Cape Town Travel Guide

Cape Town Overview

Cape Town is undisputedly one of the worlds most attractive, colourful and exciting cities, located on the southernmost point of South Africa. The countrys oldest and mother city, with white sandy beaches of unimaginable beauty sweeping the coastlines and the imposing splendour of Table Mountain, never fails to captivate visitors and paves the way for a lifetime of memories.

 
A big, cosmopolitan city, the centre, known as City Bowl, lies to the north of Table Mountain, with a collection of inner suburbs. Running through its heart is Long Street, a fashionable spot for backpackers, lined with hostels, hotels, bars and restaurants. Jumping off from Long Street, in the CBD, are the cobbled streets of Greenmarket Square, the citys most historic and lively flea market. Spreading out in all directions from the City Bowl are a number of laid back and trendy beach suburbs. On the Atlantic coast side sit Sea Point, Clifton and Camps Bay, with the latter two being exclusive areas. To the other side of the striking mountain, and with warmer Indian waters, are the traditional Muizenberg and Simon’s Town.
 
Having so many suburbs within a stones throw from the beach, Cape Town is an energetic city, offering all kinds of water sports activities. Furthermore, and with the breathtaking Table Mountain and 12 Apostle Range always in view, scenic walks and hikes, where one can get in touch with nature, are high on the agenda. With a Mediterranean like climate, Cape Town can be visited at all times of the year. Spring and summer months, from October to April are the best, when the sun shines and sets late. Winter can become wet, however, if it is the only time you have then do not hesitate in going.
 
Cape Town is served by excellent transport links, for both domestic and international destinations, and an abundance of international carriers serve the local airport. The Translux and Greyhound bus companies have regular departures to Johannesburg, Kimberley, Port Elizabeth, Durban and into Namibia. There are also several long distance trains to Pretoria and Bloemfontein. Public transport is minimal in Cape Town, therefore most use taxis, minibus/sharing taxis. Be careful when travelling at night and do not let the laid-back vibe fool you.
 
Whatever your pleasure, Cape Town has it all, from cultural experiences to high adrenalin adventure, fine dining to a vibrant nightlife, luxury wine tours to the beach bum lifestyle. With a charismatic atmosphere, music playing on all corners and forever smiling inhabitants it continues to be South Africas shining star.

Things to do in Cape Town

Table Mountain - Standing 1000m above sea level, the citys icon is as stunning up front as it is from afar. Admire its colossal beauty from the numerous viewpoints or take in the spectacular views across the Western Cape from the top. A revolving cable car ferries visitors to the summit, providing excellent panoramic views.

 
Robben Island - Former prisoners conduct guides of this historic prison, where Nelson Mandela was held for 27 years. Tours, running from the Waterfront, are a little expensive but worth every rand.
 
Cape Town Beaches - The Western Cape is blessed with some of the worlds best beaches and suburbs. Check out fashionable Clifton, Camps Bay, Llandudno and Houts Bay on the Atlantic Coast. For the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean, head to Muizenberg, Kalk Bay and Simon’s Town. A feast of water sports are available to learn and practice, although beware of the sharks.
 
Cape Town Museums - Cape Town is home to a number of interesting and informative museums, including the District Six Museum, Bo-Kaap Museum, and Slave Lodge & Cultural History Museum.
 
Victoria & Alfred (V&A) Waterfront - Vibrant collection of restaurants, bars, cafés and shopping malls on the waters edge and with the backdrop of Table Mountain. Comes to life during the evenings, with live music and street performers entertaining the masses.
 
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens - Some of the worlds best kept and most beautiful gardens on the eastern side of Table Mountain. Only a short drive from the centre and perfect for an afternoon picnic. Regular concerts are held during the summer months.
 
Cape Peninsula - Take a scenic drive to the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point, where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet, and explore the expanse of fauna and wildlife within this impressive National Park. Reached via Simon’s Town, or along Chapmans Peak Drive, passing Camps Bay and Hout Bay.
 
Winelands - Discover the wonders of the stunning wine regions of Stellenbosch, Boschendal and Franschoek. Take a tour through the wineries, learning the history and sampling some of the worlds finest wines on the way.
 
Cape Town Nightlife - By night, Cape Town thrives, with bars and nightclubs spread around the centre, waterfront and neighbouring suburbs. Long Street is the hottest spot, with the Dubliner, Joburg and Zula Sound Bar all drawing the crowds with live music and late night drinking. Mitchells, at the Waterfront, is a traditional British pub brewing its own beer. At Camps Bay, the hip and fashionable come for sundowners at the likes of Caprice and Sandbar.

Hotels in Cape Town

Budget Hotels Cape Town

Ashanti Lodge - Popular hostel, with locations just off Long Street and in Green Point. Tel (27) (21) 4238721.
Big Blue Backpackers - Friendly hostel in vibrant Green Point and walking distance from the V&A Waterfront. Tel (27) (21) 4390807.
Carnival Court - Well run hostel, known for its party vibe, in the heart of Long Street. Tel (27) (21) 4239003.
Long Street Backpackers - Another welcoming hostel, also on Long Street. Tel (27) (21) 4230615.
 
Midrange Hotels Cape Town
Daddy Long Legs Boutique Hotel - Funky hotel with themed rooms. Couples may enjoy the Emergency Room! Tel (27) (21) 4223074.
Metropole Hotel - Stylish hotel with one of the citys fashionable bars. Tel (27) (21) 4247247.
 
Luxury Hotels Cape Town
Bay Hotel - An icon of Camps Bay with unmatched views across the bay, mountain backdrop and rooms in which to indulge. Tel (27) (21) 4379701.
Tudor Hotel - Elegant hotel on Greenmarket Square. Tel (27) (21) 4241335.
Mount Nelson Hotel - Set in a 7-acre park, this is luxury at its best. Tel (27) (21) 4831000.

Cape Town Weather

Cape Town Travel Resources

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This page was last modified on 5 Apr 2011 by Matt