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 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.