South Africa Travel Information
Coronavirus has been detected in South Africa. The
authorities imposed a national lockdown on March 27.
Only life-saving excursions outside the home are
allowed, among other things to shop for food. The curfew
initially lasted until April 17, but is extended until
the end of April. The country's borders are closed to
passenger traffic, including air traffic. For more
information about coronavirus, see the section Health.
South Africa is a popular, beautiful and diverse
tourist country. Most trips abroad, including to South
Africa, go safely and without special problems. However,
travelers may be exposed to unpleasant surprises,
violence and other crime, which is very widespread in
The Norwegian Embassy to South Africa is located in
Pretoria. In addition, Norway has honorary consulates in
Cape Town and Durban. For details see Embassy website.
Outside of the consulate and embassy working hours,
travelers can contact the UD's 24-hour operating center
on tel: +47 23 95 00 00 or by e-mail: UDops@mfa.no.
The risk of terrorist incidents in South Africa is
considered low. At the same time, there is a growing
terrorist threat on the African continent, and
especially against Western terror targets or areas where
Western tourists reside - such as large shopping malls.
Crime in the country is very high and everyone should
take precautions against theft, robbery, car hijacking
and ATM fraud. Travelers should be alert and inquire
with local celebrities. At the same time, it is
important to note that most of the violent crime
(especially murder and rape) happens outside typical
tourist areas and primarily affects the poor majority.
However, tourists are also affected.
Everyone should take precautions against hijacking,
which is relatively widespread in the major cities of
South Africa (especially Johannesburg/ Pretoria/Cape
Town). Most happen on the way in/on the way out of
driveways at home and at traffic lights, and can happen
at any time of day. One should be vigilant when
approaching traffic lights, and always have locked doors
and closed windows. It is important to never leave
valuables (including mobile phones) visible in the car.
Always lock bags and other items in the trunk.
- Countryaah: Bloemfontein is the capital
of South Africa. Check to find information of population, geography, history,
and economy about the capital city.
In the event that you experience attempted hijacking,
you should not resist. Many avoid driving after dark. It
is advisable to inquire with celebrities about
conditions locally in the areas where you are traveling.
One should not stop for other cars with technical or
other problems (accidents) but report such incidents to
the police. Park in well-lit areas and avoid rest stops
along the way. No one should go on his own to the
township without a guide with the approval of the
You should also be wary of robberies and attempts to
steal bags and wallets. It is not recommended to go
downtown in South Africa's largest cities after dark, on
Sundays or holidays. Extra vigilance at airports and in
large crowds is also recommended.
Keep your passport in a safe place. Always have a
copy of passport and travel insurance on you.
ATM and credit card fraud is widespread, especially
in Cape Town. A good advice is always to be two when
withdrawing money from an ATM. Avoid ATMs in crowded
areas. Never receive help from strangers at ATMs. Use
another ATM if unusual technical problems arise and/or
people in the queue offer help. Never give out your
credit card or let it get out of sight. Always ask that
restaurants bring the payment machine to you or join the
Ask the hotel or guesthouse you are staying in for
safety advice - where to go safely. Always bring a cell
phone with you when you go out and note local emergency
numbers and the embassy's phone number. Otherwise, see
the website of the South African police, Saps.
South Africa's cities have a bustling nightlife.
However, travelers (especially young girls) should be
aware that the use of "rape drugs" occurs in bars and
nightclubs. Therefore, keep an eye on your drink and do
not accept open drinks/bottles from strangers.
The country has a well-developed road network and a
relatively modern car park. With the exception of the
road network around the big cities, there is relatively
little traffic on the roads, and in several places the
road standard can be quite poor. Pay particular
attention to holes in the road that can cause punctures
or more serious accidents. In general, one should avoid
driving when it is dark, especially in unfamiliar areas.
Many drivers drive recklessly, and lorries are often
overloaded or mis-loaded and therefore pose a danger to
other road users. Given the very high accident
statistics, there is every reason for visitors to be
cautious in traffic, especially on weekends due to
Traveling by local train in and around the major
cities is not recommended because of crime. Other cities
include minibus taxis, which are also not recommended
for safety reasons. Ordinary taxis are generally safer
to use. When arriving at the airports, you should ask
for a taxi cab. Also, ask the local, if any, hotel for
recommendations on the taxi company/hub that should be
used. The high-speed train "Gautrain" between Pretoria,
OR Tambo airport and Johannesburg is efficient and safe
to use. This also applies to the buses connected to
There have been several cases of cars and buses being
robbed on the way from OR Tambo airport in Johannesburg.
