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Southern Africa FAQ

Language

The main language spoken in Southern Africa is English.

Money

The local currency in South Africa is the Rand.

Tipping:

  • 10-15% for restaurants and taxis, but it is not mandatory for poor service.  Porters at hotels get $0.50-$1.50/bag.

VAT:

  • A sales tax (VAT) of 14% is included in the price of all goods sold in South Africa.  The VAT can be refunded at the airport upon departure for goods over R250 ($35).  To do this you need 1) an official tax receipt with your name on it, 2) the goods, 3) a non-South-African passport, and 4) a VAT refund sheet found at the airport.

Zambia

As of April 2014, foreign currency will once again be accepted for payment in Zambia.

The local currency is the Zambian Kwacha (ZMK). U.S. dollars are accepted for entry visas. Livingstone, Lusaka and Mfuwe airports all have banks and ATM machines that issue Kwacha.

Telephone Calls

To dial internationally from Southern Africa, dial:  000 + area code + telephone number. Hotel receptionists will help you make calls.

Country Codes:

  • South Africa: +27
  • Botswana: +267
  • Zambia: +260
  • Zimbabwe: +263
  • Namibia: +264

Only global cell phones will work and only in the bigger towns. You may want to consider renting one or getting a satellite phone.

Electricity

Southern Africa uses 220 volt current with a unique 3-round-prong plug.

Travel Alerts & Warnings

U.S. Department of State

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

AWR Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth
National Geographic Traveler