7 Days and Counting: Cape Town Question

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Sep 11th, 2003, 09:10 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Jul 2003
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7 Days and Counting: Cape Town Question

It just turned midnight in Chicago - now it is officially 7 days! Yea!

I will have a half day at the beginning and at the end of my stay in Cape Town with 2 full days in the middle - Friday and Saturday.

On my half days, I don't want to get to boxed in and being scheduled to death - so do they have informal walking tour groups of Cape Town proper - you know how the hotels have those racks of pamphlets? When I was in Prague and London, they had alot of walking tours to choose from. It was pretty casual - meet by the clock and we'll walk around and show you the neighborhood type thing. Each walk had a bit of a theme - see the Jewish section, see the Cemetary route, etc. Now that I think of it, I should probably email the hotel directly as well?!

Also, are shops and museums typically open on the weekends? When I was in Germany, the weekends were pretty closed (no offense intended). How about Sunday mornings?

Presently I am booked at the City Lodge V&A Waterfront. How is that location? How is that hotel? Anyone been there?

I found this great book by the way: African Safari Journalby the African Wildlife Foundation. They have everything in one place: maps, phrases, wildlife illustrations, grids and lists to keep track of what you saw and where you saw it, pages for you to journal, on and on - one stop shopping! A great book to keep track of everything in one place. I took it to the nearest copy place to have them cut of the binding and make it spiral bound. Works like a charm!

The trip reports recently have been just great - I sent the Mara Crossing to a few friends and they were just in awe! Keep writing!

Well, that is more than enough for now! Thanks for all of the good suggestions!
Kim


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Sep 12th, 2003, 03:20 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Hi Kim,

If you vsist the Cape Town Tourism centre in the Waterfront (2 miles from the City Lodge) you will be able to obtain all the information with regard to walking tours in Cape Town.

The City Lodge is reasonably well positioned to do all. You could be better positioned in the Waterfront however you will pay accordingly. The City Lodge finds its niche in the middle of all of this. Judging by your mails to Fodors I would say that it will suit your needs well.

In terms of shopping times please read all the below tips that I generally send to my visitors to Cape Town before they arrive on our shores. The shopping hours are amongst the tips and I am sure there will be much else that will help you enjoy our city to the full.

Money
-----

Bring most of your money for the trip in the form of credit cards and travelers cheques. Try to minimize the amount of hard $$ that you will have with you. You wont need it and it only represents a risk. I would say bring 75% on credit card, 20% on travelers cheques and the rest in cash. Try and use your credit card as much as possible wherever you are as they are widely and freely accepted here.

Insurance.
----------
This is very important. I strongly suggest that you take out personal travel insurance (inclusive of medical cover) via your travel agent that will cover you for your whole stay in SA. Please note this is not to say that anything will happen to you while you are here, it simply is to cover your own personal track.

Passport
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An international passport, valid for at least six months after your anticipated departure, is required for all foreign visitors to South Africa. Make duplicates of passports and bring them with. YOU WONT NEED TO CARRY YOUR ORIGINAL PASSPORT OR ID ANYWHERE IN SA. THIS IS VERY, VERY IMPORTANT. Just have some duplicated documents to carry around with you so as to identify yourself.

Visa
----
You wont need a visa for SA as an American citizen

Departure Tax
-------------
An airport tax is charged to all people leaving the country but this is generally built into your airflight ticket.

Business Hours
--------------

General office hours:
09h00-17h00 Monday to Friday

Shopping hours: 0hh00-17h30 Monday to Friday,
09h00-13h00 Saturday

In the Cape Town some centres like the Waterfront have late night shopping (until 9 pm) and some centres have all day shopping on Saturday, as well as Sundays.

Banks
-----
There are major banks in all the main centres; they are open from 9.00 am to 3.30 pm weekdays, and 8.30 to 11.00 am on Saturdays. Automatic teller machines (ATMs) are widely available 24 hours a day.

Credit Cards
------------
All major credit cards are accepted but VISA and Master are much preferred. Note that AMEX works BUT is scorned upon because of huge commission payments that the receiver of payment has to make.

Currency
--------
The unit is the rand and R1 = 100 cents. The exchange rate as at today s approximately US$1.00 = R7.50. For an updated currency conversion, visit www.xe.net/currency/ .

Tipping
-------
In restaurants a service charge is not usually included; a tip of about 10% of the bill is usual. Truly exceptional service qualifies for an absolute maximum tip of 15% but I have to stress that this is very, very rare. Tipping of porters, taxi drivers and petrol attendants is common, but NOT obligatory.

Climate
-------
As South Africa lies in the southern hemisphere, the seasons are the reverse of those in the northern hemisphere. Mild winters make South Africa a popular year-round destination. South Africa has one of the world's highest daily sunshine rates. The Cape has a Mediterranean climate with coldish weather in October thus bring warmish as well as lightweight clothes

Sun Protection
--------------

YOU CANNOT BELIEVE HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS.

Our sun is strong with a high UV rating. Use a sunblock with a sun protection factor (SPF) of over 20.

Transport
-------------
Major car rental companies have branches in all cities and at airports.
Taxis are reliable and efficient. There are both cruising and rank taxis.

Driving
--------
We drive on the left-hand side of the road. Our speed limit ranges from 60 km (urban) to 120 km (freeway) per hour, depending on the road. Wearing of seat belts is compulsory and driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offence. An international driver's license is required to rent cars. It is required that you carry a valid driver's license at all times whilst driving. Petrol (gasoline) is available in main centres and on major routes 24 hours a day.

VERY IMPORTANT: Even though you probably wont have to worry about this I must let you know that petrol (gas) cannot be purchased with a credit card.

Telephones
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Direct dialing connects all centres except in remote districts. International service links us with countries around the world. Telephone cards are available everywhere.

Time
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Standard time in SA is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.

Electricity Supply
------------------
The electricity supply in South Africa is 220-250 volts, 50 Hz.

Metric Measures
---------------
SA uses the metric system of weights and measures. The following conversions are offered as a guide:
25 millimetres (mm) is approximately one inch
1 metre (m) is a little more than a yard
1 kilometre (km) is approximately 5/8 of a mile
1 kilogram (kg) equals 2.2 lb
1 litre (1) equals 1.75 pints
60 km per hour is just over 35 mph
25 degrees Celsius ( oC) is a warm 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

Languages
----------
There are 11 official languages in South Africa, but English is spoken everywhere.

South Africa is a VERY,VERY laid back country. Even though you will never need to dress smartly t could be handy to bring one set of smart semi formal clothing with you. Otherwise it will be jeans, t-shirts, track shoes and anything that you feel comfortable in. Thats one of the great features of coming to SA There is NO FORMALITY WHATSOEVER

OK the above should certainly keep you pretty busy before leaving for Cape Town.)

Enjoy our great city when you visit us.

Hope the above all helps.

Selwyn Davidowitz
[email protected]
Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa


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Sep 13th, 2003, 09:44 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,153
No advice, just BON VOYAGE!
Kavey is offline  
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Sep 14th, 2003, 03:08 PM
  #4
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Thanks! Just about wrapping it all up!

K
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