Traveling to CAPE TOWN
Uber: The Uber app is accessible in Cape Town. Be sure to have sufficient data or access to WIFI.
Cab/Taxi: There are a large number of metered taxis available. It’s easy to find one near major attractions or at the airport. Please note metered taxis cannot be hailed at any street corner and often require advance booking. Another type of taxi, which is unofficial, will look like a minibus and are often used by locals. These minibus taxes are also present at taxi stands but are not metered and not suggested for use by visitors.
Car hire: All the major companies operate out of the airport and have city depots.
Bicycle: Cape Town has become a very bike-friendly city, with dedicated bike lanes in most areas and some of the world’s biggest cycle races hosted here.
Bus: Cape Town has a number of private bus companies and commuter bus services, as well as the City Sightseeing bus. The City Sightseeing bus is an awesome way to see the city at your own pace as you jump on and off at your leisure. The MyCiti bus is another quick and easy way to get around the city and surrounds.
Visa & Entry Requirements
Requirements for visitors’ visas differ from country to country (some countries are currently exempt), and the requirements are subject to change. As each application is treated as an individual case, each visitor should make enquiries with their nearest South African mission or consulate abroad or any office of the Department of Home Affairs to see whether they are required to apply for a visa. It is important to check on the current status of visa requirements as there have been a number of changes since 2014.
Requirements for entering South Africa can be found on the South African Department of Home Affairs website dha.gov.za.
Passports MUST be valid for a minimum of six months from your return home date. There must be a minimum of TWO BLANK VISA pages in the passport (not endorsement pages). Guests have been refused entry due to not having sufficient visa pages in their passports. It is better to have THREE OR FOUR BLANK Pages if you are visiting more than one African country.
*Children under the age of 18* – MUST HAVE AN ORIGINAL OR UNABRIDGED BIRTH CERTIFICATE, even if the minor is travelling with both parents. If your child is travelling with only one parent, or with an adult who is not their parent or legal guardian, you MUST ALSO provide an affidavit providing permission from the other parent for children to travel, signed within 3 months of the travel date.
Cape Town International Airport (CPT) is located 20 km (12 miles) east of Cape Town City Center and is linked to Cape Town via the N2 Freeway. Allow plenty of time for travel to the airport for your departing flights to allow for severe traffic, particularly during peak business hours.
Money & Currency
The unit of currency is the South African Rand (ZAR). Cape Town International Airport has a 24-hour foreign exchange service, as well as various cash machines. There is an abundance of cash machines and foreign exchange outlets throughout Cape Town and the vast majority of retail outlets and service providers in the city have credit card facilities.
Coins: 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, R1, R2, R5. Notes: R10, R20, R50, R100, R200.
VAT (Value Added Tax): Currently set at 15%, VAT is included in the price of most goods and services. Foreign visitors may claim VAT back on goods taken out of the country if the value of the total purchase exceeds R250-00. The refund may be claimed at the airport of departure (usually in the departure hall prior to moving through security & passport control) and the traveler will be required to present the tax invoice, VAT refund control sheet and foreign passport, as well as the items purchased.
South Africa is the country with the second highest number of officially recognized languages which include Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, English, Northern Sotho, Tswana, Sotho, Tsonga, Swati, Venda and Ndebele. Various forms of pidgins and creoles are spoken in South Africa, widely in urban areas.try. English is widely spoken throughout the region.
Weather & Climate
Cape Town is never out of season, with a particularly good, long summer from November to March. Summer months are the most popular months for visitors, who come to enjoy about 11 hours of sunshine every day. February is the driest month of the year, with 15 mm (0.6 inches) of rain and June is the wettest month, with 108mm (4.3 inches). Spring (September/October) and Autumn (April/May) are smart times to visit Cape Town as they are usually in-between seasons, when nature is at its showiest. Cape Town winters can be stormy, however, they often product quite temperate days.
Average summer temperatures: 24 degrees C / 75 degrees F
Average winter temperatures: 19 degrees C / 66 degrees F
South African Standard time is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT + 2)
Electricity in South Africa is 230 Volts and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. If you travel to South Africa with a device that does not accept 230 Volts at 50 Hertz, you will need a voltage converter. In South Africa the power sockets are of type D, M and N.
