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General Information


Host City Johannesburg is a large modern African city and is located in the interior of South Africa on a plateaux at 1 750 m above sea level. Sandton is a suburb in the northern part of the City.

Meeting Venue: Sandton Convention Centre
The Sandton Convention Centre (SCC) is a modern complex suitable for the needs of an ICOLD Annual Meeting. Hotels are located within easy walking distance and some of these are linked by covered walkways. Shopping malls are also on the doorstep of the SCC.

Safety and Security

For those participants who have not previously visited South Africa, or Johannesburg, and are concerned about personal safety, we wish to assure all visitors that Johannesburg is like any other major city with good and bad areas. Common sense will ensure a trouble free and enjoyable trip. The area around the Sandton Convention Centre and adjacent hotels is safe and well monitored at all times but we advise that you do not walk alone after dark in unpopulated streets. Ostentatious displays of wealth should be avoided at all times. During the meeting, the information desk at the Sandton Convention Centre and your hotel's concierge will be able to assist you with information on places to visit and the appropriate means of transport.

Please see the precautions given below:

  • Do not accept offers of transport from any unauthorized person;
  • Avoid going anywhere that is isolated, that is known for drug crimes, gang violence, etc. (ask so that you are aware!);
  • Do not go into the central business areas of the main city at night;
  • Preferably take a taxi at night.

The Initial Bulletin was released during the 83rd ICOLD Annual Meeting and 25th Congress in Stavanger, Norway in mid-June 2015. The Final Bulletin which will contain all the fees is schedule for circulation at the end of October 2015. Both Bulletins will be available on this website for downloading.

The Symposium and Workshop language is English. Simultaneous English-French translation is provided during the General Assembly as well as one of the Symposium venues.
All delegates are personally responsible for ensuring that they are in possession of the correct documentation prior to their departure. The organisers do not accept responsibility for any consequences whatsoever from a delegate failing to ensure that he or she has complied with the necessary health, passport and visa requirements. Applications for visas should be submitted to the nearest South African diplomatic or consular representative abroad.

If you require an invitation letter for a visa application, please indicate this during the online registration process. Please note that invitation letters for visa applications will only be issued once full payment of registration fees has been received.

Click here for more information on Visas: http://www.home-affairs.gov.za/index.php/applying-for-sa-visa Please contact the South African Embassy or Consulate in your country well before departure to ascertain visa requirements. In addition you may also need visas for some of the Study Tours which go to neighbouring countries. The Secretariat is not is a position to influence the application process.
Travelling with Children

Please note that a number of changes have been made to the South African Immigration Act with regard to travelling with children. The new regulations are applicable from the 1 June 2015: For more information, please click on the following link:


Health Issues

There are no compulsory vaccination requirements for persons entering South Africa although a certificate for yellow fever may be required if you are entering from certain South American or sub-Saharan African countries. Certain parts of the country have been designated as malaria risk areas. If you intend travelling to one of these areas, it is essential that you take prophylaxis before arrival and whilst in the area. Protective clothing and insect repellents should also be used. Johannesburg is a malaria risk free area. South African doctors and dentists are highly trained professionals and hospitals are well equipped. Participants are requested to make their own arrangements with respect to health insurance prior to departure and consult their local general practitioner for personal expert advice. For international travel and health advisories please visit the WHO website at www.who.int/ith or www.cdc.org It is safe to drink tap water throughout South Africa. However, for those who prefer bottled mineral water, this is readily available in various stores. Smoking is prohibited by law in most public buildings in South Africa (airports, Sandton Convention Centre, restaurants etc) except in designated smoking areas.

Travel Insurance
Personal travel and health insurance is highly recommended.
The weather in Johannesburg in mid-May is mild with daytime temperatures around 200C. Minimum night temperatures are in the region of 70C. Rain is infrequent. The evenings can be cool and appropriate warm clothing should be worn.
Delegates are encouraged to book hotel rooms at the official meeting hotels in Sandton, Johannesburg when registering. A variety of hotels and room rates have been provided. Refer to the detail on the “Accommodation” page.

The check in time for most of the hotels is 14:00 and check out time is 11:00 (Refer to the “Accommodation” page for the individual times. All of the hotels have luggage storage facilities.

Meeting desk at OR Tambo International Airport to Hotels
An ICOLD 2016 Meeting Desk will be provided in the International Arrivals Hall of the OR Tambo Airport to welcome you to South Africa. The desk will provide advice and assistance regarding transfers to your hotel. Flight information id requested in the registration process. 
Transfer from OR Tambo International Airport to Hotels
A shuttle service will be provided at an additional cost to and from OR Tambo International Airport to official meeting hotels. Refer to further detail on the “Transportation” page.
Shuttles to/from Sandton Convention Centre
Daily shuttles will be provided from all hotels that are 1 km and more from the Sandton Convention Centre.
The fees for the ICOLD 2016 Annual Meeting will be in South African Rand (ZAR). Consult a reputable source for current exchange rates. Illustrative exchange rates in October 2015 were:
               1 USD = 14.0 ZAR
               1 Euro = 15.75 ZAR

All major credit cards can be used in South Africa, with American Express and Diners Club enjoying less universal acceptance than MasterCard and Visa. If you have a so-called "chip card", you will be required to enter a pin code. Pin-based debit cards are often accepted too. Remember to notify your bank in advance that you will be travelling. Auto tellers are available in most hotels and shopping centres
Electricity in South Africa is 220 volts AC at a frequency of 50 Hz. Large 3-pin plugs are used, but most hotels have sockets or adaptors for the European type plugs.
Smoking Laws
Most public areas are smoke-free. Designated smoking areas are indicated.