South African Travel Tips when Visiting Gauteng

Gauteng is the smallest province in South Africa, is also its industrial, financial and commercial hub and a gateway to southern Africa. It was here where the cradle of humankind is found, where gold was discovered, apartheid fell, the new constitution was written and Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as President. A hefty history for any place, but in Gauteng anything is possible.

A sense of excitement prevails in this technologically advanced, culturally diverse, vibrantly artistic destination which beckons the visitor with a multitude of opportunities to discover and experience its precious life spirit.

CLIMATE:

Situated at an average altitude of 1500 m above sea level, Gauteng falls in a summer rainfall area with afternoon thunderstorms an occurrence. Daily temperatures range from an average midsummer maximum of 26 degrees Celsius to an average winter maximum of 16 degrees Celsius.

SHOPPING:

Excellent shopping facilities ranging from exclusive, luxury or trendy items at modern malls to art and craft bargains at ‘flea markets’ and roadside stalls. Visit Sandton City, Rosebank (Mall, The Zone, galleries, Rooftop Market on Sundays), Menlyn Park Shopping Centre, Oriental Plaza, Market Square Precint (on weekend), Jewel City (for diamonds directly from the cutters) and Michael Mount Organic Market. Special purchases include designer wear and fashion items; jewellery (especially gold and diamonds); decor items and traditional African masks, craft items e.g. bead work and sculpture.

TOP TEN ATTRACTIONS DESCRIPTION:

Sterkfontein Caves:

World Heritage Site, known as the Cradle of Humankind, where our human ancestors walked over 4 million years ago. It is the richest site in the world for fossils of ‘Australopithecus’ (a lineage of hominid).

Soweto:

South Africa’s most famous township and the centre of the Freedom Struggle during the Apartheid years. Visit Nelson Mandela’s old home, Freedom Square, the Hector Peterson Memorial and other Struggle sites.

Johannesburg:

‘The City of Gold’ is a vibrant, eclectic city with a pulsating heartbeat. The economic powerhouse of the country, ‘Joburg’ or ‘Jozi’ offers not only business opportunities, but history, culture, shopping and entertainment. Visit Sandton, Rosebank, MonteCasino, MuseumAfrica, Newtown Cultural Precinct, Johannesburg Art Gallery and Melville Koppies.

Magaliesburg:

Small village at heart of beautiful region of mountains, valleys, rivers and indigenous woodland; enjoy fly-fishing and visit the country guest houses, lodges, art & craft studios, various trails (hiking, horse, mountain bike), Magalies Express Train and historical war sites.

Gold Reef City & Apartheid Museum:

Great fun is to be had at this family-friendly amusement park with countless breath-taking rides, built on an authentic Victorian Gold Mine site. Adjacent to Gold Reef City is the Apartheid Museum with its haunting exhibitions portraying South Africa’s turbulent history..

Lesedi Cultural Village:

An amazing experience of tribal dancing and traditional African villages showcasing the cultures and crafts of the Zulu, Ndebele, Sotho, Pedi and Xhosa tribes.

Pretoria:

Seat of South Africa’s administration and foreign missions, Pretoria is a stately city that bursts into a profusion of purple Jacaranda blossoms in October. Don’t miss the Union Buildings; the National Zoological Gardens, Aquarium and Reptile Park; the National Botanical Gardens; Church Square; Melrose House; Pretoria Art Museum and the Voortrekker Monument.

Hartebeespoort:

Against the backdrop of the Magaliesberg Ridge, the town and dam of Hartebeespoort offer the visitor water-based leisure options, an aquarium, snake park, roadside stalls, game drives and a cableway. This region is the last sanctuary of the Cape vulture.

Cullinan:

The world’s largest diamond was discovered in Cullinan in 1905 worth 3106 carats; visitors can go on a Cullinan Diamond Mine tour and purchase diamonds at the Cullinan Diamond Market; the town also has many turn-of-the-century houses.

Tswaing Crater Site:

where a massive meteorite hit earth more than 220 000 years ago, leaving a crater of about 1,13km wide and 200m deep. This area boasts 320 bird species and 420 species of flora.

The US – The New No-Fly Zone for Canadian Criminal Record Holders

On March 23, 2011, “Bill C-42: An Act to Amend the Aeronautics Act” received Royal assent and became law in Canada. Prior to passage of the amendment, the Aeronautics Act already permitted airline operators to share passenger data with foreign agencies that govern an international flight’s destination. This new amendment extends this information sharing by allowing the airlines to share passenger data with US transportation authorities for any flight that enters US airspace, even if that flight never touches down on US soil.

So what does this mean for the traveling public in Canada? Practically speaking, it means carriers must comply with the US Secure Flight Program by providing Passenger Name Records (PNRs) to US authorities for passengers ticketed on flights originating in Canada that either enters US airspace or that have an emergency alternate landing site in the US. The PNRs are provided to US authorities 72 hours in advance of departure for the purpose of screening against the Terrorism Screening Center’s No Fly List prior to boarding. If US authorities deem that a passenger represents a security risk, that passenger will be subject to additional screening and may be denied boarding.

