Don’t pronounce Zebra wrong
The pronunciation of the word Zebra is a topic of much annoyance among locals. To avoid being corrected by an avid nature lover pronounce it “zeh-bra” and not “zee-bra”.
Don’t underestimate the vastness of the country
South Africa is a massive country, and travelling through it isn’t something to be done on a whim. Make sure to plan your trip well in advance, especially if you’re road tripping.
Don’t expect to see wild animals everywhere you go
South Africa boasts some of the most amazing wildlife on the planet, but don’t expect to see lions roaming city streets. There are definite exceptions, but if you’re after wildlife sightings your best bet is to visit a national park.
Don’t forget to tip
South Africa has a tipping culture, and common courtesy is to include at least 10% of your bill. This rule counts for restaurants, cafes, and even bars. It’s also polite to tip for services such as having your hair washed at a salon.
Don’t flash expensive electronics and jewellery
When exploring the country don’t flash expensive cameras, jewellery or cash and don’t leave items unattended either. If renting a car, always double-check that it’s locked and don’t leave valuables on the seats for everyone to see.
Don’t feed or touch the animals
A visit to a national park is bound to be included in your itinerary when in South Africa. Remember that the animals you’ll see are wild and shouldn’t be fed or touched. Regardless of how harmless or cuddly they seem, remain in your vehicle at all times.
Don’t be surprised when a petrol attendant insists on filling up your car
South African drivers don’t fill up their own cars, there are petrol attendants for this. Public service positions are important for job creation, and these attendants will do everything from washing your windshield to helping with directions. Once again, don’t forget to tip.
Don’t be impatient
Ever heard of African time? Well it exists and it’s ever so evident in South Africa. Capetonians are known for their relaxed driving while service delivery all over the country can seem excruciatingly slow to foreigners. Just relax and enjoy the trip.
Don’t underestimate the sun
The South African sun is harsh, even for locals. Remember sunscreen and hats, especially if planning a beach holiday or hiking some of the countries scenic trails.
Don’t only visit top tourist destinations
It’s easy to get swept up in all the hype surrounding big cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg, and there’s no doubt why. However there are many hidden gems scattered across the country, that are all well worth a visit.
Don’t assume that people don’t speak English
South Africa is a diverse country home to many different cultures, most of which can speak English. Although it’s a second language, and one of 11 official languages, tourists should have no issues with language barriers.