Frequently asked questions
We have put together a list of the questions people most often ask when they book a trip with Big Blue Sky Tours. If you have a question and the answer is not in the FAQs below, drop us an email and we’ll happily answer it for you.
During daylight hours the Cape Town Central District and the V&A Waterfront are perfectly safe for visitors to walk about and enjoy the city. After dark, the V&A Waterfront and surrounds is completely safe. For all other evening destinations, take a taxi.
In a developing economy like South Africa, the wearing of ostentatious wealth (gold and diamonds, etc.) is not recommended at any time.
Taxis are cheap and reliable for all your local needs. Although they are metered, ask the driver for a close approximation for the distance before accepting the ride. Any cab with the yellow TAXI sign on the roof will be licensed to carry fare-paying passengers, BUT – take a good look at the vehicle in question! Cape Town has a large fleet of excellent vehicles, but one or two “bangers” are out there plying their trade!
Trains are not recommended, other than the safe and efficient Southern Suburbs Line, leaving from Cape Town Central Station and calling in at all stops to Simonstown on the Cape Peninsula.
The new MyCity Bus services are a really excellent way to get around the city. They are reliable, efficient, safe and smart, and travel to virtually every destination in the city, including the V&A Waterfront. Purchase and pre-load a Smartcard in order to use this service.
While all international credit cards are valid, foreign currency in cash is seldom welcome in South Africa. One or two of the tourist shops might accept foreign notes, but you will need ZAR while in South Africa. Currency exchange is best done at any branch of Rennies Foreign Exchange. You will need your passport and a little patience for any currency conversion.
If you are satisfied with the service in restaurants, etc., the standard gratuity would be 10 – 15%. Please note that this should be added to the credit card slip before the transaction is processed. Porters, doormen, etc., would be happy with a R20 note (about USD 2).
Value added tax
South Africa imposes a 14% VAT upon all purchases of goods, but not on services or accommodation. Visitors may reclaim this value on exiting the country. You will need to have on hand: your passport, your air ticket, the invoices, and, at random times, the clerk might ask to view the actual goods. Best therefore to pack claimable items in a separate carry-on bag.
Are diamonds cheaper in South Africa? What about gold?
The price of diamonds and gold is set as a worldwide standard, so the answer would appear to be “No”. However, because visitors qualify for the 14% VAT refund on departure, our jewellery becomes that much cheaper than anywhere else in the world.
Malaria: not all areas in South Africa are prone to malaria. Tablets or insect repellent? Ask your local travel clinic, then make the decision!
Water: city tap water is pure and wonderful! We do not recycle. You will be the first and the last person to use the water, which achieved first place in a recent blind tasting of the world’s most prestigious bottled waters!
Visitors who require medical assistance: we offer nurse-accompanied tours for your reassurance. Find out more here.
Cape Town, like many cities worldwide, has weather! Cape Town enjoys mild winters and pleasant summers.
Summer: 15-27°C / 60-80°F
Winter: 7-20°C / 45-70°F
Not sure what to wear? It is advisable to dress in layers. Look out your window every morning, but be aware that the weather can change, and always bring something warm.