Casinos & Gambling
City Centre
V&A Waterfront
Table Mountain
West Coast
East Coast
Cape Point
West Coast
Breede River Valley
Klein & Central Karoo
Garden Route
Outdoors & Adventure
Eating Out
General Information
Cape Town Walkabout
Cape Peninsula
Hout Bay
West Coast
Garden Route
Knysna Lagoon
Western Cape

General Information

I n f o r m a t i o n :
Cape Town Tourism {+27 (0) 21 - 4264260} at the The Pinnacle, Corner Castle & Burg Streets, Cape Town. Western Cape Tourism Board {+27 (0) 21 - 4265639/47} at the The Pinnacle, Corner Castle & Burg Streets, Cape Town.

Accommodation - Cape Town provides travellers with every kind of accommodation from 5 star hotels to backpackers hostels. The top end of the bracket compares favourably with international standards. Should travellers need assistance in booking accommodation, they should contact Cape Town Tourism {+27 (0) 21 - 4264260}, Western Cape Tourism Board {+27 (0) 21 - 4265639/47}, Tobi Hout Bay {+27 (0) 21 - 7901194} or Cape Info SA {+27 (0) 21 - 4391264}.

Airports - Cape Town's International Airport has international and domestic sections and is approximately 17km from the city centre and 24km from Stellenbosch. In addition to a VAT refund office, it has an Information Desk and an accommodation hot line. Flight information may be obtained by telephoning 021 - 9340407.

Banks are located throughout the city & suburbs and are open from Mon to Fri 09h00 - 15h30, Sat 08h30 - 11h00. Commercial banking services are available at Cape Town International Airport to coincide with international arrivals and departures.

Camping - South Africans are avid campers. You will find many campsites all over the country which are mostly full during school holidays. Most campsites have the basic amenities and some have caravans and huts which are rented out.

Car Hire - There is stiff competition among the international and local car rental companies which means that there are always specials available. To rent a car you will need a current South African, overseas or international driver's license. It is possible to pick up a car in one city and return it in another.

Climate - The seasons are "upside down" from those in the northern hemisphere. Winter runs from June to August and the sun shines on Christmas Day. Cape Town has a mediterranean climate with four seasons. In the interior it becomes very hot in summer and during winter snow falls on the highest mountain peaks. Here are two charts displaying weather patterns for Cape Town for the year:

Clothing - in summer, Cape Town is informal. Businessmen wear suits and ties except on hot days when they discard their jackets. In less formal circumstances shorts and tee-shirts are the order of the day for both sexes. Most restaurants require smart casual attire and some prefer jacket and tie. Being a winter rainfall area, Cape Town is wet from May to August.

Complaints - South Africa has no special agency that deals with complaints. Try Captour (+27 (0) 21 - 4185214) or the Western Cape Tourism Board (+27 (0) 21 - 4183716) as many hotels and shops are members of these tourism bodies.

Credit Cards - most international cards are accepted - petrol cannot be purchased on a credit card. Some banks issue a special 'petro' or 'garage' card for this purpose.

Crime - Do not walk alone after dark in unpopulated streets or draw attention to money or jewellery. A tourist police assistance unit is located in Tulbagh Square (021 - 4182852/3) which is open 7 days a week from 11 am until 11 pm (Sunday 9am - 9pm). The main charge office in Cape Town is open 24 hours (021 - 4678000). The emergency police number is 10111.

Currency - One Rand (R) = 100 cents (c). Notes issued R200, R100, R50, R20, R10; coins R5, R2, R1, 50c 20c, 10c, 5c, 2c, & 1c. Currency exchange rates are available at banks and published daily in the press, or telephone Rennies Bureau de Change 021 - 641086.

Customs - All visitors need valid passports to enter South Africa. Travel agencies and South African consulates can provide visa application forms. The completed form, together with your passport and an identity photo must be filed with the consulate.

Electricity - 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.

Embassies & Consulates - Most consulates are situated in Johannesburg but many countries have consulates and embassies in Cape Town. Consult the yellow pages directory under consulates & embassies or look in the telephone book under country's name.

Emergency Services Cape Town:

Ambulance: 10177
Fire Brigade: 4615555
Flying Squad: 10111
Mountain Rescue: 10111
Police: 4678000
Police (Tourist Assistance Unit): 4182852
Sea Rescue: 4053500

Etiquette - South Africa has an informal atmosphere and people usually introduce themselves by their first name, even in business relationships. In spite of the relaxed atmosphere, punctuality is the order of the day and visitors are expected to follow the rules.

