Elephant the starts to throw the car over-1_16428b5c9b623c23633bad7b933328c2

I’m travelling to South Africa, What can I Expect?

Okay, so the picture might scare you off as you wonder if you’ll bump into an elephant on the side of the road and they might crush your car! Well, it’s not quite like that travelling in South Africa. However, when you’re in the game parks, do you have to keep your distance from these magestic beasts, and you will enjoy an awesome view!

We can tell you here and now, that South Africa is a country with so much to offer a traveller, especially the family travellers among us. You will be blown away by its beauty, the experiences that are on offer and they’re a nation of exceptionally friendly people. Have you convoluted tales of disaster and crime and negativity abound? Well you might find they’ve never been there, but the news can affect people’s perceptions. Just like many countries in the world there are areas to be avoided and you should take precautions. If you do that this is an amazing gem to be discovered. We could go on forever, and we can’t possibly cover everything that’s on offer in a large country like this and to be honest you could explore it for years. We’ve put together a brief overview of what you can expect if you’re heading down to South Africa, and we’ve got some basics to help you on your way.

What can I expect with regards to Airports and Travel?

OR.Tambo.Airport

The airports in South Africa are right up there with the best of them and you can expect the same type of airport that you would in any major country.

Bear in mind that there is no public transport so taxis or shuttle buses are the way to do. It is best to hire a car to get around, as South Africa is vast to say the least. If you do a home exchange, then you might get a car thrown in too, which will be a bargain.

There are some laws to be aware of with regarding to entering South Africa which affects any child under the age of 18 years as from 1 June 2015. As the requirements vary make sure you understand the legal side of entry. The most important one to remember is that kids will have to travel with an unabridged birth certificate. If there is a child travelling with one child things like consent in the form of an affidavit from the other parent, a court order giving full parental responsibilities and if a parent has died a death certificate will need to be produced.

Please check this website for more information or there is another website too to help you on your way.

Culture

South Africa is not called the Rainbow Nation for nothing, and it’s rich in culture and proudly rich in the culture surrounding the world famous Nelson Mandela.  There are many opportunities to follow the footsteps of this great man from visiting places like Robben Island in Cape Town, where he was imprisoned for so many years; the Mandela Museum in Soweto where he lived with his wife Winnie and their children from the late 1940s, to Constitution Hill where he was detained during the 1956 Treason trial. There are honestly so many other places to explore and numerous tour operators who can assist you. Ukubona Africa Tours is a great place to start. They mostly cover Cape Town and give tours that are related to the great man that ruled the country for many years.

Follow the footsteps of the beginnings of human life with a tour to Maropeng the Cradle of Humankind near Johannesburg. It’s world famous for its fossil culture, rock paintings and surviving shelters of early civilisations. It’s really kid friendly too.

The culture of war and reconciliation that shaped South Africa from the early days of the great Zulu chiefs to the battlefields of the Anglo-Zulu and Boer wars, from Isandlwana or Talana in KwaZulu-Natal to Soweto in Johannesburg or Langa in Cape Town.

Zulu.dancers

Delve into the ancient culture of the nomadic San people, of the Cape Malay or follow the routes of the Missionaries in South Africa to see how they influenced the country.  There are numerous cultural museums to learn about the various customs, traditions and languages of the many indigenous and colonial cultures or delve into the wine or food industries, into astronomy, art or culture, medicine or sport with the rich history of rugby, cycling or running and the major international events that take place around that.  Attend some of the extensive festivals in the country like the Williston Winter Festival (called the most authentic cultural festival in South Africa) or the National Arts Festival held in the small university city of Grahamstown.  The range of cultural diversity is huge with vibrant opportunities to explore virtually anything that you and your kids have an interest in. There are many tours and opportunities to meet local people, stay with them and have a close-up experience of it to discover for yourselves.

Tracking.san.people

Food

Traditional western food is easily available throughout South Africa if preferred.  However, there are plenty of opportunities to explore the food of other cultures, and is right at your fingertips too. As it’s such a diverse nation, your choices are endless.  There is a huge variety of food on offer whether you’re going to a restaurant, ordering take-always, attending cooking classes or taking part in the famous South African braai (barbeque) which is loved by all. There are so many open air restaurants that are extremely kid-friendly so the world, or should we say South Africa, is your oyster. Even if you decide to go on a wine route tour, which is highly recommended, most of them are kid-friendly too, just do a bit of research before you decide which ones to go to. You don’t want to choose a wine farm where the kids have to watch on in boredom as you gulp down the local wine delights. Most of them have opportunities for kids to swim in rivers, awesome picnics and other activities. They are catering for families more and more.

