Six weeks in SA - General Questions

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May 22nd, 2002, 09:50 AM
  #1
Liz
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Six weeks in SA - General Questions

Hello all-
I am leaving for a six week stay in Pretoria on June 24. I am going to visit friends and we will be traveling the country as well as going to Mozanbique to scuba dive. I need info on what the weather will really be like (I return Aug. 15), what it is appropriate to wear and most importantly, I got out my electrical converter and adapter plugs and in the booklet it says not to use it to charge camcorder batteries. I would be very sad if I couldn't bring it, as I bought it just for this trip. Does anyone know what I should do? I am sure people bring their camcorders to SA all the time. I am from the US if that makes any difference. Oh, also, I will be staying at my friend's house while we are not traveling, I know in the US it is customary to give your hosts a gift as you arrive and when you depart, is it the same in SA? If so, any suggestions on what to give?
Thank you so much!!
 
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May 22nd, 2002, 10:32 AM
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Lisa
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Hi Liz
You will be there for the SA winter. In jhb and Pretoria you will find it cold at night and very early mornings and warm enough during the day to shed sweaters and light jackets. Most of the houses are genrally not heated so you will need warmer clothing for the nights. You will genrally not need heavy coats. If youa re going to cnay game parks, the early morning aaand late night drives can be very cold.

Mocambique and Natal will be warm. Cape Town can be cold and rainy.

I bought an adapter at Radio Shack (cat no 273-1412 to be precise)which I used to charge my camcorder battery with no problems. It is a 50 watt converter with differnent steel pins to fit differnet pelectical outlets around the world. the one that actually fits South african outlets is the one that is marked Europe - middel East. Once you get there , youwill still need to purchae of borrow form your hosts a triple adaptor. Standard otulets in Sa have three holes. You willneed soemthing to adapt for the 2 prong Radio shack outlet. You can buy it at a store called Clicks or a hardware store or probably the supermarket when you get there.

You cannot use this adapter for hairdriers. You would need something more powerful.

Absolutely, it si appropriate to give a gift. I would also take your hosts out to a restaurant. Eating out there is expensive for South Africans but cheap for Americans so they would appreciate it. without knowing more about your hosts, it is hard for me to suggest a gift. Maybe someone else can come up with something more generic. I always take, amongst other things, Phialdelphia cream cheese and peanut M&M's. Perhasp there is something special from your town or area?
Also, take something for the maid and remember to tip her well.
 
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May 22nd, 2002, 11:34 AM
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Celia
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I once took calendars to my business colleagues in Pretoria -- calendars with high quality photographs of landscapes of my home area. They told me later they enjoyed looking at the calendar later and knowing what my weather was like and contrasting it with their own. Things made of silver and turquoise, or other things suggestive of the West, might be nice.

In general, South Africans dress a little less casually than Americans, so I would say whatever's slightly dressy for your age will be what's usual for South Africans.
 
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May 22nd, 2002, 11:38 AM
  #4
Celia
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(My computer burped and posted my reply before I was finished.)

Pretoria has its own charm - I lived there for a couple of months a few years ago --but you will probably find better restaurants and activities in nearby Johannesburg. Have a wonderful time!

p.s. They're not kidding about the cold. Even though it's Africa, the winter is COLD, and with no heat in the houses, you'll want warm clothes. I don't know why they don't use solar heat more. They have enough sunshine for it.
 
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May 22nd, 2002, 01:06 PM
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Liz
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Dear Lisa and Celia,

Thank you so much for your advice! I appreciate you taking the time to help out a fellow traveler!

Thanks again,
Liz
 
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May 22nd, 2002, 05:18 PM
  #6
Lisa
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Just reread my response. Darn, I wish this site had an edit function. I am actually not dsylexic, illiterate or retarded. I just did not take the time to proofread my reply before posting it. Is my face red!!!!

Liz, hope you have a great trip!

And Local, if you read this response, you can now knock me about my grammar!
 
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May 22nd, 2002, 11:19 PM
  #7
traci
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I agree with the postings above but as a resident have some suggestions on the gifts: Lisa - I am happy to report that Philadelphia Cream Cheese and all types of M&M's are widely available in SA. There are very few international products which are not available in SA. From my travels in the US where I bought gifts to bring back I can comment that the most appreciated are things that you cannot get here. Of particular success were goods from Bath & Body Works as the quality and variety outstrips anything you can get locally - also it is a lot easier to transport than food items! Enjoy your stay
 
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May 23rd, 2002, 05:35 AM
  #8
Liz
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Traci~
Thanks for the tip! One question though, should I bring one gift for the whole family or each person an individual something? The two females would be good with the Bath & Body works stuff...any ides for a man?

I really appreciate the tips! Thank you so much!

~Liz

P.S. Someone told me I can not get Advantix film developed in SA...I hope this is not true.
 
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May 23rd, 2002, 10:50 PM
  #9
local
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Liz

Thank you for deciding to visit Pretoria where I live. As recommended in previous postings, I will bring some warm clothes along as the evenings and mornings can be pretty chilly.

