This is a guide to attractions and things to do near the venue of the 14th annual international Wikimania conference, which was held at the Cape Sun Southern Sun Hotel (see #Meet, below), in Cape Town, South Africa, from 18 to 22 July 2018. People from around the world were expected to attend, and many explored the city and beyond while they were there, either in the evenings after the conference events or for a few days before or after the conference.
Cape Town is the second largest city in South Africa and is the capital of the Western Cape Province, and is the legislative capital of South Africa (the Houses of Parliament are here). It is in the south-west corner of the country near the Cape of Good Hope, and is the southernmost city in Africa. It is close to South Africa's world-famous Cape Winelands around Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek.
Exchange rates for South African rand
As of June 2018:
Exchange rates fluctuate. Current rates for these and other currencies are available from XE.com
Cape Town is also known as Kaapstad, iKapa and the Mother City in South Africa. It is one of the iconic cities of the world.
The currency of South Africa is the rand.
|Past events/Wikimania 2018 Cape Town Guidebook|
|Climate chart (explanation)|
The winter months of June to August tend to be rather wet, which does not mean rain every day although it can rain for two weeks straight on occasion. It can also get very cold at night, with temperatures as low as 2 or 3°C but 5-7°C normal. It will become warmer during the day, with temperatures between 9-15°C typical. It is often very cloudy with far fewer hours of sunshine, although there can also be the occasional warm spell with warmer nights and days reaching as high as 30°.
Southern Sun and Tsogo Sun, Cape Town CBD
230 volt / 50 hertz (Europlug, Type M, (BS 546 15 Amp), IEC 60906-1). For a detailed description see the Wikipedia article
The type M three-pin 15 Amp socket is found almost everywhere. The IEC 60906-1 is the new standard, to be phased in over about 50 years, so is generally only found in new buildings. It accepts Europlug without needing an adaptor. Adaptors from Europlug to Type M are easily available at hardware stores and supermarkets, as are adaptors from most other household connection systems to Type M. The major exception is for the Australian, New Zealand and Chinese plugs. Adaptors for these are relatively difficult to find and expensive. Try to bring your own adaptor if you have these plugs. If in doubt, bring an adaptor from whatever you have to Europlug, and get another adaptor from Europlug to Type M locally if you find you need it.
The conference venue has combination outlets which have IEC 60906-1 Europlug compatible sockets and Type M 15 Amp sockets.
Requirements for entering South Africa can be found under this link
- A valid and acceptable passport or travel document for your intended stay
- At least one blank page in your passport for endorsements
- A valid visa, if required
- Sufficient funds to pay for your day-to-day expenses during your stay
- A return or onward ticket
- Yellow fever vaccination certificates if your journey starts or entails passing through the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America.
Cape Town International Airport (CPT)
1 Cape Town International Airport, ☏ . Cape Town, International Port of Entry is the second largest airport in South Africa (the largest being the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg) around 20 km east of the city centre of Cape Town. It is within easy reach of all Cape Town's National Roads (N1, N2 and N7) and is situated just off the N2 on the Cape Flats between the east side of Table Mountain and Somerset West.
The MyCiti rapid transit bus operates from 04:30 to 22:00 between the airport and the centre of Cape Town with connections to the Atlantic coastal suburbs and to the MetroRail commuter train service. Buy tickets from the kiosk attached to the dedicated MyCiti bus shelter, outside the airport terminal. The Civic centre stop is the nearest to the Wikimania venue.
Airlines operating routes are listed on the Cape Town page.
- ATMs (in all terminals).
- Baggage storage (in the Domestic Arrivals terminal), ☏ . R15 per bag per day.
- Clinic (Southern Office Block), ☏ .
- Foreign exchange (in International Arrivals and Departure Terminals). Master Currency and ABSA
- VAT Refunds (International Departures, between passport control and the gates), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com.
- City Lodge (Right next to the airport), ☏ .
- Always On Wi-Fi, ☏ . Simply connect to the access point and you will be given the opportunity to pay for access by credit card. From R15 for 10 minutes or R60 for 100MB.
All scheduled South African passenger trains are run by PRASA (the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa), which has different divisions for long-distance (inter-city) trains and commuter (suburban) trains. Shosholoza Meyl operates inter-city trains and MetroRail operates commuter trains in major cities.
Shosholoza Meyl has three classes of inter-city trains: Economy Class, Tourist Class and Premier Class. In economy class there are seats only (no bunk beds), tourist class provides bunk beds for overnight trips (bring a sleeping bag or rent bedding on the train) and premier class is luxurious and comfortable, with all meals and bedding provided. Economy and tourist class trains have a buffet car for food. Prices on the three classes vary accordingly.
