Useful information – South Africa

CLIMATE

Cape Town offers warm summers and mild and cool winters. Summer temperatures range between 18°C (64°F) and 27°C (80°F). Winter temperatures range between 12°C (53°F) at night and 18°C (64°F) by day.

 

Pilanesberg is located within an area of summer rainfall which is characterized by afternoon thunderstorms. Winter (May to September) is the dry season and has moderate daily temperatures and cool nights. Warm winter clothing is recommended for night and early morning game drives. There is virtually no rainfall during winter and thus, the humidity is very low. These drought-like conditions cause foliage to thin and animals are drawn to permanent water sources, making them easier to see.

Warm clothes are essential for the cold mornings (4°C/40°F on average). Skies will be sunny and clear with daytime temperatures averaging 22°C/72°F.

 

TIME

South Africa is GMT+2 (2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time).

Example: 12h00 midday in South Africa, is:

06h00 am in New York, USA

11h00 am in London, UK

12h00 midday in Paris, France

20h00 pm in Sydney, Australia

 

TIPPING / GRATUITIES

A 10% gratuity on the bill generally applies in restaurants and is normally at the discretion of the diner and dependent on the standard of service experienced. Restaurants usually do not include the tip in the bill unless the booking is for 10 or more people.

 

ELECTRICITY

The electricity supply in South Africa is 220/230 volts AC 50Hz. Appliances of lesser voltage require a transformer (especially those with a heating element such as hairdryers).  Adapters are obtainable locally and in most cases available from your hotel concierge. Most hotel rooms have 110-volt outlets for electric shavers and small appliances.

 

WATER

South African tap water is completely safe to drink and quite palatable. Bottled water is also available from room service, restaurants and at retail outlets.

 

SAFETY / SECURITY

Delegates are advised to take the usual safety precautions. Do not walk alone in quiet streets after dark. Use a taxi at night and only those from a reputable taxi company.  Check with your hotel concierge as to the safety of a specific area should you be unsure.  Do not attract attention by displaying expensive items such as cameras and expensive watches and jewellery when sightseeing. Make use of the hotel safety deposit box or your room safe to safeguard valuables and passports.

 

SMOKING

Smoking is prohibited by law in public areas throughout South Africa, including airports, shopping malls and restaurants.  Most public spaces have specially designated smoking areas.

 

CURRENCY

The monetary unit is the South African Rand (ZAR) and the international symbol is R.  R1 = 100 cents. Currency is issued in denominations of notes of R200, R100, R50, R20, R10 and coins. Please visit www.xe.com to convert your local currency.

 

VALUE ADDED TAX

Value added tax (VAT) is included in the price of most goods and services. Visitors are required to pay VAT on purchased goods. VAT refunds may be claimed at airports, harbours and custom offices on items taken out of the country when the total value exceeds R250.00. Customs officials will ask to see the items as well as their purchase slips when applying for a refund.

 

MOBILE PHONES

Mobile phones with a local South African sim card & number can be rented at either Johannesburg (OR Tambo) or Cape Town International Airport and returned upon departure.