Home> Essential Info

ESSENTIAL INFO CAPE TOWN - SOUTH AFRICA


Emergency Telephone Numbers
Tourist Information Offices
Safety In The City
Standard Time
Tipping
Water
Your Health
Money Matters
Transport
Airport
Foreign Representatives In Cape Town
Year Round
Communications


EMERGENCY TEL NO. WHEN IN CAPE TOWN (+27 21 International)

107General Emergency No.
112Cell Phone Users - Operator Will Redirect Call
10177Ambulance
10111Police Flying Squad
0800 11 12 13Crime stop
421 5115/6Tourist Safety Unit 07h30 - 18h00 Mon-Fri
 
689 5277Poison Unit Red Cross Children's Hospital
658 5111Red Cross Children's Hospital
480 6111City Park Hospital
404 9111Groote Schuur Hospital
938 4911Tygerberg Hospital
461 1111Lifeline / Childline
 
405 3500Sea Rescue
535 1100Fire
 
462 4970Passport & Visa - Department Of Home Affairs


MISCELLANEOUS

082 162Weather Line
082 152News Line
788 1350Surf Report
1023Telkom Directory Listing Enquiry
426 4260Cape Town Tourism
426 5639 / 47Western Cape Tourism
671 4028Gay Tourist Info
422 1925Gaynet Cape Town
 
934 0407Airport Flight Times
934 5455Airport Shuttle Service
0800 010 101AA - Automobile Association
0800 656 463Metro Rail Info
080 131 2111Golden Arrow Buses
0861 4 500TicketWeb for Bookings
083 910 1028Whale Route
434 0434Taxis
423 4888Rikkis Mini Taxi
439 2323Baz Bus ( Backpackers)
423 0052Scooter Hire
439 6144Motorcycle Hire
556 0700Topless Bus Tours
 
934 4951Cellphone Hire
424 3578Tux Hire
7853100Limousine Hire
439 4985Baby Sitters
683 3430Domestic Workers
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TOURIST INFORMATION OFFICES

557 8600Blaawberg
426 4260Cape Town
851 4022Helderberg
790 1194Houtbay
980 6112Oostenberg
788 6193Peninsula ( Muizenberg)
786 5798Simon's Town
970 3172Tygerberg
872 0686Winelands
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SAFETY IN THE CITY

Please observe the following general safety precautions

* Do not walk around the city alone at night
* Lock your car doors while driving in the City
* Always lock your car and activate the alarm
* Beware of pickpockets
* Do not accept lifts from or give lifts to strangers

In an effort to curb crime, a closed circuit television system has been installed in the Central Business District - this is active 24 hours a day.

Cape Town's Central Business District and major malls have made considerable efforts to safeguard tourists against crime. Surveillance cameras monitor activities in the central business district and security guards watch over major shopping centres. Nonetheless, tourists should take the precautions they would in any major city. Avoid carrying large sums of cash, having cameras or video cameras loose, leaving belongings unattended, and in general take advice on where to go after dark. Take special precautions at lonely lookout points at dusk or after dark.

Street children and beggars may approach you for a handout. Many social workers counsel against giving money to the children as it usually gets handed over to some older figure or is used for sniffing glue. If you wish to do good for these children, rather give them food.

In some shopping areas, uniformed attendants will either take a fee or offer to mind your car for a tip. More unsettling are unofficial guards, often in competition with one another, who approach you to show you where a vacant bay can be found, or ask for money to mind the meter for you. The City of Cape Town is committed to controlling this practice and you should feel free to decline the services of these ”parking attendants”. Alternatively, use a parking garage or official parking lot. At night, park in a secure, well-lit area.
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STANDARD TIME

Two hours in advance of Greenwich Mean Time. One hour in advance of central European winter time. Seven hours in advance of Eastern time USA.
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TIPPING

It is customary to tip waiters, waitresses, wine stewards, taxi drivers, porters and caddies. Depending on service, the amount should be around 10%. Petrol station attendants often anticipate a tip if they have gone beyond just filling your tank. Many waiters and waitresses are university students who rely on tips to pay their wages.

A 10% tip is still acceptable although up to 15% may be given if service is outstanding. Tables of over eight often have an automatic 10% service charge added to the bill. A tip of R2 to R3 per piece of luggage is acceptable to porters in hotels and at airports.
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WATER

Tap water throughout the region is of a high standard and is safe for human consumption.
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YOUR HEALTH

There are first-rate medical and dental facilities in Cape Town. As a result, many foreign visitors combine tourism with dental procedures, laser eye surgery, or cosmetic surgery that cost much less here.

Government health facilities have come under tremendous budget pressures and tourists are likely to face long queues and bureaucratic formalities there. Use one of the major private clinics in the event of an emergency. Charges are very reasonable by international standards. The clinics require a deposit of up to R5,000, paid in cash or credit cards (for emergency and elective surgery). You will have to claim from your medical insurance company as the clinics do not process claims.

