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An epic golfing journey in South Africa... read more

 Travel Tips when visiting South Africa
Category: Golf Holidays South Africa

About Us | Management Team | Travel Testimonials | Travel Tips | About South Africa | Contact Us

Key Facts
 • Currency: South African Rand. Try our real time currency converter.
 • Population: 47 500 000
 • Capital City: Pretoria
 • Religion: Christian
 • Languages: English, Afrikaans, isiZulu, isiXhosa, Sesotho and Setswana
 • Time Zone: GMT+2
 • Summer temperature: 35C
 • Winter temperature: 18C
 • Best time to visit: September to April (for warm climate) - May to October (for safari)

What to pack

Pack a while ahead. Most of the time you'll be most comfortable in light, summer-weight clothes but do pack a warm jacket, socks, good shoes and a rain jacket. Pack sunscreen – lots of it – and a hat and sunglasses. Make sure you have at least one cool shirt with a collar for sun protection. Stock up on insect repellent and, if you'll be in a malaria area, ensure you have a cool, long-sleeved shirt and cool long pants for evenings. Bring good walking shoes.

If you're spending time watching game, you should try to wear reasonably neutral colours but, really, you don't have to look like an extra on the set of Out of Africa. You don't need formal clothes, but you will need something pretty smart for exclusive hotels.


If you are dependent on any drugs – or medication, as we say – bring a supply and a spare prescription. (We call our drugstores "pharmacies".)

Important documents

Make two copies of all your important documents, like passports. Take one with you, in a different bag to the original, and leave one at home with a responsible, easily reachable person. Try to memorise all your important numbers - passport numbers, credit card numbers, etc. If you lose your bag, this could be an enormous help.


Electricity is generally 220/230 volts, 15 amps, and is supplied through either 15-amp three-prong or 5-amp two-prong plugs, in both cases with round pins. If you're bringing anything electrical, bring an adapter – or you could buy one here. Generally, the 110V video chargers work safely on the 220V supply. Television is on the PAL system.

Spectacles, contact lenses

Bring spare spectacles, and/or a copy of your prescription. If you wear contact lenses, consider using disposables for a short holiday, especially if you're planning to river raft, dive or such. Also bring spectacles, as the dry dusty environment of some game farms may irritate your eyes.

If you've forgotten anything – don't panic. This is not the back of beyond, and you can buy whatever you need – probably at a good price.

And pack a camera – you'll want to save your wonderful memories. You can buy film anywhere, and camera batteries in any city.


Remember that weight restrictions apply (20 kg's in total for economy flights). Average golf bag and clubs weigh roughly 9 kg's, including balls. Please keep luggage to one average size suitcase.

1. Good quality sunglasses - preferably polarized. Tinted fashion glasses are not good in strong light.

2. Sun hat/baseball cap.

3. Golf-shirts, T-shirts and long-sleeved cotton shirts.

4. Shorts/skirts.

5. Long trousers/slacks.

6. Sweat pants/sweat shirt.

7. More formal attire for your stay at prestigious locations, e.g. Sun City (we will advise you in any event if necessary).

8. Underwear and socks.

9. Good walking shoes (running/tennis shoes are fine), Golf Shoes: SOFT SPIKES ONLY.

10. Sandals.

11. Swimming costume.

12. Warm winter sweater (if visiting from May - August).

13. Warm Anorak or Parka and scarf / gloves for the cold winter months (May to August).

14. Light rain gear for summer months (late November to April).

15. Camera equipment and plenty of film (or digital storage).

16. If you wear contact lenses, we recommend that you bring along a pair of glasses in case you get irritation from the dust or pollen.

17. BINOCULARS - ESSENTIAL (and Newman's bird book if you are keen).

18. Personal toiletries (basic amenities supplied by most establishments).

19. Moisturizing cream & suntan lotion.

20. Insect repellent e.g. Tabard, Rid, Jungle Juice, etc.

21. Basic medical kit (aspirins, plasters, Imodium, antiseptic cream and Anti-histamine cream etc).

22. Tissues/"Wet Ones".

23. Visas, tickets, passports, money, etc.

24. Waterproof/dustproof Ziploc bags/cover for your cameras.

Please note that bright colors and white are NOT advised while on safari.