Transport

As we mentioned there are safe and well run shuttle bus services or even taxis to take you from the airport to your accommodation, just make sure you choose an accredited taxi driver.  South Africa is large and doesn’t have the same transport infrastructure that say Europe has, so for families travelling around South Africa you should hire a car with a GPS navigation system.  The car hire industry has every car you could need like 4 x 4’s or campervan hire or just the plain and simple car.  Driving is on the left hand side of the road, and talking on a mobile whilst driving is illegal and seat belts are compulsory.  A valid driver’s license is required and fuel stations have attendants to assist you.  It is customary to tip the assistant.

The combi taxi is a common form of transport for local people and you can see them charging around pretty much any city you pass through. Hiring taxis can be costly as in other countries. There are several domestic flight services and check with tour operators on recommended routes for train travel.

Scenery

The scenery in South Africa is extraordinarily beautiful and it’s certainly worth your child doing some research before you go, to decide which parts you really want to see. If you’re heading out for a couple of months or a year, you’ll get plenty more out of it. Maybe spend time in a few ‘must-see’ places for you, to avoid too much time being spent on the road.  Several days in the world famous Kruger Park or other game reserves is an unbelievable experience and you’ll be left with memories that will last a life time. The South African National Park resorts have a long and famous heritage.

The Drakensberg range of mountains in Kwazulu Natal is unforgettable with outstanding accommodation opportunities.  The Karoo, the Garden Route, the Wild Coast, the Blyde River Canyon and then the phenomenal Western Cape with its mountains, seas and Winelands are absolute musts. As we said we could go on forever, but it’s a vast country and we suggest you do your research to decide where to go.

Drakensberg

Crime

As we mentioned, there is crime in South Africa, just like any other countries. Here are a few practical and sensible things to do to stay out of harm’s way to make sure your trip is unforgettable and awesome.

  • If you are advised to avoid certain areas then take the advice. Any reputable hotel or place you’re staying or even a tourist office will know where to go and what to do
  • Know your route to any destination before you depart especially when travelling at night and ensure your map is up-to-date, or that you’ve got GPS
  • Don’t walk in suspect or remote areas alone
  • Be aware of your possessions at all times and avoid having jewellery, cameras, bags, cell phones, purses or other valuables visible.  If you are travelling in a car put possessions under seats or in the trunk
  • Lock your doors at all times and even car doors when you’re travelling and using a cell phone next to an open car window particularly at traffic intersections is not advised
  • Hitchhiking is a no-no, as is agreeing to carry a stranger’s items
  • Park in well lit or secure areas that have security attendants.  It is custom to tip them unless you’ve paid at the gate
  • Be aware when arriving or leaving your destination in your car and if anything feels untoward, drive on and seek help or phone the emergency number 10111. It is free phone from a call box or landline
  • Travel light when it comes to carrying money and check that you’ve been advised by your bank on the safest way of travelling with money before arriving in the country.  Unfortunately there is poverty, so there is an element of theft
  • Safeguard your debit or travel card at an ATM by notifying the bank immediately should it be gobbled up and don’t help from a stranger and insist on having a portable card swiper bought to your table if paying in a restaurant
  • Basically be vigilant about your possessions including not leaving keys lying around
  • Make copies of important documents before you travel and give them to someone reliable should you need to make reference to them while you’re away
  • A list of useful numbers can be found at this website

Be vigilant and you’ll be amazed at the wonders you’ll discover. It is truly an awesome place to visit with your family, and South Africans by nature are adventurous, so you’ll find plenty of opportunities for adventure, fun and exploration.

About the Author

Lisa Steyn (51 Posts)

I’m a marketer by profession and a writer by nature. I discovered writing as my passion years ago, and have loved every bit of it, particularly writing for families in order to help them have fun and improve their lives. I’ve travelled the world extensively, lucky me! To make me happy put me next to the raging sea, or the calming mountains, and to get me firing on all cylinders send me on a wildlife safari!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

     

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

VMS 4×4 MapExplorer 3D

So you are about to embark on a 4x4 journey…


Read More...

How to prepare for ultimate adventure!

Cape York Peninsula - The ultimate 4x4 adventure! So you…


Read More...

Choosing the right hiking footwear

Footwear can be a tough decision at the best of…


Read More...

LED Headlamps – Is it worth spending money on them?

Campers all around the world know that when your lighting…


Read More...

My scoop on Suspension

There are so many different after market suspension kits out…


Read More...

Rooftop Tent adventures!

