Cape Town has a lot to offer, from spectacular scenery that includes mountains soaring above palm-fringed beaches and rolling fields of vineyards to gourmet restaurants, fine museums and a rich cultural heritage
Cape Town’s magic lies in its diversity. In the space of one day you could get a bird’s-eye view of the city by taking the cable car to the top of Table Mountain (designated one of the new Seven Wonders of Nature), swim with penguins at Boulders Beach (or, more daringly, with great white sharks in a cage), taste wines at a centuries-old estate, eat at some of the country’s best restaurants and watch the sun set over the Atlantic Ocean with a chilled cocktail at a beachside bar.
Diverse activities to please most tastes, from shopping and nightlife to hiking and wine tasting
Lodgings to suit different budgets, from chic boutique hotels to exclusive villas on the beach
The city has a lot to offer, but it’s also a great base for day trips to the coast, mountains, nature reserves or winelands
Where to go in Cape Town
Less than an hour east from Cape Town lies a stunning countryside region where stately farm mansions look out over sweeping vineyards that meet the dramatic jagged mountainscapes of the Cape Fold range.
As the name suggests the district is primarily known for its wine production, a tradition that has existed here since the very first settlers came to the Cape more than 300 years ago. The region’s suited Mediterranean climate make it the largest wine producing region in South Africa and each year more than a million liters of wine is made here.
The epicenter of the Cape Winelands is the valleys that contain the towns of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl. Stellenbosch, South Africa’s second oldest town after Cape Town, is situated on the banks of the Eerste River at the foot of the impressive Cape Fold mountain range. Its streets are lined with oak trees and prime examples of colonial buildings in the Cape Dutch style. Although Stellenbosch is famous for its wine culture and being a university town, it also boasts a range of boutiques, art galleries and museums.
Franschhoek, which translates as “French Corner”, was established in the late 17th century as French Huguenot refugees settled in the area. They brought with them their knowledge of vine cultivation and their original farmlands went on to become world-renowned wine estates. The town boasts beautifully preserved Cape Dutch architecture, dozens of outstanding restaurants, boutiques and contemporary art galleries.
Budget-focused accommodation such as backpacker hostels are less plentiful in the Cape Winelands than in the more central areas of Cape Town, but the region offers superb accommodation ranging from mid-range self-catering villas to bespoke guest houses and exclusive villas on its various wine estates.
With its collection of world-class wine farms, the Cape Winelands is the country’s top region for wine tasting tours. The famous open-air Wine Tram, which transports passengers between wine estates, is one of the most unique ways of exploring the Franschhoek Valley.
Stellenbosch and Franschhoek play host to various annual festivals which are centered around the celebration of wine, champagne, art, literary and music.
Franschhoek is home to some of the country’s premier art galleries, especially those that feature contemporary South African art and ceramics.
Restaurants in Franschhoek and its surrounding wine estates rate amongst the best in the country and the town is often referred to as the food and wine capital of South Africa. Diners can look forward to exceptional cuisine featuring local favourite as well as international dishes.
The Cape Winelands are roughly 30 minutes from the nearest international airport and 45 minutes from Cape Town’s city center. Regular shuttle and taxi transfers are available while all major car rental companies have offices in both locations.
Several sightseeing bus tours and private tour operators offer day trips to the Cape Winelands departing from Cape Town. Combination trips to other noteworthy tourist destinations are possible too.
The Cape Winelands are notoriously hot in summer with average temperatures around 30C and some days as high as 40C. Bring appropriate light clothing, sunscreen and a hat.
Cape Town’s City Bowl gets its name from the natural amphitheatre shape created by the slopes of Table Mountain and the towering peaks on its flanks, called Devils Peak and Lions Head. In other words, the City Bowl is the city center and as any local will tell you, it is where you feel the beating pulse of Cape Town the strongest.
Apart from housing the city’s financial hub, the houses of parliament and one of Africa’s busiest harbors, the City Bowl is home to a diverse set of suburbs that each provide its own flair. The inner city is stacked with top restaurants, rooftop bars and local hangouts with some of the best found in Bree Street and Kloof Streets. Long Street in the heart of the city has a long standing reputation for being the heart of the party at night, but it also has a great variety of shops offering locally produced clothing, souvenirs and art.
The cobbled streets and colourful houses of Bo-Kaap are a popular photographic destination. District Six, a suburb that suffered forced the removal of residents during Apartheid, has seen a revival in recent years and now boasts a collection of trendy eateries, coffee shops, dive bars and artisan shops in streets favoured by graffiti artists. This street artform extends into the adjacent suburb of Woodstock, a neighbourhood synonymous with entrepreneurs, artisanal craft makers, designers and artists.
The City Bowl is home to some of the country’s top contemporary African and international art galleries and museums, all within walking distance from one another. For the history buff, the City Bowl offers a host of historical sites and museums such as the Zeitz Mocca, Castle of Good Hope, the Company Gardens, the District Six museum, the Isiko Slave Lodge and the Bo-Kaap museum that tell the tale of South Africa’s oldest city and its people.
The City Bowl offers an exceptional array of accommodation options suited to all budgets, ranging from 5-star luxury hotels and villas to intimate boutique hotels, B&B’s, self-catering apartments and backpacker hostels. The area is mostly favoured by urbanite couples, individuals and groups of friends who enjoy the bustle of inner city life.
While a visit to the top of Table Mountain via the scenic cable car is a must, there aren’t many major cities in the world that can boast with such an array of scenic hiking trails at its core than Cape Town. The curve of surrounding peaks – Signal Hill, Lions Head, Devils Peak and Table Mountain – all contain hikes of varying difficulty and each offers a different yet exceptional view of the cityscape below.
On the first Thursday of every month the art galleries in the City Bowl stay open until late for an event called First Thursdays. Bars and restaurants join in by opening up onto the sidewalk, often with live music performances and outdoor bars and food stalls, effectively turning the City Bowl into one big street party.
Cape Town’s very best gastronomic experiences can be found in the City Bowl. Whether you fancy a quick snack, pub grub and craft beer or the pinnacle of fine dining with a local twist, you’ll find it all and more here.
Night life in the City Bowl is exceptional with a vibrant collection of performance arts and movie theatres, live music lounges, dance clubs and boutique bars.
Cape Town city’s central district, known as the City Bowl, is only 25 minutes by car from Cape Town International Airport. Regular taxi and shuttle services connect to the city, while all major car rental companies have offices at the airport as well as in the City Bowl.
You do not necessarily need a vehicle to explore the City Bowl. In fact, navigating traffic and finding parking is a headache best avoided. Instead make use of the MyCity public bus network, hail a taxi or explore on foot.
Long before GPS was invented, the sailors of old returning from long sea voyages to the east confused this picturesque bay with the more famous Table Bay a bit further along the coast, thus giving False Bay its name.
False Bay is an immense C-shaped curve in the coastline to the southeast of Table Mountain. At its widest point it is a staggering 30km across the bay! It comes as no surprise then that the bay is littered with numerous long sandy beaches, some of which have managed to escape any form of urban development.
Tucked in the western corner of False Bay lies the quaint fishing village of Kalk Bay. Its harbor is a popular destination not only due to some excellent seafood restaurants but also for the local fishermen who sell their catch of the day straight off the boat. There are even a few resident Cape fur seals that have formed a unique bond with the fishermen, often posing together for photographs. On Kalk Bay’s main road is a fabulous assortment of art galleries, vintage bookshops, antique dealers and superb restaurants.
A few minutes up the road from Kalk Bay is the epicentre of Cape Town’s surf scene, Muizenberg. It is known for being a great training ground for anyone learning to surf and thus draws adventurous souls of all ages. Naturally, a laid-back surf culture exists in town and you’ll get a feel for the vibe on Surfer’s Corner, a seafront strip lined with restaurants, pubs and surf shops.
From Muizenberg, the beach runs uninterrupted for 40km along the inner curve of Table Bay, all the way to the Helderberg region which includes the towns of Somerset West, Strand and Gordon’s Bay. Somerset West, situated inland, is often seen as an off the beaten track destination with several hidden-gem wine farms. While Strand is the commercial hub of the area, Gordon’s Bay offers some small, yet scenic family-friendly beaches.
Muizenberg is regarded as one of South Africa’s top surfing spots since it has a very consistent swell, especially in the winter months. Conditions cater to all skill levels and several surf schools offer lessons for young and old.
Clarens Drive on the R44 road between Gordons Bay and Rooi-Els is a stunning coastal drive. The narrow 21km-long pass snakes along the coastline between the Atlantic Ocean and the towering Hottentots Holland mountains, offering spectacular views along the way.
Humpback, Bryde’s and Southern Right whales can be seen in False Bay during the late winter months when they migrate north to warmer climates.
