Cape Town Tourism Information
Situated on the south-western tip of Africa, Cape Town central city is a bustling and friendly, contemporary and well-organized metropolis that offers a range of quality options for both visitors and locals. The surrounding peninsula and winelands offer many breathtaking sights and a wide range of attractions and activities will ensure you keep busy during your stay.
Cape Town is often described as being like a European city, the compact city centre, hemmed in by the harbour and the curve of Table Mountain, Lion’s Head and Signal Hill, is almost entirely walkable and a great site at every corner of the city. Cape Town is also much safer than other cities in South Africa and resembles a true metropolitan city with all ethnics and backgrounds. Make sure you have plenty of time because there is lots to discover here!
If you are not familiar with South Africa it may not be advisable to use public transportation after sun set and at night in Cape Town. Crime levels are higher during this time in the city centre. Unless if you have a local who can show you around or if you are in a group, the best advice is to remain in safe places and areas often busy with people, shops and activity. If going back alone, always take a cab, take metered cabs that can be easily recognised by their yellow “taxi” lights.
There are certain areas in Cape Town that are more dangerous than others, although nowhere is particularly safe on the streets after dark, so seek and follow local advice on the matter of crime and general safety.
❗Attention: If you encounter any threats, it's advised always to stay visible on main streets, walk away from any conflict and stay alert of your possessions. Never expose your mobile phone, camera, digital equipment etc and it's recommended to under-dress. Don't wear (expose) any jewellery or items of value on the street. Also, if you are alone make sure nobody follows you when walking around the city and frequently cross the street to avoid any followers.
Don't take much money with you and only one credit card, not a wallet.
Areas which should be avoided at all costs in Cape Town are Khayelitsha, Nyanga, Grassy park, East Rural, Woodstock and the CBD (city centre at sunset).
Cape Town enjoys dry, sunny summers and cold, wet winters. Winters occur between June and August and are influenced by a series of cold fronts that cross the peninsula from the Atlantic Ocean. They are characterised by heavy rain, particularly on the mountain slopes, strong northwesterly winds, and low temperatures. Some snow does fall on the mountain ranges during the winter. The average Winter temperatures in Cape Town range from 8°C and 20°C.
In summer, the weather in Cape Town is generally hot and dry, but the idyllic sunny weather is often punctuated with strong southeasterly winds. The average summer temperatures in Cape Town range from 16°C to 30°C. However, it's common for January and February to reach around 35°C as well. So taking plenty of sun protection is advised.
It is a city with four distinct seasons. During the autumn's many visitors prefer it for cooler temperatures and seeing crisp colours of the changing of the leafs. As for Spring, its the season for the show of Cape fynbos flowers.
The most popular time to visit is summer and early autumn (December to March). However, this is not the best time, due to the high season making everything more expensive to travel, with the additional heat temperatures making it more unpleasant to do outdoor activities.
Therefore visiting Cape Town from April to June (Autumn) and September to November (Spring) will provide the best experience.
When arriving to Cape Town by air, there is only one main international airport, (Code CPT). To get to the city centre the best and cheapest way is by taking the MyCity Bus, which leave in front of the main arrivals building every 30 minutes and it costs R150 to travel downtown to Civic Centre, where you can continue the trip by switching busses, take a train or walking.
Travelling on the Cape Town public transportation system is safe, but still there are reasons to be alert of your belongings as there is still a lot of petty crime. MyCiti Busses and trains are frequently used by locals and tourists, but be aware that trains and busses can circulate the poorer areas where people look worse of unfortunately. Always avoid to make excessive eye contact and don't take bags or many personal items with you as pickpocketing can occur if seen as an easy target.
Another transportation option which you will see in Cape Town are the Golden Arrow busses. These busses are used more by locals exclusively. If travelling in the city centre, generally they are safe. But again, you need to be more alert on them and don't travel to any slum areas! (Slum areas are the very poor neighbourhoods of the city where mostly black people live and there is a very high level of crime activity happening there).
✔️Tip: Always check with your accommodation which are the safest ways of travelling and if in doubt always get a taxi.
Below you will find the maps for the public transportation in Cape Town:
✔️Tip: Take the tour busses, as a tourist you will most likely want to take advantage of the multiple lines which the sightseeing bus company tours provide. There are 4 different lines, all designated by colours. 3 of the lines start the itinerary at Long Street, where the main Tourist Office is located. You can travel on 24 or 48h tickets and they take you to all the major destinations and attractions listed below. For more information visitCitysightseeing.co.za/Capetown
Cape Town is one of the most vibrant cities in South Africa, it combines beautiful landscape and scenery with culture, history and a city which is inviting to tourists.
Cape Town offers a more international feel, modern facilities, a wide culinary experience without forgetting its African heritage. There are plenty of action packed activities for those seeking adventure and eco-tourism. Cape Town is dominated by its great natural landmark, Table Mountain, which acts like a protection to the city as well as an important tourism destination which is a must see for any visitor and admire the views from the top.
