The western world will most likely have a perception of South Africa that is far from reality. For example, South Africa has a very diverse population and has one of the strongest economies in Africa. With a modernised infrastructure and most of the technologies and amenities that you can expect to find in most European countries.

If you plan on visiting the country in the near future, here is a basic guide to help understand the process involved to make and receive international calls whilst in the country.


South Africa does in fact posses an impressively developed telecommunications infrastructure, with several different mobile phone network providers. Therefore widespread coverage can be expected. On arrival you will have the opportunity to hire or purchase any kind of smartphone at most shops or specifically at the airport. But most will wish to discover how to use their own phone to help reduce their cost and expenses. Note that only triband and quadband enabled phones are able to operate in the country.

Receiving Calls Within South Africa

Before leaving, ensure that those who plan on calling you understand the process involved. Here is a brief description of the process:

The first step will be to dial the international country code, +27.

The next stage is to determine the area code of the city or town you plan on staying. Or the mobile network code. But remembering to remove the 0.

Therefore, is you are wishing to call a landline phone within Cape Town from another country you would dial +27 21 plus the number you wish to call. The area code for Cape Town is 021, but because you are calling from another country the zero is removed.

Calling Internationally From South Africa

In order to make an international call from South Africa you must dial 00, followed by the country code of the required country. Similar to receiving calls, the area code must also be dialled before entering the number you are wishing to call.

To call the United Kingdom whilst in South Africa you must dial the following: 00 44, followed the number you wish to call.

Tips And Tricks

Keeping costs down is almost everyone’s goal, when travelling throughout another country. One of the key expenses that most travellers bring home with them is a large mobile bill. This is the result of the sending text messages, calling and using mobile data can be much greater than back home.

Precautions should always be taken to avoid using the same tariff in another country. Fortunately there are many ways to avoid this. The first step could be to purchase a local SIM card on arrival. Or, speaking to your network provider before you leave, to see the available packages and option to help reduce the cost of using your mobile phone abroad.

Lastly, one of the easiest and cheapest options is to utilise your mobile phone, especially if it is a smart phone. There are many different VoIP apps that provide another means of calling and texting those you love. The only requirement is a stable internet connection, this includes Wi-Fi. Because most hotels and cafés will provide complimentary Wi-Fi this makes keeping in touch cost nothing.

When this is not an available option, consider using low cost international calling cards and online access numbers. This method of calling internationally goes back many generations, and will still provide cheap calls to South Africa, including hundred of other countries around the world if you so desire.

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