Getting To Cape Town
There are currently no nonstops from the United States to Cape Town, but there are numerous ways to get to Cape Town (CPT) from European gateways. (Delta and South African Air do have nonstops from the USA to Johannesburg (JNB). I usually try and connect thru Amsterdam on KLM or British Air out of London Heathrow. Here is a full list of airlines and gateways https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_Town_International_Airport Our trip ends in Port Elizabeth. You can choose to stay on the bus for the 9 hour ride back to Cape Town or fly either Mango Air https://www.flymango.com or Fly Safe Air https://www.flysafair.co.za to Cape Town or Johannesburg.
Arrival, Vaccinations and Taxis
US citizens are not required to obtain a visa. There are no required vaccinations to enter Cape Town. Being up to date on Hepatitis A/ B and tetanus shots is always recommend when you travel anywhere in the world. If you arrive in South Africa from a country in the yellow fever belt – which includes most of central and west Africa and much of South America – you are required to present a valid International Certificate of Vaccination, more commonly known as a “yellow card.” Cape Town is not in the Malaria zone so leave the tablets at home. The State Department advises making at least one photocopy of the information and photo page of your passport. You should carry this in a separate place from the original. In this way you can make it easier to replace your passport if you lose it or have it stolen during your time in South Africa.
Uber is widely used in Cape Town. Taxis in general are very inexpensive so getting from the airport to the city (20 minutes) should cost between R300 and R400.
Currency 100 cents = one rand.
Coins: 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, R1, R2, R5. Notes: R10, R20, R50, R100, R200.
Make sure you call your credit card companies and banks to let them know you will be traveling to South Africa. I highly recommend having a currency app on your phone like XE currency. https://www.xe.com/apps/iphone/
Cape Town International Airport has a 24-hour foreign exchange service, as well as various cash machines. There is an abundance of cash machines and foreign exchange outlets throughout Cape Town and the vast majority of retail outlets and service providers in the city have credit card facilities. Most major card (Visa and Mastercard) are accepted widely, and some establishments may also accept American Express.
Most banks are open between 09h00 and 15h30 on weekdays and 09h00 and 11h00 on Saturdays. Banks are closed on Sundays and public holidays.Social services in South Africa advise against giving money to street children and beggars. If you’re looking to make a difference, rather donate money to an organization like The Haven (https://www.haven.org.za) that offers a network of night shelters in and around Cape Town.
Tipping is usually at 10% for restaurants. For our guide and bus driver we recommend tipping $10 a day per person for our local guide. ($60-$70 each total) We ask that you also provide the bus driver with a $10-$15 tip. We will pass an envelope around on the last day.
Electricity and Water
Standard voltage in South Africa is 230. Click on this link to view the power plug you will need. https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/south-africa/
Water in Cape Town is super safe to drink so no need to worry about buying bottled water.
Hotel in Cape Town
We stay at the Grand Daddy Hotel which is a landmark in Cape Town. You can choose to rent an Airstream camper on the top roof if your coming in a few days before. https://www.granddaddy.co.za
What to Wear
Temperatures in Cape Town in May average between 65 and 75 degrees during the day and overnights are usually in the 50's. Dress in layers and don't overpack as there is lots to buy at the markets we visit. We will have some opportunities to get wet so bring a bathing suit. Dress for the overall trip is very casual. Bring some shorts for the days and also make sure you have some jeans. Good walking shoes are a must too! South Africa is well developed but still considered a third world in many ways. Dress down and don't invite would be robbers to take your fancy watches and jewelry. Leave all expensive items home so you won't be a target.
Rob's Favorite Eateries in Cape Town
The ride to the top of the iconic Table Mountain is one you'll never forget. You'll relish the views of the cobalt blue ocean and urban landscape from this lofty perch.
For shopping, entertainment and a slew of restaurants, you won't go wrong at the V&A. It's convenient to reach the aquarium and stadium nearby, and it's the place for a bay cruise.
Located in Table Bay, Nelson Mandela spent 18 years of his life imprisoned here in Robben Islandduring apartheid. It's a humbling moment when you step into his former cell and reflect on his life.
The District Six museum recounts the history of the forced expulsion and relocation of black residents during apartheid, and the ultimate demise of this former, mulit-cultural district.