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Cape Town City Guide
Index · Introduction · Accommodation · Adventure · Airport · Attractions · Backpackers · Beaches · Beauty · Business · Car Hire · Day Tours & Itineraries · Disabled · District Guide · English · Festivals · Gay · Holidays · Kids · Maps · Museums · Music · Nightlife · Religion · Rent · Restaurants · Shopping · Sport · Theatre · Travel Tips · Townships · Walks · Winelands ·

Cape Town Travel Tips
Page Contents
Gratuities Foreign Exchange Local Prices Airport Transfers
Tax Refunds Health Climate Dress
Visas Disabled Useful Contact Numbers
Tipping is common practice in South Africa. Service charge is usually not included at restaurants, and a 10-15% tip is considered standard. It is also customary to tip Tour Guides and rangers R100 per day (total). Porters (per bag), car guards and petrol pump attendants are generally tipped between R2 - R5.
Foreign Exchange
Forex is readily available from bank branches, including at the airport and kiosks in all major shopping centres. Rennies has Bureaux de Change in many locations. Cape Town has a good network of ATM's making it easy to withdraw money from international bank accounts using Cirrus, VISA or Maestro cards.

For safety reasons, it is advisable not to carry large quantities of cash. Major international credit cards (Mastercard, Visa, Diners Club, American Express) are widely accepted.
Local Prices
Most foreign visitors find Cape Town an inexpensive city. Here are a few examples of what you can expect to pay (published 2012).
  • Quality sandwich/ take-away burger, chips & cold drink: from R40.00
  • Bottle of wine: from R40.00
  • Car hire per day: from R200.00
  • Excellent 3 course meal with wine: from R250.00
To / From the Airport

Cape Town's international airport is located about half an hour from the city bowl - see maps. Shuttle bus services between the airport and the city centre are available at arrivals, expect to pay around R180 for one person one way. Private taxis charge approximately R210. Tour companies should arrange to greet you at the airport.

Tax Refunds
All travellers to South Africa are able to claim back 12.5% VAT (Value Added Tax) on goods purchased for export providing the total value exceeds R250. Make sure you keep the original tax invoices (full receipts) & complete a VAT refund control sheet obtainable from your airport/harbour of departure and customs offices. The purchases will need to be checked by a customs inspector.
Good news - Cape Town is not a malaria area, no innoculations are required and tap water is perfectly safe to drink. If traveling to rural areas or north from Cape Town, contact your local travel clinic for all necessary health precautions.
One of the wonderful things about Cape Town is its warm Mediterranean climate. In the summer months (November - March) it is dry and temperatures frequently rise above 26° C / 69°F. Long sunny days make for ideal beach weather.

Winter is cool to mild, but never freezing. This is the rainy season and although there may be several days of constant rain, when the clouds lift the city is often rewarded with beautifully clear and sunny weather. For mean monthly temperature, rainfall and wind-speed, see maps.
If Cape Town has a dress code it is extremely casual. Smart-casual wear is appropriate for some restaurants, hotels and the theatre. Bring comfortable walking/hiking shoes if you plan to explore Table Mountain and make sure you are well-armed with strong sunblock.
Visas are not required for anyone traveling to South Africa on a European Union, United States or Canadian passport (published 2012). A three month holiday visa is generally issued on arrival into the country. Those wishing to extend their holiday visa should contact the Department of Home Affairs 021 464 3700.

If you require a study visa ask the South African institution to help you with the necessary procedures. Applying for a work visa is often a difficult, expensive, tedious process requiring endless patience and a strong sense of humor - Permanent Residence is even worse, contact your closest South African embassy and a South African lawyer and Good Luck!!
The major attractions in Cape Town - the Waterfront, Cape Point, the Cable Car - are all 'disabled friendly', as are all the modern hotels and many restaurants. Amenities include ramps and parking bays. Kirstenbosch Gardens have some excellent trails for the blind.

You can get contact details for the regional branch of the Association for the Physically Disabled at www.apd-wc.org.za
Useful Contact Numbers
  • Cape Town Tourism: 021 487 6800
  • Department of Home Affairs: 021 464 3700
  • Directory Enquiries (within South Africa): 1023
  • Directory Enquiries (international): 0903
  • Emergency Services: 10111
  • Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital: 021 480 6111 (private hospital in the city centre)
  • Ambulance: 10177

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