Things to know before backpacking South Africa

South Africa, Tips

Backpacking South Africa in the most satisfying trip that I have undertaken and is a must do for every adventure lover. Keep the following points in mind while backpacking South Africa and have a swell time !

1.South Africa is not Africa. If you’re looking for an African experience, head to Lesotho, Zululand, Swaziland or the Transkei.

2. Health and Safety Tips:

  1. You can drink the tap water in South Africa if need arises.
  2. Take care in malaria areas.
  3. 1 in 4 people in South Africa are HIV positive. So if this beautiful country and delectably warm weather makes you hot and horny, make sure you wrap your rascal or get HIM to wrap HIS.
  4. Sun in South Africa burns, so use some sun protection cream.
  5. Tourists are easy targets. So when walking around, be sensible.
  6. Leave a copy of your documents in a safe place and one copy on the internet / email.
  7. Leave valuables in the hostel safe.
  8. Ask about safety before wandering around, especially after dark and early mornings (smaller towns are generally safer than cities).
  9. Take taxis at night.
  10. Don’t leave anything overnight in your car, windows are easy to break and a pain to replace.
  11. Be careful when you drive at night. Hazards include unexpected pedestrians, potholes and animals on the road.

3. The Tourism Grading Council of South Africa has a special grading system for backpacker lodges. Grading ranges from 1 star (acceptable) to 5 stars (superior). Star grading relates to the facilities provided, is voluntary and has to be paid for. You can give both positive and negative feedback on any graded establishment by visiting

4. To book a backpacker hostel ahead of time and compare your options – is a good resource.

5. Many backpacker hostel provide free stay or discounted stays if you book an activity with them. Ask for such offers wherever you stay.

6. Indians are a major part of the South African population. Locals might perceive you as per their experience of local people on Indian origin so make sure you tell them that you’re an Indian from India and not an Indian origin South African ! You’ll be surprised at what an amazing conversation starter that can be 🙂

Hope these tips were useful. Have a wonderful time backpacking South Africa.

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