South Africa becoming popular tourist destination with UAE travelers


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – More and more Emiratis and UAE residents are traveling to South Africa due to its favorable seasons and unique tourist attractions, a senior official said.

South African Consul-General Manabile Shogole said his country is increasingly becoming a favourite among UAE residents, especially Emiratis.

“There has certainly been an increase in the number of Emirati travelers to South Africa. Particularly large groups of families who are travelling,” Shogole said.

“Apart from the country’s tourist value proposition, South Africa is the preferred tourist destination for Emiratis and UAE residents, generally throughout the year and the climax or peak season is normally during South Africa’s winter season, which is the UAE’s summer season owing to the two countries’ geographic locations — South Africa being in the south and UAE in the north,” he added.

From April 2014 to March 2015, more than 8,500 visas to South Africa were issued in the UAE. This increased to more than 8,800 the following year. For the first seven months of this year alone, almost 7,000 visas have been issued.

“The weather in South Africa is fantastic throughout the year. We enjoy all four seasons. It does snow in certain parts of the country,” Shogole said.

“We have everything — beaches, wildlife, sports. People visit South Africa for two reasons — some of them who are into wildlife will visit game reserves, we have a number of them like the Kruger National Park. Others visit South Africa wanting to visit our cities and rural areas.”

The country comprises nine provinces and each of the provinces boasts unique tourist attractions like none other in the whole world, Shogole said.

“Over and above that, eight of Unesco’s World Heritage sites are found in South Africa. The country has different places of worship for people of various religious persuasions; different types of foods that are in keeping with the respective cultural and religious beliefs.”

The normal visa cost is Dh250 and takes five working days to be issued. Temporary residence or long-term visas take eight weeks.