Cape Town is the second largest city in South Africa and is the capital of the Western Cape Province, as well as being the legislative capital of South Africa Houses of Parliament are in Cape Town. It is located in the south-west corner of the country near the Cape of Good Hope, and is the most southern city in Africa. It is a stone's throw from South Africa's world-famous Cape Winelands around Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek.
Cape Town is also known as Kaapstad in Afrikaans or the Mother City/Moederstad in South Africa. It is also one of the most iconic cities in the world.
Cape Town is less safe than you will be led to believe. As a newbie in town, you simply do not know the bad areas. Always take a taxi from the central bus station after dark. Better still, take one in the day time too, until you are more familiar of where to and where not to go, alone and loaded down with baggage. The police keep a fairly high profile during daylight hours, but less so at night. You'll get little help from the locals, as they fear for their own safety, too. Knife attacks are not uncommon.
The Cape Town metropolitan area covers a large area, from Durbanville and Somerset West in the east to Cape Point in the south and Atlantis in the north. The city centre is located in a relatively small area between Table Mountain and Table Bay.
For thousands of years, Cape Town was inhabited by the Strandloper ancestors of Kalahari Bushmen. 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, with some French Huguenots that had to flee from religious persecution in their home country. The first settlers soon explored the adjacent hinterland 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.
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 night-life, as well as a large gay community.
The summer months are from December to February. Days are usually 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 sun block. 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 there are a lot of events happening.
The winter months of June to August tend to be rather wet, which does not mean rain every day although it can rain for two weeks straight on occasion. It can also get very cold at night,with temperatures as low as 2 or 3°C this is the temperature of the ocean so it will not get colder unless you go far inland but 5-7°C normal. It will become warmer during the day, with temperatures between 9-15°C typical. It is often very cloudy with far fewer hours of sunshine.
Best times to visit are:
October and November: The weather is getting warmer. 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 February: 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.
March to May: This can change from year to year, but generally it starts raining and the temperature begins to become cooler. There are far 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.
Visiting Cape Town
Cape Town International Airport is the second largest airport in South Africa,the largest being the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. There are multiple flights daily to Johannesburg, Durban and all other major South African cities, as well as the Namibian cities of Windhoek, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay and other destinations, including Gaborone, Maun and Nairobi.
The most used airlines for international flights from Europe, the US and Asia include South African Airways, Lufthansa, British Airways, KLM, Singapore Airlines and Emirates.
Further international flights arrive from Dubai, Doha, Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt, Kuala Lumpur, London, and Singapore. Formerly, nonstop service to/from the United States existed, but now, you must use OR Tambo in Johannesburg as a gateway city from/to New York City, Washington DC, or Atlanta. 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, British Airways (Comair) and low-cost airlines Kulula.com and Safair.
There are MyCiti buses from the airport to the city centre at 20 minute intervals. One way costs R65.
The Muizenberg to Simon's Town Metrorail tracks run right along the ocean. Great views.
The Blue Train is the legendary luxury train service, and is by far the most stylish and comfortable way to get from Pretoria to Cape Town. In its long history, this train had served uncountable numbers of presidents, celebrities and other public figures. Private facilities in every room; many fitted with full bath. Fare includes overnight accommodation, meals, drinks alcohol included, cigars, butler service and an excursion during the trip.
All scheduled South African passenger trains are run by PRASA which is the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, which has different divisions for long-distance (inter-city) trains and commuter suburban trains. Shosholoza Meyl operates inter-city trains and MetroRail operates commuter trains in major cities.
Shosholoza Meyl has three classes of inter-city trains : Economy Class, Tourist Class and Premier Classe. In economy class there are seats only no bunk beds, tourist class provides bunk beds for overnight trips,bring a sleeping bed or buy bedding on the train and premier classe is slightly more luxurious and comfortable, with all meals and bedding provided. Economy and tourist class trains have a buffet car for food. Prices on the three classes vary accordingly.
Cape Town's main train station is located in the city centre, on the corner of Adderley Street and Strand Street. All trains to or from Cape Town arrive and depart from here.
There are inter-city trains to:
- Johannesburg via Kimberley every day of the week, with two trains per day on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday (Economy and Tourist Class);
- East London on Sunday (Economy Class only);
- Queenstown on Thursday (Economy Class only).
MetroRail has two classes on commuter trains in and around Cape Town : MetroPlus (also called First Class) and Metro (called Third Class). MetroPlus is more comfortable and less crowded but also more expensive. Every trainset has both MetroPlus and Metro coaches ; the MetroPlus coaches are always on the end of the train nearest Cape Town. Prices are cheap so it is better to be more comfortable and use MetroPlus. Note that there are steep fines if you are caught in a MetroPlus coach with a Metro ticket vice versa is allowed.
MetroRail commuter trains are a great way to get between Cape Town and neighbouring towns such as Stellenbosch, Strand, Paarl, Somerset West, Malmesbury, Worcester and through the Southern Suburbs (Claremont, Wynberg, Retreat) or to the beaches at Muizenberg, Kalk Bay, Fish Hoek, Glencairn and Simon's Town. Contrary to many reports that you might read, MetroRail trains are safe, but it is probably wise to avoid avoid traveling at night if possible. If you need to use trains at night, use the most crowded first class (MetroPlus) car and don't stay alone.
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.
You can buy a Tourist "hop on, hop off" ticket for the Cape Town-Simon's Town route that allows you to get off and on any train for the entire day.
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.
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.
Several major highways start in Cape Town:
N1 runs north-east, passing Paarl, Bloemfontein and Johannesburg on its way from Cape Town to Harare in Zimbabwe. Also a good choice if you want to go to Kimberley and the northern Drakensberg.
N2 runs along the East Coast towards the Garden Route, George and Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, through the Wild Coast up to Durban and Swaziland. Note that the N2 is a toll road through the Tsitsikamma National Park.
