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general faq

How is the climate in Cape Town?


Summer - (November to March)

Long days with the sun only setting around 8:30pm, and day temperatures in the mid twenties. Predictable sea breezes keep the climate mild and never too hot. It hardly ever rains during this period, and the sun shines as it only does in Africa!

Autumn - (April to early June)

Sunsets from 7:30 to 6:30 as the days shorten. Daytime temperatures still in the twenties. Calm,crystal days without wind and before the heavier rains. The weather can vary with the odd front bringing rain, but these are short with glorious sun in between.

Winter - (late June to late August)
This is the season for storms in the Cape and they days are often cloudy with a chance of rain though we still get some beautiful, sunny days to keep us happy. We are entering the coldest months now, but temperatures are still between 12 and 18 degrees centigrade during the day so there is not much to complain about! Donít forget to bring warm clothes, the nights can be very chilly and houses are not insulated like they are in Europe!

Spring - (September and October)

An abundance of wild flowers heralds the awakening of a new season. Morning dew is the last reminder of the winter past, while Westerly storm winds give way to the Easterly Summer trades.

Driving in South Africa


Driving in South Africa takes place on the left hand side. Roads are good and well sign-posted. Drivers who do not have an international driving permit must have a valid driverīs license which carries a photograph and is either printed or authenticated in English. The speed limit on motorways is 120 km/h (75 m/h); 100 km/h(60 m/h) elsewhere and 60 km/h (35 m/h) in built areas.

What is the best way to access money from home?


The SA currency unit is the Rand, denoted by the R. There are 100 cents in R1. Banking practices are similar to those in other Western countries as South Africa enjoys an extensive and world-class electronic banking network.
There are lots of ATMs in Cape Town so withdrawing money is not a problem at all.
Travelers cheques can be cashed at any bank but not in shops. International credit cards are accepted at hotels, shops, restaurants, bigger car hire companies, etc and are very common.
It is not possible to open a local bank account for foreign students who are staying for a short time so please donít consider this as an option.
The daily limit for withdrawing money from an ATM is between R 2000 and R 2500 per day (also depending on your home bank).

What is public transport like in Cape Town?


Public transport is very poor and unreliable. We expect some improvements with the Soccer World Cup,.
The main form of public transport is the ďmini taxiĒ or ďblack taxiĒ which is run privately by local people and doesnít operate on a schedule.
Life is much easier, safer and more independent if you have your own car.

Travel tips for Cape Town


As in any other big city in the world, Cape Town has some rules you should follow:

Recommendations:


  • Make copies of all important documents such as passport, driverís license, insurance documents, plane tickets
  • Get your own vehicle or share a car with friends
  • Leave your good cell phone at home and buy a cheap phone in Cape Town (it will cost you around 30Eur)
  • Buy a lock for your laptop for home
  • Always carry sun block

DONTís


  • Donít walk around alone when itís dark
  • Stay clear of dark, isolated areas
  • Donít leave your backpack or handbag open (unzipped) while running around town
  • Donít hitch hike or pick up hitch hikers in your car
  • Donít walk around with lots of cash or valuable things like a camera, watch, cell phone, laptop
  • Donít leave anything visible in your car and park only in well-lit areas and on busy streets
  • Donít interfere with any public arguments
  • Donít ask strangers for help at ATMs and always hide your pin number
  • Donít use public transport when itís dark
  • DONíT DRINK AND DRIVE!!!!

Insurance


International insurance MUST be organized in your own country. Check with travel agents and local insurance companies for information. Please bring proof of insurance to Cape Town as host companies might check with you.

Time differences


There is no time change between Cape Town and Central Europe during the European summer. Cape Town is one hour ahead of UK time.
In the European winter (end of October) Cape Town is one hour ahead of central Europe and two hours ahead of the United Kingdom due to daylight savings in Europe.

What are living expenses per month?


The figures below give you an idea of the costs but your personal costs will obviously depend on your lifestyle and if you require your own car. Not included are tours/activities.

Accommodation (single room) in a shared flat/house: 3000-4000R per month
Food: R2500 per month
Entertainment: R2000 per month
Car rental: 3000R- 3300R (insurance incl) per month
Petrol: R10.90 per liter (July 2012)

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