Two hours in advance of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)


Distances in South Africa are given in kilometres
1 mile = 1.62 kilometres
Temperature is given in degrees Celsius
Celsius to Fahrenheit – multiply Celsius by 1.8 and add 32 to convert to Fahrenheit


The South African currency is the Rand
Exchange rates in December 2006:
USD 1 = ZAR 7.20
EUR 1 = ZAR 9.30
Foreign currency can be exchanged at most commercial banks and Bureaux de Change are widely available
Typical Banking Hours:
Monday to Friday: 09h00 to 5h30
Saturdays: 08h30 to 11h00
ATMs are widely available and are mostly open 24 hours a day


220/230 volts, 50Hz, single phase


Dial 10111 for the Flying Squad (special police services) and 10177 for an ambulance


The dress code across South Africa is mainly casual and smart casual, except in some restaurants and clubs that require more formal attire

Smoking is banned in public buildings and on planes, buses and trains


South African Airways provides passenger aid units at all major airports
Many hotels offer facilities for the disabled, as do most rest camps in the Kruger National Park
Wheelchairs and other aides are available for hire in most cities
The larger rental car agencies can provide vehicles with hand controls


The only inoculation requirement for visitors is a yellow fever vaccination certificate for those entering South Africa within six days of leaving a yellow fever zone (babies of one year old or less are exempt)
Malaria is endemic in some parts of Mpumalanga, Northern Province, and KwaZulu-Natal and it is essential to take precautions if you intend to visit these areas
The bilharzia parasite is present in streams, rivers, lakes and dams in some of the northern and eastern parts of the country, and visitors should avoid contact with the water in these regions (there is no immunisation against bilharzia)


South Africa has 11 official languages and English is spoken throughout the country
French, German and Italian are also spoken at many larger hotels and popular tourist destinations.


Emergency care is excellent and widely available in Cape Town
South Africa has no national health scheme, so it is advisable to purchase travel insurance that will cover medical expenses during the period of your stay


A list of South African consulates and embassies around the world may be found on the South African Department of Foreign Affairs website:
Department of Foreign Affairs (

Visa application forms can be downloaded from the South African Home Affairs website:
Department of Home Affairs (


Filling stations are conveniently situated throughout the country
Unleaded petrol is available
Most filling stations in major cities are open 24 hours a day
South African filling stations will not accept credit cards so be sure to have enough cash available for filling up


An excellent road network links the largest metropolitan areas with even the smallest villages South Africa drives on the LEFT
The speed limit in urban areas is usually 60 kph, 100 kph on rural roads and 120 kph on freeways unless otherwise indicated
Wearing a seatbelt is compulsory, driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offence and traffic laws are strictly enforced
Valid drivers’ licenses from visitors’ home countries are acceptable if they are in English and include the driver’s photograph
If your driver’s license does not comply with these requirements, you should obtain an International Driving Permit before your departure to South Africa


Your safety and well-being are of utmost importance to Capetonians and South Africans, but, as always, travellers should take a few basic precautions to ensure a safe and pleasant visit:

• Never leave personal property unattended
• Store valuables in your hotel’s safety deposit box
• Keep your hotel room locked
• Use reliable taxi services
• Avoid displaying expensive jewellery and cameras
• Do not carry large sums of money on your person
• Stay away from dark, isolated areas
• When travelling by car, plan your route in advance
• Keep car doors locked and windows closed, and stay aware when stopped at a stoplight
• When parked or driving, place valuables out of sight in the boot (trunk)
• Never give strangers a lift


Local manufacturers set a high premium on workmanship, and with a favourable exchange rate, visitors can afford to indulge
Shopping hours in the bigger cities are generally 08h00 to 17h00 on weekdays, 08h00 to 13h00 on Saturdays, and some shops outside of malls are still closed on Sundays
Malls are generally open until 17h00 on Saturday and Sunday
The V&A Waterfront is open 09h00 to 21h00 7 days a week


The South African sun is strong, with a high ultraviolet rating
Sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 15 or higher is recommended, as well as a hat


Cape Town telephone dialling codes:
International: +27-21-
National: 021-
National Directory Enquiries: 1023
International Directory Enquiries: 0903
To call internationally out of South Africa, dial 09 and then the country code
Cell phones are widely available for hire, as are “starter packs” if your personal handset is compatible with the South African system


It is customary to tip waiters, wine stewards, taxi drivers, porters, caddies and other service providers. Depending on the service, the amount should be around 10%-15% of the bill and R5 per suitcase

VAT (Value Added Tax)

Currently set at 14%, VAT is included in the marked/quoted price of most goods and services
Foreign visitors may claim back VAT paid on items to be taken out of the country when the total value exceeds ZAR 250.00
Information leaflets on the procedure to follow are available from VAT Refund Administration offices at the Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban International Airports, and at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town


In the major cities and towns and at most game reserves, tap water is purified, tastes good and is 100% safe to drink



10 August 2007:
Bursary application deadline

24 August 2007:
Accommodation bookings close

24 October 2007:
Opening Ceremony - AORTIC 2007

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