General Information

Cape Town

Cape Town is the quintessential melting pot: it is a city alive with creativity, colour, sounds, and tastes.

While walking through the City's streets and meeting its people, you will fall in love with its natural beauty, creative freedom, and incredible spirit. Cape Town is a city where the unexpected is always just around the corner and the beautiful province of the Western Cape lies ready to be explored across the city border.

Accommodation is available to suite all tastes and budgets, from luxury five-star establishments to modest guesthouses and bed and breakfasts. These have been pre-booked for the conference and delegates will be able to secure their choice of venue at preferential rates through the conference organisers.

A wide range of attractive tours and excursions will be on offer to visitors, and these will be of a cultural, historical, and geographical nature. From townships to wildlife reserves, shopping malls to vineyards, there will be something to delight everyone.

We encourage you to participate on one of the arranged optional excursions. The experience will be unforgettable.

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 equalling 100 cents. Denomination of Rand notes are R200, R100, R50, R20, and R10 and of the coins are R5, R2, R1, 50c, 20c and 10c.

The following exchange rates were applicable as of 22 November 2023:

1 United States Dollar = ZAR 18.74 1 Euro = ZAR 20.41

Facilities for cashing traveller's cheques are available at banks (operating hours are Monday to Friday 09h00 - 15h30, Saturdays 08h30 - 11h00) 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 most hotels, restaurants, and shops.

Price Guidelines (for illustration purposes only).

Prices will vary, but the following is an indication of what delegates might expect to pay:

Tea or coffee ZAR 30.00 US$ 1.60 1.46
Restaurant meal ZAR 200.00 US$ 10.67 9.80
Cinema ticket ZAR 100.00 US$ 5.33 4.90
Wine (750ml) ZAR 120.00 US$ 6.41 5.88
Big Mac Burger ZAR 80.00 US$ 4.27 3.92
Beer (340ml) ZAR 40.00 US$ 2.14 1.96
Cola (340ml) ZAR 15.00 US$ 0.80 0.73
Sandwich ZAR 60.00 US$ 3.20 2.94

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).

Health

There are no compulsory vaccination requirements for persons entering South Africa although a certificate for yellow fever may be required if you are entering from certain South American or sub-Saharan African countries. Certain parts of the country have been designated as malaria risk areas. If you intend travelling to one of these areas, it is essential that you take prophylaxis before arrival and whilst in the area. Protective clothing and insect repellents should also be used.

Cape Town is a malaria risk free area. South African doctors and dentists are highly trained professionals and hospitals are well equipped. Participants are requested to make their own arrangements with respect to health insurance prior to departure and consult their local general practitioner for personal expert advice. The South African National Travel Health Network (SaNTHNet) has been established to provide travellers with essential information related to health risks both locally and across borders. The website has regular updates on health risks, as well as providing general information related to vaccination requirements for various destinations.

For more information, please visit: https://www.santhnet.co.za/

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, shopping centres, restaurants etc.), except in designated smoking areas.

There are currently no Covid-19 restrictions applicable for entry into South Africa.

NOT REQUIRED FOR ENTRY INTO SOUTH AFRICA
Masks Covid-19 Test Quarantine Passenger Locator Form
Health Form Authorisation Vaccination Card Insurance

Insurance

The 19th International Society for Microbial Ecology (ISME19) accepts no liability for any personal injury, loss, or damage of property belonging to or additional expenses incurred by conference participants either during the conference or as result of delays, strikes or any other circumstances. Participants are requested to make their own arrangements with respect of health, travel, and cancellation insurance.

Language

The official Summit language will be English.

Loadshedding

Loadshedding is another term for rolling blackouts and power cuts. Load-shedding happens when there's a huge demand on the national power grid, leading to the interruption of the electricity supply to the country. Loadshedding discontinues the power supply to certain areas, according to a schedule, to allow the power utility to get failed generation units back online. Load-shedding is implemented in stages and depends on the extent of the shortage of electricity generation.

