USEFUL FACTS FOR TOURISTS

What facilities are open on public holidays?

In the major cities most stores, cinemas and restaurants are open on most public holidays. The exceptions are Christmas Day, 25 December and New Year's Day, 1 January.

 

The calendar of South African public holidays for 2009 is:

     

  • 1 January – New Year's Day

  • 21 March – Human Rights Day

  • 10 April – Good Friday (the Friday before Easter Sunday)

  • 13 April – Family Day (the Monday after Easter Sunday)

  • 27 April – Freedom Day

  • 1 May – Workers Day

  • 16 June – Youth Day

  • 9 August – Women's Day

  • 24 September – Heritage Day

  • 16 December – Day of Reconciliation

  • 25 December – Christmas Day

  • 26 December – Day of Goodwill
  •  

If a public holiday falls on a Sunday, the Monday following becomes a public holiday.

 

Where can I smoke?

The law prohibits smoking in most public spaces, including airports and railway stations. Most restaurants have designated smoking and non-smoking areas.

 

South African time

South Africa does not change its clocks during the year, and there are no regional variations within the country. South African Standard Time is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean (or Universal Standard) Time, one hour ahead of Central European Winter Time, and seven hours ahead of the USA's Eastern Standard Winter Time.

 

Tipping

Tipping is common practice in South Africa for a range of services. In restaurants the accepted standard is around 10% of the bill, although sometimes a gratuity will be included (often in the case of a large party). Barmen are tipped a similar percentage.

 

Petrol stations are manned by attendants who will expect a tip of two or three rands for filling up with petrol, checking oil, water and tyre pressure and cleaning windscreens. Hotel porters should be tipped two to five rands. It is also appropriate to tip taxi drivers, tour guides and even hairdressers.

 

If you park a car in a populated area such as near a shopping centre, street security guards will usually ask whether they can watch over your car and in return should be paid a small fee - anything from two rands upwards.

 

The seasons

     

  • Summer - mid-October to mid-February

  • Autumn - February to April

  • Winter - May to July

  • Spring - August to October
  •  

Last updated: June 2009

2009-06-30

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