Cape Town Travel Guide – Vacation & Tourism – Travel + Leisure

Cape Town is South Africa’s crown jewel and probably the most European metropolis you may discover on the continent. Founded by the Dutch East India Company in 1652, it was South Africa’s first try at a contemporary metropolis, incomes it the nickname “The Mother City.” Because of its strategic location on the southwestern tip of Africa, for hundreds of years it performed an essential function in world commerce. Today it is considered one of South Africa’s three capital cities. The metro space covers 950 sq. miles and is residence to three.5 million folks. The metropolis’s setting, a dramatic shoreline within the shadow of Table Mountain National Park, is as picturesque as its historical past is problematic. Like the remainder of South Africa, Cape Town continues to be attempting to get better from the apartheid period which resulted in 1994. While crime and corruption are nonetheless points, in 2010 town helped host the FIFA World Cup and tourism has solely grown since then.

Time Zone

GMT +2

Best Time to Go

Cape Town is price visiting year-round. That stated, it seems to be totally different every season. Late December by way of March is South Africa’s summer time. It’s when Cape Town is alive with vacationers escaping their very own winters again residence and locals having fun with the beautiful climate. It’s sunny, dry, and heat sufficient to warrant a dip within the ocean. The metropolis’s social calendar is filled with occasions, and whereas costs is perhaps increased throughout this peak season, not less than all the things is open. If you are on the lookout for decrease costs and fewer folks, go to through the winter, late June by way of late September. Pack a raincoat as a result of winter means moist. If your aim is to see whales, take a look at the Hermanus Whale Festival normally held in late September. However, July and August are additionally thought-about nice months for whale watching. Finally, the shoulder seasons may be simply as unforgettable. Spring, September by way of early December, is when the wildflowers are in full bloom. Autumn, late March by way of early June, is considered the perfect time to go cage diving with nice white sharks.

Things to Know

Currency: Rand (ZAR)
($1 USD = 14.27 ZAR; Check the current exchange rate)

Tipping: Tipping is vastly appreciated in Cape Town. If the service is sweet, 10% is customary. Sometimes gratuity is added at eating places, particularly for teams, so examine your invoice earlier than by chance tipping twice.

Language: Most sources say there are 11 official languages in South Africa (some say 12). Xhosa, English, and Afrikaans are among the many most spoken. That stated, most individuals communicate English, and all indicators in Cape Town are in English. There’s no want for Google Translate. However, it may be useful to know just a few widespread phrases.

Lekker: nice or good; “That was a lekker surf session.”

Braai: outside barbecue; “If you are fortunate, locals will invite you to their weekend braai.”

Bru: good friend/pal; “My bru works at a vineyard in Stellenbosch.”

Calling Code: +27 21

Outlets: South Africa makes use of kind C,D,M, and N plugs. Pack an adapter or be ready to purchase one in Cape Town. The voltage is 230V and commonplace frequency is 50Hz. So, you may additionally want to purchase a converter if you happen to’re utilizing an equipment requiring extra voltage.

How to Get Around

Trains: Cape Town’s trains exist because the Metrorail, however they are not significantly dependable. If you ask locals, they can be unsafe. It’s not advisable to experience them alone, particularly at evening. If you do wish to take one, the preferred line is the South line operating to Simon’s Town. Tickets may be bought at stations or from Metrorail officers with transportable ticket machines.

Buses: While there are a number of native buses and minibuses, mainly vans shuttling commuters, the perfect buses for guests are the MyCiTi buses. They join with the airport and serve scheduled stops in excessive visitors vacationer areas. Fares are loaded onto myconnect playing cards which may be bought at station kiosks and choose retailers and ATMs. Another possibility is the City Sightseeing Bus. These Hop-On-Hop-Off buses additionally make scheduled stops at well-liked vacationer locations and embrace commentary in 15 languages. The Red Line covers the northern a part of Cape Town, and the Blue Line goes all the way in which to Hout Bay within the south. Tickets may be purchased online.

