Cape Town's Standard Time:
Two hours in advance of Greenwich Mean Time.
Every person seeking to enter South Africa must be in possession of a valid passport for travel to South Africa and, where necessary, a visa. Enquiries can be directed to South African diplomatic representatives abroad or the Department of Home Affairs in Pretoria. Visitors who intend travelling to South Africa's neighbouring countries and back into South Africa are advised to apply for multiple entry visas. In terms of existing arrangements, passport holders of certain countries are exempt from visa requirements. Tourists must satisfy immigration officers that they have the means to support themselves during their stay, and that they are in possession of return or onward air tickets. They must also have valid international health certificates.
No international immunization is needed when entering South Africa.
The only inoculation requirement is a yellow fever vaccination certificate from travellers over one year of age entering South Africa within six days of leaving an infected country. Visitors who travel through or disembark in these areas are advised to be inoculated against the disease before visiting South Africa.
This disease is to the larger extent under control in South Africa. Regions that are affected are the Northern Province and Mpumalanga, northern Natal and Zululand. The risk of contracting the disease is negligible provided that you take the standard precautions. Malaria tablets, a good insect repellent particularly in the evening, long-sleeved shirts and mosquito coils are advisable precautions.
If you wish to make a call overseas, you must first dial 09, which is South Africa's international access code. You then dial the country code, area code of the city or region and the number of the person you wish to call. For example, if you make a call to Sydney, Australia, telephone number 456 1234 you must dial 09 61 2 456 1234.
Telephone and fax numbers should be preceded by the area code for Cape Town (021) if you are dialling from other centres in South Africa, or by the international code (+27-21) if you are dialling from outside the country.
When dialling from a cell/mobile phone, land line telephone numbers should be preceded by the area code of the number you wish to dial. i.e. When you are in Cape Town you still have to dial 021 + the phone number.
For national telephone enquiries: 1023
For international telephone enquiries: 0903
Public phones are either coin or card operated. Only green public telephones use telephone cards. The cards can be bought at various hotels, post offices, airports, bookshops and supermarkets. Mobile phones, known as cell phones, are widely used.
220/230 volts AC at 50 cycles per second. Three pronged plugs are universal, so take an adapter. Most hotel rooms have 110-volt outlets for electric shavers and small appliances.
Tap water throughout the Cape Metropolitan Area is safe for human consumption.
One Rand (R) = 100 cents (c). Notes issued R200, R100, R50, R20, R10; coins R5, R2, R1, 50c 20c, 10c, 5c Currency exchange rates are available at banks and published daily in the press
Weekdays 08:00 to 16:00
Saturdays 08:00 to 12:00
Stamps can be bought at many stationery shops and supermarkets. Private companies offer many of the postal services supplied by the main post office as well as courier and speed post services.
It is customary to tip waiters, waitresses, wine stewards, taxi drivers, porters and caddies. Depending on service, the amount should be around 10%. Petrol station attendants often anticipate a tip if they have gone beyond just filling your tank.
Most international traveler's checks are accepted provided they are in an acceptable currency and may be cashed at most banks. Many hotels and shops also provide this service.
Foreign tourists visiting South Africa can have their value-added tax (VAT) refunded provided the value of each invoice for goods purchased exceeds R50 the value of the total items purchased exceeds R250. VAT is refunded on departure at the point of departure.
VAT of 14% is levied on nearly all goods and services including hotel accommodation, goods and transport.. Foreign tourists may claim back VAT paid on items that will be taken out of the country. Original tax invoices, foreign passport, plus all the items on which a refund is claimed, must be presented at the VAT refund administration office or an appointed RSA customs and excise official on departure, and the total VAT on these items will be refunded. Visitors will be requested to fill out a VAT Refund Control Sheet (VAT 255). Where a visitor does not export all the goods specified on a particular tax invoice, only the value of the goods and the tax paid on such goods exported must be declared on this form.
Drive on the left and give way to traffic approaching from the right. The general speed limit is 120km/h on open roads and 60km/h in urban areas. An international driver's licence is required in SA as the licence must include a photograph as well as the signature of the holder. Cash is required to pay for fuel.
Conversions - distances and temperatures:
Distances throughout SA are given in kilometres.
1 mile = 1,62 kilometres
Temperatures are given in degrees Celsius (Centigrade).
10 degrees Celsius = 50 degrees Fahrenheit
Cost of living:
Cape Town is rated as one of the best value for money tourist destinations from a survey of international cities recently conducted by Cape Metropolitan Tourism. To help you plan your budget we have listed the average costs of some items of holiday spending money. The prices listed may vary depending on the service provided and the location.
EX. Can of beer (340 ml) R10,00
Can of coke (340 ml) R8,00
20 cigarettes R25,00
Fuel per litre (97 octane) R9,00
Bottle of red wine (good quality) at restaurant R87,50
Bottle of white wine (good quality) at restaurant R55,00
Major international credit cards such as American Express, Bank of America, Diners, MasterCard, Standard Bank Card, Visa and their affiliates are accepted.
400 cigarettes, 250 grams of tobacco, 50 cigars, one litre of spirit, two litres of wine, 50 ml perfume, 250 ml of eau de toilette, Also gifts, souvenirs and other goods to the value of R500. Duty is levied at 20% thereafter.
Alcohol may only be purchased by persons over the age of 18.
Duty Free Shops:
Duty-free shops are situated at Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban International Airports.
Dial 10111 for the Flying Squad and 10177 for an ambulance.
Dial 107 for any emergency in greater Cape Town and immediate surroundings only.
Police: 10111 (only in SA)
Crimestop: 0800 11 12 13 (only in SA)
Tourist Assistance Unit: +2721 418-2853
Emergencies: 107 - greater Cape Town and immediate surroundings only.
There are 11 official languages in SA. English is the language of administration and is widely spoken. Other languages are: Afrikaans, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu.
Doctors are listed under "Mediese Praktisyns/Medical Practitioners" in the telephone directory and Dentists can be found under "Tandartse/Dentists".
South Africa has 12 public holidays that apply to commerce and industry alike. If a public holiday falls on a Sunday, the following Monday becomes a public holiday. Please check calendars for details.
In an effort to curb crime, a closed circuit television system has been installed in the CBD (central business district).
Your safety and well being are of the utmost importance to the tourism industry. As in other countries, there are a few basic precautions to take in South Africa to ensure that your stay is as pleasant and safe as possible:
· At the hotel:
· Never leave your luggage unattended.
· Store valuables in the hotel's safety deposit box.
· Keep your room locked, whether you're in it or not.
· If someone knocks, check who it is before opening the door.
· Hand the keys in at the desk whenever you leave the hotel.
· In the street:
· Avoid ostentatious displays of expensive jewellery, cameras and other valuables.
· It is definitely not advisable to carry large sums of money around.
· At night, steer clear of dark, isolated areas.
· It's better to explore in groups and to stick to well-lit, busy streets.
· Plan your route beforehand.
· A policeman or traffic officer will be glad to direct you if you get lost.
· If you want to call a taxi, your hotel or the nearest tourism information office can recommend a reliable service.
· In the car:
· Plan your route in advance.
· Keep the doors locked at all times and wind the windows up.
· Lock valuable items in the boot (trunk).
· At night, park in well-lit areas.
· Never pick up strangers.
· If in doubt about the safety of an area, phone a police station for advice.