Etiquette

  • Informality South Africa is largely informal; behaviour and expectations familiar from Western countries prevail in tourist venues.
  • Clothes Even for special events such as weddings, locals often dress relatively casually.
  • Cultural diversity In this multicultural country, etiquette varies wildly between ethnic and demographic groups, so check with your guide or a local if unsure.
  • Conversation It's possible to discuss most subjects, including race, as long as you maintain a positive and lighthearted tone.
  • Religion Christianity is taken more seriously and followed more widely than in secular Western countries; jokes about religion may offend.
  • Grace Saying grace before meals, while possibly holding hands, is common in Afrikaner households.
  • Greetings Shake hands with men. Women greet with a light hug rather than an air kiss.
  • Introductions Use people's surnames as well as their Christian names.
  • Drink driving This is widespread and locals have a relaxed attitude to it, but definitely don't do it yourself.