N7 goes north along the West Coast to the Northern Cape city of Springbok and to Namibia. Also follow it to go to Upington and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
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 a bit more expensive than in the United States. The locals will tell you that the Cape Town drivers are the most courteous drivers in South Africa except the mini bus taxi drivers who are unpredictable and generally drive slower in comparison with other cities.
Car Rental companies in Cape Town:
First Car Rental (Car Hire)
Reeds Car Rental (Car Hire)
Wise Wheels (Car Hire)
Value Car Hire (Car Hire)
Cabs Car Hire (Car Hire)
Aroundaboutcars (Car Hire), 20 Bloem Street, Cape Town
All major bus companies have Intercity connections from Cape Town, taking you to other 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.
Also, there are a few bus services available while travelling from eastern Africa, notably Tanzania and Kenya. The general route followed is Nairobi (Kenya), Dar-es-salaam (Tanzania), Lusaka (Zambia) and Harare (Zimbabwe) in order to reach Johannesburg. The journey from Nairobi takes about two to three days.
Bus tickets can also be obtained from Computicket.
Cape Town is also on the Baz Bus route.
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 its way to St Helena.
Touring Cape Town
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. Even short distance walks like from V&A Harbour to the Castle of Good Hope are problematic by foot, in a city with dividing motorways, and little or no signage or facilities for pedestrians away from the shopping precincts.
There are numerous car rental companies located at the airport and throughout town. Remember that you drive on the left here which may take some getting used to if you've never done it. It may be difficult to come by an automatic transmission at the rental company so reserve your car ahead of time if an automatic is what you prefer. When you are ready to put fuel in your car, it is required to let one of the petrol station attendants fill it up for you. Just stay in your car, he/she will come up to and ask you which fuel type and how much you want to put in.
Cape Town also has a number of luxury and classic car chauffeur companies available that perform various services such as airport transfers, transport to corporate events as well as VIP bodyguards:
Luxury Chauffeur Services (Luxury Car Hire), 25 Harold Ashwell Boulevard, Melkbosstrand.
Cape Cobra Hire (AC Cobra Chauffeur and Rentals), 10 Hermes Street, Paarden Eiland.
Classic Rides (Classic Car Chauffeur Service), 66 Roeland Street, City Bowl.
Metered taxis are widely available throughout Cape Town, though more so in more affluent or tourist-visited areas. Metered taxis can be identified by the typical yellow sign on the roof of the car, and by clearly stated information printed on the side of the vehicle stating the fare and the rights of the passengers. Be sure to take only those metered taxis that are marked in this way, but be aware that quality between different vehicles, even those with the same operator, can vary.
Typical prices per kilometer range from R9 to R12 (equivalent to R14 to R19 per mile), often with a start or flag fall fee of up to R30 in 2016. For longer journeys, for example from the city centre to the South Peninsula, or Stellenbosch, it is often possible to negotiate a slightly better price with the driver. Keep in mind the metered taxi industry is under some pressure in Cape Town, and that paying the full rate benefits your driver and ensures the continuation of a sector that is comparably safe and convenient when compared to other transport options.
There are a number of reputable metered taxi operators suggested by the City's Sustainable Transport Unit:
Marine Taxis, Unit 2, Monument Building, Old Marine Drive, Foreshore.
Unicab, 1 Plein Street, Woodstock.
Sainte Marie Taxis (Service in English and French)
Christo's Car Service (Service in English and Dutch)Small, efficient, and family-run service based in Cape Town's city center. Popular and good safety reputation with visitors.
For 24/7 toll-free call centre service that provides residents and visitors with information on public transport in Cape Town:
The network of minibus taxis is the most extensive public transport system in Cape Town, and primarily used by workers as transport to and from home. Many people will tell you it's way too dangerous to use these mini buses, but a growing number of expats and tourists seems to be using them anyway, mostly without trouble but always use caution especially if you are a lone female traveller. The main security issue is the hazardous driving - speeding, crossing on red lights, intoxicated drivers. Although slightly worse than other modes of transportation, these are also common issues when using metered cabs, or even letting a friend drive you home (drunk driving is a big problem in all layers off the South African population).
The main challenge using the system, is that there's no route map. You normally have to ask around a bit, and learn it over time. The main minibus station is located in the city centre, next to the train station. There you will find several platforms, each with the final destination indicated.
Two popular tourist routes are Cape Town - Wynberg (which passes Observatory, an area with a few backpackers') and the Green Point - Sea Point - Clifton - Camps Bay route. Fares are cheap, and from Cape Town to Observatory, you pay 6 rand (Dec 2014).
When jumping on somewhere along the route, you have to wave your hand to flag down one of the minibuses. They are usually tooting their horn to solicit passengers and will pull off the road if you wave them down. Licensed taxis will have a 20cm x 25cm blue and white sticker on the back of the minibus which shows their final destination. As of early 2013 the Camps Bay - City Centre route cost R6, although this will probably rise soon because of higher fuel prices. When in doubt, ask the driver what the fare is loudly so that everyone else can hear. The other passengers will watch out for you.
Although there are normally three seats per row, they normally squeeze in four, and it can get very tight sometimes. It might be a good idea to take out some coins before you enter the vehicle, as it can be hard to reach down in your pockets as the taxi fills up. Most of the time there is a doorman manning the door, collecting money, and shouting the destination to prospective customers on the streets. Normally you take a seat, and he will ask you for the fare after a while. People behind you will commonly give you coins to pass on, and change will also make its way back in the same fashion. In some cases, the driver will collect the money directly himself.
When you want to get off, you normally tell the driver a supermarket or other landmark. F.ex. Pick 'n Pay, Observatory if you want to get off close to the main street there (Lower Main Rd). They will mostly drop you off whereever you want along the route.
The minibus drivers often drive dangerously, and are known to drive through red lights, drive in the yellow lane, and not give way to anyone. Most of the minibus drivers "own the roads", and there are some horror stories, among them an incident where a minibus driver failed to stop for a train at a railroad crossing, and was hit by the train.
