South Africa has a long history of drought challenges. Currently Cape Town is experiencing water shortages. The WERA World Congress occurs after the rainy, winter season in Cape Town – with obvious increases in water availability. Government and scientists have rolled out effective evidence-based interventions to address water shortages and support local residents as well as tourists. These natural climate cycles and national, regional and local strategies all have a positive effect on the water-related challenges. Consequently, many scientific conferences of world-wide scope are reserved to continue in Cape Town. In addition, Cape Town continues to be a favourable tourist destination.
Weather in Cape Town
Prepare for all weather: sitting right on the southern tip of the African continent between two huge oceans, Cape Town's maritime climate can deliver four seasons in one day. As a general rule, Cape Town's winter (July-August) is relatively cold and wet, with temperatures ranging between 8 and 18 degrees Celcius, and summer (November - March) is hot and dry, sometimes getting up to 35 degrees Celcius.
Tap water is drinkable
South Africa’s drinking water is among the best in the world and is safe for drinking and cooking. If you visit in summer, keep hydrated and wear a hat and sunblock when out in the sun.
Electricity supply is 220/230 volts AC at 50 cycles per second. Three pronged plugs are universal, so take an adapter.
South African safety precautions are not unlike those recommended when travelling to other countries and major cities. More common sense than hard and fast measures, safety precautions in South Africa mostly require vigilance on the part of the traveller, and sound travel preparation.
Phoning overseas from South Africa
If you wish to make a call overseas, you must first dial 00, which is South Africa's international access code. You then dial the country code, area code of the city or region and the number of the person you wish to call. e.g. if you make a call to Sydney, Australia, telephone number 456 1234 you must dial 00 612 456-1234.
If you're an adult, you won't need any inoculations unless you're travelling from a yellow-fever endemic area (the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America), in which case you will need certification to prove your inoculation status when you arrive in South Africa.
Medical facilities in cities and larger towns are world-class. Trained medical caregivers are deployed round the country, and help is never far away.
South African standard time
South African standard time is two hours in advance of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT +2), one hour in advance of central European winter time and seven hours in advance of United States eastern standard time, throughout the year. There are no time zone differences within the country.
Banks and foreign exchange in SA
South Africa's unit of currency is the Rand.
There are 11 official languages including English, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, and Zulu.
Learn the lingo
It’s useful to know some of the slang and lingo to help you acclimatize to this multi-cultured city. South Africans love to speak a mix of English and Afrikaans, Xhosa and English and many more iterations, so it can be quite confusing, but not impossible to get the hang of.