Below you will find the best things to see and do during your visit in Cape Town:
- Table Mountain and Cable-way: Overlooking Cape Town is this colossal mountain which can be seen at any angle from the city. It is also a protection to the city from the strong winds, associated with Cape Town. It is a significant tourist attraction, with many visitors using the cableway or hiking to the top. The mountain forms part of the Table Mountain National Park. From above the views are very impressive of the whole city as well as its good for walking around as the top is mostly flat. Be aware that on windy days the cable-way is closed.
To get there you can reach by public transport or by using the Hop on-off tourist bus (red line). By public transport, use the MyCiTi busses, they stop right outside the Lower Cable Station. The MyCiTi bus route that runs from the V&A Waterfront to Camps Bay stops at the top of Kloof Nek Road (route number 106 and 107, Waterfront Silo / Civic Centre / Camps Bay). Hop off there and take the free MyCiTi shuttle service (route 110) that runs from Kloof Nek Road, to the Lower Cableway Station. The free service runs from 8am till 7pm every day.
- Robben Island: is an island 6.9 kilometres west of the coast of Cape Town. The name is Dutch for "seal island." It is flat and only a few metres above sea level, as a result of an ancient erosion event. It is mostly famous for it's past, the prison where former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela was imprisoned there for 18 of the 27 years he served behind bars. Robben Island is a South African National Heritage Site as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, attracting thousands of visitors. The island is only accessible via tour, which departs from the Waterfront Harbour. The tours include transportation, entrance to the museum and guides. The duration of the trip is 4 hours and it costs €20 per person. Be advised that on windy days the tours might get cancelled. To book the tour it must be done online prior to arrival if you want a guaranteed seat, as they sell fast. Book at least 3 days before via Webtickets.co.za
- Victoria and Alfred Waterfront: This redeveloped area from the Harbour of Cape Town is a modern, contemporary and stylish place to come to shop, eat, drink and have fun, suitable for all ages! It's also the location for the Robben Island tour services and home to many Hotels and restaurants where to come to relax during the evening. It is also a very safe area at night with security patrols and CCTV cameras. To get there you can take the Hop On-off tours (red and blue line) or several Myciti busses.
- Lion's head: Alongside Table Mountain, you will see Lions Head, named like this from the distinctive shaped formed mountain slope. The proud lion overlooks the city and Table Bay on one side, and the scenic Atlantic Ocean coastline on the other. It is possible to walk to the top, although it can be quite steep at times, the stunning views of Cape Town on the way up will keep you motivated to reach the top. The walk to the summit should take approximately an hour and thirty minutes. Lions Head is also a popular spot for Full-moon hikes and for panoramic views at dusk. Not suitable for elderly people or with children though. To get there the entrance to Lions head can be found on Signal Hill Road, at the Base of Forestry Road.
- Castle of Good Hope: Located next to Cape Town Train Station, the castle or fortress was built in 1666 beneath the imposing silhouette of the iconic Table Mountain. The Castle of Good Hope is the oldest surviving building in South Africa and has been the centre of civilian, political and military life in the Cape since 1666. Today, the Castle stands not only as a reminder of Cape Town’s colonial past, but as a beacon of the city’s future. Popular with locals and visitors alike, art and photography exhibitions are often hosted within its five walls. It opens from 9.30am-3.30pm daily. To get there you can go by Hop on-off bus (yellow route) or walk from the main train station.
- District Six Museum: If you travel around this district six, you will notice how flat and empty this area is, this was because during apartheid, the vibrant community of District Six was forcibly relocated from the city when the area was sadly declared a “white group area” by the National Party government. Once removed, all the houses and businesses were demolished, with only religious buildings saved from the destruction. Now, the District Six Museum serves as a way to rebuild the memories and cultural heritage of this historic area. The museum itself is housed in a historic building that was formerly a church. To reach the museum you can get off directly at the entrance by the Hop on-off bus (yellow route).
- Camps Bay Beach: Bordered by the spectacular Twelve Apostles mountain range and the Atlantic Ocean, Camps Bay is one of Cape Town’s most breathtaking suburbs. As well as being a popular summer attraction for locals and tourists who flock to the beach, Camps Bay boasts restaurants and watering holes aplenty that line the famous sunset strip for fun that goes on long after dark. Camps Bay is on two MyCiTi bus routes as well as the hop-on-hop-off City Sightseeing bus routes.(red and blue lines). On the beach you can rent loungers and umbrellas for a day of lazing in the sun, get a massage, or play volleyball. There is often street entertainment as the sun goes down.
- Simon's Town: One of South Africa’s oldest towns and Naval bases, Simon’s Town is a picturesque and historical town just 35 km outside Cape Town. From the Toy and Navy museums to the eateries and shops, here’s what you need to see while in Simon’s Town. You can take a boat trip, explore the shops, eat in the pubs, go shark-cage diving or discover the Penguin Colony which lives here. To reach there you can take the train from Cape Town to Simon's Town which takes 75 minutes.
