Cape Town's time zone is GMT+2. The South Africa country code is +27, while the Cape Town city code is +21. For directory inquiries, dial 1023. South Africa has 11 official languages: English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa, South Sotho, Tswana, Tsonga, Northern Sotho, Swazi, Venda, and Ndebele. The most predominant languages spoken in Cape Town are English, Afrikaans and Xhosa. The electrical system is 230V AC, 50Hz. 15A. It uses a two or three-prong (round pin) plug.
Cape Town is located at the southern point of the African continent, with the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Indian Ocean to the east. The landscape encompasses a wide variety of terrain, including mountains, forests, beaches, and semi-desert landscapes. Undoubtedly, the city's most prominent geographical landmark is Table Mountain, which serves as a great reference point for navigating through the city.
Cape Town has a temperate, Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters. As a result of the peninsula's geography, Cape Town experiences several "microclimates." Locals joke that they can experience "all four seasons" in one day.
The summer season, which takes place from November to March, is ideal for hitting the beach, outdoor festivals, markets, and adventure activities. The winter season takes place from June to August, with surfing and whale-watching popular during these months.
The currency used is South African Rand (ZAR), with most shops, restaurants and hotels accepting major credit and debit cards. Cash withdrawals are possible from ATMs or banks located throughout the city. There are also several authorised Forex dealers in Cape Town.
South Africa has a value-added tax (VAT) of 15% on purchases and services. However, foreign visitors to South Africa may claim back VAT paid on items they take out of the country when the total value exceeds R250. Travellers can apply for a refund with the VAT Refund Administrator's office available at Cape Town International Airport.
There is no legislation regarding tipping in South Africa, but visitors are encouraged to leave a tip for workers in some industries where it is accepted.
For example, the accepted tipping amount is at least 10 percent of the bill when dining in a restaurant or bar. Other professions such as car guards, petrol attendants, hotel staff and tour guides do not have set tipping criteria. There is no requirement to tip, and visitors can tip at their own discretion.
It is strongly discouraged to give money to street children and beggars, although visitors can donate to organisations that help street children, the homeless, and beggars.
With a range of transport options available, getting around Cape Town is hassle-free. On arrival, visitors can book metered taxis at the Airport Visitor Information Centre, or there is an option of renting a car (available at the airport and other locations within the city) for those who want to self-drive.
The MyCiti Bus service is another popular and cost-effective way to get around and offers various routes to help visitors navigate the city and the CBD.
Uber and Bolt are the primary ride-hailing apps. You can download the app on your smartphone to make a payment using a debit or credit card or choose the cash option.