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Tax refunds

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.

Malaria free

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 info..

Safe traveling

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 residence.

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 of value.

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 or www.ziboneletours.com for more information, or enquire through your foreign exchange placement organisation.

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.


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