General info about South Africa
Here is some useful information about the South African in general to help you get an idea of what to expect and how to prepare before you travel.
On this page you will find lots of great information and tips about South Africa and Cape Town, such as its seasons, sunrise and sunset, temperatures, time differences, languages, cellular providers, provinces and internet access. Otherwise, come and enjoy our world class food, wine, accommodations and my photo tours and walks
South African Seasons
South Africa summer days are nice and long. In Cape Town the average summer day is about 16 hours and night about 8 hour. In winter the average day is about 11 hours and night 13 hours. Below are the average sunset and sunrise times of Cape Town
Spring: September to October
- Sunrise/Sunset = 6:30 to 19:00
- Temp avg. 20 to 25 deg Celsius
Summer: November to March
- Temp avg. 17 to 30 deg Celsius
- Sunrise/Sunset = 5:25 to 20:30
Autumn: April to May
- Sunrise/Sunset = 6:45 to 18:45
- Temp avg. 12 to 22 deg Celsius
Winter: June to August
- Sunrise/Sunset = 7:20 to 18:30
- Temp avg. 5 to 15 deg Celsius
- The coastal areas such Cape Town has winter rainfall
- The northern interior such as Gauteng has summer rainfall
As an African country our summers are very hot and winters a few degrees above freezing. In some cases snow will appear on a select few mountain peaks, but in general you wont see any snow. The interior areas have more extreme temperatures, with very hot summers and very cold winters. Cape Town is more in the middle due to it being coastal. The average summer day is around 30 deg celcius and winter days vary from 10 deg, with an occasional hot summer-like day coming out of no where of 25. Even locals can predict the weather in Cape Town and is know to be 4 seasons in a day quite easily. Below are average temperatures of areas in South Africa
- Summer 30
- Winter 18
- Summer 35
- Winter 10
- Summer 28
- Winter 23
- Summer 30
- Winter 15
- Summer 33
- Winter 19
- Summer 29
- Winter 23
- Summer 29
- Winter 24
South Africa is in the central African Time Zone, this is GMT +2:00. So from Europe there is little time difference or jet lag.
Although South Africa has 11 official languages English is widely spoken and is used as the language of record.
Afrikaans is a distance sibling of Dutch, German and some French. You will easily pick up keywords of you know these languages.
African languages most commonly spoken are Zulu in Kwa-Zulu Natal and Xhosa in Cape Town
South Africa has 9 provinces (better known as States in USA) which are:
Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, North West, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Gauteng
Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe and surrounds Lesotho
South Africa operates on the GSM system which covers the majority of the country and has 3G coverage in the main centres. If you do not have international roaming is it possible to either rent a cell phone from the airport or buy a local SIM card at most shops.
The biggest networks are Vodacom, MTN and CellC
Internet facilities are available in all hotels, and most other accommodation and cafes or restaurants.
Internet cafes are located in all cities and towns throughout South Africa. We have recently moved into the Fibre Internet era, so speeds range form 10mbps all the way up to 100mbps
- Dress code – casual except for some formal hotels.
- Legal drinking age is 18 years
- Drinking in public areas without a liquor license is illegal
- Driving – Legal alcohol limit is 0.24mg per 1000ml
- Water in South Africa is some of the best in the world. Most taps provide safe drinking water
- Illegal to smoke inside public buildings (restaurant, airport, on bus, or shopping centres)
- You can’t smoke in partially enclosed public places e.g. covered patios, verandas, balconies, walkways, parking areas
- You can’t buy or sell tobacco products if you’re under 18
- Sweets and toys that look like tobacco products are banned.
- You can’t smoke on premises used for commercial childcare activities, or for schooling or tutoring – and that includes private homes e.g. those running crèches
- May not smoke in ANY car is children under 12 years of age are present
- South Africans drive on the left, and give way to the right. Drivers must have a valid licence, with photo, or an international driving permit. Speed limits on motorways – 120kph; elsewhere – 100kph; built up areas – 60kph. Talking on your cell phone while driving is illegal
- https://www.arrivealive.co.za/South-African-Law-on-Wearing-of-Seatbelts for rules about seatbelts.
National park guidelines:
- For your safely as well as for preservation of plants and animals living there
- Do not get out of vehicle until told to do so.
- Do not feed or approach wild animals
- Avoid loud noises – respect them and their territory