WEATHER

TableMountain G van Nelson

Welcome to Cape Town – where a cloud covers our mountain and we can experience temperamental weather on any given day, contrary to what the forecast may tell you.

SUMMER
Cape Town enjoys a glorious summer between November and March, which makes it the most popular time to visit. With around 14 hours of sunlight a day and temperatures averaging 25ºC, there’s no excuse not to explore all the city has to offer – from surfing at a postcard-perfect beach to conquering a mountain trail, or simply enjoying an alfresco lunch at one of the countless sidewalk eateries.

WINTER
Winter in the Cape is characterised by mostly wet and windy days (it’s not called the Cape of Storms for nothing!) with occasional temperate spells. June is the wettest month of the year, though the chilly weather generally persists right through August. Temperatures range between 7ºC and 20ºC. But there’s still plenty to do over this time, including taking advantage of the many restaurant specials and cosy firesides on offer.

SPRING & AUTUMN
You may hear Capetonians joke that the city only has two seasons thanks to our blink-and-you’ll-miss-it spring (September/October) and autumn (April/May). But these in-between seasons have plenty to offer, including mild temperatures and some of the most awe-inspiring natural beauty you’ll see all year.

HEALTH & SAFETY

Tin flower KL Nash

Travellers to South Africa don’t require immunisations unless they are travelling to an area where yellow fever is endemic – here, you’ll need to present an inoculation certificate. Cape Town is not a malaria-afflicted area either so there’s no need to stock up on prophylactics.

The tap water in South Africa is safe to drink and, in the interest of keeping our city clean and green, purchase a reusable bottle and top up at taps and drinking fountains.

The city has an excellent network of both state and private hospitals – you can find these details in our Useful contacts section. Save emergency service numbers to your phone in case of a medical emergency.

It’s a good idea to exercise common sense no matter where in the world you’re travelling, and Cape Town is no exception. Avoid carrying large sums of money on your person or drawing attention to expensive items such as jewellery, mobile phones and cameras. Never leave your belongings unattended in a public space and avoid deserted areas after dark. You should also be aware of pickpockets or opportunistic thieves in crowded spaces such as nightclubs or public parks and arenas.

While the legal age for consuming alcohol is 18 years old, South Africa has extremely strict drinking and driving laws. The legal limit is a breath alcohol content of 0.24 mg per 1 000 ml or a blood alcohol content of 0.05g per 100 ml.If you choose to imbibe, rather call for a cab or make use of the various driving services in the city.

If you’re planning to hike up Table Mountain or any of the other popular hiking spots in the city, it’s best to do so in a group of at least four and preferably with someone who has climbed before. Wear the correct hiking shoes and always pack warm, protective gear irregardless of how nice the day is when you set out as the Cape Peninsula is notorious for sudden changes in weather conditions. Pack the bare minimum (sufficient water, light snacks and warm clothing) and leave wallets and expensive photography equipment at home. Do take a mobile phone in the event of an emergency and save Mountain Rescues’ contact number ( +27 21 948 9900). If you’re an avid adventurer that’s eager to climb or hike, visit mcsacapetown.co.za.

LANGUAGES & COLLOQUIALISMS

South Africa has nine provinces and a whopping 11 official languages: English, Afrikaans, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Setswana, Sesotho, Xitsonga, siSwati, TshiVenda and isiNdebele.

Almost everyone you meet in Cape Town will understand and speak English but given our diversity of tongues, it’s a little more colourful than the Queen’s so here are some pro words and phrases to familiarise yourself:

