All You Need to Know to Enjoy Cape Town

Cape Town

Updated On: June 10, 2024 by   Omnia EssawyOmnia Essawy

The Mother City is one of South Africa’s three capital cities; Cape Town is the crown jewel of South Africa and the continent’s most European-like city. 

Cape Town has played a crucial role in the global trade scene thanks to its superb location at the southwestern tip of Africa. The metro town is home to 3.5 million people, covers 950 square miles, and is set on the coastline in the shadow of Table Mountain National Park. 

Despite its problematic history, the city made a name for itself as a metropolis and a modern tourist destination among the world’s best cities thanks to its breathtakingly beautiful nature, supreme weather, exciting history, and unique atmosphere. 

If you plan to visit Cape Town, you should first know the best sights and times to visit. Luckily, our ultimate Cape Town Travel Guide covers it, so dive right in…

When is the best time to go to Cape Town? 

Cape Town, Table Mountain, Stadium
Cape Town, Table Mountain, Stadium

You can visit Cape Town anytime throughout the year and enjoy it just as much. However, its peak season is considered to be during South Africa’s summer, which is from late December through March. 

At this time of year, the city comes alive with tourists and locals hitting the ocean and enjoying this South African capital’s sunny, dry weather. 

If you want to enjoy Cape Town in a less crowded setting while rates are a bit lower, you might want to visit during the winter, from late June through late September. You can see whales during the Hermanus Whale Festival, usually held in late September.

How do you get around Cape Town? 

Colourful Buildings, Street, Car, House, Mountain
Colourful Buildings, Street, Car, House, Mountain

There are a lot of ways in which you can get around Cape Town; here are the most popular ones: 

Buses:

Several local buses and minibuses go around Cape Town. However, the MyCiti Buses are the best for tourists and city visitors as they connect with the airport and serve scheduled stops in high-traffic tourist areas and attractions. You can also take the City Sightseeing Bus, which makes scheduled stops at popular tourist destinations and includes commentary in 15 languages. 

Taxis/Ubers:

Ubers are highly available in Cape Town. Aside from being reliable and safe, they are also reasonably affordable. If you don’t have an Uber and want a traditional taxi, use a verified call-ahead car service to book your ride. 

Where to stay in Cape Town? 

As a prime tourist destination, Cape Town has all kinds of hotels and accommodations to suit the various individual needs and budgets of its broad base of visitors. Here is a list of the most recommended hotels in The Mother City of South Africa: 

Ellerman House

Overlooking the Atlantic, the rooms in this hotel mansion are as comfortable as they are luxurious. The Ellerman House hotel rooms feature heated floors, studded headboards, ocean-facing bay windows, and original artwork. 

The One&Only Cape Town

The One&Only hotel is an urban resort usually found on a tropical island, with quite exotic accommodation options. The One&Only Cape Town resort has several swimming pools, including the city’s largest infinity pool. 

Camps Bay Retreat

Set in a secluded nature reserve a short walk from the Camps Bay Strip, Camps Bay Retreat is based in the Grand Earl’s Dyke Manor dating back to 1929. The rooms of this magnificent resort vary between old Victorian-styled rooms and edgy contemporary spaces; you can choose between rooms in either the main house or the modern deck house and villas. There is also a spa and four pools, including one fed by a stream from Table Mountain. 

Hotel Verde

Hotel Verde is self-titled as the ‘greenest hotel in Africa’ as it depends on solar panels and wind generators to reduce its power grid use. The minimalist hotel features comfy rooms, creative interiors, local arts and crafts, a beautiful garden in the preserved wetlands, and an eco-friendly pool.

Villa Zest

Villa Zest is a Bauhaus-style villa converted into a quirkily decorated boutique hotel with seven guest rooms that have bold, retro-designed papered walls and furniture accented with furry pillows and shag rugs. 

In the lobby of Villa Zest, displayed, you can see the hotel’s impressive collection of the 60s and 70s electronic goods, such as radios, phones, Polaroid cameras, and eight-track cassette players. 

