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Information about the water situation in Cape Town

Dear ICL20 delegates

Information about the water situation in Cape Town
In the last three years the normally voluminous winter rains (mid-April to end of September) have decreased considerably, to the point where we now have water restrictions in summer, our dry season.  The city relies on tourism as its main industry, and is keen not to let this manifestation of  climate change affect visits to our city.  Please see the official message from the city…  

Our understanding  from the media is that City's plan is not to cut off the water in the Central Business District, where the Convention Centre is.  Furthermore, the conference is being held in the winter which is our rainy season, so that the dams will (we trust) increase their rather low levels come May and June.  Us ordinary residents might face tough times in April, but the water should be flowing in residential taps (not just the hotels) by June.

Time Difference

South Africa operates two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time throughout the year (GMT+2) making it an hour ahead of Central European Winter Time and seven hours in advance of Eastern Standard Winter Time. Calculate the time difference between South Africa and your city here.


The official conference language will be English.

Currency and Banks

The unit of currency in South Africa is the South African Rand (ZAR) and is indicated with a capital R so that, for example, three Rand and fifty cents would be written R3.50. South Africa has a decimal currency system with one Rand equaling 100 cents. Denomination of Rand notes are R200, R100, R50, R20, and R10 and of the coins are R5, R2, R1, 50c, 20c, 10c and 5c.

Facilities for cashing traveller’s cheques are available at banks (operating hours are Monday - Friday 09:00 - 15:30, Saturdays 08:30 - 11:00) and at most hotels. Banks are closed on Sundays. Foreign exchange agencies are open during the week and on Saturdays. Automatic teller machines (ATM) are open 24 hours and are located at most banks as well as at the conference Venue. International credit cards (Visa, Diners Club, MasterCard and American Express) are accepted at the majority of hotels, restaurants and shops.

See the latest international exchange rates here.


Gratuities are expected in South Africa. A guideline for visitors is the following: Airport porters ZAR5.00 per item, taxis 10%, waiters and waitresses in restaurants 10%.

Electricity Supply

The electricity supply in South Africa is 220 - 240 volts, 50 Hz. The connection for appliances is a round three-pin plug. Most hotels provide dual-voltage two-pin razor sockets (100-120 volts and 220-240 volts).


There are no compulsory vaccination requirements for persons entering South Africa however certain areas of the country, including the North-Eastern half of KwaZulu-Natal are Malaria regions. We do have to advise that if you anticipate travelling to a malaria area it is recommended that you take prophylactics before arrival and the necessary precautions while in the area (e.g. protective clothing, insect repellents).

South African doctors and dentists are highly trained professionals and hospitals are well equipped. It is strongly advised that delegates take appropriate health insurance prior to their departure. There are several private hospitals all over the city or nearby. The academic hospitals are Groote Schuur Hospital (adults) and Red Cross Children’s Hospital. Travellers arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever virus require proof of a yellow fever vaccination. Check here to see if you may be required to get the yellow fever vaccine.

It is safe to drink tap water throughout South Africa. However, for those who prefer bottled mineral water, this is readily available in various stores. Smoking is prohibited by law in most public buildings in South Africa (airports, hotels, restaurants etc) except in designated smoking areas.


For those participants who have not previously visited South Africa and are concerned about personal safety, we wish to assure all visitors that Cape Town is like any other major city with good and bad areas. Common sense will ensure a trouble free and enjoyable conference and vacation. The area around the BOE Auditorium and surrounding hotels is safe and well monitored at all times but we advise that you do not walk alone after dark in unpopulated streets. Ostentatious displays of wealth should be avoided at all times.


Cape Town enjoys an ocean Mediterranean climate, with mild, moderately wet winters and dry, warm summers. Winter, which lasts from the beginning of June to the end of August, may see large cold fronts entering for limited periods from the Atlantic Ocean with significant precipitation and strong north-westerly winds. Winter months in the city average a maximum of 18.0 °C (64 °F) and minimum of 8.5 °C (47 °F). Total annual rainfall in the city averages 515 millimetres (20.3 in).

  • Average Low Temperature - 52.5°f (11.4°c)
  • Average High Temperature - 71.6°f (22°c)
  • Average Daily Sunshine Hours - 8.5 hrs

For more information on weather, see:



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