  • We travel on highways not freeways
  • We walk on the pavement not the sidewalk
  • Order a ‘coldrink’ or ‘cooldrink’ not a ‘soda’, unless you prefer soda water to Coke
  • Use ‘Ag, shame’ when you want to express sympathy at anther’s hardship
  • Warn your friend not to drink too much or they’ll feel babalas (hungover) in the morning
  • Our pick-up trucks are a bit smaller and known as a bakkie
  • Those homeless guys have a name too – bergie – from the Afrikaans ‘berg’, which means mountain and although it originally referred to the homeless sheltering in Table Mountain’s forests, it’s now used as a general (not pejorative) term for the city’s homeless
  • Instead of a barbeque, we braai, preferably over a wood fire where we gather around with beer
  • We call our mates, including the females, bru or my China
  • When we get hurt, we usually yell eina while eish expresses our surprise, distress or commiseration
  • Soon to be legalised in South Africa, marijuana is called dagga
  • No hot water? Tell your landlord or bellboy that the geyser (hot water tank) is broken
  • When greeting someone, we use the shortened form of ‘How is it going?’, howzit, which is different to ‘howzat!’ that is used as a form of appeal in cricket
  • Sometimes you’ll hear us say is it? but not as a question – it’s more a way of indicating your interest in what someone else is saying
  • Ja-nee literally means ‘yes-no’ in Afrikaans and we’ll say it when we partially agree with what you’ve just told us
  • Particularly frustrating for foreigners, we often use just now to indicate not quite now, not quite now-now but soon
  • If you think something is particularly great, express it by saying lekker
  • Now-now doesn’t mean ‘now’ in the usual sense of the word but rather some time between the next 30 seconds and a few hours from now – also very frustrating as you never know when ‘now-now’ really is
  • You may hear people speaking about their ouma, which indicates their grandmother, but don’t be alarmed if they’re dipping an Ouma as this refers to the name of a brand of rusks that’s particularly lovely with a cup of tea
  • What the rest of the world calls a traffic light, Capetonians refer to as a robot
  • Want to say ‘yes’? Use the Zulu yebo instead while sharp-sharp means something is fine, cool or understood
  • Oh, and in case someone wants to get by you in a crowded place and says sorry, what they really mean is ‘excuse me’.

CURRENCY & TIPPING

The local currency is the South African Rand, divided into 100 cents.

Bank notes are in denominations of R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200 while coins can be found in 10c (cents), 20c, 50c, and R1, R2 and R5. Our notes feature our beloved former president Nelson Mandela’s portrait with one of the big five on the reverse while the coins depict an assortment of local flora and fauna.

South Africa has a value-added tax (VAT) system of 14% on purchases and sevices. Visitors to the country can reclaim VAT on collective purchases of more than R250. The VAT Refund Offices can be found on the second floor of Cape Town International Airport. For more information, you can call +27 021 934 8675 or visit taxrefunds.co.za.

It’s standard to tip 10% in restaurants, and R5 to R10 per piece of luggage in hotels and airports. Unofficial car guards will usually expect around R2 to R5 for watching your car, although this is discretionary.

You’ll find foreign exchange bureau at all major shopping centres around Cape Town, various banks and at Cape Town International Airport. Visit one of these sites to find the closest bureau to your location:

Absa Bureau de Change absa.co.za

American Express americanexpress.co.za

First National Bank Bureau de Change fnb.co.za

Master Currency mastercurrency.co.za

Standard Bank Bureau de Change standardbank.co.za

ATMs, shops and hotels also accept most international banking cards.

GETTING AROUND

There are plenty of ways you can explore the wonders of the Mother City – taking a stroll, cycling or using one of these quick modes of transportation.

CAR

South Africans drive on the left-hand side of the road and local vehicles are all right-hand drive. Distances and speed limits are in kilometres with the average speed within the city at a cool 60 km/h (unless otherwise indicated by road signs) while highways and main arterial roads vary between 80, 100 and 120 km/h.

The wearing of a seatbelt by all passengers, including those in the back seats, is enforced by law in South Africa, and it’s illegal to drive while using a mobile phone.

Parking in most designated City of Cape Town bays will cost you R5.60 for 30 minutes, which is payable to a uniformed official who will issue you with a receipt. Unofficial car guards in other areas, usually recognisable by a neon safety vest but without an official uniform or insignia, will expect a small tip (about R2 to R5) for watching your car, though this is discretionary.

If you’re planning to drive elsewhere in South Africa, there are three arterial routes that leave Cape Town:

N1 to Johannesburg (via the Cape Winelands and the Karoo)

N2 to the Garden Route (via the Overberg)

N7 up the West Coast (and into Namibia).

