The Cape Town metropolitan area covers a large ares, from Durbanville and Somerset West in the east to Cape Point in the south and Atlantis in the north. The city center itself is located in a relatively small area between Table Mountain and Table Bay.
For thousands of years Cape Town was inhabited by the Khoi. Cape Town's European history began in 1652, when Jan van Riebeeck established a trading post there on behalf of the VOC (Dutch East Indies Company). The first European settlers were mainly Dutch and German, with some French Huguenots that had to flee from their home country. The first settlers soon explored the inland and founded the cities of Stellenbosch and Paarl in today's Cape Winelands. The Voortrekkers (Pioneers of European descent) started from here to explore and settle the rest of South Africa's inland.
Today Cape Town is the legislative capital of South Africa. It is a world-class cosmopolitan city with numerous sites of historical significance, and a lively nightlife, as well as a big gay community.
The summer is long and lasts from November right through to March or April. Days are usually very hot, but the humidity is low, so it is not uncomfortable. You should stay inside or in the shade during the midday heat and use sufficient sunblock. You will fight for space on the beach around New Year's with all the local tourists but it is still a great time to visit as lots is happening.
The winter months of June and July are a bit rainy, which does not mean rain every day. Often you will have one or two days of rain and a week of total sunshine, but it can rain for two weeks straight on occasion. It can also get very cold at night, with temperatures as low as 6 or 7C (this is the temperature of the ocean so it will not get colder unless you go far inland) but 10-12C normal. It will become warmer during the day, with temperatures between 14-20C typical. Sunrises and sunsets are best in the winter, as is the seafood!
Best times to visit are:
October and November: The weather is getting good. Spring is in the air, but it is not as hot as mid-Summer yet. These months can be windy months. The South-Easter is known as the Cape Doctor as it blows away a great deal of pollution!
December to March: These are the prime summer months, of long hot days. The sun sets late in the evening (it stays light up until about 8:30PM in December) and there is generally a lot going on. February is the most reliable month for weather, with week after week of hot days and very little wind.
April and May: This can change from year to year, but generally speaking although it starts raining, it is still warm. There are much fewer visitors around, and you can get excellent deals on accommodation, food and most tourism services.
During the dry summer months (even more so when there is strong wind) fire poses a serious threat to the flora and fauna of the region, especially the National Parks. The fynbos in particular can become very dry and burn easily. Over the last couple of years a number of fires have almost devastated the slopes of Table Mountain. Please take care not to be the cause of any runaway fire and report any fires that you might see to Table Mountain National Park Fire Management on +27 (0)21 689-7438 or +27 (0)21 957-4700 outside office hours.
Further international flights arrive from Buenos Aires, Doha, Frankfurt, Kuala Lumpur, London, Atlanta and Singapore. In the summer (October-March) several charter airlines operate direct flights from all over Europe to Cape Town. Spare seats are sold with substantial discounts but during Christmas time and New Year prices rises significantly.
Major local airlines include South African Airways , Nationwide , British Airways (Comair)  and low-cost airlines Kulula.com  and 1Time .
Cape Town has a few train connections to other cities in South Africa. Cape Town's main train station is located in the city centre, at the corner of Adderley Street and Strand Street. Please take care of your belongings!
Weekly trains leave every Sunday for East London (28 hours).
MetroRail  trains are a great way to get between Cape Town and neighbouring towns such as Stellenbosch, Simon's Town, Strand, Paarl and through the Southern Suburbs (Claremont, Wynberg, Retreat) or to the beaches at Fish Hoek, Muizenberg and Glencairn. Be careful when travelling by train, especially at night. Use the most crowded first class car and don't stay alone. Make sure to ride first class (called Metro Plus) to get at least some comfort and to enjoy the presence of safety guards.
The train line from Cape Town to Simon's Town is fabulous ; from Muizenberg south to Simon's Town it runs right next to the sea. You can often see whales, and if it's windy you may have sea spray hitting the train windows. For the best views make sure you sit on the east side of the train (the left side as you face away from Cape Town and towards Simon's Town). This route also boasts a moving restaurant coach (called Biggsy's ) that does the return trip from Cape Town to Simon's Town between 2 and 4 times a day (every day except Monday).
Trains to Stellenbosch run every two hours (more or less), but this journey might take a while. Ask at the ticket counter if there is an earlier train you could use, as there are also trains to Stellenbosch starting in Bellville and Eerste River.
Be aware of pedestrians on highways and National Roads, too!
The vast majority of roads in and around Cape Town are in a very good condition, making travelling by car an easy issue. However, please be aware of hijackers at night or at traffic lights. The danger is not as high as often emphasized by the media, but a good portion of precaution should be taken. Please ask your hotel staff or anyone familiar with the area about where it is safe and where it is not safe
Hiring a car in South Africa is not as expensive as in Europe or many other countries. Petrol is also cheap compared to Europe, but might be a bit more expensive than in the US.
All major bus companies have Intercity connections from Cape Town, taking you to all bigger cities in South Africa and to Windhoek in Namibia. There might be up to 6 buses a day to certain cities.