You have probably seen these big grey boxes sitting on…


Read More...

Scrubba – The portable Washing Machine?

Have you ever been away travelling and thought to yourself…


Read More...

Not all plastic containers are created equal

If you are anything like me, you just want to…


Read More...

My windscreen mount sucks!

Have you ever bought a windscreen mount that keeps on…


Read More...

Bad Elf GPS pro+

Bad Elf? Interesting name for a great product! So what…


Read More...

The Awesome Family Adventures Store Has Arrived!

Well, It has been a long time in the making,…


Read More...

The Ultimate Guide to Research your Trip

As soon as you start to think of that awesome…


Read More...

Apparently this kid is one of 2014’s internet sensations!

Noah Ritter, also known as the ‘Apparently Kid’, was discovered…


Read More...

Want my OwnFone

But a phone comes with so many responsibilities these days…


Read More...

TOP TIPS TO DO A FAMILY ROAD TRIP ON A BUDGET

So it’s time to pack up your bags, get the…


Read More...

Best travel luggage money can buy

I KNOW WHAT I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS!!! Having travelled quite…


Read More...

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH GORGEOUS LION CUBS

 The advent of the GoPro has turned the HD video…


Read More...

Curiosity killed the cam…..

Technology meets the Polar bears - Who wins the battle?…


Read More...

What will your Kids get out of a Wildlife Safari?

Do you know where the term ‘Safari’ comes from? Well…


Read More...

Travel Documents You Really Don’t Want to Leave Home Without

Before setting out on your next journey, be sure to…


Read More...

The Color Run in Melbourne

They say Melbourne is the most livable city in the…


Read More...

Twelve Great Lessons to Teach your Kids on Travels

Being a travelling family can be the most exciting, rewarding…


Read More...

The Most Important Lessons to Teach your Kids

Teach your kids about winning and losing Some kids can…


Read More...

15 Things That Happened to Kids Growing Up in the Digital Age

One thing’s for sure, there are certainly opposing schools of…


Read More...

Give back to Communities with these Awesome Lodges

There is a growing trend in South Africa to empower…


Read More...

Radcliffe’s Radical Rapping

Daniel Radcliffe, or Harry Potter as to many of us…


Read More...

Helping kids keep up with technology

By now most of us are using a computer of…


Read More...

Smooches with Mooses?

Leffe Lindh – aka the man who sleeps with moose…


Read More...

A picture is worth 1000 words

When we travel, we might initially go there to witness…


Read More...

Having fun with Chemistry

I don’t know about you, but Chemistry sure wasn’t something…


Read More...

The ‘I Can’ Revolution of Schools

Sometimes you come across something that is so awe-inspiring it…


Read More...

Is this the Greenest School in the world?

The Green School is considered to be the greenest school on earth…


Read More...

Kids are Heroes

KIDS ARE HEROS While searching the Internet for inspiring things…


Read More...

Home Exchange

The revolution of Home Exchange Home exchanges are getting very…


Read More...

Geocaching – The world’s largest Treasure Hunt

Welcome to Geocaching—the World’s Biggest Treasure Hunt Imagine a worldwide…


Read More...

No Budget, Will Travel

So you’ve got that destination in your mind, and all…


Read More...

Little Known Facts about USA

We’ve searched high and low to bring you some of…


Read More...

It’s Caving Adventure Time!

Ever thought of having a caving adventure with the family?…


Read More...

Coolest facts about Australia

We’ve found you the coolest and little-known facts about the…


Read More...

How to have a Wildlife Adventure with Your Kids

"The nature of childhood has changed. There's not much nature…


Read More...

I Want To Homeschool, Where Do I Start?

Choosing to homeschool is exciting and overwhelming at the same…


Read More...

I Want To Homeschool, Where Do I Start?


Read More...

The Terrifying Illusion of Socialization when Homeschooling

Socialization. A notion that drives any homeschooling parent crazy. What…


Read More...

Seven Reasons to Homeschool Your Children

The number of homeschooled children in the world is growing…


Read More...

Smart Tips for Budget Travelling

Travel in the off-season Ok, so you may not get…


Read More...

FIJIAN ISLAND HOLIDAY OF A LIFETIME

COME STAY IN A REAL FIJIAN VILLAGE!
 This is truly…


Read More...

Can you Teach Us?

Vanuatu’s Tassiriki Primary School desperately needs help of volunteer teachers.…


Read More...

The Almighty Rise of the Pen Pal

If you thought the era of pen pals was dead,…


Read More...

Schools and Clouds

You may be wondering what in the world schools and…


Read More...

