Travelling Information

The following is important information for delegates travelling to Centurion, South Africa, including the lowdown on visa requirements, exchange rates and currency, malaria prophylaxis (if and when required), weather and climate, choosing suitable accommodation in South Africa, tipping, etc.

General South African Climate

South Africa’s climatic conditions generally range from Mediterranean in the southwestern corner of South Africa to temperate in the interior plateau, and subtropical in the northeast. A small area in the northwest has a desert climate. Most of the country has warm, sunny days and cool nights. Rainfall generally occurs during summer (November through March), although in the southwest, around Cape Town, rainfall occurs in winter (June to August). Temperatures are influenced by variations in elevation, terrain, and ocean currents more than latitude.

Temperature and rainfall patterns vary in response to the movement of a high pressure belt that circles the globe between 25º and 30º south latitude during the winter and low-pressure systems that occur during summer. There is very little difference in average temperatures from south to north, however, in part because the inland plateau rises slightly in the northeast. For example, the average annual temperature in Cape Town is 17ºC, and in Pretoria, 17.5ºC, although these cities are separated by almost ten degrees of latitude. Maximum temperatures often exceed 32ºC in the summer, and reach 38ºC in some areas of the far north. The country’s highest recorded temperatures, close to 48ºC, have occurred in both the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga.

Frost occurs in high altitudes during the winter months. The coldest temperatures have been recorded about 250 kilometers northeast of Cape Town, where the average annual minimum temperature is -6.1º C. Record snowfalls (almost fifty centimeters) occurred in July 1994 in mountainous areas bordering Lesotho.

Climatic conditions vary noticeably between east and west, largely in response to the warm Agulhas ocean current, which sweeps southward along the Indian Ocean coastline in the east for several months of the year, and the cold Benguela current, which sweeps northward along the Atlantic Ocean coastline in the west. Air temperatures in Durban, on the Indian Ocean, average nearly 6º C warmer than temperatures at the same latitude on the Atlantic Ocean coast. The effects of these two currents can be seen even at the narrow peninsula of the Cape of Good Hope, where water temperatures average 4º C higher on the east side than on the west.

Rainfall varies considerably from west to east. In the northwest, annual rainfall often remains below 200 millimeters. Much of the eastern Highveld, in contrast, receives 500 millimeters to 900 millimeters of rainfall per year; occasionally, rainfall there exceeds 2,000 millimeters. A large area of the center of the country receives about 400 millimeters of rain, on average, and there are wide variations closer to the coast. The 400-millimeter “rainfall line” has been significant because land east of the rainfall line is generally suitable for growing crops, and land west of the rainfall line, only for livestock grazing or crop cultivation on irrigated land.

To start planning your trip, explore Sputh Africa with us! We hope you enjoy browsing our info pages where you will find all the South Africa’s most popular Attractions and destinations, plenty of photographs to inspire you and a huge selection of accredited accommodation options. You will find user-friendly listings sorted by region, town and suburb and by categories from hotels and guesthouses to self catering options. We hope you enjoy your stay in South Africa!

Centurion – Pretoria Gauteng Climate
The Gauteng Climate is said to offer one of the world’s best climates: summer days are warm and wind free and winter days are crisp and clear. Johannesburg and Centurion – Pretoria differ in temperature by about 2% (Centurion – Pretoria being the warmer of the two).

Johannesburg has a delightfully mild climate, neither humid nor too hot. There are about six weeks of chill in mid-winter (from July to August) and summer offers warm sunshine followed by balmy nights (October to March). The seasons are flexible, one running into the next, and summer habitually spills over into spring and autumn. The nights can be chilly particularly in winter. Bring a jacket to wear in the evenings. The rainy season is in summer rather than winter. Rainstorms are often harsh accompanied by much thunder and lightning and occasional hail, but they are brief and followed by warm sunshine.

Pretoria’s climate is similar to that of Johannesburg, but it lies at a somewhat lower altitude than its neighbor and its air temperatures are, on average, about two degrees higher. This is a summer-rainfall region. Between November and February summer thunderstorms produce flashes of lightning and brief but torrential afternoon downpours. Summer days are hot, though rarely to the point of discomfort.

To start planning your trip, explore Johannesburg and Gauteng with us! Enjoy browsing our info pages where you will find all the Gauteng Attractions and destinations, photographs to inspire you and a huge selection of accredited accommodation throughout the province.

On this site you will find user-friendly guides for Gauteng accommodation options, with listings sorted by region, town and suburb and by categories from hotels, guesthouses to self catering options which include holiday apartments, homes and cottages. We hope you enjoy your stay in the Gauteng Province.

South Africa Standard Time
South African Standard Time is two hours in advance of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT +2), one hour in advance of central European winter time and seven hours in advance of United States eastern standard time throughout the year. There are no time zone differences within the country.

Visa Requirements
Every person seeking to enter South Africa must be in possession of a valid passport for travel to South Africa and, where necessary, a visa. Inquiries can be directed to South African diplomatic representatives abroad or the Department of Home Affairs in Pretoria. Visitors who intend travelling to South Africa’s neighboring countries and back into South Africa are advised to apply for multiple entry visas.

