General Travel Information
Visitors’ visas are governed by the South African Department of Home Affairs. According to the Home Affairs website: “Requirements for visitor’s visas differ from country to country (click here to see which countries are exempt) and requirements are subject to change.” As each application is treated as an individual case. You should make enquiries with your nearest South African consulate abroad or the SA Department of Home affairs to see whether or not you are required to apply for a visa.
Please be sure to check your visa requirements as noted above, and ensure your passport has at least 6 months validity after travel dates.
Contact Mrs. Penny Keet (firstname.lastname@example.org) if an official letter of invitation is required as part of the visa application process for you or your students.
Airport transfers: must be booked at the time of registration. Schools will be charged an additional 1500 Rand for this service. Please contact Mr. David Goetz (email@example.com) to arrange transport.
Daily transport: Students availing themselves of the homestay option will be provided with a combination of school and host family transport. Delegations staying at the City Lodge will be picked up and dropped off each day.
N.B. If schools choose the a different hotel option for both delegates and chaperones, then they will have to arrange and pay for their own bussing each day.
This is the name of the bus company that we recommend:
Future Coaches - www.futurecoaches.co.za
Although there is a vast network of public taxis which are used by local commuters, these are generally not recommended for use. Should you require transportation outside of the conference times, please use a privately hired taxi or chauffeur service. Although more costly, it is a safe and reliable form of transportation.
Things to do
There is no shortage of options here. Below are our top 10 recommendations:
9. Monte Casino
Sun and Sand travel has set up several packages for visiting schools. Considering that we have Sunday free, it is perhaps worthwhile to plan a day trip.
Contact Janene at Sun & Sand for trip information.
What to Pack
South Africa is a cold country with a warm sun. When in the sun, it will be warm, so wear a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen when possible. When the sun goes down, it can become quite cool, so it is best to bring a jersey or sweater. There are plenty of places to shop if you forget to bring something, and the shopping is good. Dress code at the conference is formal. Outside the conference, the dress code in South Africa is casual, and there are no customary restrictions on clothing for males or females. Review your packing list from the Virtual Tourist.
Johannesburg is a malaria-free zone, though there are some areas within South Africa (for example the Kruger National Park) in which anti-malarial medication is recommended. To learn more about vaccinations and health recommendations visit the Center for Disease Control.
There are eleven official languages in South Africa. English is very widely understood and spoken, though not all urban dwellers speak English.
Internet service is good, but can be unpredictable at times due to system overload. The AISJ campus has wireless service, and you will be given instructions regarding how to access the internet once you arrive.
There is plenty of cell phone coverage in South Africa and most international networks will find their roaming service works well here. There are many cell phone providers that offer purchase of SIM cards and pay as you go phones. Vodacom, Virgin Mobile, MTN, and Cell-C are the most popular, with retail outlets in most malls. South Africa has implemented a Regulation of Interception of Communications Act which requires all purchasers to register their phones. If you are going to purchase airtime or a SIM card, be sure to have your passport or ID with you for registration at the point of purchase.
Additional Things to Consider
As with any big city, Johannesburg has its dangers. If you use sensible precautions, you should be safe. Avoid dark and isolated areas. Be extremely vigilant when using a credit card or withdrawing money from ATMs. Walking around Fourways and Bryanston during the day is safe, but it is recommended that you walk with other people. AISJ’s campus has 24-hour, gated security.
When you arrive in Johannesburg, please remember it is at an altitude of 1753 meters (5751 feet). It may take some time to adjust to the high altitude. You may feel short of breath with your usual activity and feel more tired than usual. Be sure to drink lots of water and get plenty of rest.
Johannesburg’s tap water is safe to drink: it is rated as one of the cleanest in the world!
The currency in South Africa is the Rand (ZAR). One US dollar will exchange to approximately R14 (ZAR), depending on the exchange rate. There are four exchange bureaus at the O.R. Tambo International Airport and most major South African banks. There are ATMs available but, check with your local bank as to service charges. The major banks in South Africa are Nedbank, ABSA, First National Bank (FNB), and Standard Bank. Most places accept major credit cards.