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What are the Entry Requirements for South Africa?

It is of utmost importance, that you thoroughly check your visa requirements before your intended date of travel.

From 1 June 2015, the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa will require all passengers under 18 to travel with an Unabridged Birth Certificate.

All visitors are required to carry a passport that is valid for six months beyond the intended length of stay. You are required to have a minimum of two blank pages in your passport to enable the entry visa into South Africa to be issued.Please ensure that you have the correct visas for the countries you are visiting.

Border officials are not able to issue visas on the spot, therefore visas must be obtained in advance. Both the cost, currency, accepted method of payment, and type of visa (i.e., single, double or multiple entry) should be checked in advance to avoid any inconveniences and delays when entering countries or crossing borders. Please note some countries can change their visa requirements no warning.

Alan Tours will not be held responsible should necessary visa requirements not be fulfilled.


What is an Unabridged Birth Certificate

From 1 June 2015, the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa will require all passengers under 18 to travel with an Unabridged Birth Certificate.

What is it? A new immigration law is coming into effect on 1 June 2015.

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.

Why is it happening? This is being done to curb human trafficking. According to the Department of Home Affairs, 30 000 minors are trafficked through South African borders every year. 50% of these minors are under the age of 14.

When the new immigration regulation comes into effect on 1 June, it will be the responsibility of passengers to ensure their children have the correct documentation or risk being denied boarding. The new law will be enforced by airlines and immigration officials across the board (land, sea and air). Although airlines and travel agents are doing everything to keep passengers informed, ultimately it will be passengers’ responsibility to know what is required of them. In all cases an Unabridged Birth Certificate will be required for minors departing and arriving in South Africa … they will not be allowed to travel without it.

In cases where the Unabridged Birth Certificate is in a language other than English, it must be accompanied by a sworn translation issued by a competent authority in the country concerned.

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.


Application process for Unabridged Birth Certificates
Apply at your nearest Home Affairs office where your Biometric information will be verified.
Take your ID book along, as well as your child’s ID number.
All documents submitted must be originals or certified copies.
The Unabridged Birth Certificate costs R75.

It can take up to 8 weeks to acquire an Unabridged Birth Certificate from the date of application.
Since last year, Unabridged Birth Certificates have been issued automatically for newborns. If your infant was born after 14 March 2013, you should be in possession of a UBC.

Certified copies of documents are usually valid for 6 months only.

Don’t delay applying for Unabridged Birth Certificates as the time frame for obtaining the documentation varies greatly, from a few weeks to several months.


Minors travelling in school groups or with their grandparents are not exempt from the requirement.


Who is exempt?
The new law does not apply to children travelling domestically (E.g. Between Johannesburg and Cape Town).
Minor passengers on a ‘Cruise to Nowhere’. For example a cruise that departs Durban Harbour and returns to Durban Harbour, or a cruise that goes from Durban Harbour to Cape Town Harbour.
Important contacts:
Department of Home Affairs website

Department of Home Affairs toll free hotline: 0800 60 11 90

Home Affairs resources: and 

We urge you to take steps to obtain Unabridged Birth Certificates, and any other documentation required as soon as possible to avoid delays at the airport.

The above information are correct at the time of writing


What should I pack?

Contrary to what a lot of people think or are not told by travel agents is that South Africa does have a winter and it rains upon occasion, more often at certain times of the year than at others. Being a predominantly arid country, we thank our lucky stars when it does rain, this should not be seen as being vindictive when this sort of behavior occurs after an occasional shower opens up over an open game drive vehicle for example, it is an entirely involuntary reaction to a life time of being close to the soil.

With the above in mind, when planning to come to South Africa bring enough clothing to ensure you enjoy the journey at all times and during all weather conditions.

Port Elizabeth is reputed to have the third best coastal climate for a coastal city in the world. The next question I get asked is; which are the first three? I still don’t know but we’re quite happy to be fourth. The climate is temperate and moderate where summer temperatures can reach a high of around 35 degrees centigrade during the day the normal is around 25 degrees and 20 degrees at night. The winter daily temperature is about 15 to 24 degrees with the nights going down to the 4’s and 5 degrees on the coldest nights.

There is a slight predominance of rain in the summertime but the rain never really hangs around for very long mostly coming in the form of passing showers before being swept out to sea again.

The recommended clothing for a safari and other outdoor activities are light cotton tops and trousers and shorts pants. The best colours are khaki and beige. Light cotton, long sleeved clothing is recommended for game drives during the summer months.

If planning to do game drives in open game drive vehicles, please make sure you bring a fleece jacket or other warm coat as well as a beanie and scarf for added comfort if you are travelling in the winter months.

For foot wear it is advised to bring good light weight durable walking shoes and sandals or slip slops. If one intends to do more strenuous walks and hikes then please bring your hiking boots and trainers as well.