Banks and foreign exchange in SA

With a favourable exchange rate for many international currencies, you'll find South Africa a very inexpensive destination. And an easy one - our financial institutions are world-class, with no shortage of banks, bureaux de change and automatic tellers.

Rands and cents
South Africa's unit of currency is the rand, which is divided into 100 cents. Coins come in denominations of 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, R1, R2 and R5, and notes in denominations of R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200.

How far will my money go?
A long way. With a favourable exchange rate for many international currencies, you'll find South Africa a very inexpensive destination. For example:

For one British Pound you can buy about three daily newspapers; or one take-away hamburger; a pack of cigarettes; a pint of Lager; or three cans of Coke. Thirty pounds will get you bed and breakfast in a decent 3 star guesthouse or hotel, a round of golf at a top ranking signature golf course, or a bus ticket for a ride of a few hundred kilometres.

One US Dollar/Euro will get you about two daily newspapers; or two cans of Coke. A litre of petrol - which is about 0.25 gallons - will cost you about $1,40/€0,90. An economy class flight between Johannesburg and Cape Town will cost about $140/€90.

You'll also find South Africa an easy destination. From the moment you step off the plane you'll start seeing banks, bureaux de change and automatic tellers all over.

The banks are generally open from 9am to 3.30pm Mondays through Fridays, and 8.30am to 11am on Saturdays, but those at the airports adjust their hours to accommodate international flights.

The major banks have branches as well as automated teller machines (ATMs) in most large towns - and all over the cities. Petrol stations in the rural areas are plentiful and generally always have an ATM. International banks (see the "foreign exchange services" links below) have branches in the major cities. Thomas Cook (represented by Rennies Travel) and American Express foreign exchange offices are also available in the major cities.

Credit cards and cash
All major credit cards can be used in South Africa, with American Express and Diners Club enjoying less universal acceptance than MasterCard and Visa. In some small towns, you may find you'll need to use cash.

One anomaly - you can't purchase fuel with a credit card. Many locals have special fuel credit cards, known as garage or petrol cards, for use only at filling stations. You can, however, pay road tolls with MasterCard or Visa.

Driving in South Africa

Our road infrastructure is excellent, so driving is a viable option, but South Africa is a huge country not easily traversed in a day, so plan your journeys carefully. If you're not used to driving long distances, rather break the journey, as fatigue is a major contributing factor in motor vehicle accidents. Remember, we drive on the left and priority is always to the left, like in the UK or Australia.

While all national roads are tarred and in good condition, the more rural the road, the more likely it is to be pot-holed and poorly surfaced.

Road info, maps
Current information on the conditions of roads can be obtained through the Automobile Association of South Africa. The AA also provides invaluable guides for road users in the form of strip maps tailored for specific destinations and information for tourists on accommodation en route.

Main roads are identified by colour and number rather than by name, and with a good map which incorporates the route marker system, visitors should have little difficulty in finding their way around.

Toll roads
Before you set off, check your route. Many of the national roads between the major centres are toll roads. Check the toll fees before you leave, and make sure that you have either a credit card or cash to pay. Toll fares for a light passenger vehicle vary from R2.50 to R46.00.

Routes Travel Info Portal: Watch out for animals in rural areas Be aware that the roads in many rural areas are not fenced, so you could find dogs, chickens, cattle, sheep and even horses or donkeys on the road, so it may be dangerous to drive at night.

Large antelope crossing the road can also be a hazard in rural areas – watch out for the road signs depicting a leaping antelope, and take it slowly, especially towards evening.

Keep left, belt up, think kilometres We drive on the left-hand side of the road, and our cars – rental cars included – are right-hand drive vehicles. All distances, speed limits (and speedometers) are in kilometres.

Wearing of seat belts is compulsory. Using hand-held phones while driving is against the law – use a vehicle phone attachment or hands-free kit, if you want to speak on your mobile phone. The law prohibits the use of hand-held phones while driving but that doesn’t stop most of the locals from using them.

Speed limit
The general speed limit on national highways, urban freeways and other major routes is 120km/h (75mph). On secondary (rural) roads it is 100km/h (60mph). In built-up areas it is usually 60km/h (35mph) unless otherwise indicated. Check the road signs.