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. You may even meet supermodels going to their photo shoots or artists going to their studios. During busy times of day (or year) you may
have to wait a while and unfortunately, they do not take reservations.
There are two bus systems that run in parallel in Cape Town.
The older, slower and more extensive Golden Arrow network offers cheap connections connecting most of the city. These are not recommended for tourists due to security concerns. They run mostly during the day. It is better to ask the driver where the bus is going, to make sure you won’t end up somewhere else.
The newer MyCiti Bus Rapid Transport System started operating in 2010. The central hub for the system is the Civic Centre on the city centre foreshore. From there, routes radiate outwards to Tableview, Gardens, Walmer Estate and Salt River, Green Point (including the Waterfront) and the airport. The system is constantly expanding, however, so check out the MyCiti website MyCiti website for a current list of routes, maps and fares.
Note that in order to use the MyCiti network you'll need to use a MyCiti cash card which can be purchased at their stations or participating outlets. You can purchase one at the MyCiti station at the airport and use it to get into the city. Once you've loaded cash onto the card you can also use it as a debit card for small purchases.
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; however, unless you love the pain of cycling up and down mountains while dodging city traffic on narrow streets, cycling for transportation is not recommended.
LDV Biking, 13D Kloof Nek Road. 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.
Cape Sidecar Adventures, 2 Glengariff Road, Three Anchor Bay. Open 9AM to 5PM weekdays and 9AM to 1PM on Sat. Explore Cape Town in a vintage World War II side-car.
Harley Davidson Cape Town. Explore the Cape on the back of a Harley. From R650 per day.
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 a reasonable 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 6:30PM or when it is dark.
Make sure you do not carry anything expensive on the train as this is an invitation to thieves. If you must carry a camera, make sure it is well out of sight (preferably a small wallet sized camera). Ear rings, necklaces and any form of visible jewellery are not recommended as these can be ripped (rather painfully) from one's person by an enterprising thief. Keep your wits about you and it will make for a pleasant and safe journey.
Bo-Kaa. This neighbourhood, 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).
Atlas Trading is and old fashioned shop where you can buy spices for any dish. Ask the proprieter to mix you the necessary spice for the meal you intend making. Approximately 1km from the Bo-Kaap, is the Noon Gun which is fired every day at noon - from Monday to Saturday. You can go and view the short ceremony that takes place before the actual shooting as well as the shooting itself.
The Castle of Good Hope, Buitenkant Street/ The Castle of Good Hope is South Africa's oldest surviving building. It was built between 1666 and 1679. It is 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 and buy wine inside the Castle at the restaurant or café. Tours are offered Monday through Saturday at 11:00AM, 12:00PM, and 2:00PM. Horse and carriage rides are offered daily at 10:30 AM, 12:45PM and 2:45PM. Booking is necessary. R28 entrance fee.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Rhodes Drive, Newlands. Open daily 8AM to 6PM (7PM September to March). Created on land given to the South African people by Cecil Rhodes Kirstenbosch is one of the worlds most stunning gardens in possibly the most stunning location set below the Castle Bustress cliffs of table mountain. View the hugely diverse and beautiful plants and flowers of the Cape flora. Plants from all of the regions of South Africa are on display, including rare succulents from the Richtersveld, a giant baobab tree, and interesting medicinal plants.
There is also an avenue planted with a tree from every country in the Commonwealth, started during Rhodes time some of these trees are now an impressive size. 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 amphitheatre. Art is frequently on display, including large Shona stone sculptures from Zimbabwe. The gardens are also home to the National Biodiversity Institute.
The latest addition to Kirstenbosch is an elevated wooden pathway through the tree tops. This is a must see if you are in Cape Town, walking through the tops of trees is an amazing experience, especially if you give the walk way a shake! Its designed to move and sway in the wind. What makes the garden so special, is that every season gives you something new to see - new flowers, different birds, etc. During the summer months, sunset concerts feature excellent local and international music acts in diverse genres. Get there early to get a good spot on the grass amphitheatre. Bring a picnic, and enjoy the sounds of the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, local rock bands, and popular artists like Freshlyground and Goldfish. R40.
Robben Island. 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. The tour consists of a guided bus tour around the island, before meeting a former political prisoner for a tour of the prison area. The island itself is quite scenic, with African penguins usually seen on the tour. The bus tour stops to allow you to take in the view, and buy a snack. Tours run several times per day, seven days a week from the Nelson Mandela Gateway near the clock tower at the V&A Waterfront. Tickets can be purchased online or by phone. There are three trips a day at 9:00, 11:00, and 13:00. The tour takes 3.5 hours including the ferry ride to and from the island. R250.
Rhodes Memorial. The memorial is situated on the slope of Devils Peak mountain to the side of Table Mountain and commands one of the best views in to the Cape interior. Designed by Sir Herbert Baker, who also designed the Union Buildings in Pretoria as a memorial to pioneer Cecil John Rhodes. It's built in the style of the Greek temple at Segesta on Rhodes favourite spot on the lower slopes of Devil's Peak. Rhodes's own wooden bench is still located below the memorial. The memorial is fronted by a large statue of a man on a horse, this is one of three called Physical Energy by George Frederic Watts, the others being in London's Kensington Gardens and in front of the Zimbabwe National Archive in Harare.
The memorial is part of the Table Mountain National Park which is a great spot for picnicking. The memorial is also a start for the hiking along Devil's Peak. Rhodes Memorial and the surrounding bike and hiking trails have become a very popular spot. The Cafe and tea room located just behind the memorial being very popular for lunch, it looks out over a corner of the national park which people cant use so attracts lots of animals, its the only place in Cape Town where you can have coffee and watch wildebeest and Zebra walking on the slopes below you. Best to book a table as soon as you arrive at the memorial then do your sightseeing, otherwise you may need to wait.