The starting point is next to the train station at the corner of Adderley and Strand Street, near the Golden Acre building. Please ask at the nearby tourist information or in your hotel for connections and where your bus is going to leave, as finding your bus can become difficult.
Most of the larger cruise lines, such as Princess Cruises offer Cape Town as one of their destinations, but you can also try something different
RMS St Helena, . This passenger/cargo ship is the last working Royal Mail Ship and stops at Cape Town on it's way to St Helena.
Public transport in Cape Town (and South Africa in general) is not very good. Unless you are staying within walking distance of the beach in Camps Bay (or some other area where everything you want is close by) then you will find it very frustrating not to have your own transport.
Avis, Cape Town International Airport, ☎ +27 (0)21 934-0330, . Always open.
Hertz, Cape Town International Airport, ☎ +27 (0)21 935-3000, . Always open.
By metered taxi
Metered taxis are controlled by the city council and can be considered safe and reliable. The price per kilometer is around R8-R10 and can often be read at the taxis side door. You can also set a fixed price with the driver, especially when going to a far away destination.
Please note that there is only one official taxi company at the airport. But you might as well ask your hotel to pick you up, as pick up service are provided by nearly all hotels, guesthouses and so on.
By minibus taxi
Minibus taxis are used widely by locals but tourists are usually discouraged from using them. They cover most of the Cape Town Metropolitan Area and are very cheap, however they can get very crowded and are definitely less safe than metered taxis due to their dangerous driver behavior.
Some minibus taxi operators have seen the value in the tourist market and are starting to provide safe and legal alternatives to the traditional minibus taxis. They are more expensive than the traditional minibus taxis, but still far cheaper than metered taxis. No guarantee you'll get to your destination directly, but it is safe, fun, and all the drivers are characters. Meet supermodels going to their photoshoots or artists going to their studios. During busy times of day (or year) you may have to wait a while and there is no booking ahead!
Rikkis Taxis, 43 New Church Street, ☎ +27 (0)21 418-6713 (email@example.com), . The safe and legal taxi service
There is a network of public buses (Golden Arrow buses) that offer cheap connections for example from the city centre to the Waterfront. They run mostly during the day. It is better to ask the driver where the bus is going, to make sure you wont end up somewhere else.
By scooter or cycle
You can also hire a scooter or a small motorbike. A number of places in the city offer this service and it is a great way to be mobile and save over hiring a car.
LDV Biking, 13D Kloof Nek Road, ☎ +27 (0)83 528-0897 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . The recommended place to rent a scooter or motorbike.From about R100 to R170 per day depending on how many days you are renting for and the time of year.
Unless you love the pain of cycling up and down mountains while dodging city traffic on narrow streets, cycling for transportation is not recommended. However, cycling in the area is very popular.
There is a system of public train transport, although it is mainly used by locals. Operator Metrorail  has done a lot to increase safety and comfort on board the trains, but they still do not live up to European standards. So make sure to buy a first-class ticket. Cape Town station is situated in the city centre on the corner of Adderley Street and Strand Street and there is an extensive suburban network of lines with more than 80 stations. A nice scenic ride can be done south to Simon's Town, all along the east coast of the Cape Peninsula. Stick to the Simon's Town line and make sure you are not on the train after 18h30 or when it is dark.
Seals at the Waterfront.
Cape Town City Hall near the Castle is an example of Victorian architecture.
Bo-Kaap. . This neighborhood, located on a hill south-west of downtown is the area historically inhabited by mainly Muslim descendants of slaves from South-East Asia (hence an older term for the area - 'Malay Quarter'. It's a common location for film shoots, as there are some very colourful buildings, quaint streets, mosques. views over Cape Town and some great food sold on the side of the street. It's well worth wandering around for an hour or so, as well as visiting the Bo-Kaap Museum (a view of a prosperous Muslim family from the 19th Century).
The Castle of Good Hope, Buitenkant Street, ☎ +27 (0)21 464-1260, . Popularly called 'The Castle' by locals, it has extensive displays of historical military paraphernalia, a history of the castle, an art collection and the William Fehr Collection (including old Cape Dutch furniture). You can eat inside the Castle at the restaurant or café, as well as buy wine.R20 entrance free.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Rhodes Drive, Newlands, ☎ +27 (0)21 799-8899, . Open daily 8AM to 6PM (7PM September to March). View the hugely diverse and beautiful plants and flowers of the Cape flora in one of the most stunning botanical gardens in the world. Plants from all of the regions of South Africa are on display, including rare succulents from the Richtersveld, a giant baobob tree, and interesting medicinal plants. Numerous paths wander through the grounds situated on the back side of Table Mountain. Several restaurants, a gift shop and indigenous nursery are also available. At various times of the year concerts are performed in the open air amphitheater. Art is frequently on display, including large Shona stone sculptures from Zimbabwe. The gardens are also home to the National Biodiversity Institute.R27.
Robben Island, ☎ +27 (0)21 413-4200, . Robben Island is located just off the coast from Cape Town, this was the location used during the apartheid days to hold political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela and the late Walter Sisulu. Some of the tour guides were themselves political prisoners so they have plenty of insight about what went on there. Tours run several times per days, seven days a week from the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V&A Waterfront. R150.