The Awesome World of Girl Guides and Boy Scouts

There’s no escaping the fact that we live in the…


Read More...

Turn Minecraft into a Backyard Adventure

Are your kids addicted to Minecraft? This international phenomenon has…


Read More...

Ready Set, let’s go Camping

Anyone ready for the best camping trip ever? That amazing…


Read More...

Paint the town red – or the country

Maintaining your child’s schooling on the road is a challenge…


Read More...

Downsize Before You Depart

The decision to travel long term is a big one,…


Read More...

Tips and tricks for vacations without the blender

Packing for a long trip with a family is an…


Read More...

Making Your Child’s Vacation Birthday a Treat

When you are travelling, there are always so many new…


Read More...

The World’s Top Night Time Adventures you have to Experience

Night time adventures are cool; full stop. But, we’ve found…


Read More...

Why you should take your kids out of school for a year of travel

Some may agree and some may disagree, but, and there’s…


Read More...

Take a UFO Spotting Holiday Adventure

Yes, you read correctly, there are some places that have…


Read More...

Empower Your Kids to Green Their School

How about setting your kids a task of monumental proportions…


Read More...

Travel with some Peace of Mind

Travel Insurance Travel insurance can minimize the considerable financial risks…


Read More...

All About Alliances

Let’s take a look at what Star Alliance, Oneworld and…


Read More...

Communication Barriers when Travelling or Living Abroad

The challenges and benefits It’s not until you’ve lived or…


Read More...

Tips on how to build a cool treehouse

What kid doesn’t love a treehouse? In fact, most adults…


Read More...

Shocked by Culture Shock

Culture shock is something experienced by people who travel extensively…


Read More...

Top Tips for the Finding the Cheapest Airfares!

Most of us love taking vacations and travelling, for whatever…


Read More...

Animal Tourism

Animal tourism is getting more popular these days, with urbanization…


Read More...

Shrinking the toychest for travel

When you decide to travel with children, one of the…


Read More...

Pack up your troubles

“Pack up your troubles,” the old song goes. Unfortunately, packing…


Read More...

Teaching your Kids about Cultural Awareness

Why you need to teach your kids about Culture Before…


Read More...

Grandma, pack your bags!

Family vacations are nothing new, but recently more and more…


Read More...

We’ll Laugh About This One Day

Although you can plan meticulously and take all the precautions…


Read More...

Build a Raft – Survival Style!

After following our ideas on how to build a raft,…


Read More...

Should you head out on your own or go on group tours?

Part of the fun of going on holiday is the…


Read More...

How to Explore Your City for a Day

Ever heard of a ‘Staycation’? Well, it’s like taking a…


Read More...

Breaking Down Language Barriers

Travel is an opportunity to experience something new. Travelling with…


Read More...

How One Map Can Make Hundreds of Memories

We have a treasure map in our family. It is…


Read More...

Travelling with Teens – Without the Tantrums

There comes a stage when some young people just don’t…


Read More...

Find the RV that Best Suits Your Family

There is something to be said for a vacation in…


Read More...

Everything You NEED to Know about Your Kids and Our Electronic World

My, how life has changed from when we were growing…


Read More...

Family Animal Rescue Volunteering Projects Thailand

There is nothing that beats giving back, nothing in the…


Read More...

Family Animal Rescue Volunteering Project Belize

An especially powerful experience is to teach your kids about…


Read More...

Family Animal Rescue Volunteering Projects Ecuador

Kids tend to have a natural affinity to animals, and…


Read More...

Family Animal Rescue Volunteering Projects South Africa

Animal rescue volunteering projects are crying out for help, and…


Read More...

The Best Bucket List of Museums in the World

Do groans and whining about having a ‘yawn fest’ outing…


Read More...

10 Most Unusual Schools in the World

Education is without a doubt a pre-cursor to success for…


Read More...

5 Cool Secret Codes to Teach your Kids

What kid doesn’t love having a secret code to talk…


Read More...

How to Build an Awesome Survival Shelter with your Kids

Now building a survival shelter is of course for survival.…


Read More...

A Young Entrepreneur, A Fearless Leader

Does your child show any signs of being an entrepreneur?…


Read More...

The Top 10 Best Science Experiments Ever

Science is such cool fun, and there’s nothing better than…


Read More...

The World’s Most Amazing Playgrounds

In the words of Plato, “Life must be lived as…


Read More...

The Coolest Neighbourhood Spy Club Ever

Mystery, stealth, disguises, secrets and adventures; when you think of…


Read More...
join our team of family travel specialists