Driver’s licences
Any valid driver’s licence is accepted provided it bears the photograph and signature of the holder and is printed in English.

Filling up
A variety of petrol (gas) stations are situated on both main and country roads. Most of them are open 24 hours a day, although some keep shorter hours. However, distances between petrol stations are usually about 100 km in rural areas, so it is advisable to fill up your tank before it starts giving warning signals.

Different petrol types are available: unleaded, and 95- or 93-octane ("super" or "premium"). The 95-octane petrol is available in the higher altitude, inland regions, while 93 or lower is used at the coast. New fuel specifications will be in effect from January 2006, when all petrol will be lead free.

If you are hiring a car it is likely to require unleaded petrol, but check before you set off.

South African petrol stations are not self-help: an attendant will fill the car, check your vehicle's oil, water and tire pressure and, if necessary, clean the windscreen – for which he or she will expect a tip of no more than R 5.

Buses and trains

If you're not used to driving long distances, a bus may be a better idea than a rental car.

Google Search "Intercape" or "Greyhound" and "Translux", all of which offers a variety of national routes. You can book bus tickets at "Computicket".

Spoornet is the para-statal railway which covers the routes between the major cities. It's by no means luxurious or fast, but it's reasonably comfortable, clean and safe, and offers a relaxed way to see new parts of the country.

For real luxury, though, you have to try either of the world's most luxurious railways, Rovos Rail and the Blue Train, which run a number of routes within South Africa, and some further afield.

Rovos Rail operates beautifully restored, spacious, Edwardian-era carriages, which are drawn by steam locomotives for part of the trip.

But for the real railway enthusiast, there is no better choice than the Union Steam Ltd. These beautifully restored carriages are the original Blue Train – but in those days, there was only one bathroom per carriage. Although there are small concessions to modern taste, such as gas cooking instead of coal, everything – down to the uniforms and cutlery – is as it would have been 50 years ago.

For short scenic trips, you could try the Banana Express on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast, the Apple Express out of Port Elizabeth, or the usually steam-driven Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe between Geroge and Knysna. Cape Town is probably the only city where you would consider taking the commuter train, and then only really to enjoy the view between Muizenberg and Simonstown as the railway hugs the rocky shoreline.

Another excellent option is the Spier Train, which chuffs its way between its own private station in Cape Town and Spier Estate in Stellenbosch, or Evita se Perron in Darling for theatre performances and picnics.

Domestic flights in South Africa

South Africa has a number of airlines flying between its major cities, and to some of its smaller ones, with fares ranging from first-class to cut-price economy. Flights can be booked online from anywhere in the world.

Seven major domestic airlines operate in the country, as well as a number of smaller charter airline companies.

South African Airways, South African Airlink and South African Express fly between all the major cities and to some of the smaller ones. and 1time offer cut-price flights on the more popular routes, between Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Nelspruit and George.

British Airways/Comair operate flights between the major centres.

All flight operators offer online booking services, with payment by credit card or directly into the relevant bank account.

You need to be at the airport an hour before departure for domestic flights.

What can I bring into South Africa?

South African customs passenger allowances entitle you to bring new or used goods of up to R3 000 in value into the country without paying any duty. For additional goods, new or used, of up to R12 000 in value, you will be charged a flat rate 20% duty. Thereafter, normal customs duties apply.

You can also bring in, duty-free, the following:

Wine - up to 2 litres per person.
Spirits and other alcoholic beverages - up to 1 litre in total per person.
Cigarettes - up to 200 per person.
Cigars - up to 20 per person.
Cigarette or pipe tobacco - up to 250g person.
Perfume - up to 50ml per person.
Eau de toilette (scented liquid lighter than cologne) - up to 250ml per person.
The alcohol and tobacco allowances only apply to people over 18.
All currency must be declared on entering the country.

Taking rands out of South Africa
When you leave the country you are permitted to take up to R500 in South African Reserve Bank notes. A 20% levy is charged on amounts above R500.

Will I have to pay tax on goods I buy in South Africa?
Value Added Tax (VAT) is levied on most goods and services, but as a foreign national you may reclaim VAT on anything you bought for over R250 to take out of the country unused. You need to do this before you embark on your flight home, and will have to produce the original tax invoice for the item.

