Preparations for the 2018 International Highland Dancing Conference are well underway. Our marketing, advertising and awareness campaigns are fully operational and registration for the conference continues to be well supported and successful. The entire organising committee and our venue partner, Montecasino, look forward to welcoming you to Johannesburg in 10 weeks’ time.
If you have not yet completed and returned a registration form for the conference, this can be achieved by completing the online registration form found on the Highland Dancing SA website (www.highlanddancing.co.za). It is crucial that ALL delegates register on the website. Should any delegates have not yet registered for the conference, please do so immediately. Should any delegate need assistance in this regard, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the organising committee.
Passport holders of the following countries may remain in South Africa for up to 90 days without a visa.
- New Zealand
- United States of America
- United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
General requirements for entering South Africa You will need the following if you wish to visit South Africa:
- A valid and acceptable passport or travel document for your intended stay
- At least one blank page in your passport for endorsements
- Proof of sufficient funds to pay for your day-to-day expenses during your stay
- A return or onward ticket
Customs & Border Control
On arrival at the airport, visitors must clear customs. South African Customs regulations afford visitors to the country the opportunity to bring in certain goods without incurring duties and value added tax (VAT). These are limited in quantity and value.
On arrival, you can take the green ‘nothing to declare’ channel if you stick to these allowances:
- Wine not exceeding 2 litres per person over the age of 18
- Spirits and alcohol not exceeding l litre per person over the age of 18
- Cigarettes not exceeding 200 units and cigars not exceeding 20 units per person over the age of 18
- 250g cigarette tobacco or pipe tobacco per person over the age of 18
- Perfume not exceeding 50ml and eau de toilette not exceeding 250ml per person
- Customs in South Africa further stipulates that individual travellers are entitled to a duty-free allowance of R5 000 per person, where no duties or VAT apply. These allowances may not be pooled and only apply on a per person basis.
The Venue – Montecasino
The Montecasino entertainment, gambling and theatre complex provides the perfect location for the 2018 International Highland Dancing Conference. Situated in Fourways, north of Johannesburg, Montecasino is well known for being the Gauteng’s premier entertainment destination. With Montecasino’s two world class theatres and their Outdoor Event Venue, only the best in top local and international shows feature in their annual line up.
Voted the best place to take out-of-towners, Montecasino provides a safe and secure venue for national and international guests. Easy access from the main highways brings Montecasino closer to all areas in Johannesburg and Pretoria. Montecasino receives an average footfall of 25 000 per day and 69 000 visitors each weekend. Over 9 million people visit Montecasino each year.
The Tuscan styled Montecasino complex houses a range of accommodation choices and a large variety of restaurants and bars to satisfy all.
For more information on Montecasino, visit www.montecasino.co.za
Accommodation at Montecasino
1. The Palazzo Montecasino “Arguably the Best Luxury Hotel in Gauteng…discover the essence of style and luxury at this Tuscaninspired hotel.” The five-star Palazzo Hotel is a picture of elegance and sophistication, catering for the business or leisure guest with a taste for the high life. Surrounded by magnificent landscaped gardens, the Palazzo Hotel is a tranquil haven amidst the business hub of Sandton. The hotel has easy access to major highways and is linked to the Montecasino entertainment complex by an open-air walkway. A meandering pathway through the magnificent water features leads to the hotel pool, perfect for unwinding after a hard day’s work or shopping.
2. Southern Sun Montecasino Opened in May 2010 the Southern Sun Montecasino located at The Pivot is an exciting addition to the Montecasino Precinct. The hotel has 194 bedrooms and offers all the modern facilities for both business and leisure travellers including a high spec gymnasium. The hotel reflects a fusion of period and modern Venetian furnishings with a fresh electric style. Punchinello’s restaurant offers Mediterranean cuisine in an exciting open plan kitchen which allows guests to share in the activities of the bustling kitchen. A contemporary bar and lounge leads out to a large wooden deck overlooking the pool which is the ideal setting for sundowners.
3. The SunSquare Montecasino The SunSquare Montecasino hotel has been designed for the worldly wise who know that great hospitality shouldn’t cost the earth, those who want both style and value in equal measure. The SunSquare Montecasino hotel is enjoyed by seasoned travellers who’ve experienced the new, more cosmopolitan style of global lifestyle hotels, where business and pleasure are in perfect balance, and where a pleasant surprise awaits around every corner.