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. Open 9:30AM to 6PM. You can come and watch the sharks be fed every Sunday at 3:00 PM. There is an extensive series of events calender for each month. Scuba diving is also offered. A walk around the aquarium takes about an hour. Admission: Adults R125 Children (4-13) R60 Children (14-17) R97
Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, . 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. Open 9:30AM to 4:30PM Monday to Saturday. Located in a home dating from the 1760s, the museum offers an insight into the cultural life of the Muslim community of the Bo-Kaap area in Cape Town. R5 entrance fee.
District Six Museum, 25A Buitenkant St. 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.
Groot Constantia, Groot Constantia Estate, Constantia. Open daily 10AM to 5PM. One of the oldest wine estates in South Africa R8 entrance fee.
Slave Lodge, cnr Adderley and Wale Streets. open 8:30AM to 4:30PM Monday to Friday and 9AM to 1PM on Sunday. One of the oldest buildings in Cape Town. R7 entrance fee.
South African Jewish Museum, 88 Hatfield Street]. Open Sunday-Thursday 10AM to 5PM and Friday 10AM to 2PM. Closed Saturday. The Museum about this small community that has made large contributions in South African society and bringing down Apartheid. The museum is about Jews but Non-Jews will find it very interesting and informative. R35 adults, R15 students.
South African Maritime Museum, Union Castle Building, V&A Waterfront. This Museum displays include evidence of the early seafarers round the Cape Of Good Hope. Small craft, locally made and a wide variety of maritime artifacts displays are also offered.
South African National Gallery, Government Avenue, Gardens. 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 apartheid. R10 entrance fee.
Galleria Gibello, 67 Rose Street, Bo Kaap. Open 10AM to 5PM Monday to Friday. Galleria Gibello is a photo gallery that is filled with visually captivating moments of life on the African continent. Admission is free. edit
Armchair Theatre, 135 Lower Main Road, Observatory.
Artscape Theatre, D F Malan Street, Foreshore, Cape Town.
Baxter Theatre, Baxter Theatre Centre, Main Road, Rondebosch. Theatre performances, comedy, jazz and others.
Labia Screen, 68 Orange Street, Gardens. Has an African Screen showing African-made and African-oriented films all year round.
Masque Theatre, 37 Main Road, Muizenberg (adjacent to False Bay train station). Amateur plays and performances. The whole theatre is run by unpaid volunteers.
On Broadway, 88 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town.
Almost everything is possible in Cape Town, from a nice guided city tour through an adrenaline kick in an old fighter jet. The easiest way to get an overview on things to do, nice restaurants, clubs, tours etc is to walk into one of the visitors centres which are in several areas. (V&A Waterfront, City Bowl, Green Point etc).
Cable Car to the top of Table Mountain, Lower Cable Station, Tafelberg Road.. Open between 8AM to 10PM (usually 8:30), 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 are not the same as at the bottom. There is a cafe with a limited range of snacks, coffee, beer and wine at the top. Table Mountain is the home of a small animal, the rock rabbit (known locally as the 'Dassie') whose closest relative, DNA-wise, is the elephant, and you can see them running around on the rocks at the top of the mountain. R225 return ticket or R115 for one way (down).
Climbing Table Mountain - Platteklip Gorge is the most accessible and therefore the most popular route for climbing up Table Mountain. You start from Tafelberg Road and proceed up a steep gully to the top of Table Mountain. It's a steep 2 hours but well worth the effort and you can jump in the cable car back down to spare your knees. Be cautioned that the cable car does not operate in strong winds so you need to check before departing. Take water, sun block, hat and jacket. The cloud comes down unannounced and the temperature could plummet. Poorly equipped hikers often have to be rescued.
Although it is very steep this route is extremely popular and you are guaranteed to meet many people on the way up and down. The gorge is shaded in the afternoon but earlier in the day it can be extremely hot with very little shade. Most of the route involves rock steps which can be challenging and many people find coming down even harder than going up. Don't underestimate the time and energy required for the downward section of this hike. Remember to take lots of water - this climb can be hot! Wear appropriate hiking shoes. Leave plenty of time to get down before dark.
As this is a well known route and easy accessible, many inexperienced hikers attempt the climb. Take care, or consider a guide. Guided hikes can be booked through the ever resourceful local company SABP Tours. Privately guided hikes are led by Cape Trekking on many of the lesser-walked routes of the mountain above Kirstenbosch, on the Twelve Apostles routes, or Devil's Peak.
Cape Peninsula— Go to the Cape of Good Hope via Simon's Town and the African penguin colony at Boulders. Visit Cape Point in the Table Mountain National Park, maybe have lunch there before taking a hike in a quieter part of the reserve to immerse yourself in the essence of the landscape. There's a strong chance you'll find yourself among a herd of antelope, or zebra, a troop of baboon or ostriches.
Then take Chapman's Peak Drive (if it is open) through Hout Bay and along the Atlantic seaboard via Llandudno and Camps Bay, stopping off at one of Clifton's famous four beaches.
Ratanga Junction. 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.
Swimming. Beaches on the False Bay side of the peninsula are the most popular with swimmers as the water is warmer. St James has the most picturesque tidal pool on the stretch between Muizenberg and Kalk Bay, while Clovelly and Fish Hoek beaches wrap around a sheltered bay with soft, white sands. Fishing boats, hobie cats and kayaks launch from here too. Brave hearts can sun-worship and swim naked in the freezing water of the isolated and breathtaking nudist beach Sandy Bay near Llandudno. Major spot for gay tourists as well. There's a 1.5 km walk down from the parking lot. Camps Bay and Clifton also have great beaches to visit if you want to try the chillier waters of the west coast.
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. Don't forget that the False Bay area (where Muizenberg is located in addition to Kalk Bay and Fish Hoek) is known for its sharks! 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 kitesurfing due to the windy conditions. When the swell is really cranking, the big wave surfers gather at Dungeons, near Hout Bay, for some of the biggest surfable waves in the world.
