FAQ

ACCOMMODATION

Is my accommodation included in my registration fee?
No, your accommodation is at your own extra cost. However, as part of the registration process, accommodation reservations can be made and payment processed.

Check in/out Policy
Normal check in time at hotels is 14:00 and check out is 11:00. Should you need guaranteed occupancy before 14:00 on the day of your arrival, the previous night would need to be reserved.

What happens if I want to stay in a B&B and not at the official RareX 2016 hotels?
You are very welcome to choose not to stay at the official RareX 2016 hotels. Please visit www.capestay.co.za for a list of varied accommodation options. Please note however that the Conference Secretariat can only make bookings at the official hotels and cannot take responsibility for accommodation booked independently by participants.

GENERAL CONFERENCE INFORMATION

Where is RareX 2016 being held and how do I get there?
RareX 2016 is being held at Spier Conference Centre.

For maps and directions, please click here.

For directions from the airport, please click here.

Where should I park during the Conference?
Parking will be available at the Spier Conference Centre.

HEALTH

What are the medical facilities in Cape Town and South Africa like?
High-quality medical services (including emergency care) are widely available throughout Cape Town and South Africa with world-class medical specialists, international prescription drugs, cutting-edge technological facilities and a safe blood supply. South Africa has no national health scheme, so it is advisable to purchase medical cover or travel insurance that will cover medical expenses during the period of your stay.

Who do I call in an emergency?
You can dial 10111 for the Flying Squad (special police services) and 10177 for an ambulance.

Where is the closest hospital?
The closest hospital to the conference centre is the MediClinic in Stellenbosch (a ten minute drive). Please click here to view the website.

To view a map and directions, please click here.

To view the Health care services offered at the MediClinic, click here.

Is the water safe to drink?
In the major cities and towns and at most game reserves, tap water is purified, tastes good and is 100% safe to drink.

What sort of precautionary measures do I need to take in regard to protection from the African sun?
The South African sun is strong, with a high ultraviolet rating. Sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 20 or higher is recommended at all times, as well as a hat.

Do I need to have any inoculations or vaccines before I travel?
The only inoculation requirement for visitors is a yellow fever vaccination certificate for those entering South Africa within six days of leaving (or traveling through) a yellow fever zone. You cannot get an inoculation upon arrival and your inoculation certificate must be dated at least ten days prior to your arrival in South Africa. Babies of one year old or less are exempt. More information can be found on the website of the Western Cape Provincial Government here.

Malaria is endemic in some parts of Mpumalanga, Northern Province, and northern KwaZulu-Natal and it is advised to take precautions if you intend to visit these areas. The bilharzia parasite is present in streams, rivers, lakes and dams in some of the northern and eastern parts of the country, and visitors should avoid contact with the water in these regions. There is no immunisation against bilharzia. The closest malaria and bilharzia regions are approximately 1600 kilometres from Cape Town. Please consult your local doctor / travel clinic for further advice.

PERSONAL SAFETY

What about safety and security?
Your safety and well-being are of utmost importance to South Africans, but, as always, travellers should take a few basic precautions to ensure a safe and pleasant visit:

Accommodation

  • Never leave your luggage unattended.
  • Store valuables in your hotel’s safety deposit box or room safe.
  • Keep your room locked at all times.

Transport

  • Always keep luggage where you can see it, at any transport hub.

On the mountain

  • Do not walk alone. Always ensure that you are in a group of at least four people.
  • Take your mobile phone with the emergency number punched in. Ensure it is hidden.
  • Always let someone know which route you will take and how long you will be.
  • If you get lost, stay where you are.
  • Landmarks: be aware of your surroundings.
  • Clothing: always take rain gear and a jersey.
  • Take water, sunblock, wear a hat and take a snack.
  • Maps: these are available in leading book stores and from Table Mountain National Park offices.
  • If you are threatened, don’t resist, just hand over your possessions.

At the beach

  • Always swim in areas supervised by a lifeguard.
  • Never swim alone.
  • Don’t dive into unfamiliar waters – what may seem deep could be very shallow. Feet first is safer.
  • Protect your skin from overexposure to UVA and UVB rays by wearing waterproof sunscreen with a high protection factor of 20+. Avoid the sun between the hottest times of the day: 11:00 – 15:00.
  • Always wear a hat to protect your face.
  • Drink plenty of water regularly to avoid dehydration even if you don’t feel thirsty. Your body needs water to keep cool and to replace lost salts through sweating.

Sightseeing and entertainment

  • Use registered, qualified tour guides.
  • Don’t leave handbags under tables, on the backs of chairs or on restroom hooks.
  • Travel in groups, especially if you are visiting a nightclub or bar you haven’t been to before.
  • Don’t use train services after dark.