Rhodes Memorial, ☎ +27 21 689 9151 (email@example.com), . Build in recognition of the contributions of Cecil John Rhodes to the Southern African region.
South African Parliament, . Cape Town is the legislative seat of South Africa (the Presidential seat is in Pretoria and the Supreme Court is at Bloemfontein). A tour of this compound will acquaint you with South Africa's recent history and its political system. The tour includes visits to the National Assembly, the National Council of Provinces and the old apartheid-era assembly which is now only used for caucus and committee meetings. Tours are offered a few times per day in various languages.Free entrance and tours.
Two Oceans Aquarium, V&A Waterfront, ☎ +27 (0)21 418-3823 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Open 9:30AM to 6PM. An excellent modern aquarium.R70 entrance fee.
Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, ☎ +27 (0)21 408-7600, . A huge shopping and entertainment area at the slopes of Table Mountain, next to the harbour. It is very popular with tourists, because of the high density of shops, restaurants and amusement possibilities, like the Aquarium or the Marine Museum. Harbour tours and trips to Robben Island start from here, as well as helicopter flights to the Cape Peninsula. The V&A Waterfront has more or less full wheelchair access.
Museums and Galleries
Bo-Kaap Museum, 71 Wale Street, Bo-Kaap, ☎ +27 (0)21 481-3939 (email@example.com), . Open 9:30AM to 4:30PM Monday to Saturday. R5 entrance fee.
District Six Museum, 25A Buitenkant Str, ☎ +27 (0)21 461-8745 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . District Six is an area near downtown Cape Town which remained multiracial well into the 1960s against all attempts by the government to declare it a "white only" area. Eventually the residents were all evicted and the buildings were bulldozed. The area remains uninhabited. The museum provides information about the area, the eviction, the Group Areas Act, and the people who used to live there. The director of the museum is a former resident. There is a small bookstore with an excellent selection of books on South Africa's history, District Six and apartheid.Admission is free.
Groot Constantia, Groot Constantia Estate, Constantia, ☎ +27 (0)21 795-5140 (email@example.com), . Open daily 10AM to 5PM. One of the oldest wine estates in South AfricaR8 entrance fee.
Slave Lodge, cnr Adderley and Wale Streets, ☎ +27 (0)21 460-8240 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . open 8:30AM to 4:30PM Monday to Friday and 9AM to 1PM on Sunday. One of the oldest building in Cape TownR7 entrance fee.
South African National Gallery, Government Avenue, Gardens, ☎ +27 (0)21 467-4660 (email@example.com), . 10AM to 5PM Tuesday to Sunday. Located in the Gardens area of Cape Town off Government Ave (about a 20 minute walk from downtown). Contains extensive displays of South African art, as well as information on the history of censorship of art during apartheidR10 entrance fee.
Cable Car to the the top of Table Mountain, Lower Cable Station, Tafelberg Road, ☎ +27 (0)21 424 8181, . Open 8AM to 10PM, last car down is at 9PM. Both the cable car and the pathways on top of the mountain are wheelchair accessible. Always take something warm to wear when going up the mountain, even if it is a nice toasty 30C at the bottom of the mountain. Weather conditions at the top of the mountain is not the same as at the bottom.R120 return ticket.
Ratanga Junction, ☎ +27 (0)21 550-8504 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Open 10AM to 5PM, but not open all year round. Usually open during summer, easter and winter holiday periods. Enjoy a day with your kids at this theme park.R25 to R100 depending on what rides you want to do.
Sandy Bay. Swim nude in the freezing water of this isolated and breathtaking nudist beach. Major spot for gay tourists as well.
Surfing. Cape Town is one of the best places to surf. Muizenberg is a good place for beginners to learn to surf, Gary offers reasonably priced lessons from a shop facing the beach. If you're an experienced surfer, try the reef break at Kalk Bay, Outer Kom near Kommetjie or Misty Cliffs on the coast road near Scarborough. You could head up the west coast and sample Milnerton, Table View or Big Bay, although Big Bay is often crowded with people Kite Surfing due to the windy conditions.
Kayaking in False Bay. Rent a kayak in Simon's Town and see the False Bay from another point of view. Make sure to stop at the penguin colony at Boulders, where you can see the African Penguin (formerly called Jackass Penguin).
Winelands. Tour the Constantia Valley wine estates Groot Constantia, Buitenverwagting, Klein Constantia and Constantia Uitsig before checking out the Cape Winelands around Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek. Go to some of the vineyards for wine-tastings and enjoy a break at the beautiful old cities.
Deep Sea Fishing
Ama Feesh Charters, ☎ +27 (0)21 788-9689 (email@example.com), . Per charter, R4500 for inshore fishing, R6500 for offshore fishing, 1 to 6 people.
In some circles Cape Town is also known as the Cape of Great Events since there are many organized events in Cape Town throughout the year. An official calender of events is available from Cape Town Tourism.
Cape Argus Cycle Tour, ☎ +27 (0)21 685-6551 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . March every year. Total distance is 109km. Start in downtown, cycle down the eastern side of the peninsula, past Simon's Town and back up the western side of the peninsula.Entrance fee is R250 for entrants on the African continent or the equivalent of 50 Euro's every one else.
