General Information

Venue

ISXB-4 will be held at the Wallenberg Research Centre at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) on the campus of Stellenbosch University. STIAS is situated on the historic Mostertsdrift farm in the heart of Stellenbosch. The idea for such an Institute was first conceived in 2000 and was immediately positively received by the local and international research community. However, it was only in 2005 when a donation from the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg foundation enabled STIAS to build a modern research and seminar centre that the Institute came into its own. Here, sustainable architecture and beautiful, tranquil surroundings have been fused to form a ‘Creative Space For The Mind’ where top researchers and intellectual leaders are nurtured and encouraged to find innovative and sustainable solutions to issues facing the world and in particular the country and the continent of Africa. To counter the loss of its best minds and promising young leaders, it provides the opportunity for high-level research and intellectual development in an international context. It is attracting some of the world’s leading scholars and researchers and is enjoying international growth and recognition.

Stellenbosch

Stellenbosch, affectionately known as the Town of Oaks or “Eikestad”, is nestled at the foothills of the Jonkershoek, Stellenbosch and Simonsberg Mountains which is the source to the Eerste (First) River that winds its way through the town. The documented history of Stellenbosch dates back to 1679 when farms were developed to supply food to Cape Town and ships passing the Cape of Good Hope to the far east. Today, Stellenbosch is a bustling town in the heart of the Winelands, with a unique character where a strong historical atmosphere is combined with the advances of a modern society. Stellenbosch University also provides a robust educational character to the town. Stellenbosch is a mere 25 minutes away from Cape Town International Airport and 45 minutes from the centre of Cape Town.

Stellenbosch can be easily explored on foot, offering a variety of charming shops, galleries, curio shops and restaurants. It is situated in a valley (average elevation of 136m) at the foot of the Cape Fold mountain range and is surrounded by mountains reaching more than 1 500 m. Visitors who have more time to spend will find that Stellenbosch provides a base from which to explore the Western Cape region. Regarding agricultural activities it is best known for grape and wine production, being part of the Cape Winelands, as the Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and cool winters is excellent for grape production. The Western Cape area itself is one of the most important horticultural regions in South Africa, with 52 300 ha of fruit trees under cultivation and the majority of the country’s apple, pear and stone fruit production being situated in this area. The Cape Peninsula with its beautiful beaches and nature reserves and vibrant Cape Town are also easily accessible from Stellenbosch. This region is a biodiversity haven and features many protected areas with a high level of endemism for both fauna and flora.

Stellenbosch University

Stellenbosch University is home to around 30 000 students and 3 000 staff members (of which 1 000 are academics) spread over five campuses. The high quality of teaching and research, state-of-art facilities and beauty of the campus have attracted students and staff from around 100 countries, strengthening its position as one of the top 300 universities in the world according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Stellenbosch University is one of the oldest universities in South Africa, and in 2018 the Faculty of Science has celebrated its centenary.

Stellenbosch University started as a Theological College in the mid-nineteenth century, yielding an architectural legacy that contributes to the beauty of the Stellenbosch campus. The aesthetics of the campus has been carefully considered in the design of new buildings, to the extent that the JS Gericke library was built underground to maintain the open character of the Jan Marais square, which is surrounded by historical red-roofed buildings.

Click here to download the Stellenbosch University campus map. STIAS is at the centre-top of the map.

Travel

There are many national and international flights that arrive daily at Cape Town International airport from a variety of destinations. There is no public transport between the airport and Stellenbosch, so it is necessary to make use of a shuttle, rental car or Uber. The better known rental car companies have pick-up points in the airport, while a variety of shuttle companies are available. Please ensure that you have made your travel arrangements prior to arrival. Within Stellenbosch no transport is required as everything is within walking distance, however should you choose to stay outside Stellenbosch you will need to use a rental car to get to STIAS.

Airport shuttles can be booked online with Ulysses Tours & Safaris: https://www.ulysses.co.za/airport-shuttle/

The price is R550 for one person one way, but ISXB-4 delegates will receive a 10% discount. For people travelling together, the cost per person comes down, but since it varies according to the number of passengers, this price can only be established once a quotation has been requested. When doing the online booking on their website, insert the code “ISXB4” in the “Promotional Code” field to get the discount.