There have already been documented instances of travelers being denied boarding in Canada as a result of this new legislation. Unfortunately there is little that the traveling public can do in advance of departure to ensure they do not run afoul of the new policies. If a passenger has an existing redress number issued by the Department of Homeland Security then providing that information at the time of booking should prevent problems on the day of departure, but for travelers who have never had problems before (and who would therefore not have a redress number), there now exists this additional source of concern that their ability to travel domestically or internationally is ultimately at the discretion of the US Government.

Canadians with a criminal record trying to cross on a land border already face great difficulty. It is illegal to go to the U.S. as a Canadian with a criminal record. The result is at least a refusal of entry and a lifetime of U.S. Entry Waivers, which are not cheap or expeditious.

This is another hurdle for Canadians with a criminal record. Usually, a Canadian could apply and receive a pardon and then enter the U.S. hassle-free. Unfortunately, as soon as you get stopped the pardon will do you no good in the future and yo will need the waiver. Turbulence ahead for those 13% of Canadians with a criminal record.

Differences Between Engineer Grade, High Intensity Prismatic, and Diamond Grade Reflective Sheeting

What is the difference between Standard Reflective (Engineer Grade or Type I), and High Intensity (Type III) and Diamond Grade (Type XI) reflective sign material?

Engineer Grade

Engineer Grade Reflective Sheeting typically meets ASTM D4956 Type 1 standards and is an enclosed film or lens using glass beads or prismatic optical technology.

This material is specified for use on non-critical street and road signs such as parking signs or way-finding signs. It has less reflectivity than the other types mentioned in the original question. Standard colors are white, yellow, red, blue, green, and brown.

Engineer grade reflective sheeting is also used often for reflective stickers and decals, as it is printable both with digital and screen printing methods. It is also cut-table using a die cutter or a vinyl plotter, which makes it useful for creating reflective decals that are cut to a specified shape.

Engineer grade reflective vinyl utilizes and aggressive acrylic adhesive which makes it difficult to remove. Use of heat from a heat gun or hair dryer will aid in the removal of EG reflective sheeting, but often the vinyl will separated from the adhesive, and it becomes necessary to use a glue remover to soften and remove the adhesive.

Most EG reflective films have a 5-7 year outdoor durability warranty, and are not considered a “long-term use” material.

High Intensity Prismatic Grade

High Intensity Prismatic (HIP) Sheeting meets ASTM requirement standards for D4956-09 Type III and Type IV, as well as ASTM 4956-07 Type X. It is a non-metallized micro prismatic lens reflective sheeting that is used mainly for reflective traffic and road signs, barricades or other road construction zone devices, and traffic delineators such as cones or barrels.

HIP sheeting is highly reflective, and it’s durable topcoat protects signs and other traffic control devices against scratches and abrasion. Not only is it highly reflective at night, it also commands attention during the day as well.

HIP Reflective Sheeting is used for more permanent traffic signs, work zone devices, etc., and comes in white, yellow, red, orange, blue, green, and brown.

The manufacturing process for HIP sheeting is also considered to be more “green” as it produces 97% fewer VOC emissions than engineer grade reflective sheeting, and 72% less energy to manufacture. However, the reflectivity value stands alone as a better reason to use HIP.

Finally, HIP reflective sign materials will last longer than its EG reflective film counterpart. This material is considered to be mid to long-range durability, and typically will last about 10 years.

Diamond Grade

Finally, Diamond Grade Reflective Sheeting (DG3) is a full cube prismatic reflective sheeting that returns almost 60% of the available light to vehicle drivers which is about double what HIP reflective sheeting reflects. DG3 reflective sheeting meets the specifications of ASTM Type XI standard.

It is likely with pending legislation in the US, that this material will be required to replace many existing signs. Currently all new “critical” traffic control signs (such as Stop signs, speed limit signs, etc.) are required to utilize this sheeting.

Similar to the other two sheetings aforementioned, diamond grade reflective sheeting has a pressure sensitive adhesive and is applied to (typically) alodized or anodized aluminum sheeting either with a hand roller or a mechanical squeeze roll laminator/applicator.

This material can be decorated either using screen printing or by using transparent film that comes in various highway sign colors.

DG3 sheeting was engineered to reflect the newer headlights in late-model automobiles, as well as to help older drivers (like me) with greater luminescence, as well as truck drivers whose lights are able to pick up signs that utilize DG3 better and at greater distances.

Available stock colors include white, yellow, orange, red, green, blue, and brown. Another color, fluorescent yellow-green, is also available and is used primarily in school zones, and has superior luminescence both during the daytime and night.

LAST UPDATED ON: July 30, 2018