Cape Town Travel Guide
Cape Town Travel Guide
Cape Town is South Africa's oldest and most beautiful city and the top travel destination in Africa. Built on the slopes of Table Mountain, the city offers something for everyone, from beautiful views and beaches to world-class cuisine and inspiring culture. Cape Town is a must-see destination for anyone travelling to South Africa.
- Table Mountain
- Safe and beautiful
- White sandy beaches
- Rich in history and culture
- Robben Island
- V&A Waterfront
- Scenic Cape Peninsula
- Affordable accommodation
- Great restaurants
- Indian and Atlantic oceans meet at Cape Point
- Superb variety of day tours and activities on offer
Cape Town regularly makes it onto the "Top 5 Most Beautiful Cities in the World" lists. It's the Mother City of South Africa and very popular with locals and international visitors alike. It's affordable, beautiful and safe to visit. Numerous international celebrities own homes here.
The city is almost 400 years old, rich in culture and history, with a vibrant and cosmopolitan population of about three million people.
Besides its beauty, Cape Town has a host of attractions and activities whatever your tastes and preferences! Here are some of our favourites which you can do on your own, or we can arrange day trips and tours for you.
Book this for your first sunny day. You catch a cableway to the summit and you'll be treated to almost 360° breathtaking views of this spectacular city. There's also a restaurant and curio shop at the top. There are plenty of walks and hikes in the area and you can even challenge yourself to a hike to the summit.
This is a terrific day out. Cape Point is where the two oceans meet - the Indian and Atlantic. It's a national park and the drive is very beautiful. Some of the highlights include a stop at Hout Bay and the chance for a short boat trip to a seal colony, the scenic Chapman's Peak, Simons Town Harbour and Boulders Beach with its many penguins.
Barely out of Cape Town and you're in the beautiful Winelands and mountains which surround the picturesque towns of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl. You'll enjoy wine tasting, cellar tours and usually a stop for a delicious al fresco lunch. There are various ways to do this - by car, by bike or even a tram.
The famous island and World Heritage Site where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 18 of his 27 years in prison. Regular ferries leave for Robben Island from the V&A Waterfront.
The V&A Waterfront
The Victoria and Albert Waterfront is Cape Town's premier shopping and entertainment complex, built around the old harbour. There are hundreds of shops and restaurants to choose from, street buskers, live entertainment venues, the Two Oceans Aquarium and various upmarket hotels. It's also where you'll find the trendy, renovated Silo District and the fascinating new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCCA).
TIP - Download the Android/iOS app ‘Reinventing the Tavern of the Seas’, plug in your earphones and tap 'start'. You'll be able to explore the V&A Waterfront at your own pace while listening to all the low-down on this area and its fascinating history.
Cape Town really does have something for everyone:
- Visit the world-famous Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
- Take a guided township tour
- Go whale watching by boat or from shore
- Experience the thrill of shark cage diving or a hot air balloon flight
- Get an eagle's view from above with a helicopter flight
- Take to the ocean with harbour boat trips
- Go local at the many live music venues
- Enjoy a wealth of beaches, clubs and restaurants
- Visit an ostrich farm
- Be amazed by the wildflower spectacle on the West Coast (July to September)
- Zipline at Silvermist, Hout Bay (one of the longest & highest in Africa!)
- And loads more ...
Cape Town will wow you. We'd recommend at least three to six nights here.
The Cape Wine Route includes several beautiful towns, scenic routes and wine estates where you can do a cellar tour and wine tasting. Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl are among the most famous towns in the Cape Winelands.
Cape Point and Cape Peninsula
A scenic full day trip along the Cape Peninsula brings you to Cape Point, where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans are said to meet.
Whale Watching - Hermanus
The quaint village of Hermanus is the whale watching capital of South Africa. The best time to see whales here is from July to October, and peak whale watching season is in September.
Boulders Beach Penguin Colony
South Africa's most famous penguin colony, where you can view these gentle birds from up close.
Shark Cage Diving
Shark Cage Diving can be done in False Bay (from Simonstown) or further east at Gansbaai. Seasonal activity.
Duiker Island Seal Colony
Take a boat trip from Hout Bay to view this seal colony from up close.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
A wonderful morning or afternoon activity if you enjoy nature. Elevated walkway over the forest canopy. Enjoy a picnic on the lawns.
Township tours are conducted in various areas and offer a glimpse into the cultures, lifestyles and economic contrasts that define South Africa. Ask us to book you on a guided cycling tour through the streets of Langa. Optional extras include a visit to a creche, a witch doctor and/or a traditional meal with locals.
