The South African city of Cape Town is a legendary travel destination, due to its outstanding natural beauty, great food and other attractions. If you have never before visited this place then you should certainly consider it as a future travel destination.
A visit to the Mother City is likely to be highly memorable no matter what you do once you get here. However, by understanding a few things about the place you will enjoy an even more satisfying Cape Town break.
How to Get to Cape Town from Abroad
The first piece of good news is that getting to Cape Town is incredibly easy to do, regardless of whether are already in South Africa or not. If you are planning on arriving here from another country then you will be delighted to see that Cape Town International Airport receives flights from all over the world.
This is the country’s second largest airport and it receives numerous flights from abroad every single day. If you want to visit this beautiful city then finding a flight to take you here should be easy.
Of course, flying to Cape Town from another city in South Africa is even easier than flying in from abroad. For a start, the incredibly popular route between here and Johannesburg is one of the busiest airline routes on the planet.
This is a journey of around 2 hours and early morning flights are available from early as 6am. This route is operated by quality airlines such as Mango, South African Airways, British Airways, FlySafair and Kulula.
This wide number of airlines covering this route means that it is possible to look for a bargain flight with a budget carrier or else pay a bit more to travel in style. The availability of flights from Lanseria to Cape Town also helps to make finding the perfect deal even easier.
How to Get to Cape Town from Elsewhere in South Africa
The other big South African cities also offer frequent flights to and from Cape Town. This means that getting to the Mother City from the likes of Durban, East London, George, Port Elizabeth and Bloemfontein is something that is very easy to arrange.
As with the Johannesburg route, there are plenty of varied options in terms of flight times, airlines and prices on these routes. The short flight from George takes less than an hour, with most of the other national flights to Cape Town lasting between an hour and a half to two hours.
Getting from the Airport to the Centre
Once you arrive to Cape Town International Airport you will start to feel the buzz of being in such a fantastic city. From here, it is a relatively short and simple trip to the centre of the city.
There are always taxis waiting here, so getting hold of one isn’t going to be a problem. There are also numerous shuttle buses that go into the centre every day.
A taxi from the airport to the V&A Waterfront should cost your around R230, although you may save some money if you use the Uber servicer that is now available in the city.
Benefits of a Summer Trip to Cape Town
Deciding when to visit this glorious city is made slightly more complicated by the fact that it is truly a fine place to visit at any time of year. So, what are the best aspects of visiting Cape Town in the summer months?
The period from January to April is usually the warmest and driest time here, with excellent weather generally found in and around the city. January and February are typically the months with the highest temperatures – the average high can pass 26 degrees Celsius (79 Fahrenheit) – although March can also have some stunningly warm days.
All of this means that Cape Town in the summer is the ideal spot for a relaxed summer beach holiday. If you want to join the crowds then head over in the height of summer, but if you prefer quieter beaches then nearer the end of the summer is best.
The peak summer months are also when you will find that the local hotels and restaurants are at their busiest. Having said that, this is the most popular tourist destination in all of Africa and you will be sure to meet other visitors at any time of year.
Benefits of a Winter Trip to Cape Town
It is no surprise to see that winter is cooler then summer here. The temperature usually drops to its lowest levels from July through to August.
At this time of year the average high is usually in the region of 12 degrees Celsius (54 Fahrenheit). You are also more likely to see some rain if you visit at this time of year.
Indeed, some tourists are surprised to find that the temperature here can dip down to freezing on the occasional winter’s day. What this means is that it is probably a more suitable season for someone who wants to avoid the intense summer heat.
If you plan to walk around a lot then this is the perfect time to do it. After all, the likes of a hike to the top of Table Mountain should be a lot easier on a cool day than on a scorching hot summer’s day.
Winter is also a fantastic time to check out some of the main indoor markets, malls and restaurants here. In addition, the months from July to September are when you have the best chance to see whales close to the coast.
When to Visit for Special Events
Those visitors who want to catch some sort of special event in Cape Town can do so at different times of the year. For instance, music lovers will get a lot of pleasure from the Cape Town International Jazz Festival in April and the Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset concerts throughout the summer months.
Around the New Year you can take in the thrilling OBZ Festival too. Other events too look out for are the Taste of Cape Town Festival in April, the V&A Waterfront Wine Affair and December’s sparkling Franschhoek Cap Classique & Champagne Festival.
