Tips to have a seamless summer in Cape Town
If you’re coming to Cape Town in summer and are not quite sure what to expect, we have a handy guide to help you enjoy your holiday without any snags, hitches or hiccups. From getting around the Mother City to predicting the weather, we want you to leave wanting to come back for more.
Cape Town is warm and dry over the summer months and the days are long (11 hours!), but there can be some strong winds. Check out windguru in the morning to make sure you can plan your day properly. If the wind is going to be blowing, rather stay away from the beaches and Table Mountain and hit an indoor activity, like the Watershed or Mangwanani Spa at the V & A Waterfront.
MONEY AND SAFETY:
Currency & ATM: The local currency in South Africa is the Rand, and Foreign Exchange is available around the city. It goes without saying that when using the ATM, don’t ask strangers for help and don’t flash cash around. The same goes for expensive jewellery and try and avoid using mobile phones and tablets in the streets. Rather step into a restaurant or a shop to do so.
Stash, don’t flash: Be aware of suspicious people and avoid walking alone at night, especially if you do not know your way around the city. We also encourage you not to give money to homeless people and rather donate the money to NGOs. If you would like to do so, visit www.giveresponsibly.co.za
When the sun sets on Cape Town, the city comes to life. There are a number of restaurants, bars and clubs to try. If you are planning on hitting the clubs just make sure you go with a local or get your hotel to organise a guide to avoid getting into trouble. Again, it goes without saying that you should not leave your drinks unattended.
Firstly, we drive on the left hand side of the road and work in kilometres when it comes to speed and distance!
With that out of the way, there are a number of ways for you to get around our beautiful city:
Uber: A popular and easy way to travel around the city, Uber is easily accessible. Download the app and off you go!
Cab or taxi: There are a large number of metered taxis. The average rate if R10/kilometre.Car hire: All the major companies operate out of the airport and have city depots.
On foot, bus or bicycle: There are a growing number of tours available by run, bicycle, bus or foot in the city. 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. You will need to purchase a pre-paid myconnect card to use it though.
Train: Trains run basic commuter routes into the city and also stretch out along the scenic Southern line, which stretches as far as Simon’s Town. It is an affordable option to travel around the city.
KEEPING IN TOUCH:
Mobile: Locals call it a cell phone and you can hire one for your time with us. If you have your own, buy a local sim card. You will need identification to do this.
Internet access: Internet cafes are relatively inexpensive, while a lot of coffee shops and accommodation offer wireless services. There are also a number of free wireless hotspots around the city. You can but data at any cellular shop. Save yourself some cash by asking if there is free wifi available! And remember, if you share any images or stories use the official hashtag #lovecapetown.
LOOKING OUT FOR THE KIDS:
Babysitters: Cape Town is for the whole family. If you need somebody to watch the kids, ask your hotel concierge or try the website www.sitters4u.co.za. Some establishments, like Nox Rentals, even include these services in their rates.
Hiring equipment: You can also hire strollers, high-chairs and other equipment to ensure you can travel light and don’t need to lug it all around with you!
There are a number of children’s programmes at shopping malls and local attractions, but don’t leave children unattended before checking. If you child goes missing report it by calling 107 021 480 7700 (in Cape Town only) or 10111.
SUN, SEA AND SAND:
It gets hot in Cape Town, so make sure you plan accordingly when you hit the beach. Lots of water and plenty of sunscreen!
When swimming in the sea, make sure you use safe beaches where life guards are on duty.
There are shark spotters are deployed at several of Cape Town’s beaches along the False Bay coast line and use a flag and alarm system to warn beach users of a shark’s whereabouts:
A green flag means visibility for the spotters is good and no sharks have been seenA black flag means visibility for the spotters is poor but no sharks have been seenA red flag means a shark has been seen recently but is no longer visible to the spotters, stay alertA white flag with a black shark, along with a loud siren, means a shark has been sighted and bathers should leave the water immediately
Visit www.sharkspotters.org.za for more information.
Table Mountain is undoubtedly one of the city’s biggest attractions, but you need to be cautious when visiting. Follow the safety precautions below to ensure you don’t run into problems.
Steer clear during bad weather. The rocks on the mountain get very slippery in wet weather.
Do not hike alone – the ideal party size is four; travel at the pace of the slowest member
Always inform someone of your intended route and your expected time of return
The use of a qualified mountain guide is highly recommended
Make sure to take an up to date map, comfortable walking shoes, a few friends, a cellular phone, water, food, sun block, and something warm
On Table Mountain National Park, Skeleton Gorge & Nursery Ravine are dangerous and slippery routes when it rains.
When hiking Table Mountain, key 021 480 7700 into your cellular telephone before you begin your hike so that an emergency number is always on hand
Keep to well used paths and do not descend unknown ravines or cliffs
Chacma Baboons can be dangerous – do not approach them or feed them as they may attack humans.
Stand very still on the sighting of a snake – they will usually go on their way and are not generally aggressive
Please be mindful that Cape Town’s festive season coincides with the Cape’s long, dry summer season i.e. please make sure that cigarette butts and/ or fires are put out properly before leaving the area, and please exercise caution when taking an action that could result in the ignition of a fire
Make sure you have all the following numbers saved in case of an emergency:
Ambulance – 10177
Fire Department – 021 535 1100
South African Police Services (SAPS) – 10111
Cape Town emergency – 107 from a landline OR 021 420 7700 from a mobile phone
Table Mountain National Park emergencies – 0861 106 417
Visitor Safety and Support Programme – 021 487 6552
Tourism Victim Support Programme – 021 487 4820
Cape Town Tourism – 021 487 6800
Dial 911 from a mobile phone and receive emergency help
WE ARE HERE TO HELP:
Cape Town Tourism is the official tourism organisation for the city. You can visit us in any one of our visitor centres in the Cape Town CBD, Cape Town International Airport, Somerset West, Kirstenbosch, Simon’s Town & City Sightseeing Travel Depot. You can also make direct bookings for last-minute accommodation, tours and attractions or buy tickets via Computicket and Webtickets.
Also look out for Cape Town Tourism’s mobile visitor info units consisting of fully operational branded buses, scooters and electric bicycles, that are ready to assist you with your queries. Find out where they are by following the Twitter hashtag #Thando. For more information about what to do in Cape Town, call Cape Town Tourism on +27 (0)861 322 223, email firstname.lastname@example.org