One of the methods used is that criminals in police
uniforms and cars with police symbols stop cars to rob
them. Passengers from other African countries are
particularly at risk. Arrival during the day reduces the
danger of this.
The car sharing service Uber has become very popular
around the big cities and is considered by many as a
safer alternative to taxis. However, there have been
several cases of clashes between Uber and ordinary
taxis. You should avoid using Uber to or from Gautrain
There have been cases of false police. Criminals in
police uniforms and cars with police symbols stop cars
to rob them. Tourists have been stopped and robbed on
their way from OR Tambo airport.
South Africa has a very well-developed network of
aircraft connections. When traveling over longer
distances, aircraft can be a safer alternative than
driving on their own. South Africa is a big country and
the distances are longer than you might think. For
example, Johannesburg-Cape Town will take approx. 20
hours by car, versus two hours by plane.
South Africa is a stable democracy. However, local
demonstrations and strikes often occur. Social unrest,
or so-called "service-delivery protests," often occurs
in poor neighborhoods (townships) or central city
streets near public institutions. Visitors who
experience such protests should stay away and follow the
advice of local police.
In South Africa, discrimination based on sexual
orientation is prohibited.
In recent years, there has been periodically a
demanding power supply situation. Old infrastructure and
delays in the construction of new coal-fired power
plants have occasionally blown up the capacity of the
power grid. Visitors must be aware that power cuts
(so-called "load curing") may occur.
South Africa has often been hit by droughts and
floods. There is a high incidence of fires over large
areas during dry periods, especially in the areas around
Cape Town. Cape Town has periodically experienced acute
water shortages. For updated information, see the
National Center for Natural Disasters in South Africa,
Western Cape Government or Come to Cape Town.
The coast around South Africa is very beautiful but
can be dangerous. Swimming on the beaches should be
limited to restricted areas with lifeguards, especially
because of dangerous currents - but also the danger of
Norwegian citizens who stay for a shorter or longer
period in South Africa are encouraged to register on
reiseregistrering.no and to have valid travel insurance.
National emergency number: 112 (from mobile phone)
and applies to all types of emergency. Ambulance:
Netcare (private, recommended) 082 911/010 209 8387 or
10117 (public). Police: 10111
In crisis and emergency, the embassy in Pretoria can
be contacted on tel: +27 12 364 3700.
Outside the working hours of the consulate and
embassy, travelers can contact - UD's 24-hour
operating center on tel: +47 23 95 00 00 or by e-mail:
Please note that entry regulations may change. The
Foreign Service is not responsible if the following
information on entry regulations or visa requirements is
changed at short notice. It is the responsibility of the
traveler to ensure that travel documents are valid for
entry and to familiarize themselves with the current
entry rules for each country.
There is no requirement for a visa for Norwegian
citizens for visits up to 90 days, cf. South Africa's
The passport must be valid for at least 30 days after
the visit is expected to be completed and must contain
at least two blank pages, cf. Immigration Regulations.
South Africa only accepts machine-readable passports.
Norwegian emergency passports cannot therefore be used
for travel to South Africa. Persons who do not meet the
document requirements may risk being rejected at the
border or by the airline.
Minors traveling alone must have a birth certificate
with apostille and parental consent, as well as a
certified copy of their parent's passports. The
declaration of consent must be stamped by the South
African Embassy in Oslo or another South African
authority. You can find the declaration of consent here.
In November 2019, South Africa changed the entry
rules for minors traveling with guardians and who do not
have a visa requirement when entering South Africa.
According to the Department of Home Affairs, no
apostille's birth certificate is required, nor is
consent for children traveling with one or both parents,
for more information, see New requirements for children
traveling through South African ports of entry.
If you are arriving in South Africa from another
African country, you may be asked to document that you
have a valid International Certificate of Vaccination
On arrival, you should always check the last
departure date indicated on the entry stamp.
For the latest updated information on entry rules,
travelers are encouraged to contact the South African
Embassy in Oslo.
