Below are some of the most common questions that get asked of us. We hope that they help to answer any questions that you may have. However, if you are still left with a craving for more information then please do not hesitate to make an enquiry via our Contact page.
The Western Cape has a temperate Mediterranean climate. The official summer months are Dec to Feb, spring is Sept to Nov , Winter June to Aug and Autumn Mar to May. However the general perception is that summer lasts from October to March, there is little rain during this period and sunshine is up to 11 hours. As SA is closer to the equator the seasonal difference in day lengths is less than that of northern Europe. The spring and Autumn on either side of the summer are the mild in-between seasons, where nature usually wears its nicest clothes. The winter months usually have days of rain and wind, but are interspersed with many days that are perfect temperate weather, more like summer in Europe than winter in Cape Town. This for some people is their favourite time in the Cape. Average summer temperature is 24°C , with highs up to 35°C , whilst average winter temperatures are 18.5°C , with some cold nights getting down to 3°C.
South Africa is in the Central African Time zone, this is GMT +2:00. So although it is a long flight from Europe there is no jet-lag to worry about. Customers coming from the America's, Asia or Australia should factor in some jet-lag adjustment period into their visit to South Africa.
Although there is 11 different official languages, English is the language of record and the vast majority of people use English as a first or second language.
Cape Town International Airport is located less than 30 mins from Cape Town City centre. The following airlines fly direct to Cape Town from Europe, South African Airways, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, KLM, Air France, Swissair and Lufthansa. The airport has just been upgraded and is very modern with excellent facilities.
By road - the main routes into Cape Town are the N1 from Johannesburg and the north, the N2 from the Port Elizabeth and the east, N7 from Namibia, and the R27 from the West Coast. South Africa has a very good and extensive road network, and traveling locally within the Western Cape it would be the preferred method of transportation.
All major international car hire firms along with a number of local companies are located within Cape Town. Cost wise it would be a good decision to rent a car rather than to rely on taxis.
SA operates on the GSM system which covers the majority of the country and has 3G coverage in the main centres. If you do not have international roaming you can either buy a local SIM card at any local shop or rent a Cellphone at the airport.
The local currency is South African Rand (ZAR). Exchange rate is variable but at this time it is roughly 14 ZAR to the British Pound, 9 ZAR to the Euro and 8 ZAR to the USD. Exchange facilities are located throughout the city and in the major towns.
South Africa has a modern and sophisticated banking system. ATM’s will accept many international bank and credit cards.
Most shops, hotels and restaurants will accept the major credit cards.
South Africa has a VAT system. The rate is 14% on purchases and services. Prices include the VAT amount. Foreign visitors can claim back VAT from purchases of more than R 250 when leaving the country at the Airport.
Cape Town Tourism has a large visitor centre located at the corner of Burg and Castle Streets in the CBD. There is a large amount of information there as well as reservation facilities for different organizations.
Internet facilities are available in all hotels and most other accommodation establishments. Internet Cafes are located in all cities and towns throughout South Africa, and charges are reasonable.
At the Airport and hotels a tip of R 5 to R10 per luggage item is acceptable, although you are in no way obliged to use the services of the porters located there. Parking attendants, some official and some not, usually receive R1 to R 5 depending on length of parking. In restaurants it is usual to tip at a minimum 10% if service is good. You can of course tip more if service is excellent, and less if it is not so good. Check at some restaurants if you are in a group, many of them add a 10% surcharge for more than 6 or 8 guests.
The Western Cape has a vast variety of shopping experiences ranging from small craft stalls at the side of the road, to huge modern shopping malls. Close to the tourist destinations there are many African curio shops.
South Africa as a whole has a very clean and healthy potable water system. Drinking water from the taps is safe, but if you prefer there are supplies of bottled mineral water in all shops.
As with any country in the world, there are sensible precautions you should take concerning your safety while visiting the Western Cape. You should never carry large amounts of cash with you. Try not to have cameras hanging loose. In general take advice from locals about where it is safe after dark. At night, park in a secure well lit area. Stay aware of your surroundings and note anything that looks suspicious or out of place. Do not allow strangers to help you with ATM transactions. Try not to walk around alone, especially on mountain walks and at night in the city. Keep photocopies of all valuable documentation in a safe place.