Tips for staying out of trouble

First of all, crime is on the down and statistics show a huge decline in all violent crimes since 2004. So, yes, South Africa is a safe destination. There is absolutely no threat of terrorism or extremist activities.

Take all the usual sensible precautions, as you would at home. Know where you're going before you set off, particularly at night, watch your possessions, don't walk alone in dodgy areas, lock your doors at night. Much like anywhere else. And, like anywhere else in the world, there are some areas of major cities which are more suspect than others. It is easy to avoid these and still have a good time.

When walking through areas that are considered risky, avoid wearing visible jewellery or carrying cameras and bags over your shoulder. Keep cellphones (mobile phones) and wallets tucked away where no one can see them. Check beforehand that the areas you plan to visit are safe by asking hotel staff or police.

Other sensible advice is not to hitchhike or accept or carry items for strangers. Our airport security is quite strict so, to avoid delays in checking in, remove all sharp objects (even nail files and hairclips) from your hand luggage.

South Africanisms and local lingo

South Africans speak English, that doesn't mean you'll always understand us. Our robots are nothing like R2D2, just now doesn't mean immediately, and babbelas is not a shampoo.

SA English has a flavour all its own, borrowing freely from Afrikaans - which is similar to Dutch and Flemish - as well as from the country's many African languages, with some words coming from colonial-era Malay and Portuguese immigrants.

Note: In many words derived from Afrikaans, the letter "g" is pronounced in the same way as the "ch" in the Scottish "loch" or the German "achtung" - a kind of growl at the back of the throat. In the pronunciation guides below, the spelling for this sound is given as "gh".

A / B / C / D / E / F / G / H / I / J / K / L / M / N / O / P / R / S / T / U / V / W

  • A
    abba - Carry a child secured to one's back with a blanket. From the Khoi-San.

    amasi (pronounced um-ah-see) - A popular drink of thick sour milk. From the isiZulu. An alternative name is maas.

    apartheid (ap-art-hate) - Literally "apart-ness" in Afrikaans, apartheid was the policy of racial separation, and the resulting oppression of the black majority, implemented by the National Party from 1948 to 1990.

    ag (agh) - Generally used at the beginning of a sentence, to express resignation or irritation, as in: "Ag no man! What did you do that for?"

  • B
    babbelas (bub-buh-luss) - A hangover.

    bagel (bay-gell) - An overly groomed materialistic young man, and the male version of a kugel.

    bakgat (buck-ghut) - Well done, cool, awesome.

    bakkie (buck-ee) - A pick-up truck.

    bergie (bear-ghee) - From the Afrikaans berg, mountain, originally referring to vagrants who sheltered in the forests of Cape Town's Table Mountain and now a mainstream word for anyone who is down and out.

    biltong (bill-tong) - This South African favourite is dried and salted meat, similar to beef jerky, although it can be made from ostrich, kudu or any other red meat.

    bioscope - A cinema or movie theatre, originally a defunct international English word that has survived longer in South Africa because of the influence of the Afrikaans bioskoop.

    biscuit - In South Africa a cookie is known as a biscuit. The word is also a term of affection, as in "Hey, you biscuit".

    bliksem - To beat up, hit or punch - or a mischievous person.

    blooming (blimmin) - A variation on very, as in: "That new bakkie is blimmin big."

    bobotie (buh-boor-tee) - A dish of Malay origin, made with minced meat and spices, and topped with an egg sauce.

    boerewors (boor-uh-vors) - Literally, farmer's sausage. A savoury sausage developed by the Boers - today's Afrikaners - some 200 years ago, boerewors is South African food at its most traditional.

    boet (like book, with a t) - A term of affection, from the Afrikaans for brother.

    boma (bow-mah) - An open thatched structure used for dinners, entertainment and parties.

    bonsella - Surprise gift, something extra, or a bribe. From isiZulu.

    bosberaad (borse-bah-raad)- A strategy meeting or conference, usually held in a remote bushveld location such as a game farm.

    braai (br-eye) - An outdoor barbecue, where meat such as steak, chicken and boerewors are cooked, served with pap and bredie.

    bredie (brear-dee) - A traditional South African mutton stew, first brought to the country by Malay immigrants. It now refers to any kind of stew.

    bru (brew) - A term of affection, shortened from Afrikaans broer, meaning "brother". An example would be "Hey, my bru, howzit?"

    bunny chow - Delicious and cheap food on the go, bunny chow is curry served in a hollowed-out half-loaf of bread, generally sold in greasy-spoon cafés. Perfect for eating on the side of the road while backpacking across South Africa.

    bushveld (bush-felt) - Taken from the Afrikaans bosveld ("bush field"), the bushveld is a terrain of thick scrubby trees and bush in dense thickets, with grassy groundcover between.