A visit to the Kalk Bay harbor is a must. It’s a tradition to eat fish and chips here and watch the resident seals interact with the fishermen.
The Cheetah Outreach, a conservation initiative in Somerset West, offers the opportunity to get up close and personal with the fastest land animals on the planet.
By car, the western side of False Bay is about 50 minutes by car from Cape Town city center while the far eastern end (Rooi-Els) is 1h30 by car.
Public transport in False Bay is limited, therefore it is recommended to rent a vehicle if you intend to spend much time in the area.
The Cape Peninsula is rocky outcrop that reaches into the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean like a giant curved finger. At its southernmost point lies the Cape of Good Hope, so called because of the optimism it gave to early trading seafarers rounding the tip of Africa en route between Europe and the Far East.
Geographically speaking, the Cape Peninsula actually starts in Mouille Point near the city center of Cape Town, therefore encompassing the Atlantic Seaboard, with the Table Mountain range running the length of the 52km-long outcrop. Ask any local however and they’ll point you instead to the tip of the peninsula between Hout Bay and Simons Town, commonly known as the South Peninsula.
The South Peninsula is best known for Cape Point Nature Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site within the southern section of the Table Mountain National Park. The 77,5km2 reserve contains dramatic scenery of the Atlantic coastline, a number of pristine footprint-free beaches, several hiking trails and two lighthouses with incredible views of the peninsula’s southernmost point. You might even spot some game here – keep an eye out for zebra, eland, bontebok and ostrich.
The small-town feel of Noordhoek, Kommetjie and Scarborough on the western side of the peninsula is favoured by visitors who want to escape the busy suburbs and popular beaches of the city, while surfers are equally fond of the less crowded surfing conditions.
On the eastern side of the peninsula lies Simon’s Town, a historical maritime town and headquarters of the South African Navy. The town is steeped in centuries-old naval history and the picturesque St George’s Street is lined with preserved Dutch-style buildings now home to boutiques, eateries, antique shops and coffee shops.
The most famous attraction in Simon’s Town is the African penguin colony who call Boulder’s Beach their home. The beach is part of the national parks network and visitors can view the penguins from an elevated platform, or better yet, swim alongside them at the adjacent Foxy Beach.
During whale season from June to November, it is possible to spot migrating Humpback, Southern Right and Bryde’s whales rounding Cape Point. These gentle giants can also be spotted from elevated coastal vantage points like Boyes Drive and Chapmans Peak and Clarens Drive. For an up close and personal experience, boat trips are on offer from Simon’s Town harbour.
Chapmans Peak Drive on the western side of the Southern Peninsula sits right at the top of South Africa’s most scenic coastal drives. The pass in itself is a feat of engineering and the views will leave you breathless.
Boulders Beach in Simons Town is a protected coastal habitat for a resident penguin colony and one of the only places in the world where you can get close to African penguins. Swimming alongside these unique sea creatures is certainly a bucket list experience!
Cape Point is about 70km from the center of Cape Town and there is no public transport connection, so you’ll need to take a bus, taxi or self-drive to get there. The drive itself takes about an hour and a half. It is a great self-drive destination and a spectacular scenic drive that is best undertaken as a day trip. If you head out early, you can also visit some of the nearby coastal towns such as Hout Bay, Simon’s Town and Kalk Bay.
If you prefer not to self-drive, there are numerous sightseeing bus companies and private tour operators that offer half and full day sightseeing tours to the tip of the peninsula and its surrounding towns and points of interest.
The easiest way to understand where the southern suburbs are is to imagine Table Mountain in front of you: the southern suburbs are right behind the famous mountain. It contains nearly two dozen suburbs on either side of the M3 highway, all framed by the lush eastern slopes of the Table Mountain range.
The leafy suburb of Newlands, nestled on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, is one of the city’s greenest neighborhoods. It is known for being the home of two of South Africa’s favourite sports, cricket and rugby, with many nail biting matches taking place at the two stadiums.
The most famous destination in the Southern Suburbs is the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens that for more than a century has served as an important conservation area for some of South Africa’s most unique biomes. Its sprawling lawns, various indigenous gardens, hiking trails, restaurants, open-air concert stage and 130m-long treetop canopy walkway make it a popular year-round destination.
The “Boomslang” is an aerial walkway that snakes its way through the tree canopies in Kirstenbosch and affords visitors a completely new vista of the breathtaking gardens.
The Southern Suburbs also contain one of Cape Town’s more surprising features: it has a number of superb wine farms a mere 20 minutes from the city center. Situated in the suburb of Constantia are a collection of small wine estates, some of which are more than 300 years old. Apart from award-winning wines, you can also look forward to fine dining, quaint coffee shops and exclusive boutiques.
Holiday accommodation is plentiful in the southern suburbs and ranges from budget-conscious backpacker-style lodgings to superb guest houses, private home rentals and luxury 5-star hotels and wine estates. Solo travellers, families and couples alike will enjoy staying in this region. The southern suburbs enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere than Cape Town’s CBD, yet is close enough to the city center and the surrounding beaches for you to enjoy the best of both worlds.
The Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens Summer Sunset Concerts are a highlight on Cape Town’s social calendar. From November to March each year the venue hosts South Africa’s top musical acts as well as some internationally recognised artists.
The scenic Constantia Wine Route, a stone’s throw from the city center, has a portfolio of eight wine estates to visit including the oldest wine producer in the country, Groot Constantia.
The Baxter Theatre Centre in Rondebosch is a performing arts complex that hosts multicultural performances throughout the year. The Baxter is one of the cornerstones of South Africa’s performing art scene and well worth a visit.
In January South Africa’s oldest horse racing event, the Sun Met (formerly known as the J&B Met), takes place at the Kenilworth Racecourse. This prestigious event is not just an equestrian affair but is also an important soiree on the social calendar of the country’s grandest celebrities and fashionistas.
The southern suburbs are about 30 minutes’ drive from Cape Town International Airport and only 10 minutes from the city center. Regular taxi and shuttle services operate between the airport and the southern suburbs and all major car rental companies have offices in both locations.
If your stay is mainly in and around the southern suburbs, you might be better off making use of taxi services rather than renting a vehicle. Cape Town is a relatively small city yet quite congested, so traffic and parking can be a headache.
The moment you first experience the view from Table Bay you realise where it gets its name from: the sweeping curve of the coastline is framed by a postcard-perfect view of Table Mountain.
Table Bay is home to a seaside stretch of suburbs situated on the coastline north of Cape Town’s city center. Once you travel past the industrial neighborhoods of Paarden Eiland and Milnerton you find numerous picturesque beaches with the most popular destinations being those of Bloubergstrand and Big Bay. Both offer spectacular views of Table Mountain, especially at sunset. It is a popular destination for photographers as well as those looking for one of the most scenic sundowner spots in all of Cape Town.
Due to its regular windy days, Bloubergstrand is one of the country’s best kite and windsurfing spots. Several operators offer gear rental and lessons for all levels of experience and on windy days you’re likely to see the skies filled with colourful kites.
The charming seaside village of Melkbosstrand on the northern outskirts of Table Bay is worth a visit too. Several seaside restaurants offer exceptional seafood while the nearby Koeberg Nature Reserve and Grotto Bay have easy and scenic hiking trails.
The annual Red Bull King of the Air is held at Kite Beach in Table View from end of January through mid-February. The event draws hundreds of the world’s best wind and kite surfers and their colourful kites fill up the skies over the beach.
The links-style Milnerton Golf Club is incredibly scenic. Tucked between the Diep River and the Atlantic Ocean, nearly every hole offers scenic views of Table Mountain with the sound of the ocean waves only a stone’s throw away.
The South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) offers behind-the-scenes tours of their seabird rehabilitation centre in Tableview. It offers a unique experience to get up close and personal with these cute seabirds.
Table Bay is about 30 minutes by car from the nearest airport, Cape Town International. Regular shuttle and taxi services run from and to the airport and public transport connects Table Bay with Cape Town city centre. Renting a vehicle however is a good option if you plan to spend most of your time in Table Bay and surrounds.
If you are coming to surf, kiteboard or wind surf and have a bunch of gear, renting a vehicle is advised. Several car rental companies offer vehicles with roof racks and extra storage.
Table Bay is known for having very windy days as it is exposed to strong ‘southeaster’ winds, especially during the summer months from October to March. Keep that in mind if you plan to spend days on the beach here!
The Atlantic Seaboard is a narrow band of suburbs sandwiched between the Table Mountain range and the Atlantic Ocean on Cape Town’s western coastline. The area’s proximity to both the ocean and the inner city makes it a well-loved destination for locals and visitors alike.
Green Point is closest to Cape Town’s city center and is home to a world class sports stadium, several sports clubs and gymnasiums, a century-old golf course and a huge public park. Built in 1823, the eye-catching lighthouse at the northern edge of Green Point is the oldest operational lighthouse in South Africa.
