5 Common Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them) When Visiting South Africa for the First Time

Visiting South Africa? Yes, absolutely! But please don’t make these 5 Common Mistakes.

Feature Photo by George Brits on Unsplash

See the Cape Winelands, enjoying Jacaranda season on an October day in Pretoria or Johannesburg, and visiting Kruger National Park are things to put on your list when traveling to South Africa.

Are you considering visiting South Africa in the near future? South Africa is filled with beautiful landscapes and animal life. Which is why it is so important to book your trip to South Africa now.  Why wait as it could add on too much stress. At the end of the day, that is the last thing you want when touring Nelson Mandela’s homeland. Read on to learn five more!

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1) Not Photocopying Your Passport

In general, we highly recommend that you make two photocopies of your passport. You’ll want to keep one with you, but separate from your actual passport (perhaps in your hotel?). In addition, give the other copy to a trusted family or relative. Should it get lost while you are enjoying the beautiful wildlife of South Africa, you won’t be stressed out.  

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2) Not Visiting Nelson Mandela’s House

Located in Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela’s House is one tourist attraction not to take off your list. Even if you are only in South Africa for a short time.

Nelson Mandela moved into the house in 1946. He spent his time there during the earlier years of his life. Only then later, after being released from Robben Island, did Nelson Mandela make a short visit (11 days).

Long story short, with its rich history, this definitely is a tourist attraction you don’t want to miss out on!  

Nelson Mandela
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

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3) Not Bringing a Money Belt

This common mistake applies to traveling in general. This doesn’t mean you have to clutch your purse and constantly be on the lookout for thieves.

Simply stash your money, documents, and other valuable in your money belt (which should be secured beneath your clothing). That will do the job.

Meanwhile, carry goods that are easily replaceable in your purse or your pockets—like sunscreen or chapstick.

That way, should your purse get taken, you’ll still have your money and valuables on you. As a result, you are worry-free. Plus you won’t need to spend the extra time trying to locate your costly goods. That will be a big relief.

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4) Taking Out Large Sums of Money at the Airport

Take out money before you travel to South Africa so you don’t have to find an ATM immediately when you land.

This is important since, in general, ATMs at the airport have a higher exchange rate and fees. That is especially true if the ATM is not contracted with your bank. Not to mention, airport ATMs tend to be a hotspot for pickpocketing. (Travel-wise, read more on private jet charter services.)

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5) Not Claiming Value Added Tax (VAT)

The European Union states that VAT is a general, consumption-based tax on goods and services. According to USA Today, you can claim VAT on goods that you are taking from South Africa, which means extra money in your pockets!

To ensure you make the most of VAT, always ask for (and keep) invoices. For goods over R2,000, USA Today specifies that your name and home address must be on the tax invoice.

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Final Thoughts:

No matter where you travel – be it South Africa, Ocean City, or Germany … research the area. Be sure to include common tourist destination sites and local customs and culture. That way, you don’t stick out as a tourist.

In general, we advise that you speak with reliable guides about tourist-friendly restaurants to go to.

On that note, plan ahead, go to popular tourist destinations, and take a commonsense approach. Lastly, enjoy your luxury travels and be safe! When visiting South Africa, what other common mistakes do tourists have? Please let us know!

Make your dream of visiting South Africa a reality. Contact us today to help you plan and book your luxury vacation. Please visit our luxury blog again for the best, luxury industry news and insight.