To hire a car in South Africa, all you need to do is present your driver’s licence from your country of origin (provided the information appears in English) and your credit card. Rental companies can be found at Cape Town International Airport and around the city centre. We recommend the following:

Avis +27 86 102 1111/+27 11 387 8431, reservat[email protected], avis.co.za

Budget +27 86 101 6622 (Local)/+27 11 387 8002 (International), budget.co.za

Europcar +27 861 131 000/+27 11 479 4000 (Head Office), europcar.co.za

BUS

Launched in 2011, Cape Town’s MyCiti rapid transport service is a safe and convenient way to travel around the Mother City. These blue busses with red trim also meet strict Euro 4 emission standards, making them

one of the greener ways to get around in Cape Town. The busses operate for up to 18 hours a day, depending on the route, and children younger than four travel for free.

Current routes link with major landmarks and tourism infrastructure, including Cape Town International Airport, the V&A Waterfront, Table Mountain, the Sea Point Promenade, and the beaches of Camps bay, Clifton and Hout Bay. Newly rolled out lines also travel to the city’s northern suburbs.

MyCiti

How to use MyCiti

1 Purchase a MyConnect card for R30 at any MyCiti kiosk or a participating retailer

2 Use the MyConnect pin given to your card to load funds for your travels. Fares are calculated on distance travelled and the time of day

3 Tap in with your card when you board a bus and tap out again at the end of your journey – the fare will be deducted from your card automatically

4 If you have leftover funds when you depart Cape Town, you may take your card to a MyCiti station for a refund.

Using MyCiti to and from the airport

The MyCiti shuttle bus operates between Cape Town International Airport and various points in the CBD. The bus departs from the airport every 30 minutes between 4:45 am and 10: 15 pm. For a full timetable, including stops around the city, call +27 80 065 6463 or visit myciti.org.za.

TAXIS & UBER

Cape Town has loads of metered taxis that you can find outside hotels, and at landmarks and tourist hotspots in the city centre. You can hop right in but it’s a good idea to save a local company’s number on your phone too – this way, the switchboard can send a cab to your location (and quote a fare) if none are around. Try one of these trusted companies:

Excite Taxis +27 21 448 4444

Marine Taxis +27 21 434 0434

Rikki’s +27 21 447 3559/+27 86 174 5547

Alternatively, you can download Uber on to your smartphone. The service operates in and around the CBD, however, keep in mind that if you’re planning on travelling to the Winelands or further afield, fares can get pretty steep.

TRAIN

Cape MetroRail’s southern line connects the CBD to Simon’s Town, making it a scenic way to traverse the peninsula. Stops on the line include favourite coastal gems such as Muizenberg, St James and Kalk Bay.

Please note: Cape Town’s trains often experience delays so try to avoid them when you’ve scheduled an activity or reserved a table. For more information, full timetables and fares, visit metrorail.co.za.

MUST SEE

TABLE MOUNTAIN

Table Mountain

Perhaps Cape Town’s (if not South Africa’s) most recognisable landmark, this great rocky plateau forms part of the Table Mountain National Park, which begins at Signal Hill and ends at Cape Point, and also features the Cape Floral Kingdom. Table Mountain itself is situated between Lion’s Head (next to Signal Hill) and Devil’s Peak.

There are two ways to navigate to the top of Table Mountain. The first, for those who are fit and looking for some strenuous outdoor adventure, is hiking along one of the various routes.

The second is the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway, which takes you to the top in a matter of minutes while offering you a bird’s-eye view of Cape Town. A the top, you can walk to various lookout points and enjoy a refreshing drink at the Summit Lounge or the Table Mountain Café. Tickets for the Cableway can be purchased via Webtickets. Adult rates are R240 for a return trip and R125 one-way. For children between four and 17 years, return trips are R115 while one-way trips are R60. On Fridays, senior citizens can purchase return or one-way trips at the Ticket Office for R100 and R53 respectively, while students can do the same at a cost of R130 or R70.

For more information, call +27 21 424 8181 or visit tablemountain.net.

V&A WATERFRONT

V&A Waterfront KL Nash

This is one of the major commercial hubs of Cape Town. Not only is there a vast range of stores and eateries at which visitors can indulge themselves, there are bus and cycling tours, catamaran cruises and helicopter flights that can all be taken from the various points around the centre.

For those who want a spectacular view but don’t want to travel too far, you can always climb aboard the Cape Wheel in order to glimpse Table Bay and the City Bowl in all their splendour. If you prefer living creatures to views, then the Two Oceans Aquarium is open from 9:30 am to 6 pm daily.

