Tourism, Accommodation and Historical Attractions in Natal, South Africa
Tourism in kwaZulu-Natal
Some Tips for Tourists to Natal
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South Africa's telecommunications network is fully automatic with direct dialling for both local and international calls. There are several cellphone providers that cover all the main routes. Cellphones are available for hire by the day.
Directory Enquiries1023, International Operator 0009, Time 1026
All major credit cards are accepted as are most travellers' cheques. Banking hours are: Mon - Fri 09.00 - 15.30, Sat: 08.30 - 11.00.
The currency is the Rand, available in R200, R100, R50, R20 and R10 notes and R5, R2, R1, 50c, 20c, 10c, 5c, 2c and 1c coins. The current (2009) exchange rate is approximately R14 to the GB£ and R9 to the US$.
Dress for KwaZulu-Natal is largely casual. In the summer (Oct - Mar) bring lightweight clothing and a light jacket for evening wear, particularly if you intend travelling to the Drakensberg. Note the many inland areas (including the Drakensberg) are subject to afternoon thundershowers that may be heavy.
In the winter bring lightweight casual wear for the day but slightly heavier clothing for the evenings. In inland areas it can drop below freezing on winter (Apr - Sept) nights. If there is snow on the Drakensberg, many inland areas will be cold all day.
Remember that some restaurants do not allow beachwear in the evenings. Apply sunscreen whenever possible, particularly when hiking in the Drakensberg or on the beach or water. The sun is exceedingly strong and a broad brimmed hat is advisable.
South Africa operates the 220/250V 50Kz AC European standard. The plugs used are three pin round. Adaptors are available locally.
Inoculations are not required for cholera or yellow fever unless you have travelled through an infected area within the past six months. South Africa has no national health scheme so visitors are advised to take out medical insurance before they arrive. If travelling in the north of KZN in the summer, antimalarial precautions should be taken - the tablets are freely available from all pharmacies. If you feel nauseous or have a persistent headache on returning home then see a physician without delay.
Please take precautions between October and May.
Patients who are at risk please take precautions.
No prophylaxis is required.
Do not paddle in streams, dams or rivers below 4000ft altitude as they may be infected with bilharzia. Also take care near any open fresh water in Zululand and Maputaland because of the presence of crocodiles and hippos.
Sea bathing outside demarcated, guarded areas is not advised due to strong rips and the possible presence of sharks (especially at dusk).
Do not drink from streams unless high up in the Drakensberg. The tap water is treated and entirely safe to drink.
KwaZulu-Natal is home to many different types of snakes, both venomous and non-venomous. Nearly all snakes will move away when approached, however, be careful when walking through the bush. Puff Adders are extremely poisonous, sluggish and love to bask on paths in the sun. It is wise, if you intend to involve yourself in any amount of time in the bush to acquaint yourself with basic snakebite techniques. There are several excellent books available in most booksellers in KZN and snakebite kits are also available.
Petrol is freely available in both leaded and unleaded versions. Current (6/09) price is approximately UK 50p/litre. Most petrol stations operate on a 24 hour basis and have attached convenience stores.
- 1st January - New Year's Day (fixed)
- 21 March - Human Rights Day (fixed)
- April - Good Friday
- April - Family Day
- 27 April - Freedom Day (fixed)
- 1 May - Workers' Day (fixed)
- 16 June - Youth Day (fixed)
- 9 August - National Women's Day (fixed)
- 24 September - Heritage Day (fixed)
- 16 December - Day of Reconciliation (fixed)
- 25 December - Christmas Day (fixed)
- 26 December - Day of Goodwill (fixed)
Take the same precautions as you might in any other international cities. Avoid wearing jewellery where it is visible, do not overtly display camcorders and cameras, do not go into deserted areas at night and do not carry large amounts of cash.
- Store all valuables in your hotel's safe.
- Do not leave valuables in your room.
- Keep your room locked at all times and demand authority from those who call.
- Hand in the keys at the desk.
- If lost, stop a policeman, who will assist.
- KZN Police Tourism Unit 031 3682207; Emergency: 10111
- Dress like the locals do!
- If in a car, keep the windows up and doors locked at all times.
- Leave valuables in the boot (trunk).
- Never pick up hitchhikers.
There are plenty of local taxis available but note that they do not cruise and need to be called. Chack that the meter is running.
South Africa is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.
Value Added Tax
14% VAT is levied but visitors may reclaim this on departure. Keep your till slips/tax invoices and obtain additional information at the departing airport (or the Receiver (0800 119868 toll-free)). VAT may be reclaimed for goods (not services) over R250. The maximum refund at the airport is limited to R3000. Claims over R3000 will be posted after approval by the Inland Revenue. Claims must be submitted within 90 days of the tax invoice.
Most passport holders do not need visas to enter South Africa but check with your local South African consulate before departure.
The tap water is entirely safe to drink but refrain from drinking from streams unless in the high Drakensberg.