Durban and South Africa Travel, Phone Tips
June 23, 2000
Persons attending the XIII International AIDS Conference should print out and follow the security precautions on the conference Web site, http://www.aids2000.com (click on 'Safety and Security'). Previous International AIDS Conferences have been held in some of the world's safest cities (such as Geneva or Vancouver); Durban has much more street crime, so travelers must be careful.
For travel hints on South Africa (or other countries), see the Lonely Planet site, http://www.lonelyplanet.com. This well-known publisher of travel books also maintains Web pages where recent travelers write about their experiences; the page for South Africa is http://www.lonelyplanet.com/letters/afr/sou_pc.htm
A map of Durban is online at
Phone calls from other countries to the U.S. are often much more expensive than the other way around (for example, the rate through the Lonely Planet calling-card service, which advertises low prices, was recently $1.64/minute). Travelers anywhere should be aware of phone scams and rip-offs; some of the worst are from the phones in hotel rooms. Our rule, except in an emergency, is to always pay for a call in a way which limits any loss to a known amount -- such as an international calling card (one which does not automatically bill a credit card), a local telephone card, or coins -- and never pay through a credit card, hotel room, or by billing to a personal phone number.
Cell phones can be rented in Durban.
The electricity in South Africa is 220/230 volts (vs. 120 in the U.S.). Most modern computers can adjust to the voltage automatically (check the label on the external power supply -- or on the computer itself, if the power supply is built in). South Africa has an unusual electric plug, so a plug adapter will be needed, and any device which cannot adjust or be switched to the higher voltage will also require a transformer.
Medical issues are beyond the scope of this article. See http://www.cdc.gov/travel (including its Southern Africa page, and HIV page), and ask your doctor about special precautions and needs.
Copyright 2000 by John S. James. Permission granted for noncommercial reproduction, provided that our address and phone number are included if more than short quotations are used.
This article was provided by AIDS Treatment News. It is a part of the publication AIDS Treatment News.