A Netcare Travel Clinic situated at Cape Town Tourism can advise you on health matters.
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MONEY MATTERS

* Currency - The local currency is the South African Rand, which in late-2001 was exchanging at above R9 to the US$ and R14 to the British Pound. Foreign exchange facilities can be found at Cape Tourism Visitors' Centre, the Airport, Bureau de Change, while Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) will accept many international bank and credit cards.

* Credit Cards - South Africa has a modern and sophisticated banking and commercial system, and many shops and hotels will accept credit cards.

* VAT - South Africa has adopted a Value Added Tax system of 14% on purchases and services. If you are a foreign visitor to South Africa, you can reclaim your VAT on purchases if you've spent more than R250 on items you're taking out of the country. There are three places this can be done. Residents from Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland are excluded from the VAT refund mechanism. Request a tax invoice from the store where you made your purchase. Make sure the words “Tax Invoice” is prominent - the amount of VAT charged or a statement to the effect that VAT is included in the cost of the goods - a tax invoice number.

1 If you go to the VAT office at the Airport International Departures Hall, leave yourself some time - you'll need your original tax invoices, and your passport, fill in a form and have the goods you bought available for inspection.
2 Otherwise you may go to the Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre in the Waterfront. The office is in the Kings Warehouse, under the Nu-Metro cinemas. It is open from 08h00 to 21h00. Tel 421 1612
3 Cape Town Tourism Visitors' Centre plans to have a VAT claims desk in their expanded centre. Tel 426 4260
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TRANSPORT

Buses and trains, Cape Town's established forms of public transport, have reduced their services over the past decades but still offer good value and convenience if you plan your trip. The train ride from Cape Town to Kalk Bay or Fish Hoek can be a wonderfully relaxing way of preparing for a day at the beach. Trains on this line travel as far as Simon's Town.

* Tourists could use several special bus services. The double - decker topless tourist bus The Cape Town Explorer, is our city's official get-to-see-the-city tour. It is worth calling Cape Town Tourism at 426 4260 to find out about this 2 hour official tour in the city and surrounds or purchase tickets at the visitors' Centre.
* There's an airport bus service that operates between Cape Town International and the city centre Tel 937 1200
* Minibus taxis and private cars have to a large extent taken the place of buses and trains. Hundreds of thousands of Capetonians take minibus taxis every day and they offer convenient and sometimes hair-raising fast transport along major routes, typically the Main Road from Sea Point right around to Wynberg in the Southern Suburbs. As aggrieved local motorists trailing behind a taxi will tell you, boarding points are wherever and whenever you can get the driver to stop - usually with no warning.
* If you're not feeling that adventurous, you may want to take a conventional private taxi, (ask about fares beforehand and check your driver's familiarity with the area you're heading for) or ask Rikki's to send one of their small busses to pick you up. Tel 423 4888. And, of course, there are lots of companies running guided tours, with a variety of angles and emphases.
* All major car hire companies operate from the airport and have city depots. Several small care hire companies offer competitive rates.
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AIRPORT

Cape Town International Airport was granted gateway status in 1992.
Situated a mere 20km from Cape Town centre, Cape Town International Airport (CIA) has one primary runway which is 3.2km long, whilst the secondary runway, used for small aircraft, is 2km in length.

CIA is the main gateway to the Western Cape, and has experienced dramatic growth in both passengers as well as airlines serving the area. It is currently emerging from a dynamic reconstruction programme to offer state of the art facilities for the huge increase in passengers passing through Cape Town.

Cape Town is currently connected by direct scheduled flights to 23 cities in 19 countries. A one-flight connection via Johannesburg or Durban ( both 2 hours flying time from Cape Town ) links the city to 59 cities in 52 countries. A total of 19 international, regional and domestic airlines fly directly to CIA.

As a visitor you will find facilities for car hire, telephone rental, restaurants, theme pubs, bars, executive car parking services, tourism information, business class lounges, a bank providing foreign exchange facilities, ATM facilities and an excellent selection of shops. There is a VAT refund facility for departing international travellers, and a wonderful selection of stores selling everything from Cape spices and wines to jewellery, sportsgear, crafts, books and interesting gift selections for last minute shoppers.


