If you are thinking of traveling to Cape Town,South Africa , you are in the right place. One of South Africa‘s most beautiful port cities, Cape Town is world-renowned for its incredible attractions, cosmopolitan lifestyle, natural wonders, wildlife and, of course, friendly people. With a population of 4 million, the city is also the capital of the Western Cape Region. It is the city with the most seats in the South African Parliament. Cape Town is famous for the Cape of Good Hope, Table Mountain and its harbour, the southernmost point in Africa.
South Africa’s oldest urban settlement is located here. In the city known as the Mother City, you can come across a 600 million year old mountain and 5 million year old fossil remains. According to records, the earliest communities in Cape Town lived at the foot of Table Mountain 27,000 years ago. The oldest known community is the San tribe, which is believed to have migrated from the south about 2,000 years ago.
Where Is Cape Town?
Let us share with you some of the things you need to know when traveling to Cape Town. Cape Town, located in the Western Cape region of the Republic of South Africa, is also the capital of the region. Cape Town, a port city, is the southernmost city on the African Continent.
When To Go To Cape Town?
There are two suitable periods to travel to Cape Town. The first of these is the autumn season, which includes the months of March, April and May. With the month of March, the crowd of the busy summer season begins to decrease. In March and April, events such as the Two Oceans Marathon, the Cape Town Cycle Tour and Easter Weekend attract many local and foreign tourists.
It should be noted that if your visit coincides with these activities, flight and accommodation fees will increase. Temperatures during these months range from 15 to 27 degrees Celsius. Cape Town, which experiences the first signs of winter in April, rains six days in this month. In the autumn season, when there are no sweltering temperatures and crowds, the weather starts to cool down significantly in May. While temperatures ranging from 13 to 22 degrees are seen, nine days in a month are rainy.
The biggest advantage of visiting Cape Town in May is the easy access to major attractions due to the rarity of tourists. If you want to enjoy a budget-friendly holiday, you can visit Cape Town in the autumn season.
Another ideal tourism season is spring. Whale season begins in this period when the effects of the winter season are gradually lost. You can have the opportunity to see the whales and you can see the beautiful wildflowers in this season. In the first months of spring, when temperatures average 15 degrees, the days start to get longer and great music festivals are organized.
Although the crowded and expensive summer months are not recommended, Cape Town literally comes to life in this season. On days when long and warm breezes blow, people almost compete with each other to go to beaches, tourist attractions, festivals and events. Food and wine festivals, outdoor music shows, and beach parties are among the lively summer activities. In the summer months, when there is no rain, the temperatures vary between 17 and 28 degrees. The summer season in Cape Town is December, January and February.
Where to Stay in Cape Town? – Cape Town Regions
Cape Town mainly consists of 6 large regions. These 6 regions also have sub-regions. The City Bowl is the area considered the city center. It is a region where you can easily reach and find hotels suitable for every budget. The Sea Point area is a very upscale area located on the seafront of the city. We can say that it is a wealthy region both as a hotel and as a residential area.
Gardens, Camps Bay and Green Point areas can be counted among the most crowded areas of the city. These are the regions where shopping and dining options are plentiful.
Places To Visit In Cape Town
Cape Town, the southernmost city in Africa, is a historical city that has been the subject of freedom struggles, as well as a wonderful destination famous for its natural beauties. There are dozens of historical artifacts and natural wonders in the city that are worth visiting.
Table Mountain, the city’s best-known landmark, is located south of the city centre. Table Mountain National Park, which earned its name for its unique, flat-topped shape, is the most popular attraction, which also includes other tourist attractions such as Boulders Beach and the Cape of Good Hope. You have countless alternatives to experience Table Mountain. Adventurous travelers can climb to the top on the trails that run along the mountain. However, due to the weather conditions of the region, your walk may be muddy.
Therefore, you can go up the mountain by cable car. These suspended cable cars rotate 360 degrees, giving passengers magnificent views of the city and ocean. The round trip fee for the cable car is approximately 175 South African rand. Table Mountain is the perfect destination for photography enthusiasts to capture stunning views.
South Africa today has a thriving wine industry. The Constantia Valley, where wine production in the country begins, is located to the south of the city centre. In addition to its wineries, the area is famous for its oak-lined streets and stunning historic mansions. Dessert wines produced at Groot Constantia, the oldest vineyard here, have been admired by names like Napoleon Bonaparte and Jane Austin. You can try the most beautiful wines in the tasting rooms and enjoy the wonderful views.
You may need a vehicle to tour the valley, but if you just want to explore the surrounding landscapes, you can also walk around. To visit the other nine wineries in the region and participate in wine tasting events, you need to join the tours. Don’t leave without buying South African wine as a gift for your loved ones.
Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is an event-filled attraction around the clock. Built by Queen Victoria’s second son, Alfred, in the late 19th century, this bustling port has been a stopping point for European sailors for centuries. The port, which has become an important tourism spot today, dominates the unique views of both Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean. You can spend time in various shopping centers and restaurants here, or you can visit attractions such as the Two Oceans Aquarium.
You can join whale watching tours in the aquarium. In this place, which has wonderful sunset views, you can have the opportunity to have fun with beautiful music at the entertainment events organized on the ships after the sun goes down. You can reach here by public transportation from Cape Town Harbor Metrorail Station.
Located in False Bay, this magnificent beach is named after the massive cliffs with private coves and peaceful shorelines. Swimming in Boulders Beach, which has warmer waters than Atlantic waves, is more inviting than swimming in Clifton or Camps Bay. In addition to its wonderful landscapes, its most attractive feature is that it is home to a growing colony of African penguins.
You can get close enough to the penguins to take their pictures. Boulders Beach, part of Table Mountain National Park, is located approximately 26 km south of Cape Town city centre. You can reach the beach near Simon’s Town by metro.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
Located on the eastern slope of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens welcomes thousands of tourists from all over the world each year to explore the 89-hectare gardens. Kirstenbosch is home to more than 7000 endemic species, many of which are rare or threatened. In addition to colorful plants, there are also eye-catching sculptures in the garden.
Before you start visiting the botanical garden with its stunning and well-kept paths, you can get a map from the Kirstenbosch office and visit this flower paradise in no time. You should definitely visit this Cape Town wonder, where you will be alone with the lush nature at the foot of the perfect view of Table Mountain.
Robben Island in Table Bay was used as a brutal prison for nearly 400 years. It is known that Nelson Mandela spent 18 years in a small cell here, during times of intense racism. Today, the island, which is on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List, is a must-see for anyone interested in the history of South Africa. Tours to the island from the V&A Waterfront take approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour. Visitors can tour the maximum security prison, Mandela’s cell, and the lime kiln where inmates were forced to work.
Perhaps the most crucial part of the tour is that the tour guides are ex-convicts. You can better understand Nelson Mandela’s struggle for freedom thanks to the guides who share their painful experiences on Robben Island. For island tours, you need to book in advance.
Cape Of Good Hope
About 60 km from Cape Town, Cape of Good Hope is located at the southernmost tip of Table Mountain National Park and is part of the Cape Floral Region, one of the richest flora areas in the UNESCO World Heritage List. In the Cape of Good Hope, the southernmost point of the African Continent, there are 250 bird species, as well as deer, Cape zebra, various reptiles and baboon tribes. Here, a paradise for photography enthusiasts, you can go up to the lighthouse and catch wonderful views.
You can do many activities here. You can observe the whales and examine the shipwrecks on the beach. You should definitely visit this wonderful destination where the Indian and Atlantic ocean waters mix. On the way to the Cape of Good Hope, you can witness the amazing penguin sights on the way and watch the incredible performances of the surf enthusiasts.
Known as the Malay Quarter, Bo-Kaap is a colorful enclave not far from central Cape Town. Brightly painted unique houses and cobbled streets, some of which date back to the 18th century, make for spectacular photographic sights for visitors. Bo-Kaap is a multicultural neighborhood that reflects the Islamic life in the region with the Bo-Kaap Museum, as well as having mosques and tombs for Muslims.
You can also see the 19th century furniture found in Cape Town houses of the period in the museum. Malaysian and Indonesian immigrants usually live in this cozy neighborhood, which you can easily explore on foot. You can reach Bo-Kaap, located at the foot of Signal Hill, which is easily noticed in Cape Town, by taking a taxi from the city center. If you are visiting in the evening, be careful.
Cape of Good Hope Castle
This star-shaped castle in the heart of Cape Town is the oldest building in South Africa. The oldest surviving colonial building in the country, this fort was built in 1666 by the Dutch East India Company to supply ships with supplies. The castle, which was used as the administrative and military center of the Dutch colony in Cape Town, also hosts several museums.
While you can learn about the history of the city at the Military Museum, you can examine historical paintings and antique furniture at the Iziko Museum. It may be of interest to you if you time your visit to coincide with the key ceremony hours when the cue ball is detonated.
Two Oceans Aquarium
If you are visiting Cape Town with children, Two Oceans Aquarium is one of the places you should definitely visit. Located at the V&A Waterfront, the meeting point of the Atlantic and Indian oceans, this aquarium contains more than 3,000 creatures, including penguins, sharks and turtles. You can witness the different types of wildlife that inhabit these two oceans. The aquarium consists of seven different exhibits.