Sports fans will also a lot of interesting events to look out for while they are here. These range from the Two Ocean Marathon at Easter to the Absa Cape Epic mountain bike event in March and the Berg River Canoe Marathon in July.
Places to Visit – Table Mountain
For many visitors to South Africa, Table Mountain is the sight that they most want to see. This iconic mountain looks fantastic no matter where you look at it from.
If you want to enjoy some incredible views then you could also head up to the top of the mountain. This can be done on a fairly long and hike or else by travelling on the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway.
If you choose to walk up then it is definitely worth stopping off at the lovely Kirstenbosch National Botanic Garden on the way. If you want to head back down in style from the summit then you can do so using the longest commercial abseiling route in the world.
Places to Visit – Robben Island
Another of the top Cape Town attractions that most visitors are interested in is the infamous former prison at Robben Island. This place has a long and painful history, due to the centuries in which lepers, prisoners and the mentally ill were sent here.
However, most modern day visitors come to Robben Island because of one famous former resident in particular. This is where former South African leader Nelson Mandela was forced to spend 18 terrible years.
The tiny cell he stayed in and the limestone quarry where he was forced to work leave a powerful impression on the island’s many visitors.
Places to Visit – Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
Going out to do some shopping and eating in great restaurants is one of the highlights of any trips anywhere. Well, when you visit beautiful Cape Town then the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is one of the places you will definitely want to visit.
This hugely popular shopping centre sits in South Africa’s oldest harbour but now has a slick, modern appeal. Around 23 million people visit the 450 shops and restaurants here every year.
When you want a break from the stores you can enjoy the wonderful views of the harbour and the fishing boats. You will also find the Two Oceans Aquarium here and can travel out to Robben Island too.
Places to Visit – Boulders Beach
This pretty beach is a part of the Table Mountain National Park, meaning that entry is controlled to avoid damage to the environment. Of course, Boulders Beach is famous for the loveable colony of African Penguins in it, with their numbers estimated at being over two thousand.
Despite the attractiveness of the beach and the appeal of the penguins, this is usually a relaxed and fairly quiet spot. As well as offering the chance to go swimming or sunbathing, there are some interesting old granite boulders and rock pools worth exploring.
Cape of Good Hope
One of the most famous spots in all of Africa is the legendary Cape of Good Hope. This is the place where two Oceans come together and it is as a great place to visit.
You can either head out here independently or else on an organised tour. Either way, the Cape of Good Hope is a terrific spot to take some pictures and go for a stroll.
Food to Try in Cape Town
There is no denying that the Mother City is a fantastic place to try some new types of food and drink. It is an exciting culinary destination with lots of great things well worth sampling.
One of the first types of cuisine that most visitors are keen to try is the unique Cape Malay food. This is a fascinating kind of food that arrived here with Middle Eastern slaves and is wonderfully sweet and spicy.
It has to be said that isn’t the only great food to try while you are here, though. There is also a wide variety of fresh seafood such as oysters and prawns readily available here.
Some of the other influences that have helped to shape the cuisine in Cape Town include those that came from India, as well as the African influence. This has led to an extremely varied and tasty range of eating options to choose from.
Drinks to Try in Cape Town
This is also a fabulous city for those of us who love to try out some new and exciting drinks on our travels. Beer loves will be pleased to see that November’s large Cape Town Festival of Beer is the biggest event of its type on the planet.
This region of South Africa is famous for its wines and going on a wine tour is a major attraction for a lot of tourists. There are several excellent wine farms around here, many of them with good restaurants and set in stunningly pretty countryside.
Other drinks that are easy to find and sample here include the brilliant Rooibos tea and the ever popular gin and tonic.
Where to Eat in Cape Town
The massive variety of places to eat out in Cape Town means that you are spoiled for choice when it comes to dining here. There are lots of national and international restaurants that are well worth checking out.
If you want to try Asian dishes then the likes of Chai Yo, Willoughby & Co and the Easter Food Bazaar. In terms of authentic African meals, you could head to Africa Café, Gold Restaurant or Mzansi , which all fit the bill nicely.
Other tremendous options for eating out here include quality eateries such as Fork Restaurant, Stardust, La Mouette and NV-80.
The Cost of Eating Out in Cape Town
The city’s fast food restaurants offer one of the cheapest ways of eating out, with the prices here starting at about R50 for a combo meal. A reasonably priced restaurant will typically charge from R100 for a decent lunch.