Kite Surfing— Cape Town is one of the best Kite Surfing destinations in the world. Being on the South Western tip of Africa allows kitesurfers to gain access to two oceans, and the famous Cape Doctor which is also known as the South Easter blows most days from October until April. Cape Town offers great kitesurfing to those just starting in the sport as well as seasoned professionals who often spend their off season training around the Cape. Some of the most popular Kite surfing hot spots are Dolphin Beach in Blouberg Strand, Muizenberg and Langebaan Lagoon. Langebaan lagoon is one of the best places in the world to learn how to kitesurf, with its warmer waters, shallow sand banks and steady wind.
Winelands— Tour the beautiful Constantia Valley wine estates Groot Constantia, Buitenverwagting, Klein Constantia and Constantia Uitsig before checking out the Cape Winelands around Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek. Stellenbosch has the added attraction of being an historical university town and Franschhoek, well established as the food capital of the Cape, is home to three of the country's top ten restaurants. The views are extraordinary.
Have a drink and a snack at Dieu Donne estate for an unsurpassable vista of the entire valley, or take your own picnic to the top of a little hill they have by the parking area. Most wineries charge for a tasting session, but usually refund it on a purchase. Your best bet of course is to let someone else to the driving whilst you do the drinking. There are numerous wine tour operators and using them means you will get to see off the beaten track farms and they are often much cheaper then paying for individual tastings. One of the best is operated by SABP Tours as of March 2016 a full day tour cost R800
Exploring the Cape Floral Region Cape Town is the perfect base for exploring the eight protected areas of the Cape Floral Region, inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004, including the Table Mountain National Park and the beautiful Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. Mid-August to late-September is an incredible time to visit the area when the normally barren landscape of the west coast north of Cape Town celebrates the arrival of spring by erupting into a blanket of wildflowers. Discover World Heritage specializes in private and small group tours focusing around Cape Town and the Cape Floral Region, including a special spring tour to see the wildflowers. Visit their website for further information.
Seal Snorkeling. Marvel at these curious and comical creatures in their natural underwater habitat in Hout Bay. Seal snorkeling trips are run daily from September until the end of May from the Hout Bay harbour with Animal Ocean, but there are no tours in June, July or August. They provide all the neccesary equipment, hot chocolate and experienced guides to ensure you have a wonderful and safe time. Book a Seal snorkeling trip 550.
Freediving— Cape Town is one of the premier recreational cold water freediving locations in the world. The Atlantic side of the peninsula boasts wrecks, caves and seals, while the warmer False Bay side has sharks, rays and a wide range of reef fish. Most dives sites are easily accessible from shore and range in depth from 5m to 15m. The Blue Rock Quarry in Somerset West is ideal for deep freediving as it has year-round calm conditions and is at least 50m deep. Cape Town Freediving specialises in guided freedives and courses. Visit their website for further information.
Climbing Lion's Head, Signal Hill Road. Within easy reach of the city centre, Lion's Head can be summited via 4 routes. The popular and recommended route is to hike up the Circular Route offers increasable views. The Non-Circular Route is more difficult and takes a more direct approach. The South-east Arete is seldom used scramble and requires the use of a rope. The final route called the White Face is considered a rock climb. The last two routes should not be attempted by hikers or inexperienced traditional rock climbers.
Cape Town has some of the worlds best wine producing vineyards and arguably the worlds most scenically stunning on it's doorstep. The wine regions of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl are all with in an easy hours drive, these historic and lush regions offer stunning views and world class wine tastings. There are more than 250 wine farms within 30 minutes' drive of Stellenbosch - you can comfortably visit 3 or 4 in day. Most wine farms charge a tasting fee of R20 - R50, but waive this if you buy wine. You can self drive but you can not legally drink wine and drive so you will need to find a designated driver. The safest way to see the winelands is to trust your day to a dedicated wine tour company. An excellent day tour is offered by SABP Tours.
Deep Sea Fishing
Ama Feesh Charters. At the time of writing, the telephone number and web site were not available. Per charter, R4500 for inshore fishing, R6500 for offshore fishing, 1 to 6 people.
Cape Charters, 31 Antigua, The Water Club, Granger Bay.
Hooked on Africa.
Millers Point & Simonstown - on the way to Cape Point.contact Rob Naysmith from R4'000 per boat (4 pax) per day in False Bay to R5'000 for Tuna.
Reelthymecharters, Hout Bay Harbour.
Shark Cage Diving
Cape Town is one of the world’s best places to see the Great White Shark.Cape Town offers the most accessible diving opportunity to witness the great white shark that will leave you in awe of these magnificent ocean predators.
Shark cage diving is available in Gaansbaai all year round. Between June and October we can also dive around Seal Island in False bay.
Shark & Safari - Tours and Shuttles, V&A Info Centre, Dock Road, Waterfront, Cape Town.
Cape Town is one of the coolest cities on the planet, to make it even better, it has great surfing. Expect cold water, especially in summer when the antarctic currents brush past. Swell has an uninterrupted line all the way from Cape Horn - big powerful waves on offer! Alternatively swing round to the False Bay side to enjoy the tropical waters of the Indian ocean - Not exactly tropical but several degrees warmer. Winter months (June - August) are best with the most swell being pushed in by huge storms between Cape Town and the antarctic but generally South Africa is one of the worlds most surf spoiled countries, which means there is surf all year round, depending where you are. Contact one of the local surf shops below for more information.
Vudu Surfboards Cape Town, 60 Orange Street, Gardens, Cape Town 8001.
On the way to a dive off Cape Town
The sharks at the Two Oceans Aquarium are fed every Sunday, so it is relatively safe to dive with them.
Cape Town is located near two oceans, the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean. Because of the Benguela Current the Atlantic Ocean is relatively cold (about 8°C to 14°C). The Indian Ocean is warmer (12°C to 17°C), and here you can see the more colourful fish. The official border between the two oceans is at Cape Agulhas, but currents and eddies take the warmer water futher west and these waters can reach the eastern side of the Cape Peninsula in False Bay, so from a diving point of view, the Cape Peninsula may be considered the interface between the two marine biological regions, and there is a notable difference in character between the waters of the two coasts of the peninsula. This manifests itself in the different range of marine life found on the two coasts. These regions are the South Western Cape inshore bioregion and the Agulhas inshore bioregion.