- 2 Cape Town railway station (on the corner of Adderley Street and Strand Street). Cape Town's main train station is in the city centre. All trains to or from Cape Town arrive and depart from there.
There are inter-city trains to
- Johannesburg via Kimberley every day of the week. Economy seat R440. and Tourist Class sleeper R690.;
- Cape Town to Kimberley: Economy seat R300. and Tourist Class sleeper R470.
- Capetown to East London once a week on Sunday: Economy seat only, R400.
MetroRail has two classes on commuter trains in and around Cape Town: MetroPlus (also called First Class) and Metro (called Third Class). MetroPlus is more comfortable and less crowded but slightly more expensive, though still cheaper than normal metro tickets in Europe. Every train has both MetroPlus and Metro coaches; the MetroPlus coaches are always on the end of the train nearest Cape Town. Prices are cheap so it is better to be more comfortable and use MetroPlus. There are fines if you are caught in a MetroPlus coach with a Metro ticket (vice versa is allowed).
MetroRail commuter trains are a great way to get between Cape Town and neighbouring towns such as Stellenbosch, Strand, Paarl, Somerset West, Malmesbury, and through the Southern Suburbs (Claremont, Wynberg, Retreat) or to the beaches at Muizenberg, Kalk Bay, Fish Hoek, Glencairn and Simon's Town. Contrary to many reports that you might read, MetroRail trains are safe, but it is probably wise to avoid avoid traveling at night if possible. If you need to use trains at night, use the most crowded first class (MetroPlus) car and don't stay alone.
The train line from Cape Town to Simon's Town is fabulous; from Muizenberg south to Simon's Town it runs right next to the sea. You can often see whales (in season), and if it's windy you may have sea spray hitting the train windows. For sea views make sure you sit on the east side of the train (the left side as you face away from Cape Town and towards Simon's Town). You can buy a Tourist "hop on, hop off" ticket for the Cape Town-Simon's Town route that allows you to get off and on any train for the entire day.
Trains to Stellenbosch run every two hours (more or less), but this journey might take a while. Ask at the ticket counter if there is an earlier train you could use, as there are also trains to Stellenbosch starting in Bellville and Eerste River.
Cape Town is not a very cycle friendly city. There are no cycle lanes in the city and cyclists must contend with general traffic.
Cycle parking at the venue: (details will depend on venue)
The vast majority of roads in and around Cape Town are in a very good condition, making travelling by car an easy issue. However, there have been occasional cases of hijackers at night or at traffic lights. The danger is not as high as sometimes implied by the media, but reasonable precautions should be taken depending on the area. Hotel staff or people familiar with the area may be able to advise on where it is and is not safe. It is a large city.
Several major highways lead to Cape Town:
- N1 runs from Harare in Zimbabwe south west to Cape Town. This is the major route to and from the interior of the country, passing Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Paarl its way to Cape Town. This is the usual route from the Free State, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and other inland regions.
- N2 runs along the east and south coasts from Swaziland via Durban, the KwaZulu-Natal south coast, past the Wild Coast through the Eastern Cape, (East London, Port Elizabeth) towards the Garden Route and George. From Mossel Bay it takes a more inland route until the Hottentots Holland mountains at the extreme east of greater Cape Town The N2 is a toll road through the Tsitsikamma National Park. This is the usual route from KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape
- N7 runs south from Namibia through the Northern Cape city of Springbok to Cape Town.
Hiring a car in South Africa is not as expensive as in Europe or many other countries. Petrol is also cheap compared to Europe but a bit more expensive than in the United States. The locals will tell you that the Cape Town drivers are the most courteous drivers in South Africa (except the mini bus taxi drivers who are unpredictable) and generally drive slower in comparison with other cities. If this is true, it is not a compliment to the rest of the country.
(will depend on the venue)
All major bus companies have Intercity connections from Cape Town, taking you to other cities in South Africa and to Namibia and Zimbabwe. There might be up to 6 buses a day to certain cities. The inter-city bus terminus is next to the main train station near the Golden Acre building on Strand Street.
International bus lines
- Baileys Reo Liner has a bus from Cape Town to Namibia 3 times a week on W F Su with fares from R 500.
- Munenzwal Luxury Coaches and Chihwa bus lines have buses from Capetown to Zimbabwe 3 times a week with fares from R1000.
Intercity bus lines
- Greyhound, ☏ .
- Intercape Mainliner, ☏ . Buses going from Cape Town to Namibia with fares from R700.