When it comes to eating out in the evening, you could find that a meal in a good restaurant costs between R400 and R700.
Where to Drink in Cape Town
Going out for a few drinks could be a genuine highlight of your time in Cape Town. The vibrant bar and club scene here means that you should be able to find a place that is perfect for your tastes and budget.
Some of the top options include the Gin Bar, where this popular drink can be enjoyed in a fine setting. The Odyssey Gastropub is another good choice, with excellent food on offer to go with your drinks.
A few of the lively places where you can spend some time having fun include Rick’s, O’Driscoll’s Irish Pub and The Waiting Room. Those visitors who want to keep on partying into the night might like to sample the atmosphere in Madison Avenue Cape Town or Fiction DJ Bar and Lounge.
The Cost of Getting Around the City
It is a good idea to work out the cost of staying in Cape Town before you go. This will allow you to calculate how big a travel budget you will need.
Despite its size, Cape Town is an easy city to get around. If you enjoy walking then you will discover somewhere that is perfect for getting out and exploring on foot, which will obviously lower your transport costs.
Your first task once you arrive here is likely to be to get used to the layout of Cape Town. In this respect, the City Sightseeing Bus offers a smart way of getting your bearings, at a cost of R170 if arranged online.
After this, there are a number of ways of getting around the city easily and without spending too much money on it. For example, the local Golden Arrow bus service has one way tickets costing from R10.
Another way of travelling to different points in the city is with the Metrorail train service. Tickets on this service cost from as little as R7.50, depending upon the route.
Among the best ways to get up to the top of Table Mountain is via cable car. At the time of writing, the cost of a return trip for an adult is R255.
The Cost of Tours and Activities
The wide selection of tours available here ensures that you have different options and prices to choose from, depending upon your budget and how much time you have. One of the most popular ways to get out and about here is with a wine tasting tour, which could cost around R2000.
A day trip to Robben Island is another good choice and this can be combined with other activities to make it a full day tour. A day out like this could cost you around R1000, although you could choose to go for a simpler and less expensive Robben Island tour if you like.
The Best Areas to Stay In
As with any big city, it is worth spending some time considering what part of it you want to stay in. For example, do you want to be close to the waterfront, to the stores or to the best restaurants?
One of the best areas for staying in is the lovely neighbourhood known as Tamboerskloof, in the City Bowl area. This is a tremendous part of Cape Town with lots of restaurants and shops for you to explore.
Green Point is another fine place to stay. This is a well located zone that makes it easy for you to get around and explore Cape Town in the way that best suits you.
Many visitors to the city are interested in staying in the exciting area in and around the V&A Waterfront. There aren’t that many hotels here but it is within a fairly short walking distance of some good hotels.
The Top Hotels to Consider
You are certainly not going to be short of accommodation options when you visit Cape Town. This welcoming city is packed with hotels off all types for visitors of every taste and size of budget.
One hotel that is frequently featured on lists of the city’s best hotels is Ellerman House. This is a small but extremely stylish hotel that looks over Bantry Bay.
Another option to bear in mind is the pretty MannaBay hotel up on Table Mountain. The outstanding views from here are a big reason for choosing this hotel, while the friendly service also helps to make it a highly recommended spot.
The luxurious Kensington Palace is another Cape Town hotel that is often rated as one of the best in the city. This boutique hotel is in a terrific location overlooking the harbour and is packed with all of the top facilities that you would expect to find.
The One&Only is another quality hotel in this city that is a wonderful place to stay. This is an urban resort type of accommodation and it is very handily situated close to the V&A Waterfront.
Best Budget Hotels to Consider
If you are visiting Cape Town on a relatively tight budget then you will be pleased to see that there are also plenty of low cost accommodation options in the city as well. Many of them are centrally located and offer the chance for a relaxed and sociable stay at a low cost.
Among these is the wildly popular Once in Cape Town. One of the best things about this hostel is that it is conveniently located on the attractive Kloof Street.
The Backpack is another hostel in the city with a fantastic location. This is widely seen as being a great place for meeting other travellers and having a great time without spending too much money.
If you prefer to stay in a budget hotel rather than a hostel then the Holiday Inn Express is a fine choice. This is a centrally located hotel that has good facilities for a low price.
If you want an unforgettable trip to a world class city then Cape Town is definitely worth visiting. Why not get started on arranging your dream trip by checking out cheap deals for flying in here?