GETTING ORIENTATED

south-africa

If South Africa is a “world in one country”, then Cape Town is a true reflection of this. Situated on the south western tip of Africa, Cape Town and the Western Cape are recognised as one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Offering a range of attractions, breathtaking sights, world class conferencing and event facilities and endless activities; it is a year-round holiday and business destination with friendly people, a mild climate and rich cultural heritage. The Mother City of South Africa occupies one of the world’s most stunning locations, with an iconic mountain slap-bang in her centre. As beautiful as the surrounding beaches and vineyards can be, it’s the rugged wilderness of Table Mountain, coated in a unique flora, that grabs everyone’s attention.

Complementing the mountain’s natural beauty is Cape Town’s eye-catching way with design and colour in everything from the brightly painted façades of the Bo-Kaap and the Victorian bathing chalets of Muizenberg, to the contemporary Afro-chic décor of the many excellent guesthouses, restaurants and bars.

Population

48.7 million people

Currency

South African Rand – ZAR

Language spoken

Eleven official languages, but English is the language of business

Currency and Banks

The unit of currency in South Africa is the South African Rand (ZAR), one Rand equaling 100 cents. Facilities for cashing traveller’s cheques are available at banks (operating hours are Monday – Friday 09:00 – 15:30, Saturdays 08:30 – 11:00) and at most hotels. Banks are closed on Sundays. Foreign exchange agencies are open during the week and on Saturdays. Automatic teller machines (ATM) are open 24 hours and are located at most banks as well as at the Congress Venue. International credit cards (Visa, Diners Club, MasterCard and American Express) are accepted at the majority of hotels, restaurants and shops.

Electricity Supply

The electricity supply in South Africa is 220 – 240 volts, 50 Hz. The connection for appliances is a round three-pin plug. Most hotels provide dual-voltage two-pin razor sockets (100-120 volts and 220-240 volts).

Appliances with a type C plug (European rectangular 2 plug standard ) are very commonly found and used with a plug adapter in order to fit type M sockets. Type N sockets are compatible with C plugs.

Health

There are no compulsory vaccination requirements for persons entering South Africa although a certificate for yellow fever may be required if you are entering from certain South American or sub-Saharan African countries. Certain parts of the country have been designated as malaria risk areas. If you intend traveling to one of these areas, it is essential that you take prophylaxis before arrival and whilst in the area. Cape Town is a malaria risk free area. South African doctors and dentists are highly trained professionals and hospitals are well equipped. Delegates are requested to make their own arrangements with respect to health insurance prior to departure and consult their local general practitioner for personal expert advice. For international travel and health advisories please visit the WHO website at www.who.int/ith. It is safe to drink tap water throughout South Africa. Smoking is prohibited by law in most public buildings in South Africa except in designated smoking areas.

Prices

Prices will vary, but the following is an indication of what delegates might expect:

  • Tea or coffee ZAR 15.00 € 1.00 US$ 2.00
  • Restaurant meal ZAR160.00 € 14.00 US$ 20.00
  • Sandwich ZAR 25.00 € 2.30 US$ 3.50

Security

We wish to assure all delegates that Cape Town is like any other major city with good and bad areas. Common sense will ensure a trouble free and enjoyable congress. The area around the CTICC and adjacent hotels is safe and well monitored at all times but we advise that you do not walk alone after dark in unpopulated streets. Ostentatious displays of wealth should be avoided at all times.

Shopping in Cape Town

Most shops in the city centre and suburbs open between 08.00 and 17.00. Shops in major shopping malls open at 09.00 and close at 19.00 or later (), even on Sundays and most public holidays. Government agencies still keep to traditional weekday only hours.

Tipping

Gratuities are expected in South Africa. A guideline for visitors is the following: Airport porters ZAR5.00 per item, taxis 10%, waiters and waitresses in restaurants 10%.

Traveller’s Cheques

Most international traveller’s cheques are accepted, provided they are in an acceptable currency and may be cashed at most banks. Many hotels and shops also provide this service.

VAT / Tax Refunds

VAT of 14% is levied on nearly all goods and services. 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 at the airport on departure, and the total VAT on these items will be refunded.

Weather

May in Cape Town is autumn. The weather is generally fair but occasional rainy and windy days can occur. Mornings are crisp, evenings can be cool especially if there is a breeze. Maximum daytime temperatures range from 15C to 25C.

Emergency Phone Number

In case of emergency (police, ambulance, fire), dial 107.

Time Zone

Cape Town is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (+2GMT).