Two Oceans Marathon, ☎ +27 (0)21 671-9407 (email@example.com), . Sometime in April each year. An Ultra marathon (56km), a half marathon (21km) and a number of fun runs ranging from a 56m Nappy Dash to a 8km walk or run. Maximum 10 000 entrance accepted per year (fun runs excluded).There is a pricing scale for each of the runs. The Ultra Marathon, R190 for South African residents, R300 for the rest of Africa and R555 for the rest of the world. The Half Marathon, R125 of South African residents, R215 for the rest of Africa and R335 for the rest of the world. The Fun Runs are priced from R10 to R20.
Cape Town Jazz Festival, Cape Town International Convention Centre, ☎ +27 (0)21 422-5651. Normally held during late March.
Cape Town Minstrel Carnival, Marches throughout the city ending at Green Point Stadium. Usually new years day and a couple of days later during January. Also known as the Kaapse Klopse, these brightly dressed singers and dancers (mostly from the coloured community) spend months preparing for this annual event.
Mother City Queer Project, (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Sometime during December each year. Biggest gay and lesbian party of the yearR100 to R350. The sooner you buy a ticket the cheaper it is.
Table Mountain, (Starting point is 1.5km past the Lower Cable Station on Tafelberg Road). Always open, but you might want to start early enough to catch the last cable car down. 3km (all uphill), 1 to 3 hours, Platteklip Gorge to the Upper Cable Station.No fees are charged.
For those seeking less strenuous hiking, numerous other paths trace the contours of the mountain and wander through the protea bushes and fynbos, with breathtaking views.
In the air
See the cape from above with a scenic helicopter flight, East Pier Road, V&A Waterfront, ☎ + 27 (0)21 425-3868 (email@example.com), . From R400 per person per 15 minutes.
If the open ocean does not appeal to you, the Two Oceans Aquarium also offer diving opportunities in their 2.2 million liter tank.
Diving at Two Oceans Aquarium, ☎ +27 (0)21 418-3823 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . 9AM, 11AM and 1PM daily. You need to be in possession of a valid diving license (PADI, CMAS, BASC et al). Swim along with the five ragged tooth sharks, several yellow tails, bull rays and a lonely turtle. The dive master Iain, a barrel shaped bearded little man with a distinct Scottish accent, is both nice and knowledgeable and accompanies you into the aquarium ready to fend off the sharks with his broomstick should they become cuddly. Dive time is around 30 minutes.R400 (R325 if you bring your own diving gear), this includes the R70 aquarium entrance fee.
Waterfront Boat Company, Quay 4, V&A Waterfront, ☎ +27 (0)21 418-5806 (email@example.com), . Take a relaxing sunset cruise on the Condor to Greenpoint and back or do the champagne cruise. One to one and a half hours.R90 to R190.
The townships are the places where people were forced to live (based on race) under the apartheid regime. To some extent townships continue to retain their apartheid-era racial makeup, for a variety of reasons. Townships have also grown to cover far larger areas of land than in the apartheid days. This is a result of urbanization, especially over the past 10-15 years. Touring a township may seem strange, even inappropriate, but it is a good way to learn about South Africa's history, and the poverty that many people continue to live in. People in the townships are friendly and the children love visitors. Some townships however can be dangerous (see the warning on the South Africa page) so don't go alone unless you know what you're doing. The townships tours are safe. If you want to bring sweets or gifts for the children, it is best not to give it directly to them, but to give it to the tour guide who will distribute them later.
Tours can be booked directly or through one of Cape Town's many booking agencies. Tours run once or twice per day. Be aware that if you're given the chance to try some township food, that a walkie-talkie is often made from the feet and beaks of poultry. The very best way to see a township is by foot and to stay overnight at one of the many township B&Bs.
There are several tour companies which offer tours
There are a number of small nature reserves in and around Cape Town
Koeberg Nuclear Power Station and Nature Reserve, ☎ +27 (0)21 550-4667. The 3000 hectare buffer zone around the power station has been converted to a nature reserve with Bontebok, Genet, Steenbok and many other antilope.
Cape Town's medical research is world-renowned, and Groote Schuur hospital is where Christiaan Barnard and Hamilton Naki performed the world's first heart transplant.
There are several language schools in the greater Cape Town area. Shop around before you make your choice. Choose a school which is part of the e.g. IALC (International Association of Language Centres) or other certificate that ensure quality.
Cape Town is an excellent place to learn to sail, with courses completed here recognised internationally and costs far lower than what you can expect to pay in more developed countries.
