Waterkloof Air Force Base, City of Tshwane, Centurion, South Africa
GPS coordinates: S25°49.192’ E028°13.676’
Cell: +27 84 840 3215
2018, September 19-21 (September 22-23 is the public air show)
This is a five day show—the first three days are military/LE/trade, and the last two days are a public open airshow. The focus is divided between Air, Land and Sea defense systems.
Business casual for the most part, at least on the first three days of the show. Suits and Class As for those so inclined. It can be very warm, rainy or cold as well, so be prepared. Most attendees are in Business casual or casual attire.
Due to the massive attendance, hotels in the area fill up quickly. There are many Western chains around, but look on a map and ensure you’re close to where the show is before you book. Book early, that’s about all we can say, the closer hotels are filled six months in advance.
Power & Plug Types
Most modern hotels have US two-prong and Euro two-pin style power available, but the basic South African plug is a three round pin large plug similar to the UK pattern. Voltage is 220/230v AC 50hz.
Seriously, unless you’re good at secure international travel, don’t drive, hire a guide service. Do your ATM cash business in better areas, with security nearby, like inside a bank or mall or at the show. Johannesburg has carjacking problems and ATMs are a target for robbery. Pay attention and “Watch Six” when you’re out on the town. We’ve always been safe there, but it’s not a place to go exploring the poorer areas.
South Africans are a very warm and helpful people. It’s not one culture though, there are many different backgrounds of people there. English is a second language to most you will meet, Afrikaans is the primary. Meat eating is a big part of the food culture, knife and fork use are normal, and meals are a very social occasion especially the “Braai” which is South African Barbecuing on a grill (grilling steaks and other meats). Business moves a bit slower than other countries “Africa time,” but that doesn’t mean you should not be on time for meetings and fulfill your obligations.
There was plenty to be found, a variety of areas around the show had local specialties, fast food and general “fair food.” If you have a special diet, you might want to plan ahead, but there is a lot to choose from. Unfortunately, that’s not true during setup or early on each morning—make sure you have what you need with you including water.
South African Rand (ZAR) at the time of publication, about $0.08 USD per ZAR. Check www.xe.com for up to the minute conversions.
Tipping is common in South Africa, basically expected. Restaurants & Bars? 10-15%. Parking attendants and “Security guards” watch many car lots and if you agree for them to watch your car, tip them R2 or more. Same with gas station attendants. Porters at the airport, R5 to R10 per bag, hotels are more, bellhops R10 to R20 per. Leave R50 per day for your hotel maid.
Using hotel cars and taxis from hotels is wise in the Johannesburg area. Larger groups should hire a professional van/bus service.
Air Force: www.saafmuseum.org.za
Outstanding museum with several 37mm brass “Pom-Pom” Maxims!
We used Robert Mashau’s company, BonoSafaris, for all tours and actually some show related travel, www.bonosafaris.com, and they took care of all needs quickly and professionally, arranging for cross border trips as well as general photo safaris. For general tourism, check out: www.southafrica.net.