There are also plenty of adventures for kids such as the Jolly Roger Pirate Bost cruises that take place thrice a day, penguin encounters at the Aquarium, and the Hamley’s Train that winds its way around the centre’s outdoor areas.

Lastly, those with a love of history can partake in tours of the Chavonnes Battery Museum and the Cape Town Diamond Museum. There are also Historical Walking Tours from Chavonnes Battery Museum to various points of interest.

The V&A Waterfront is open 9 am – 9 pm daily. Visit waterfront.co.za for more information. 

ROBBEN ISLAND 

Best known as the place of Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment, this Unesco World Heritage Site is an imperative destination for local and international visitors.

A trip to Robben Island constitutes a ferry ride, a bus tour to the prison (filled with numerous details about the island’s history), and a tour of the prison itself.

Tours depart daily from the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V&A Waterfront at 9 am, 11 am and 1 pm, weather permitting. Boats disembark at Murray Harbour, where you’ll catch a bus that will transport you around the island. Tickets are R320 for adults and R180 for children under 18 years.

For more information, visit robben-island.org.za.

BO-KAAP
Bo-Kaap G v Nelson

This vibrant neighbourhood is often referred to as the ‘Malay Quarter’. Many of its inhabitants are descended from slaves brought to the Cape in the 16th and 17th centuries and although they came from India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and other parts of Africa, they were called ‘Cape Malays’.

Bo-Kaap is also the centre of Cape Town’s Muslim community and is where the Auwal Mosque on Dorp Street is situated. According to oral history, it’s the oldest mosque in South Africa. There are also three karamats – shrines to Muslim spiritual leaders – in Bo-Kaap, and a further two on Signal Hill. For a glimpse of this community’s history, visit the Bo-Kaap Museum in Wale Street, a 19th-century Muslim residence transformed into a tribute to the area’s past. If you’d prefer a more interactive introduction to the neighbourhood, join one of Shireen Nackerdien’s walking tours (call +27 21 422 1554 to book).

The Noon Day Gun is also fired from just behind this area and is one of the oldest traditions in the Cape. Two 18-pounder, muzzle-loading cannons on Signal Hill are fired at noon from Monday to Saturday (with the exception of public holidays). The cannons have been used to signal the hour of noon since 1806, and are the oldest guns in the world that are still used daily.

If you love trying new cuisine on your travels, stop by Atlas Trading Company, a family-run emporium of local and exotic spices that’s been in business since 1946. For more information, call +27 21 423 4361, email [email protected] or visit atlastradingcompany.co.za.

TOWNSHIP TOURS

Cape Town’s largest townships, Khayelitsha (‘new home’ in Xhosa) and Guguletu (a contraction of igugu lethu, meaning ‘our pride’ in Xhosa), are a pertinent reminder of the separatist apartheid regime.

These areas were designated ‘non-white’ areas and many black families were forcibly removed from the city to live in them. These days, though, they’re as much a part of Cape Town as Table Mountain is, and a township tour gives you a first-hand experience of this side of the city.

It’s best to visit during the day, and with a tour operator, so you can meet local business owners, get a taste of township cuisine, visit a sangoma (a traditional healer) and give yourself a different taste of Cape culture. Contact one of the following operators for half-day tours or to add a township visit to another itinerary:

AWOL Tours +27 21 418 3803/+27 83 2346 428, [email protected], awoltours.co.za

Camissa Tours +27 21 510 2646, [email protected], gocamissa.co.za

CAPE POINT

Cape Point

Cape Point forms part of the southern end of the Table Mountain National Park and, while it features diverse flora and faun, including seafood-eating Chacma baboons, it’s also a place filled to the brim with history.

Take a walk up to the Old Lighthouse or, even better, grab a seat on the Flying Dutchman Funicular cable car.

After visiting the Old Lighthouse, take the Lighthouse Keeper’s trail to get a closer look at the site’s other lighthouse, which is fully functioning then head to The Food Shop or the Two Oceans Restaurant for a bite to eat. The entire walking experience at Cape Point offers tremendous views of the Cape of Good Hope, Diaz Beach and False Bay. We also recommend the Cape Point Audio Tour, which is free to download on any smartphone and offers information on Cape Point’s history, geography and nature.