Booking your accommodation at Montecasino is the delegates own responsibility and expense.
Montecasino Central Reservations Call: +27 11 367 4250
Airport Transfers The International Highland Dancing Conference will not arrange transportation transfers to and from the O. R. Tambo (Johannesburg) International Airport and Montecasino, however, we are happy to coordinate and share arrival information amongst delegates who may be arriving at similar times in order to share the cost of airport shuttle services. To this end, should you wish to be included in this service, we request that you forward your flight arrival information to our secretary Mrs.Brenda Brett at – conferenceobhd.co.za. Brenda will be happy to advise the relevant parties of any other delegates who may be arriving at a similar time and suggest suitable transportation. Also, for your information, UBER has become a well-used and widely available transport option in South African cities. All transfers and transportation costs will be for the delegates own expense. An approximate fare for an airport transfer would be R . In our first update, we did note a couple of companies advertising airport shuttle services, but they are included below :
All Montecasino Hotels are located within the Montecasino Entertainment Complex; consequently they are in walking distance to the conference facilities.
Should delegates wish to hire vehicles whilst in Johannesburg, this easy process may be done from the Hotel’s Concierge Desk. Driver’s must be over the age of 25 years to hire a car in South Africa and must have a valid International Driver’s Licence and Credit Card. Secondary drivers need only to be over the age of 18 years and must have a valid International Driver’s Licence. The roads in Johannesburg are very well maintained and clearly marked. As in the United Kingdom, South African’s drive on the left-hand side of the road. We will include driving directions to Montecasino in our final conference update, for your information.
Taxis and cabs and UBER
The Montecasino complex has a number of cabs and taxis as well as UBER that service the area. These are all safe and reliable and are recommend for short trips.
The Gautrain is a state-of-the-art rapid rail network in Gauteng (Johannesburg). The rail connection comprises of two links, namely a link between Pretoria and Johannesburg and a link between OR Tambo International Airport and Sandton. Seven other stations are found along the route between Johannesburg and Pretoria and integrated bus routes intersect these routes. Montecasino has a Gautrain Bus Terminal, with the closest station being the Sandton Station.
Should delegates wish to make use of the Gautrain system, for transport to and from the airport as well as between other areas in Johannesburg and Pretoria, please visit the Gautrain website, Facebook page (Gautrain), download the mobile application (Gautrain) or chat to a member of the conference organising committee.
Medical & Travel Insurance
The International Highland Dancing Conference will not be providing any medical care in respect of any emergency health care situations that may occur during the conference. Please note that all delegates will be responsible, at your own cost, to arrange and cover all medical insurance for the duration of your stay in South Africa. Likewise, all delegates will need to arrange and cover all travel, theatrical property or costume insurance.
Dietary Requirements & Emergency Medical Conditions
Should any delegates have any specific dietary requirements or allergies, please be sure to include this information on your conference registration form so that our secretary can take note and appropriate action can be applied, particularly when planning the menus for the various functions. Likewise, should any delegate suffer from any known medical conditions that may require immediate and critical attention (i.e. life-threatening allergies, cardiovascular conditions, Asthma, Epilepsy) please advise the secretary by noting this on your registration form. We would like to ensure that we are able to assist adequately in the case of an emergency. This information will be kept confidential.
Montecasino security personnel are stationed throughout the Montecasino property. Although the area will be well monitored, it is your responsibility to look after your own belongings. Be wise and aware. Do not leave valuable items visible.
South Africa has a temperate climate and is known for its long sunny days, hence the title: ‘Sunny South Africa’. During your visit in October, rainfall may be expected. Thunder and lightning storms are common in provinces like Gauteng. The average temperature expected for the weekend of the conference in Johannesburg is between a daily minimum of 14⁰C and a daily maximum of 25⁰C.
What to wear & Conference Dress Code
- For your visit in October, bring clothes that are cool, light and comfortable. It would be advisable to pack an umbrella or raincoat in case of rain. A light jacket or wrap is a good precaution against chilly evening weather.
- Pack a swimming costume (bathing suit) as the Southern Sun Montecasino and the Palazzo Hotel both have swimming pools.