Robben Island Museum
Famous prison museum where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. A UNESCO World Heritage site. A ferry ride from the Waterfront brings you to the island.
Table Mountain Cable Way
Table Mountain offers the most famous views in Africa. It's best to visit Table Mountain on your first available sunny day. You can take the cable way or you can also hike up the mountain. It's a strenuous hike, best done in a group.
The famous V&A Waterfront has lots of great shops, bars, restaurants, cinemas, hotels and activities. Live street music. Harbour Cruises.
Cape Milner Hotel
The Cape Milner Hotel is a convenient and affordable hotel in Cape Town's City Bowl at the foot of Table Mountain, only three minutes from the V&A Waterfront. The hotel offers 57 air-conditioned, en-suite bedrooms, some with a view of Table Mountain.
Cape Grace Hotel
The Cape Grace is a multi-award winning 5-star hotel, perfectly located on its own private quay in the heart of Cape Town's vibrant V&A Waterfront. Set against the backdrop of iconic Table Mountain, the Cape Grace embodies its name in history, elegance and sophistication. Enjoy all the creature comforts you'd expect from such a world-class luxury hotel and a range of unexpected extras that will pleasantly surprise you.
Cape Cadogan Hotel
This luxurious boutique hotel offers a relaxed and elegant stay in one of Cape Town's most favourite areas. As part of the More group of hotels, you can expect a warm welcome, superb service and personal attention to ensure your every comfort.
Cape Town Hollow Hotel
Cape Town Hollow is a boutique hotel beautifully located in the city centre, overlooking the historic Company Gardens, with superb views of iconic Table Mountain and Lion’s Head. Recently refurbished, it's your perfect base from which to explore the beautiful Mother City and her surrounds.
Hollow on the Square
Located within the heart of South Africa’s Mother City, the Hollow on the Square is within easy walking distance of the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town’s International Convention Centre and many of the attractions, eateries, museums and sights this bustling city has to offer.
The Twelve Apostles Hotel
The Twelve Apostles Hotel is an iconic luxury hotel just outside Cape Town, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It is named after the Twelve Apostles mountain range which rises up behind the hotel.
Peninsula All Suite Hotel
The Peninsula All-Suite Hotel is situated in Sea Point, Cape Town, only 5 minutes away from the famous Cape Town Waterfront, city centre as well as Clifton's beautiful beaches. This luxury hotel offers sweeping views of the Atlantic ocean and promenade from all rooms and is a great base from which to explore Cape Town.
Mount Nelson Hotel
The Mount Nelson is a grand old 5-star hotel in the heart of Cape Town.
Cape Town has a vast selection of hotels, apartments, resorts and guesthouses, ranging from world-class boutique hotels to dodgy apartments and cheap Airbnb accommodation. Please remember that if something is cheap, it's usually for good reason. See our blog: Airbnb – Bad Idea or Good Idea.
Most tourists prefer to stay in the City Bowl, near the Waterfront, or along the Atlantic seaboard. But there are many options. Have a look at our preferred Cape Town accommodation, personally visited and vetted, to get an idea of what's on offer. Or let us know your preferences and we'll be happy to make some recommendations - from a superb location to family-friendly, young and vibey, cosy and historic, and so on.
Wining and dining
Well-established as a foodie capital, Cape Town has a superb selection of cuisines for you to choose from. According to our top local dining magazine, Eat Out, many of South Africa's top restaurants are in Cape Town and its surrounds. For a unique African culinary experience, try Gold Restaurant or Marco's African Place.
Can you go on a safari near Cape Town?
We get this question often and the answer is no, not really. The safari parks close to Cape Town are all very small, and somewhat artificial. Some have the Big Five but that usually means they have two or three elephants, the lions are kept in a separate camp, and so on. Some would say it feels a bit like a glorified zoo. To avoid disappointment, we recommend that you fly to Johannesburg or Port Elizabeth or if budget allows, Nelspruit, and do a safari in a proper game reserve where the animals roam around freely.
Flights and transport
Cape Town International Airport connects to most local and many international destinations. It's a two-hour flight to/from Johannesburg. Once in Cape Town, we can help arrange your airport transfers and guided tours, or we can arrange a rental car for you.
Please Ask Us
Our aim is to match you with your personal choices, wish lists and experiences while keeping within your budget.
We can arrange the Cape Town leg of your trip on a self-drive basis, semi-guided or fully-guided basis. Ask us for more details.
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