In the street

  • Obtain a map, and plan your route before you set out on an excursion.
  • Consult your hotel or nearest Visitor Information Centre for a reliable taxi service.
  • When crossing the street, use pedestrian crossings where possible and be aware of oncoming motorists at all times. Look right, look left and look right again before crossing.
  • Don’t carry large sums of money, and avoid counting it in the open.
  • Explore in groups and stick to well-lit, busy streets, especially at night.
  • Please don’t give money to street children or beggars. If you wish to assist them in a meaningful way, contact any Visitor Information Centre to obtain a list of organisations who would be most grateful for the assistance.

Money and travel documents

  • Travel with certified copies of your valuable documents, and keep originals in a safe place.
  • Countersign no more than half your traveller’s cheques.
  • Separate your cash and credit cards and don’t carry all your cash / traveller’s cheques with you during the day. Rather store half of them in your hotel room safe.
  • Don’t allow strangers to assist you with ATM transactions. If your card gets stuck, immediately call that ATM’s helpline number.
  • Be alert, and never turn your back while your ATM card is in the machine.
  • Report lost passports and visas, without delay to the South African Police Services (SAPS).

On the road

  • Familiarise yourself with local rules of the road. Remember, South Africa is a left-hand drive country.
  • Plan your route and fuel consumption in advance. Fuel can only be purchased with cash, debit cards or credit cards at most petrol stations.
  • Have phone numbers of your destination in hand, in case you get lost.
  • Keep the car doors locked at all times, the car windows wound up and any valuables locked in the boot.
  • Never pick up strangers or ask them for directions. Rather go to the nearest business or petrol station if you get lost.
  • Pay special attention to speed limits, road signs and traffic markings.
  • It is compulsory to have your driver’s license on you when driving, and to carry a translation of your driver’s license, if it is not in English.

Who do I call in an emergency?

  • You can dial 10111 for the Flying Squad (special police services) and 10177 for an ambulance.

What procedures should I follow in case of an unfortunate incident?
Although incidents of crime against tourists happen rarely in South Africa, tourists should still be aware of the basic emergency procedures to follow should anything happen. It is recommended that you:

  • Go to the nearest safe and public place.
  • Call the Police Emergency Number (10111) which is free from a phone box or landline, and briefly explain what happened.
  • If you are using a mobile phone, call 112 and your call will be transferred to the appropriate emergency service.
  • If you have been injured, the call centre will dispatch an ambulance to take you to the nearest hospital. Alternatively, you can call the National Ambulance Service (10177).
PROGRAMME

Where do I find a timetable of the RareX 2016 proceedings?
To find out more about the programme, click here.

REGISTRATION

Registration fees include

  • Access to all RareX 2016 sessions (including ICORD and RDI sessions).
  • Lunch and tea/coffee breaks.
  • RareX 2016 proceedings.
  • Welcome Networking Cocktail.

All fees exclude

  • Conference Dinner.
  • Accommodation costs.
  • Travel costs.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Visa or inoculation costs.
  • Pre/post-conference tours.

However, you are able to reserve and pay for your accommodation at the official RareX 2016 hotels through the registration process.

TRAVEL

What is the time zone in Cape Town and South Africa?
South Africa’s Time Zone is UTC+02:00: two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time throughout the year, an hour ahead of Central European Winter Time, seven hours ahead of Eastern Standard Winter Time and seven hours behind Australian Central Time.

What is the currency used in South Africa?
The South African unit of currency is known as the Rand, which utilises the decimal system. One Rand is equal to 100 cents. Rand notes are available in the following denominations: R200, R100, R50, R20 and R10. Coins are available in the following denominations: R5, R2, R1, 50c, 20c, 10c and 5c.

Click here for an up-to-date currency converter.

Foreign currency can be exchanged at most commercial banks, and Bureaux de Change is widely available.

Typical banking hours:

Monday – Friday: 09:00 – 15:30 and 14:30 – 17:00

Saturdays: 08h30 – 11h00

ATMs are widely available.

Payment methods
Although US dollars and Euros are generally accepted, foreign currencies can be exchanged. All major credit cards and traveller’s cheques are widely accepted in South Africa. Most businesses, tour operators, airlines and hotels accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club. Travellers’ cheques, in all the major currencies, may be exchanged at any bank. In addition, many hotels, department stores and restaurants will also accept traveller’s cheques. Visitors should, however, enquire whether such a service is offered prior to conducting any transaction.

Do I need to have any inoculations or vaccines before I travel?
The only inoculation requirement for visitors is a yellow fever vaccination certificate for those entering South Africa within six days of leaving (or traveling through) a yellow fever zone. You cannot get an inoculation upon arrival and your inoculation certificate must be dated at least ten days prior to your arrival in South Africa. Babies of one year old or less are exempt. More information can be found on the website of the Western Cape Provincial Government here.

Malaria is endemic in some parts of Mpumalanga, Northern Province, and northern KwaZulu-Natal and it is essential to take precautions if you intend to visit these areas. The bilharzia parasite is present in streams, rivers, lakes and dams in some of the northern and eastern parts of the country, and visitors should avoid contact with the water in these regions. There is no immunisation against bilharzia. The closest malaria and bilharzia regions are approximately 1600 kilometres from Cape Town. Please consult your local doctor / travel clinic for further advice.

