Cape Town is an exciting and invigorating cosmopolitan city, with a lively nightlife and a relaxed atmosphere. There are many award-winning restaurants and an extremely wide choice of places to stay, ranging from large world-class hotels, chic boutique hotels, to some simple but lovely bed and breakfast places. There is somewhere to stay to fit all budgets. There are numerous areas to stay apart from the city center, depending on what you want for your vacation – the Waterfront with all its buzz, the peace and beauty of Constantia, or the beautiful sandy beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay… these are just a few of the possibilities.
Going up Table Mountain is an absolute must, but you need to pick a clear day near the beginning of your visit, as it is often covered with its tablecloth of clouds. Take a cable car or even climb, if you’re feeling energetic. Either way, the view from the top is stunning. A trip to the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is well worthwhile. It is extremely lively, with a large craft market, street entertainers and a shopping mall, as well as numerous restaurants where you can admire the views of the harbor and Table Mountain, while soaking up the atmosphere.
Cape Town’s famous botanical gardens, Kirstenbosch, are particularly beautiful and include an exhibition of African sculpture. A visit here is a lovely way to pass an afternoon. A drive around Cape Point makes a very good outing, setting out via the spectacular Chapman’s Peak Drive and returning by Boulders Beach, with its resident penguins. If you are interested in South Africa’s past, a trip to Robben Island will give you an interesting insight into Nelson Mandela’s years in prison. A township tour is also fascinating, as is the District Six Museum, which shows the impact of apartheid policies in Cape Town during the 1960s.
The Cape Winelands are within an hour’s drive and are well worth a visit even if you don’t like wine, as the mountain setting is very beautiful. If you have the time, we suggest that you stay there for a night or two as there are some lovely places to stay and some of the best restaurants in South Africa. Check out the YZ guide on how to spend a luxurious and romantic weekend in Franschhoek.
Time of year to travel
Cape Town is a lovely city whenever you go. It has a really long summer that stretches from late November to March, with an average of over 11 hours of sunshine every day. However, it can be cool during the winter months of June, July and August, and windy between September and November.