The most interesting ones are the Predator Exhibit, where three female sharks live, the River Meander Exhibit, where African black-footed penguins live, and the Kelp Forest Exhibit, which is home to shoals of silverfish shining in the sunlight.
Transportation In Cape Town
When you travel to Cape Town, you should also know how to get there. Cape Town has a very colorful and diverse transportation system to get around the city. Cape Town rail services are known as Metrorail. Trains run through the scenic southern neighborhoods to the central business district. Although it is the cheapest and most practical way to travel long distances, sometimes there may be disruptions in the voyages.
Metro lines, which have recently undergone a significant renovation with great financial support, provide a more reliable and efficient service. In addition, you can travel cheaper by buying weekly tickets.
Another popular means of transportation in the city is minibuses. Minibuses that can carry up to 15 passengers serve on predetermined routes. There are many stations for you to take the minibuses, which are the fastest way to reach a point. However, you can also take any minibus that passes over the road.
Two companies operate within Cape Town’s bus network: Golden Arrow Buses and MyCiTi Buses. Golden Arrow is the largest bus company in the state and has routes that cover most of the city. To get on the Golden Arrow buses, you just have to wait at the yellow bus stops along the way. MyCiTi buses, on the other hand, is a company that was established recently to ease transportation in the city.
MyCiTi vehicles in blue operate similarly to trams and have stops in the middle of the main roads in the city.
Taxis operating 24 hours a day are the best option to go to special destinations. There are many taxi companies in Cape Town, each with competitive prices.
Cape Town Cuisine
Your trip to Cape Town continues, if you can’t decide what to eat, then it’s time to talk about what to eat in Cape Town. South African traditional dishes and cuisine were heavily influenced by the cooking styles of slaves brought from Malaysia and Java. The dominant spices of the cuisine include curry, ginger, nutmeg and pepper. Mainly chicken, tomato, lemon, beans, corn and beans are used in the dishes. South Africans generally like to eat out. They enjoy lunch or dinner cooked over a fireplace. In the country where the barbecue culture is quite common, you can find a grill on the porch of almost every house.
Potjiekos is one of the most famous dishes in Cape Town cuisine, where meat and meat products are frequently consumed. You should definitely try this dish, which is made by cooking meat and vegetables in an iron casserole and then cooking over coal fire. Ostrich meat is also one of the most commonly consumed meat, as it has low cholesterol and high protein.
Vetkoek, which is a kind of dough ball, is also worth trying. You can find these dough balls made by deep frying everywhere. Favorite fillings include spicy ground beef, apricot jam and grated cheese. Boerewors, which is indispensable for hangover breakfasts and braai feasts, which means South African barbecue, is one of the rare foods that can appeal to everyone’s taste.
You can enjoy this hot dog dish served with fried onions and lots of sauce on a soft wrap at The Grillhouse in Rosebank or Fireside Bistro in Norwood.
It would be impossible to come to Cape Town and not go back without eating interesting and delicious South African desserts. Milk-flavored cake melktert, apricot-flavored cake malva pudding usually served with custard, and braided donut koeksisters are among the desserts you must try.
Cape Town has many restaurants where you can eat delicious local food. You can choose Moyo restaurant in Big Bay, which has a magnificent view of Table Mountain and an outdoor experience. Jonkershuis, located in Groot Constantia, one of Cape Town’s most famous wineries, is just one of the restaurants that uses Cape Malay-style cooking and will not disappoint you. Located in an old farmhouse, Ons Huisie is the place to go for those who want a different experience.
This restaurant, where you can eat delicious seafood, is located on the shore of Small Bay and has a beer garden with views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Shopping in Cape Town
Wouldn’t you like to beautify your Cape Town trip with shopping? You can have a great South African shopping experience in Cape Town. You will witness a diverse shopping life, from luxury boutiques and malls to exclusive shopping tours and markets. The V&A Waterfront is South Africa’s most popular shopping district, with more than 450 stores selling almost everything, especially fashion, household goods, jewelry and technology.
Another favorite point of shopping in Cape Town is the city centre. There are dozens of boutique shops where you can find items from handmade clothing to high-end African art in the region, which has relatively low rents. You can start from Long Street, which will make you feel that you are in Africa. You can continue your shopping on Bree Street, which is a slightly longer street. The city center is an indispensable shopping destination for curious and adventurous tourists.
You can enjoy the local shopping experience in Green Market Square, where a wide range of products are offered. You can go to Chandler’s House down Church Street and buy locally produced artistic products, antiques, textiles and interesting decorations.
