New York, NY (PRWEB) May 7, 2010
If you’re traveling to the FIFA World Cup games next month, you probably know all about soccer. But you may be less sure about interacting with a culture that has survived a bitter history of race relations. Africa.com CEO Teresa Clarke lived in South Africa for five years and has 10 “insider” tips to help visitors enjoy their stay.
Before leaving home:
1) Weather at night: South Africa is cold at night in June and July. To make sure you’re warm, take flannel pajamas and socks for sleeping.
When arriving at the airport in South Africa:
2) Using cell phones: Rent a cell phone at the airport when you arrive. Your hotel concierge, tour driver, and others will expect you to have a local cell phone. They are very inexpensive to rent (many for $1/day plus local phone charges), and the major carriers rent them as soon as you exit customs at Johannesburg International Airport.
3) Best Place to Exchange Your Money: Get your rands from a local ATM. There are at least two major ATMs as soon as you leave customs in the Johannesburg International Airport. Exchanging money at your hotel, bank, or other foreign currency exchange window is likely to carry larger fees and a worse exchange rate than if you simply withdraw cash from an ATM.
At hotels and restaurants in South Africa:
4). The Water: You can drink the water. You may want to order bottled water to drink, but you needn’t be hyper vigilant. You can certainly use ice made from tap water, and eat fresh fruits and vegetables that have been washed with tap water.
5) When Seeking Information: Service people will give you a very confident answer (“Breakfast ends at 11 a.m.!”) when in fact it ends at 10 a.m. Ask important questions twice -- of different people -- to be sure you are getting accurate information.
6) Tipping: Customary tipping in restaurants is 10 percent
7) Credit Card Tipping: At a restaurant, you must indicate in writing what your tip will be prior to your credit card being run -- at the same time you give the waiter your credit card. Once the card is run, unlike in the US and Europe, you will not have an opportunity to add a tip.
To avoid embarrassment:
8) Polygamy: Don’t be critical of President Zuma’s polygamy unless you know the personal histories of the people with whom you’re talking. While today most South Africans are monogamous, there is a decent chance that the person you are speaking to is the product of a polygamous marriage.
9)C onversation and Courtesy: When asking Africans a question, you are more likely to get a positive response if you greet a person first. It’s wise to begin in inquiry with: “Hello. How are you?”
10) Race Relations: Expect the best from everyone. Don’t approach race relations with US-based preconceived notions. Many blacks follow Nelson Mandela’s leadership in terms of forgiveness. Many have fond feelings for white South Africans. Many white South Africans were part of the liberation struggle, and are very liberal in their political views.
If you want luxury accommodations during your FIFA World Cup visit, Africa.com has partnered with the Thebe Tourism Group, the oldest black-empowered South African tourism company. For information and reservations, visit Africa.com or dial our toll-free number, 877-203-3323.