Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Meerkats

Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding travel to South Africa. Do I need vaccinations? What are the voltage requirements? What should I pack? And many others.

Money (4)

US dollars and South African rand

The currency of South Africa is the rand (ZAR). The exchange rate between the Rand and the US Dollar is at an all-time high, currently fluctuating from 12:1 to 17:1. This is great news for our North American travelers!

We recommend that you exchange your dollars for rand upon your arrival at the airport in Johannesburg. Should you need to exchange more during your trip, your guide will suggest the best place to do so.
Category: Money

 Game Drive with Lions

Tipping in South Africa is widely practiced. Here is some information on tipping in South Africa.

 Important Notes:
  • Please note that when you travel with Go Touch Down on our promotional tours, we include the tipping at restaurants. For restaurants and bars, 10% to 15% is the accepted tipping standard for any meals or drinks other than those included in our promotional tours.
  • However, tipping your driver and/or guide is not included and although not expected, it is appreciated should you decide to tip them at the end of your tour. The guideline is R100-120 ($10-12) per traveler per day. Either US dollars, Rand, or a combination of the two is acceptable. 

General Guidelines:

Parking attendants and security guards are common in parking lots and at roadside bays. They generally ask if they can watch your car while you are going about your business – if you agree, a tip of R2 and up should be offered, depending on the length of your stay. In South Africa, we still have the luxury of petrol attendants at gas stations to fill up our vehicle tanks, check oil, water, and tire pressure, and clean the windscreens.  How much to tip for this special South African service? From R2 up.

The going rate for porters at airports is between R5 and R10 per piece of luggage.

South Africa, you’ll soon see, has a tradition of roadside newspaper vendors.  It is customary to give the seller a few cents – rounding off the cost of your newspaper should be sufficient.

Hotel porters usually expect a tip of R10 to R20 per porter service.

Some of the other service providers you may want to tip are taxi drivers, tour guides, and assistants in hairdressers and beauty salons.  Should you need assistance in taking your purchases from supermarket to your vehicle, you may want to show your gratitude to your helper with a small monetary reward.

You’ll soon find your way around tipping etiquette in South Africa – it’s easy as it’s usually well-received.

Category: Money

Credit Cards

 

Yes. Credit (and debit/check) cards are widely accepted in at ATMs and by most retailers throughout the county. You will find plenty of ATMs at the airport, and, if you need to withdraw cash during your tour, your guide can take you to the nearest ATM.

If you have only an American Express, MasterCard, and/or Diners Club card, it’s worth opening a Visa account, as this is by far the most accepted choice in Southern Africa.

BE SURE TO NOTIFY YOUR BANK of your international travel dates and destinations before you leave home.

We recommend that you make a photocopy of the front and back of your ATM and credit cards to leave behind with someone at home, just in case your cards are lost or stolen.

Many banks assess a transaction fee of 1% -3% on all charges you incur abroad, and some additionally charge a percentage of the amount withdrawn. Some banks do offer favorable overseas rates and charges for travelers using debit cards specifically.

Categories: Money, Packing

American dollars

We recommend taking $300 – $500, which is approximately 4,200 – 7,000 rand (ZAR), the currency of South Africa.  The exchange rate between the rand and the US dollar is at an all-time high, currently fluctuating from 12:1 to 17:1. This is great news for our North American travelers!

We also recommend that you exchange your dollars for rand upon your arrival at the airport in Johannesburg. Should you need to exchange more during your trip, your guide will suggest the best place to do so.
ATMs are plentiful in South Africa, especially in Cape Town. Be sure to advise your bank of the dates of your international travel before you leave home. We recommend that you make a photocopy of the front and back of your ATM and credit cards to leave behind with someone at home, just in case your cards are lost or stolen.
 
Please note that when you travel with Go Touch Down Travel and Tours on our promotional tours, we include the tipping at restaurants. For restaurants and bars, 10% to 15% is the accepted tipping standard for any meals or drinks other than those included in our promotional tours. However, tipping your driver/guide is not included and although not expected, it is appreciated should you decide to tip them at the end of your tour. The guideline is R100-120 ($10-12) per person per day. (The guides at Kapama and Humala Game Reserves should be tipped separately).
Categories: Money, Packing

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