General Information About Cape Town

Weather in Cape Town

Cape Town is known as a great holiday destination year around a place where neither season really experiences extremes of temperature, thanks to prevailing winds.

The summer months are from December to February. The days are generally warm to hot and dry, but the humidity is low.

While winters are from June to August and tend to be wet and cool, (this does not mean rain every day although it can rain for two weeks straight on occasion).

It can get very cold at night, with temperatures as low as 2 to 3°C (this is the temperature of the ocean so it will not get colder unless you go far inland) but 5-7°C is normal. It will become warmer during the day, with temperatures between 9-15°C typical. It is often very cloudy with far fewer hours of sunshine. (The rains are brought on by fierce northwesterly gales).

However be prepared though for 'four seasons in one day'. The peninsula's shape creates microclimates, so you can be basking in the sun on one side of the mountain and sheltering from chilly rain and winds on the other. It's no accident that Newlands is so lush in comparison to Cape Point - the former receives four times as much rain annually as the latter.

Best times to visit are:

  • October and November: The weather is getting warmer. Spring is in the air, but it is not as hot as mid-summer yet. These months can be windy months. The South-Easter is known as the Cape Doctor as it blows away a great deal of pollution!
  • December to February: These are the prime summer months of long hot days. The sun sets late in the evening (it stays light up until about 8:30PM in December) and there is generally a lot going on. February is the most reliable month for weather, with week after week of hot days.
  • March to May: This can change from year to year, but generally it starts raining and the temperature begins to become cooler. There are far fewer visitors around, and you can get fantastic deals on accommodation, food and most tourism services.
Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°C) 25 26 25 22 20 18 17 17 18 21 23 24
Nightly lows (°C) 15 15 14 12 10 9 9 8 9 11 13 14

Tourist & Visitors Travel Information to Cape Town, South Africa

South African Standard Time

South African standard Time is two hours in advance of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT +2), one hour in advance of central European winter time and seven hours in advance of United States eastern standard time throughout the year. There are no time zone differences within the country.

Visa Requirements

Every person seeking to enter South Africa must be in possession of a valid passport for travel to South Africa and, where necessary, a visa. Enquiries can be directed to South African diplomatic representatives abroad or the Department of Home Affairs in Pretoria. Visitors who intend travelling to South Africa's neighbouring countries and back into South Africa are advised to apply for multiple entry visas.

In terms of existing arrangements, passport holders of certain countries are exempt from visa requirements. Tourists must satisfy immigration officers that they have the means to support themselves during their stay, and that they are in possession of return or onward air tickets. They must also have valid international health certificates.

Travelling with children

As from 1st June 2015, all children under the age of 18 years who travel into or out of South Africa need the consent of both their parents, and to produce an unabridged birth certificate to get a visa or at a port of entry.

All children under the age of 18 - both local and foreigners - must travel with a valid passport and an unabridged (full) birth certificate stating both parents' names. If the child is travelling alone or with only one parent, then they must also carry an affidavit filled out by the missing parent or parents.

Online equivalent documents can be found at the Department of Home Affairs immigration services for foreign children.

If a child applies for a visa inside South Africa or at a South African embassy abroad, all supporting documents must be submitted before the visa is issued.

If a child is a national of a country exempt from South African visas, all the supporting documents must be presented at a port of entry, or the child will be refused entry.

Immunisations

No international immunisation is needed when entering South Africa. The only inoculation requirement is a yellow fever vaccination certificate from travellers over one year of age entering South Africa within six days of leaving an infected country. Visitors who travel through or disembark in these areas are advised to be inoculated against the disease before visiting South Africa.

Security and Safety

As South Africa is a developing country, crime does exist, so we would advise you to take a few basic precautions. All valuables, passports, cameras, should be locked in the safe of your hotel. Valuables should be carried discreetly when walking in cities. Gold and other expensive items offered for sale by street vendors are likely to be fakes or stolen property. Do not participate in pavement games as they are operated by well organised gangs and money can be stolen while you are distracted.

Public transport is available in South Africa so there is no need to hitch-hike. Local residents will advise you on safe transport. If driving, do not pick up hitch-hikers and ensure that your car doors are locked at all times. The South African Police are easily recognised in their blue uniforms and by their white and blue patrol vehicles.