- Always bring a hat, sunglasses and sunblock as the sun can be strong.The general conference and function dress code is smart casual, although you may wish to dress a little more formally for the banquet on Saturday evening.
Communication & Internet
Telecommunications in South Africa include a well-established mobile (cellular) phone network. Four mobile service providers – Vodacom, MTN, Cell C and 8ta – ensure countrywide coverage and reception is generally good in urban areas. Mobile phones can be hired at all international airports and prepaid airtime can be purchased at most retail outlets.
Useful information on dialling codes:
- For outgoing international calls, dial 00 plus the country and area codes of the destination concerned. Refer to telephone directories for international dialling codes, or obtain 24-hour assistance by calling 10903.
- For incoming international calls, the code is +27 followed by the city code or mobile code, dropping the first 0.
- O8 numbers are free to the caller; 0860 numbers are charged at local rates; 0861 numbers are charged at a flat rate.
When it comes to internet and fax connections, most international hotels offer free wireless connections in the lobby as well as guest rooms, business centres or restaurants Internet cafes are to be found in most business locations and shopping malls. Some South African restaurants also offer WiFi access. Please note that if you should be visiting the Kruger National Park or other game reserves in outlying areas, WiFi may be intermittent and internet coverage, “spotty”.
Money & budget
With the South African unit of currency, the Rand, offering favourable rates of exchange against the world’s hard currencies, your money and budget when in South Africa will go surprisingly far. A simple cost comparison can be found below; R100-R250 per person for a restaurant meal. (US$ 7.50 –19, GB£ 6– 14, CAD 10-25, AUD 10 -25). R150 for a bottle of wine. (US$ 11, GB£ 8, CAD 15, AUD 15). R50/R60 for a cocktail. (US$ 4.50, GB£ 3.50, CAD 6, AUD 6). R30 for a beer at restaurants. (US$ 2.50, GB£ 1.75, CAD 3, AUD 3).
- The rand is divided into 100 cents.
- Coins come in denominations of 10c, 20c, 50c, R1, R2 and R5
- Notes come in denominations of R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200
- Money can be withdrawn at automated teller machines (ATM) of which there are many at Montecasino and countrywide.
- Banking hours are generally 09h00-15h30 on weekdays and 08h30 – 11h00 on Saturdays.
- All major credit cards are accepted in the country, particularly MasterCard, Visa, American Express.
- Most retail purchases carry a VAT levy of 15%, which is refunded to foreign tourists at departure points, subject to stipulated amounts spent, completion of the necessary forms, and presentation of original tax invoices. VAT is always included in the price so that the price you see, is the price you pay.
Tipping in South Africa is widely practised. In restaurants and bars, 10% to 15% is the accepted tipping standard. The going rate for porters at airports is between R10.00 and R20.00 per piece of luggage. Hotel porters usually expect a tip of R20.00 to R50.00 per porter service.
Water Tap water in Johannesburg is safe, clean and drinkable. Bottled still, sparkling or flavoured mineral water is available at your own cost.
The South African electricity supply is 220/230 volts AC 50 HZ. Most plugs are 15 amp 3-prong or 5 amp 2-prong, both with round pins. If an adaptor is called for, consider bringing one with you, although they can be purchased locally. US-made appliances may need a transformer. Most hotel rooms have 110 volt outlets for electric shavers and appliances.
Smoking is banned in public areas in South Africa. Be aware that smoking is banned on all domestic flights in South Africa; in all airport terminals; in all restaurants, pubs and offices with no designated smoking areas; on all public transport; in cinemas and shopping malls; and even in some hotel rooms (check on booking).
The Conference logo is available for you or your group to use on any promotional material, uniforms or outfits. Please note that the logo cannot be modified or defaced in any way. Please contact me should you require a digital copy of the logo.
Website & Facebook Page
For more information please visit our official website (www.highlanddancing.co.za) or follow us on Facebook (Highland Dancing Conference 2018). Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions or concerns regarding the International Highland Dancing Conference or your trip to Johannesburg, South Africa. We are happy to answer any questions however big or small!
Mel Smith Brenda Brett +27(0)82 413 3103
+27(0)83 410 9387 +27(0)82 413 3103