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FESTIVALS, HOLIDAYS AND OTHER ANNUAL EVENTS IN Cape Town

There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in Cape Town each year.
The main ones are listed below.

January 1: New Year's Day (national holiday)

March 21: Human Rights Day (national holiday)

Commemorates the fight against racial segregation and in particular the Sharpeville massacre on this day in 1960, when policemen opened fire on a group of peaceful protesters demonstrating against the regime's “pass laws”, which restricted black South Africans from entering certain areas, killing 69 people and wounding 179 more.

March/April – Easter Saturday: Two Oceans Marathon (local event)

This strenuous 56-kilometre (35-mile) ultra-marathon, which takes place around the Cape Peninsula each year, attracts thousands of international and local entrants, professionals as well as amateurs.

April 27: Freedom Day (national holiday)

Commemorates the day in 1994 that millions of black South Africans were allowed to vote in an election, which chose Nelson Mandela, a former political prisoner, as president.

May 1: Workers' Day (national holiday)

The equivalent of Labour Day elsewhere in the world, this day has been a public holiday in South Africa only since 1994, celebrating in particular the role played by trade unions, the Communist Party and other labour movements in the struggle against the country's apartheid system.

June 16: Youth Day (national holiday)

Honours the memory of the black South African high school students in Soweto township killed by police during protests beginning on this day in 1976. Commemorations include solemn processions, ceremonies, music and dance performances, etc.

August 9: National Women's Day (national holiday)

Commemorates the demonstration by some 20,000 black South African women in Pretoria on this day in 1956, to protest the extension of the pass laws to women.

September 24: Heritage Day (national holiday)

On this day, South Africans recognize and celebrate the cultural wealth of their nation, with ceremonies and events remembering the living heritage of the many cultures that make up the population of South Africa. Aspects of living heritage include cultural traditions, oral history, performance, ritual, popular memory, skills and techniques, indigenous knowledge systems and the holistic approach to nature, society and social relationships.

December 25: Christmas (national holiday)

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CLIMATE AND WEATHER IN Cape Town

Cape Town enjoys a typically Mediterranean climate. Winters are mild and humid, with short, but relatively violent, rainstorms. Summers are hot and dry, but the heat is rarely oppressive, due to the cooling effect of the winds from the south-east. Cape Town is a very sunny city, with a daily average of about eight hours of sunshine.

Month Min. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Max. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Average Rains (MM) Best Time to Travel
January 16/61 26/79 15/0.6 Not the best period to go
February 16/61 26/79 17/0.7 Good period to go Good period to go
March 14/57 25/77 20/0.8 Good period to go Good period to go
April 12/54 23/73 41/1.6 Good period to go Good period to go
May 9/48 20/68 69/2.7 Not the best period to go
June 8/46 18/64 93/3.7 Not the best period to go
July 7/45 17/63 82/3.2 Not the best period to go
August 7/45 18/64 77/3.0 Not the best period to go
September 9/48 19/66 40/1.6 Not the best period to go
October 11/52 21/70 30/1.2 Not the best period to go
November 13/55 23/73 14/0.6 Good period to go Good period to go
December 15/59 24/75 17/0.7 Good period to go Good period to go
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Cape Town International Airport

Cape Town International Airport is located about 20 kilometres (12 miles) south-east of the city centre. It is the second busiest in the country after Johannesburg's airport and the third busiest in Africa.

  • Two terminals:
    • Terminal A (Air France)
    • Terminal B
  • Getting from the airport to Cape Town and back
    • By car
      • Accessible via the N2.
      • There are five parking facilities, including a pick-up and drop-off area on the ground floor of P1, the closest garage to the international terminal. The first 30 minutes are free, then ZAR 18 for up to 1 hour. The long-term parking area (P5) is mainly intended for stays of at least 6 days (ZAR 312, then about ZAR 60 for each additional day).
      • Several car rental companies have counters in the car rental centre on Transport Plaza, opposite the Central Terminal Building.
    • By bus
      • The MyCiTi A01 bus connects the airport with the city centre every 30 minutes. The travel time is 25 minutes. Standard fares each way are ZAR 73.90 during off-peak times and ZAR 79.20 during peak times. When purchased with the prepaid and reloadable MyCiTi Mover card (see the “Useful tip” section below), these fares are ZAR 53.00 and ZAR 62.60, respectively.
    • By shuttle van
      • Four private companies offer shuttle van services between the airport and the city centre, with fares starting at ZAR 240.
    • By taxi
      • Taxis are available at the ranks outside Terminal A. It is best to use Touch-Down Taxis, the only officially authorized airport taxi service provider. The trip from the airport to the city centre takes 20 to 40 minutes and costs around ZAR 300.

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GETTING AROUND Cape Town

Cape Town is a very pleasant city and not at all difficult to get around. The public transport system is limited, but satisfactory. In addition, there is very little traffic congestion and drivers respect traffic rules.

By bus

Buses are certainly the most convenient way to discover Cape Town: 31 regular routes serve all areas of the city using dedicated lanes. Service is limited on the weekends. The peak fare for distances up to 5 kilometres is ZAR 11.50, whereas the off-peak fare is ZAR 7.80. When purchased with a MyCiTi Mover card (see “Useful tip” section below), these fares are ZAR 8.20 and ZAR 5.50, respectively.

