Are you ready for the ultimate thrill? Then pack your bags and head to Cape Town, the most exciting destination in South Africa.
Here are ten must-sees and dos when there:
Explore the history and culture of Robben Island.
This is where Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners were incarcerated during the apartheid era. You can take a ferry to the island and join a guided tour led by former inmates.
Shop, dine, and relax at the V&A Waterfront.
This vibrant entertainment, shopping, and dining hub is set along the scenic harbour. You can also visit the Two Oceans Aquarium, the Cape Wheel, or the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa.
See the penguins at Boulders Beach.
This beautiful beach is where you can walk among the endangered African penguins. You can swim, sunbathe on nearby beaches, or visit the Foxy Beach boardwalk.
Visit the Cape Point Nature Reserve.
This is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site that boasts one of the most prosperous floral kingdoms in the world. You can also see wildlife such as baboons, ostriches, and antelopes or take a funicular to the old lighthouse.
Ride the cable car to the top of Table Mountain.
This is one of the most iconic attractions in Cape Town, offering stunning views of the city and the ocean. You can also hike or bike on the mountain trails or enjoy a picnic at the summit.
Enjoy the wine and food at Groot Constantia.
This is the oldest wine estate in South Africa, dating back to 1685. You can taste some of the award-winning wines, tour the historic manor house, or dine at one of the restaurants.
Admire the botanical gardens at Kirstenbosch.
This is one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world, featuring over 7,000 plant species from South Africa. You can also walk on the treetop canopy walkway or attend a concert or movie in summer.
Experience the colourful culture of Bo-Kaap.
This historic neighbourhood is home to many Cape Malay people, who are descendants of slaves from Southeast Asia. You can see the brightly painted houses, visit the museums and mosques, or join a cooking class.
Surf or kitesurf at Bloubergstrand Beach.
This is a popular beach for water sports enthusiasts, offering ideal conditions for surfing and kitesurfing. You can also enjoy the spectacular view of Table Mountain across the bay and watch the sunset over the ocean.
Go on a safari at Aquila Private Game Reserve & Spa.
This is a convenient way to see the Big Five, lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo, and leopard, and other wildlife on a game drive or a horseback safari. You can also relax at the spa or enjoy other activities such as quad biking or archery.
When to go
The best time to visit Cape Town depends on what you want to do and see. If you're going to enjoy the beaches and sunny weather, the summer months (December to March) are ideal. This is also the peak season, so expect crowds and higher prices.
The shoulder seasons, March to May and September to November, are perfect for hiking and visiting the wineries. The weather is mild and pleasant, the flowers are in bloom, and the crowds are thinner. If you want to see whales and penguins, the winter months, June to August, are the best. The weather is cold and wet, but you can witness the migration of these fantastic creatures.
General travel tips
Here are some general travel tips to keep in mind when visiting Cape Town:
The most widely spoken language in Cape Town is Afrikaans, followed by Xhosa and English. Most people can speak or understand English, so you should be OK with communication.
The currency of South Africa is the Rand (ZAR), divided into 100 cents. Credit cards are widely accepted, but it is advisable to have some cash for tips or small purchases.
Cape Town is generally safe for tourists, but you should always be aware of your surroundings and take precautions. Stick to busy areas and never walk alone at night. If you rent a car, park in secure areas and lock your doors.
Load shedding is the term used for rolling blackouts that affect Cape Town and other parts of South Africa due to electricity shortages. Load shedding can happen at any time and last for several hours. To avoid being caught off guard, check the load-shedding schedule online or download an app that alerts you when it happens. Also, have a flashlight handy and charge your devices when you can.
Tipping is customary in South Africa for good service. The standard tip is 10% of the bill at restaurants, bars, cafes, and taxis. You can also tip hotel staff, tour guides, porters, and parking attendants.