  • C
    café (kaf-ay, kaff-ee or kayff) - The ubiquitous small neighbourhood convenience store, often found on street corners and stocking cigarettes, cold drinks and newspapers.

    china - To most people China is the country with the largest population in the world, but to a South African it can mean something entirely different. China means good friend, as in "This oke's my china". It's one of the few Cockney rhyming slang words to survive in the country, coming from "china plate" = "mate".

    chommie - Friend, from the English chum.

    cooldrink, colddrink - This is the common term for a soda, such as Coca-Cola. Ask for a soda in South Africa and you will receive a club soda.

  • D
    dassie - The rock hyrax, a small herbivore that lives in mountainous habitats and is reputed to be the species mostly closely related to the elephant. The name comes from the Afrikaans das, meaning "badger".

    deurmekaar (dee-oor-muh-car) - An Afrikaans for confused, disorganised or stupid, as in "He's a bit deurmekaar.

    dinges (ding-us) - A thing, thingamabob, whatzit, whatchamacallit or whatsizname: "When is dinges coming around?"

    doek (like book) - A head scarf worn to protect a woman's hair.

    dolos - Interlocking blocks of concrete in an H-shape, with one arm rotated through 90º. The dolos is a South African invention used to protect seawalls and preserve beaches from erosion. The name comes from an Afrikaans word for the knuckle bones in an animal's leg.

    donga - A natural ditch resulting from severe soil erosion. From the isiZulu for "wall".

    donner (dor-nuh) - Beat up. From the Afrikaans donder, meaning thunder.

    dop (dawp) - An alcoholic drink: "Can I pour you a dop?" It can also mean failure: "I dopped the test."

    dorp - A small town on the platteland.

    droewors (droo-uh-vors) - Dried boerewors, similar to biltong.

    dummy - A baby's pacifier.

    dumpie - A South African beer served in a brown 340ml bottle.

    Durbs - The city of Durban.

    dwaal (dwarl) - Lack of concentration or focus: "Sorry, I was in a bit of a dwaal. Could you repeat that?"

  • E
    eina (ay-nuh or ay-nar) - Ouch! Can also mean "sore".

    eish (aysh) - Used to express surprise, wonder, frustration or outrage: "Eish! That cut was eina!"

  • F
    Fixed up - Used to mean "that's good" or "sorted". Example: "Let's meet at the restaurant." The reply: "Fixed up."

    flog - No whips implied. South Africans use flog to mean sell, as in "I've had enough of this old car. I think it's time I flogged it."

    frikkadel (frik-kuh-dell) - A traditional meatball.

    fundi (foon-dee) - Expert. From the Nguni umfundisi, meaning teacher or preacher.

    fynbos (fayn-baws) - "Fine bush" in Afrikaans, fynbos is a vegetation type unique to the Cape Floral Region - a Unesco World Heritage Site - made up of some 6 000 plant species, including many types of protea.

  • G
    gatvol (ghut-foll) - Taken from Afrikaans, this means fed up, as in "Jislaaik, china, I'm gatvol of working in this hot sun." Translation: "Gee, my friend, I'm fed up with working in this hot sun."

    gogga, goggo (gho-gha or gho-gho) - Insect, bug. From the Khoikhoi xo-xon.

    gogo (goh-goh) - Grandmother or elderly woman, from isiZulu.

    graze - Eat.

  • H
    hang of - Very or big, as in: "It's hang of a difficult" or "I had a hang of a problem".

    hanepoot (haa-nah-poort) - A sweet wine made from the muscat blanc d'Alexandrie grape cultivar.

    hap (hup) - Taste, bite, as in "Take a hap of this".

    hey - The popular expression hey can be used as a standalone question meaning "pardon" or "what" - "Hey? What did you say?" Or it can be used to prompt affirmation or agreement, as in "It was a great film, hey?"

    homelands - The spurious "independent" states in which black South Africans were forced to take citizenship under the policy of apartheid. Also known as bantustans.

    howzit - A traditional South African greeting that translates roughly as "How are you?", "How are things?" or simply "Hello".