Useful tip: If you will be using MyCiTi buses frequently during your stay in Cape Town, you can purchase a MyCiTi Mover rechargeable fare card for ZAR 30 from station kiosks or participating retailers. You can then load MyCiTi mover travel packages onto the card at any station kiosk (in amounts starting at ZAR 30) and save at least 30 percent on all fares at all times.

By minibus taxi

As in Johannesburg, many minibus taxis operate in Cape Town and will drop you off wherever you wish along their set routes. Be sure to ask the end destination beforehand. Minibus taxis are a very popular mode of transport in the city because they are not expensive (about ZAR 5 for a trip within the city).

By car

Given the lack of traffic congestion, renting your own car is a solution definitely worth considering for getting around Cape Town. It is a good way to travel within areas not served by the main bus routes. Daily rental rates run about ZAR 200. An international driver's licence is required. For security reasons, keep the windows closed and the doors locked at all times.

By taxi

There are relatively few sedan taxis in Cape Town. Fares run about ZAR 12 per kilometre.

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Visitor information

Upon your arrival in Cape Town, you can get in touch with local tourism professionals for further information and to help organize your stay.

Cape Town Tourism

Offers sightseeing recommendations, tourist information and brochures.

  • Address: The Pinnacle Building (corner Burg and Castle Streets), Cape Town 8001
  • Telephone: +27 (0)86 132 2223
  • Website: http://www.capetown.travel

Cape Town Visitor Information Centres

In addition to the main City Centre office at the Pinnacle Building, Cape Town Tourism operates several other official visitor centres, where you can obtain information and recommendations for visiting the city and its surrounding area:

  • Canal Walk: Entrance 10, Centre Court, Canal Walk Shopping Centre, Century Boulevard, Century City
  • Cape Town International Airport
  • Kirstenbosch:
  • Cape Town International AirportKirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
  • Simon's Town: 111 St Georges Street
  • Somerset West: Southey's Vines, 186 Main Road
  • Table Mountain Lower Cableway: Lower Cableway Station, 370 Tafelberg Road
  • V&A Waterfront
  • City Sightseeing Travel Depot: Corner Long and Shortmarket Streets

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Currency and Exchange Rates

The currency used in South Africa is the rand (R).

1 CHF = 14,03 ZAR

1 ZAR = 0,07 CHF

The above exchange rate is given for information because is variable.

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Medical information

Most medical facilities in South Africa offer a good quality of care, but costs are high. Even under emergency circumstances, you may be refused medical care if you are unable to provide a guarantee of payment. It is therefore recommended that you obtain insurance covering health care expenses as well as medical evacuation or repatriation before you leave home

Vaccinations

There are no vaccination requirements for visitors to South Africa.

However, the following vaccines are recommended:

  • booster doses for protection against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio
  • typhoid, hepatitis A and B, rabies (depending on the length of your stay)

For more information, contact Air France's international vaccination centre:

Water

Tap water is safe to drink in Cape Town.

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Administrative formalities

As a general rule, foreign nationals must be in possession of a visa to enter South Africa. However, South Africa has entered into visa exemption agreements with a number of countries.

To find out if you will need a visa for travel to South Africa, visit the website of the South African Ministry of Foreign Affairs: http://www.dfa.gov.za/consular/current_issues.html

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Essential phrases

Here are a few basic Zulu phrases that may be useful during your stay in Cape Town:

Hello / Good morning / Good evening: Sawubona (one person) / Sanibona (several people).

Goodbye: Sala kahle (one person) / Salani kahle (several people).

Yes: Yebo

No: Cha

No, thank you: Ngabonga

Thank you very much: Ngiyabonga kakhulu

I don't understand: Angizwa

Could you repeat that: Phinda futhi?

Please: Ngicela

What time is it: Sikhathi sini?

Excuse me: Uxolo

Airport: Isikhumulo sezindiza

Train station: Isiteshi sezitimela

Taxi: Itekisi

Hotel: Ihhotela

Hospital: Isibhedlela

Bank: Ibhange

Telephone: Ucingo

I'm (…): Ngiyi (…).

I'm looking for (…): Ngifuna (…).

How much is (…): Imalini (…)?

Do you have (…): Unawo (…)?

Where can I find (…): Ngingatholakuphi i (…)?

Where can I buy (…): Ngingathengaphi i (…)?

I'd like (…): Ngithanda i (…).

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Good to know

intl. access code + 27
+ phone number without the 0 (calls to Cape Town)
0 : 00
of time difference with
Geneva

Banks

Usually open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Government offices

Usually open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
230 V / 50 Hz

And what about tipping?
In Cape Town and throughout South Africa, tipping is not necessarily required, although always appreciated if you are satisfied with the service. It is customary to tip between 10 and 15 percent of the bill in restaurants and bars. Parking facilities are usually monitored by attendants. The latter often ask if you would like them to keep an eye on your car. If you accept, be sure to leave a few rand as a tip, depending on how long your vehicle has been parked.