Travel
Essentials

Everything you need to know when planning a trip to South Africa

Visa requirements for foreigners wanting to gain entry to South Africa differ according to nationality and the country of origin. Depending on your nationality, either a 90 or 30 day visa-exempt visit is possible on condition that you hold a valid passport.

Check the status for visa requirements at your nearest South African Embassy or check online for details.

Information about obtaining a visa to visit South Africa as a foreign national can be found on the Department of Home Affairs website. To view the website, click here.

If required, we can supply a letter confirming your registration for one the Xplore English programmes. However, we do not assist in the obtaining of a student visa.

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Our programmes are presented in a malaria free part of South Africa. If you are planning to travel elsewhere in the country after finishing your tour, please speak to your doctor before departure to find out if you will need to take any anti-malaria medication.

The healthcare system in South Africa is comparable to the best in the world. There is a two-tier system of healthcare available – government subsidised and private. The private healthcare hospitals, clinics and 24-hour trauma centres are recommended.

You will need to take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before coming to South Africa.

If you have any medical conditions, please inform us before your arrival. You should also obtain a doctor’s prescription in your home country for any chronic or recurring medicines. This will assist local doctors and pharmacists if medical assistance is required.

Banks

  • South Africa has one of the world’s most sophisticated financial and banking systems.
  • Banks in South Africa are generally open from 9:00am – 17:00pm from Monday to Friday and close at 11:30am on Saturdays. All banks are closed on Sundays.
  • Most banks will exchange traveller’s cheques into major currencies, but commission differs from bank to bank.
  • American Express has a branch in George and Nedbank is associated with American Express.
  • FNB (First National Bank) is the Visa agent in South Africa.
  • Most ATM machines will support your card if it bears the Cirrus logo.

Credit Cards

  • All major credit cards are accepted in South Africa and can be used wherever a card machine is present. This includes hotels, shops and restaurants.
  • Visa and Mastercard are the most commonly used.

Currency

  • The unit of currency in South Africa is the South African Rand (ZAR). The Rand can be divided into 100 cents with the smallest coin being the 10 cent coin. Further coin denominations are 20c, 50c, R1, R2, and R5. Notes are denominated into R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200.
  • The exchange rate between the Rand (ZAR) and other international currencies can change frequently. Please bear this in mind before exchanging your currency.

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VAT

  • Most goods that you purchase in South Africa are subject to Value Added Tax (VAT) rated at 15%.
  • The price displayed on goods normally includes the VAT, except where it explicitly states that VAT still has to be added to the sale price.
  • You may claim back the VAT on goods purchased during your stay. This can be done at the airport VAT Reclaim Office when you leave the country. Please ensure that your are able to present valid Tax Invoices in order to claim the refund.
FAQs

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Frequently Asked Questions

Before departure

We do not cover your travel cost to and from George, as well as any refreshments, gifts or curios you wish to purchase while on the programme. Everything else is included.

The Learn and Travel programmes are aimed at students who wish to either learn basic conversational English or wish to improve their ability to communicate at a higher than basic level. The courses are graded to suit your skill level, but you have to be able to read and understand English to attend.

The course material has to be adapted to the student’s ability to engage with the TAG and other students attending the course. A uniform grading system, and therefore accreditation, is unfortunately not possible.

The in-class lessons are presented by a qualified TEFL teacher with a minimum of 1 year teaching experience in a non-English speaking country. While travelling and while on tour, you are hosted by a qualified and registered South African tour guide. Your teacher and guide (TAG) will be the same person for the entire programme.

We have pitched the programmes at a 4-star rating. All accommodation has been graded as such by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa. The meals have been negotiated with top-rated restaurants in the areas you will be visiting. Any dietary needs and special requests regarding accommodation can be communicated to us when booking the programme. We will negotiate these on your behalf.

Our selected service providers adhere to the highest levels of health and safety practices and are experienced and qualified to expose clients to both the animals and adrenaline activities that form part of the Learn and Travel programmes. For absolute peace of mind, we advise students to take out personal and medical insurance as standard procedure.

Close and personal contact with wild animals will only be possible where such activities have been approved by a credible wildlife organisation that monitors such activities. No ‘petting’ of wild animals will be allowed.

Programmes are presented on demand and do not follow a pre-set timetable. This type of request should be indicated on the booking form and you will be notified accordingly.

Most activities require only a modest degree of fitness. No student will be forced to take part in any activity on the programme. This is all about fun, not trying to prove how fit you are!

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