Near the lighthouse starts a promenade that runs along the coast leading to the sea-facing suburb of Sea Point. The Sea Point Promenade is somewhat of an institution amongst Capetonians as its wide walkway and sprawling lawns are favoured by casual walkers, joggers, skaters, cyclists and dog-walkers alike.
The upmarket suburbs of Clifton and Camps Bay are not only home to the most luxurious and expensive real estate in the country, but also the city’s top-ranking beaches. Clifton has four beaches with crystal clear water, named 1st to 4th, that are shielded from the regular southeasterly wind making it a popular sunset destination. The white sandy beach at Camps Bay is wide and flat and bordered by a bustling promenade with excellent restaurants and cocktail bars.
About 10km south of Camps Bay lies the equally upmarket, but much more secluded suburb of Llandudno. Steep cliff sides hug a small but beautiful beach that’s popular among surfers and has a much more private feel than those further up the coastline. Llandudno is strictly residential, however, and there are no shops or restaurants to be found, so it’s best to bring a picnic basket for a day on the beach.
Finally, on the southernmost end of the Atlantic Seaboard lies the historic fishing village of Hout Bay, framed by a sharp mountain peak that juts up into the air like a rhino horn, called The Sentinel. Literally translated, Hout Bay means “Wood Bay”, so called because much of early Cape Town’s construction material was sourced in the area. Today Hout Bay offers visitors an excellent collection of seafood restaurants, bustling weekend markets and boat trips to Duiker Island, the home of a resident seal population.
Restaurants along the Atlantic Seaboard, particularly those in Camps Bay and Hout Bay, offer exceptional sea food menus coupled with quintessential seaside charm.
Cape Town’s premier beaches are found on the Atlantic Seaboard. The white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters of Clifton and Camp’s Bay are the most popular, but there are also many secluded spots like Beta Beach, Bakoven and Sandy Bay if you want to escape the crowds.
Accommodation in Camps Bay and Clifton are consistently rated as the most exclusive, luxurious and scenic in all of Cape Town. While renting here comes at a premium, you’ll experience the very best in accommodation that Cape Town has to offer.
Chapman’s Peak Drive, starting on the southern edge of Hout Bay, is world renowned for its scenic beauty and engineering achievement. Don’t forget to bring your camera!
The Atlantic Seaboard can be reached by a 30 minute car journey from Cape Town International Airport. All major car rental companies have counters at the airport and regular taxi and shuttle services offer transfers to any destination on the Atlantic Seaboard.
Unless you intend to drive out of Cape Town, renting a car isn’t necessary as getting around on the Atlantic Seaboard is often much more convenient by taxi than having to search for parking everywhere you go.
Book accommodation well in advance for the peak holiday seasons during December and January as the Atlantic Seaboard is a very popular destination.
The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, situated in the oldest operating harbor in Africa, is the most visited destination in all of South Africa. The waterfront attracts a staggering 24 million visitors annually! It’s hardly surprising when you consider its setting because this isn’t just any old fishy smelling, seagull-ridden harbor: The iconic flat-topped Table Mountain provides a most stunning backdrop for the various quays, canals and repurposed industrial buildings.
The V&A Waterfront, as it is more commonly known, is divided into nine precincts. The Quays District is the most visited area with its shopping centre of luxury brands, a collection of quay-side restaurants and outdoor entertainment areas that include an amphitheater, Ferris wheel and performance spots for various buskers.
The Dry Dock District is a close second with its indoor food market, the Watershed craft and design market, aquarium and popular comedy club. The nearby Silo District is home to a collection of designer outlets, prestigious hotels and Africa’s largest contemporary art museum, the Zeitz MOCAA. The recently opened Battery Park in the Canal District houses a piazza alongside a canal, a park and sports fields and offers watersports in the canals.
The V&A Waterfront is a well-loved destination for all types of travelers due to its central location and extensive collection of hotels, restaurants and retail outlets.
Various boat, yacht and ferry tours operate daily (weather dependent) from the V&A Waterfront. The most popular tours visit Robben Island where Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela was famously imprisoned for 18 years during Apartheid before becoming South Africa’s first democratically elected president.
The V&A Waterfront houses a collection of world-class museums, including the continent’s largest contemporary African art museum, the Zeitz MOCAA, the historical Robben Island museum, the Iziko Maritime Museum and the popular The Springbok Experience Rugby Museum.
Some of the city’s most prestigious hotels are situated in the V&A Waterfront. Stay here and you’ll not only experience the very best in hospitality, but you are also at the epicenter of Cape Town’s social hub.
A visit to the Two Oceans Aquarium is a must, especially for children. The aquarium is home to over 3000 sea creatures including sharks, sea turtles and penguins. Daily penguin feeding times, usually between 12h00 and 14h00, are particularly special and include an information session by the staff.
Scenic helicopter flights around Table Mountain and the Cape Peninsula depart from the V&A Waterfront.
From Cape Town International Airport a short 25-minute drive on the N2 highway delivers you straight to the V&A Waterfront. All major car rental companies have counters at the airport and regular shuttle, bus and taxi services connect directly to the V&A.
Unless you plan to drive often, or far out of Cape Town, a rental car is not necessary to get around the inner city effectively. The city has an extensive network of public buses, called MyCity, that regularly call at all points of interest. Alternatively, various taxi services provide the most instant transport from A to B.
The V&A Waterfront is at its busiest during the summer holiday season in December and January. While it is at its liveliest during this time with events, festivals, exhibitions, live music and art performances, you can also expect the Waterfront to be very crowded.
The month of January enjoys hot, sunny days with clear skies and plenty of daylight hours. Sunset is only after 8 pm! Daytime temperatures are in the mid to high 20’s, although it is not uncommon for temperatures to rise well over 30°C. Cape Town falls within a winter rainfall region, so this month is mostly dry. Expect the occasional (very) windy day.
The month of January is perfect for just about any outdoor activity. A day on the beach is the best way to enjoy the hot weather and a visit to Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town is particularly special since you might spot juvenile penguins.
January often experiences windy days, which is popular with kite-surfers in areas like Bloubergstrand. For calmer conditions, head for the picturesque beaches of Clifton where the coastline is sheltered from the wind.
Hiking trails on the Table Mountain range are best done early mornings when it is cooler, while sunset-picnics on Signal Hill are a treat.
In the evenings, movie lovers can look forward to the Galileo Open Air Cinema screenings at various venues around the city, including Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, the V&A Waterfront and the Cape Winelands.
The one of a kind Cape Town Minstrel Carnival, a colourful parade that dates back to the city’s slave era of the 1800s, takes place on the 2nd of January in the city center.
Pros and Cons
Long, warm and sunny days make exploring the city and surrounding areas a joy and Cape Town’s social scene blossoms in this period with a plethora of events and activities on offer. On the other hand, January is one of the busiest months of the year, so Cape Town gets crowded with visitors. Flights and accommodation are harder to find and more expensive.
February has hot and sunny days that often push temperatures over 30°C. Since this is the dry season and rain is scarce most days have clear blue skies but expect the occasional windy day. Evenings are generally mild and pleasant.
Wine aficionados have plenty to look forward to in February as two of the nation’s top wine regions, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, both host wine festivals in February.
With the holiday season in the rear view mirror, Cape Town’s beaches are less populated yet the weather is still perfect for a day by the sea.
The city center plays host to the acclaimed Cape Town Art Fair mid-month and the vibrant Cape Town Pride Festival at the end of the month.
Dance music lovers can look forward to the popular Cape Town Electronic Music Festival which takes place in various locations around the city.
By February the peak holiday season in Cape Town is over, school terms have resumed and residents are back at work, so popular destinations are less crowded and accommodation and flights are cheaper.
March has some of the best weather of the year since daytime temperatures are still balmy while the windy days of peak summertime fade away. Expect daytime temperatures in the mid 20’s, mild evenings and little to no rain.
March is a busy month for sports enthusiasts as Cape Town hosts the Cape Cycle Tour, Cape Epic and the Two Oceans Marathon.
The Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in the Southern Suburbs plays host to a series of much-loved open air summer sunset concerts.
The inner city hosts the colourful Cape Town Carnival as well as the International Jazz Festival at the international conference center.
Music lovers can look forward to the KDay Festival that takes place at Meerendal Estate near Durbanville.
The worldwide EDM festival, Ultra, comes to Cape Town in March. This popular event features a lineup of the world’s top dance music DJ’s.
March is much quieter than peak holiday season and flights and accommodation are cheaper. There aren’t many reasons not to visit Cape Town in March but do take into account that the city becomes very congested and sees road closures during the big sporting events this month.
The month of April sees autumn arrive in Cape Town and the heat and wind of the peak summer months disappear. Days are generally fair with clear skies and the average temperature in the low to mid 20’s. Evenings are generally mild and pleasant.
