Things to consider at the airport

Things to consider at the airport

It was with a heavy heart that we decided to pull the plug on PhilGuides Southern Africa, it was a passion project and circumstances beyond our control made it impossible to continue. We saved all the information and carried it here. Geraldine and Pascal will try to keep it up to date and add more information as time goes by, you may even find a tour or two in the future.

Preparing to travel to any country can be a challenging affair. We have compiled a few tips and tricks for you so that you can enjoy your travels throughout Southern Africa, trouble-free.


You may have to adjust your watch as you arrive in South Africa, the time zone is GMT +2 also known as CAT or SAST, and South Africa does not use time-saving.


Purchase a converter at the airport or a shopping mall on your way to your first accommodation.

South Africa uses the 220 – 240 V 50 Hz standard, commonly used in the UK, Europe, Australia, most of Asia and Africa.

South Africa uses type M three-point sockets not commonly found elsewhere in the world. Euro-style two-point plugs and compatible N sockets are often available at most accommodation and hotels.

Most hotels and lodges are prepared to loan you an adapter or rent one to you if they have them, so this is not guaranteed and is dependent on availability or willingness.

Most electrical devices have their compatibility written on them; if your device has 110 – 240 V 50/60 Hz written on it, it is likely that it will work in South Africa and the rest of the world. Any device indicating 110 – 127 V, like those purchased or used in the United States, Canada and most South American countries, will not work. You will need a voltage converter.


We’ve been drinking tap water all our lives, and we are not worse-the-wear for it

Tap water is potable, safe and drinkable in most areas of South Africa. The pH is around 7, and the water is well within the World Health Organization standards. However, if you have a sensitive stomach, we recommend using bottled water. PS: also avoid ice cubes if a sensitive stomach is an issue. Anything boiled, such as coffee or tea, should not be a problem.

Avoid drinking from streams in populated areas. Should you find yourself in the highlands of the Drakensberg, it has some of the best natural water to be found, have a good, long drink.

Some areas of South Africa have suffered from a prolonged drought; please do not waste water! Instead, try some of our internationally famous wines.

Bottled water that does not state “bottled at source” is probably filtered and treated tap water. Be aware that you are buying your bottled water from a reliable source.

Value Added Tax

The VAT in South Africa is currently at a flat 15% except for some 0 rated fresh produce and staple foods.

As a visitor to South Africa, you are entitled to claim VAT on specific items, mostly exportable items. Claiming the VAT back can be done when you are on your way back home from any of our international airports

For more details, please click here.

Keep your all receipts for items you are taking home and have the items on hand at the airport when taking your return flight as they will be needed to substantiate your VAT claim.