The waters around the Cape Peninsula have been declared a Marine Protected Area (MPA). Permits are required to Scuba dive in any Marine Protected Area. This is a politically controversial issue due to disputes on whether due process was followed and whether the government deparment exceeded its authority, but the consequence is that a tax is imposed on all Scuba divers who dive in an MPA. The permit (valid for 1 year) may be purchased for R75 (2009) at a some branches of the Post Office, or a temporary permit valid for 1 month may be purchased at most dive shops. Failure to present this permit when requested by an official of MCM may lead to harrassment and possible arrest.
Detailed information and suggestions on local conditions, service providers and more than 100 local dive sites is provided in the guide to Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay.
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. 9AM, 11AM and 1PM daily. You need to be in possession of a valid diving license (PADI, CMAS, NAUI, BSAC etc.). Swim along with the Ragged tooth sharks, Yellow tail, Kob, Musselcracker, 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. For advanced divers, the Kelp forest tank puts you into the water with more and bigger local reef fish than you will see in the sea. R400 (R325 if you bring your own diving gear), this includes the R70 aquarium entrance fee.
There are many organized events in Cape Town throughout the year. An official calendar of events is available from Cape Town Tourism.
Cape Town Flower and Garden Show. This annual show (now in its 14th year) will be hosted at the Lourensford Wine Estate in Somerset West between the 25th and 28th October 2007.
Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour. March every year. Total distance is 109 km. 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 South Africa entrants and R500 for international. edit If you are not involved in or interested in cycling, avoid Cape Town on the second weekend of March, as it is difficult to tavel as so many roads are closed.
Two Oceans Marathon. On Easter Saturday each year. An Ultra marathon (56 km), a half marathon (21 km) and a number of fun runs ranging from a 56m Nappy Dash to a 8 km walk or run. Maximum 10 000 entrance accepted per year per race distance (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. edit If you are not involved in or interested in the runs, avoid Cape Town on this weekend, as it is almost impossible to go anywhere as so many roads are closed.
Cape Town Jazz Festival, Cape Town International Convention Centre. 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 spend months preparing for this annual event.
Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. 5:30PM to 6:30PM every Sun, late Nov to early April. http://www.oldmutual.co.za/about-us/sponsorship/arts-and-lifestyle/kirstenbosch-concerts.aspx R50.
Mother City Queer Project. Sometime during December each year. Biggest gay and lesbian party of the year. R100 to R350. The sooner you buy a ticket the cheaper it is.
Spiers Summer Arts Festival. From October to March. At the time of writing, the web site was not available.
City Harvest Festival. April 20th 12PM to 10PM and 21st 9AM to 6PM. The City Harvest Festival exhibits the Cape’s finest wines, food, with live entertainment including bands. Talks by Cape winemakers on the winemaking process. Chocolate feature planned. Host venues include Signal Hill Winery, Café Mao, Riboville, WineSense and Sundance Café.
Big Five Cape Town safaris are becoming increasingly popular. There are numerous safari game reserves with in 2 hours drive from Cape Town which is a great option if you don’t want to venture too far from the city.
Shark & Safari - Tours and Shuttles, V&A Info Centre, Dock Road, Waterfront, Cape Town.
There are many hiking trails in and around the city, from short walks to multi day hikes.
The Cape of Good Hope Trail, Cape Town. Cape of Good Hope in the Table Mountain National Park, 34 km, 2 Days. R88.
Hoerikwaggo Table Mountain Trail, Cape Town. 3 Day, non-strenuous, luxury trail through the city, botanical gardens and Table Mountain National Park. R635 per day.
The Orangekloof Hiking Trail, Cape Town. 6 Days, Cape Point to Table Mountain. R420.
Table Mountain, (Starting point is 1.5 km 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. 3 km (all uphill), 1 to 3 hours, Platteklip Gorge to the Upper Cable Station. No fees are charged.
Chapman's Peak. 2-3 hours, non-strenuous with breathtaking views of Hout Bay and Noordhoek and rich flora, especially proteas. The trail begins on the Hout Bay side of the peak about 750 m from the main view-point on scenic Chapman's Peak Drive. Park by the trail head and follow the path out of the picnic area. It soon forks but both routes take you to the same place. Turn right at the next junction, from where the path is clear. Return same route. No permit required.
The Amphitheatre in the Kalk Bay mountains. 3 hours. Start at the sign on scenic Boyes Drive and climb up towards the rocks above which are peppered with scores of caves, many of which are not recommended for novice cavers so be careful. Take a torch. Follow the right forks in the trail and you'll be rewarded with increasingly spectacular views of False Bay. Head straight up through Echo Valley and through an ancient milkwood grove. Come back the same way if you don't have detailed directions. No permit required.
Cape Town has a very good network of trails to suit every level of fitness. Many of these trace the contours of the mountain and wander through the protea bushes and fynbos, often with breathtaking views. Many require no permit, although most of Cape Town's reserves have entrance fees. Hiking in a group is strongly recommended. The outdoor store Cape Union Mart has a hiking club with organized group hikes most weekends. Pick up a programme at one of their stores. You must phone the hike-leader first and pay R10.
Paradise Touring. For guided walks up the mountain with a botanical guide.
Cape Eco-Tours. A good one for twitchers to use and is a member of Bird Life South Africa.
In the air
Heli, Cape Town International Airport and V&A Waterfront. Go on an exciting charter, or fly with an instructor and take control on an intro flight. Heli offers the premium helicopter experience in Cape Town. Scenic flights, airport transfers, wine tours, flight training
Cape Town Helicopter Tours, V&A Waterfront. Helicopter Wine Tours Western Cape, visit, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and or Paarl from Cape Town.
See the cape from above with a scenic helicopter flight, East Pier Road, V&A Waterfront. From R400 per person per 15 minutes.
