An African tour should be on everyone’s bucket list, the beauty of this vast continent is unrivalled. South Africa is a good option for travellers from abroad. The country is well-developed with a focus on tourism. This means you can get around easily and safely. There is also a lot to see and do. Seriously! You could spend a month in Cape Town or Johannesburg alone, and never get bored.
Luckily, the Expat Explore team knows South Africa very well. It is the home country of our founders who love it dearly. So, they were able to put together great tours. Even if you don’t have months to travel through SA, you can experience a lot of it on these wonderful coach tours. Local guides will show you all the hidden gems and main attractions. From wildlife, to scenery, local cuisine, art and culture – you’ll experience it all.
Ready to set off on a South African tour? Here are a few things to bear in mind while you pack and prepare:
You should pack for all seasons
South Africa is a big country with many different rainfall zones and climates. The weather is, to put it mildly, polar opposite. On one side of a mountain it could be raining, while on the other side it is dry and windy. In fact, the saying goes that in Cape Town you can experience all four seasons in one day. In general, South African summers are hot. We’re talking 35°C (95°F) and over, easy. Winter temperatures drop to between 18°C (64°F) and 1°C (33°F), depending on where you are. Also, most South African homes do not have central heating. The country is geared for high temperatures, not low. So if you get cold easily, bring lots of light layers. However, most accommodation venues on Expat Explore tours offer climate-controlled rooms. So you don’t have to worry about cold nights. Definitely pack a warm jacket, no matter the season. Top Tip! Buy sunscreen once you arrive in South Africa. The sun is potent and South African brands are up to the challenge.
South Africa is incredibly diverse
Go to South Africa with an open mind. When people hear ‘Africa’, they often think huts and lions. Those things are definitely part of the charm of a South African tour. But there is so much more to it. The country’s cities are big and bustling. Then, of course, there’s the ocean (yes, whales and sharks live there) and quaint farm villages. The scenery is diverse and can change in the course of half an hour’s drive. From the Garden Route to the Karoo, SA is a stunning destination with many different flavours.
There are 11 languages, but you can get by with English
South Africa has 11 official languages! This includes English, Afrikaans, Xhosa and Zulu, which have the largest number of native speakers. The others include Southern- and Northern Sotho, Tswana and Venda. Tsonga, Swati and Ndebele are also official languages. This makes for a very interesting linguistic tapestry. Don’t worry though! Almost all South Africans can speak English. It is the country’s business language. Even if English is not your first language, don’t be concerned. Because there are so many languages, South Africans know how to make themselves understood. They will work with you if you need assistance in a different language. And, in a pinch, there are always translation apps!
You can travel safely if you follow your guide and their advice
South Africa has a reputation for being unsafe. While the crime statistics are indeed scary, travellers can be sure of a safe trip if they heed their guides. As long as you are vigilant and mindful of where and how you travel, you’ll be fine. Locals know that you have to go with your gut and stow away your belongings. If you don’t flaunt things like jewellery or cameras you won’t become a target. The trick is to be aware of your surroundings. Aimless wandering makes you stand out. When you move in a group, you’ll always be safe.
Public transport can be interesting
Outside of cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg, public transport is mainly facilitated by minibuses. Confusingly, these are also called taxis, although it’s not operated by meter. Don’t rely on public transport outside of big cities. If you do take a cab or taxi on a free evening, make sure it’s a meter taxi with a clearly displayed license plate, or use Uber. Luckily, when you travel with Expat Explore, you will never have to worry about transport at all. We’ve got you covered and will take you where you need to go in our safe, comfortable coaches.
You’ll be able to find just about anything in South African stores
All major cities and even smaller towns, have grocery stores that sell anything you might need. So don’t be concerned that you have take everything along. There are pharmacies, general stores, supermarkets and even great, big malls! In fact, we recommend that you leave some suitcase space. There is a lot of potential for shopping!
Any other burning questions about South African coach tours? No problem! Get in touch with our helpful tour personnel – they have all the answers you’re looking for. Our 2018 South African tours are filling up fast, so book your space and get ready to see the African continent from a whole new perspective. It will blow your mind – guaranteed!