Hiking on the Table Mountain range is great this time of year since daytime temperatures are cooler and it’s not as windy.
The last of the open air Kirstenbosch Summer Concerts, featuring top local and international musical artists, take place during the month of April.
Various venues across Cape Town including the V&A Waterfront, Kirstenbosch and the Cape Winelands host the last of a summer-long series of popup movie screenings called the Galileo Open Air Cinema.
Accommodation prices are lower at this time of the year, the weather is cooler but not yet rainy and Cape Town sees fewer tourists. Try to avoid Easter Weekend towards the end of the month when Cape Town is a popular destination for locals.
Winter arrives in Cape Town, but not with great force as the city experiences a fairly mild winter. Daytime temperatures average just below the 20°C mark while evenings can drop to around 10°C. Expect some cloudy and rainy days.
In response to the colder weather Cape Town moves its social scene indoors. It is the perfect time to explore indoor markets, live music nights, theatre performances and classic movie screenings at the iconic Labia Theatre.
The Cape Town Big Band Jazz Festival takes place at the end of the month at the Baxter Theatre in Rondebosch.
In the Cape Winelands Stellenbosch hosts the annual Oyster & Bubbly festival while the Franschhoek Literary Festival is centered around writers, classical concerts and fine dining.
The cooler weather and coming winter mean there aren’t many outdoor activities, but Cape Town makes up for it with great indoor events. Accommodation and flights are generally at their cheapest around this time of the year.
June is the first proper winter month in Cape Town and sees chilly, rainy and windy days. Daytime temperatures only occasionally climb above 20°C and evenings are usually wet and cold.
Where to Go
The whale watching season starts in June when the gentle ocean giants migrate north to warmer climates. Sightings are best in False Bay, Gansbaai and the town of Hermanus, about 1 hour from Cape Town.
Robertson in the Cape Winelands hosts a popular wine festival at the start of the month called the Wacky Wine Weekend.
Experienced surfers prefer Muizenberg in winter as the waves are best this time of the year.
While outdoor activities are limited by cold weather, Cape Town’s social scene is still buzzing with plenty of indoor events. If you can handle the colder weather you’ll save with lower accommodation and flight prices too.
Winter is at its peak in the month of July with daytime temperatures on most days struggling to exceed 20, although you might encounter the occasional mild day. Evening temperatures can drop below 10 and you can expect a fair bit of rain and wind too.
On rainy days visits to the Two Oceans Aquarium, Zeitz Mocaa and the Cape Town Comedy Club in the V&A Waterfront make for a great day out, as do craft beer tastings in Newlands or wine tastings in the Cape Winelands and Constantia.
In rebellion against the cold weather restaurants across the city turn cozy with roaring fireplaces at night with live music offerings to warm those cold bones. Evenings at the Labia, Artscape or Fugard theatres are a treat and throughout the month of July the Baxter Theatre in Rondebosch hosts a comedy festival, called the Funny Festival.
The Cape Winelands town of Franschhoek celebrates its French roots with Bastille Day on the 14th of July.
Cold, wet and windy weather lessen the city’s outdoor activities and events, but Capetonians have long since learned to simply move the vibe indoors. Local schools have their winter holidays at the end of the month which leads to crowds at popular tourist destinations.
August sees the last of the winter rains with some wet and windy days, although sunny days with clear skies are not uncommon. Daytime temperatures hover around 20°C while evenings are chilly.
Towards the end of the month, the Flower Season arrives with the first hint of Spring. The best region for seeing colorful wildflower displays is along Table Bay and northward up the West Coast.
Migrating Southern Right, Bryde’s and Humpback whales can be spotted in the waters of False Bay, Gansbaai or Hermanus (1h from Cape Town).
Pros and Cons
The weather can be unpleasant, with some days experiencing four seasons in a day. However, August is a quieter time in Cape Town and less populated by visitors which means flights and accommodation is cheaper.
Spring officially arrives in Cape Town on the 1st of September and you can expect mild days with average temperatures in the low to mid-20’s. Rainy days are fewer but evenings can still get chilly.
Springtime brings with it a stunning burst of flowers that turn the landscape into a sweeping kaleidoscope of colour. The best regions for the flower season are on the northwestern coastline, but good floral displays can also be seen along the West Coast an hour outside Cape Town.
The Cape Winelands celebrate spring mid-month with the two-day Franschhoek Uncorked Festival, while venues all over Cape Town’s metropole plays host performance arts during the Cape Town Fringe Festival
September is peak whale watching season. The quint town of Hermanus, the country’s top whale watching destination, hosts the popular annual Whale Festival at the end of the month.
Pros and Cons
September is a great time to visit Cape Town, but the weather might not let you fully enjoy the beaches just yet. Local schools have a week-long break at the end of the month which brings more visitors to the city’s tourist attractions.
October enjoys very mild weather with daytime temperatures hovering around the low to mid 20’s. A few rainy days may be expected while evenings are still cool, but not too cold.
In the first week of October one of South Africa’s top outdoor music festivals, Rocking the Daisies, takes place just outside the city. The lineup draws top international and local musos.
Whale watching is good during the month of October. Keep an eye out for these sea creatures in the waters of False Bay, or take a day trip out to the town of Hermanus further north.
Pros and Cons
October often has beautiful mild and sunny days perfect for the beach and outdoor activities and since it’s not yet peak season you won’t find many tourists around. Accommodation and flights are also cheaper.
In November things start hotting up as summertime arrives in Cape Town. Days are generally hot with clear skies and temperatures often climb over 30°C. Rain is scarce and evenings are warm and pleasant.
November is a great time to visit Cape Town’s best beaches, especially those of Clifton and Camps Bay, before the peak holiday season in December.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens host the much-loved Summer Sunset Concerts series that sees top local musicians and international guests perform on an open-air stage.
The Wavescape Surf & Ocean festival takes place at various venues around the city. The festival focuses on ocean-conscious events with local and international movie screenings, beach cleanups, art exhibitions and informational courses.
Pros and Cons
In November you get all of the great summer weather but much fewer visitors at popular tourist sites. There’s not much of a downside to visiting Cape Town this month and you might even grab some accommodation specials before the peak holiday season truly kicks in.
In December Cape Town experiences its hottest weather with daytime temperatures often rising into the mid 30’s. Expect hot and cloudless days, long daytime hours, warm nights and little to no rain. December sees the occasional very windy day.
The warm weather makes Cape Town’s beaches by far the most popular summertime destination. Outdoor activities on Table Mountain and visits to Cape Point are equally great during this month.
On New Year’s Eve, the whole of Cape Town is abuzz with celebration and you’ll find events on the beaches, at restaurants, dance clubs and rooftop bars in the city. The biggest all-day event takes place in the V&A Waterfront which builds up to a spectacular fireworks display at midnight.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens plays host to a series of open-air music shows, called the Summer Sunset Concerts, featuring top local musos and a handful of international artists.
Various venues across Cape Town including the V&A Waterfront, Kirstenbosch and the Cape Winelands play host to a summer-long series of popup movie screenings called the Galileo Open Air Cinema.
Pros and Cons
Cape Town is alive with events, festivals, concerts and loads of outdoor activities. Unfortunately, the holiday season also draws thousands of visitors to the city and its surrounding areas. Restaurants are packed, accommodation is harder to find and more expensive, as are flights.
Go wine tasting in Kirstenbosch, Durbanville, Stellenboch and Franschhoek
The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, Table Bay Harbour, Cape Town City, and Table Mountain.
The local currency is the South African Rand (ZAR). There are numerous currency exchange outlets and the main credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, Amex and Diners) are normally accepted everywhere.
Most petrol stations and toll roads take credit cards, but always have a small amount of cash on you for tips etc. Numerous ATMs can be found in all the big towns.
Most lodges and hotels will have safes for your valuables either in your room or at the reception.
Electricity in Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and in most of the continent is 220/240 volts.
Most safari lodges and camps are not connected to an electrical supply. Solar lighting (backed up by batteries) is common, with many lodges having a generator, which runs part of the day (morning and late evening when guests are out on their activities).
Lanterns also provide light at night. In many camps running on solar power, you will not be able to use a hairdryer.
Your adventure in the colourful Bo-Kaap starts with a photographic walking tour before enticing you into the kitchen to cook a traditional Cape Malay meal.
The Bo-Kaap at the foot of Signal Hill in central Cape Town is known for its photogenic brightly coloured houses and cobbled streets. This is the spiritual home of the Cape’s Muslim community. There are many Muslim kramats (shrines) and beautiful mosques, including the first Muslim mosque in South Africa, but there is a blend of cultures.
Many residents are descendants of slaves from Malaysia, Indonesia and various African countries who were imported to the Cape of Good Hope by the Dutch in the 16th and 17th centuries. The area is often called the Cape Malay Quarter.