Where to eat in Cape Town? 

Restaurant, Pizza
Restaurant, Pizza

Cape Town’s culinary scene is as rich as its nature, which is reflected in the quality of the city’s restaurants and cafes. These restaurants serve all types of cuisines to satisfy the large masses visiting Cape Town annually.

Here are some of the best restaurants in Cape Town city: 

Cafe Caprice: Open seven days a week, Cafe Caprice serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as some of the best cocktails in the city. In addition to being one of the most popular hubs in the city, it is also considered one of the best places to watch the sunset. 

Foodbarn: Foodbarn serves rustic, delicious bistro dishes in the relaxed surroundings of Noordhoek Farm Village. Along with the Foodbarn deli, there is the separate book-lined bakery cafe that is just as good and serves freshly baked goodies and other locally sourced foods and drinks. 

Mzansi Restaurant: Ranked the number one restaurant out of almost 1,000 restaurants in Cape Town Central, Mzansi Restaurant is one of the most popular and busiest hubs in Cape Town. It serves food buffet style, with signature dishes ranging from chicken feet and sheep’s heads to vegetarian plates. 

Kauai: Serving an impressive collection of fresh and healthy fast food, including wraps, salads, omelettes, and smoothies, Kauai is Cape Town’s best and most fast food joint. Kauai has several Cape Town locations serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

Mojo Market: Open all week long, Mojo Market has over 15 local food stalls and traders for diners to choose from, including fresh mussels, artisanal pizza, build-your-own burritos, sushi, and Cape Town’s only Mac and Cheese joint. 

Things to do in Cape Town? 

The activities in South Africa’s crown jewel, Cape Town, are countless, and each one tops the next. So here is a list of the best things to do around the South African metropolis town: 

Hang with penguins at Boulder Beach

Boulder Beach, Penguins
Boulder Beach, Penguins

Boulder Beach is the only place where you can get close to African Penguins in the wild, so if you find yourself on the Falsa Bay side of Cape Town, visit it. 

Visitors pay a small entrance fee to have the chance to observe up-close the colony of penguins that inhabit this white sand beach. You can even swim with the penguins if you can stand the frigid cold water. 

Hike in Table Mountain National Park 

Table Mountain National Park 
Table Mountain National Park 

One of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, Table Mountain is South Africa’s most iconic landmark and popular attraction. Around 600 million years old, It is the namesake for the massive Table Mountain National Park, which spans from the city down the Cape Peninsula to the southernmost tip of Africa

Aside from its uncanny geological formation, this landmark park is home to biodiversity, including unique vegetation. 

If you feel up to it, you can hike any of the many trails in the park to the top of Table Mountain, which is 3,563 feet high, or take the cable car straight to the top. 

Visit Robben Island 

Robben Island 
Robben Island 

With over 400 years of fascinating history, Robben Island, seen from anywhere in Cape Town, was used as a prison from the city’s establishment until 1996. 

A Unesco World Heritage Site, this historic landmark has been preserved as a memorial shrine to those who spent many years incarcerated in the island’s prison. 

Robben Island can only be visited by a tour of about 4 hours and requires reservations in advance as they sell out quite fast. 

Visit District Six Museum 

The Memorial District Six Museum was established to celebrate the once lively multi-racial area that was demolished during apartheid in the 60s and 70s and its 60,000 inhabitants who were removed by force. 

Inside what used to be the Methodist Mission Church, some home interiors have been created, you will also find some photographs, recordings, and testimonials all repainting the picture of the community that once stood in District Six. 

Pass by World of Birds 

Africa’s largest bird park, Cape Town’s bird sanctuary, World of Birds, has over 3000 birds and small mammals from about 400 species, including barbets, weavers, and flamingos. So, if you want a taste of a truly exotic experience in South Africa’s metropolis capital, don’t hesitate to swing by Cape Town’s World of Birds. 

Now that your travel guide and itinerary are all ready, the only thing left is to pack those bags and put on your adventure hat. A vacation in Cape Town will truly be one for the books. 

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