What is the climate like in Cape Town and South Africa in October?
October is spring time in Cape Town. The climate is generally warm and sunny during the day and cool in the evenings. The average maximum temperature is 22 °C and the average minimum temperature is 12 °C.

South African climatic conditions generally range from Mediterranean in the south-western corner of the country to temperate in the interior plateau, and subtropical in the northeast. A small area in the northwest has a desert climate. Most of the country has warm, sunny days and cool nights.

What are the distance and temperature conversions?
Distances throughout South Africa are given in kilometres

1 mile = 1.62 kilometres

Temperature is given in degrees Celsius

What electricity outlets are used in most hotels and do I need to buy a special adapter?
The electricity supply is 220-240 volts, 50 Hz. The connection (plug) for appliances is a 15 amp round three-prong plug or a 5 amp round two-prong plug.

Three prong plugTwo prong plug

The wall plugs are not compatible with the UK, the USA or the East; special adapters are available in most airport duty free shops and electrical appliance shops. US-made appliances may need a transformer.

What is the correct dress etiquette across South Africa?
The dress code across South Africa is mainly casual and smart casual, except in some restaurants and clubs that require more formal attire.

Is smoking allowed?
Smoking is not allowed in public transportation or in any closed public areas. Some hotels, restaurants, bars and shopping centres have a designated smoking area.

What are the disabled facilities like for visitors?
South African Airways provides passenger aid units at all major airports. Many hotels offer facilities for the disabled, as do most rest camps in the Kruger National Park. Wheelchairs and other aides are available for hire in most cities. The larger rental car agencies can provide vehicles with hand controls. For more information on traveling in South Africa with a disability, please see here. Alternatively, please contact the RareX 2016 Meeting Secretariat.

What is the official language of South Africa?
South Africa has 11 official languages and English is spoken throughout the country. French, German and Italian are also spoken at many larger hotels and popular tourist destinations around Cape Town.

What sort of paperwork (passports and visas) do I need to enter South Africa?
All visitors to South Africa require a valid passport with at least two fully blank visa pages upon arrival in South Africa. Travellers without the requisite blank visa pages in their passports may be refused entry into South Africa, fined, and returned to their point of origin at their own expense.

Many visitors to South Africa require a visa in order to enter the country. You cannot apply for a visa upon arrival. If you will require a visa to visit South Africa, be sure to allow plenty of time for the application process before your departure date.

For more information regarding South African visa requirements please see here and for details on how to apply for a South African visa see here.

If you need to visit a South African consulate in your home country in order to apply for a visa, a list of consulates around the world can be found on the website of the South African Department of Foreign Affairs here.

What are the road facilities like and what are the South African rules of the road?
An excellent road network links the largest metropolitan areas with even the smallest villages. South Africa drives on the LEFT. The speed limit in urban areas is usually 60 km per hour; on rural roads 100 km per hour and on freeways 120 km per hour unless otherwise indicated. Wearing a seatbelt is compulsory; driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offence; and traffic laws are strictly enforced.

Public transport such as trains and buses are often not reliable and it is better to rent a vehicle from a reputable car-hire company if you wish to travel long distances.

Valid driver’s licenses from visitors’ home countries are acceptable provided that they are in English and include the driver’s photograph. If your driver’s license does not comply with these requirements, you should obtain an International Driving Permit before your departure to South Africa.

What are the shopping facilities like in Stellenbosch and South Africa?
Local manufacturers set a high premium on workmanship, and with a favourable exchange rate, visitors can afford to indulge. Shopping hours in the bigger cities are generally 09:00 to 18:00 on weekdays and Saturdays, and 09:00 to 14:00 on Sunday. Some shops outside of malls are still closed on Sundays. The closest shopping facilities available to the Spier Conference Centre are Eikestad Mall and Stellenbosch Square.

How do I make phone calls in and out of South Africa?
Cape Town telephone dialling codes:

International: +27-21-

National: 021-

National Directory Enquiries: 1023

To call internationally out of South Africa, dial 00 and then the country code.

Cell phones are widely available for hire, as are ‘starter packs’ with SIM cards if your personal mobile phone is compatible with the South African system. You will need to have your passport and airticket with you to purchase a ‘starter pack’.

What are the gratuity measures when it comes to tipping?
It is customary to tip waiters, wine stewards, taxi drivers, porters, caddies and other service providers. Depending on the service, the amount should be around 10%-15% of the bill, R5 per suitcase or R20 per golf bag.

Can I claim back VAT (Value Added Tax)?
Currently set at 14%, VAT is included in the marked/quoted price of most goods and services. Foreign visitors may claim back VAT paid on items to be taken out of the country when the total value exceeds ZAR 250.00. Information leaflets on the procedure to follow are available from VAT Refund Administration offices at Cape Town International Airport, OR Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg), King Shaka International Airport (Durban) and V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

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