Cape Malay Cuisine makes use of aromatic spices and herbs. Over 300 years ago the Malay slaves brought fragrance and flavour to the Cape and to their foods, which combine fruit, vegetables and meat with the spices.
Embark on a two-hour walking tour around the Bo-Kaap with your own personal photo-coach. You’ll photograph colourful street scenes and enjoy panoramic views of Table Mountain, Cape Town and Table Bay. From beginners needing advice on camera settings to advanced photographers seeking technical photographic skills, the Bo-Kaap is a photographic delight.
After your photographic walking tour, the scent of aromatic spices will lead you to the kitchen of one of the local homes, where you’ll learn to cook, photograph and enjoy a traditional Cape Malay meal.
Cycle through the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, hike from the Cape Point lighthouse and visit a penguin colony – a fun day on the Cape Peninsula.
On this full-day Cape Peninsula tour you’ll follow the Atlantic coast past Clifton, Camps Bay and Llandudno to the fishing village of Hout Bay, where you have the option of doing a 30-minute boat cruise to Duiker Island (which many people also calle Seal Island) to visit a Cape fur seal colony.
Then it’s over scenic Chapman’s Peak Drive, through Noordhoek, Kommetjie and Scarborough to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. Get out of the bus and on to a mountain bike to smell the sea air and see the flowers. You can cycle as much or as little as you like – the support van is always nearby.
For more fresh air, take the 30-minute cliff-top hike from Cape Point, where the two lighthouses are, to the Cape of Good Hope, which is the most south-westerly point of Africa.
Enjoy a picnic lunch in the reserve and return to the city centre via the False Bay coast to visit a rare colony of African penguins at Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town.
See the towering headland known as Cape Point, magnificent beaches, breathtaking views from Chapman’s Peak Drive, Simon’s Town and Kirstenbosch Gardens in a single day.
The Cape Peninsula, which stretches from the city centre to Cape Point, is one of the world’s most scenic areas. Your exploration starts at 8:30am, taking you along along the Atlantic Seaboard via Sea Point, Clifton and Camps Bay, and stopping at a Llandudno look-out point before continuing to the quaint village and fishing harbour of Hout Bay with its magnificent mountain views and beach. Here you can take a boat trip to Duiker Island, which many people call Seal Island (optional).
Go over Chapman’s Peak, one of the world’s most breathtaking coastal drives, to Cape Point and the Good Hope Nature Reserve, where you’ll find magnificent fynbos vegetation, birdlife, zebra and endemic antelope species, historic lighthouses and shipwrecks. Cape Point is perceived to be the meeting point of the Atlantic and Indian oceans.
After lunch at Cape Point (for your own account), you’ll head up the Indian Ocean side of the peninsula to Simon’s Town, which has charming Victorian architecture, a naval base and a large African penguin colony at Boulders Beach.
After one last stop, at the world-renowned Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, the tour ends at ± 5:30pm.
Visit Table Mountain, the Castle of Good Hope, Company Gardens, Greenmarket Square and the V&A Waterfront as well as the Bo-Kaap and District Six Museum.
Experience a full day in the Mother City with a private guide, visiting star attractions like the world-famous Table Mountain as well as lesser-known places like the Adderley Street flower market and the Eastern Food Bazaar.
The Mother City’s Central Business District is the heart of Cape Town with a vibrant soul and a multitude of attractions and activities. We can amend this full-day private tour of Table Mountain and Cape Town City Centre to suit your needs.
Standing on top of Table Mountain – one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World – is a must. There are options of taking the Cable Car to the top or even an epic hike (and cable car down), but we can facilitate getting your tickets in advance to avoid the queues.
The Castle of Good Hope is Cape Town’s oldest remaining building, and here history comes alive. The fort walls tell a story of 350 years of tumultuous history and successive colonial occupations.
Other sights and sounds include the District Six Museum, Greenmarket Square, the SA Museum and the Company Gardens, the Bo-Kaap (the colourful Muslim quarter), Signal Hill and the Waterfront.
Gain insight into South Africa’s past and present by visiting District Six, Langa and other Cape Town townships, including a ferry ride to Robben Island.
This full-day tour combines the richness of township life, with an insight into the daily lives of many South Africans as you interact with people from different cultures and communities. Witness everyday life in a harsh environment which tells of the people’s struggles, hopes and achievements. See why 27 April 1994, the first democratic elections, was such an important day in South Africa.
Round off your cultural experience by visiting Robben Island in the afternoon. This is where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. You’ll get there by ferry and an ex-political prisoner will take you on a guided tour, which includes a visit to Mandela’s cell.
The full day tour begins in District Six, where you’ll see the oldest mosque in South Africa. District Six was once home to thousands of people of various cultures.
You’ll visit Langa, the oldest formal black township in Cape Town, see the local market and art and crafts centre, and visit a traditional healer. You’ll experience the warm hospitality of a local B&B and a crèche offering fun and a safe haven for the local children. You’ll also visit Bonteheuwel, Nyanga, Crossroads, Khayelitsha and Gugulethu, where you’ll see the Gugulethu Seven Memorial and the Amy Biehl Memorial.
Cape Town has millions of people living in townships and you’ll have the chance to interact with some of them, leaving with a greater understanding of how each of these townships contributes in its own way to the Rainbow Nation.
In the afternoon, board the Robben Island ferry and enjoy spectacular views of Cape Town and Table Mountain as you sail across the bay to an island so full of history. Please note that the Robben Island part of the tour is subject to weather, ferry schedule and seat availability.
Handy tip: Sun protection, protective clothing and preventative treatment against sea sickness are advisable.
If you’re young at heart and love the outdoors, go on a biking tour to experience Cape wine country from a different point of view.
Visit up to four first-class Stellenbosch wine estates, situated 50 kilometres outside Cape Town. Access is by quiet tree-lined streets and private farm roads that take riders through vineyards, with dazzling views along the way.
A cycling tour that embodies the culture and spirit of adventure in the Cape Winelands, Bikes ‘n Wines caters for all ages and fitness levels, offering personalised tours as well as adventures for private and corporate groups.
There are eight options so you can find one that suits you best.
1. Stellenbosch City Cruise: 20km
A fully guided cycle around the historic town of Stellenbosch. Learn about the history and culture of the City of Oaks from our experienced tour guides. Tour includes a visit to two award-winning wineries.
2. Family Ride: 8km
Guided tour through the Winelands, with tastings from two superb wineries and a brandy distillery for mom and dad. Our qualified guides are on hand to ensure the safety and security of children, while allowing mom and dad freedom to enjoy themselves.
3. Vineyard Meander: 9km
A tour for those who want a more relaxed pace and to spend the day absorbing their surroundings. Tour includes a visit to two wineries and an award-winning brandy distillery.
4. Adventure Ride: 21km
Tour for the young at heart! Enjoy cycling along private farm roads, with panoramic views of the Winelands. Tour includes a visit to four wine estates and a stop for a wholesome farm-style lunch en route. Please note that basic cycling fitness is required for this route.
5. Platinum Package: 15km
An elite package offering you a visit to three wineries and a brandy distillery, where you will get to thieve directly from a barrel and indulge in a decadent brandy, coffee and chocolate pairing.
6. Bottelary Hills Guided MTB Ride
Three hours of sublime mountain biking on jeep track, single track, through the vineyards and gravel forestry roads. This fully guided tour is for the mountain biker who would like a taste of what the Winelands have to offer.
7. Honeymoon Package
Private tour through the Winelands, stopping at three wineries and a brandy distillery. Visit cellars that are still using old-fashioned techniques of wine making and thieve wine directly from the barrel. Includes a picnic lunch and ends of with a complimentary bottle of South Africa’s version of champagne, Méthode Cap Classique.
8. Scenic 2 Day Tour
This two-day, one-night tour includes all meals and accommodation on one of the wine estates, where you’ll wake up to breathtaking views and not want to leave.
Charge your camera batteries: the Cape Winelands are among the most beautiful places you’ll ever photograph.
On this photographic tour of the Winelands, you’ll visit the historical towns of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl. You’ll photograph a variety of wine farms, concentrating on the elements that make a good landscape photograph – and of course you’ll enjoy wine tasting too.
The itinerary of the tour may be adapted to suit your interests. Please let us know if there’s a particular type of photography you enjoy, and we’ll customise a tour especially for you.
Stellenbosch is dominated by the soaring peaks of the Hottentots-Holland mountain range and is the largest and most established of all the Cape Winelands. The town, with its oak-lined streets and historical Cape Dutch buildings, is also known as Die Eike Stad (the town of oaks). You’ll visit a Stellenbosch winery for a tasting, and then spend some time photographing the historical farm buildings and beautiful gardens.