Coronavirus (covid-19): Norwegian
travelers should keep abreast of the development of the
coronavirus. Feel free to follow local authorities'
advice, guidance and instructions on how to deal with
the situation. For information from South African
authorities, see Corona virus (covid-19) outbreak, cf.
also embassy website.
You can find more information and guidance from the
Norwegian health authorities on the website of the
Norwegian Institute of Public Health. See also UD's
answers to frequently asked questions about travel and
HIV/AIDS is a significant problem in South Africa
with five to six million HIV positive. South Africa has
launched the world's largest HIV infection treatment
program, which is beginning to produce good results.
However, it is important to take precautions to prevent
Tuberculosis is a problem in South Africa but not in
typical tourist areas.
Malaria occurs in some restricted areas such as the
Kr¨ąger Park and northern border areas. Malaria medicine
should be considered if staying in such areas. The
Bilhardzia parasite is a widespread problem, and bathing
in inland water can pose a risk of infection.
See otherwise vaccination recommendations from the
Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Private hospitals
hold very good standards and are recommended. However,
treatment can quickly become costly, so it is important
to have travel insurance in order.
Bankruptcy negotiations: South
African Airways is in bankruptcy negotiations. This may
result in changes or cancellations of international and
domestic flights, see the airline's Travel Advisory.
Contact your airline or your travel agent before
The area code for calls from Norway to South Africa
The time difference between South Africa and Norway
is one hour ahead at winter time in Norway and no time
difference at summer time.
Electricity: 220/250V, 50Hz.
Norwegian equipment can be used without a converter.
However, electrical outlets are of a different type than
the EEA standard. South African electrical outlets have
three pins. Transition/adapter can be purchased at most
grocery stores, specialty electrical equipment stores
and at some international airports.
Communication: South Africa has a
well-developed, national grid of aircraft connections.
The country has a well-developed road network, though
with varying road quality, and mainly modern car parks.
Public transport is developed around the major cities,
but is generally unreliable and occasionally unsafe to
use. In the center of some cities, including Pretoria
and Cape Town, modern bus transport systems have been
developed in recent years, which are considered safe to
use during the day. The high-speed train "Gautrain"
between Pretoria, OR Tambo airport and Johannesburg is
efficient and safe to use. Taxis can be found in most
major cities, but can present crime-related security
issues. Many South Africans use the Uber car sharing
service in and around the big cities, as this is
considered to be relatively reliable and secure.
Certificate: In addition to a valid
Norwegian certificate, it is required that you have an
international driver's license if you want to drive a
car when visiting South Africa.
Internet domain: 'co.za'
Currency: Rand (R/ZAR)
Credit Cards: Credit cards,
especially MasterCard and Visa, are accepted in most
places. High density of ATMs.
Opening hours: Banks' opening hours
vary, but most of them are open from 10am. 9am - 3.30pm
on weekdays. Some are also open Saturdays from 08.30 -
The post offices are usually open from 08:30 to 16:30
on weekdays and from 08:00 to 12:00 on Saturdays.
Most shops are open from 8am to 7pm - 8pm weekdays
and Saturdays, but close earlier on Sundays. Shopping
centers are open until 19: 00-21: 00 on weekdays and
Saturdays until 10:00. 5 pm to 6 pm on Sundays. Small
shops and shops in small towns often have shorter
National Holidays: 1 January (New
Years Day), Good Friday, 2nd Easter (Family Day), 21
March (Human Rights Day), 27 April South Africa's
National Day (Freedom Day), 1 May, June 16 (Youth Day),
August 9 (National Women's Day), September 24 (Heritage
Day), December 16 (Day of Reconciliation), December 25
(Christmas Day), December 26 (Day of Goodwill).
Tips on restaurants: In South
Africa, tips of 10-15 percent are expected depending on
the quality of service, as tips make up the majority of
the waiters' salary.
Languages: South Africa has eleven
official languages - african, english, isindebele,
isixhosa, isizulu, sepedi, sesotho, setswana, siswati,
tshivenda and xitsonga. Most people speak English.
Cultural codes: There is generally
no need to pay special attention to local customs beyond
normal courtesy. Most people are well used to dealing
with tourists and foreigners. You are generally more
polite than in Norway, and greet and ask how things are
going before proceeding with a conversation or
Southern Africans are relaxed when it comes to dress
Laws and regulations: The smuggling
and use of drugs can result in high penalties. The
promissory limit is 0.05 per cent and enforced.