Sport Helicopters. For scenic flights or the quick way to get to Robben Island.
ThunderCity, Cape Town international Airport. Go supersonic in a fighter jet. You need endless pockets.
SABP Tours, can include transport to and from Cape Town.
Skydive Cape Town, Cape Town.
Para Taxi (Tandem Paraglide), 16 Pebbles Crescent, Coral Grove, Royal Ascott, Milnerton. R1300 for a tandem flight.
Action Adventure Cape Town. 2. Book a magical sunset paddle off the Sea Point promonade or a unique Penguin Paddling experience. Book a paddle trip now +-R290.
Gravity Adventure Group. Provides training (African Paddling Association approved) as well sea kayaking in the West Coast National Park.
Waterfront Boat Company, Quay 4, V&A Waterfront. 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.
Tigger 2 Charters. From R180 to R720 per person depending on cruise.
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 make-up, 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 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:
SABPTours, Gardens,Cape Town. R600 for a half day tour.
African Experience, 70 Loyolo Street, Kayamandi.
Andulela Tours. Offers a variety of different tours, including jazz, soccer, poetry, and culinary tours. Their emphasis is on meeting people, not looking at them.
Cape Fusion Tours, Oranjezicht Cape Town. Offers hands-on African cooking experiences in Langa at a local cooking school. This gives you an insight into the culture, the people and their cuisine.
Cape Town Executive Travel, Spin St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town. Offers an eye-opening and educational tour of the the Langa township. The tour includes the option to experience eating food from one of the sidewalk barbecues and a trip to a township shebeen (tavern).
Kwathabeng Tours, 1 Mocke St Dieprivier. Township Tavern Tours
Langa Heritage Walk, Lenotholi Avenue, Langa.
Luhambo Tours, Cape Town, Milnerton. Specialises in township tours (Gugulethu and Khayelitsha) and wine tours.
Sam's Cultural Tours, 45 Mshumpela Way, Langa.
There are a number of small nature reserves in and around Cape Town.
Koeberg Nuclear Power Station and Nature Reserve. The 3000 hectare buffer zone around the power station has been converted to a nature reserve with Bontebok, Genet, Steenbok and many other antelope.
Table Mountain National Park. Table Mountain National Park forms part of the Cape Floristic Region UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park covers a large area of the Cape and incorporates a number of park areas. Most of it is free access; the only places you need to pay are at the Cape of Good Hope, Silvermine and Boulders.
With South African wines becoming more and more popular worldwide, the number of tourists who visit Cape Town to learn more about the local wines is growing. The impressive variety of vineyards in Cape Town and the surrounding Cape Winelands make the choice which one to visit and which wine to taste very difficult. It is always a good idea to rely on one of the established wine tour operators. Guests should insist on a specialised guide with a thorough knowledge of South African wines.
SABPTours, Gardens,Cape Town. A tour company offering a full day wine tour, visits at least 4 vineyards, includes lunch and all tasting fees and collection from your hotel in Cape Town. R795 for a full day tour.
Mostly you will see Southern right whales, but on occasion you might also spot humpback and killer whales. Bottlenose and dusky dolphins also frequent False Bay. The Southern Right wales visit each year between June & November to mate and calve.
From viewpoints next to the coastal road between Fishhoek- Sunny Cove railway station through Glen Cairn to Simon's Town one can often spot whales less than 100m from shore. At Cape Point whales can often be seen passing below.
A number of operators also offer Whale Watching Cruises. The Simon's Town Boat Company is the sole permit holder for boat based whale watching in False Bay (Permit No. 0806336).R750 per adult ( 2012 prices) From the town pier.
Waterfront Boat Company, Shop 5 Quay, V&A Waterfront. 3 to 4 hour cruise in the bay and you are almost guaranteed to spot whales. R350.
Dyer Island Cruises, Gansbaai. R450 to R720.
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.
Ailola Cape Town English School, 1st Floor, 4 Regent Rd, Sea Point, 8005 Cape Town. Ailola Cape Town was founded in 1998, is run by its South African owner and is located in Seapoint district just a few meters from the beach. The school offers English group and private classes, Cambridge / TOEFL / IELTS certification courses, volunteering programs, student accommodation and a variety of extra activities after the classes and on weekends. The English courses are based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
University of Cape Town, Rhodes Drive, Rondebosch.
University of the Western Cape, Modderdam Road, Bellville.
Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Keizergracht Road, Cape Town.
Stellenbosch University (Maties), Stellenbosch.
There are various volunteering opportunities in Cape Town.
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.
Green Market Square, 54 Shortmarket Street. Originally a Farmers' Market dating back to 1710, Green Market is today one of the city's best flea markets. There's a range of local arts, craft and curios on offer and the vendors expect to bargain for their wares.
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.
Caroline's Fine Wines, V&A Waterfront and 15 Long Street in the City Centre. 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 though, compared to supermarkets and wineries.
Vaughan Johnson's Wine Shop, Dock Road, V&A Waterfront. Quality selection but not exhaustive. Knowledgeable staff. Generally substantial (10-20%) markup over winery prices but of course more convenient.
Wine Concepts, Cardiff Castle Building, cnr Main Street & Kildare Road, Newlands (Southern Suburbs). 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.
Iqhayiya Craft Cooperative, (in Khayelitsha, the cooperative is tucked behind St Michaels and All Angels Church on the corner of Ncumo rd. and Qhula Cres in the Harare District). M-F 9:00 - 4:45, Sat. 9:00 - 2:00.. The 8 person artist cooperative sells artwork, jewelry, and other authentic African crafts. All of the items are made by the members of the cooperative. Email the cooperative directly for information.
As in any large city you will find a number of major shopping malls with the requisite department sized stores and chain labels:
Bayside Centre, cnr Blaauwberg Road and Otto Du Plessis Drive, Tableview. Shops are open 9AM to 7PM Monday to Friday, 10AM to 5PM on Saturday and 10AM to 2PM on Sunday.
Blue Route Mall, cnr Tokai and Keyser River Roads, Tokai.