Good Hope Sailing Academy, ☎ +27 (0)21 424-4665 (firstname.lastname@example.org). SAS and RYA accredited courses
Yachtmaster Sailing School, Based at Royal Cape Yacht Club, Langebaan and Saldanha Bay, ☎ +27 (0)21 788-1009 (email@example.com), . RYA accredited
The V&A Waterfront is the prime tourist destination for souvenirs, though these tend to be typically touristy (i.e. expensive and not necessarily authentic). More authentic curios for better prices can be found every Sunday at the Green Point market outside the Green Point
Stadium on Sundays, in walking distance from the V & A Waterfront. Many of these same curios can be purchased during the week in the several multi-story shops at the lower end of Long Street. For the real deal with authentic artifacts complete with provenance and ethnographic background, go to Church Street where there are a couple of shops but be prepared for sticker shock. When buying African Curio, the price at open markets are almost always very negotiable and seldom does the item have a price sticker attached. People with foreign accents are often quoted twice to three times the price they sell to locals, so do negotiate.
If you like South African wine, buy it here (or anywhere in South Africa) before you leave, because it is much cheaper and there is more availability than overseas. Top guide to wines is the John Platter's Guide, with a few others around too, and with thousands of wines available from the region, you will need a guide (see below for shops that have knowledgeable staff). Read Wine magazine (or the iconoclastic Grape) for the latest information.
Vaughan Johnson's Wine Shop, Dock Road, V&A Waterfront, ☎ +27 (0)21 419-2121 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Quality selection but not exhaustive. Knowledgeable staff. Generally substantial (10-20%) markup over winery prices but of course more convenient.
Caroline's Fine Wines, V&A Waterfront and 15 Long Street in the City Centre, ☎ +27 (0)21 419-8984. Better selection and more knowledgeable staff. City Centre location recommended, but both are excellent. Foam inserts and boxes for international shipping or for checking with your luggage (safe!). Not cheap either, compared to supermarkets and wineries.
Wine Concepts, Cardiff Castle Building, cnr Main Street & Kildare Road, Newlands (Southern Suburbs), ☎ +27 (0)21 671-9030 (email@example.com), . Another great wine shop, certainly the best outside the City Bowl. A franchised location is on Kloof Street in the Lifestyle Centre.
Ultra, . A large South African liquor chain. Several locations around the city, the one in Green Point is the most accessible to tourists. A warehouse bottle store but with a remarkable wine selection across all price ranges. Case discount (even on mixed cases). Good if you want to stock up for a road trip. Stash a bottle of Amarula Cream in your backpack while you're at it. Great prices -- in fact, often cheaper than at the wine farms themselves.
Arts and Crafts
Distinctively Capetonian in character -- are everywhere, from chickens made of plastic bags to bead and wire work to pottery, glass and embroidery. If you don't buy a chicken from a Rastafarian at a street corner (the authentic experience -- about 30 rand depending on the size), then try Heartworks (Kloof Street or in Gardens Centre mall) or the Red Shed at the V & A Waterfront. There is also a high-end craft boutique in the Cape Quarter in De Waterkant.
Contemporary South African art has been riding a big wave in the international art world. It is on par with the best in the world and undervalued (unless you buy a William Kentridge). If you like real art as opposed to curios, crafts or posters, and you have the budget for it, there are several serious galleries in town. Try Michael Stevenson Gallery first, then Joao Ferreira Gallery, AVA Gallery or Bell-Roberts Gallery, and there are several others worth seeing. Art South Africa is the art magazine to read if you want to know about the artists, and the adverts list the shows and the galleries.
As in any large city you will find a number of major shopping malls:
Bayside Centre, cnr Blaauwberg Road and Otto Du Plessis Drive, Tableview, ☎ +27 (0)21 557-4350 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Shops are open 9AM to 7PM Monday to Friday, 10AM to 5PM on Saturday and 10AM to 2PM on Sunday.
Tyger Valley, Cnr. Bill Bezuidenhout and Willie van Schoor Avenues, Bellville, ☎ +27 (0)21 914-1822, . shops are open 9AM to 7PM Monday to Saturday and 9AM to 5PM on Sunday.
Victoria & Alfred Watefront, ☎ +27 (0)21 408-7600, .
This guide uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
R60 to R120
View over Greenpoint from the Revolving Restaurant in the Ritz Hotel.
Food in Cape Town is generally of high quality. The wines are much celebrated, but the surrounding region is also a major fruit producer, and the Karoo lamb is widely regarded. Seafood caught locally is superlative, but ironically much of it goes internationally (e.g., tuna for sushi) because of the prices that can be gotten. Ask about the local linefish -- yellowtail, cape salmon, kingklip, kabeljou and others are great eating. Oysters in season are also exceptional, farmed and wild from Knysna or wild flown in from Namibia.
As one of the main tourist spots is the V&A waterfront, you will find a broad range of restaurants, but they are often crowded and expensive. Another highlight is the area around Long Street with its many cafés and restaurants (frequented by a multi-ethnic clientele), while the trendy area of De Waterkant between Bo Kaap and Green Point above Somerset Road also boasts good food and a great vibe. Dine with supermodels and other beautiful people in Camps Bay, which has many hip eateries and nightspots overlooking the beach along Victoria Road.
Farther afield, Hout Bay at the west side of the Cape Peninsula is very good for fresh crayfish (lobsters - they have become quite expensive, around R300, though). Kalk Bay on the east side of the peninsula offers a big variety of fresh fish, do check out The Brass Bell. The restaurants in nearby Simon's Town are also good.
