Last updated: 5 Dec 2018

Azerbaijan

About

Azerbaijan is an Islamic former Soviet Republic on the Caspian Sea, an oil rich and strategically important nation that is the key geopolitical power in the Caucasus. Azerbaijan's location has always made it a gateway between east and west, and the country was an important stop on the Silk Route. Over the centuries, Azerbaijan has been incorporated into most major regional empires, including the Russian, Turkish and Persian and has been an independent republic since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Taking in the stunning Caucasus Mountains to the north, the lush green valleys of the south and large swathes of arid semi-desert in between, Azerbaijan is a beautiful country with superb scenery, although it remains virtually unknown to the average traveller. Visitors usually base themselves in the capital Baku, from where it is easy to visit most of the country's biggest attractions.
Capital:  Baku (BAK)
Currency:  Azeri New Manat (AZN)
Language:  Azerbaijani. Turkish and Russian are widely spoken. English is not widely spoken or understood. 
Dialling code from SA:  + 994
Time Zones: UTC / GMT +4 (2 hours ahead of South Africa)
Public Holidays 2018:  Jan 1, 2, 20, 22; Mar 8, 20-24; May 9, 28; Jun 15, 26; Aug 22; Nov 9, 12, 17, 19; Dec 31
Side of the Road: Right. An International Driving Permit or licence issued by an EU country is required.
Best Time to Go: April – June & September - October
Best for: Historical Monuments, Religious Sites, Mountain Trekking, Cultural Exploration
Plugs: 220 volts AC, 50Hz
Drinking Water: All water should be regarded as being potentially contaminated. Some areas do have their own water supplies from natural springs.
Health: Medical facilities are very limited. It is advisable to carry basic medical supplies.  Comprehensive health insurance is recommended and it should include emergency air evacuation coverage. If you require any medication on your travels it is best to bring it with you, in the original packaging, with a signed and dated letter from your doctor detailing exactly what it is and why you need it. Ensure that the medication can be legally imported.
Customs: As a predominately Islamic country, dress should always be conservative: men should wear long pants, and women should keep their arms and legs covered. Respect to religious customs should also be shown during the month of Ramadan. Although homosexuality is legal, public displays of affection should be avoided, particularly outside the capital. 
Travel Tips / Warnings: Political gatherings and demonstrations should be avoided. Travellers should only use registered taxis. Avoid travel to Nagorno-Karabakh area. Corruption is a common complaint from tourists.  Travellers should carry identification at all times, due to police checks. Although credit cards may be accepted at some establishments, Azerbaijan operates mostly as a cash-only economy.  The easiest currencies to exchange are USD, GBP & EURO. 
Duty Free: The following goods may be imported into Azerbaijan by persons over 16 years of age without incurring customs duty:
• 3 cartons of cigarettes
• 3L of alcohol
• Goods up to a value of US$1,000 and up to 50kg in weight
• 125g of caviar
On entering the country, you must complete a customs declaration form which you must retain until departure. This allows the import of articles intended for personal use, including currency and valuables, which you must register on the form.
Prohibited Imports: Weapons and ammunition, narcotics, and photographs and printed material directed against Azerbaijan.  You may only import religious literature and goods with the permission of the State Commission on Work with Religious Associations. Plants, animals and their products must be accompanied by the appropriate import certificate from the State Sanitary Service or State Veterinary Service.
Prohibited Exports: Weapons and ammunition, cultural artefacts (unless permission has been granted by the Ministry of Culture), zoological collections, wildlife objects, deer and gazelle horns, protected plant and tree species, and documents of state importance.

Issuing Authorities

Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan
302 Albert Street, Waterkloof
Pretoria, 0181
Tel: (012) 346 1018 / 0829
Fax: (012) 346 1864  
E-mail:pretoria.az@gmail.com
Web: http://pretoria.mfa.gov.az/content/36

Office Hours : Tue and Fri 1000-1600

Visa Requirements

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SA Representative

Non-resident accredited from Ankara, Turkey.

Travel Health

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