  • I
    indaba (in-daa-bah) - A conference or expo, from the isiZulu word meaning "a matter for discussion".

    inyanga - A traditional herbalist and healer.

    is it (as one word: izit) - An expression frequently used in conversation and equivalent to "Is that so?"

  • J
    ja (yaa) - Yes.

    jawelnofine - Literally, "yes, well, no, fine", all scrunched into a single word and similar to the rhetorical expression "How about that?"

    jislaaik (yis-like) - An expression of outrage or surprise: "Jislaaik, I just saw Elvis!"

    jol (jawl) - A versatile word with many meanings, including party, disco, having fun, or just thing.

    Jozi (jo-zee) - The city of Johannesburg.

    just now - If a South African tells you they will do something "just now", they mean they'll do it in the near future - not immediately: "I'll do the dishes just now."

  • K
    kasie (kaa-see) - Shortened form of lokasie, "location" in Afrikaans, the older word for township - the low-income dormitory suburbs outside cities and towns to which black South Africans were confined during the apartheid era.

    khaya (k-eye-ya) - Home. From the Nguni group of languages.

    kif - Cool, neat, great or wonderful. From the Arabic kayf, meaning enjoyment or wellbeing.

    knobkierie (k-nob-kee-ree) - A fighting stick with a knob on the business end. From the Afrikaans knop ("knob") and the Khoi-San kirri or keeri, meaning "stick".

    koeksister (kook-sister) - A traditional Malay - and now also Afrikaner - sweet, made from twisted yeast dough, deep fried and dipped in syrup. The right-wing enclave of Orania in the Northern Cape even has its own statue to the koeksister. The word comes from the Dutch koek ("cake") and sissen, meaning "to sizzle".

    koki (koh-key) - A coloured marker or felt-tip pen.

    koppie (kor-pie) - A small hill.

    kraal - An enclosure for livestock, or a rural village of huts surrounded by a stockade. The word may come from the Portuguese curral ("corral"), or from the Dutch kraal, meaning bead, as in the beads of a necklace - kraals are generally round in shape.

    kugel (koo-gell) - An overly groomed materialistic young woman, from the Yiddish for a plain pudding garnished as a delicacy. A bagel is the male variety.

    kwaito (kw-eye-toe) - The music of South Africa's urban black youth, a mixture of South African disco, hip hop, R&B, ragga, and a heavy dose of house music beats. kwela (kw-eh-la) - A popular form of township music from the 1950s, based on the pennywhistle - a cheap and simple instrument taken up by street performers. The term kwela comes from the isiZulu for "get up", though in township slang it also referred to the police vans, the kwela-kwela. It is said that the young men who played the pennywhistle on street corners also acted as lookouts to warn those drinking in illegal shebeens of the arrival of the cops.

  • L
    laatlammetjie (laart-lum-et-chie) - The youngest child of a family, born (mostly by accident) to older parents and many years younger than its siblings. The word means "late lamb" in Afrikaans.

    laduma! (la-doo-mah) - A popular cheer celebrating goals scored at soccer matches, from the isiZulu for it thunders.

    lappie (luppie) - A cleaning cloth.

    lekgotla (lek-ghot-lah) - A planning or strategy session.

    lekker (lekk-irr with a rolling r) - Nice, good, great, cool or tasty.

  • M
    Madiba (muh-dee-buh) - An affectionate name for former President Nelson Mandela, and the name of his clan.

    mal (mull) - Mad, from the Afrikaans.

    mampara (mum-puh-rah) - An idiot, a silly person. From the Sotho languages.

    mampoer (mum-poo-er) - Extremely potent brandy made from peaches or other fruit, similar to the American moonshine. See witblitz.

