Languages in South Africa

Languages in South Africa South Africa is a linguistically diverse nation with 11 official languages, more than any other country, and several other minor regional tongues. The most numerically significant language is isiZulu, which is the mother tongue of roughly 22.5% of South Africans, follows by IsiXhosa (16%) and Dutch-based Afrikaans (13.5%).

English, the first language of 9.5% of South Africans, is the lingua franca of the tourist industry and will be spoken to a high to middling standard by practically all waiters, bartenders, shop assistants and staff of hotel and other tourist-oriented institutions.

The other official languages are SeSotho, Sepedi (also known as North SeSotho), IsiNdebele, Tshivenda, Setswana, Xitsonga and siSwati.


Popular South Africa Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

 | Blissful Fly-In Kruger Safari (4 days)

Blissful Fly-In Kruger Safari (4 days)

Experience luxury in the Kruger Park ...

 | South Africa’s Garden Route Odyssey (14 days)

South Africa's Garden Route Odyssey (14 days)

Discover one of South Africa’s best kept secrets - the Garden Route...

 | Best of Botswana and South Africa (11 days)

Best of Botswana and South Africa (11 days)

Experience the best of two of southern Africa's gems ...

 | The Ultimate Big Five South African Safari (7 days)

The Ultimate Big Five South African Safari (7 days)

Get the best possible chance to see the Big Five wildlife in the iconic Kruger National Park and Manyeleti Game Reserve ...

 | Luxurious Cape Town and Victoria Falls Tour (8 days)

Luxurious Cape Town and Victoria Falls Tour (8 days)

Two countries in 8 days may seem like a lot but with this well thought out itinerary you will see some of the regions most iconic destinations without feeling like you are rushing through it…

 | Affordable Cape Town, Kruger National Park and Victoria Falls Luxury Safari (10 days)

Affordable Cape Town, Kruger National Park and Victoria Falls Luxury Safari (10 days)

Visit the most popular destinations in Southern Africa on this luxury tour for the budget-conscious...

 | Sabi Sand Game Reserve Safari (4 days)

Sabi Sand Game Reserve Safari (4 days)

You'll trek Africa's Big Five members in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve...

 | South African Holiday Adventure (10 days)

South African Holiday Adventure (10 days)

Explore the southern-most city on the African continent, before jetting off to spot the Big Five...

 | Luxury South Africa to Zimbabwe safari (8 days)

Luxury South Africa to Zimbabwe safari (8 days)

Spot the Big Five in Thornybush Private Game Reserve and enjoy the majesty of Zimbabwe's roaring Victoria Falls ...

 | Luxurious South Africa and Zambia Honeymoon Safari (10 days)

South Africa and Zambia honeymoon

Explore the romantic Atlantic Ocean with it's multi-cultural heritage and a Big Five safari in the Sabi Sands, finally ending off at Victoria Falls from the Zambian side...



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South Africa in March

The Golden oriole travels from Asia to South Africa in March Johannesburg and the highveld is warm and mild by day, cool at night and receives occasional rainfall often in the late afternoon. Cape Town and the Western Cape starts cooling down with regular windy spells, cooler evenings and crisp early mornings. The Kruger Park and surrounds is still hot during the day, cooling down at…

Durban and the South Coast

The most populous city and busiest port on the east coast of Africa, Durban is a vibrant and interesting city set in the municipality of eThekwini (a Zulu name meaning ‘Place of the Sea’). A substantial Indian population and sticky subtropical coastal climate combine to give Durban a slightly Asiatic feel, but the city’s main attraction is its fine beaches and sunny coastlines. The…

South African food and tipping

Restaurants operate on a similar basis to those in Europe or North America. A 10-15% tip to the waiter is standard, depending on the quality of service. At hotels, it’s usually easier to sign drinks and meals to the room than to pay cash, but you could still leave a tip for an individual waiter or bartender, or add one to the bill before you sign it. Hotel porters usually expect a tip…

Getting around in South Africa

A good network of domestic flights connects Johannesburg and Cape Town to other major cities such as Mbombela (for the Kruger Park), Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth and George (for the Garden Route). Trunks roads are all surfaced and well maintained, so self-drive is a straightforward option, provided you have a valid license. The usual international car rental companies are…

Languages in South Africa

South Africa is a linguistically diverse nation with 11 official languages, more than any other country, and several other minor regional tongues. The most numerically significant language is isiZulu, which is the mother tongue of roughly 22.5% of South Africans, follows by IsiXhosa (16%) and Dutch-based Afrikaans (13.5%). English, the first language of 9.5% of South Africans, is the…

Is South Africa safe?

Public safety initiatives have been implemented in large cities to help curb crime | Credit: The CapeTowner Crime rates are high but as a rule not directed specifically at tourists. The main crime hotspots areas are probably the CBDs of the three largest cities (Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban) but an element of risk exists everywhere. That said, the overwhelming majority of…

Medical emergencies in South Africa

If no other assistance is at hand, call a medical emergency service. The government-run emergency number for ambulances in South Africa is 10177. Private 24-hour national emergency and ambulance services include ER24 (084 124), which is linked to a private network of 50-plus MediClinic hospitals, and Netcare 911 (082 911). The police flying squad can be reached at 10111. ...

Solo traveling through South Africa

Solo travel through South Africa is a pleasure. Locals are friendly and you’ll be able to meet many people Most parts of South Africa are suited to solo travel. Locals are very friendly, and will often go out of their way to make single travellers feel at home. Cape Town in particular is suited to those who relish urban attractions, whether it be museums, galleries and theatres, or…

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