Taxis/Rideshare: Ubers are in every single place in Cape Town. They’re dependable, protected and intensely reasonably priced. A forty five-minute Uber from downtown Cape Town to a Muizenberg can value as little as $12. They additionally service the airport. If you do not have Uber and wish to use a conventional taxi, attempt to use a name forward automobile service that’s verified.

Best Hotels

12 Apostles Hotel and Spa

Address: Victoria Road, Camps Bay
Phone: +27 21 4379000

It’s arduous to not miss this five-star oceanfront property as a result of it is the one constructing on its stretch of the scenic drive to Chapman’s Peak. Each of its 70 rooms has both a sweeping view of the 12 Apostles mountain vary or the Atlantic Ocean the place it isn’t unusual to see seals sunning themselves or whales breaching. Between the adjoining spa and the meals and drinks served within the fabled Leopard Bar, visitors by no means even must enterprise into city.

The President Hotel Cape Town

Address: 4 Alexander Rd, Bantry Bay
Phone: +27 21 434 8111

This esteemed four-star resort within the quiet residential neighborhood of Bantry Bay is simply blocks from the seaside. Dozens of retailers and eating places are inside strolling distance. The property, well-liked with enterprise vacationers and conferences, can also be residence to a restaurant, spa, salon, present store, and enormous outside swimming pool. Rooms are beneficiant in measurement and embrace residences obtainable for long-term stays.

The One&Only

Address: Dock Rd, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town, 8001
Phone: +27 21 431 5888

An city resort you’d anticipate finding on a tropical island, the One&Only presents Cape Town’s most unique lodging. The property boasts a number of swimming swimming pools, together with the biggest infinity pool within the metropolis. This pool is residence to 2 personal islands with a number of suites excellent for households. In phrases of different facilities, the One&Only has a youngsters membership, spa, health heart, and an array of vacation spot eating places together with Nobu.

Bliss Boutique Hotel

Address: 25 Albus Dr., Cape Town, 7441
Phone: +27 21 551 0441

A well-liked selection amongst {couples} and honeymooners, this boutique resort has simply eight rooms. But they’re so well-appointed they even characteristic pillow menus. The property is situated alongside Sunset Beach (with unique seaside entry), quarter-hour north of Cape Town however shut sufficient to have spectacular Table Mountain views. Facilities embrace personal viewing decks, a solar-heated pool and splash pad, and a restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

La Rose Bed & Breakfast

Address: 32 Rose St, Schotsche Kloof
Phone: +27 21 422 5883

The hearts and brains behind this budget-friendly retreat belong to the husband and spouse crew of Adheera Bodasing, a South African of Indian descent, and Yoann Nicolas, a Frenchman who fell in love with South Africa in his 20s. Each of the 9 rooms is exclusive, paying homage to totally different cultures by way of artwork and décor collected by the couple on their travels. The property is situated within the eclectic Bo-Kaap, previously the Cape Malay quarters, neighborhood.

Best Restaurants

Mojo Market (meals court docket with native pop-ups)

Address: 30 Regent Road, Sea Point, Cape Town, 8060
Phone: +27 21 422 4888

Open seven days every week, Mojo Market is Sea Point’s stylish indoor market the place diners can discover greater than 15 native meals stalls and “merchants.” Choose from recent mussels, artisanal pizza, build-your-own burritos, sushi, and even Cape Town’s solely macaroni and cheese joint. While there’s reside music each evening and loads of TVs, the perfect leisure right here is folks watching.

Mzansi Restaurant (African)

Address: 45 Harlem Ave, Langa, Cape Town, 7455
Phone: +27 73 754 8502

Reservations are positively required at this well-liked African restaurant ranked #1 on TripAdvisor out of practically 1,000 eating places in Cape Town Central. Food is served buffet type with signature dishes being flavorful performs on conventional Xhosa meals. While the restaurant serves specialities like rooster ft and sheep’s head (upon request), it is also vegetarian-friendly.

Die Strandloper (seafood)

Address: Jan Olfsen Str, Leentjiesklip, Langebaan, 7357
Phone: +27 22 77 22 490

Family-owned and operated, Die Strandloper is known in Cape Town for its 10-course seafood lunch or dinner served on the seaside. Allow for not less than three hours to get pleasure from all the things from smoked angelfish to barbecued mackerel and even kreef, South Africa’s spiny lobster. Reservations are required.

