South Africa Tourism Safety Tip – Does South Africa suffer from electricity shortages?
You may have read in the news that in South Africa, electricity shortages happen from time to time. It is true that some areas experience periodic, scheduled power outages.
That being said, hotels, restaurants, shopping malls and popular tourist attractions are well equipped with back-up generators to ensure that visitors have an uninterrupted and pleasant experience during their stay.
Capacity shortages from time to time mean that South Africa experiences load-shedding. These are scheduled outages where power is cut to areas for a short period of time to reduce the load on the electricity grid.
Schedules are published in advance and residents are prepared for their downtime accordingly. If you are staying in a guesthouse or establishment that does not have a generator and load-shedding takes place, your accommodation provider will likely have made provision for the lack of electricity.
Ask them for their area's schedule so you can minimise any inconvenience. This could include departing for your day trip earlier to avoid getting stuck in traffic as a result of traffic lights being out, or even boiling water and keeping it in a thermos for your morning cup of coffee.
With a tiny bit of planning, electricity disruptions can be handled without any fuss.
Why do we experience electricity shortages in South Africa?
Eskom provides South Africa with 90% of its electricity requirements. From time to time, however, the demand for electricity simply exceeds its ability to deliver and the grid becomes unstable. This could be due to many factors, including necessary scheduled maintenance, unexpected technical failures, a drop in supply from outsourced energy providers, etc.
As a last resort to retain the integrity of the grid, Eskom will cut power to certain areas at certain times - this is called load-shedding and is something South Africans are very familiar with although it is not a regular occurrence.
Of course, from time to time, like anywhere in the world, an unexpected technical issue could mean an area is without power. Rest assured your South African hosts will be well prepared to deal with it to ensure minimal inconvenience to you.
For more helpful tips for travel to South Africa, click on the links below: