Everything You Need To Know Before Visiting Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town

Cape Town is a beautiful coastal city in South Africa. As the capital of the Western Cape Province and the legislative capital of South Africa, it is considered one of the most beautiful and populous cities in Africa and is famous for its harbor, natural settings, and unique tourist attractions.

It was named the best place in the world to visit in 2014 by British Daily Telegraph and the New York Times.

Notwithstanding the high rate of crime in South Africa, it is perfectly possible to have an enjoyable visit to Cape Town while taking certain safety precautions such as restricting movement in unknown areas after dark and generally staying safe.

Cape Town has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate with an average temperature of 20 degrees in the summer months which fall between December and February, and an average temperature of 20-25 degrees during the winter months which fall between the months of June to August. Autumn season is one of the most beautiful seasonal periods and it falls between March and April.

 

1. Transportation Guide for Cape Town

By Air

Cape Town International Airport is the second largest airport in South Africa and many airlines offer direct flights to Cape Town from different locations across the globe. All airlines operating within South Africa fly to Cape Town. There are shuttles services, taxis, and metered cabs available to transport you to and from the airport.

By Train

The metro rail network connects Cape Town Central Business District to the suburbs. There are two classes on this train service which are MetroPlus and Metro. Due to safety concerns, it is advisable to purchase a MetroPlus class ticket, which is more comfortable and less crowded. Tickets can be purchased at railway stations for the daily, weekly or monthly travel pass.

More information can be obtained here.

Buses

Visitors who wish to travel by bus can use MyCiti bus transportation service which operates between Cape Town Civic Center Station in Central Cape Town, The V& A Waterfront and Cape Town Airport. The bus uses electronic card system and is well maintained.

For more information about MyCiti bus service and timetable, click here.

Car/Taxi

The easiest way to get around the city is by car hire and Cape Town has good roads. There are also many car rental services one can patronize. There are metered taxis available in Cape Town with fixed prices per kilometer which is usually about R15-R25. It is also possible to negotiate a fixed price with the driver where your journey is further from the city center.

Uber service is also a convenient option in Cape Town.

2. Accommodation Guide for Cape Town

There is a variety of accommodation to choose from in the city, ranging from luxury accommodation to hostels. Most tourists prefer to stay in the city centre for easy access to the places of interests. City Bowl is the heart of the City and this name was inspired due to the surrounding mountains. For an amazing view of the city and harbor, choose an accommodation on the mountain slopes of the suburbs of Oranjezicht, Higgovale, and Tamboerskloof. All are close to restaurants and bars, as well as the city center, beaches, shops, and transport.

The suburbs offer less expensive accommodation and serene environment compared to Central Cape Town. Some of the suggested areas in the suburbs are Simon’s Town, the Winelands, Muizenberg Fish Hoek and Camps Bay.

Take advantage of Airbnb service and book a home that meets your needs.

3. Gourmet Guide (food and drinks)

South African cuisine is largely dominated by meat. Eating meat even has a ritual significance in both traditional and modern South African culture.

The V & A Waterfront is a major tourist attraction and offers a wide range of some of Cape Town’s best restaurants where you can wine and dine.

Campus Bay offers some amazing restaurants and bars. The Codfather Seafood & Sushi is a must visit in the area. They have an amazing menu of fresh fish, delectable shellfish and innovative sushi.

For a fine dining experience, visit Grand Roche hotel in Paarl.

Long Street is another area with a variety of street cafes, bars, and restaurants to choose from. This area is one of the most energetic streets in Cape Town due to its vibrant nightlife.

A trip to the Cape Winelands Region to explore fine wine, great food, and the amazing scenery is an experience every visitor to Cape Town should have. Several tour companies offer full day Winelands guided tour of to region.

Other than the good wine and good food there is so much more to be enjoyed in this part of South Africa which is about 1 hour drive from the city center. The area is popularly known as the South African Culinary capital and most visitors prefer to stay in this area and explore the region.

 

4. Things to do in Cape Town

Visit Robben Island

This is a World Heritage Site and a popular tourist destination located off the coast of Cape Town. The island which was a location where political prisoners were held, offers an insight to the history of South Africa during the apartheid days. The island is accessed by boat. Ferries depart from Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V & A Waterfront and the tour is an average of 3.5 hours including the ferry ride from the island.

Take the Cable car to the top of the Table Mountain           

The Table Mountain is a famous tourist attraction in South Africa and forms part of the Table Mountain National Park. No visit to Cape Town is complete without a visit to the top of the mountain. This iconic site can be accessed using the cable car or hiking to the top. Tickets can be purchased at the station.

Go on a Wine Tasting Tour

South African wine is famous worldwide and Cape Town is home to some of the best wine vineyards. There are various companies that offer wine tasting tours, so you should find a reliable one with a knowledgeable tour guide and explore Stellenbosh, Paarl and Franschhoesk region for an amazing experience. You can also purchase some wine as it is cheaper to buy here or anywhere in South Africa.

Cape Trio Tours is a recommended tour company that offers private as well as group wine tasting tours.

Explore Victoria and Alfred Waterfront.

Th V & A Waterfront is a popular shopping and entertainment destination. It home to the best of Cape Town’s shopping, entertainment, and dining with a wide variety of restaurants, stores and numerous activities to explore.

Hop on/hop off buses are available from the V & A waterfront with different routes which is a great way to see the city.

Take a Free Tour of the South African Parliament

Learn about South Africa’s history and its governance by taking a free tour of the Parliament. Here, you will visit the National Assembly, the National Council of Provinces and the old apartheid-era assembly which is now only used for caucus and committee meetings.

Explore Boulders Beach                            

This beach forms part of the Table Mountain National Park and is located in the Cape Peninsula, near Simon’s Town. It is a popular tourist destination and home to a colony of African penguins. Visitors can relax and enjoy amazing views as well as swim, although swimming is restricted to beaches adjacent to the penguin colony.

Explore the Green Market Square.

Here visitors can purchase African souvenirs, crafts and curios.

And if you visit Cape Town in December, do not miss the Cap Classique &  Champagne Festival in Franschoek.

Have you visited Cape Town before? Share your Cape Town experience with us

 

Read More: My Experience in South Africa

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