General Travel Information

Cape Town

Cape Town is a city of culture, built on a history that is reflected in its architecture, cuisine, music and dance. Together with a warm summer, temperate winter climate and a friendly community, Cape Town is an ideal destination throughout the year.

Cape Town is often described as the Mother City of South Africa and the Western Cape is regarded as one of the most beautiful places in the world. It is a rare cultural gem, resulting from the amalgamation of Dutch, Indonesian, French, British and German settlers with the local San and Khoi tribes and other African people from the north.

The impressive presence of Table Mountain, flanked by Devil's Peak, Lion’s Head and historical Signal Hill, stands proudly above the city. Beautiful sandy beaches from Hout Bay and Llandudno to Camps Bay, Clifton, Blouberg, Muizenberg and Fish Hoek frame the Cape Peninsula, which is famed for its unique floral kingdom, magnificent seascapes and mountainous countryside with panoramic vistas. Surrounding it are the tranquil winelands of Constantia, Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek. Green in summer, the vineyards turn red-gold in autumn.

Cape Town also boasts a wealth of entertainment options, ranging from outdoor activities and adventures in the sun to theatre, cinema and a varied and exciting night life. The vast array of shopping opportunities ranges from haggling with stallholders at Greenmarket Square Flea Market to visiting stylish shopping malls. The huge variety of restaurants reflects the multicultural history and international traditions of the Cape and caters for everyone's taste, from fast-food outlets and casual to the chic and sophisticated.

Safety and security

Like most major cities, Cape Town has both good and bad areas. It is advisable when walking in Cape Town, particularly at night, to be aware of people around one, and ideally not to walk alone but in a group. Ostentatious displays of wealth should be avoided, and it is not advisable to look like a typical tourist with many cameras strung around your neck. Do not leave valuables unattended.


Due to its coastal position, Cape Town enjoys a temperate Mediterranean-type climate for most of the year. Summer days can be very hot, although often moderated with a cool sea breeze, and mid-winter can be cold with snow falling on some nearby mountains. However, whichever time of year you choose to visit Cape Town, expect a surprise or two - Cape Town is known to have four seasons all in one day.

The main rainfall occurs during winter, particularly June to August, although regular showers occur from mid-May through to end of September.  From November through to the end of February Cape Town is known for its south-easterly wind (also called the ‘Cape Doctor’, because of the clean sea air it blows in to dispel pollution). Those whose main aim is sight-seeing should visit from mid-September to mid-May.

Weather for August

Temperature (° C)

  • Highest Recorded : 33
  • Average Daily Maximum : 19
  • Average Daily Minimum : 9
  • Lowest Recorded : 0


  • Average Monthly (mm) : 40
  • Average Number of days with >= 1mm : 10
  • Highest 24 Hour Rainfall (mm) : 29

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Value Added Tax (VAT) at the rate of 14% is levied on most goods and services and is included in the display price of most goods. International visitors are encouraged to keep their slips as they can reclaim VAT on goods (not services) priced higher than R250.00 at the airport on departure, some harbours and at Customs Offices.


There are no compulsory vaccination requirements for persons entering South Africa. Travellers from yellow fever-affected countries require inoculations to enter South Africa, e.g. Brazil, certain of its neighbouring countries and central Africa.

Certain northern areas of South Africa, including the north-eastern part of KwaZulu-Natal, are malaria regions. In winter, these areas will be low risk, but if you anticipate travelling to a malaria area it is recommended that you take prophylactics before arrival and the necessary precautions while in the area (e.g. protective clothing, insect repellents). South African doctors and dentists are highly trained and hospitals are well equipped. It is strongly advised that delegates take appropriate health insurance prior to their departure.

Time difference

South Africa operates two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time throughout the year, making it the same time as Central European Summer Time and six hours in advance of US Eastern Daylight Time.


Currency in South Africa is the Rand, denoted by the symbol R, with One Rand (R1) made up of 100 cents. Foreign currency can be exchanged at local banks and bureau de changes. All major credit cards such as American Express, Bank of America, Diners, Master Card, Visa and affiliates are accepted in most places in South Africa. Generally, credit cards are not accepted for the purchase of petrol. Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) offer a complete 24-hour service. Machines displaying international credit and debit card logos can be used with the respective cards.

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