Directions: From Cape Town International airport take the N2 towards Somerset West. Turn left onto the R310 and follow the road into Stellenbosch.

From Cape Town take the N1 in a northerly direction and turn off at Exit 39 onto the R304 and follow through into Stellenbosch.

Climate and dress

March is the last real month of summer in the Western Cape (where Stellenbosch is situated) before things cool down a little for fall. There are still plenty of long, warm days, but the excessive heat of mid-summer is gone, leaving milder weather.

March is the sweet spot in Cape Town’s year. It’s not too hot; not too windy; not too wet. Expect mild days, pretty sunsets, ideal for outdoors activities. The average daily temperatures are 16ºC – 27ºC (61ºF – 80ºF). There are a few chilly days when you’ll need a light jacket, but most days are a mild 21°C (70°F). After a windy January and February, the wind usually drops in March. The winter rains don’t usually begin until around May. March averages only two days of rain annually. By March, the days are a little shorter than mid-summer but there’s still plenty of sunshine to go around. There is an average of just over 9 hours of daylight per day in March.

BEST ACTIVITIES WHEN VISITING CAPE TOWN IN MARCH

March is shoulder season, which means that the big attractions are a little quieter and accommodation and flight rates are a little lower. The weather is perfect for outdoor activities. It’s is perfect for visiting wine farms or enjoying al fresco dining. There are very few cloudy days, so it’s also a good time to enjoy the spectacular scenery. There are also some big events during the month, including the Cape Epic Cycle Tour, the Cape Town Cycle Tour, Cape Town Carnival, and Cape Town International Jazz Festival.

Currency

The local currency in South Africa is the South African Rand, denoted by the symbol “R”. Exchange rates are subject to fluctuation. To obtain the current exchange rates and to convert the ZAR amounts into your own currency [Euros (€), GBP (£), USD ($), etc.] go to The Universal Currency Converter.Traveller’s cheques in all major currencies are accepted by all banks, most hotels, restaurants and major shops in South Africa.  Credit cards such as American Express, Diners Club, Visa and Master Card are widely accepted.  Delegates can also exchange foreign currency at the airport.

Banking hours are from 09:00 to 15:30 on weekdays and from 08:30 to 13:00 on Saturdays.  Automated teller machines providing South African Currency are available at the airport, as well most shopping centres. Bureau de Change facilities are available at most banks.

A traveller is allowed to declare and carry a maximum of R25 000/unlimited foreign currency, whether leaving or entering. The South African bank notes is unlimited if the traveller is going to / coming from a country within the Common Monetary Area (CMA).

Dietary requirements

Western food is normally served. Traditional dishes are also available. Delegates with special dietary requirements will be accommodated as far as possible. Kosher and Halaal meals can be supplied at an additional cost for the delegate. Please indicate your preferences on the registration form.

Drinking water

Tap water is purified and 100% safe to drink and bottled water is freely available.  South Africa is a country with limited water resources, and everyone is encouraged to save water as much as possible.

Electricity

The electricity supply in South Africa is 220/230 Volts AC, 50 Hz.  Hotels are equipped to accept appliances fitted with a 16 Amp 3 point round pin plug.  Most bathrooms are equipped for electrical shavers with 5 Amp 2 pin plugs.  Delegates are advised to bring along their own adapter plugs.

Medical and Health requirements

South Africa has no national health scheme.  The patient must pay for medical treatment and hospitalisation.  Delegates and other participants are encouraged to obtain medical travel insurance from a reputable organisation, as medical treatment at private facilities in South Africa is expensive, with public facilities also levying charges for services rendered. This insurance is relatively cheap and will ensure a trouble free trip should medical treatment be required. Doctors are listed in all local telephone directories under “Medical” and dentists under “Dentist”. 

Immunisation against cholera and smallpox is not required. The South African sun is fierce with a high ultraviolet rating, so screening products with sun protection factors of 15 and over are recommended.

In the unlikely event of a delegate or another participant becoming seriously ill, or incurring a serious injury, emergency medical transportation to the closest appropriate health facility can be arranged.

