Accommodation, Travel and Visas General Information About Cape Town

General Information About Cape Town


The Cape is a year-round destination with warm summers and mild, cool winters. The climate is described as Mediterranean, with summer temperatures ranging between 15°C(59°F) and 27°C(80.6°F), while winters see the mercury dropping to a mild 7°C(44.6°F) at night and rising to a comfortable 18°C(64.4°F) by day.



The South African currency is the Rand (ZAR), which is made up of 100 cents. Foreign currency can be exchanged at commercial banks and at various Bureaux de Change.



Value Added Tax (VAT) of 14 per cent is levied on purchases and services. Foreign visitors are able to reclaim their VATon purchases if they have spent more than R250.


Time Zone

South African time is set at GMT+2. There are no time-zone differences within South Africa and there is no daylight saving system in summer.



An international driver’s licence is required when driving in South Africa. Driving is on the left hand side of the road and speed is calibrated in kilometres. Cash or petrol card are required to pay for fuel.



Visas are issued by South African missions abroad and must be affixed to the applicant’s passport before departing for South Africa. Visas are not issued on arrival at South African ports of entry. In order to gain a visa you are required to have two unused pages in your passport. Not all nationalities require visas to enter South Africa. See: for information. 



Personal effects (used) are admitted duty free. The allowance for visitors to South Africa is as follows (free of duty per adult):

  • 1 litre of spirits
  • 2 litres of wine
  • 400 cigarettes
  • 50 cigars
  • 50 ml perfume
  • 250 ml eau de toilette
  • Gifts and souvenirs to the value of R5 000.


Health requirements

No vaccinations are required for cholera, smallpox or malaria. If arriving from a yellow fever zone, you must have a valid international yellow fever inoculation certificate. Due to the threat of malaria contamination, preventative medication is necessary for the north-eastern parts of South Africa and is obtainable from all pharmacies in South Africa. Cape Town and the Western Cape is a non-malaria area.


Medical Insurance

South Africa has excellent private healthcare facilities, but you will only get access to these facilities if you are in the possession of the necessary travel and medical insurance. Please ensure that you take out medical and travel insurance for the duration of your trip.

  • If you have bought tickets for your flights by means of a credit card, you may already have some basic travel and medical insurance - please make sure you get the necessary documentation from your credit card company prior to departure for South Africa.
  • Some institutions/universities do have their own travel insurance -  again, please make sure you get the necessary documentation from your institution/university prior to departure for South Africa



Electricity is 220/240 V



Cape Town and the Western Cape’s tap water is amongst the best in the world, with well-developed water supply infrastructure.


Safety and Security

Despite perceptions to the contrary, Cape Town is as safe as most international cities, and this is in no small measure due to the efforts of the Central City Improvement District (CCID). One of the main drivers behind the establishment of the CCID in 2000 was to make Cape Town’s Central City the safest in South Africa. The vision was to set up effective preventive and reactive security measures through highly visible police officers, mobile vehicles and a bicycle squad 24ur hours a day. This public/private partnership collects more than R27 million a year from property owners in the city, half of which pays for extra security on the streets of Cape Town’s CBD. Altogether, 200 security officers keep the streets of the CBD safe, day and night, for all those who work in, live in or visit the city. The dedicated team of security managers and foot officers, who are highly visible, patrol the streets on a 24-hour basis. All officers are fluent in English. The other languages spoken are Afrikaans and Xhosa.


A CCTV surveillance network, paid for by the City of Cape Town, assists in keeping crime at bay. In addition, Cape Town now also boasts a municipal police force. CCID security officers work in a close partnership with the private sector and all law enforcement agencies by communicating on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. In addition, a Mobile Safety Kiosk Programme, rolled out by the CCID Security Department, has made a huge contribution to security in the city. The kiosks provide visible policing in key locations, events and hotspot areas.


While vigilance and common sense will ensure a trouble-free and enjoyable stay in Cape Town, it is advisable to take the following precautions, like in any other big city around the world.

  • Do not walk alone late at night. 
  • Do not leave luggage, computer bags, mobile phones or valuables unattended.
  • Use the safety deposit boxes / in-room safes provided by most hotels.
  • Do not carry large amounts of cash, and keep cash, credit cards and identification documents in a secure place on your person or at your hotel.
  • Do not put down your backpacks out of sight. If you need to put them down in public places,  keep them at your feet and make sure the zips are closed and the locks secured.
  • To the ladies: Do not put your handbags under your chair or slug over the back of your chair when you are in a public place; rather keep them at the front of your feet or on your lap.



Few cities in the world can offer such a blend of exquisite beauty, premium commercial infrastructure – including cutting-edge business facilities – and diverse and cosmopolitan culture. Accessible, affordable and convenient, Cape Town is such a city. Set against the backdrop of Table Mountain, one of the world’s most recognisable geographical and tourism icons, this city offers the business traveller a seductive blend of business and pleasure.

The jewel in the city’s business tourism crown is the spectacular Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC). This cutting-edge facility is ideally situated on the City’s foreshore, close to South Africa’s most visited tourist attraction, the spectacular Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. The exceptional architecture of the CTICC makes it an inspiring meeting venue, without mincing words, the perfect setting for any business event. There’s no shortage of accommodation for delegates either. Cape Town has a wide selection of superb hotels in all categories that promise local and international visitors a memorable stay.

The range of leisure activities on offer to delegates’ pre or post-conference or event is what really distinguishes this destination from any other. Cage diving with great white sharks or abseiling off Table Mountain are once-in-a-lifetime experiences, as is getting a feel of the old prison on Robben Island, the prison home of Nelson Mandela for 18 years, arguably the world’s most famous political prisoner. Or take a trip up Table Mountain with the cable car.

The museums and galleries in the Cape – much like local theatre – recall and reveal the country’s chequered past, while increasingly also celebrating the extraordinary talent that has emerged from South Africa’s new generations. Capping it off at one of the weekly summer sunset concerts at the gobsmacking beautiful, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, which Capetonians confidently proclaim as the world’s finest. The myriad of exciting offerings on offer at this southern edge of Africa are best toasted with a glass of the finest South African wine, grown just down the road, as it has been for centuries.

The Cape Town Central area is situated at the foot of Table Mountain and includes the city beaches along the Atlantic seaboard. The Cape Town CBD (Central Business District) is a relatively small area, which allows for easy exploration on foot. All you need is a good pair of shoes, a map and a general sense of direction. To get to the beaches and surrounding suburbs you will need to use your own transport or public transport. Cape Town City Centre has the Museum Mile, the Company Gardens, Greenmarket Square, St Georges Mall, the Castle of Good Hope, the Bo-Kaap and much more. Numerous excellent hotels, loft apartments, trendy restaurants and bars can be found in the heart of the city and along the coast. Along with the City Centre and Table Bay Harbour, Cape Town Central includes the beachside suburbs of Bakoven, Bantry Bay, Camps Bay, Clifton, Fresnaye, Green Point, Mouille Point, Sea Point, Three Anchor Bay and further along to Llandudno and Hout Bay. It also includes the trendy city suburbs of Higgovale, Gardens, Vredehoek, Oranjezicht and Tamboerskloof. Don’t miss out on the culture of Woodstock, Observatory and Zonnebloem as well.


Some good websites for finding information on Cape Town are:

Cape Town Tourism

Cape Town