In terms of existing arrangements, passport holders of certain countries are exempt from visa requirements. Tourists must satisfy immigration officers that they have the means to support themselves during their stay, and that they are in possession of return or onward air tickets. They must also have valid international health certificates.

Visit the South African Department of Home Affairs for more info.

No international immunization is needed when entering South Africa. The only inoculation requirement is a yellow fever vaccination certificate from travellers over one year of age entering South Africa within six days of leaving an infected country. Visitors who travel through or disembark in these areas are advised to be inoculated against the disease before visiting South Africa.

Malaria Risk Areas
This disease is to the larger extent under control in South Africa. City centers like Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town are free from malaria and safe for travelers of all ages. Regions that are affected are the Limpopo Province and Mpumalanga, northern KwaZulu Natal and Zululand. The risk of contracting the disease is negligible provided that you take the standard precautions. Malaria tablets, a good insect repellent particularly in the evening, long-sleeved shirts and mosquito coils are advisable precautions.

See Malaria-Risk Areas for more information, including who is at higher risk and suggested precautions.

Security and Safety
As South Africa is a developing country, crime does exist, so we would advise you to take a few basic precautions. All valuables, passports, cameras, should be locked in the safe of your hotel. Valuables should be carried discreetly when walking in cities. Gold and other expensive items offered for sale by street vendors are likely to be fakes or stolen property. Do not participate in pavement games as they are operated by well organised gangs and money can be stolen while you are distracted.

Limited public transport is available in South Africa, and taxi services and Uber are becoming popular and affordable. Please do not hitch-hike. Local residents will advise you on safe transport. If driving, do not pick up hitch-hikers and ensure that your car doors are locked at all times. The South African Police are easily recognized in their blue uniforms and by their white and blue patrol vehicles.

Plugs, Electricity and Load Shedding
220/230 volts AC at 50 cycles per second. Three pronged plugs are universal, so take an adapter. Most hotel rooms have 110 volt outlets for electric shavers and small appliances.

Loadshedding, sheduled power outages per neighbourhood, is allegedly done to prevent a nation-wide blackout when the national electricity grid is under pressure. With a little luck you won’t experience loadshedding while you’re in our country, but please try to be understanding of restaurants, hotels and service providers if you should.

English is spoken everywhere you go. English is the language of the cities, of commerce and banking, of government and official documents. All our road signs and official forms are in English and at any hotel, B&B or guest house, the service staff will speak to you in English.

There are 11 official languages including English, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda and Zulu.

View more information about each South African Language including its origins and where it is spoken in South Africa. Includes some “South Africanisms” and useful Xhosa and Zulu phrases.

Currency, Banking and Exchange Rates
One Rand (R) = 100 cents (c). Notes issued R200, R100, R50, R20, R10; coins R5, R2, R1, 50c, 20c, 10c, 5c. Automated teller machines (ATMs) are found in most towns and operate on a 24 hour basis. They accept most credit and debit cards and will issue local currency with a standardised transaction fee per withdrawal. Please do not accept assistance from anyone at an ATM for your safety. Currency exchange rates are available at banks and published daily in the press.

Banks are open Monday to Friday from 09h00 to 15h30 and Saturday from 09h00 to 11h00.

Travellers cheques are no longer popular, but you could exchange these at larger banks.

Tipping or Gratuities
Tipping is customary in South Africa. A guideline for visitors is the following

Porters R5 per item
Taxi drivers 10%
Waiters and waitresses in restaurants 10-20%

VAT Refunds
As a visitor to South Africa, you can spend as little as R250.00 on goods intended for export, and claim a VAT refund. The user-friendly procedure allows you to claim your money before you even leave South African territory.

Who can claim?
Non-residents on a temporary visit to South Africa are eligible to claim a VAT refund in respect of movable goods exported through a designated point of departure within 90 days from the date of purchase.

Maximum payment in cash allowed is R3,000.00. Claims exceeding this limit or claims requiring further audit, will be posted, or your credit card will be refunded.

Please note
Goods consumed in South Africa or services rendered in the country do not qualify for VAT refunds.
Only original Tax Invoices will be considered for refunds.
The goods must be presented for inspection on departure.
Goods must be exported within 90 days of the date of purchase and the claim lodged within 3 months from the date of export.
An administration fee of 1.5% of the inclusive value of the claim will be deducted, subject to a minimum of R 10.00 and a maximum of R 250.00.
Diplomats posted to South Africa should contact their embassies for details of the applicable refund scheme.
Special provisions apply to antiques, 2nd hand goods and registerable goods.

How to claim your tax refund
Simply identify yourself as a tourist to shop assistants, and request a Tax Invoice for the goods you have purchased.

A valid tax invoice must contain the following information

The words “Tax Invoice”
A Tax Invoice number
The seller’s VAT Registration number
Date of Issue of the Tax Invoice
The seller’s name and address
The buyer’s name and address
A full description of the goods purchased
The cost of the goods in Rands
The amount of VAT charged or a statement that VAT is included in the total cost