South Africa and, specifically the Karoo Heartland, is an excellent choice for tourists looking for exceptional natural beauty and wildlife, diverse experiences, a moderate climate, friendly people and numerous activities at affordable travel prices.
What languages are spoken in South Africa and the Karoo Heartland?
In South Africa there are 11 official languages. English is the official communication language and is spoken throughout the country. Common indigenous languages include Afrikaans, isiXhosa and isiZulu.
The main ethnic languages fall into the Bantu and Khoisan language groups. Most black South Africans will also speak one or more African languages, whilst many white South Africans (especially those in the commercial farming communities) regard Afrikaans their first language.
The English speaking tourist will experience no difficulties, neither will the Dutch or Flemish speakers. Many tour operators cater for German-, French- and Japanese-speaking groups. If you are unsure, please feel free to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
What types of accommodation can I expect when visiting the Karoo Heartland?
We cater to a wide variety for a wide variety of accommodation requirements including private game reserves, hotels, farm stays, bed & breakfast, guesthouse, self-catering and backpackers in the Karoo Heartland. Please visit our STAY page to browse accommodation options.
How should I plan to budget for the trip? What currency does South Africa use?
Banking – ATMs are available in all towns and shopping centres across the Karoo Heartland, and are available 24 hours a day. Many, if not all establishments, now have card facilities and EFTs are common. Please note that Nieu-Bethesda does not have an ATM machine, so it is best to draw cash before leaving Graaff Reinet. Most businesses in Nieu-Bethesda have card or EFT facilities.
Currency – The monetary unit is the Rand (R) which equals 100 cents. (International symbol is ZAR). Bank note denominations are R200, R100, R50, R20, and R10. The best system is always to have some cash in South African Rand for informal shopping, tips and incidentals.
Budgeting – Few, if any, of South Africa’s attractions are intrinsically expensive and are good value for money. Food and accommodation are reasonably priced, however for the road-tripper through the Karoo Heartland, petrol is an extra expense to consider. It’s a good idea to ask your host about road conditions when heading to your next destination.
What is the climate like and what should I pack?
Generally, South Africa’s climate allows for a sunny holiday at any time of the year. However, your dress requirements may vary according to your particular destination and the time of year you’re visiting. If you intend spending a lot of time outdoors or are visiting in summer, pack a sunhat, sunscreen and sunglasses. In the summer, lightweight cotton clothing is advised because daytime temperatures generally hover around 25-30 degrees Celsius.
For the brief period of January until Mid-March, temperatures sometimes reach 35 degrees. You may want to pack a swim suit to cool down on a sweltering Karoo day. Depending on the region you’re visiting, afternoon thunderstorms can be present, so pack a raincoat/light jacket for evenings.
In the winter months (May to October) the sun shines almost every day. Daytime temperatures hover around 17 to 22 degrees Celsius however, the early mornings and evenings can get quite cold. Temperatures have been known to plummet to below zero in many parts of the country and the Karoo Heartland is no exception. Greater South Africa experiences semi-arid temperatures: hot days with cooler nights (summer) and warm days with very cold nights (winter).
Most of your days you will want light, loose-fitting clothing. Light cottons, with slightly heavier cottons or light woollens for evenings. In the evenings, especially for chilling rides in the back of safari vehicles, you will need something warm, gloves and a beanie. Finally, it’s always good to carry some water with you, especially when exploring. While the tap water is safe to drink in most places in the Karoo Heartland, it is always best to check when arriving somewhere new.
Health and medical services
Health – The Karoo Heartland is a malaria-free region. t’s always good to carry some bottled water with you, especially when exploring. While the tap water is safe to drink in most places in the Karoo Heartland, it is always best to check when arriving somewhere new.
An emergency first-aid kit is good to carry when spending time in the more rural areas of the Karoo Heartland. There are scorpions, snakes and spiders, however, but if you leave them undisturbed they usually shy away from you. Don’t turn over rocks. It is best to wear long pants, thick socks and boots to prevent possible bites, when out in the bush. Check yourself and your socks for ticks at the end of an outing.
Medical Services – For visitors with health insurance, there are several first-class private hospitals. Visitors to South Africa should always take out a comprehensive medical insurance policy to cover them for emergencies, including the cost of evacuation to bigger cities and towns within the region.
What travel documents are required to visit South Africa and the Karoo Heartland?
Visitors’ visas are for international travellers (citizens of other countries) who have permanent residence outside South Africa and who wish to visit the country on a temporary basis for tourism or business purposes for a period of 90 days or less. Once you are in South Africa, there are no borders to visit the Karoo Heartland and you are free to explore.
Please visit SA government website here to view documents required and special instructions for travelling with children.