Franschhoek (French corner) has strong French influences due to the French Huguenots who came here to escape religious persecution in the 17th century. The little town has earned a reputation as the Gourmet Capital of South Africa, and for this reason you’ll have lunch here.
Paarl is South Africa’s third-oldest town and derives its name from the massive, rounded granite rocks directly to the west of town, which an early explorer saw glistening like pearls after a rainstorm. Paarl is the Dutch word for pearl.
Travel in a chauffeur-driven World War II vintage sidecar to the best wine estates in the heart of the Cape Winelands.
Do something different and visit Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek in the Cape Winelands in a chauffeur-driven sidecar. Enjoy wine tastings and a cellar tour without having to worry about drinking and driving. Feel like king of the road as superb mountain ranges, lush vineyards and Cape Dutch homesteads roll by.
From Cape Town you’ll take a leisurely drive towards the historical town of Stellenbosch. After a pleasant stroll through the town centre, it’s over the Helshoogte Mountain pass for a wine tasting at Tokara Wine Estate with its sweeping views across the valley.
After the tastings, load up your wine purchases in the sidecar and continue along the Helshoogte Pass to Boschendal Wine Estate for a cellar tour and wine tasting under the shady oak trees.
Then you’ll continue to Franschhoek, which dates back to the 17th century when the French Huguenots arrived. Billed as the Gourmet Capital of South Africa, this charming town in a pretty valley has French flair to complement the artistry of its chefs and winemakers. Take some time to enjoy the culinary skills of the chefs at one of the many award-winning restaurants (not included in the cost).
After lunch you’ll continue towards Paarl and Backsberg Wine Estate where you’ll have time to enjoy a wine tasting, meander through the cellar and relax in the beautiful garden. Then it’s back on the sidecar for a leisurely return to the city with Table Mountain bathed in afternoon sunlight.
The City Sightseeing hop-on hop-off tour bus experience happens from open top buses that allow you to experience the sights, sounds, colours and rich heritage of the city.
In Cape Town, you can visit Cape Town’s Groot Constantia, Constantia Bay and Eagles Nest to name a few, or choose to experience the vibrant city of Joburg’s attractions that begin at the Gautrain Park Station. With a tour guide on the bus throughout the tour, you are sure to experience an informative tour filled with fun and laughter.
Sit back, relax and enjoy night-time screenings of killer flicks in an outdoor setting. Galileo Open Air Cinema gives you a weekly dose of classics, drama and action movies. These after-sunset, summertime screenings can happen at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, the V&A Waterfront, in the Cape Winelands and at Hillcrest Quarry. With a bucket full of popcorn and fine wine (which you’re more than welcome to bring with you). If you’d prefer to buy food at the venue, Argies, the Mexican Nacho, Maggino Bros and the Daily Grind will be on site to satisfy your grumbly-tummy needs.It’s the perfect what-should-we-do-tonight place to gather with family or friends to enjoy a new-age drive-in concept, where your cinema’s roof provides more stars than the movie does.
See the spectacular breaching behaviour of great white sharks as they hunt for Cape fur seals in False Bay, or go cage diving to get up close.
Great white shark diving and viewing expeditions operating out of Simon’s Town harbour on the Cape Peninsula are designed to show you some of the most spectacular behaviour seen anywhere in the animal kingdom, and to educate you on the white shark behaviour you’ll see at Seal Island. Seal Island has become world-famous for its breaching great whites that hunt some of the 64,000 Cape fur seals that live there.
You can also go cage diving to see the sharks up close.
All companies and boats comply with all safety requirements. They take small groups of 6–12 people to enhance your experience of seeing great white sharks and in an uncrowded environment. The crews can interact easily with guests and share their knowledge.
Note that these excursions are seasonal and weather dependent.
Great white shark morning trip
The main focus of the morning tour is on a natural interaction with the sharks. We try to treat these animals with the respect they deserve and to share our passion for them with you.
Great white shark afternoon trip
As with trips offered at Gansbaai, the sole focus of this afternoon trip is cage diving and surface viewing. Although you stand a chance of seeing the natural predation and breaching, this behaviour mostly takes place in the early morning so your chances of viewing this aren’t as good as on the morning excursion. But cage diving and surface viewing are more than enough to get you excited.
Enjoy the electric atmosphere of a passion-filled summer concert in the most relaxed setting you can imagine.
If you’re in Cape Town between November and April, then you simply have to attend at least one of the Kirstenbosch Summer Concerts. It’s where families, friends and musos gather to enjoy soul-moving beats in a botanical garden setting – picnic basket close at hand.
The Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens setting lends to an extremely unique venue, where the arena’s walls are made of trees and mountain, not brick and mortar.
Expect sweet sounds of everything from jazz, to rock to fill the amphitheatre from passionate performances from both local and international artists.
Spend a late summer afternoon unwinding with good food, great friends, and even better music while soaking up the atmosphere of an outdoor musical concert you’re not going to forget in a while.
If the idea of a day outdoors surrounded by nature as you hike up a mountain gets you excited, you’ll love these guided day hikes.
Discover the magic of Cape Town’s Table Mountain and surrounds while hiking with our experienced nature guides who will interpret the wonders of the unique Cape Floral Kingdom and regale you with stories of local legends. Find out what it feels like to experience one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
Routes can be tailor-made to your hiking experience and preferences, and we can take you hiking anywhere on the Peninsula – from Table Mountain to the Kalk Bay mountains and caves, Muizenberg Peak or in the Silvermine area.
To give you an idea of what hiking Table Mountain is like, here are some of the popular Table Mountain hikes.
Tranquility Cracks (± 5-8 hours)
This includes hiking to Tranquility Cracks on the 12 Apostles (Camps Bay) side of the mountain, which is a great spot to explore rock formations and where you’ll have lunch. On this route you’ll stop where the Old Cableway used to be before carrying on up through the Valley of Isolation for more beautiful rock formations, and up the back of Table Mountain where you’ll descend on the Cableway. This is 7-8 hours of hiking. If this is too much, we can do a shortened version on a circular route that’s only 5 hours of hiking.
Kasteelspoort: (± 5 hours)
This is another hike up the 12 Apostles (Camps Bay) side of the mountain, closer to the back of Table Mountain. It’s a straightforward hike all the way to the Cable Car, where you’ll descend and taxi back to our vehicle at the starting point.
India Venster: (± 3-4 hours)
This is a hike on the front side of Table Mountain with beautiful views of the city below. It’s an enjoyable hike but only for those without a fear of heights because there are some parts with a bit of exposure. It’s an adventurous hike with some rock scrambling, using your arms and legs to pull yourself up at times. It’s not a hard hike but it does have a few parts where you may have a problem if you’re afraid of heights. It takes about 3–4 hours to get to the top, from where you’ll descend on the Cable Car.
Skeleton Gorge: (± 5 hours)
This hike starts in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and climbs up Skeleton Gorge through indigenous forest. At the top you can see the Hely-Hutchinson dam, over to Maclear’s Beacon – the highest point on Table Mountain – and across to the Cable Car, which you’ll take down the mountain. This route could also be made into a circular route, coming back into Kirstenbosch rather than going down the Cableway. Whichever way you decide, the hike is about 5 hours.
All guided day hikes include:
Qualified hiking guide
All guided day hikes exclude:
Table Mountain Cableway fee
Lunchbox, snacks, and water for the day
Combine whale watching in the little town of Hermanus in Walker Bay with wine tasting in the green and beautiful Hemel en Aarde Valley.
Marvel at the scenery on Clarens Drive, a coastal road that gives spectacular views of False Bay. When you arrive in the holiday town of Hermanus, dubbed the whale-watching capital of South Africa, you’ll search for whales from the cliffs. This tour operates only during whale season from July to November. There’s no guarantee you’ll see whales, but your guide will make every effort to find the best viewing point. There may be an opportunity to join boat-based whale watching (for your own account and subject to availability and weather).
Then you’ll go to the Hemel en Aarde (Heaven and Earth) Valley for a wine tasting at Bouchard Finlayson wine estate. The estate is closed on Sundays, but a visit to the cheetah sanctuary will be included instead, if time permits.
Relax with a cup of tea (for your own account) at a farm stall where you can find natural preserves, jams with a difference, and delicious pastries. Then return to Cape Town over Sir Lowry’s Pass and enjoy the views of long white sandy beaches stretching along the False Bay coastline. On a clear day you can see Cape Point.
Whether you’re a discerning tippler or simply game for a day out in wine country, come along to enjoy wine tasting, vineyards and history.
This tour takes you to the best wine estates around Cape Town, including Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek. It starts at 8:30am as you head north to one of the Cape’s first farming districts – Paarl. Your first stop of the morning is a local wine estate for a cheese and wine tasting.