Do not neglect the Cape Winelands for food if you have a car. In Stellenbosch, Spier has several restaurants, including the fun, afro-chic Moyo, and many wine estates offer food of different types and quality. The village of Franschhoek is the culinary navel of the wine region, with Le Quartier Francais a perennial five-star winner, but only one of many excellent restaurants. In the Constantia Valley, Constantia Uitsig has three great restaurants, The River Cafe, La Colombe and the Constantia Uitsig Restaurant, upmarket, but worth it.
Caveat Emptor: make sure you know what the price is before you order rare delicacies in restaurants as there have been a few rare but high-profile cases of heinous overcharging where the price is not on the menu, particularly for perlemoen (abalone) and crayfish (similar to lobster).
Table Mountain Restaurant, On top of Table Mountain, close to the Upper Cable Station. hours. A 120 seat, self service restaurant. No booking required.From R20 for a simple breakfast.
Unnamed Restaurant, Company's Garden. Small; offers good refreshment in a quite atmosphere after a tour through the city. Basic local kitchen.
Africa Café, 108 Shortmarket Street, ☎ +27 (0)21 422-0221 (email@example.com), . Affordable and very good. Maybe the best restaurant in Cape Town for African cuisine. Lower to medium price range. Serves fixed menu, all you can eat of 12 - 15 different dishes. Touristy.
Bayfront Blu, Two Oceans Aquarium, ☎ +27 (0)21 419-9086. Offers breakfast and coffee all day and also serves good seafood, like Swahili prawn curry. Tables offer view on water and Table Mountain
Baxter Theatre Restaurant, Baxter Theatre Centre, Main Road, Rondebosch, ☎ _+27 (0)21 689-5351 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Open 9AM till late. Closed on Sundays.
Biesmiellah, Corner Upper Wale/Pentz Street, ☎ +27 (0)21 423-0850. One of the oldest restaurants around, known for its Malay kitchen. No alcoholic drinks available.
Five Flies, 14-16 Keerom Street, . Enjoy a wonderful, multi-course meal in a stylish restaurant housed in one of Cape Town's oldest still-standing buildings. Favorite of local diplomats. Menu changes regularly; book reservations online.
Hildebrands, V&A Waterfront. Offering Pizza and Pasta, but does not live up to the standard of Italian food.
Jewel Tavern, Vanguard Road (Near Duncan Docks), ☎ +27 (0)21 448-1997. Increasingly popular Thai restaurant. Preferred destinations for Cape Town's bon viveurs. Guest can watch how their meals are prepared.
95 Keerom, 95 Keerom Street. A top class Italian restaurant with modern decor and a trendy atmosphere. Attached to the nightclub Rhodes House.
Lolas, (Across from Long Street Café). Vegetarian food with local color and great karma. Good conversation and even better meals. Mingle with dreadlocks, artsy types and brooding poets.
Long Street Café, 259 Long Street. Very popular. Fresh European kitchen. Also good for a drink.
Mama Africa, 178 Long Street, ☎ +27 (0)21 426-1017. Open Monday to Saturday. Restaurant is open 7PM till late, the bar is open 4:30PM till late. African style tourist restaurant offering local and African meals, like Bobotie and Potjiekos, but also springbok, kudu and crocodile steak. Good range of wines. Affordable. Live marimba music some nights.
The Ritz Hotel, cnr. Camberwell and Main Roads, Sea Point, ☎ +27 (0)21 439-6010. Has a revolving restaurant on the top floor of the hotel. Good food, good views, soft background live piano. A bar and smoking room is available one floor below the restaurant. You do not have to be a resident at the hotel to get a booking at the restaurant. (The floor as a small non revolving ledge next to the wall. Do not put your valuables on it as your table will be half way around the building before you realize that you have been separated from your belongings.)
Sunflower Health Café, 111 Long Street. Vegetarian restaurant, with a limited range of warm meals.
Tasca de Belem, Victoria Wharf, shop 154, Piazza Level, V&A Waterfront. A very good Portuguese restaurant that offers some exquisite meals.
Willoughby's, Victoria Wharf, V&A Waterfront. Has some of the best seafood including excellent sushi at very good prices.
Long Street, which can be easily reached from St. George's Cathedral and the Greenmarket Square, is famous for its bars, restaurants and clubs. This is the ideal place if you want to end the day with a drink. It is also one of the few truly multi-ethnic, multi-racial nightspots in the city. See the new South Africa, not just other tourists.
A more upmarket (but still affordable) collection of bars, etc. can be found in Camps Bay, one of the suburbs on the Atlantic Ocean side of the Cape Peninsula. From Cape Town simply go to Green Point and Sea Point and follow the road along the coast. You will see the bars along the road and the beach of Camps Bay also invites you to spend a few minutes resting, before you enter the next establishment.
Caveau Wine Bar & Deli, 92 Bree Street, Heritage Square, ☎ +27 (0)21 422-1367 (email@example.com), . Has over 300 wines by the glass and an award-winning wine list at that. In Heritage Square, city centre.
The Nose Wine Bar, Cape Quarter, 72 Waterkant Street, Green Point, ☎ +27 (0)21 425-2200 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Has many wines by the glass, but pricey.
