Preparing for your flight
In preparation for your travel to Johannesburg, please ensure you have confirmed your flight, with the correct name, departure and return dates.
Visa and immigration information:
One of the first things to do when you start to arrange your travel for World
Council is to find out if you need a visa for South Africa. Here are some useful
You will receive, by email, two invitation letters, one from South Africa YWCA
and the other from the World YWCA. Make sure you have these letters when
you apply for your visa.
Health and travel insurance:
• All visa applications must include suitable health/travel insurance for the entire period of your stay in South Africa.
Yellow fever vaccination:
• All visitors entering South Africa must have a valid international yellow fever inoculation certificate. Only infants under the age of one year are exempt.
• Make sure you don’t take more luggage than you’re allowed. Generally, you can bring 2 pieces of bags weighing up to 23 kg per piece. If you are using South African Airways, you can check their policy on luggage here:
• Bring important documents and items in your carry on (such as your passport, visa, money, any medications, spare clothes, and any other official documents).
• You can bring up to three 100ml of liquids or gels that are contained within a clear 500ml plastic bag in your carry on.
• Label your luggage (it can be your name and the phone number/address of the accommodation in Johannesburg) in case it is lost.
The day of travel
• Get to the airport early, it is recommended that you arrive at least 2 to 3 hours in advance of international flights. This allows you to have enough time to check-in for your flight and go through customs.
• If you are planning on returning with books, clothes, crafts, and other materials from your trip, make sure you have the space in your luggage, and prepare to pay for the extra weight or extra bag. We advise that you try to stay within your baggage limit to avoid paying for excess luggage.
Staying in Johannesburg
Banks and currency:
• The South African Rand (ZAR or R) is the currency used in South Africa.
• The exchange rate from US Dollars to South African Rand (Zar or R) is approximately: 1 USD = 13.9334 ZAR.
• Many restaurants and shops will accept credit cards, but smaller merchants and local markets may only accept cash.
• You can exchange money at your local bank before you leave, or you can typically get ZARs from a local bank ATM in South
• Banks are usually open from 9:00 to 15:30 Monday – Friday, and 9:00 to 11:00 on Saturday.
• During November, Johannesburg is in its summer season, but do to its higher elevation, the temperatures remain relatively mild.
• The average temperature during November is 19’ Celsius (66’ Fahrenheit). It can get up to 25’ C (77’ F) during the day, and 13’ C (55’ F) at night.
• It rains on average of 15 days during the month of November.
• Tap water is safe to drink in South Africa, including in Johannesburg. The hygiene and cleanliness standards are very high at hotels and restaurants, so the fresh fruit, salads, and ice are also safe.
• South Africa uses electrical outlets with 3 prongs – adaptors for other countries can be purchased online or in a supermarket.
National and international calls:
• For calls to South Africa from another country, dial the country code: +27
• To call international from South Africa, dial 00 followed by the country code of the country you wish to call.
• English is widely spoken and used in communicating but is also a blend of
Afrikaans, Isixhosa, Zulu and other South African languages.
• While it’s not obligatory to tip in restaurants, locals tip a minimum of 10%.
• South Africa is two hours ahead of GMT, seven ahead of Eastern Standard Winter Time and ten ahead of Pacific Standard Time. There is no daylight saving time.
Security and safety:
Johannesburg is a great city with many safe areas, though there is still some crime. Here are some basic steps to follow as precautions:
• Keep your belongings close to you at all times when walking around and avoid displaying wealth. Carry belongings hidden in your pockets when possible.
• Know where you are going ahead of time, and avoid wandering aimlessly.
Walk along well-lit paths at night.
• There are a few areas that you should try and avoid: Hillbrow, Yeoville, Berea, and Alexandria.
• Travel in groups whenever possible.
• Police emergency services: 10111
• Serious and violent crime (murder and robbery): 011 986 9000
• Ambulance and fire (Johannesburg Central): 011 375 5911
• Johannesburg General Hospital: 011 488 4911
World Council delegates and observers are advised to book their accommodation
within the same premises as the conference center.
Accommodation will be in single or double room occupancy.
Detailed information about arranging your accommodation are included in the registration form.
Address of venue:
Birchwood Hotel and OR Tambo Conference Centre
Viewpoint Road Bartlett
1459 South Africa
Follow this link to check the bus shuttle schedule from the airport to the hotel :