From October to March, the Cape Point reserve is open from 6 am – 6 pm and the funicular operates between 9 am to 5:30 pm. From April to September, the reserve opens from 7 am – 5 pm with the funicular operating between 9 am and 5 pm. Entry to the reserve is R125 for adults and R65 for children. Tickets on the funicular are R52 (return) or R48 (single) for adults, and R24 (return) or R18 (single) for children.

Call +27 21 780 9010 or visit capepoint.co.za for more information.

CASTLE OF GOOD HOPE
Castle of Good Hope

South Africa’s oldest surviving colonial building, built by the Dutch East India Company between 1666 and 1679, and located on Strand Street in the CBD, the Castle of Good Hope is now the seat of the military in Cape Town. It houses the Castle Military Museum and the William Fehr Collection, which includes paintings, decorative artifacts and period furniture of special relevance to the Cape.

From Monday to Saturday, two daily ceremonies occur between 10 am and noon: the unlocking of the Castle and the firing of the Signal Cannon. Guided tours and horse-and-carriage rides are conducted during the day as well. Please note that no ceremonies or guided tours take place on Sundays.

The Castle is open from 9:30 am to 4 pm daily (except for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day), and the last ticket sales are at 3:30 pm. Entrance is R30 for adults; R15 for children, students and South African pensioners; and R5 for booked school groups.

For more information, call +27 21 787 1260 or visit castleofgoodhope.co.za.

COMPANY’S GARDEN

Company Gardens G v Nelson

Situated on Queen Victoria Street in the CBD, Company’s Garden was created in 1652 by the Dutch East India Company as part of the maritime replenishment station based at the Cape. Today this eight-hectare garden, and heritage site, is home to more than 8 000 plant species (including the oldest cultivated pear tree in SA) and adorable critters, particularly squirrels.

There are also numerous monuments to be seen here, such as the Delville Wood Memorial commemorating the South African soldiers who died in both World Wars, and Japanese Lantern Monument, which symbolises Japanese and South African political relations.

Company’s Garden is open to the public daily from 7.30 am to 8.30 pm in summer, and from 7 am to 7 pm in winter. Entrance is free.

If you’re feeling peckish while roaming this site, you can always pop into The Company’s Garden Restaurant, owned by the noted (and immensely entertaining) hospitality group Madame Zingara. They are open from 7 am to 6 pm. Phone them on +27 423 2919, email them at [email protected], or visit them www.thecompanysgarden.com.

KIRSTENBOSCH BOTANICAL GARDENS

Kirstenbosch G v Nelson

Kirstenbosch is a natural paradise about 20 minutes away from the city centre that offers visitors a look into the Cape’s more than 7 000 species of flora, birdlife and small animals. The gardens are also home to a range of other plant life from regions across southern Africa.

Bask in the beauty of the Protea Garden, enjoy the smells of the herb-scented Braille Trail or take a walk along the Boomslang, a 130m-long wheelchair-friendly canopy walkway. Beyond the garden, you’ll also find trails and hiking routes leading to Cecilia Forest, and Skeleton Gorge and Nursery Ravine respectively.

Make a day out of it by booking a golf-cart ride, guided walk or audio tour, then stop by Moyo (near the Visitors’ Centre), the Kirstenbosch Tea Room or Vida e Caffé for a spot of lunch or a cup of java.

The Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens are open 365 days a year from 8 am – 6 pm (April to August) and 8 am – 7 pm (September to March). Entrance is R60 for adults, R30 for students with a valid student ID, R15 for children ages six to 17, and free for children under six. Tickets can be bought at webtickets.co.za.

To get there, take the M3 towards Muizenberg, turn right at the traffic lights on to Rhodes Drive in Newlands then follow the signs to Kirstenbosch.

For more information, call +27 21 799 8783, email [email protected]bi.org.za or visit sanbi.org.

CAPE WINELANDS

Whether you’re visiting for the lush scenery or the top-of-the-range wine, a tour of the Cape Winelands is a must on any itinerary. In terms of Cape Town’s geography, ‘big three’ wine-producing areas are Constantia, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, although the city centre is starting to catch up too.