If you are looking for a more local shopping experience in Cape Town, you should go to the local markets set up throughout the city. Oranjezicht City Farm, one of the fantastic markets established in the city, is set up every Saturday in the Granger Bay area on the Waterfront. It is a real farmer’s market where local agricultural products are sold. You can find everything from seasonal fruits and vegetables to flowers and homemade food here. A great option especially for vegetarians. This marketplace is famous for offering all kinds of food.
With more than 100 stalls, a fish factory and a stage for live music performances, The Bay Harbor Market is a popular marketplace among locals and tourists alike. This market, which serves a wide range from food stalls to handicraft stalls, is set up every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
There are many souvenirs reflecting the South African culture in Cape Town. African Continent-shaped necklaces are one of them. You should definitely drink and buy rooibos tea, which Africans call red bush tea and which is an endemic species. Kalahari salt is one of the most popular products for tourists. You can make your Cape Town shopping immortal by buying wooden spoons called Zulu and Old World wines that Napoleon was a fan of.
Cape Town Nightlife
Cape Town has many bars, clubs and restaurants that support a vibrant nightlife and offer a variety of flavors. While bars stay open until late at night, clubs usually open towards midnight. Promising an incredible nightlife compared to other cities in Africa, it is possible to find entertainment options appealing to all segments of the city.
Cape Town has five main nightlife districts. Victoria Road in Camps Bay, known as the sunset strip, is one of them. It is one of the rare places where you can enjoy the sunset in the best way with your cold beer. Long Street is another increasingly popular entertainment district with a large African crowd and backpackers. You can come across many bars and clubs on the left and right while walking this colorful street where you can come across an event every day of the week.
Located parallel to Long Street, Bree Street is in a great location for those who want to explore both areas. You can also find luxury restaurants in this area with modern and cool bars. Other regions where entertainment life is intense in Cape Town are Kloof, Waterkant and Green Point.
If you want to spend a quality nightlife, you can go to Asoka on Kloof Street. You can spend quality time with music in this lounge-bar, where you can have nice drinks before or after your meal. This place, which is mostly preferred by adults, is an Asian-style entertainment place. If you like to dance, Fiction may be the best option in town. The venue, which has a large dance floor, has a beautiful terrace overlooking the entire view of Long Street.
With four branches in the CBD but located on its flagship Kloof Street, Yours Truly is a place that is constantly busy with events. This cozy bar is especially popular with locals. Up Yours is Kloof Street’s only rooftop bar, which hosts various DJs and musicians every weekend. The Beerhouse, which has the widest variety of beers in the city, is another popular entertainment center that is constantly stocked with 99 types of beer. We recommend that you book a table on the balcony as this place on Long Street has a very noisy atmosphere.
If you are looking for a nice atmosphere place with a great interior design, Tjing Tjing Rooftop Bar is for you. Housed in an 181-year-old wooden building, this place has a relaxing ambiance that plays great tunes. Madison Avenue is one of the most popular nightclubs in the city center. This ultra-luxurious nightclub consists of six bars, two dance floors and a VIP area.
Shimmy Beach Club on the Waterfront is a world-class beach club with its own beach, large terrace and champagne bar. You can have an unforgettable experience by going to Grand West Casino, one of the most famous casinos in the city. In addition to eating and drinking options, it also offers entertainment in its own bar. When you travel to Cape Town, do not leave without tasting the nightlife!
Cape Town Festivals
Known as the sports, arts, food and cultural center of South Africa, Cape Town always hosts various festivals, concerts and sporting events. If you are into theatre, cycling, music, wine tasting, shopping or sports, this is the city for you.
Cape Town Funny Festival: You can attend this festival held in July and August at the Baxter Theatre. You can watch the stage shows of talented comedians from all over the world.
Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts: At these summer concerts held in Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, you can have fun as you wish, accompanied by breathtaking views. Concerts are held every Sunday from November to April.
Cape Town Tattoo Expo: You can see the innovative tattoo techniques of international artists at the event held at Cape Town City Hall. If you want to spend a day full of fine arts, you can attend this event on March 24-26.
Cape Town Cycle Tour: This tour, attended by 35 thousand cyclists, may be a bicycle tour with the most beautiful views in the world. It is held on March 11 every year.
Cape Town Public Holidays
- 1 January: New Year
- 21 March: Human Rights Day
- March 30: Good Friday
- April 2: Family Day
- April 27: Freedom Day
- May 1: Labor Day
- 16 June: Youth Day
- August 9: National Women’s Day
- September 24: Heritage Day
- December 16: Day of Reconciliation and Peace
- 17 December: Public Holiday
- December 25: Christmas
- 26 December: Goodwill Day
Useful Information for Cape Town
- Police: 10111
- Ambulance: 10177
- Fire Brigade: 107