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A Foreign Traveller’s Quick Guide to Loadshedding

It is a distinctly South Africa characteristic, this loadshedding business, and when you are planning your trip to our beautiful nation, you need to prepare to sometimes be experiencing your travels in the dark.

Whenever you read a traveller’s guide to South Africa, loadshedding is the phenomenon that you are going to read about time and again. It can be a mystery to some and a truly horrifying experience for others, but if you are living in South Africa it is the unwelcome way of life that we have become used to and which you have to prepare for.

What is loadshedding?

Essentially loadshedding is the polite word for an electrical blackout. Since South Africa relies on state provided energy, and since the state is not able to meet the demands of all of its citizens, there is often a power crisis that is the result of the system being overloaded. Loadshedding prevents the entire system from collapsing, and although the problem first began in 2007, South Africans and travellers alike are still suffering with it.

While Stage 4 was once the peak of loadshedding, the state utility has further introduced a Stage 5, 6, 7 and 8, with Stage 6 being the highest stage reached so far.

How does it work?

Just about everyone in the country gets a turn to have their power cut. The rotational nature of the power cuts means not everyone is off at the same time and it also means some places are without power for longer than others, it all depends on where you live.

As a traveller, it will be helpful to either download a reliable app or to find out from your tour company what loadshedding is like where you will be going and how long it will stay off for. This is important as it will help you with your planning, so that you can work around the huge inconvenience that loadshedding creates.

Tips for “Surviving” Loadshedding

Using the word surviving might sound a little melodramatic, but once you have experienced loadshedding and its misery, you will understand why that is the perfect word to use.

When travelling to South Africa, there are some things you can do to reduce the effects of loadshedding, and it starts with being prepared. Loadshedding causes traffic to back up, it prevents some shops from operating, and it can even affect the pumping of water.

That said, loasdshedding shouldn’t stop you from visiting, especially if you are going on a Kruger Park safari. Many lodges and even the park itself have become really savvy and setup alternative power systems to ensure that guests enjoy the most pleasant stay possible. The occasional blackout won’t even be all that noticeable once you are on your safari game drive, so that is just another bonus to being in the bush!

For an uninterrupted Kruger safari experience, you can always book your tour with Kurt Safari. We use eco-lodges for our accommodation and we provide a maximum amount of time in the park, ensuring you have the best possible experience.



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