Travel Insurance for South Africa

Truly the land of unbelievable biodiversity, South Africa has it all from lush green hills to starry skies on its perfect beaches. South Africa is a paradise for anyone who loves food, wildlife, and mixed culture. With so many adventurous safaris, water sports, and thrilling activities, it is really necessary to plan your trip and ensure that these are safely carried out.

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    Now covers COVID-19

    In such a scenario, a good comprehensive travel insurance becomes extremely important. While it is not mandatory as per the requirements of the South African visa application, tourists should definitely go for this to make sure no mishaps affect them adversely. This way, they can have an activity-packed vacation without any fear or worries.

    Fast Facts about South Africa

    International Airports

    O.R. Tambo International Airport, Cape Town International Airport, and more

    Capital

    Cape Town, Pretoria, Bloem

    Time Zone

    GMT+2

    Languages Spoken

    Afrikaans, Southern Sotho, English, Zulu,

    Currency Exchange Rate

    1 South African Rand = 0.068 USD = 5.07 Rs.

    Climate and Weather

    Usually dry with daytime temperatures ranging from 16 °C in winter and 20 °C during summer

    South Africa Visa Processing Time

    Minimum 15 days

    Entry Essentials to South Africa

    Any Indian national wishing to visit South Africa needs to produce a valid visa before entering the country. Depending on your purpose, there may be different visas and subsequent requirements.

    The process to get a visa for South Africa is not too complicated and you need to apply with enough margin to get it approved. 

    Those travelling to South Africa for business or tourism purposes are granted 90 days or lesser. Be sure to apply for the correct visa/permit, otherwise, visitors may be restricted from pursuing a certain activity or purpose. African visa may be granted in the following cases:

    • If visiting a family or friend for tourism
    • For business-related purposes
    • To meet a spouse/parents who are already here on a work or study visa
    • For study/research purposes
    • Attending conferences or as a part of a film crew
    • For carrying out voluntary or charitable activities
    • For medical purposes
    • In the case of sports events

    COVID-19 entry requirements for Indian nationals

    All Indian visitors need to provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test report no older than 72 hours before they depart from India along with a duly filled Traveller Health Questionnaire.

    Types of South Africa Visa for Indians

    Depending on the duration and purpose of the visit, the following are the different types of South Africa Visa for Indian nationals. However, please note that there is no visa on arrival facility offered to Indians. These are briefly explained below:

    • Business Visa: Meant for individuals who plan to start or invest in a business in South Africa.
    • Work Visa: Only issued to foreigners with relevant skills for a fixed duration. Applications can be lodged through the VFS available in the nearest South African Embassy or consular.
    • General work visa: Valid for a maximum duration of 5 years. A contract of employment is required for this.
    • Critical skills work visa: This requires proper proof of employment within 12 months of obtaining the particular critical skill. This too cannot exceed 5 years.
    • Intra-company transfer Work Visa: This usually happens in the case of MNCs when existing employees may be transferred to a branch situated in South Africa. This period cannot be extended or renewed beyond 4 years.
    • Corporate Visas: This visa is issued for a maximum period of 3 years and allows an entity to employ a fixed number of skilled/unskilled workers.
    • Study Visa: Any student wishing to study in Africa is required to fill the Form BI-1738. The duration should not exceed eight years.
    • Exchange Visas: Applicable to people not older than 25 years and only meant for cultural or social programs being organized by an organ of the state.
    • Retired Person's visa: This can be issued to those who wish to retire in South Africa, under the requirements fulfilled by the Immigration Act, 2002.
    • Relative's Visa: Issued to an immediate family member of a permanent citizen of South Africa cannot exceed a period of two years.

    Medical Treatment Visa: This can be issued for anyone seeking life-saving treatments with a maximum period of 6 months.

