Part of the fun of travel is being surprised and discovering new things along the way. However, surprises are not always fun and challenging. One of the most stressful parts of travelling abroad is making sure you’ve planned effectively—and missing a vital piece of information about your destination can make your stay harder than it needs to be.
Don’t worry: we’ve compiled a checklist for travelling to Cape Town so that your trip is as stress-free as possible. Read on to make sure that the only surprises you get are of the exciting variety.
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Visas and travel documentation
Visa requirements for entering South Africa differ according to your country of origin. Passport holders from many countries are exempt from needing a visa for visiting South Africa for less than thirty days, but you should fully investigate if a visa is necessary before making travel arrangements.
The South African Department of Home Affairs is a good place to start. Here you’ll find a list of countries that are exempt from visa requirements.
South Africa requires you two have at least two blank passport pages in your passport (one for entering and one for exiting). Make sure that your passport has these pages or you may be turned away at the gate.
South African Immigration Control is also particularly strict when it comes to travelling with minors. Visitors travelling with a child are required to have the child’s unabridged birth certificate, which the particulars of both parents, when entering and exiting South Africa. If a child is travelling with only one parent, the other parent will be required to provide a Parental Consent Affidavit. The rules for travelling with children are subject to change without warning—so be sure to find exactly what’s required before departing.
Cape Town has an excellent healthcare system with great facilities and highly-trained medical personnel. The only mandatory vaccine is a yellow fever vaccine for visitors travelling from a country at risk for the disease. Cape Town is not a malaria area. You don’t need to worry about malaria tablets unless you are travelling from Cape Town to high-risk parts of the country. There is also a standard list of vaccinations that many countries recommend before travelling abroad that includes rabies, typhoid, and tetanus.
Accommodation in Cape Towns runs the full spectrum—from backpackers on the beach to lush villas and chic boutique hotels. Take the guesswork out of booking a place to stay in Cape Town. Browse the 30 best hotels and places to stay in the city at the Booking.com Cape Town portal below.
Getting Around Cape Town
Getting around Cape Town is not hard and there are several great ways to take advantage of everything the city has to offer.
Taking a red bus with Cape Town City Sightseeing is one of the most scenic ways to take in the whole of the Peninsula. This hop-on, hop-off experience takes you to most of the city’s major attractions and has an audio tour in 15 languages.
Renting a car is a great option for exploring Cape Town and the surrounds. If your driver’s licence is in English and has a photograph of you on it it is suitable to rent a car and drive in Cape Town. If your licence is in another language you can consider getting an International Drivers Permit, which must be carried in conjunction with your driver’s licence.
Cape Town is notorious for its micro-climates, making packing for a holiday a difficult proposition. If you’re coming in summer then you’re definitely going to need beach essentials: swimming costume, sunblock, and a hat. But throw in a good windproof jacket too. The wind in some areas makes them great for kiteboarding and windsurfing, but can definitely be chilly. If travelling in spring or fall/autumn, always make sure you pack a lot of layers. Often, days are hot and sunny, but sudden changes can bring rain showers, and sunset ushers in a chill. Winter in Cape Town is the rainy season, so bring good boots and a waterproof jacket. Cape Town has some incredible hikes so make sure you also pack a good pair of sturdy shoes for walking and hiking.
For more info on the best time of year to visit, and what to pack, read this.
Chargers and Adaptors
South African plug points are a little bit different from the rest of the world. This is complicated by the introduction of a mandatory plug standard for new installations. Both old and new plug point use a 3-prong system that is not a standard configuration. If you’re going to need your electronics immediately then arm yourself with an adaptor before you leave and save yourself the trouble of tracking one down when you get here.
The infographic below will help when tracking down the right adaptor:
— Spagbo Tempesto (@bizarrojerri) August 18, 2016
Planning a trip to Cape Town? Book flights, browse accommodation, and rent a car now to get the best rates. The Cape Town City Pass gives you access to over 70 of the top Cape Town attractions, tours, and things to see and do, including the popular hop on hop off City Sightseeing bus.
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