Wine Studio (wine pairings)

Address: Dock Rd, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town, 8001
Phone: +27 21 431 4511

Brand new as of 2021, the One&Only’s Wine Studio showcases the property’s award-winning wine assortment in a novel reverse pairing expertise. Head sommelier Luvo Ntezo hosts these unique personal dinners that includes uncommon vintages, particular visitors from native wineries, and even the chance to create your individual signature mix. Reservations are required.

Café Caprice (up to date café)

Address: 37 Victoria Road, Camps Bay, Cape Town, 8005
Phone: +27 21 438 8315

Ask a dozen locals the place the perfect place to sip a cocktail and watch the sundown in Cape Town is and not less than half will point out Café Caprice. Open seven days every week, the café serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s additionally the perfect place to see and be seen in Camps Bay, so gown to impress or on the very least, be impressed.

Kauai (wholesome quick meals)

Multiple areas all through Cape Town

Cape Town’s finest quick meals possibility is that this beloved South African chain serving recent wraps, salads, omelettes, and smoothies. Ingredients are what you’d anticipate finding at an expensive well being meals retailer, nonetheless it is simple to get a filling meal for $5. There are a number of areas all through Cape Town, and so they’re open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Things to Do

Surf at Muizenberg

Address: Beach Rd., Cape Town, 7950
Phone: +27 82 412 8781

The ocean round Cape Town is chilly, nevertheless it’s additionally residence to among the finest seashores on the planet to discover ways to surf. Muizenberg, a browsing neighborhood about 40 minutes from Cape Town, is known for its historic colourful altering homes. It additionally boasts nice newbie waves all day on daily basis. While there are a variety of surf colleges in Muizenberg, if you happen to’re staying in Cape Town it is price it to go together with a cellular college like Stoked Surf School which incorporates roundtrip transportation.

See the penguins at Boulder Beach

Address: Kleintuin Road, Sea Forth, Simons Town, 7975
Phone: +27 21 786 2329

Billed as the one place the place you will get near African penguins within the wild, Boulder Beach is a should if you end up on the False Bay facet of Cape Town. For a small entrance charge, guests can observe the comings and goings of the colony who reside on this white sand seaside named for its truck-sized boulders. It’s additionally attainable to swim with the penguins, however be forewarned; the water is frigid.

Hike in Table Mountain National Park

Address: 5821 Tafelberg Rd., Table Mountain, Cape Town, 8001
Phone: +27 21 424 8181 (aerial cableway)

Table Mountain is South Africa’s most well-known landmark and the namesake for this sprawling nationwide park stretching from town all the way in which down the cape peninsula to incorporate the southernmost level of Africa. In addition to hanging geological formations, it is residence to unimaginable bio-diversity together with distinct vegetation not discovered anyplace else on the planet. Hike considered one of many trails to the highest of Table Mountain (3,563 ft.) or experience the cable automobile to the highest the place much more trails converge and supply panoramic views for miles.

Visit Robben Island

Address: Private Bag Robben Island, Cape Town, 7400
Phone: +27 21 413 4200

Located in Table Bay, seen from virtually anyplace in Cape Town, Robben Island looms within the background very like Alcatraz in San Francisco. But this notorious island has 400 years of its personal fascinating historical past. Once occupied by wildlife and indigenous peoples, it was essential for commerce and looking through the Age of Exploration earlier than later turning into residence to all the things from banished convicts to a whaling station and even an insane asylum. Today, it is the place guests can tour the previous jail and see the cell the place Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years. Other points of interest on the island embrace a penguin sanctuary and lepers’ graveyard.

Visit the Cape Winelands

Address: Stellanbosch, Franschhoek, and Paarl

There are a whole bunch of wine farms rising grapes in Cape Town’s fertile yard often known as the Winelands. Most are inside an hour’s drive of town and are open to the general public for tastings and excursions. This area, one of many oldest wine areas outdoors of Europe, is known for its Pinotage, a daring crimson wine birthed in South Africa. Even if you happen to do not drink alcohol, it is a scenic drive by way of pastoral communities together with Stellenbosch, a 350-year-old college city full of Cape Dutch structure.

