Home> Essential Info
Emergency Telephone Numbers
Tourist Information Offices
Safety In The City
Foreign Representatives In Cape Town
|107||General Emergency No.|
|112||Cell Phone Users - Operator Will Redirect Call|
|10111||Police Flying Squad|
|0800 11 12 13||Crime stop|
|421 5115/6||Tourist Safety Unit 07h30 - 18h00 Mon-Fri|
|689 5277||Poison Unit Red Cross Children's Hospital|
|658 5111||Red Cross Children's Hospital|
|480 6111||City Park Hospital|
|404 9111||Groote Schuur Hospital|
|938 4911||Tygerberg Hospital|
|461 1111||Lifeline / Childline|
|405 3500||Sea Rescue|
|462 4970||Passport & Visa - Department Of Home Affairs|
|082 162||Weather Line|
|082 152||News Line|
|788 1350||Surf Report|
|1023||Telkom Directory Listing Enquiry|
|426 4260||Cape Town Tourism|
|426 5639 / 47||Western Cape Tourism|
|671 4028||Gay Tourist Info|
|422 1925||Gaynet Cape Town|
|934 0407||Airport Flight Times|
|934 5455||Airport Shuttle Service|
|0800 010 101||AA - Automobile Association|
|0800 656 463||Metro Rail Info|
|080 131 2111||Golden Arrow Buses|
|0861 4 500||TicketWeb for Bookings|
|083 910 1028||Whale Route|
|423 4888||Rikkis Mini Taxi|
|439 2323||Baz Bus ( Backpackers)|
|423 0052||Scooter Hire|
|439 6144||Motorcycle Hire|
|556 0700||Topless Bus Tours|
|934 4951||Cellphone Hire|
|424 3578||Tux Hire|
|439 4985||Baby Sitters|
|683 3430||Domestic Workers|
|426 4260||Cape Town|
|788 6193||Peninsula ( Muizenberg)|
|786 5798||Simon's Town|
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.
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.
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.
Tap water throughout the region is of a high standard and is safe for human consumption.
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.
* 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
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.
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
|Cape International Airport||937 1200||934 0932|
|Flight Information||934 0407/8/9||934 9861|
|Air Mauritius||421 6294||421 7371|
|Air Namibia||936 2755||936 2760|
|British Airways||936 2311||934 0958|
|KLM||934 3495||934 8757|
|Lufthansa||934 8534||934 5063|
|LTU||936 1190||936 1189|
|Malaysia Airlines||934 8603||934 8228|
|Singapore Airlines||419 0495||419 5392|
|South African Airways||936 2111||936 2664|
|Turkish Airlines||425 1967||425 1987|
|Virgin Atlantic||936 8000||936 8010|
|British Airways||936 9000||934 4729|
|Civair Airlines||934 4488||934 4462|
|Intensive Air||(011) 880 7584||(021) 919 1125|
|Nationwide||936 2056||936 2053|
|SA Airlink||936 2667||936 2664|
|SA Express||934 1620||934 6821|
|South African Airways||936 2111||936 2664|
|Argentina - Embassy||439 0403||424 2751|
|Australia - High Commission||419 5425/6||419 7345|
|Austria - Consulate General||421 1440/1||425 3489|
|Belgium - Consulate General||419 4690||421 1121|
|Botswana - Consulate General||421 1045||421 1046|
|Brazil - Consulate||421 4040/1||421 1216|
|Canada - High Commission||423 5240/1/2||423 4893|
|Chile - Consulate General||421 2344/6||425 3034|
|China - Consulate General||418 1187/9||425 3022|
|Czech Rep. - Consulate General||797 9835||797 2776|
|Denmark - Consulate||715 7019||715 7096|
|Estonia - H. Consulate||913 3850||913 2579|
|Finland - H. Consulate||531 1177||531 1555|
|France - Consulate||423 1575||424 8470|
|Germany - Consulate General||424 2410||424 9403|
|Greece - Consulate||424 8160/1||424 9421|
|Guatemala - Consulate||418 2020||418 1280|
|Hungary - Consulate General||674 1547||674 1790|
|India - High Commission||419 8110||419 8112|
|Indonesia - Consulate General||423 2321||423 3205|
|Ireland - Embassy||423 0431/2||423 0433|
|Italy - Consulate||424 0146|
|Israel - Embassy||450 7205||461 0075|
|Japan - Consular Office||425 1695/6||418 2116|
|Lithuania - Consulate||419 6153||419 7411|
|Mozambique - Consulate||426 2944||426 2946|
|Netherlands - Consulate General||421 5660/1||418 2690|
|New Zealand - Hon.Consulate General||619 978||619 978|
|Norway - Hon. Consulate||418 1276||421 4187|
|Peru - Hon. Consulate||421 5944||421 5944|
|People's Rep of China - Consul Gen.||434 4689||465 9512|
|Portugal - Consulate General||424 1454/6||423 5783|
|Romania - Consulate General||761 1781||761 2657|
|Russian Fed. - Consulate General||418 3656||419 2651|
|Sao Tome Principe - H. Consulate||423 3979||423 3508|
|Spain - Consulate General||422 2415||422 2328|
|Sweden - H. Consulate||418 1276||421 4813|
|Switzerland - Consulate||426 1040||424 9344|
|Taipei Liaison Office||418 1187/9||425 3022|
|Uk & N. Ireland - Consulate||425 3670||425 1427|
|USA - Consulate General||421 4280||425 4151|
|Uruguay - Consulate General||425 1847||425 3308|
|Zimbabwe - Consulate||461 4710||461 4896|
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.