South Africa
Country profile

Elective surgery in South Africa: Travel and accommodation

Johannesburg International Airport is the major airport in South Africa. Flights from Europe are generally overnight with flying time around 12 hours from London or Amsterdam (but South African is only two hours ahead of GMT). International flights also arrive at Cape Town International Airport and Durban International Airport. Air fares tend to be at their most expensive between September and February. Airlines include Virgin Atlantic which flies to South Africa from New York via London, KLM via Amsterdam and Air France via Paris.

The journey time into the centre of town is around half an hour, by car or bus from each of the airports.

Entry into South Africa for a medical holiday is straightforward and there is no need for travellers from Commonwealth countries to formally apply for a visa. The automatic entry permit is for a stay of around 90 days (with a valid passport).

Internal travel

South Africa has a well-established transport infrastructure and a plethora of car hire providers and other transport requirements. The country borders six other Southern African countries and has rail links to Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique. South African Airways has an extensive domestic itinerary covering major cities and some of the major tourist sights such as Kruger National Park - it is advisable to pre-book for the best deal.

Alternatively, long distance coaches are a popular way of traversing the country; the main operators are Greyhound, Citiliner (tel 083 915-8000), Intercape and Translux Express. Trains are considered to be slow in comparison to Europe, but if you have no time or budgeting constraints then the scenic train journey from Cape Town to Pretoria is well worth considering while over this side of the world. The Blue Train offers luxury accommodation, delicious food and delivers excellent service as it travels through the scenic Hex River Valley. Additionally, Rovos Rail is another luxury rail journey which travels to Kruger, Durban, the Garden Route and Cape Town.

The roads in South Africa are excellent for driving, but as distances between towns are fairly long an itinerary is essential to avoid road fatigue. Another factor to be aware of, and to be on the look out for, is stray animals on the road as there are often no fences. Driving is on the left.

The currency in South Africa is the Rand (ZAR), and 100 cents make up ZAR1. €1 = approximately ZAR13.2 .

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