Note: The City of Cape Town only implements load-shedding when instructed by Eskom's National Control Centre. The decision to implement loadshedding is therefore beyond the City's control and often at short notice.

Loadshedding affects everyone to varying degrees. There are places which experience little to no load-shedding, due to their proximity to important government structures such as hospitals and parliament etc.

You can call ahead and ask whether the area you're visiting experiences loadshedding. If they do, enquire about backup generators or alternative power supply.

The Cape Town ICC has back-up power and will not affect our congress.

Programme Changes

The organisers cannot assume liability for any changes in the programme due to external or unforeseen circumstances. Changes will be mentioned on message screens throughout the conference Centre.

Safety and Security

For those participants who have not previously visited South Africa, or Cape Town, 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 Cape Town International Convention Centre and adjacent hotels is safe, and well monitored, but we advise that you do not walk alone after dark in unpopulated streets. Ostentatious displays of wealth should be avoided all the time. During the Conference, the information desk at the venue and your hotel's concierge will be able to assist you with information on places to visit and the appropriate means of transport.

Shopping in Cape Town

Most shops in the city centre and suburbs open between 08h00 and 17h00 to 17h30. Shops in major shopping malls open at 09h00 and close at 21h00 or later (especially at the V&A Waterfront), even on Sundays and most public holidays. Government agencies keep to traditional weekday only hours. Most banks close at 15h30 and have limited Saturday morning opening times. Muslim-owned businesses close at noon on Fridays and re-open at 14h00.

Telecommunication

International direct dialling, internet, and e-mail facilities are easily accessible in Cape Town. Most of the mobile telephone systems used around the globe operates in Cape Town. Local SIM Cards can be purchased at convenience stores or at the Airport on Arrival.

Tipping

Gratuities are not obligatory but are expected in South Africa. A guideline for visitors is the following: Airport porters ZAR 20 per item, taxis 10%, waiters, and waitresses in restaurants 10%.

Time Zone

Cape Town is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (+2GMT).

Trade Exhibition

A commercial exhibition of industry related items and technical equipment will be organised during the Conference. Interested companies, please contact the exhibition organiser for further information at:

Name: Catherine Taylor, Turners Conferences Tel.: +27 031 368 8000 Fax: +27 031 368 6623 E-mail: catherine@tcon.org.za

Traveller's Cheques

Most international traveller's cheques are accepted, provided they are in an acceptable currency and may be cashed at most banks. Many hotels and shops also provide this service. Please note that Credit Cards or Cash are generally a more acceptable form of payment.

VAT / Tax Refunds

VAT of 15% is levied on nearly all goods and services. Foreign tourists may claim back VAT paid on goods or products (not services) that will be taken out of the country. Original tax invoices, foreign passport, plus all the items on which a refund is claimed, must be presented at the VAT Refund Administration Office or an appointed RSA Customs and Excise Official on departure, and the total VAT on these items will be refunded.

Venue and Dates

Cape Town International Convention Centre 1, 18 - 23 August 2023

Address: Convention Square, 1 Lower Long Street, Foreshore, Cape Town, 8001.
Phone: 021 410 5000

The CTICC is Africa's leading convention centre located in the heart of Cape Town, South Africa. The purpose-built event complex consists of CTICC 1 and CTICC 2, which are connected by the Skybridge and boast a floor space of 140 855m2. For more detailed information please visit: https://www.cticc.co.za/

Weather

August weather in Cape Town can be cold and rainy, where cold means daytime lows of 14C, but you are just as likely to wake up to clear skies and sunshine. The average high temperature is around 17C. It is seldom cooler than 14C and can be as warm as 22C. August is also peak whale season, when southern right and humpback whales can be seen calving in the shallow waters just offshore. Be sure to pack an umbrella, a warm coat, closed shoes, and a raincoat.