Best Shopping

V&A Waterfront

Address: 19 Dock Rd, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town, 8001
Phone: +27 21 408 7600

A vacation spot in itself, the V&A Waterfont is residence to an indoor and outside mall that includes greater than 450 retail shops. Whether you are on the lookout for Adidas, Armani, or Crocs, Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre most likely has it.

Kalk Bay

Address: Main Road, Kalk Bay, Cape Town, 7990

This quiet former fishing village turned well-liked day journey is a few 45-minute drive from Cape Town, nevertheless it’s price it if you happen to’re into eclectic retailers you will not discover elsewhere. Spend the afternoon looking in impartial bookstores or looking for antiques. Most retailers may be discovered on Main Road, however you by no means know what treasure awaits in an alley in Kalk Bay.

Greenmarket Square

Address: Burg St &, Longmarket St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8000

Since 1696 when the cobblestones have been laid Greenmarket Square has been a preferred assembly house. Today, it is the place locals and guests alike barter with distributors who arrange retailers—from formal stalls to makeshift tables—full of residence items and African arts and handicrafts. It’s open on daily basis, however the first Thursday of each month throughout Cape Town’s city-wide First Thursdays celebrations is the perfect time to catch reside music and avenue performances.

Neighbourgoods Market

Address: 373 Albert Rd, Woodstock, Cape Town, 7925

A superbly restored previous biscuit mill could not be a extra good setting for this farmers market open each Saturday. This is the place consumers discover souvenirs that are not mass produced. They’re made by entrepreneurial locals promoting all the things from leather-based luggage to soaps and sustainable fashions. Of course, there’s additionally recent seasonal produce and scrumptious avenue meals.

Neighborhoods to Know

City Bowl: Nestled in a pure melancholy between the coast, Table Mountain and Signal Hill, City Bowl is the guts of Cape Town. It’s residence to the central enterprise district, spectacular municipal buildings, and several other of Cape Town’s oldest and most Insta-worthy streets. There’s the well-preserved Dutch colonial structure on Long Street, the coloured homes lining the hills of the Bo-Kaap, and the V&A the place you possibly can paddleboard on canals winding by way of the bustling waterfront district.

Cape Flats: Although most vacationers by no means step foot right here, it might be remiss to not point out the Cape Flats. This lowland space is residence to Cape Town’s most notorious suburbs or townships. It’s the place the black and coloured populations have been compelled to relocate through the Apartheid years. Although it is a bit off-the-beaten vacationer path, it’s attainable to go to the townships with a information and find out about life in them with the locals. Most guests begin with a strolling tour of Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay.

Atlantic Seaboard: Informally known as Cape Town’s Riviera, the Atlantic Seaboard is a string of oceanfront communities on Cape Town’s west coast. This is the place one finds the fanciest accommodations (principally boutique properties though there are chains like Radisson), high-rise luxurious condos for lease, and naturally the eye-catching mansions belonging to Cape Town’s elite. Each neighborhood, centered round a seaside, has its personal character from the uber posh Camp’s Bay to the fishing village vibes of Hout Bay.

Woodstock: Technically part of City Bowl, Woodstock is like Cape Town’s reply to Williamsburg in Brooklyn. If you are excited by artwork, theater or something hipsters like, this former industrial space is a vacation spot in itself. It’s nonetheless a bit tough across the edges, and also you most likely should not wander the streets alone at evening, nevertheless it’s to not be missed. If nothing else, in 10 years you possibly can say you visited Woodstock earlier than everybody knew how cool it was and property builders ruined it.


Cape Town has 4 seasons though they are not as distinct as northern locations. It has a Mediterranean local weather. Summers are dry and never too scorching, and winters are wet, however delicate. The highest temperatures happen in February when it might probably attain the mid-80s°F. The coolest temperatures happen in July when temperatures are sometimes within the mid-50s°F. June is normally the wettest month with round 14 days of rain. Cape Town is known for its sturdy winds. Today, they’re good for kitesurfing. Hundreds of years in the past they have been the reason for many historic shipwrecks.