The Western Cape covers an area of 129,462 km2.
Population: 6.2 million people, approximate.
Main languages: Xhosa, Afrikaans, English.
Main economic sectors: Manufacturing, real estate, financial services and tourism.
Climate: Most of the province is considered to have a Mediterranean climate with cool, wet winters and warm, dry summers. The Garden route and the Overberg on the south coast have a maritime climate with cool, moist winters and mild, moist summers. Mossel Bay in the Garden Route is considered to have the second mildest climate worldwide after Hawaii.
Highest point: Seweweekspoortpiek at 2,325m.
Time zone: GMT +2
International dialling code: +27
Currency: Rand (ZAR) 100 cents = 1 Rand.
The Western Cape uses the metric system for measurements and we drive on the left hand side of the road.
Beaches: Generally safe and hygienic.
Water is safe to drink. Alcohol only for consumption/purchase to persons over 18 years of age.
South Africans drive on the left hand side of the road. Drivers must have a drivers licence or an international driving licence. Talking/texting on a cell phone while driving is illegal. Speed limit. 60kpm for built up areas, 120kpm for motorways.
banned in public places such as restaurants, pubs and shopping centres.
Make use of a taxi rank or call for a taxi as they do not cruise.
Generally 10% of the bill eg restaurants. Porters expect R10 per bag carried.
Banks open from: 09h00 to 16h00 weekdays, 08h30 to 11h00 Saturdays. ATM’s open 24 hours.
Distances are measured in kilometres 1 mile = 1.62 kilometres. Temperatures given in degrees Celsius 68 degrees Fahrenheit = 20 degrees Celsius.
Most major credit cards are accepted (VISA, MasterCard, American Express).
Wheelchairs may be hired in most cities. Public restrooms are equipped with disabled facilities.
South Africa’s dress code is casual. Some hotels and restaurants may insist on formal attire.
Current is 200/230 Volts. A three point round pin adaptor is required.
Vaccination for cholera and small pox are not required, but travellers from yellow fever zones requires a valid certificate. The northern part of the country requires anti-malaria medication, available from pharmacies. Anti malaria medication is required visiting certain game reserves.
Passports must be valid for 6 months after leaving the country. Visas are generally required and visitors must have a return ticket.
Hours are from:
08h00 to 17h00 weekdays
08h30 to 13h00 weekends
Most malls are open until 21h00
VAT: 14 percent, levied on most goods. VAT on purchases over R250.00 may be claimed at international points of departure
At the ATM
Take someone with you to the ATM. Use ATMs during daytime. Use an ATM that is in a complex such as a shopping mall, preferably inside the bank. Do not let any bystander assist you during the transaction, rather seek help from a bank assistant. Be aware of your surroundings and possible criminals. Do not withdraw large sums of cash, rather use a credit card. Ensure that you safely put your purse away before leaving the ATM. Be aware that card slots may be tampered with in order to clone cards. If you have trouble inserting the card, discontinue use and report to bank representative if possible. If your card should become stuck in the machine, send your companion to look for help or phone the number on the machine.
At the Hotel
Never leave your luggage unattended. Use employees only to assist you if assistance is necessary. Be aware of your surroundings. If payment is made by card, don’t allow the card to be out of your sight. Stay in groups or pairs when possible. Keep room doors locked at all times. If someone knocks at the room door first check their identification before opening the door. Use the Hotel main safe for safekeeping of valuables as room safe’s not entirely secure. Hand your room keys in at reception when you leave the hotel.
In the Street
Avoid the display of expensive jewellery, cameras and other valuables. Do not carry large amounts of cash on your person. Stay clear of dark areas at night. If you plan to take a taxi ask the reception desk or a tourist information desk to refer you to a reliable company. If lost a policeman or traffic official will gladly assist you in finding your way. Adhere to traffic regulations. Be aware of your surroundings. Walk in groups or pairs. Stay on the sidewalk and use pedestrian crossings only (Never cross at a red light). Watch over your peers. Inform the guide of any problems.