    Marmite - Trade name of a dark-coloured spread made from vegetable extract and used on bread or toast.

    mealie (pronounce mih-lih) - Maize or corn. A mealie is a maize cob, and mealie meal is maize meal, the staple diet of South Africa, which is mostly cooked into pap. From the Afrikaans mielie.

    moegoe (moo-ghoo) - A fool, buffoon, idiot or simpleton.

    mossie (mors-see) - Any small undistinguished wild bird.

    muti (moo-ti) - Medicine, typically traditional African medicine, from the isiZulu umuthi.

    Mzansi (m-zun-zee) - A popular word for South Africa.

  • N
    naartjie (nar-chee) - The South African word for tangerine, Citrus reticulata.

    nappy - A baby's diaper.

    nca - Fine, beautiful. Pronounced with a downward click of the tongue.

    (neh) - Really? or is that so? Often used sarcastically.

    now-now - Shortly, in a bit: "I'll be there now-now."

  • O
    oke, ou - A man, similar to guy or bloke. The word ou (oh) can be used interchangeably.

  • P
    pap (pup) - The staple food of South Africa, a porridge made from mealie meal (maize meal) cooked with water and salt to a fairly stiff consistency - stywepap being the stiffest. Pap can also mean weak or tired.

    papsak (pup-suck) - Cheap box wine sold in its foil container, without the box.

    pasop (pus-orp) - An Afrikaans word meaning "beware" or "watch out".

    pavement - South Africans walk on pavements and drive cars on the road (at least that's the idea). The pavement is the sidewalk.

    piet-my-vrou (peet-may-frow) - The red-chested cuckoo (Cuculus solitarus). The name, an approximation of the bird's call, literally means "Peter my wife" in Afrikaans.

    platteland (plutt-uh-lunt) - Farmland, countryside. Literally flat land in Afrikaans, it now refers to any rural area in which agriculture takes place, including the mountainous Cape winelands.

    potjiekos (poi-chee-kors) - Traditional Afrikaner food, generally a rich stew, cooked in a three-legged cast-iron pot over a fire. The word means "little-pot food" in Afrikaans.

    puffadder - A viper or adder of the species Britis arietans. From the Afrikaans pofadder.

  • R
    rand - The South African currency, which is made up of 100 cents. The name comes from the Witwatersrand (Dutch for "white waters ridge"), the region in Gauteng province in which most of the country's gold deposits are found.

    robots - Traffic lights.

    rock up - To arrive somewhere unannounced or uninvited. It's the kind of thing friends do: "I was going to go out but then my china rocked up."

    rooibos (roy-borss) - Afrikaans for red bush, this popular South African tea made from the Cyclopia genistoides bush is gaining worldwide popularity for its health benefits.

    rooinek (roy-neck) - English-speaking South African, from the Afrikaans for red neck, but without the connotations given the term in the US. It was first coined by Afrikaners decades ago to refer to immigrant Englishmen, whose white necks were particularly prone to sunburn.

    rubbish bin (alternatively dustbin or dirt bin) - Garbage can.

  • S
    samoosa (suh-moo-suh) - A small, spicy, triangular-shaped pie deep-fried in oil. Originally made by the Indian and Malay communities, samoosas - known as samosas in Britain - are popular with all South Africans.

    sangoma (sun-go-mah) - Traditional healer or diviner.

    sarmie - Sandwich.

    scale, scaly - To scale something means to steal it. A scaly person is not to be trusted.

    shame - Broadly denotes sympathetic feeling. Someone admiring a baby, kitten or puppy might say: "Ag shame!" to emphasise its cuteness.

    sharp - Often doubled up for effect as sharp-sharp!, this word is used as a greeting, a farewell, for agreement or just to express enthusiasm.

    shebeen - A township tavern, illegal under the apartheid regime, often set up in a private house and frequented by black South Africans. The word is originally Gaelic.

    shongololo - Large brown millipede, from the isiZulu ukushonga, meaning "to roll up".

    sjambok (sham-bok) - A stout leather whip made from animal hide.

    skelm (skellem) - A shifty or untrustworthy person; a criminal.

    skinner (skinner) - Gossip, from Afrikaans. A person who gossips is known as a skinnerbek: "Jislaaik, bru, I'm going to donner that skinnerbek for skinnering about me." Translation: "Gee, my friend, I'm going to hit that guy for gossiping about me."

    skollie (skoh-li) - Gangster, criminal, from the Greek skolios, meaning crooked.