    Documents Required for South Africa Visa

    As of now, Indians can get their visa through the South African Embassy. There have been plans for soon launching the eVisa facility for Indians which will considerably reduce the time and documentation involved in the process. Following are the document requirements for Indian nationals who want to apply for a South African Visa:

    • A valid passport with at least 2 blank pages and at least a 30 days validity
    • Duly filled BI-84 visa application form
    • A vaccination certificate (for Yellow Fever) if required by the embassy
    • Documents proving your purpose and duration of visit
    • 2 passport-sized colored photographs
    • Return/Onward flight tickets
    • Proof of sufficient funds (Bank statements, Salary advances, Bursary, Medical cover, Cash available, credit cards, etc.)
    • Proof of guardianship if traveling with children
    • COVID-19 additional requirements

    South Africa Visa Procedure

    Applying for a visa for South Africa is pretty simple, given that you have a valid passport. Depending on your purpose and type of visa, you can contact the South African Embassy or Consulates to guide you along the process. You can also apply through a travel agent or the official VFS Global services.

    • To apply for a visa, an appointment with the nearest South African diplomatic mission is required.
    • Carry along with you the completed B1-84 form along with the necessary documents.
    • Pay the visa application fee for your application to be processed.
    • Wait for the update. This usually takes 8 days to 3 weeks depending on the visa type and/or working hours.

    For any queries, you may contact the South African Embassy at the following address:

    Name

    Address

    Contact

    Working Hours

    South African High Commission in New Delhi, India

     

    B-18, Vasant Marg,

    Vasant Vihar

    New Delhi

    India

    +91 1126149411 to 20 |

    dtidelhi@thedti.gov.za 

    Monday to Friday 08:30-12:30
    (Lunch)

    13:15-17:00

     

    South Africa Travel Insurance 

    You can choose to play it safe with casual shopping and visiting popular African malls and markets, or decide to be a bit adventurous while trekking in the Kruger. Either way, there may be some medical or non-medical emergencies that may dampen your plans.

    While their visa requirements don't mandate travel insurance in South Africa, there are many affordable and easily available international travel insurance plans for you to opt for. It is recommended to thoroughly look for one as the country does not have a very good public healthcare system and has higher chances of criminal activity.

    Having an overseas travel insurance policy has the following benefits:

    • Claim reimbursement for any trip cancellations or interruptions.
    • Get immediate medical help in case of any medical emergency.
    • You can also settle your expenses online by opting for a cashless claim policy.
    • Depending on the plan you opt for, you can travel frequently and secure 20-60 days per trip in a year.
    • Easily get advanced cash in case of some mishap (theft, burglary, losing your wallet)

    Best Time to Visit South Africa

    Situated at the end of the African continent, South Africa extends from 22° to 34° south latitude, thus falling in the Southern Hemisphere. Thus, remember that it has the seasons reversed here when compared to Europe. This being said, due to its plethora of conditions it is hard to declare a perfect time to visit.

    If we talk in a broad sense, then spring around September-October seems to be the best time. This will help you avoid the harsh winter of mountains and plateaus. You will also avoid facing the summer heat of the inland regions along with eastern summer rains and tropical cyclones which may affect your travel plans.

    Transportation in South Africa

    Both public and private commutes are readily available in South Africa. Some of the most popular options for tourists are mentioned below:

    • Metrorail: With an extensive network throughout most cities, you can easily use these to move around. Install apps like GoMetro, Moving Gauteng to easily learn the schedules of the metro networks.
    • Buses: There are many bus services available in most cities for minimal costs. Cape Town's very own local bus company can be accessed by its own mobile app.
    • Trains: With over 22,000 km of railway tracks over the country, South Africa has an efficient and extremely busy train network. The PRASA ( Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa) provides rail services through Metrorail, Shosholoza Meyl, and Premier Classe.
    • Minibus taxi: Many South African cities have these smaller vehicles that are often shared with fellow riders. The cost is very less and the frequency high, so this is a very popular option of commute here.
    • Taxis and Shared Taxi Services: Reputed taxi companies provided a metered reading, however, there are instances when you need to negotiate the prices or book them through ride-booking apps.