Sun block and lip balm are essential, sunglasses, wide brimmed hat, insect repellent, binoculars and camera (with a zoom) and plenty of spare memory sticks and spare batteries (Africa is the photographer’s dream!)

What is a single supplement?

A single supplement is a fee imposed by hotels, lodges and camps on single travellers.

Tour prices are quoted based on two people sharing accommodation. If someone takes a room by themselves they have to pay the per-person price plus the single supplement fee. It is the excess cost you pay in occupying a room designated to take two people by yourself alone.

(see terms and conditions)

How far in advance should I book my safari?

It is better to book your tour/safari with Alan Tours as far in advance as possible to ensure availability at the time you wish to travel.

This is especially important for those wishing to travel on private custom safaris during the peak seasons (October to March).

How many people do you take on a tour?

Most of our tours and safaris have guaranteed departures with a minimum of two people (see itineraries).

Is it okay if I am a single traveller to South Africa?

Of course, we are happy to cater to your needs.

A single supplement on the advertised rate will apply.

See Terms and Conditions


Will I see the BIG 5 and BIG 7 on safari?

Each day on your safari will produce something different.

In National Parks there is the chance you can see Elephant, Lion, Rhino, Buffalo and Leopard (Whales in season). In addition, you may see a variety of antelope, reptiles as well as different species of birds.


Are we safe from the animals on safari?

Always you will be under experienced guidance and highly trained rangers.

When is the best time to visit for my holiday to South Africa?

It depends on what kind of experience you are looking for but generally South Africa is a year round holiday destination.

Is English language spoken widely?

Yes, English is spoken throughout Southern Africa, especially by those involved in the tourism branch.

Do I have to take Malaria tablets?

Malaria occurs in many parts of South, Southern and East Africa and it is very important that you take precautions against malaria prior to starting off on your holiday.

Please take the time to visit you doctor or pharmacist for recommendations regarding the correct prophylactic to take in the areas to which you will be visiting.

If you are on prescription medication, please ensure you have an adequate supply to last the duration of your stay and a copy of your prescription(s).

How is the local food?


Are there any other health issues to be concerned about?

You should also be aware of hepatitis, for which you can be inoculated. Ticks may carry tick bite fever, which is easily treated.

Is the water safe to drink?

The water in all major cities in South Africa is safe to drink. But there is always bottled water available for those who prefer.

What time zone is South Africa?

South Africa is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), one hour ahead of Central European winter time, 8 hours behind Australian Eastern Standard Time and 7 hours ahead of Eastern Standard winter time. Between South Africa and its neighbouring countries or between the 9 provinces of South Africa is no daylight saving and no time-zone changes.

Where can I convert the tour cost into my own currency?

Use the currency converter on our website to change amounts into your own currency.

What are tips on tipping?

We are often asked questions about gratuities or tipping the staff, if applicable and if yes, how much.

We see a gratuity as just that, an appreciation for a job well done. In South Africa we adhere to the international norm of 10% of the bill.

For other services it is up to the discretion of the guest, who might like to consult with the lodge manager or guide as the case maybe.

Can my cell phone work in Africa?

Yes, there is extensive coverage throughout Africa/South Africa.

In some countries, this may be primarily in and around major urban areas. However networks cover all towns, cities and national roads.

Before travelling, ask your service provider to open your phone to allow international roaming.


How much money should I take?

Aside from shopping, you need money for incidentals, drinks and tipping.

Please note in some rural shops they accept only cash.

What about banks?

For the most part you will find South Africa an easy destination for banking. From the moment you step off the plane you will start seeing the availability of banks, bureau de change and ATMs.

The banks are generally open Mondays to Fridays from 9am to 3.30 pm , and on Saturdays 8.30 am to 11 am.

Those at the airports adjust their hours to accommodate international flights. The major banks have branches and ATMs in most large towns and cities.

International credit cards are widely accepted.

Where can I smoke?

The law prohibits smoking in most public spaces, including railway stations and airports.

Most restaurants have designated non-smoking and smoking areas.

What is a township?

During apartheid, black South Africans were forced to live in areas set apart from whites.

These areas, which came to be known as townships, remain today even though apartheid has disappeared, and many are struggling to overcome poverty, poor housing, and overcrowding.

Townships throughout South Africa may not be as large as Soweto, but they still have the same warmth, spirit and vibrancy that make a visit unforgettable.

What are the different areas of South Africa?

South Africa is divided into 9 provinces: Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, North West and Mpumalanga.

Major cities include Cape Town, Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban and Bloemfontein.

Is it safe to walk around?

Yes, like anywhere, provided you don’t go wandering about dark streets at the dead of night.

There is crime in South Africa but you don’t need to do more than take an usual sensible precautions.

Like anywhere else in the world, know that there are some areas of the major town where outsiders present a more vulnerable target.

Don’t display valuable possessions carelessly in the public.

What to leave behind ?

Your watch, laptop, work stress, concept of time, pre-conceptions about anything and any attitude that is not pure adventure.