The Leopard Room Bar & Lounge @ The Twelve Apostles Hotel, Camps Bay, ☎ +27 (0)21 437-9000, . A high-end hotel, but you can go to their bar for a drink overlooking the sea for a stunning sunset and a glimpse of whales if you are lucky.
You will have live entertainment (normally something like jazz or kwaito music) in many bars and sometimes you will have to pay to get in.
Mannenbergs Jazz Café, Shop 102, Clock Tower Centre, Clock Tower Precinct, V&A Waterfront, ☎ +27 (0)21 421-5639 (email@example.com), . Popular jazz café specializing in distinctive Cape Jazz. Snacks and coffee during the day and live jazz every evening. Bookings/reservations essential. Many famous jazz musicians have already played here.
Club Georgia, 30 Georgia Street (offside the Buitensingel), ☎ +27 (0)21 422-0261. . Popular with over 25-year olds. Music from all over Africa is played, especially Kwassa-kwassa, Kwaito, Ndombolo and Rai.
The Fez, 38 Hout Street, Greenmarket Square. Open till late. Popular, stylish night club popular with the under-30 crowd. Defined by lively, varied house music and a North African decor that manages to avoid kitsch, but the line for admission can be long if you arrive after 11pm (and the bouncers are straight out of a bad movie). Still, it's worth it.
Marco's African Café, 15 Rose Street, Bo Kaap, ☎ +27 (0)21 423-5412. Popular Gay Bar.
A popular destination with locals is Camps Bay, which offers a vibrant nightlife and many bars, restaurants and clubs.
Observatory or better known as Obz is just north of Rondebosch (Southern Suburbs). There are several student residences of the UCT and Obz main street (Lower Main Road) has a vibrant nightlife with restaurants, bar, pool halls and pubs. Almost daily there is something going on. Famous is the bar Cool Runnings which pretends to be a cheap beach bar. Check out Archmchair Theatre for electronic venues and Stones to play pool...
This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
R500 to R1000
Mount Nelson hotel
Accommodation in Cape Town ranges from hostels (of which there are many) to luxury accommodation. Actually, there are so many hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses that it can be difficult to decide where to stay! Try searching the official tourism web site for your budget, dates, and desired rating. It's a sophisticated search engine, and more and more places are letting you book directly online. Note that these accommodations have all been accredited (meeting minimal requirements) and many have received internationally standard star ratings (1 to 5), so you can trust what you see.
Consider sleeping in one of the suburbs. It is normally much quieter and there is less traffic than in Central Cape Town. The suburbs in the south, like Camps Bay or Simon's Town or near the winelands (see Cape Winelands) may offer better quality for a lower price.
Many guesthouses and backpacker's accommodation are along Long Street. As rates and services change quickly take a look before checking-in.
Amblers Backpackers, Ambler's Backpackers Lodge, 3 Upper Union Street, Gardens, ☎ + 27 (0)21 424-2292 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . From R70 in the dorm to R240 for a double ensuite cottage.
Carnival Court Backpackers, 255 Longstreet, (email@example.com), . Dorms and private rooms at reasonable rates. Linen provided, hostel is very clean and staff friendly and there is a bar and balcony to hang out.From R70 in the dorm to R250 for a double room.
Green Elephant Backpakers, 57 Milton road, Observatory, ☎ +27 (0)21 448-6359 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . From R50 for camping to R350 for a double ensuite.
Long Street Backpackers, 209 Longstreet, ☎ +27 (0)21 423-0615 (email@example.com, fax: +27 (0)21 423-1842), . Offers dorms as well as private accommodation and a good range of travel-services.R90 in a dorm to R140 for a private room.
NG Church Overnighthouse, cnr Lincoln and Allen Drive, Bellville, ☎ +27 (0)21 931-3733 (fax: +27 (0)21 931-3736). Mostly for visitors of patients of the Karl Bremmer hospital, but anyone is welcome. Bring your own towel and food.
A Tuscan Villa B&B, Rooms in Kommetjie, Boulders, Simonstown, Fish Hook, Kalk Bay and Noordhoek, ☎ +27 (0)21 782-7907 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . The Boulders rooms cater for disabled guests.R250 to R365 pppn.
A Whale of a Time, . Amazing 180 degree views of False Bay , self contained apartments, 5min stroll to beach.
An African Villa, 19 Carstens Street, Tamboerkloof, ☎ +27 (0)21 423-2162 (email@example.com), . Luxurious bed and breakfast, excellent service, has a 'dipping pool' in the back.R445 per person sharing.
Cactusberry Lodge, 30 Breda Str, ☎ +27 (0)21 461-9787, . 3 star. 200m from the Gardens Shopping Centre, is comfortable, central and quiet, very good value for money,excellent breakfast, very helpful in all itinery planning.R250.
Cape Rose Cottage, 8 Hoopoe Avenue Camps Bay, ☎ +27 (0)21 438-1786 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . 4 star. Nestled under the Twelve Apostles in a peaceful location with breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. Reasonable priced self catering suites and excellent service.From R300 per pppn.
