (mid-September until early May).

South Africa has eleven official languages, namely Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda, and Xitsonga. The five most spoken home languages in South Africa are isiZulu, isiXhosa, Afrikaans, Sepedi, and English. English and Afrikaans are the most used languages in official circles, the media, and in business. Road signs, advertisements, directions, etc. are all mainly in English. Even if English is not the mother tongue of every South African, the majority are able to speak and understand the language.

Click here to read more about South Africa’s languages in this article 

South Africa is divided into 9 provinces: Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, North West, and Mpumalanga.

Major cities include Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Bloemfontein.

South Africa is the only country in the world with three capital cities.

The first being Cape Town, ‘The mother city’, the legislative capital.
The second being Bloemfontein, the judicial capital.
The third being Pretoria, known today as Tshwane, the administrative capital.

Yes. It is your responsibility and crucial that you secure good travel insurance prior to arriving in South Africa. We may ask you to provide your policy number prior to embarking on the tour.
Value Added Tax is charged by purchasing from qualified vendors within South Africa, the current rate is 15% and is paid for the acquisition of goods and services. You can apply for a refund of the acquisition of goods only and can’t apply for acquisition of services i.e. you CAN’T apply for a refund for accommodation, transport and so on. You CAN apply for electronics, jewellery, and so on. To be considered you need to:
  1. Be a tourist visiting South Africa and have no citizenship here
  2. Present the goods you have purchased to the correct officials
  3. Supply a Tax invoice that includes your details on it
  4. Attach your receipt as proof of purchase
  5. Make the claim within a maximum of 90 days from the tax invoice date
  6. The total value must exceed R250
  7. To claim you must declare the goods to customs in one of the 43 designated commercial ports (land borders, international airports, harbours, railways – a link with a list will be supplied)
VRA – Vat Refund Administrator has a physical presence only in three international airports
  1. Cape Town
  2. King Shaka (Durban)
  3. OR Tambo (Johannesburg)
If you cross via one of the other 40 ports you will have to apply to the VRA in writing. If you cross at one of the three international airports where VRA has physical presence and have been found qualified for a refund, you will receive an electronic card and your credit will be loaded to it within a number of weeks. For further information and contact details kindly follow this link: https://www.sars.gov.za/TaxTypes/VAT/Pages/VAT-Refund-on-Exported-Goods.aspx
Not Legal or Financial Advice. The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for legal or financial advice that can be provided by your own attorney, accountant, and/or financial advisor. Although care has been taken in preparing the information provided to you, we cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions, and we accept no liability whatsoever for any loss or damage howsoever arising. The law is constantly changing, and therefore it affects each individual and business in different ways. As a result, it is recommended to seek outside counsel relating to your specific circumstances as needed. You are hereby advised to consult with your tax consultant, accountant, or lawyer for any and all questions and concerns you have, may have, or hereafter have, and any and all information presented pertaining to your specific situation. For Educational and Informational Purposes Only. The information provided is for educational and informational purposes only and is made available for your own use.
 

Yes, tap water is safe to drink in South Africa. It is monitored by a government program called ‘BLUE DROP’ and water quality is graded ‘SANS 241’ which is aligned with the World Health Organization’s guidelines for drinking water.

A qualified tourist guide should wear an official name tag and possess a certificate to act as a tourist guide, provided by the National Department of tourism.  ONLY GUIDES WITH A VALID LICENSE MAY GUIDE YOU. This is important not only to ensure the information provided to you is accurate but also to guide without the correct certifications is illegal. Furthermore, it is important for your safety and insurance purposes. We urge you to make sure that you hire a qualified guide or book your tour through a reputable tour operator company. Different guides have different skillsets and qualifications. It is recommended that you verify that your guide is registered accordingly.

If you have a question and can’t find the answer here, you are more than welcome to contact us over the phone or send an email and we will be happy to assist.

Maybe, if it is a really good question, we might just add it to this list.

Bonisa Global Related

  • Package Tours are our recommendation for tours that are suitable for any group size of all ages, they are budget-conscious tours designed to allow you to experience the main highlights along the route you choose. You can choose two or even three tours, one of each route back to back to build yourself a full cross-country tour in minutes. Although these tours are private, you can decide if you prefer to do a self-drive tour or book a guide to drive for you and enhance your experience by sharing comments, in-depth information, and history to understand South Africa better. He will even show you some secret stops along the way. The package tours are non-customisable should you require any changes made at all, please look into our tailor-made tours.
  • Tailor-made tours are as the name suggests, made especially for you. We will fit the tour to your arrival and departure dates, and make sure it is perfect for you in every way. We will design it according to your budget and preferences, may it be a honeymoon, corporate incentive tour, family tour with young children, or a group of friends exploring together. We will include more adventure activities or more wildlife activities or more resting time depending on your indication and preferences.
  1. Find a tour on our website.
  2. Fill in the contact form on the page of the tour
  3. Wait for a Bonisa Global representative to contact you to confirm tour details with you.
  4. Make payment in full.
  5. Receive all confirmation documents and enjoy!
  1. Complete the form.
  2. We will contact you by phone to discuss the form and to add that personal touch.
  3. According to the complexity of your tour, you will be quoted for the time needed to plan your tour.
  4. Pay the deposit; although this deposit is non-refundable, it will be deducted from your final costing once booking your tour.
  5. Within 3 to 5 days after making the deposit you will receive a rough draft of your itinerary and an estimated cost for your tour.
    a) If you are happy with the estimate and the rough itinerary we can proceed to make the necessary bookings and polish it for you even further.
    b) If you are not happy please state the problem to correct and we will be sure to make the adjustments.
  6. You will receive a final itinerary and a final cost; the itinerary will include pictures of your accommodation and a list of all included activities.
  7. A minimum of 50% payment of the tour value is needed to secure your booking – the remainder must be paid up to 30 days before departure.
  8. Only after full payment of the tour has been received, a complete breakdown of your tour will be sent to you. This breakdown will include your schedule, full information of your accommodation and vouchers for your activities.
  9.  

If you have a question and can’t find the answer here, you are more than welcome to contact us over the phone or send an email and we will be happy to assist.

Maybe, if it is a really good question, we might just add it to this list.