Last updated: 22 Jun 2019



Turkey proudly sits astride two continents: a position that has given rise to a culture that reflects both East and West. It is a country where a European way of life sits comfortably alongside Asian traditions and the volatile atmosphere of the Middle East, blending seamlessly into the relaxed outlook of the Mediterranean world.

Highlights include the Blue Mosque, the Topkapi Palace, Aya Sofya Museum and the city's Archaeological Museum.

Explore the northern suburbs of Istanbul by ferry-boat, criss-crossing the Bosphorus to visit villages that stretch up to the mouth of the Black Sea. Experience the charm of the Mediterranean city of Antalya, with its atmospheric old town and harbour, Kaleiçi. Visit the superb Archaeological Museum and tour the many historic sights surrounding the city.

Witness the bizarre sport of grease wrestling at the Kirkpinar Festival outside Edirne in early summer, or the even stranger spectacle of camel wrestling that takes place in mid-winter at Selçuk on the Aegean coast.

Seek out the superb Museum of Anatolian Civilisations and the Ethnographic Museum in Ankara. The Turkish capital has some excellent museums.
Capital:  Ankara (ESB)
Currency:  Turkish Lira (TRY). Euro is widely accepted. 
Language:  Turkish. French, German and English is widely spoken and understood 
Dialling code from SA:  + 90
Time Zones: UTC / GMT +2 (same time as South Africa)
Daylight Savings Time: From last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October: UTC / GMT +3 (1 hour ahead of South Africa)
Public Holidays 2019:

Jan 1; Apr 23; May 1, 19; Jun  4-6; Jul 15, Aug 11-14, 30; Oct 29

Side of the Road: Right
Best Time to go: April - May and September - October
Best For: Historical sites,  Religious Sites
Plugs: 220 volts AC, 50Hz. European-style plugs with two round pins are used.
Drinking Water: Mains water is chlorinated, but bottled water is advised. 
Health: There are adequate and well-equipped medical facilities in the main towns, however visitors are required to pay for these services. Comprehensive health insurance is recommended.
Customs: If visiting a mosque, dress should be conservative: men should wear long pants, and women should keep their arms and legs covered and wear a head scarf. Swimwear should be reserved for the beach.  
Travel Tips / Warnings: Tourists should carry their ID and passport with them at all time. 
Duty Free: The following goods may be imported into Turkey by travellers aged 18 and over without incurring customs duty:
• 400 cigarettes, 100 cigarillos, 50 cigars and 250g of tobacco
• 1L of alcohol over 22% volume or 2L of alcohol under 22% volume
• 600ml of perfume and eau de toilette
• 2kg of food products (e.g. tea, coffee or confectionery)
• Souvenirs to the value of €430 (reduced to €150 for children under 15)
Prohibited Imports: Narcotics. Sharp implements (including camping knives) and weapons require a special permit.
Prohibited Exports: The export of souvenirs such as carpets is subject to customs regulations regarding age and value. The export of antiques is strictly forbidden, with harsh penalties for those caught doing so. Minerals may only be exported under licence from the General Directorate of Mining Exploration & Research. You can't export tea, coffee, grain products or spices.

Visa Requirements

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SA Representative

South African Embassy
Filistin Sokak No 27 Gaziosmanpasa, Ankara 06700
Tel: (0090-312) 446-6861
Fax: (0090-312) 446-6434

Travel Health

Compulsory:  None
Recommended Travel Vaccines:  Hepatitis A & B, Rabies, Tetanus, Polio