Cape Town (Afrikaans: Kaapstad; Xhosa: iKapa) is the second most populous city in South Africa, forming part of the metropolitan municipality of the City of Cape Town. It is the provincial capital of the Western Cape, as well as the legislative capital of South Africa, where the National Parliament and many government offices are located. Cape Town is famous for its harbour as well as its natural setting in the Cape floral kingdom, including such well-known landmarks as Table Mountain and Cape Point. Cape Town is Africa’s most popular destination for tourism.
Located on the shore of Table Bay, Cape Town was originally developed by the Dutch East India Company as a victualling (supply) station for Dutch ships sailing to Eastern Africa, India, and the Far East. Jan van Riebeeck's arrival on 6 April 1652 established the first permanent European settlement in South Africa. Cape Town quickly outgrew its original purpose as the first European outpost at the Castle of Good Hope, becoming the economic and cultural hub of the Cape Colony. Until the Witwatersrand Gold Rush and the development of Johannesburg, Cape Town was the largest city in South Africa.
As of 2007 the city had a population of 3.5 million. Cape Town's land area of 2,455 square kilometres (948 sq mi) is larger than other South African cities, resulting in a comparatively lower population density of 1,425 inhabitants per square kilometre (3,690 /sq mi).
ACCOMMODATION IN CAPE TOWN
Accommodation in Cape Town is plentiful and the area offers a range of accommodation to suit your needs. Many establishments also offer excellent conference facilities for the business traveller. Choose from Hotels, self-catering apartments, bed and breakfasts, guest houses and camping and caravanning sites. All are with easy access to the main routes into the City, the wine lands and the fascinating West Coast. There is definitely a place to suit every taste and budget.
Click here for a wide variety of accommodation establishments.
CURRENCY EXCHANGE RATES
The South African unit of currency is the Rand, which is made up of 100 cents. There are small denomination coins and larger denomination notes in circulation
Cape Town offers foreign tourists the exciting opportunity of real value for money.
Click here for the latest currency exchange rates.
PRICES OF LOCAL GOODS
The following basic table will give the foreign tourist a quick idea of the value for money that can be had when visiting Blaauwberg.
Loaf of bread +/- R6.00
Litre of petrol +/- R7.50
A beer in a pub +/- R15.00
Pack of 20 cigarettes +/- R22.00
Top class bottle of wine +/- R100.00
A top class restaurant meal +/- R250.00 per head
BANKING AND FINANCIAL FACILITIES
South Africa has a very advanced banking system, including widespread, advanced electronic banking facilities and Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs). All the major South African banks are situated throughout the Cape Town area, with most of them offering convenient foreign exchange facilities. Banks operate weekdays 09H00 - 15H30 and Saturdays 08H30 - 11H00.
Major credit cards accepted in Cape Town are: MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Diners Club. International credit cards and debit cards (Maestro, Electron) are accepted by automatic teller machines.
Value Added Tax (VAT) of 14% is levied on virtually all purchases and services. Foreign visitors to Cape Town can reclaim VAT on purchases on purchases of over R250.
- Only original tax invoices will be considered for VAT refund purposes.
- Only claims where the value of the goods exported at one time exceed R 250.00 or more will be considered for a VAT refund. The R 250.00 relates to the total value of all the invoices submitted and is not a minimum value per invoice.
- Goods consumed and services rendered in South Africa, do not qualify for a VAT refund. Where movable goods are temporarily admitted into the RSA, for the purposes of repair or servicing, the movable goods and services supplied in connection there with, may be supplied at the zero rate, provided that the non-resident must obtain a form VAT 262 at the point of entry into the RSA. The non-resident can then approach the RSA vendor from the outset on the strength of the VAT 262 form, duly endorsed by RSA Customs and Excise and request the supply to be zero rated. The form VAT 262 will be retained by the RSA vendor for record purposes.
- The items purchased must be exported within 90 days of the date of issue of the tax invoice, failing which the VAT refund claim will be rejected.
- A commission is charged to cover the administration costs of the VAT Refund Scheme. The commission is calculated at a rate of 1.5% of the VAT inclusive value, with a minimum charge of R 10.00 and a maximum charge of R 250.00 per refund. You can use the calculator to assist you in the calculation of the fee and the value of your VAT refund.
- Diplomats posted to South Africa should contact their Embassies or the South African Revenue Service for details of the applicable VAT refund scheme.
MEDICAL FACILITIES IN CAPE TOWN
Cape Town has a wide variety of state and private hospitals, day hospitals and clinics. Groote Schuur Hospital is famous for the world’s very 1st heart transplant operation, performed by Dr. Christian Barnard in 1967.
Cape Town has also become a major destination for people form al over the world looking for a cheaper alternative to their plastic and cosmetic surgery needs, as well as dental needs.
For a wide variety of medical facilities in the ape Town area, please click here.
SAFETY AND SECURITY IN CAPE TOWN
The Cape Town area is very concerned and conscious for your safety and security. There are many police stations scattered across Cape Town, as well as the Metro Police structure, all on duty 24 hours a day. The local landline phone number for any emergency is 107 and from a cellphone, please call 112. All tourists are obviously asked to display common sense when visiting Cape Town or any other destination, such as being conscious of their possessions, not walking around alone at night and not display valuables and money openly.