How to get a local SIM card when travelling to South Africa
Be it, the regular, travel junkies or casual tourists, everyone wants comfort and security when travelling to other countries. Booking flights and car hire in South Africa with seamless transitions from the airport to the hotel saves you energy and gives you peace of mind. Believe it or not, one of the most defining moments in your travel life is staying connected to your loved ones, friends and you’re carefully curated Instagram profile. While there are free Wi-Fi zones in some cities in South Africa, they aren’t always free or fast. Don’t plan on saving money for your SIM card because the local SIM cards are tourist-friendly, relatively fast and absolutely inexpensive.
There are a few cell service providers in South Africa, but Cell C, MTN and Vodacom are the most popular and offer the best coverage, especially when you travel to more remote areas. These providers all have kiosks throughout South Africa’s international airports.
Vodacom offers B4IGO, which allows you to pre-order a SIM card, airtime and a data bundle before you even leave your home. This option gives you a very comfortable means of getting the SIM number beforehand. You can then conveniently pick it up once you arrive at their airport and avoid the hassle of finding a place to buy one, especially when you arrive during the late hours of the night.
This also allows you to avoid the rigors of RICA, or Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-related Information ACT, where you are asked to register your SIM cards at the airport or official SIM card kiosks. If you want premium comfortability from the get-go, this is a great option. However, B4IGO is relatively expensive compared to purchasing local SIM cards from the stores outside the airport. For cheaper SIMs and rates, you can purchase a Cell C or MTN SIM in official booths found in malls, stores, gas stations, etc. Certain providers are more prevalent throughout South Africa and it’s best to check with the country of travel to find out which service provider will offer the best rates and customer service possible.