Language: English, Afrikaans, Sesotho, isiXhosa and isiZulu are the most commonly spoken. Other official languages include isiNdebele, Sepedi, siSwati, Xitsonga, Setswana and Tshivenda. Visas: No visas are required for travellers from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, the USA and the European Union for visits of up to 90 days. Public holidays: New Year’s Day; Human Rights Day (21 March); Good Friday; Family Day (March/April); Freedom Day (27 April); Workers Day (1 May); Youth Day (16 June); Ascension; National Women’s Day (9 August); Heritage Day (24 September); Day of Reconciliation (16 December), Christmas (25 December); Day of Goodwill (26 December). Good buys: Arts and crafts, look out for pottery, leather goods and jewellery. Local dishes: Meat is very popular, particularly steak, sosaties (curried lamb chops), boerwors sausage and cuts of springbok, kudu, bush-pig and eland cooked over wood coals. Fish is also often on the menu, including the Cape’s world-famous rock lobster (known locally as crayfish). South Africa produces excellent wines, too. Interesting fact: There used to be only two official languages and now there are 11. Good reading: Nelson Mandela’s autobiography Long Road to Freedom is compulsory reading.
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