Low-cost bus lines
- Elo Coaches. Cape Town to Johannesburg from R450.
- Atlantic Charters. Cape Town to Johannesburg from R475 with free pick up from hostel and free meal.
- APM Coaches. Cape Town to Johannesburg from R400.
- Citiliner. Cape Town to Johannesburg from R480.
- DMJ Transport Cape Town to Port Elizabeth from R330. CapeTown to Knysna R210
- City to City. Cape Town to Port Elizabeth from R390.
Bus tickets can be obtained from Computicket.
Cape Town is on the Baz Bus route. The cost of the Baz Bus from Capetown to Johannesburg is R4900. Cape Town to Port Elizabeth is R2100.
- Walk: Cape Town city bowl is small and most things are within a 30-min walk.
- Uber/Taxify app: Traveling within the City Bowl in off-peak hours will only cost R30.
- Minibus taxis: These taxis give you a wider range around the city and surrounds at affordable prices. The normal tourist caution is advised (e.g. don't look like a tourist with your camera out).
Fuel can be bought on a normal credit card; most garages have ATMs on the premises. Visa Electron and other debit cards are accepted at most fuel stations.
See also Cape Town#See
- 1 Koopmans-de Wet House, 35 Strand Street (one block west from Southern Sun Hotel). Thu & Fri 09:00 - 16:00. Museum in a house built in 1701. adult R20.
- 2 Joe Slovo Park.
See also Cape Town#Do
- 1 Watch a movie at The Labia, 68 Orange St.. Cape Town's oldest movie theatre
- 2 Waterfront Walk. Walk with the tourists around the V&A Waterfront
- Hop-on-hop-off bus tour. Explore the City or Peninsula
- 3 Watch the sunset. Watch the sunset from Camps Bay Beach; a great place for sundowners
- 4 Sea Point Promenade. Go for a walk on the Sea Point Promenade; you might spot some dolphins
- 5 Table Mountain. Hike up Table Mountain
- 6 Lion's Head. Hike up Lion's Head
- Surf. Rent a surf board and wet suit and go surfing in Muizenberg. This is a very affordable activity and there are waves most days. You can take the train to Muizenberg as well (just not after dark).
- 7 Penguins. Watch the penguin's at Boulder's Beach
- 8 Cape Point.
See the guide article at Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay
South Africa has a lot of wine regions, two of which are the closest to Cape Town:
You can take a satellite bus as part of your hop-on-hop-off bus Peninsula Tour experience in order to experience some of the Constantia wine farms.
Where to buy groceries:
- 1 The Gardens Centre. has a big Pick n Pay (like Tesco), a Woolworths (like Marks and Spencer's) as well as a Clicks (like Boots)
- 2 V&A Waterfront. Has all of the above as well as a movie theater and lots of restaurants.
- 3 Pick N Pay, 58 Strand street, ☏ . 08:00-19:00.
- Spar, Lower Kloof Street.
The central tourist and local hub is Long Street. Known for clubs, bars, restaurants and co-working spaces, it boarders on the legal district so you can expect to find an eclectic group of people here.
Long Street restaurants
- 1 Mama Africa (African food). Serves traditional South African food and a range of wild game meats. A little pricey, and super touristy. Not for the seasoned traveler.
- 2 Food Inn (Cheap Indian), 156 Long St. Very inexpensive Halal Indian food. Order your food at the counter and hand your number in at the next counter. Eat-in or take-away. Does not look like much, but the food is very good and the portions are big.
- 3 Beer House (99 Different Beers), 223 Long St. Serves a range of local and international beers as well as a few wines. Food is slow, but the portions are big. Mid-range prices.
Cape Town has a range of vegan restaurants with more popping up on a monthly basis.
- 4 Plant Restaurant, 8 Buiten St.
- 5 The Hungry Herbivore Restaurant, 11 Orphan St.
- 6 Raw and Roxy, 38 Hout St.
The major cellular operators are:
- Cell C
A SIM card can be purchased for R2 - R10 from most stores. The SIM card must be registered and not all stores do this. It is safest to purchase your SIM at a cellular store with your passport and hotel address handy for registration.
You need to load airtime on your SIM card, on top of which you need to load a data bundle before you start using it. R100 - R200 of airtime will be enough for a data bundle of between 1 and 4 GB of data with enough air time left over for calls. Call charges average R1-R2/minute. You can buy airtime at the checkout at most stores.
Some European cellular operators offer favorable roaming rates, but most don't. You should receive an SMS upon arrival that lists the charges.