Dress is business casual for meetings and evening events. We recommend that participants bring comfortable walking shoes, especially if participating in field trips, as some areas may be muddy and walkways uneven. Evenings can become chilly after sunset, so packing a light jacket is recommended.
Photography may not be permissible at some railway stations, bridges, airports, and military installations. If in doubt, it is best to ask.
Smoking in public spaces, restaurants, offices and malls where there is no isolated, sealed off smoking room is illegal. Smoking in partly closed public areas such as balconies, pavements and parking areas is not allowed.
South Africa is home to a large variety of mobile network providers with the most popular being: Cell C, Vodacom, Virgin Mobile, MTN South Africa and Telkom. Both Pay As You Go SIM cards and contract deals are available. To sign up for a mobile phone contract in South Africa, you will need to be a resident. If you are visiting South Africa short term, most major international phones work in the country.
Cape Town offers the V & A Waterfront – an area with over 450 retail outlets. Cape Town is also prime area for market shopping; it is home to the well-known Greenmarket Square which is one of the most known fixed markets in South Africa. Retail stores generally close between 5-6pm while shops along the V&A Waterfront tend to stay open into the evening.
While South Africa has no legislation regarding tipping, if a service charge is not charged, tipping @ 10% of the total bill is customary and appreciated.
Restaurants in the Cape Town are representative of the diverse cultures present in South Africa. In a single neighborhood, visitors can find several varieties of Chinese cookery, Japanese, Moroccan, French, Portuguese and Indian food. Not far away are Congolese restaurants, Greek, even Brazilian and Korean establishments.
Biltong: Dried, salted meat
Bobotie: South Africa’s version of Shepherd’s pie
Boerewors: Hand-made farm sausages spiced with corriander, grilled on an open flame
Braai: Roasted meat, similar to American “barbecue” in American
Sosatie: Traditional Cape Malay dish of meat (usually lamb or mutton) cooked on skewers
Vaccinations, health & safety
The information below serves as a guideline only and reference is made to general precautions only. We strongly encourage you to consult with your physician prior to departing from home.
Cape Town is a malaria-free area, though malaria is present in some regions of South Africa.
Yellow Fever vaccination certificates are required for entry to South Africa if coming from a Yellow Fever infected country.
Emergency Medical Cover & Comprehensive Travel Insurance – We highly recommend comprehensive travel and emergency medical insurance.Medical services in recognized medical centers and hospitals are good but very costly.
As in most countries, common sense should be used. Visitors should avoid walking alone in deserted areas, particularly at night, and use hotel safe-deposit facilities for valuables. Be on the alert for petty thieves in busy streets and markets and avoid wearing ostentatious jewelry in these places. Items such as cameras and backpacks/rucksacks should be secured with a strap and not carelessly dangled by the hand. When walking or riding a bicycle it is advised to look both ways at street crossings, as cars drive on the opposite side of the road. When drawing money, avoid using ATMs at night and try to find ATMs inside of a bank whenever possible.
Luggage Safety & Security
Unfortunately, there have been incidents of theft of personal belongings from checked-in luggage at Johannesburg airport in the past. Although authorities are addressing this, it is best to be cautious. It is of utmost importance that guests do not put anything of high value (personal or financial) in checked-in baggage as luggage can be tampered with and valuables removed. It is recommended that USA travelers use TSA approved locks to accommodate TSA regulations and to protect luggage while traveling in Africa. We advise that you do not pack important or life-threatening medication or electronic equipment in check-in luggage. Luggage delays or losses are a factor of travel and we highly recommend that anything of important use or value – passports, medication, cameras, electronic items, etc. - are packed in carry-on luggage only.
Sightseeing Tours & Safaris
Attendees and guests who are interested in booking photographic wildlife safaris before or after the conference may contact Seraphina Gordon at Africa Dynamics. Africa Dynamics is also happy to assist with local sightseeing tours in and around Cape Town. Sample itineraries will be available soon!
+1 425 628 0194