Probably the most daunting thing about traveling to South Africa is the long flight. South African Airways has direct flights from New York and Washington, Dulles airports and they are between 14 – 16.5 hours. The Washington flight arrives in the late afternoon and the New York flights arrive in the morning. There are other carriers that fly from the US to South Africa, most are by way of Europe.
Some of the frequently asked questions I get for South Africa are about accommodations, food, vaccinations, currency and what to buy.
Accommodations are varied and many in South Africa. From budget-friendly properties to high-end luxury hotels and resorts and of course, fabulous game lodges that are in private and national parks.
The food in South Africa is wonderful. Of course, you can get exotic foods and wild game if you want, however, the staples in South Africa are cornmeal, grilled meats (I have to say that South Africans love grilled meats and they do them well). They call it a braai. Sausages are also a favorite. In Cape Town, there is an abundance of seafood and Malay, which mix of Afrikaans and Malaysian. Don’t forget South African Wines, which are very affordable!
South Africa is a country where vaccinations are not required. That being said, always contact your healthcare professional for recommendations. And, most of South Africa is Malaria free!
South Africa’s currency is the South African Rand and over the last year has an exchange rate ranging from 12 – 14 to one USD. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted, and currency exchanges are in most malls that are near tourist areas.
For shopping, South Africa produces diamonds but those prices are set on the world exchange, however, custom designs will be less expensive because of less expensive labor costs. Great souvenirs include ostrich eggs that are hollowed out and either carved or painted, Zulu Baskets are beautifully weaved and come in a large variety of shapes and sizes and artwork. There are many artists who do fabulous work on canvas and art galleries are plentiful.