COVID-19

At this stage we have not had a confirmed case of COVID-19 in South Africa. People entering the country are monitored and only quarantined of suspected to have a fever. There has not been any warning of closing the borders. Below some links from the South African Government which you can consult on a regular basis for updates. 

http://www.nicd.ac.za/minister-of-health-south-africa-update-on-coronavirus-2/

http://www.health.gov.za/index.php/component/phocadownload/category/599-corona-virus-outbreak

Malaria

Although Stellenbosch does not fall within a malaria zone, visitors to the Limpopo, Mpumalanga and northern KwaZulu-Natal areas (e.g. those that will visit the Kruger National Park), should take anti-malaria tablets before, during and after their stay. Please consult with your doctor in taking the necessary prophylactic.  Anti-malaria tablets are obtainable from local pharmacies without prescription.

Yellow Fever

In terms of the International Health Regulations Act, any person travelling from, or through, a yellow fever endemic area is required to provide proof of having a valid yellow fever vaccination prior to being allowed to enter South Africa. Should a person not be able to provide such proof, such person shall have the option of being vaccinated on-site (at their own cost) or being placed in quarantine for 6 days. Due to the high cost of this, it is strongly recommended that affected visitors be vaccinated prior to their travel. Affected countries are listed in terms of an annual World Health Organisation publication. This publication can be viewed on the Internet or here

Insurance

The registration fees do not provide insurance for participants against personal accidents, sickness, theft or property damage. This applies to all events during the conference period, and participants are advised to obtain their own insurance, including medical insurance, before travelling to South Africa. The Conference and its organisers will not be liable for loss, injury to person or property, however caused.

Internet Access

Wireless Internet Access is available at the Wallenberg Centre. Delegates have to check the availability of Wifi at the hotel or guest house where they will stay.

Language

The official language of the conference will be English. No translation services will be available. Since English is one of the official languages of South Africa, it is widely spoken.  Some staff members of up-market hotels and shops speak languages such as German, French and Italian.

Passports and visa

Foreigners visiting South Africa require a passport. Delegates should check the South African regulations concerning visa requirements  for their country when making travel arrangements. If you are travelling with a child under the age of 18, special care should be taken to familiarise you with the requirements for entering South Africa.

For further information contact your local office of the diplomatic or consular representative of the South African Government. Tourists must satisfy immigration officers that they have the means to support themselves during their stay, and that they are in possession of return or onward air tickets. Possession of a visa may not automatically guarantee admission to the country.

Please visit the website of the South African Department of Home Affairs for information on Visa requirements. Please contact the Conference Secretary for an invitation letter should you require one to support your visa application.  Please note that such an invitation letter can only be issued once full payment of the conference registration and proof of an accommodation booking have been received.

 Customs Requirements

All travellers must after they have collected all their luggage, proceed to the Customs declaration channels with their personal luggage. Persons who have nothing to declare, have goods that fall within their duty free allowances and do not carry any prohibited or restricted goods, commercial goods or goods carried on behalf of another person may proceed to the Green Channel. In all other instances or where traveller is not sure the Red Channel should be selected.

Please note that all fresh produce, fruit, vegetables, seeds, plants, bulbs, tubers, cut flowers, cuttings of plants, honey, eggs, milk, cheese and all meat products are restricted from importation into South Africa. Should any traveller wish to import such, arrangements should be made with the South African Department of Agriculture for the importation of such.

The importation of medication is strictly controlled. You may import one month’s supply of medication for personal use, provided that you are in possession of a prescription issued by a registered physician. Habit forming drugs, physiographic substances as well as counterfeit goods (goods which infringe intellectual property rights) are strictly prohibited for importation into South Africa.

Persons from the media or exhibitors in possession of cameras as well as other equipment carried as accompanied passenger luggage are advised to import such under cover of an ATA Carnet in order to avoid unnecessary delays.

Payment of Customs Duties and VAT may be made in South African Rand or by means of credit card.

People with disabilities

Participation by all interested individuals is encouraged and every effort will be made to meet the requirements of people with disabilities. For people with a disability, advance notification of their needs for services and accommodations will ensure that the appropriate arrangements are made. Please contact the Conference Secretariat in this regard.

Safety

Tourists should remember that the same security precautions should be taken when visiting South Africa than in any other country in the world.  It is advisable not to walk around in dark, lonely places at night and to be extremely careful of pickpockets; never to carry large amounts of money or jewellery; always let someone know where you are going and how long you will be gone when you leave home; be on the lookout for suspicious looking cars or people; when you are driving your car, make sure that all doors are locked and the windows wound up. Try not to look too much like a tourist and move around in a group where possible.