    International Airports in South Africa

    With over 90 airports in Africa, there are more than 20 international airports throughout South Africa. Some of these international airports are tabulated below:

    Name of the Airport

    Location

    Oliver Tambo International Airport

    Johannesburg

    Cape Town International Airport

    Cape Town

    King Shaka International Airport

    La Mercy, north of Durban City

    Port Elizabeth International Airport

    Port Elizabeth

    Lanseria International Airport

    North of Randburg and Sandton

    Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport

    Mbombela (Nelspruit)

    South Africa Weather

    This marvelous country has a variety of climates and weather conditions as you move from one region to the next. Broadly, South Africa has the following climate:

    • The area around the Namib Desert (west coast) has a cool and arid climate.
    • The southern coast has a subtropical climate along with some Mediterranean characteristics- it has a very dry summer in its western part while its Eastern part sees no dry season.
    • The rest of South Africa is mostly plateau. It usually has dry and sunny winters but it can get very cold at night.  This region has hot summers often accompanied by thunderstorms.

    Top Tourist Attractions

    While there are no limits to Africa’s attractions, some of the most popular attractions according to the tourism demands are mentioned below:

    • Visit the Addo Elephant National Park: Make sure to visit the world's third-largest national park famous for its elephants. The park was established in 1931 to conserve the elephants in the area and is today a hotspot of a huge variety of animals.
    • Visit the Ushaka Marine World: If you're fond of theme parks and want to have a great time under budget then make sure you visit this theme park in Durban.
    • Take a look at The Big Hole: Located in Kimberly, this underground mine is supposed to be the largest open-pit excavated by hands. Made to extract diamonds, a part of its site has been converted into a museum dedicated to the extraction, processing, and shaping of a diamond.
    • Visit the Lion Park: Located in Gauteng, this is one of the most popular national parks among wildlife adventurers. You can easily observe lions in their natural habitat surrounded by beautiful flora and fauna.

    Eating Out in South Africa

    South Africa is the melting pot of different cultures, not forgetting their own indigenous tribes and their vibrant cuisine. You're sure to find a little bit of Indian, French, and Malaysians in all these foods:

    • Biltong and Droewors: Before refrigeration was invented, African tribes preserved thinly sliced meats flavored with vinegar, spices, and pepper, to be eaten as snacks later. 
    • Boerewors: Make sure you try this traditional sausage made of mixed meats and lots of spices.
    • Cape Malay Curry: An amalgamation of three different cuisines- Indian, Indonesian, and Malaysian, this stew/curry became a local specialty and is not among the must-try South African dishes.
    • Malva Pudding: Made of apricots and other sauces, this soft spongy deliciousness is a must for the South African dessert menu!
    • Bunny Chow: These hollowed bread loaves are often stuffed with different vegetables and meats. Originally a dish from the immigrant Indians in Durban, this food has become extremely popular throughout the country.

    Things to Do in South Africa

    • Visit the Kruger National Park: Situated at the Mpumalanga and Limpopo Provinces, it is one of the best and oldest game reserves in Africa. Wildlife lovers can plan this under a budget and reach here from Johannesburg within a 4-5 hours’ drive.
    • Visit the Western Cape: One of the world's most beautiful cities, Cape Town is home to many natural wonders, and the glorious Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    • Visit the Victoria and Alfred Water front: Situated in Cape Town, this place is best for shoppers and foodies looking for entertainment venues.
    • Visit the Kalahari Transfrontier Park: One of the largest wilderness regions of the world, this park was established in 2002 and is home to a variety of wildlife, especially the famous Kalahari lion and meerkats.

    Indian Embassy Information in South Africa

    While traveling to a foreign country, it’s best to keep some emergency contacts at hand. While getting travel insurance for South Africa will be a great help, there are some issues that may be beyond its reach. In such cases, Indian nationals can contact the Indian Embassy in South Africa through any of the given points:

    Name

    Designation

    Email

    Shri Jaideep Sarkar

    High Commissioner     

    hc.pretoria@mea.gov.in

    Shri Bhupendra Singh

    First Secretary (Eco, PIC & Community Affairs)

    fseco.pretoria@mea.gov.in

    Shri Abhijit Chakraborty

    Deputy High Commissioner     

    dhc.pretoria@mea.gov.in

    Captain Nitin Kapoor

    Defense Adviser     

    da.pretoria@mea.gov.in

     For in-person contact or other queries, you can contact the Indian Embassy at:

    The High Commission of India

    852, Francis Baard Street, Arcadia 0083, Pretoria, South Africa

    Availability and contact details:

    Monday - Friday from 0830 hrs to 1700 hrs

    Tel: 002712 3425393-05

    Email: cons.pretoria@mea.gov.in