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,
The calendar of holidays for 2007 is:
1 January – New Year’s Day
21 March – Human Rights Day
6 April – Good Friday (the Friday before Easter Sunday)
9 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
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
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.
Summer - mid-October to mid-February
Autumn - February to April
Winter - May to July
Spring - August to October