Go Wine Tasting: During your visit in Cape Town don't forget to try some of the exclusive wines, made locally and sold at very reasonable prices. Several of the Wine tasting venues are located at Constantia Valley. You can take the purple Hop On-Off bus where you can walk around South Africa's oldest vineyards at your leisure, visit the historical manor house, do a wine tasting and eat lunch at the estate's Jonkerhuis Restaurant or grab a delicious picnic basket from Simon's Deli to enjoy outdoors. During the busy summer months, booking is advised for lunch.
When your days are limited and you want to see as much as possible, you can't miss the opportunity to explore the south of Cape Town towards the Peninsula which is full of natural wonders and amazing sights. Taking a tour will ensure you see as much as possible and you get to see as well the natural wild life, including the Penguins and the Seals.
Tours will pick you up directly from the accommodation and take around 8 hours. Prices start from 1330 Rand. (Excluding Lunch and entrance to see the Penguins and Seals).
The tour covers the highlights of Cape of Good Hope, Cape Point, Signal Hill, Chapman's Peak and the Botanical Garden. Driven in comfortable vans with free Wifi and spectacular scenery along the way. For more information visit Daytours.co.za and to book the tours.
It's welcoming news that nightlife in Cape Town is by far, much safer than Johannesburg or Durban. This makes it South Africa's most cosmopolitan city, with a multicultural mix of people of all backgrounds and where everybody is welcomed. Cape Town offers from fashionable bars, small local venues, classy dance clubs to hotel bars. There is something for everybody, no matter your budget.
Camps Bay's trendy sidewalk cafes in the summer come to life in the evening.
🌈Somerset Road in Green Point is where the main gay and lesbian clubs and bars are situated, although Cape Town in general, is very tolerant of same-sex relationships.
For a younger and more mainstream clubbing experience, Visitors should try the road in Claremont, where people prefer to have a drink and dance at clubs like Tiger Tiger.
Long Street is the heart of Cape Town's nightlife. Located in the centre of town, it has just about every kind of bar or club on offer, from live music and DJs to pubs, dance clubs, and the more trendy and laid-back lounge variety.
Cape Town also has plenty of quieter and less crowded venues hidden away off the side streets. Kloof Street and Bree Street are within easy walking distance of Long Street, and are known for their fashionable bars and restaurants.
For culture vultures, there are great local and often international shows to be seen at one of the many theatres in Cape Town, such as the Theatre on the Bay, the Baxter Theatre, or the Artscape. The Cape Town City Ballet, the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Cape Town Opera are all world-class performing groups.
❗Attention: Despite Cape Town being safer at night, travellers should be wary of the numerous pickpockets in the crowd, and keep a close watch on mobiles and wallets. Gun crime and assaults are more rare in Cape Town, but if you find yourself alone in empty streets, this can happen more likely, since many people are known to carry weapons.
Unfortunately, there is little to no public transport after 7pm besides private taxis. These often need to be booked in advance and can be expensive.
Note, that most clubs and bars will stop serving alcohol from 2am.
For those seeking some shopping fun, after the tourism in Cape Town, you will be delighted to know that shopping is largely centralised within a few good shopping malls, the most popular with travellers being the V&A Waterfront, Cavendish Square, and Canal Walk. Though many international brands are present, shopping in Cape Town is not quite in the same league as international cities such as London, New York, or Singapore.
The Saturday morning market at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock is excellent for organic foods and unique, locally-made products. The Sunday craft market in Hout Bay is one of the best places for handmade local arts and crafts, and for South African art it is worth taking a drive down to Kalk Bay and Simons Town where there are lots of small galleries.
The flea market at Greenmarket Square, off Longmarket Street, is worth a visit for African curios and gifts, and bargaining is often possible, particularly if buying a few items. Nearby Long Street also has a number of curio shops, mixed with local boutiques, bookshops, and music stores.
When visiting Cape Town you have to consider which area you are going to stay at, firstly, safety and then convenience and price. The city centre is not as dangerous as Johannesburg CBD, but still it's not advised to go out after the sun sets. If you want to enjoy evenings and nights then you should stay closer to the beach front areas of Green Point and Camps Bay.
If you are seeking budget accommodation there are plenty of reasonable Hotels and Hostels in Cape Town located in the heart of the city at Long Street, which is also a safe area for walking at night. Prices can range from €20-30 per night for private accommodation. However the good Hotels at the beach front are pricey, at €70-100 per night.
Cape Town is a great city to explore and discover many areas of beautiful scenery, landscape and views. It's also a heaven for those loving wine and drink.
Entertainment options are very varied as well as the multiple tours you can take. For the city itself there is not a lot of time needed, as generally you will do this on tour.
The most important highlights of the city plus some day excursions to the Peninsula and the surrounding areas means that you will need a minimum of 3 to 4 nights ideally.
Cape Town Photo Slide 📷