South African mobile apps make your time in South Africa easier.
We’ve chosen 8 apps that, if you download before you arrival, will help you navigate your South African Travel experience that much easier.
Essential South African mobile apps
This award-winning app allows you to see and share wildlife sightings from your phone. You can see other users’ sightings on the South African map, and enjoy your own sightings by uploading photos and sharing information about where and when you saw wild game.
To use: available free for Iphone and Android users, simple to download, the touch screen live sightings map allows you to see other sighting details, as well as add your own. There are offline maps for game drives with detailed parks’ hotspots that you can use without a network signal, and field guides by local rangers within the app.
Find Free WiFi in ZA
To use: free on Android and iPhone.
Our verdict: this app works best in the big cities, but even the smaller towns are worth knowing about, like George, which has 20 WiFi spots.
There area number of Gautrain apps to choose from, GauRider and Gautrain Buddy (which won MTN’s App of the Year – Best Garage Developer App 2017)are particularly useful. Neither are free downloads, but both are worth it, particularly if you use the Gautrain regularly in Johannesburg. GauRider tells you when the next Gautrain or bus time is in real time, rather than according to a schedule.
To use: GauRider is really quick. Once installed it’s a simple drag and drop to find the time of your next train, and it gets rave reviews by users. Only on Apple devices at the moment, unfortunately.
Our verdict: It reached number one place in the travel category of iPhone, South Africa.
Standard Bank has acquired the lion share of the snappy South African payments startup SnapScan, but when it comes to payment you can’t beat it. It’s fast, supports credit and debit cards and allows you to pay across a range of shops, markets, and restaurants – over 32 000 merchants across the country. And if you’re worried about fraud, it incorporates cutting-edge fraud protection technology.
To use: a free app for any smartphone, SnapScan is like a mini ATM that you link directly to your debit or credit card, instead of handling cash or handing over your card. Every merchant has an individualised SnapScan logo that you scan.
Our verdict: Quick, painless, really easy to use.
(not to be confused with myCitiapp media platform): MyCiti bus is the Mother city’s reliable, scheduled and affordable bus service. The popular service has an unofficial MyCiti app now in its second version. It has a route planner that automatically calculates your shortest route, including bus transfers and number of stops, bus stop times, and alerts for up to date service information.
To use: the free app scans your MyCiti bus card to check your balance (provided your phone has NFC technology) and gives a breakdown of the trips you’ve already taken.
Our verdict: all you need to get around using Cape Town’s MyCiti bus service.
Newman’s Bird App
Newman’s Birds of Southern Africa is a household staple. Almost every South African bird lover has one on their bookshelves. The app is incredible, and makes searching a whole lot easier. Accompanying many of the bird’s bios is an audio of its call.
To use: the download is free and easy to install. The app can narrow down identification of birds by filtering location, region, size and colour almost immediately.
Our verdict: if you’re even remotely a bird enthusiast, then this app is a must whilst in South Africa.
When it comes to South African mobile apps, this new local carpool, rideshare, liftclub app makes getting around Cape Town on a budget simple. It’s aimed at more regular road journeys, but longer stays, with regular trips will benefit. Best is that the shared costs are agreed upfront as a rate per kilometre, so no embarrassing moments over money.
To use: easy to download the free app, payments are made via SnapScan.
Our verdict: if you’re in Cape Town shorterm for business, and travelling regular routes, then this app is for you. But for quick visits, Uber still wins hands-down.
South Africans don’t watch the weather quite as avidly as the British, or other Europeans for whom a cloudless day is reason for celebration. But most locals have downloaded this particular Norwegian weather forecasting App, because of its uncanny accuracy. The zippy app contains weather forecasts, meteograms and extreme weather warnings.
To use: Available free for both iPhone and Android.There are very few weather forecasts with such extensive location databases as for yr.no. The word ‘yr’ means anything from ‘light drizzle’ to ‘giddy’, dizzy’ or ‘wild’ (when referring the the feeling you get in early spring). There are very few weather forecasts with such extensive location databases as for yr.no.
Our verdict: if you’re an MTB enthusiast, surfer, or outdoor lover this app is a must!
Which of these Essential South African mobile apps have you tried?