International Exchange Rates

Hours of Trading - Most shops Mon to Fri 08h30 - 17h00 (Sat 13h00). Most liquor stores close at 18h00. Supermarkets generally close at 18h00 (times vary according to the seasons) and some are open Saturday until 17h00 and Sunday to 14h00. There is late night shopping at the Victoria Wharf (Waterfront) seven days a week.

Information: Cape Town Tourism: Tourism Gateway Information Centre, Adderley Street, Cape Town; Tel: +27 (0) 21 - 4264260, Fax: 4264266. Western Cape Tourism Board: Tourism Gateway Information Centre, Adderley Street, Cape Town; Tel: +27 (0) 21 - 4265639/47, Fax: +27 (0) 21 - 4265640.

Languages - There are now 11 official languages - the most common in the Cape are English, Afrikaans and Xhosa. The others are: Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, and Zulu.

Laundry - Hotels are very efficient in handling your laundry quickly. There are coin-operated laundromats throughout the Peninsula where you may also have your laundry and ironing done for you.

Libraries - Visitors may register as temporary members at any Cape Town City Library branch (see telephone directory listed under Municipality of Cape Town).

Lost Property - Check the 'lost and found' section in the classified section of the daily newspapers. Report your loss at the local police station and leave a contact telephone number and address.

Maps are included in this guide. Others may be purchased at most book shops.

Medical Care
- Standards of hygiene are high throughout Cape Town and the towns of the Western Cape. South Africa has excellent medical services with highly trained doctors and fully equipped hospitals. Your hotel can call a doctor or you can get a list of approved doctors from your embassy. Doctors are listed in the telephone directory under "Medical", Hospitals under "H". Hospitalisation is generally arranged through a medical practitioner but in the event of an emergency visitors may telephone or go directly to the casualty department of any general hospital. Ambulances may be called by telephoning 10177. Outpatient treatment may be obtained at hospitals for a nominal fee. Visitors are advised to take out medical insurance for the duration of their trip. Visitors may drink tap water anywhere unless a notice specifically warns otherwise. The sun in South Africa is much stronger than in Europe and it is essential for visitors to use a good sun screen for protection. Skin cancer has become a serious concern in sun worshipping Cape Town. Poisonous snakes and spiders might be encountered in many places. Bluebottle stings are quite common in summer.

Newspapers - Morning: Cape Times and Business Day (English), Die Burger (Afrikaans) - Afternoon: The Argus (English) - Sunday: Sunday Argus (English), Sunday Times (English), Rapport (Afrikaans).

- there is much to focus on in the Cape. The light is bright and film or transparency with an iso rating of 100/21 is recommended.

Post Offices are open Mon - Fri 08h00 - 16h30 & Sat 08h00 - 12h00. Mail may be addressed to you Post Restante. The main post office in Cape Town has special counters for this purpose. Postage stamps are widely available (e.g. at some cafes and branches of the Central News Agency - CNA).

Public Holidays - January 1 - New Years Day, March 21 - Human Rights Day, Good Friday, Family Day (Easter Monday), April 27 - Freedom Day, May 1 - Worker's Day, June 16 - Youth Day, August 9 - National Woman's Day, September 24 - Heritage Day, December 16 - Day of Reconciliation, December 25 - Christmas Day, December 26 - Day of Goodwill.

Religion - Most South Africans are Christians. The largest denominations are Anglican (Church of England), Roman Catholic and Dutch Reformed. There are also large Jewish and Muslim communities living in the Western Cape. To find the place of worship of your choice, consult your hotel, information bureaux and the weekend press for details.

Standard Time
is two hours in advance of Greenwich Mean Time, one hour in advance of central European winter time and seven hours in advance of United States eastern standard time throughout the year.

Taxis - there are no roving taxis in Cape Town. They are either hired at taxi-ranks or summoned by telephone 021 - 4344444. Rikkis (tuk-tuks) are three wheeled vehicles that carry up to six passengers and may be hailed or called on 021 - 234888.

Telegrams may be telephoned through (1028) or sent from any post office. Telephones are fully automatic with direct dialling throughout the world. Some public phones accept cards. Outlets selling such cards will display a sticker to this effect.

Tipping is expected in South Africa. A guideline for visitors is the following: Porters R2 per item, taxis 10%, waiters & 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 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.

Weather - for the Weather Bureau forecast telephone 021 - 40881 (taped message), or 021 - 9340450/8, or consult the daily press. Cape Town Weather Watch.

Published by Nelson's Guides • PO Box 432 Constantia 7848, Cape Town, South Africa
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