Cape Town is the quintessential melting pot: it is a city alive with creativity, colour, sounds, and tastes.
While walking through the City's streets and meeting its people, you will fall in love with its natural beauty, creative freedom and incredible spirit. Cape Town is a city where the unexpected is always just around the corner and the beautiful province of the Western Cape lies ready to be explored across the city border.
Currency and banks
The unit of currency in South Africa is the South African Rand (ZAR) and is indicated with a capital R so that, for example, three Rand and fifty cents would be written R3.50. South Africa has a decimal currency system with one Rand equalling 100 cents. Denomination of Rand notes are R200, R100, R50, R20, and R10 and of the coins are R5, R2, R1, 50c, 20c, 10c and 5c.
Facilities for cashing traveller's cheques are available at banks (operating hours are Monday - Friday 09:00 - 15:30, Saturdays 08:00 - 11:00) and at most hotels. Banks are closed on Sundays. Foreign exchange agencies are open during the week and on Saturdays. Automatic teller machines (ATM) are open 24 hours and are located at most banks as well as at the Summit Venue. International credit cards (Visa, Diners Club, MasterCard and American Express) are accepted at the majority of hotels, restaurants and shops.
The electricity supply in South Africa is 220 - 240 volts, 50 Hz. The connection for appliances is a round three-pin plug. Most hotels provide dual-voltage two-pin razor sockets (100-120 volts and 220-240 volts).
There are no compulsory vaccination requirements for persons entering South Africa although a certificate for yellow fever may be required if you are entering from certain South American or sub-Saharan African countries. Certain parts of the country have been designated as malaria risk areas. If you intend travelling to one of these areas, it is essential that you take prophylaxis before arrival and whilst in the area. Protective clothing and insect repellents should also be used. Cape Town is a malaria risk free area. South African doctors and dentists are highly trained professionals and hospitals are well equipped. Participants are requested to make their own arrangements with respect to health insurance prior to departure and consult their local general practitioner for personal expert advice. For international travel and health advisories please visit the WHO website at who.int/ith or cdc.org. It is safe to drink tap water throughout South Africa. However, for those who prefer bottled mineral water, this is readily available in various stores. Smoking is prohibited by law in most public buildings in South Africa (airports, Cape Town International Convention Centre, restaurants etc.) except in designated smoking areas.
The African Cochrane Indaba accepts no liability for any personal injury, loss, or damage of property belonging to or additional expenses incurred by congress participants either during the congress or as result of delays, strikes or any other circumstances. Participants are requested to make their own arrangements with respect of health, travel, and cancellation insurance.
Passports and visas
Every visitor to South Africa must have a valid passport. Passport holders from more than 80 countries, including USA, Canada, UK, Japan and the EU can visit South Africa without a visa. Information regarding visas can be obtained from your travel agent or the South African diplomatic or consular representative in your area. Passports should have at least 2 completely empty pages otherwise entry may be denied. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months after your intended date of departure. Visas cannot be obtained on arrival. A list of countries that currently do not require a visa can be found at the SA Government website:
Safety and security
For those participants who have not previously visited South Africa, or Cape Town, and are concerned about personal safety, we wish to assure all visitors that Cape Town is like any other major city with good and bad areas. Common sense will ensure a trouble free and enjoyable time. We advise that you do not walk alone after dark in unpopulated streets. Ostentatious displays of wealth should be avoided at all times.
Shopping in Cape Town
Most shops in the city centre and suburbs open between 08:00 and 17:00 to 17:30. Shops in major shopping malls open at 09:00 and close at 21:00 or later (especially at the V&A Waterfront), even on Sundays and most public holidays. Government agencies still keep to traditional weekday only hours. Most banks close at 15:30, and have limited Saturday morning opening times.
International direct dialling, internet, and e-mail facilities are easily accessible in Cape Town. Most of the mobile telephone systems used around the globe operates in Cape Town. Local SIM Cards can be purchased at convenience stores or at the Airport on Arrival.
Gratuities are not obligatory but are expected in South Africa. A guideline for visitors is the following: Airport porters ZAR 5 per item, taxis 10%, waiters, and waitresses in restaurants 10%.
Cape Town is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (+2GMT).
Most international traveller's cheques are accepted, provided they are in an acceptable currency and may be cashed at most banks. Many hotels and shops also provide this service. Please note that Credit Cards or Cash are generally a more acceptable form of payment.
VAT / tax refunds
VAT of 15% is levied on nearly all goods and services. Foreign tourists may claim back VAT paid on goods or products (not services) that will be taken out of the country. Original tax invoices, foreign passport, plus all the items on which a refund is claimed, must be presented at the VAT Refund Administration Office or an appointed RSA Customs and Excise Official on departure, and the total VAT on these items will be refunded.
Cape Town has a Mediterranean climate with dry warm summers and mild winters. The average maximum daytime temperature in Cape Town in March is a warm 24°C (75°F) with low heat & humidity. The average night-time temperature is usually a comfortable 14°C (57°F). There are usually 9 hours of bright sunshine each day, which represents 75% of the 12 hours of daylight.