Time (GMT+2)

Throughout the year, Standard Time in South Africa is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, one hour ahead of Central European Winter Time and 7 hours in advance of Eastern Standard Winter Time in the USA.

Travelling

The local public transport system is not very well developed. The following possibilities exist:

  • Taxis: local taxis do not cruise; your hotel will be able to assist you with this. There are also several accredited Taxi operators at the airports. You also have the option to use Uber.
  • Vehicle hire: all major international car hire companies are represented in South Africa. Recognised credit cards may be used for payment.  It is advised that you hire a car through your local travel agent, since there are special packages available for tourists from foreign countries that cannot be obtained if you rent within South Africa. Alternatively you can do the booking on the internet.
  • Driving around: 
    • An excellent road network links the largest metropolitan areas with the smallest villages. It is advisable to invest in a good map, should you decide to travel by car.  These      are available from all bookshops and filling stations.
    • Speed limit: 120 km/h on freeways, 100 km/h on rural roads and 60 km/h in built up areas.
    • South Africa drives on the left side of the road.
    • Wearing of seat belts is compulsory.
    • Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offence. In South Africa, the legal limit is a breath alcohol content of 0.24 mg per 1,000 ml, or a blood alcohol limit of 0.05 g per 100ml.
    • Drivers should have a valid driver’s license: the license must be printed in English and contain a photograph of the owner, OR you need an International Driving Permit.
    • Most petrol (gas) filling stations stay open 24 hours per day.  Pump attendants will serve you.
    • Third Party Insurance premium is built into the price of petrol (gas).

VAT (Value Added Tax)

VAT, currently at 15% is included in the marked/quoted price of most goods and services.  Foreign tourists may claim refunds of VAT paid on goods which they take out of South Africa.  Information leaflets on the procedure to follow are available from VAT Refund Administration offices at the international airports.

General Terms and Conditions for ISXB-4 Symposium Participants

1. Registration fees
All participants must pay the registration fee prior to arrival at the symposium. Participants are also advised to have a copy of their payment slip when going to the registration desk at the symposium just in case they are requested to show proof of the payment on their arrival.
2. Cancellation Policy
Registration cancellations must be notified in writing by email to the ISXB-4 Symposium secretary, Thereza Botha (Email: thereza@technoscene.co.za).
Cancellations received before 15 December 2019 will be levied a 50% cancellation fee. Cancellations made after 15 December 2019 will be subject to a 100% cancellation fee.
Participants must make sure they receive an acknowledgement of their cancellation from the symposium secretariat. Only this will confirm that their request has been received and processed.
3. LiabilitY
The Organising Committee of the ISXB-4 Symposium reserves the right to amend any part of the Symposium programme if necessary at any time.
The Organising Committee of the ISXB-4 Symposium and the symposium organiser will not accept liability for damages of any nature sustained by delegates or accompanying persons, or loss of, or damage to their personal property as a result of the Symposium or related events.
In the event of industrial disruption or other unforeseen circumstances, the Organising Committee of the ISXB-4 Symposium and the symposium organiser accept no responsibility for loss of monies incurred by delegates.
Delegates should make their own arrangements with respect to personal insurance, along with travel insurance.
4. Personal Insurance
The Organising Committee of the ISXB-4 Symposium and the symposium organiser cannot be held responsible for healthcare, dental and ambulance services during its symposiums or events. We strongly recommend that participants take out comprehensive medical and travel insurance, which should cover the possibility of flight cancellation due to strikes and other causes. Therefore, The Organising Committee of the ISXB-4 Symposium and the symposium organiser accept no responsibility of any nature whatsoever for personal injury, death, loss or damage to property or participants however caused or arising.
5. Privacy Legislation
In registering for the ISXB-4 Symposium, relevant details will be incorporated into a participant list for the benefit of all delegates. Normally this information would be: name, surname, institution, country and email address. These details may also be available to parties directly related to the Symposium including the venues and accommodation providers. The Organising Committee may use these details to inform current participants of Symposium updates or future symposiums via email. Participants are responsible for advising the Organising Committee if they do not wish to have their email addresses included in the symposium participant list.