Travelling to South Africa, What you need to know.

So you just booked your volunteer travel trip abroad? Great stuff! Let us fill you in and give you some pointers so you can come here reassured and stress free, as we like it in South Africa!

Clothes & shoes

While there are several seasons in 1 day here, our advice to you would be to pack both summer and winter clothes. Also be aware that when it’s summer in Europe and the USA, it is winter in South Africa. Must: always pack swimwear, to enjoy the sea and our pool!
People here are very open minded and you can basically wear whatever you like, there are no rules. Make sure not to over pack, you’ll find the same stores here as you have back home. Don’t forget your hiking shoes, there are many mountains to climb in South Africa and we love to do it with the group for weekend outings.

Money

While they use the Rand currency here it’s important to know that even though the amounts seem high, in euros or dollars it’s not a lot of money. Everything is relatively cheap here.
1 euro= 16 Rand
1 dollar= 14, 50 Rand
Make sure to check the exchange rate on a regular basis, while it often changes.
You can make your credit card purchases available internationally online, so no worries about this! However it’s always nice to carry around a Visa card as it is sometimes not possible to book certain things like accommodation and transport to different cities.

 

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Not to forget

Other nice things to take with you during your stay are:
- A good camera if you have one to capture South Africa’s beauty
- A backpack which makes traveling around easier
- Towels for in the house and on the beach
- Driver license (+ International license): you’ll need both to rent a car. Having a car in South Africa for road trips is a real blessing while the public transport is not very efficient.
Just as in Europe and the USA there are good doctors and the same medication as we have at home, so no need to bring your first aid kit. But in case of personal treatments, don’t forget to take this with you!

Security

South Africa is very safe, but you do need to be aware of some safety rules. For example, when its dark, don’t walk home but instead take an Uber. They are very cheap so we volunteers love it!
When drawing money rather do it at an indoor ATM or stores where the cashback facility is available such as Spar and Pick&Pay. We’d also advise you to go with other people!
Phones, laptops, jewelry and all valuables are safe in the house, but showing it off in the streets isn’t the best idea so leave it at the beach house.
There are security guys all over the centre and shopping malls, so you’ll never feel unsafe!

 

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Culture

There is a very relaxed, stress free and happy lifestyle here. South Africans LOVE their braais (bbq), rugby and beach picnics at sunset. Due to the history, this country has become very westernized so you will find many European and even American influences here as well! Also fun: all religions live together without any problems, a true example for the world! There is no real culture shock when coming from Europe.

Food

You can find the same food stores here as in the USA and in Europe, so there is not a big difference in food. It’s just cheaper, which is always a plus.
In the house Larshi, the cook, prepares a different meal every day: Monday (vegetarian), Tuesday (African), Wednesday (soup), Thursday (pasta), Friday and the weekend (fast food: pie, lasagna, muffins, burgers and burgers.)

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