When you buy gifts as a foreign tourist, you are eligible
to get the value added tax (Vat) back that you paid on these
items. Vat is currently 14% on the items purchased. Keep all
your tax invoices (with all the required details of the shop
on it) and show them with the items purchased to a Tax Refund
office. All items and invoices purchased 90 days before your
departure can be submitted for Vat re-claims. There are offices
at the Cape Town International Airport, the V&A Gateway
Centre Waterfront, Cape Town Tourism Visitor Information Centre
(City Centre) as well as the Canalwalk Shopping Centre. Or
go to http://www.taxrefunds.co.za
for more information.
Cape Town and the Western Cape province are malaria free
areas and you won’t need malaria tablets or prior medication.
Should you however decide to visit further north near the
Kruger National Park, you will move into a malaria area. Check
this out with local tour operators, pharmacies or hospitals.
Weather and the climate
When you visit during the summer months, please be careful
of the hot sun. Use a high sun protection factor (20+) when
your skin complexion is very light or you will turn pink quickly.
The best times to go into the sun are in the mornings before
11am and after 14h00 in the afternoon.
Bring or buy a nice hat and sunglasses against the aggressive
and bright African sun. Check out a live weather forecast
for Cape Town on http://www.weathersa.co.za
Central heating is not a common feature in South Africa.
So be prepared, when you do visit Cape Town during the cold
months (June – September) bring a warm jacket with.
The minimum temperature in Cape Town can go below 10°C
and when the wind blows (which is quite often along the coast)
the chill factor can be quite extreme.
Cape Town Pass
The Cape Town pass is a handy little card giving you free
entrance to over 50 of the best tourism attractions in Cape
Town. It is similar to travel passes offered in Europe which
give you good value for money. Also on certain activities
and restaurants will you receive discounts. ..more
South Africans are friendly and in general wish you nice
and safe traveling when here. There are however those individuals
who think that your riches should be shared with them. Ask
the locals which areas are safe and unsafe to visit. Trust
your instincts and use your common sense in unfamiliar areas.
When traveling by car, don’t leave items of value lying
around visibly in cars. Rather keep these locked up in the
boot/trunk of your vehicle or leave them at your place of
Try not to walk around alone at night, or even in some areas
during the day (e.g. certain town ship areas, certain train
and bus stations). Avoid dark allies in the town and stick
to areas where people generally get together.
When going on a hike, make sure that you stick to the paths
and also hike in groups of four or more. Again, leave your
valuables at home. There are guards all over Table Mountain
for instance, but the mountain is big and they cannot cover
all parts of it. Unfortunately, the criminals know this too.
Don’t carry your money, camera and cellphone in visible
areas on your body or around your neck. Keep them in a small,
but strong backpack or shoulder bag. If you want to wear a
pouch, get a ‘secret’ or ‘invisible’
pouch that you wear under your clothes. Waist pouches are
very visible and are a clear indication that they hold something
Only go into townships on organised township tours with accredited
tour operators. There are institutions that organise these
kinds of trips so check out http://www.owls.co.za/english/townships.htm
for more information, or enquire through your foreign exchange
If some of your belongings do get stolen report it to your
local police station. Get a case number from them because
if you have personal insurance you will need this number to
lodge a claim with your insurance company. But don’t
worry too much – if you follow the above tips you won’t
have a problem.