In Constantia, you’ll find the Groot Constantia, Klein Constantia, Steenberg and Constantia Uitsig wine estates. Groot Constantia is the oldest wine-producing farm in South Africa and features some impressive examples of Cape Dutch architecture at its Manor House and Cloete Cellar. The neighbouring wine routes of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch offer some of the most-loved wine producers in the southern hemisphere, and the former region can also lay claim to a smorgasbord of SA’s top restaurants.

If you prefer your tipple without crowds of other tourists, head to the Overberg, Swartland and Route 62 wine routes, which are also worth a trip.

BEACHES

Clifton

Cape Town offers both exquisite scenery and heaps of fun at its many gorgeous beaches.There’s Bloubergstrand in Table Bay, which offers a picture perfect view of Table Mountain; the trendy Clifton with its four markedly different beaches divided by colossal boulders; and the ever-popular seaside retreats Camps Bay, Fish Hoek and Hout Bay that all offer glimpses into seaside life.

Other notable beaches in and around Cape Town include Muizenberg, Bakoven, Llandudno, Sandy Bay, Noordhoek, Kommetjie, Smitswinkelbaai, Glencairn, St James, and Boulders.

VISAS & IMMIGRATION

South Africa has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world with Cape Town topping many a list of must-visit spots – and with good reason! The city serves as the perfect base from which to explore the rest of the country with all other major airports a mere two-hour flight away.

Before packing your bags to visit our sunny shores, ensure you comply with the country’s visa and immigration regulations. These are laws put in place to protect the country and its citizens as well as those travelling through its border posts. According to the South African Department of Home Affairs, every application for a South African visa is treated as an individual case. The department advises all foreigners wishing to visit the country to speak to an official at their local South African mission or consulate, especially as a new set of travel laws have been implemented.

The South African Tourist Visa will allow you to travel through any South African port of entry but visitors are restricted to the activity or reason for which these permits are issued. The permit’s period of validity is calculated from the date of entry into the country and will be set out beneath the ‘Conditions’ on the visa label. You must ensure you apply for the correct visa as entry into the country may be refused if the purpose of the visit is not correctly stated. Other things to be aware of include making sure your passport is valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of your intended visit, that you have at least one unused page for your entry and departure endorsements, and you may be required to complete other documentation depending on the reason for your visit.

FOUR STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL VISA APPLICATION

1 Find out which visa to apply for

Based on your history and what you plan on doing while in the country, you may need a very specific permit to gain entrance to South Africa. Visitors’ visas may be granted in the following cases:

  • Visiting family or friends
  • Visiting as a tourist
  • Visiting on business
  • If you are the spouse of a foreignerin South Africa who is on a work or study permit
  • Children visiting or joiing their parents who are in South Africa on a work or study permit
  • If you are the fiancé/e of a South African and you intent getting married within 90 days
  • For study purposes (to a maximum of three months)
  • If you are taking part in charitable or voluntary activities
  • If you are in the country to conduct research or attend conferences
  • If you are seeking medical treatment (to a maximum of three months)
  • If you are attending sporting events
  • If you are working on the production of a film or television show.

2 Start collecting your documents

Examples of the types of documents you’ll require include copies of your identity document, academic qualifications, medical and radiological reports, and police clearance.

3 Get your documents to your immigration practitioner

Once you’ve collected all the required documents, make a few sets of certified copies and hand the originals and a certified set to your immigration consultant. Keep an extra, certified set in a safe place.

4 Expect feedback

Your immigration practitioner will keep you up to date with your application’s status every step of the way and you’ll be saved the hassle of being sent from pillar to post at the South African Department of Home Affairs.

IMMIGRATION

If you’re planning to immigrate to South Africa, it’s a good idea to consult someone about the requirements needed to successfully apply for a visa,as well as the fees payable. An immigration consultant is far more dependable than the internet, will alleviate much of the frustration that goes with the application process, and will ensure every form has been filled out correctly.

Migration specialists New World Immigration employ qualified and experienced agents who offer valuable advice on which visas would be most suited to your needs and those of your family members wishing to join you in South Africa. Experienced case workers will guide you through the visa process and support you along the way to ensure your visa is accepted.

In South Africa, migration agents are registered with the South African Department of Home Affairs and must adhere to strict industry regulations to ensure the best service possible. A good agent should stay in contact with you at all stages of he process and will provide practical advice about your impending move and the likelihood of your application being approved.