    skop, skiet en donner (skorp, skeet en donner) - Action movie. Taken from Afrikaans, it literally means "kick, shoot and thunder".

    skrik - Fright: "I caught a big skrik" means "I got a big fright".

    skrik vir niks - Scared of nothing.

    slap chips (slup chips) - French fries, usually soft, oily and vinegar-drenched, bought in a brown paper bag. Slap is Afrikaans for "limp", which is how French fries are generally made here.

    slip-slops, slops - Sandals or rubber thongs with a thin strap between the big toe and the next toe.

    smaak stukkend - Love to bits. In Afrikaans smaak means like, and stukkend means broken.

    smokes - Cigarettes.

    snoek (like book) - A popular and tasty fish, often eaten smoked. If you're lucky you may get to experience a snoek braai - a real South African treat.

    sosatie (soh-saa-tee) - A kebab on a stick.

    spanspek (spun-speck) - Cantaloupe, an orange-fleshed melon. The word comes from the Afrikaans Spaanse spek, meaning "Spanish bacon". The story goes that Juana Smith, the Spanish wife of 19th-century Cape governer Harry Smith, insisted on eating melon instead of bacon for breakfast, causing her bemused Afrikaans-speaking servants to coin the word.

    spaza - Informal township shop.

    spookgerook (spoo-ahk-ghah-roo-ahk) - Literally, in Afrikaans, ghost-smoked. Used jokingly, the word means "mad" or "paranoid".

    stoep (stup) - Porch or verandah.

    stompie - A cigarette butt. From the Afrikaans stomp, meaning "stump". The term picking up stompies means intruding into a conversation at its tail end, with little information about its content.

    stroppy - Difficult, uncooperative, argumentative or stubborn.

    struesbob (s-true-zz-bob) - "As true as Bob", as true as God, the gospel truth.

  • T
    takkies - Running shoes or sneakers. Fat takkies are extra-wide tyres.

    tannie (tunny) - An Afrikaans word meaning "auntie", but also used for any older female of authority.

    taxi - Not a metered car with a single occupant, but a minibus used to transport a large number of people, and the most common way of getting around in South Africa.

    to die for - An expression popular in the affluent suburbs of Johannesburg and Cape Town, denoting enthusiastic approval for an object or person: "That necklace is to die for."

    tom - Money.

    toppie - Old man.

    townships - Low-income dormitory suburbs outside cities and towns to which black South Africans were confined during the apartheid era.

    toyi-toyi - A knees-up protest dance.

    tsotsi - A gangster, hoodlum or thug - and the title of South Africa's first Oscar-winning movie. Although Will Smith thought otherwise at the awards ceremony, the word is not pronounced "sossy".

    tune grief - Cause trouble.

  • U
    ubuntu - Southern African humanist philosophy that holds as its central tenet that a person is a person through other persons. (See box on the right above.)

  • V
    veld (felt) - Open grassland. From the Dutch for "field".

    velskoen (fell-skun) - Simple unworked leather shoes.

    vetkoek (fet-cook) - "Fat cake" in Afrikaans, vetkoek is a doughnut-sized bread roll made from deep-fried yeast dough. Mainly served with a savoury mince filling, it's artery-clogging and delicious.

    voetsek (foot-sak) - Go away, buzz off.

    voetstoets (foot-stoots) - "As is" or "with all its faults". The term is used when advertising, for example, a car or house for sale. If the item is sold voetstoets the buyer may not claim for any defects, hidden or otherwise, discovered after the sale. From the Dutch met de voet te stoten, meaning "to kick".

    vrot (frot) - Rotten or smelly.

    vuvuzela (voo-voo-zeh-lah) - A large, colourful plastic trumpet with the sound of a foghorn, blown enthusiastically by virtually everyone in the crowd at soccer matches. According to some, the word comes from the isiZulu for "making noise".

  • W
    windgat (vint-ghut) - Show-off or blabbermouth. Taken from the Afrikaans, it literally means wind hole.

    witblitz (vit-blitz) - Potent home-made distilled alcohol, much like the American moonshine. The word literally means "white lightning" in Afrikaans. See mampoer.

    Info thanks to reporter. Additional information sourced from Wiktionary, Wikipedia and the Rhodes University Dictionary Unit for SA English.

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