Money and tipping
- The local currency is the South African rand. Foreign exchange facilities are widely available and can be found at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town International Airport and at bureaux de change in various major shopping centres.
- Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) accept most international bank and credit cards.
- South Africa has a modern and sophisticated banking and commercial system, and most shops and hotels accept all major credit cards.
- VAT: South Africa has a Value Added Tax system of 14% on purchases and services. Foreign visitors can reclaim VAT on collective purchases of more than R250. VAT Refund Offices can be found at: Ground level, International Departures, Cape Town International Airport Tel: + 27 21 934 8675. Ground Floor, Clock Tower Shopping Centre, V&A Waterfront.
- A 10% tip is standard in restaurants. Tables of over eight people often have an automatic service charge added to the bill. A tip of R5 to R10 per piece of luggage is acceptable for porters in hotels and at airports. In some shopping areas, uniformed attendants will either take a fee or offer to mind your car for a tip.
- It is not obligatory to tip an informal ‘car guard’ for services rendered. If you choose to tip, that is permissible, but informal guards are not allowed to ask for money, either before or after the service is supplied. A tip of R1 to R5 is acceptable.
- When parking in metered bays in the CBD (Central Business District), parking marshals wearing luminous bibs will approach you and ask you how long you intend to stay. You can pay by the half-hour in advance, and pay the balance upon your return if necessary. Ignoring the marshal is a popular local pastime, but, then again, so is imposing fines on motorists.