Currency and Banks

The unit of currency in South Africa is the South African Rand (ZAR) and is indicated with a capital R. 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, 10c and 5c. The following exchange rates were applicable at time of submitting the information.


Facilities for cashing traveller's cheques are available at banks (operating hours are Monday - Friday 09:00 - 15:30, Saturdays 08:30 - 11:00) 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 Congress Venue. International credit cards (Visa, Diners Club, MasterCard and American Express) are accepted at the majority of hotels, restaurants and shops.

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. Durban 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. For international travel and health advisories please visit the WHO website at www.who.int/ith or wwww.cdc.org. 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, Durban International Convention Centre, restaurants etc) except in designated smoking areas.

Insurance

The World Social Sciences Forum 2015 accepts no liability for any personal injury, loss or damage of property belonging to or additional expenses incurred by congress participants either during the congress or as result of delays, strikes or any other circumstances. Participants are requested to make their own arrangements with respect to health and travel insurance.

Language

The official Congress language will be English.

Passports and Visas

Every visitor to South Africa must have a valid passport. Passport holders from more than 80 countries, including USA, Canada, UK, Japan and the EU can visit South Africa without a visa. Information regarding visas can be obtained from your travel agent or the South African diplomatic or consular representative in your area. Passports should have at least 2 completely empty pages otherwise entry may be denied. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months after your intended date of departure. Delegates requiring visas, and who intend taking tours to neighbouring Southern African countries, are advised to secure a multiple entry visa. Tourists must satisfy immigration officers that they have the means of support for the duration of their stay in the country and return /onward tickets. Visas cannot be obtained on arrival. A list of countries that currently do not require a visa can be found at the SA Government website: http://www.home-affairs.gov.za/Counties%20Exempy%20from%20SA%20Visaa.html.

If required, upon request, the Congress Secretariat is willing to send you a letter of invitation. It should be understood that this letter will be sent only to help participants to raise travel funds or to obtain a visa. A letter of invitation is not a commitment on the part of the organisers to provide any financial support. Please note that only registered delegates who have paid their Congress registration fees will be issued with a letter of invitation.

Traveling with children

Please note that a number of changes have been made to the South African Immigration Act with regard to traveling with children.  For more information on the changes please follow the link below.

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Security

For those participants who have not previously visited South Africa, or Durban, and are concerned about personal safety, we wish to assure all visitors that Durban is like any other major city with good and bad areas. Common sense will ensure a trouble free and enjoyable congress and vacation. The area around the Durban ICC and adjacent hotels is safe and well monitored at all times but we advise that you do not walk alone after dark in unpopulated streets. Ostentatious displays of wealth should be avoided at all times. During the congress, the information desk at the Durban ICC and your hotel's concierge will be able to assist you with information on places to visit and the appropriate means of transport.

Tipping

Gratuities are expected in South Africa. A guideline for visitors is the following: Airport porters ZAR 5.00 per item, taxis 10%, waiters and waitresses in restaurants 10%.

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.

VAT / Tax Refunds

VAT of 14% is levied on nearly all goods and services. Foreign tourists may claim back VAT paid on items 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.

Weather

KwaZulu-Natal is situated on the eastern seaboard of the country and epitomises all that South Africa has to offer with the additional benefit of the warm Indian Ocean and boasting an average of 320 sunny days a year. Durban has a humid subtropical climate that is mild with no dry season, constantly moist (year-round rainfall), hot summers and moderate seasonality.

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