Phoning overseas from South Africa

If you wish to make a call overseas, you must first dial 00, which is South Africa's international access code. You then dial the country code, area code of the city or region and the number of the person you wish to call. e.g. if you make a call to Sydney, Australia, telephone number 456 1234 you must dial 00 612 456-1234.

Electricity

220/230 volts AC at 50 cycles per second. Three pronged plugs are universal, so take an adapter. Most hotel rooms have 110 volt outlets for electric shavers and small appliances.

South African Post Offices

Open Monday to Friday from 08h00 to 16h30 and on Saturday from 08h00 to 12h00. Closed on Sundays. Mail may be addressed to you Post Restante. The main post offices have special counters for this purpose. Postage stamps are widely available (e.g. at some cafés and branches of the Central News Agency - CNA).

Languages

There are 11 official languages including English, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda and Zulu.

English, however is spoken everywhere you go. English is the language of the cities, of commerce and banking, of government and official documents. All our road signs and official forms are in English and at any hotel, Bed and Breakfast or Guest House, the service staff will speak to you in English.

Currency and Exchange Rates

One Rand (R) = 100 cents (c). Notes issued R200, R100, R50, R20, R10; coins R5, R2, R1, 50c 20c, 10c, 5c. Currency exchange rates are available at banks and published daily in the press or see South Africa Current Exchange Rates which are updated daily.

Tipping / Gratuities

Tipping is customary in South Africa. A guideline for visitors is the following: Porters R5 per item, taxis 10%, waiters and waitresses in restaurants 10-15%.


Travellers Cheques and Banking

Banking Hours:

  • Monday to Friday from 09h00 to 15h30.
  • Saturday from 09h00 to 11h00.
  • Auto banks (ATM's, automated teller machines) are found in most towns and operate on a 24 hour basis.

Travellers Cheques:

Most international traveller's cheques are accepted provided they are in an acceptable currency and may be cashed at most banks. Many hotels and shops also provide this service.

VAT Refunds

Tax Refunds For Tourists Made Easy:

As a visitor to South Africa, you can spend as little as R250.00 on goods intended for export, and claim a VAT refund. The user-friendly procedure allows you to claim your money before you even leave South African territory.

Who can Claim?

Non-residents on a temporary visit to South Africa are eligible to claim a VAT refund in respect of movable goods exported through a designated point of departure within 90 days from the date of purchase.

Important Information:

Maximum payment by cheque will be for an amount of R3000.00. Claims exceeding this limit or claims requiring further audit, will be posted.

Please Note:

Goods consumed in South Africa or services rendered in the country do not qualify for VAT refunds.

  • Only original Tax Invoices will be considered for refunds.
  • The goods must be presented for inspection on departure.
  • Goods must be exported within 90 days of the date of purchase and the claim lodged within 3 months from the date of export.
  • An administration fee of 1.5% of the inclusive value of the claim will be deducted, subject to a minimum of R 10.00 and a maximum of R 250.00.
  • Diplomats posted to South Africa should contact their embassies for details of the applicable refund scheme.
  • Special provisions apply to antiques, 2nd hand goods and registerable goods.

How to Claim your Tax Refund:

Simply identify yourself as a tourist to shop assistants, and request a Tax Invoice for the goods you have purchased.

A valid Tax Invoice must contain all the following information:

  • The words "Tax Invoice"
  • A Tax Invoice number
  • The seller's VAT Registration number
  • Date of Issue of the Tax Invoice
  • The seller's name and address
  • The buyer's name and address
  • A full description of the goods purchased
  • The cost of the goods in Rands
  • The amount of VAT charged or a statement that VAT is included in the total cost

For Additional Information:

Contact: VAT Refund Administrator (Pty) Ltd
Postal Address: P.O. Box 107; OR Tambo International Airport
Postal code: 1627
Telephone: +27 (0)11 394 - 1117
Facsimile: +27 (0)11 394 - 1430
E-Mail: info@taxrefunds.co.za.

Important Telephone numbers:

From a fixed line

  • 107 - Emergency
  • 10111 - Police [192]
  • 10177 - Ambulance
  • 082911 - Netcare911