What to ask your immigration officer

  • What is their success history
  • Names of references you can contact – be sure to read through all referrals and testimonials
  • A plan of the visa application process that includes a budget of fees payable and a projected timeline for the completion of the application process
  • A list of documents you could prepare before the application is filed. This might include having your qualifications translated to English, obtaining your police clearance certificate and making sure your finances are in order.

SA PERMANENT RESIDENCY OPTIONS

Migrants to South Africa land in the rainbow nation for different reasons. Some arrive here on work permits and decide they want to build a career in the country while others choose to re-unite with family, loved ones and friends. Whatever your reasons, applying for your South African Permanent Residency holds a number of advantages for the migrant but can be a daunting task with mounds of paperwork to complete and collect. South Africa offers seven different ways that you could qualify for permanent residency:

1 Critical Skills Permanent Residence Permit South Africa

Growing in popularity, this visa is specifically aimed at the migrant bringing skills and experience into the country that are not available under the local population. The Critical Skills list contains more than 100 listed occupations and this type of visa allows you to apply for permanent residency if your occupation is listed and you have an appropriate qualification with a minimum of five years’ experience in your specified field.

2 Five Years Continuous Work Permanent Residence Permit South Africa

If you’re able to prove that you’ve worked in South Africa on a full-time basis for at least five years, you’ll easily qualify for this visa.

3 Business Permanent Residence Permit South Africa

Business owners, this one’s for you! If you already have a business temporary residence visa and can prove that 60% of your workforce is South Africans or permanent residents, you qualify to apply for a Business Permanent Residence Permit. It’s worth remembering you still require the ‘go-ahead’ from the South African Department of Trade & Industry to ensure your business is rendering a product or service that is in the interest of the country as a whole.

For this visa, you will be required to pay an investment fee so speak to an immigration officer that is knowledgeable in this area.

4 Relatives Permanent Residence Permit South Africa

This visa is appropriate for anyone who is a biological relative of a South African citizen or a foreigner with a South African permanent residence permit. This also applies to adopted children.

5 Spousal/Life Partner Permanent Residence Permit South Africa

You qualify for permanent residency in South Africa if you’re married to or in a permanent relationship with a South African citizen or a foreigner with a South African permanent residence permit. Unlike some other countries, same-sex couples and heterosexual couples enjoy the same rights under the Spousal/Life Partner Residency Permit.

6 Retirement Permanent Residence Permit South Africa

When you apply for a South African Retirement Residence Permit, you’ll be expected to offer proof of an income of no less than R37 000 per month from independent sources such as annuity and pension funds. This visa allows you to be accompanied by your spouse, life partner and any biological children younger than 18 years of age.

7 Financially Independent Permanent Residence Permit South Africa

This is your visa of choice if your nett worth is at least R12 million worth of global net assets. With this type of visa, you’ll also bev required to pay a visa fee of R120 000.

FAQs ABOUT THE SOUTH AFRICAN PERMANENT RESIDENCY APPLICATION PROCESS

1 What are the basic documents I need to apply for permanent residence in South Africa?

Your immigration professional will give you the best advice but other than your application form, you’ll need a series of other documents depending on the type of permanent residency you’re applying for. It’s best to speak to a professional immigration consultant about this as incorrect or incomplete applications will be rejected, costing you time and money.

2 Would I qualify for Permanent Residency despite not having Temporary Residency?

In a few situations, it is possible to qualify for Permanent Residency without having had Temporary Residency. For instance, if you hold a business permit or you have a five-year continuous work permit or a South African Critical Skills Visa, you’d qualify for permanent residency straight away. Many people choose to file both temporary residence and permanent residence permit applications simultaneously.

3 My spousal/life partner is aSouth African citizen or holds a permanent residency permit. Could I work in South Africa if I obtain a spousal/life partner visa ?

The South African Spousal Visa allows the spouse or life partner of anyone holding South African Citizenship or Permanent Residency to apply for working rights on a spousal visa. Having these rights added would mean that the person could also start their own business and all other regulations applied to working South Africans would apply to the holder of this visa.

4 What happens if I have a criminal record?

In some instances, your application will still be considered and might even be successful. But you will not be granted permanent residency if a court of law has found you guilty of serious crimes such as murder, rape or drug trafficking. If you find yourself in this situation, it would be in your best interest to seek sound professional immigration advice.