You’ll continue to Franschhoek with a photo stop at Groot Drakenstein Prison, where Nelson Mandela was released in February 1990. The village of Franschhoek, nestled among the mountains, could be mistaken for Switzerland, but its influence and style are French. It dates back to the 17th century when the French Huguenots arrived. It has a reputation as the Gourmet Capital of South Africa. After a short tour of the town, you’ll have your second wine tasting, followed by a lunch stop (optional – own account) and maybe a chance to try some of the fresh trout Franschhoek is known for.
After lunch the tour continues over the Helshoogte Mountain Pass to Stellenbosch – the heart of the South African wine industry. Walk down canal-lined avenues in the shade of giant oak trees and see well-preserved historic buildings. Coffee shops, galleries, antique shops and wine bars spill onto the sidewalks. Here you’ll enjoy your final wine tasting of the day, time permitting.
Return to the bustle of city life and your hotel at about 5:30pm.
While Cape Town undoubtedly is home to some of the most luxurious hotels, guest houses and private villas in the country, it is arguably an even more superb holiday destination for the mid-range traveler. Who needs personal butlers and room service anyway when you have Table Mountain in your backyard and the Atlantic Ocean on your doorstep?
In fact, you’ll get the most value for your money by traveling in the way most South Africans prefer to: by self-driving and self-catering some or most of the time. Rental cars are very reasonably priced and by self-driving you’ll enjoy the freedom exploring of Cape Town at your own pace. It is certainly the best way to discover the city’s hidden beaches, spectacular coastal drives and nature reserves. However, it is recommended to make use of some of the many organised tours on offer. Several operators offer combination tours to the city’s top sights that not only come at a discount, but also maximises your sightseeing itinerary.
Although Cape Town has many highly rated mid-range hotels, the city also offers a multitude of self-catering accommodation across its suburbs, ranging from loft-style apartments in the city centre to entire freestanding houses near the beach. Grocery stores are found in every suburb and cater for every dietary requirement, although if you prefer not to cook the city is saturated with affordable restaurants offering an exceptional range of local and international dishes.
Eating out is somewhat of an institution in Cape Town, so you’re bound to make some new friends and suss out the best eateries in no time. And don’t overlook food markets as they offer a family friendly atmosphere, live music and exceptional food. No hot dog stands here!
Plan your travels in the off-season when both flight and accommodation prices in the city are lower. Peak holiday season is in the summer months of December and January, but the milder weather of autumn and spring make it an equally great time for a visit.
The suburbs on the Atlantic Seaboard, the Southern Peninsula and in Table Bay are your best bet for comfort at an affordable rate, not to mention escape from the bustle in the inner city. Accommodation here tends to be more spacious and well suited to groups or families.
Getting around the central parts of Cape Town in a public or app-based taxi service is quicker and more convenient than driving. For multi-day visits to the regions further out like the Cape Winelands and the Southern Peninsula, renting a car is your best bet.
There are two distinct features that make Cape Town a great destination for travelers on a budget: its location and its size. The city’s setting, at the foot of Table Mountain with the Atlantic Ocean sweeping around the coastline and the Cape Winelands to the east, offers near infinite outdoor destinations that won’t cost you a cent. The places that do charge, however, like the conservation areas within the Table Mountain National Park and protected coastal areas like Boulders Beach, are relatively cheap and well worth the contribution towards conservation when you consider the unique experience it offers.
Perhaps also due to the lay of the land Cape Town’s suburbs are relatively close to one another. For instance, if you plan to stay in the City Bowl, Atlantic Seaboard or the Southern Suburbs , you can quite easily and cheaply travel between these suburbs by public transport or taxi. In areas further out like Table Bay, False Bay and the Southern Peninsula, renting a car is more convenient as public transport routes are less prolific. The major car rental companies all offer vehicles in ‘compact’ or ‘mini’ categories that don’t break the bank, while several smaller agencies specialize specifically in cheap car hire.
Accommodation options are plentiful throughout greater Cape Town. The City Bowl, Atlantic Seaboard and the Southern Suburbs are littered with backpacker hostels, guest houses and self-catering apartments favoured by solo travelers or couples for it’s proximity to the hive of activity in the center of town. The more spacious accommodation closer to the beach fronts of Table Bay and the Cape Peninsula is preferred by families and those looking for a more relaxed seaside atmosphere.
Cape Town has a wide range of affordable restaurants, although alternating eating out with self-catering or visits to one of the many food markets around the city will stretch your funds for longer. As for drinks, stay clear of the city’s trendy pubs and boutique bars and instead head for the hangouts preferred by the locals where drinks are less expensive.
Plan your visit in the months before (September to November) or after the peak holiday season (February to April) when flights and accommodation are cheaper, but the weather is still pleasant.
Hop On-Hop Off sightseeing bus routes cover all the major tourist destinations in greater Cape Town and the Cape Winelands, with some tour options even including city walking tours and canal cruises in the V&A Waterfront. It is a great cost and time effective way to make the most out of your visit to the city.
If your visit includes Cape Town’s outer regions, split your transport use between public and taxi services in the city center and a rental car for outings further afield.
When it comes to luxurious urban destinations on the African continent, the magnificent megalopolis of Cape Town tops the list hands down. Not only does it feature every amenity and luxury you’d expect from a sophisticated world city, but it’s stunning natural setting has won it several international top-destination awards.
While every main suburb in Cape Town offers luxury hotels, boutique hotels and exclusive guest houses, there are a few regions that stand out from the rest. The famous V&A Waterfront is home to some of the best 5-star hotels in the country and it’s proximity to equally exceptional restaurants, bespoke retail outlets, health spas, theatres and art galleries make it one of the most popular destinations for the discerning traveler.
Ask any Capetonian about the pinnacle of luxury living and they’ll point over Table Mountain to the affluent seaside suburbs of Clifton and Camps Bay. If you’re looking for your very own Hollywood-style home, set in a stunning neighborhood overlooking the city’s premier beachfront, this is the place to be.
The leafy neighborhoods of the Southern Suburbs offer a more relaxed setting on the beautiful eastern slopes of Table Mountain. The area is less busy than the city centre, yet close to all major tourist attractions.
For the ultimate in countryside luxury, the grandiose wine farms of Cape Winelands and Constantia offer exclusive living amongst the oldest vineyards in South Africa, not to mention the country’s finest wine collections and some of the best local restaurants.
Cape Town’s outdoor experiences come with a touch of flair too. Private helicopter flights offer scenic trips over the Cape Peninsula, Robben Island, Constantia and the Cape Winelands. If you prefer to take things a little slower, why not take a hot air balloon ride over the sprawling vineyards of the Winelands region, or charter a private yacht in the V&A Waterfront for a leisurely day out on the Atlantic Ocean.
Cape Town International Airport is centrally located and road transfers to the city’s premier hotels take less than 30 minutes. All major hotels, luxury lodges and wine farms offer shuttles to and from the airport.
If you would rather not deal with traffic, or just want to see Cape Town in all its glory from above one last time before heading home, helicopter transfers to and from the airport operate from the V&A Waterfront.
Several bespoke car rental companies in Cape Town offer high-end luxury sports cars, convertibles, executive SUV and motorcycles. Your rental may include drop-off and pick-ups at the airport or your accommodation and chauffeur services are available too.
Combine your trip to Cape Town with visits to some of Southern Africa’s other top destinations like the Kruger National Park, Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls, Botswana’s Chobe National Park, Namibia’s Namib Desert and Mozambique’s Bazaruto Island. Several bespoke travel agencies and luxury hotels offer tailor-made packages.
On the southern tip of Africa sits an almost impossibly picturesque city at the foot of a great flat mountain. The thriving waters of the Atlantic Ocean wash onto its stunning beaches, as pristine today as when the first Europeans set foot on them hundreds of years ago. Little did those early explorers realise this spot would become the birthplace of a country and many of its peoples and cultures. It’s no wonder Cape Town is affectionately known by its inhabitants as the Mother City.
The very first mention of the Cape in the annals of history was by the Portuguese explorer Bartholomeus Diaz who in 1488 found the oceans offshore very unforgiving, dubbing the peninsula the Cape of Storms. Subsequent Portuguese sailors came to view it in a more positive light as it became an important landmark on their sea journeys between Europe and the East, thus renaming it the Cape of Good Hope.
In 1652 the Dutch explorer Jan van Riebeeck established a trading post here to serve as a way station for trade routes. He built the first settlement, planted a range of useful crops and before long an economy grew into what became known as Cape Town. The very, very abbreviated historical record of the next 300 years tells that the Cape kept expanding, although not without a fair share of political and social conflict, into what today is one of the most culturally diverse cities in Africa.
Cape Town’s diversity extends to its natural environment too. In fact, the prominent landscape is the most striking feature that makes the city one of a kind. The iconic flat-topped Table Mountain dominating the city skyline is world-renowned as a symbol of South Africa, but it is also home to an important biosphere. The whole of the Table Mountain range, including the rocky Cape Point peninsula to the south, is protected as a national park and contains rich vegetation types including unique fynbos, renosterveld, Afromontane forests, rivers, fountains and wetlands.
