- 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 winter temperature: 18.5 ºC Average daily sunshine hours in Winter: Between 7.5 hours (London = 3.8 hours; New York = 6.9 hours)
- South Africa is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. There are no regional time zones within the country. Standard time in South Africa is 7 hours ahead of Eastern Standard (Winter) Time
- Cape Town is very windy!
- Roaming mobile network services are available in South Africa.
- If you wish to join a South African mobile network, you can buy or hire a cell phone at the airport or at most of the major shopping centres.
- Blue public phones operate on coins (50c, R1 and R5 coins are best), while green public phones operate with local Telkom phone cards, which you can purchase in a variety of shops and post offices. Most public phones advertise the closest sale point.
- Local couriers can help you ship your purchases home and deal with formalities.
- Many hotels and accommodation establishments have wireless internet connections.
MONEY, TIPS AND TAXES
- 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.
- 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.
LANGUAGE AND TERMINOLOGY
- While the most commonly spoken language in Cape Town is Afrikaans, English is most commonly understood.
- But, as English is only one of South Africa’s 11 official languages, a strong vernacular has developed, and English-speaking visitors might have a hard time recognising some of the words. We’re a friendly bunch in Cape Town, so if you’re totally confused, just ask and we’ll have you speaking South African “now now”! Here are some local phrases to get you started: ENGLISH AFRIKAANS isiXHOSA
- Cape Town
- Good morning Goodbye Thank you Yes No How much? ENGLISH
- Kaapstad Goeie môre Totsiens Dankie Ja Nee Hoeveel?AFRIKAANS
- eKapa Molo/Molweni (pl.) Hambe kahle/ Enkosi /Ewe /Hayi Yimalini le? ISXHOSA
- Expensive Hot /Cold/ Friend /Good/OK /Excuse me /How are you? ENGLISH
- Duur /Warm Koud Vriend Lekker Skuus Hoe gaan dit? AFRIKAANS
- iDhulu /Shushu Banda /Umhlobo Kulungile/ Uxolo Uphilile? ISXHOSA
Capetonians have an amusing array of colloquial terms. Become one of us and throw in some South African slang.
- Braai What you would know as a barbecue, and probably one of the first things you will be invited to do on arriving in Cape Town. We even celebrate national Braai Day on 24 September every year!
- Cooldrink or colddrink –This is the common term for a soda. Ask for a soda in South Africa and you will receive a club soda.
- Eish (‘Aysh’) Zulu expression of surprise, bewilderment or shock.
- Howzit! A traditional South African greeting that translates roughly as “How are you?” or “How are things?”
- Just now! If a South African tells you they will do something “just now” they mean they will do it in the near future but not immediately and possibly not ever. Jawelnofine Pronounced ‘yar well no fine’) Made up of four words “yes”, “well”, “no” and “fine”, this saying can express surprise and a sense that things aren’t really fine but there’s not much you can do about it. For example, having been caught speeding, your reaction on seeing the size of your traffic fine might be: “Jawellnofine.”
- Lekker! (Pronounced ‘lekk-irr’ with a rolling ‘r’) Afrikaans word meaning nice. Also cool, good, great. Probably the most famous of South African words, so make sure you learn this one.
- Pavement South Africans walk on pavements and drive cars on the road. The pavement is the sidewalk.
- Robot South Africans tend to refer to traffic lights as robots. Sci-fi fans are out of luck – R2D2 and C3PO are not hanging about on every street corner. Rooibos Pronounced ‘roy-borrs’)
- A popular South African tea made from the Cyclopia genistoides bush. Rooibos is Afrikaans word meaning ‘red bush’. Come and try a Red Cappuccino made from Rooibos at the Cape Town Tourism City Centre Visitor Information Centre.
- When visiting any major city, visitors should take certain health and safety precautions. Ours is no different. To make your visit as enjoyable as possible, here are some basic tips: Health tips:
- High-quality tap (faucet) water is available across the city and it is both palatable and safe to drink straight from the tap.
- The quality of the food is excellent, and Cape Town has some of the top restaurants in the world.
- Medical facilities in Cape Town are world-class. There is an excellent network of both state and private hospitals.
- We have a warm sunny climate and you should wear sunscreen and a hat whenever you are out of doors during the day, particularly between 10am and 4pm.
- If you’re an adult, you won’t need any inoculations unless you’re travelling from a yellow-fever endemic area (the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America), in which case you will need certification to prove your inoculation status when you arrive in the country.
- Hepatitis B inoculations are recommended for children up to the age of 12 who have not completed the series of injections as infants.
- Cape Town is not a malaria area.
- Wear a condom to protect yourself against AIDS and STDs.
- Heed the advice of your hosts.
- Do not allow strangers to assist you in any way at ATMs.
- Street children and beggars may approach you for a handout. Many social workers counsel against giving money to the children as it usually gets handed over to an older person or is used to purchase drugs.
- At night, park in a secure, well-lit area. To report any safety incident, phone the following numbers:
- All emergencies from your cell phone – 112
- All emergencies from a landline – 107
- South African Police Services (SAPS) – 10111
- Hiking safety, save the following emergency number on your cell phone before you begin your hike:+27 861 106 417. Most shops and businesses are open between 09h00 and 17h00 on weekdays and on Saturdays until 13h00.
HOLIDAYS AND BUSINESS HOURS
- Major malls tend to stay open later: up to 21h00 during the week, on weekends and on most public holidays.
- Government agencies keep to limited weekday only hours, often closing around 15h00. • Most banks close at 15h30 weekdays, but are open on Saturday mornings (from around 09h00 to 11h00).
- Muslim-owned businesses close between noon and 13h00 on Fridays. • Most stores, cinemas and restaurants are open on most public holidays. The exceptions are Christmas Day, December 25 and New Year’s Day, January 1.
- Passports must be valid for 6 months after your departure from Southern Africa.
- For your visit to South Africa you need 2 blank VISA pages.
- Without the above you could be denied entry American Express, MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted with some restrictions in small towns and rural area 400 cigarettes; 250 grams of tobacco; 50 cigars; 1 litre of spirits; 1,5 litres of wine; 50 ml of perfume; 250 ml of toilet water. Gifts, souvenirs and any other goods to the value of R500 are permitted. 220/230 volts AC, 50 cycles, except in Pretoria where the current is 250 volts AC.
- South Africa is a safe place for international tourists. It is sensible to take normal precautions while travelling.
- Be observant and do not draw attention to yourself by flaunting an expensive camera, jewelry, or large amounts of cash.
- Deposit valuables in the hotel’s safety deposit box. Do not leave your baggage or hotel guest key unattended.
- Speak to the hotel concierge about, any excursion you may like to undertake, reliable taxi services and routes to take.
- Do not walk alone in the streets after dark and when returning to your hotel late in the evening, use the main entrance.
- Lock your car doors and keep personal items and luggage in the trunk, rather than on the seat of the car.