South Africa FAQs

South Africa FAQs

We’ll give you all the information you need, including : date and place of arrival, so that you can book the flight that’s right for you.

If you are a citizen of a visa-exempt country for South Africa, you will not need a visa for a stay of 90 days or less, provided you have a return flight booked within 90 days and a valid passport for at least 6 months after arrival.

Visa-exempt countries include the United States, Canada, most of the European Union, Australia and New Zealand, among others.

However, if you are a citizen of a country that requires a visa to enter South Africa or if you plan to stay longer than 90 days, you will need to apply for a visa from the South African embassy or consulate in your country of residence.

For more information, visit for the most up-to-date information on visa requirements.


As a French citizen, if you wish to extend your stay in South Africa by more than 90 days, you will need to apply for an extended stay before your 90-day authorized stay expires.

The application for extension of stay must be submitted to the Immigration Office in South Africa. You will need to provide supporting documents to explain why you want to extend your stay, such as work, study or family reasons. Extension of stay will only be granted if the reasons given are considered valid.

It is important to apply for an extension of stay before your 90-day authorized stay expires, as you will not be able to stay in South Africa after 90 days have passed.

We recommend that you apply for a tourist or volunteer visa in your home country prior to your trip.


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Although pharmacies are available in South Africa, it is recommended to bring any medications you may need during your stay.

It is also recommended that you consult your doctor before your trip for advice on which medications to take, especially if you have special health conditions or are taking prescription medications.

If you are travelling to South Africa and need to bring special drugs such as psychotropic drugs (antidepressants, tranquillisers, etc.), it is important to note that these drugs are regulated in South Africa and may require special authorization to be imported into the country.

It is therefore recommended that you check with the South African Embassy or Consulate in your country of residence if you are allowed to take your medicines to South Africa and if you need to obtain special permits. You may need to provide a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor explaining the need for these medications.

It is also advisable to keep your medications in their original packaging, with your name label and dosing instructions, to avoid any problems during security checks at the airport or at the borders.

No, all of our projects are located in a malaria-free area.

It is recommended to be vaccinated against:

  • Tetanus,
  • Diphtheria,
  • Hepatitis A,
  • Hepatitis B,
  • Typhoid.

Note: in most European countries, you will have received some of these vaccines as a child.

You can view the Pasteur Institute’s recommendations by destination at this link.

The local currency in South Africa is the South African Rand (ZAR). You can exchange foreign currency into rands at banks, exchange offices and major hotels.

You can also use your credit or debit card at many locations in South Africa. Visa and Mastercard cards are generally accepted in most places, but it is recommended to check with your bank if your card can be used in South Africa and if additional fees will be charged for international transactions.

It is always useful to have cash in South Africa for small expenses and places where credit cards are not accepted. You can withdraw money at ATMs, which are widely available in cities and tourist areas.

It is recommended to avoid carrying large amounts of cash with you and not to leave money or other valuables in sight in cars or public places.

There are mosquitoes, but our projects are all located in malaria-free areas.

For safety, please bring all your allergy medications and other necessary medications. We also recommend that you bring or buy mosquito repellent once you arrive in South Africa.

In South Africa, it is generally not recommended to drink tap water and bottled water is preferable.

On some projects, tap water is safe to drink.

If the water on site is not treated, you will have the opportunity to purchase water bottles without problems.

You can ask the coordinators, when you arrive, if you can drink tap water.

On projects, coordinators are present to assist you 24/7 and you will receive a phone number to use in case of emergency, during your orientation.

The cost you pay is only to cover unavoidable costs such as accommodation, meals, transportation, shuttles and donations to the NGO for operating costs and materials needed to carry out the programme, such as books for children’s education and food for animals.

Most projects are funded exclusively by donations and volunteers, without whom they would not exist.

Although in South Africa there are 11 different official languages, including English, we ask for a sufficiently high level of English for missions, internships and training. This is absolutely necessary to understand the instructions and the indications given on the spot by your coordinators.

You will also be in contact with people of other English-speaking nationalities, which will make English invaluable for communication and exchange with them.

The cost of living in South Africa is generally affordable compared to developed countries.

However, it depends on many factors such as the city or region you visit, your lifestyle, activities and eating habits.

Large cities like Johannesburg and Cape Town can be relatively expensive, while rural areas can be cheaper.

Current expenses such as food, transportation and leisure are generally cheaper than in Europe or North America.

Good to know: Power outages can occur at any time and in all regions of South Africa due to the high demand for electricity in the country, so it is recommended to be prepared for them, having a flashlight pocket and external batteries with you.

Electricity in South Africa is supplied in 220-240 volts at 50 hertz. Receptacles in South Africa have three round pins, with plugs larger than those found in many other countries.

Travellers should therefore bring an adapter for their electronic devices if they wish to plug them into South African electrical outlets.


Laundry options vary from one project to another and are generally indicated in the guide provided by each project.

Some projects offer an included laundry services, while others use an external service for a small fee.

In any case, there are ways to wash your clothes during your stay.

South Africa is famous for its remarkable fauna, including the famous Big Five (lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino), but also a unique flora with the presence of fynbos, baobabs and many other endemic species.

South Africa’s coasts also offer exceptional marine biodiversity, with the presence of dolphins, whales and sharks.

Here are two short videos where Amélie explains the difference between a refuge and an animal reserve:

Here is an exhaustive list of what you could take in your suitcase to South Africa:

  • A copy of your passport and health and repatriation insurance,
  • Plug adapter for South Africa,
  • Medications, prescription medicine if necessary
  • Mosquito repellent and after-bite cream,
  • First aid kit,
  • Comfortable, activity-appropriate clothing (including hiking boots),
  • Swimsuit (if destination and time/period allows),
  • Flashlight,
  • Backup batteries

For any international project, Real-step requires the purchase of travel insurance including coverage in case of accident, illness, repatriation and civil liability.

Note that liability insurance is included in the insurance policies of our partner Chapka Cap Student, and Cap Working Holiday because it is mandatory for internships and studies abroad. If you buy your Cap Student or Cap Working Holiday insurance online with our partner Chapka, you get 5% immediate discount by clicking on one of the 2 links above!

If you subscribe to another travel insurance, we will ask you to send us a certificate in English.


Wifi is generally available on our projects in South Africa, please refer to the brochure according to your program.

We advise you to buy a local SIM card with internet when you arrive at the airport.