Grapevine-cottage guesthouse, 13 Vierlanden road, Durbanville, . 3 star. Great view over the Durbanville winelands. Surrounded by wine estates, excellent restaurants nearby. Self catering accommodation and Bed and breakfast; garden and pool invite you to relax.R650 per unit, max 4 people.
Nine Flowers Guest House, 133-135 Hatfield Street, ☎ +27 (0)21 462-1430 (email@example.com), . Very central, helpful staff, nice rooms.R480 for a single room to R850 for a tripple.
Sunset Lodge, 41 Gull Road, Bloubergstrand, ☎ +27 (0)21 554-1818 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Offers luxurious suites in this popular suburb, famous for its spectacular views on Table Mountain and long white beaches.From 480 to 760 per unit.
Tudor Hotel, 153 Longmarket Street, Greenmarket Square, ☎ +27 (0)21 424-1335 (email@example.com), . In the city center, near the Waterfront, Parliaments Garden or the Malay Quarter Boo-Kap.R520 for single room, R740 for a double.
Cape Grace, West Quay Road, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, ☎ +27 (0)21 410-7100, . From R16000 to R55000 for 5 nights, 2 people.
If you have a cellphone get one of the cheap prepaid Sim cards from either Vodacom or MTN and save money on local calls.
There are plenty of Internet cafés and access rates are cheap.
Always-On, +27 (0)11 575-2505, provides prepaid WiFi access in a number of locations in Cape Town. Simply connect to the access point and you will be given the opportunity to pay for access by credit card. Pricing starts at around R15 for 10 minutes or R60 for 100MB.
Coverage areas include:
ArabellaSheraton Grand Hotel.
The Cape Diamond Hotel.
Cape Town International Airport. Restaurants and Coffee shops, in Domestic and International Departures, boarding gates, airline lounges and at the Road Lodge.
City Lodge. GrandWest, Pinelands and V&A Waterfront.
Dulce Cafe. Bayside Centre and Durbanville.
Mugg&Bean. Just about all of them.
Nando's. Camps Bay
Sundance Coffee Co. Adderley Str, Buitengragt Str and Mouille Point.
Although Cape Town has its fair share of violent crimes, you are safe if you keep your wits about you. As a visitor, you are less likely to encounter problems while visiting the townships if you are escorted by a township resident - although, you shouldn't really venture into the townships without a fairly large group of accompaniment. Official township tours for visitors to Cape Town are your safest bet; revealing a very interesting lifestyle to the more curious tourists. Pickpockets and bag snatchers are abound in the CBD (Central Business District), as are conmen and cholos, although, during daylight police make themselves known. Simply put, leave everything you value - especially your papers and tickets - in your hotel room safe if you plan to stroll through Cape Town.
At night, make sure you stay on well-lit and crowded streets. Crime is especially high in Cape Town's CBD, Seapoint, Greenpoint, Salt River, Observatory, Mowbray, and the Cape Flats.
Glue sniffing children and junkies are a minor problem, called 'strollers' by the locals - these ragamuffins will strip you bare if you do not stay alert.
You should try not to appear to be a tourist, and you will not be targeted. Targeted tourists are generally spotted wearing cameras, shorts and golf hats - try not to do this. Do what you can to blend in, and if anything happens - don't try to be a hero, rather give them what they want, and keep your life.
Argentinian Embassy, 8 Brittany Avenue, Bantry Bay, ☎ + 27 (0)21 439-0403 (fax: +27 (0)21 439-5918). Only located in Cape Town when the South African parliament sits in Cape Town. When parliament moves to Pretoria, so does this embassy
Austria Consulate General, 3rd Floor, 1 Thibault Square, ☎ +27 (0)21 421-1440 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +27 (0)21 425-3489).
German Consulate General, 19th Floor, Safmarine House, 22 Riebeek Street, ☎ +27 (0)21 405-3000 (email@example.com, fax: +27 (0)21 421-0400).
Greece Embassy, 19th Floor, Reserve Bank Building, 30 Hout Street, ☎ +27 (0)21 424-8160 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +27 (0)21 424-9421). Only located in Cape Town when the South African parliament sits in Cape Town. When parliament moves to Pretoria, so does this embassy
Boulders beach is famous for its penguin colony and you can watch penguins in their natural habitat. September is the breeding season and you can see penguins hatching out of their eggs.
Cape of Good Hope to experience the wildness of the natural habitat preserved here. Stunning views and for sure you will meet one of the local baboons or ostriches. Be sure to stop in Simon's Town on your way back to relax with a wonderful view on the False Bay.
Hout Bay also known as the "Republic" of Hout Bay by its locals is a beautiful calm bay on the Atlantic Ocean. It has a quaint fishing harbour and boat trips to Seal Island. While you're there try the fish and chips at the Café on the Rocks at the end of the harbour road - a local secret.
Chapmans Peak experience one of the most scenic drives in the world, as you drive up the Chapmans Peak Drive and look north over Hout Bay the view of the bay and the fishing boats is awesome.
Major towns are Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek. All of them are ideal for a stroll around to pick up the unique Cape Wineland atmosphere. Be sure to do some wine testing at the wine estates in the region.