My usual warning: If you plan to visit Mozambique and the Kruger Park,don't forget that these are malaria areas. Maybe not such a high risk in winter, but rather be safe than sorry.

The gifts side, for me (a man), a unique US T-shirt/corporate tie/beer mug, eg the Survivor TV show's Survivor elephant mug (that we can not get here) - see http://store.cbs.com/survivor3new/drink_gear.php - with some unique US picture will do the trick. (With the current exchange rate, US$100 in cash will be more than welcome.... But I do not know your friends, so it is difficult to pitch. I, however, will not go into depression if I do not get something, I perceive it to be a nice woman thing.

I have never heard of Advantix film but will find out.

Lisa, hey, I am the last to knock anybody about their grammar/spelling, I am just happy to get my "isses" and "ares" correct, don't even talk about the "haves" and the "hasses", or is it "have nots"....?

Liz, speaking of language, we have our own version of English, eg: We talk about `robots` in stead of traffic lights, so somebody will say to you `turn left at the next robot...` If somebody says he/she will do something `now-now` or `just now` it can mean any period of time in the future and is not necessarily immediately; and it you put "petrol" in your car and not gas. There are also some Afrikaans words that form part of accepted SA English, eg "lekker" which is a little better than "nice" - the food was "lekker"; a "braai" (like in "fry") is the SA version of a barberque and a "bakkie" (like buckey) is a LDV.

Enjoy your trip!!
 
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May 24th, 2002, 06:34 AM
  #10
Liz
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Local,

Thanks so much for the tips. I'll be sure to check into the Survivor stuff. That's a pretty good idea. Also, thanks for the language tips. From what I've seen Pretoria looks absolutely beautiful, I just wish I could be there in the spring (yours) to see the Jacard trees bloom!

About clothes though I do have a bit more specific question (limited packing space and six weeks of clothing are not working out well for me ) I have been told to dress slightly nicer there than I would here in the US. I generally don't run around like a slob or anything but is it ok for women to wear jeans and khakis? I have been told I should stick to skirts...which would be fine except I will freeze! (I am not a huge fan of cold weather.)

And about the Advantix film, it's a Kodak thing, lots of fun...I do know that we had to pay quite a bit more in France for the film so I have purchased plenty for this trip, but I would like to get it developed before I leave, if at all possible. The less it goes through x-rays, the better.

Thanks again for all of your help. I am incredibly excited! It had honestly never occured to me to come to SA until I made friends with someone who lives there, but once I started looking into it, I am completely hooked.

~Liz
 
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May 24th, 2002, 06:45 AM
  #11
Lisa
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Re dress. Depends what you are doing. If you are not working and are mainly sightseeing and shopping, jeans and khakis are fine. I remember Pretoria as being somewhat more conservative (anyone remember "safari suits", Local, you know the kind I mean - from back in the 70's ?)but I still think you are fine. You might need some smarter stuff if you are going to a fancy restaurant but I honestly don't think you need to worry too much.
 
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May 27th, 2002, 09:24 AM
  #12
Tracy
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Hi Liz

If you need help or more advise while you are in Pretoria, contact a company called Wild Sensations Tours and Safaris, they will help you with anything email address is. [email protected]

Enjoy it
Tracy
 
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May 27th, 2002, 09:40 AM
  #13
kavey
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Tracy

You seem to have posted about Wild Sensations on every thread in the top 10 in the last few minutes.

Have you taken a trip with Wild Sensations recently?

You mention in another thread that the company is owned by your family?

If your recommendation is truly not an attempt at promotion, perhaps you could share more about your trip details and why Wild Sensations worked out so well for you?

Kavey
 
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May 28th, 2002, 05:17 AM
  #14
local
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Liz

I spoke to a Kodak outlet here in Pretoria and they assured me that they can develop Advantix film, so I must accept that it can be done. I am, however, not sure if all photo shops will be able to do it.

You are indeed right about the Jacarandas, they are especially nice in October.

I agree with Lisa on the dress. You will be OK with jeans, etc for everyday dress but maybe something a little smarter (but not black tie) for a restaurant - depending on the restaurant. Here you will find people wearing a jacket and tie going to the same restaurant than the guy with his jeans. You will freeze your butt off if you stick to dresses, especially in the evening.

Hey, Lisa, we are not that conservative anymore, you must go to Bloemfontein, there even the hippies are still wearing safari suits.... Don't forget the comb in the right leg sock or the pens in the top pocket of the jacket

SA language 101: A kind of greeting that is becoming more popular is "Howzit?" which actually means "how is it?" but is also just used as a greeting and does not necessarily require an answer.





 
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May 28th, 2002, 12:41 PM
  #15
Lisa
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Local, ROTFL. I had completely forgotten about the comb in the pocket! How about socks and sandals? Still a fashion statement? What about a Crrrrimplene rok (dress)?

And don't forget the answer to Howzit is "Ja well no fine".

True story!My sister-in-law once greeted someone with "Howzit" which to the American ear sounded like "Hi Zit". This person was so insulted, she thought my sister-in-law was calling her a big fat pimple.
 
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