Travel Wise Cape Town
If you’re travelling to Cape Town for the first time, we would suggest you get all the necessary information ahead of your trip. Here you will find information on health and safety, visa and immigration requirements, weather, money advice, responsible travel and where to find Visitor Information Centres while in the city.
These FAQs cover all you need to know about travelling to Cape Town, including detailed safety tips and information on health and medical facilities.
As beautiful as it is, Cape Town is situated in a water-scarce part of the world and is susceptible to periodic droughts – such as the one experienced in 2017/2018. Thankfully, however, due to seasonal rains and water management initiatives, that crisis is over.
All Visitor centres are open on public holidays and the friendly staff
CANAL WALK SHOPPING CENTRE
Entrance 10, Centre Court
t: +27 (0)21 529 9699 f: +27 (0)21 529 9795
CAPE TOWN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Cape Town International Airport
t: +27 (0)21 934 1949
Pinnacle Building, Cnr Burg & Castle Streets.
t: +27 (0)21 487 6800 f: +27 (0)21 487 6859
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
t: +27 (0)21 762 0687 f: +27(0)21 761 4223
111 St Georges Street
t: +27 (0)21 786 8440 f: +27 (0)21 786 8459
Southey’s Vines, 186 Main Road
t: +27 (0)21 840 1400 f: +27 (0)21 840 1410
TABLE MOUNTAIN CABLEWAY (Accredited)
Lower Cableway Station,Tafelberg Road
t: +27 (0)21 487 5768 f: +27 (0)21 424 3792
V&A WATERFRONT (Accredited)
t: +27 (0)21 408 7600 f: +27 (0)86 679 6449
CITY SIGHTSEEING TRAVEL DEPOT
Corner Long and Shortmarket Streets
t: +27 (0)21 424 0984
Got questions about money? Whether it’s advice on financial services, foreign exchange, banks, or tipping; here are useful tips for all your money matters in Cape Town…
Currency 100 cents = one rand.
Coins: 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, R1, R2, R5. Notes: R10, R20, R50, R100, R200.
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. However, many filling stations do not yet have credit card facilities – the law was only recently amended to allow credit card payments for petrol and diesel.
Most banks are open between 09h00 and 15h30 on weekdays and 09h00 and 11h00 on Saturdays. Banks are closed on Sundays and public holidays.
South Africa charges value-added tax (VAT) of 14% on goods and services. Foreign visitors can reclaim VAT on purchases of more than R250. This can be arranged through the VAT refund offices at Cape Town International Airport. To reclaim VAT, you will need your original tax invoice/s, as well as your passport. For more information on reclaiming VAT, visit www.taxrefunds.co.za.
While South Africa has no legislation regarding tipping, it is customary to leave a tip of at least 10% of your bill at restaurants and bars.
If you are driving around, you will notice car guards patrolling streets where there is free parking. While you are under no obligation to tip these car guards, it is customary to do so if they have looked after your car for more than 30 minutes. While the amount is at your discretion, locals would normally tip an official car guard about R5.
In South Africa, petrol and diesel is administered by attendants. At most service stations, attendants will offer to wash your windows, as well as check your car’s oil and tyre pressure. This is part of the service and you are under no obligation to provide a tip unless you would like to.
Social services in South Africa advise against giving money to street children and beggars. If you’re looking to make a difference, rather donate money to an organisation like The Haven (https://www.haven.org.za) that offers a network of night shelters in and around Cape Town.
Visa & Immigration
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…
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 and you should make enquiries with your nearest South African mission or consulate abroad or any office of the Department of Home Affairs to see whether or not you 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 – especially the introduction of new laws pertaining to travelling with children.
South African visitors’ visas may be granted for:
- visits to family or friends and also for tourism purposes
- business purposes
- spouse to join a spouse who is in South Africa on a work or study permit
- children to join parents who are in South Africa on work or study permits
- fiancée / fiancé to join his or her partner with the intention of marrying within 90 days
- study purposes (max stay 3-months)
- charitable or voluntary activities
- to work in the production of a movie or show (i.e. in the entertainment industry)
- for medical purposes (max stay 3-months)
- sport events
- Requirements for entering South Africa can be found on the South African Department of Home Affairs website dha.gov.za
Weather in Cape Town
Cape Town is never out of season, with a particularly good, long summer from November to March. These are the most popular months for visitors, who come to enjoy the 11 or more hours of sunshine every day.
The average summer temperature in Cape Town is 24.3 degrees Centigrade, with January and February temperatures averaging 26 degrees Centigrade. February is the driest month of the year, with 15 mm (0.6 inches) of rain.
Spring and Autumn
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.
While Cape Town’s winters (June to August) can be stormy, they often produce perfectly temperate days, when you will find Capetonians gathered around fireplaces and dinner tables. June is the wettest month of the year, with 108 mm (4.3 inches) of rain. The average temperature during Cape Town’s winter season is between 7 and 20 degrees Centigrade. It’s not uncommon, however, to enjoy a week of sunshine and temperatures ranging between 21 and 26 degrees Celsius and there are never any frosty mornings.
Average summer temperature: 24.3 ºC
Average winter temperature: 18.5 ºC
Average daily sunshine hours: Between 7.5 and 9.5 hours
(London = 3.8 hours; New York = 6.9 hours)
Everything you need to conduct business effectively and efficiently in Cape Town