The Overstrand's climate is characterised by mild rainy winters with many sunny days and seasonal high winds. Summers are mainly dry, with the heat of sunny days tempered by cooling sea breezes. Most tourists favour the idyllic days and warm evenings of early autumn (March-April).
CURRENCY & BANKING
The South African currency unit is Rand (ZAR), with R1 being equal to 100c. Notes are issued in denominations of R200, R100, R50, R20 and R10 notes with denominations of R5, R2, R1, 50c, 20c, 10c and 5c in coins. Most of the major South African banks represented in the Overberg have foreign exchange facilities available with ATMs (automatic teller machines) in most business centres and towns. Most of the major credit cards and traveller's cheques are accepted in South Africa.
220/230 volts. AC is at 50Hz.
Since visitors are responsible for their own medical care, tourists are advised to obtain medical insurance before leaving their countries of origin. In case of an emergency, tourists can go directly to a hospital's emergency room, but most often hospitalisation will be arranged through a medical practitioner.
There are doctors in all the towns and villages and 2 hospitals in Hermanus.
POSTAL SERVICES & TELEPHONE LINES
All the major towns in South Africa has a post office and mail may be addressed Poste Restante to any town's post office. Telkom's (South Africa's communications provider) telephone lines are fully automatic with direct dialing to most overseas countries. Please refer to a local telephone directory for correct dialing codes.
Access is mainly from the N2 national road. From Cape Town and the West Coast over Sir Lowry's Pass or from the east via Swellendam. Alternative access can be gained via the winding False Bay scenic route (Clarence Drive - R44) from Gordon's Bay that takes you past Rooiels, Pringle Bay and Betty's Bay and Kleinmond on to the Arabella Country Estate.
As service charges are not included at most restaurants, tips can be given according to the quality of service or the accepted average of 10%-15%.
VAT (Value Added Tax)
VAT at 14% is levied on nearly all meals, accommodation, services and goods. Foreign tourists may apply for a VAT refund on purchases exceeding R250 in total.
WHAT FACILITIES ARE OPEN ON PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
In the major cities most stores and restaurants are open on most public holidays. The exceptions are Christmas Day, 25 December and New Year's Day, 1 January.
The calendar of public holidays is:
If a public holiday falls on a Sunday, the Monday following becomes a public holiday.
- 1 January – New Year’s Day
- 21 March – Human Rights Day
- Good Friday (the Friday before Easter Sunday)
- Family Day (the Monday after Easter Sunday)
- 27 April – Freedom Day
- 1 May – Workers Day
- 16 June – Youth Day
- 9 August – Women's Day
- 24 September – Heritage Day
- 16 December – Day of Reconciliation
- 25 December – Christmas Day
- 26 December – Day of Goodwill
WHERE CAN I SMOKE
The law prohibits smoking in most public spaces, including airports and railway stations. Most restaurants have designated smoking and non-smoking areas.
SOUTH AFRICAN TIME
South Africa does not change its clocks during the year, and there are no regional variations within the country. South African Standard Time is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean (or Universal Standard) Time, one hour ahead of Central European Winter Time, and seven hours ahead of the USA's Eastern Standard Winter Time.