Note - All telephone and fax no.s to be preceded by +27 21 for international callers


TelephoneFax
 
Cape International Airport937 1200934 0932
Flight Information934 0407/8/9934 9861
 
Air Mauritius421 6294421 7371
Air Namibia936 2755936 2760
British Airways936 2311934 0958
KLM934 3495934 8757
Lufthansa934 8534934 5063
LTU936 1190936 1189
Malaysia Airlines934 8603934 8228
Singapore Airlines419 0495419 5392
South African Airways936 2111936 2664
Turkish Airlines425 1967425 1987
Virgin Atlantic936 8000936 8010
 
Domestic Flights Are Catered For By The Following Airlines
 
British Airways936 9000934 4729
Civair Airlines934 4488934 4462
Intensive Air(011) 880 7584(021) 919 1125
Nationwide936 2056936 2053
SA Airlink936 2667936 2664
SA Express934 1620934 6821
South African Airways936 2111936 2664
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FOREIGN REPRESENTATIVES IN CAPE TOWN


RepresentativeTelephoneFax
 
Argentina - Embassy439 0403424 2751
Australia - High Commission419 5425/6419 7345
Austria - Consulate General421 1440/1425 3489
Belgium - Consulate General419 4690421 1121
Botswana - Consulate General421 1045421 1046
Brazil - Consulate421 4040/1421 1216
Canada - High Commission423 5240/1/2423 4893
Chile - Consulate General421 2344/6425 3034
China - Consulate General418 1187/9425 3022
Czech Rep. - Consulate General797 9835797 2776
Denmark - Consulate715 7019715 7096
Estonia - H. Consulate913 3850913 2579
Finland - H. Consulate531 1177531 1555
France - Consulate423 1575424 8470
Germany - Consulate General424 2410424 9403
Greece - Consulate424 8160/1424 9421
Guatemala - Consulate418 2020418 1280
Hungary - Consulate General674 1547674 1790
India - High Commission419 8110419 8112
Indonesia - Consulate General423 2321423 3205
Ireland - Embassy423 0431/2423 0433
Italy - Consulate424 0146
Israel - Embassy450 7205461 0075
Japan - Consular Office425 1695/6418 2116
Lithuania - Consulate419 6153419 7411
Mozambique - Consulate426 2944426 2946
Netherlands - Consulate General421 5660/1418 2690
New Zealand - Hon.Consulate General619 978619 978
Norway - Hon. Consulate418 1276421 4187
Peru - Hon. Consulate421 5944421 5944
People's Rep of China - Consul Gen.434 4689465 9512
Portugal - Consulate General424 1454/6423 5783
Romania - Consulate General761 1781761 2657
Russian Fed. - Consulate General418 3656419 2651
Sao Tome Principe - H. Consulate423 3979423 3508
Spain - Consulate General422 2415422 2328
Sweden - H. Consulate418 1276421 4813
Switzerland - Consulate426 1040424 9344
Taipei Liaison Office418 1187/9425 3022
Uk & N. Ireland - Consulate425 3670425 1427
USA - Consulate General421 4280425 4151
Uruguay - Consulate General425 1847425 3308
Zimbabwe - Consulate461 4710461 4896
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YEAR ROUND

Whatever season you have chosen to visit Cape Town, be warned of the old joke. Cape Town has four seasons - sometimes in the same day. This is especially true if you plan to go hiking or be outdoors.

Check the weather forecasts in local newspapers or on radio. Phone 082 162 for detailed short - term forecasts.


Summertime

Most tourists visit Cape Town during our long summer from November to March. A Mediterranean climate with little rain, 11 hours or more sunshine a day and long sunny evenings sets a party mood. The glorious weather explains why Cape Town has become a favoured site for foreign film and TV crews escaping from the Northern Hemisphere winter.

If the wind does blow and you're after a tan or the beach, remember that mornings are usually much less windy, and that certain beaches (Clifton, Boulders) are more protected than others.

South African summer holidays (usually from the first week in December to mid January), and Easter are peak periods for visiting Cape Town, so you should plan trips reasonably in advance, and be prepared for lots of company!


Between Seasons

Conventional local wisdom used to be that spring (September and October) and autumn (April and May) are the smart times to visit Cape Town. They are usually balmy in-between seasons, when nature is at its showiest. If you’re into flowers (August and September) or whale watching (June to November), or seeing the vineyards at their best, these are great seasons to be in Cape Town.

MTN Whale Line and MTN Flowerline is 083 910 1028.


Wintertime

Although Cape Town winters have a reputation for rain and wind, they often produce perfect temperate days or even weeks. Some climatic change seems to have reduced winter rainfall, and when it's not raining, winter becomes a perfect “secret season”, when temperatures can reach a summery 30C (80F) or higher.
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COMMUNICATIONS

If you're visiting from abroad, you can hire a cell--phone (mobile phone) at the airport, Cape Town Tourism or in other major centres. This convenience will cost about R7 to R10 per day with an additional R3.50 for insurance that may or may not be compulsory. Calls cost around R2.75 per minute. You'll need to leave a credit card deposit. Shop around. The competition is good and certain companies offer optional insurance and a choice of top brand cell-phones. Some international cell-phones (GSM) will work here if you use a local SimCard.

Blue public phones work on coins (20c, 50c and R1 coins are best used) while green public phones work on local Telkom phone cards, which you can purchase in a variety of shops and post offices - most public phones advertise the closest sale point. If you are an international traveller, it's worth buying one at entry. Costs per call are 70c per 3 minutes for a local call but are half price at off-peak times, from 20h00 to 07h00 and on week-ends. You can make national and international calls with the cards.
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