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Travelling in South Africa - advice

Travel Forums Africa and The Middle East Travelling in South Africa - advice

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1. Posted by mcmin (Budding Member, 12 posts) 4 Jan '09 10:33

Hi guys,

I am currently planning a RTW trip and am keen to include SA as a part of it - I was born there but moved to UK when I was a baby so would love to learn/see where my family is from etc...

But, obviously given the current situation there I am not sure as to whether it is safe to do??? Has anyone travelled over there recently??

Any advice would be great??! :)

Thanks,
Em

2. Posted by soupatrvlr (Respected Member, 385 posts) 15 Jan '09 18:02

i would say that south africa is one of the more stable countries on the continent. you'll be fine. just got back from a month long visit yesterday. it was my 11th trip over the past 10 years with no incidents. just keep a level head on your shoulders and you'll be fine. its really not a country to worry about. have fun!

3. Posted by flo jo (Respected Member, 414 posts) 17 Jan '09 11:41

I was in SA last october and had absolutely no problem. As said be aware of the world around you and it will be fine. We were in jburg kruger durban garden route and c´town. Enjoy your trip it´s a beautiful country.

4. Posted by Tooner (Budding Member, 11 posts) 23 Jan '09 12:22

Hi there

So glad to hear you are looking at travelling to SA! I hope you make it there and that you have a wonderful time! I was born in SA and have now lived in the UK for the past 8 years, so spent most of my life so far living and working there. I have only last week come back from heading home for Xmas and New Years (plus a bit of work on the side) and loved every minute of it!

SA is like visiting any other country - you must just keep your wits about you! Common sense goes along way - dont go out and about with excessive amounts of cash, expensive cameras around your neck or any flash jewellery - its like anywhere in the world! Yes the country has definitely changed over the past 14 years and constantly changes every year ( I have been back every year since having moved to the UK) and i can see the changes. However, I have never once felt unsafe and have never been made to feel unwelcome.

My partner who is English just loves it out there and feels almost "local" when visiting (apart from the terrible go he has at the accent!). Sometimes it does help if you can travel or at least stay with people who live out there as they know the ropes of where and where-nots one should and shouldn't go.

I hope you have a wonderful time and feel free to ask any questions.

Take care.

5. Posted by makka (Respected Member, 248 posts) 20 Feb '09 13:21

Forgive the Naive qiestion. but is SA a relatively cheap place to travel? im really keen on exploring the coastal route of Cape Town onwards to Druban taking in as many surf spots as possible, in cluding the mighty Jeffreys Bay!

does it cater for the 'Hostel living' backpacker?

Im at the super early stages of planning the trip for the latter part of this year, im from the U.K and am all to aware of the recent financial crisis and how it has effected the exchange rates etc ... will i still do pretty well with the exchange rates? ... how much (on a budget) could i get away with per day?

Also what visa can i apply for, depending on how cheap i could travel through, i'd like to maybe make it a 6-8 week trip.

sorry for all the questions, but i know i can get good reliable answers here

Many Thanks!

6. Posted by baluba (Respected Member, 407 posts) 20 Feb '09 13:33

South Africa is very much geared towards the backpacker and there are plenty of reasonably priced hostels around, particularly in Jeffrey's Bay!

The visa you can pick up at the airport, no problem, can't remember what it costs though, sorry..its not a lot, if anything.

Financially I am not sure how it is now with the exchange rates, it has been a couple of years since I was there. I remember accommodation was pretty cheap and food can be cheap too if you shop at markets etc. The Baz Bus was relatively expensive but a good way to get around if you dont want to use public transport or hire a car.

There are a lot of experts on SA here, I am sure you will get plenty of advice!

7. Posted by makka (Respected Member, 248 posts) 22 Feb '09 11:41

Quoting baluba

South Africa is very much geared towards the backpacker and there are plenty of reasonably priced hostels around, particularly in Jeffrey's Bay!

The visa you can pick up at the airport, no problem, can't remember what it costs though, sorry..its not a lot, if anything.

Financially I am not sure how it is now with the exchange rates, it has been a couple of years since I was there. I remember accommodation was pretty cheap and food can be cheap too if you shop at markets etc. The Baz Bus was relatively expensive but a good way to get around if you dont want to use public transport or hire a car.

There are a lot of experts on SA here, I am sure you will get plenty of advice!

Awesome, grrrrreat to hear the re-assurance! ... its pretty much confirmed it, SA it is for the next adventure!!

Being from the U.K - what visa are we allowed, i presume your standard 'tourist visa' ... but how long is it valid for? ... 30 days ... 2,3 months??

I will look into the Baz Bus you mentioned, i figure its similar to Greyhound in Oz 7 the U.S ??

Thanks again!

Anyone else that can through some info this way would be super welcomed!!

8. Posted by baluba (Respected Member, 407 posts) 23 Feb '09 01:38

Visa is valid for 3 months.

Baz Bus is pretty good, it will collect and drop off at most hostels although the timings can be a little erratic, bus as many hostels can be far from main routes it can be a godsend. Never used it myself as I hired a car (much easier!), but met a lot of people who were using it and they seemed pretty happy apart from the cost and the timings.

9. Posted by soupatrvlr (Respected Member, 385 posts) 23 Feb '09 18:04

the exchange rate for the rand is incredibly affordable. its the best i've seen since the currency freefall in 2001. Right now the Rand is exchanging for about 10/$1 or 14/1 british pound. you couldn't ask for anything better. the cost of living has increased over the past couple of years, however this just means a decent bottle of wine is now $4 as opposed to $2. As far as accommodation goes, there is a thriving backpacker community throughout the county, as well as clean and inexpensive guest houses and b&bs. You should have no problems finding the backpacker/hostel type accommodation in jeffrey's bay. I would say $30US/per day is a pretty reasonable estimate for your expenses, particularly if you are going to bus it along the garden route. south africa hasn't been too affected by the financial crisis yet, however tourism is going to start feeling the pinch this year as more westerners cancel their trips. this might mean some better deals for you along the way. i see that you're into surfing. there are several backpackers that cater to surfers along the garden route. feel free to pm me for the name of a few. good luck with your planning!

10. Posted by CarinV (Budding Member, 5 posts) 24 Feb '09 16:19

Two sets of my friends have recently made long trips through SA and loved it. Absolutely no problems.