South Africa

Where is it?

The geography of South Africa is briefly described to help you plan a safari to our shores.

You can only effectively plan a safari, or understand the regulations if you have some idea of where is what in South Africa.

Here is a link to a professionally prepared short introduction to the geography of South Africa. The maps and description tells you most of what you may need to know about South Africa in order to plan a hunting safari here.

General information.

South Africa is situated at the southern tip of the continent of Africa. The land covers an area of approximately 471010 square miles. This is about twice the size of the state of Texas in the USA. The country is divided into 11 provinces, each of which administer hunting and natural resource utilization individually, but to the common requirements set by central government.

The topography is one of a huge inland plateau at an altitude of around 4000 feet, with a narrow coastal plain. A series of rugged mountain ranges separating the eastern costal plain from the inland plateau.

South Africa is rich in minerals such as gold, diamonds, chromium, coal, antimony, iron ore, nickel, tin, uranium, copper and vanadium salt. In addition to the mining resources, South Africa also has a large farming industry, serving both stock and crop farming.

There are eleven official languages in South Africa, these being: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Pedi, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda , Xhosa and Zulu. The language of administration is English, and thus is very widely spoken. In many rural areas Afrikaans is the most widely spoken language.

Miscellaneous Information.

Travel:

South Africa has a first world infrastructure and most road travel is likely to be on paved roads. The major airport of entry is Johannesburg International in central Gauteng province. For hunting with Andrew McLaren Safaris the regional airports of Bloemfontein and Popokwane (formerly Pietersburg) are well served by many scheduled commercial flights and are both about one hour’s flight from Johannesburg International.

You may want to know that in this country, in fact all over the southern parts of Africa we drive on the left side of the road, and most cars are right hand drive models. Unless you are very confident about your ability to adapt safely to the driving conditions I advise against the option of renting a car to do a self-drive holiday.

Currency:

The currency of South Africa is the South African Rand, designated by “R” in common language, but for which the international symbol of ZAR is used in money markets. One rand is divided into 100 cents. The exchange rate against the US $ fluctuates significantly, and for some time now was between US$1.00 = ZAR6.00 to R 8.00. Here is a link to a handy currency converter that you can use to convert any  amount quoted in Rand to any other currency.

Electrical current:

In South Africa, the municipal power systems are generally 220/230 volt AC, 50 cycles, except for the city of Pretoria, where the current is 250 Volt AC. If you are planning to bring in any electrical equipment, find out if your electrical equipment complies to these specifications.

Medical Facilities:

The medical facilities in South Africa are excellent. All medical treatment must however be paid for, so you should consider the purchase of travel medical insurance to cover your stay. Tap water is safe to drink throughout South Africa. If you are to stay or travel through malaria area it is advisable to start on a malaria prophylactic course before your trip to South Africa. Consult your doctor for the most suitable drug to use.

Visa/Passport:

For stays of less than 90 days, you do not need a visa for a vacation or business trip, if you are the holder of an American or European passport.

Time Difference:

Standard time in South Africa is seven hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time (Winter) and six hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time (Summer). Europe experiences a one to two hour time difference, depending on the time of the year. There is no daylight adjustment for time in South Africa.

A hunter planning to visit South Africa should know a bit about the major vegetation types. In South Africa the Afrikaans word “veld” that is used to refer to any open and natural area has been anglicized to “veldt”. What is known in the USA as prairie we call grassveldt.