Time zones and jet lag
South Africa operates two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time throughout the year, making it an hour ahead of British Summer Time and two hours ahead of British Winter Time.
The beauty of this for British visitors is that it means you won’t suffer from jet lag when flying to or from South Africa.
Travellers with a disability
If you have a disability, make sure you tell your airline when booking your flight ticket so they can make appropriate arrangements.
Generally speaking, South Africa’s facilities for disabled visitors can be improved. However, an increasing number of accommodation establishments have wheelchair ramps and bathroom facilities for the disabled.
Almost every national park has at least one accessible chalet and many accommodation establishments have one or two wheelchair-friendly rooms and bathroom facilities.
Hospitals and medical care
There is a large network of State and private hospitals across South Africa.
Hospital treatment in large cities is generally excellent but can be expensive.
Medical facilities in rural areas can be basic. In remote areas, air evacuation is sometimes the only option for medical emergencies.
We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive health insurance before travelling to South Africa, including cover for medical evacuation.
You should check the small print for any exclusions. Exclusions could include injury or death through acts of terrorism or nature; accidents caused through drinking alcohol or engaging in dangerous sports (the list of these will vary from policy to policy); or problems arising from a previous illness that you have not declared to the insurer. Immunisations & vaccinations
Avoid a DVT on long journeys
Avoid Earache when flying
Food and water
As a rule, tap water in South Africa is perfectly safe to drink as it is treated and is free of harmful micro-organisms.
In hotels, restaurants and nightspots, the standards of hygiene and food preparation is top-notch. It is safe to eat fresh fruit and salads and to put as much ice as you like in your drinks – a good thing, too, after a day on the beach or in the bush (more…)
Malaria is found only in the Lowveld of Mpumalanga and Limpopo and on the Maputaland coast of KwaZulu-Natal. Although the incidence of malaria in South Africa is low, it would be best to take adequate precautions if you choose to visit these areas (more…)
Immunisations & vaccinations
Immunisation against cholera and smallpox are not necessary and no other vaccinations are required when visiting South Africa (more…)
The risk to you of catching tuberculosis in South Africa is not high (more…)
South Africa and the whole of the sub-Saharan region of Africa have a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS.
South Africa actively promotes an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign, but given the high level of HIV/AIDS, you should seek immediate medical advice if you are sexually assaulted or otherwise injured.
South Africa promotes the ABC campaign:
Abstain! if you can’t abstain
Be faithful! if you can’t be faithful
Time zones and jet lag