TRAVELLING WITH KIDS IN SOUTH AFRICA

In 2014, South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs introduced a number of stringent new laws, including that no person may cross South African borders while accompanying a minor without new travel documents being available for that child.

The law requires adults to present – amongst other documents – an unabridged birth certificate for every child in their travelling party, regardless of whether they are their biological children. This rule is applicable to all visa types with no exceptions.

A guardian or parent traveling with minors must also be able to produce a certified copy of the absent parent’s identity document and, where applicable, a certified copy of the divorce decree – specifically in relation to the care and movement of the child. Where a parent is deceased. the guardian or parent traveling with the child must be able to present an official death certificate for the other parent. If a child has been adopted, please be prepared to also submit the relevant documentation in this regard.

If your child is an unaccompanied minor, ensure they are travelling with letters of consent and contact details of both parents as well as letters and identity documents of the persons receiving the children in South Africa or outside the company borders.

Parents travelling with children who are unsure of the requirements are strongly advised to seek professional advice from a competent immigration practitioner.

USEFUL CONTACTS

Cape Town dialling code 021

South Africa dialling code +27

Time GMT+2

TOURISM

Cape Town Tourism Central Office +27 21 487 6800

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens +27 21 799 8783

Table Mountain Aerial Cableway +27 21 424 8181

V&A Waterfront Information Centre +27 21 408 7600

Cape Town International Airport +27 21 937 1200, +27 86 727 7888 (Flight info)

EMERGENCY SERVICES

City of Cape Town General Emergency 107 on a landline, 112 from a cellphone (both toll-free)

South African Police Services 10111

Crime Stop 08600 10111

Ambulance Services 10177

Fire Services 107 (Cape Town Metropolitan Area), 10177 (Eden District, Overberg District, Central Karoo District, Cape Winelands District and West Coast District)

Fire emergency control room +27 28 425 1690 /1

Mountain Rescue +27 21 948 9900

National Sea Rescue +27 21 449 3500

Netcare (private emergency medical service) +27 82 911

Cape Town Central Police Station +27 21 467 8000/1/2

MEDICAL EMERGENCIES

Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital (private) +27 21 480 6111

Groote Schuur Hospital (state) +27 21 404 9111

MediClinic Cape Town (private) +27 21 464 5500

MediClinic Constantiaberg (private) +27 21 799 2193

MediClinic Stellenbosch (private) +27 21 861 2000

Netcare Travel Clinic +27 21 419 3172

Contact the clinic if you plan to travel to a malaria-afflicted area in South Africa or a neighbouring country, such as Mozambique.

Somerset Hospital (state) +27 21 402 6911

LOST/STOLEN CARDS

American Express +27 86 010 2193

Diner’s Club +27 86 034 6377

MasterCard +27 80 099 0418

Visa +27 80 099 0475

EMBASSIES

British Consulate

15th Floor, Norton Rose House, 8 Riebeek Street, CBD

Open Monday to Thursday 8 am – 4:30 pm, Fridays 8 am – 1:30 pm

+27 21 405 2400

French Consulate

78 Queen Victoria Street, Gardens

Open weekdays 9 am – noon, afternoons by appointment only

+27 21 423 1575

German Embassy

Roeland Park/eTV Building, 4 Stirling Street, Zonnebloem

Open weekdays 9 am – noon

+27 21 405 3000

Dutch Consulate General

100 Strand Street (cnr Buitengracht), CBD

Open weekdays 9–11:30 am

+27 21 421 5660

US Consulate

2 Reddam Avenue, Westlake, Tokai

Open weekdays 8 am – 5 pm

+27 21 702 7300

Consulate of Italy

2 Grey’s Pass, Gardens, CBD

Open Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays 9–11:30 am, Wednesdays 9 am to 12 pm and 2–4 pm

+27 21 487 3900

INFORMATION SERVICES

Directory enquiries for any listed phone number 1023

South African Weather Service +27 12 367 6000, weathersa.co.za

Yellow Pages, for listed services including medical practitioners 10118, yellowpages.co.za

____________

Photography Gareth van Nelson & Kendall-Leigh Nash/HMimages.co.za