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 South Africa.
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: [email protected]
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 tourist office.
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 staff.
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 widespread driving.
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 Gautrain.
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 stations.
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 shark.
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: [email protected]
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 entry sites.
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 and Prophylaxis.
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 coronavirus.
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 infection.
Tuberculosis is a problem in South Africa but not in typical tourist areas.
Malaria occurs in some restricted areas such as the Kr¨¹ger 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 departure.
According to allcitycodes, the area code for calls from Norway to South Africa is +27.
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 – 11.00.
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 opening hours.
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 transaction.
Southern Africans are relaxed when it comes to dress code.
Laws and regulations: The smuggling and use of drugs can result in high penalties. The promissory limit is 0.05 percent and enforced.