Healthy populations of fauna are present too, although you won’t find the Big Five here. Keep an eye out instead for the tiny klipspringer, cute rock hyrax (or “dassie” in the local tongue) or cheeky chacma baboons. On the peninsula larger antelope like eland, red hartebeest and bontebok roam and you might even spot a Cape mountain zebra or two.
The oceans of the Cape Peninsula are incredibly rich and diverse. It sustains a thriving fishing trade as well as playing an important role in tourism. Cape fur seals are abundant and bottlenose dolphins are often spotted surfing in the waves around the peninsula. Migrating Southern Right, Blyde’s and Humpback whales breed in the area during the late winter months and the infamous great white shark can be spotted, especially in False Bay to the southeast of the city.
The suburbs of Cape Town are equally diverse thanks to the lay of the land. The inner city is relatively small and surrounded by the peaks of Table Mountain, Devils Peak and Lions Head which separates it from the Atlantic Seaboard, a long stretch of seaside suburbs overlooking the ocean. The eastern slopes of Table Mountain see a lot of precipitation, turning the leafy neighborhoods of the Southern Suburbs vibrant and lush year-round.
To the south the rocky tip of the peninsula culminates at Cape Point, an important landmark for early seafarers and now a protected nature reserve. Bookending the peninsula to the north and east are the panoramic coastlines of Table Bay and False Bay, both home to a number of quaint fishing towns. Finally, to the interior the sweeping vineyards of the Cape Winelands are home to the oldest and most prestigious wine farms in all the land.
Now, with such an impressive resume, only one question remains: where to first?
Imagine if you could escape with a loved one to a place where you can watch the sunrise from the top of a mountain before having breakfast in Africa’s oldest harbour.
You then spend the rest of the morning sunbathing on a beach populated by wild penguins, grab lunch at a boutique bistro and taste globally acclaimed wines at a wine estate in the afternoon.
Dinner is served in an intimate 5-star restaurant followed by cocktails at a rooftop bar overlooking the shimmering lights of the cityscape. Couples are spoilt for choice when it comes to romantic spots to celebrate love on a Cape Town honeymoon.
Cape Town has a reputation for being an excellent destination for couples. Firstly, it is a relatively small city with great transportation networks and an international airport only 30 minutes from the city centre, meaning accessibility to any destination in greater Cape Town is quick and easy.
All major car rental companies have counters at the airport and self-driving is a popular option that gives couples the freedom to explore the city and its surrounding areas. If you’d rather not deal with traffic on your Cape Town honeymoon it is quite feasible to get around Cape Town using a combination of public transport services and private taxi’s.
Secondly, the city’s location, tucked between the Table Mountain range and the Atlantic Ocean, provides scenic settings for accommodation, restaurants and cocktail bars in pretty much every suburb. In fact, nature is seamlessly integrated into Cape Town and nature-lovers can look forward to more outdoor destinations and activities than you are likely to fit into a single holiday.
Cape Town’s mountains are filled with dozens of hiking trails, mountain biking and rock climbing routes while the coastline is dotted with exceptional surf breaks, wind and kitesurfing beaches and underwater dive sites. If you really want the adrenaline pumping on your honeymoon in Cape Town you can also paraglide, go shark cage diving or take a helicopter flight over the city.
The budget-conscious couple might choose to stay at one of the various self-catering chalets, guest houses or hotels in the city and self-drive to destinations further out on the Cape Peninsula. However, for the ultimate in privacy and luxury on your Cape Town honeymoon, look no further than the exceptional 5-star hotels in the V&A Waterfront, Clifton, Camps Bay and Constantia.
For a more relaxed seaside village feel the suburbs of the Southern Peninsula are a popular option on a Cape Town honeymoon.
• Use an app-based taxi service to move around the inner city. If you plan on exploring outside the city centre of Cape Town, renting a car is advisable.
• The ultimate in private luxury villas are found in Clifton and Camps Bay with unparalleled panoramic views over the city’s premier beaches and sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean.
• Combine a trip to Cape Town with a visit to one or more of Southern Africa’s other top attractions like the Kruger National Park, Victoria Falls and Mauritius. Several hotels, lodges and tour operators offer such combo packages for couples for their honeymoon.
Cape Town is arguably the most popular family-friendly holiday destination in all of South Africa for locals and international visitors alike. The city’s collection of stellar beaches, mountain ranges, botanical gardens and urban parks offer plenty of outdoor activities while the various museums, theatres and entertainment centers provide plenty to do when the weather is miserable.
Accommodation suited to families is plentiful in all of Cape Town’s suburbs, with many establishments catering specifically for groups. Your family’s interests and age groups play a role in which region you should consider.
The inner city, called the City Bowl, is filled with vibrant and trendy neighborhoods packed with busy shops, markets, museums, rooftop bars, restaurants and nightclubs that appeal strongest to urbanites and young adults. That being said, the inner city shouldn’t be overlooked as it still offers plenty of family-friendly destinations and quieter, more spacious accommodation options are available in the suburbs on the upper slopes of the mountain such as Tamboerskloof, Gardens, Oranjezicht and Vredehoek.
The V&A Waterfront is a popular destination for its central location in the city. The harbor and canals offer a variety of outdoor family-orientated activities like kayaking, paddleboarding and even pirate-themed boat trips, while the quaysides host year-round entertainment in the form of exhibitions, concerts, festivals and more. The much-loved Two Oceans Aquarium is one of Cape Town’s top destinations for families and should not to be missed.
Clifton and Camps Bay are affluent seaside suburbs and home to the city’s top beaches, beachfront restaurants, cocktail bars and the best ocean sunset views. Accommodation here is both popular and pricey, but if glamorous living is what you’re after there is no better place in Cape Town. Teenagers are especially fond of this area for a good reason. After all, this is where the rich and famous hang out.
For a more relaxed seaside village feel the suburbs of the Southern Peninsula are a popular option. Here families can enjoy less crowded beachfront, roads, shops and restaurants while accommodation is generally cheaper and more spacious.
Getting around Cape Town city by public transport and taxi is easy, but a rental car may be more convenient for exploring the outer regions as a family. You can pick up a rental at the airport, only about 20 minutes from the city center, or in the city center itself.
Make use of the Hop on-Hop off sightseeing bus routes that operate between all the major tourist attractions of greater Cape Town. It is an excellent way of exploring the city as a family and makes moving between destinations as a group hassle-free.
South Africa’s peak holiday season is during the summer school holidays over December and January. Accommodation and flights are cheaper in the months before and after, while Cape Town is less crowded and the weather is still pleasant.
Cape Town ranks among the best cities in the world for solo travelers. It is a truly multicultural city since it is not only home to a melting pot of local peoples and cultures, as Cape Town also sees a steady influx of international visitors year-round.
Getting to the city is a breeze: it is only 25 minutes from the nearest international airport. Once within the city, most major attractions are virtually on your doorstep and getting around is easy. In the inner city, public transport routes and taxi services are reliable, while in the outer regions a rental car is a better option.
If you want to have your finger on the heartbeat of the city, look for accommodation in the City Bowl. Here you’ll be within walking distance of retail outlets, grocery stores, museums, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. The nearby suburbs of Green Point and Sea Point are equally favoured by solo travelers for their proximity to the city, as is the leafy neighborhoods of the Southern Suburbs.
If instead your internal rhythm flows with the ebb and flow of the ocean, consider Sea Point, Camps Bay, Hout Bay, Kalk Bay, Muizenberg or Blouberg where you can feel the sea breeze and hear the sound of waves breaking through your windows. While being slightly more removed from major tourist attractions, these regions have more close-knit seaside communities and relaxed atmospheres.
You do not need a vehicle if you are staying within the City Bowl, Atlantic Seaboard and the Southern Suburbs as it is a relatively small area and tourist destinations are close together. Save yourself the headache of dealing with traffic and parking – instead make use of public transport and taxi services.
If you plan on exploring greater Cape Town, such as the Cape Winelands, False Bay and the Southern Peninsula, consider renting a vehicle. In these areas traffic is less congested you are likely to travel farther distances between destinations. Besides, some of the most scenic roads can be found here and therefore self-driving is the way to go.
A myriad of operators offer sightseeing tours, wine, beer and gin tastings, outdoor activities and cultural experience in and around the city. These are great options for the solo traveler as you’ll get to meet locals and fellow travelers alike while maximizing your itinerary in Cape Town.
South Africa has an unfortunate reputation for being unsafe, although in reality the statistics are often exaggerated. However, as a solo traveler you should still apply common pre-emptive safety measures when visiting Cape Town. It is not advised to hike alone in the mountains nor in less populated areas at night.