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The Best Time to Visit South Africa

South Africa’s sheer size means its various regions all experience different weather patterns.

The Western Cape, which includes Cape Town, the Winelands and the Garden Route, enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate year-round. The summer, between October and April, is warm and dry with maximum temperatures of 26°C in January and February. It’s prime whale-watching season between September and November, so head to Hermanus then for sightings of southern right whales. Cape Town receives most of its rain from June-August, but in comparison to the UK it’s a mild winter with temperatures averaging around 18°C.

If you’re looking to visit South Africa’s game reserves and national parks, May to November is the best time to go on a safari holiday, whether it’s Kruger National Park or Madikwe and Sabi Sands game reserves. Even though this is technically South Africa’s winter, the days are crisp, dry and sunny (daily temperatures average around 23°C). It’s an ideal time for game viewing, with the sparse vegetation making it easier to spot animals that are drawn to the watering holes.

In the east of the country, Johannesburg can be visited year-round. Coming to the end of winter (May-November), the city’s jacaranda trees are in bloom (October-November), but night-time temperatures can be close to freezing. On the coast, Durban’s Indian Ocean location makes for warm temperatures year-round.

South Africa Travel Advice Essentials

Do I need any Vaccinations for South Africa?

Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Polio and Tetanus-Diptheria vaccinations are currently recommend. Prevention against Malaria is advised for those travelling to the lowfeld of Mpumalanga (including Kruger National Park), Limpopo and the Maputaland coastline of KwaZulu-Natal. While Malaria is at low risk in the winter months, we’d advise using mosquito nets and insect repellent to prevent being bitten. If you’re entering South Africa from a Yellow Fever zone, possession of a valid Yellow Fever inoculation certificate is required but for any current travel health advice, you should seek guidance from your GP at least four to six weeks prior to travel.

What is the time difference between South Africa and the UK?

The time difference is GMT +2 hours.

How long is the flight to South Africa?

The flight time from London to Johannesburg is around 12 hours and from London to Cape Town, it takes around 12 and a half hours.

What is the currency in South Africa?

The currency is the South African Rand.

Do I need visa for a holiday in South Africa?

British passport holders don’t need a visa to visit South Africa.

Regulations for travelling with children to South Africa

Under the new law, all minors under the age of 18 years will be required to produce, in addition to their passport, an Unabridged Birth Certificate (showing the particulars of both parents) when exiting and entering South African ports of entry.

Children travelling with only one parent - When a child travels with only one parent, additional documents should include an affidavit in which the absent parent gives consent for the child to travel, a court order granting full parental responsibilities or legal guardianship of the child, or the death certificate of the absent parent. The affidavit should be no more than 3 months old from date of travel.

Children travelling without either parent - In the case of a child travelling with a person other than a parent, the Unabridged Birth Certificate must be supplemented by affidavits from the parents or legal guardians confirming that the child may travel with that person, copies of the ID documents or passports of the parents or legal guardian, and the contact details of the parents or legal guardian.

Similarly, a child travelling as an unaccompanied minor would have to produce not only the Unabridged Birth Certificate, but also proof of consent from both parents or legal guardians and contact details, plus documentation relating to the person receiving the child in South Africa. The latter documentation should include a letter stating the person’s contact details and residential address, contact details where the child will be residing, plus a copy of his or her ID document, passport or residence permit.

Hotel of the month: Six Senses Con Dao

This rustic yet luxurious tropical retreat is surrounded by nature and fronted by wide, gleaming-white sands on the unspoilt island of Con Dao, a short flight from Ho Chi Minh City – the perfect beach ending to a top-to-toe journey through Vietnam.

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Hotel of the month: Six Senses Con Dao

This rustic yet luxurious tropical retreat is surrounded by nature and fronted by wide, gleaming-white sands on the unspoilt island of Con Dao, a short flight from Ho Chi Minh City – the perfect beach ending to a top-to-toe journey through Vietnam.