Canal Walk, Century Boulevard, Century City. Open 10AM to 9PM Monday to Friday, 9AM to 9PM on Saturday and 10AM to 9PM on Sunday.
Cavendish Square, Vineyard Road, Claremont. Open 9AM to 7PM Monday to Saturday and 10AM to 5PM on Sunday.
Constantia Village, cnr Constantia Main and Spaanschemacht River Roads, Constantia.
Kenilworth Centre, cnr Doncaster and Chichester Roads, Kenilworth.
Longbeach Mall, cnr Buller Louw Drive and Sunnydale Road, Noordhoek.
Maynard Mall, cnr Main and Wetton Roads, Wynberg.
Mainstream Centre, cnr Main Road and Pricess Beach, Hout Bay. Shops are open 9AM to 5PM Monday to Friday, 9AM to 5PM on Saturday and 10AM to 2PM on Sunday.
N1 City, Louwtjie Rothman Drive (off Monte Vista Boulevard), Goodwood.
Tyger Valley, cnr Bill Bezuidenhout and Willie van Schoor Avenues, Bellville. Open 9AM to 7PM Monday to Saturday and 9AM to 5PM on Sunday.
Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Breakwater Road, Cape Town. Open 10AM to 9PM every day.
Food in Cape Town is generally of high quality. However, do not buy fresh fruit from street vendors, as it commonly makes travelers sick. 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 achieved. 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 clientèle), 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. The Old Biscuit Mill, in the center of Woodstock, is a lovely Saturday market teeming with quality drinks and foods for a friendly price.
Kloof Street & Park Road in Gardens area is the latest hip urban cool area and is an excellent eating place away from the tourist throngs with a variety of bistro / sushi / hipster type places serving the young professional and bohemian crowd.
Farther afield, Hout Bay on 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 there are number of great restaurants including Pastis Brasserie, Wasabi, The River Cafe, La Colombe and the Constantia Uitsig Restaurant.
NB: 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).
Bakoven, Southern Life Building, 10 Riebeeck Street. Cheap, relaxed, environmentally-friendly coffee shop. A favourite with backpackers.
Table Mountain Restaurant, On top of Table Mountain, close to the Upper Cable Station. Open 08:30 to 18:30, with extended hours during December and January. A 120 seat, self service restaurant. No booking required.The restaruant is closed when the Table Mountain Cable Car is not operating. From R20 for a simple breakfast.
A Tavola, Wilderness Road, Claremont (Across the road from the Kingsbury Hospital, just off Main Road.). A casual, glass-fronted Italian restaurant popular with locals. Daily specials; book reservations online or phone.
Africa Café, 108 Shortmarket Street. 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.
Bayfront Blu, Two Oceans Aquarium. Offers breakfast and coffee all day and also serves good seafood, like Swahili prawn curry. Tables offer view on water and Table Mountain.
Biesmiellah, Corner Upper Wale/Pentz Street. One of the oldest restaurants around, known for its Malay kitchen. No alcoholic drinks are available.
Col'Cacchio Pizzeria, 42 Hans Strijdom Avenue Foreshore (Take N1 on M18, take right into River Rd and left into Hans). Italian dishes made to order. Midrange.
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. Favourite of local diplomats. Menu changes regularly; book reservations online.
Hildebrands, V&A Waterfront. Offering standard Italian fare of pizzas and pastas, but the quality is not up to par.
Jewel Tavern, 101 St Georges Mall Street, City Bowl (At the intersection of Church Street and St Georges Mall Street). Increasingly popular Chinese restaurant. Preferred destinations for Cape Town's bon viveurs. Guest can watch how their meals are prepared. Note this is a local spot for fisherman/boat workers coming in and spending a few days into the harbour. It is a very authentic spot with no frills. Most of the staff do not speak English, but the food is delicious.
95 Keerom, 95 Keerom Street. A top class Italian restaurant with modern décor and a trendy atmosphere.
Lolas, (Across from Long Street Café). Vegetarian food with local colour 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, European kitchen, which serves up tasty drinks.
Mama Africa, 178 Long Street. 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 at affordable prices. Live marimba music some nights.
Renaissance Cafe, Mainstream Centre, Main Road, Hout Bay (next door to the Post Office). Best coffee in Hout Bay, set in a stunning courtyard. Open 8:30AM to 6PM every day. Well worth a visit!
Rhodes Memorial Restaurant, Rhodes Memorial. Situated in the Table Mountain National Park directly behind the famous Rhodes Memorial. The restaurant has stunning views over the northern and eastern Cape Town suburbs and the Hottentots Holland mountain range. The menu is diverse and caters to all tastes, but its the desserts that really rate a mention, be sure to tuck into some scones!
The Ritz Hotel, cnr. Camberwell and Main Roads, Sea Point. 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. NB(The floor has 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 satisfying warm meals.
Tasca de Belem, Victoria Wharf, shop 154, Piazza Level, V&A Waterfront. A very good Portuguese restaurant that offers some exquisite meals.
Tong Lok, 10 Link Rd Parklands, Parklands Centre. The best Chinese restaurant and take-away that serves anything from vegetables, to seafood, sushi and other Japanese foods.
Willoughby's, Victoria Wharf, V&A Waterfront. Has some of the best seafood including excellent sushi at very good prices.
Bistro, 69 Victoria Road, Camps Bay, Cape Town,The tender signature Chalmar Beef Fillet is the ever popular dish – either cooked on the grill, or over open fire during the summer months. R90 Lunches feature sandwiches, salads and pastas showcasing imaginative combinations of only the finest ingredients .
Ashton's Restaurant at Greenways, 1 Torquay Avenue Upper Claremont. Mo-Su 7AM-10PM. World class fine dining restaurant that offers international cuisine with a South African twist.
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.
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.
169 on Long, 169 Long Street. This place is a local legend, pumping out a range of jazzy retro beats between Wednesday and Saturday nights. There's also a nice restaurant attached that serves Mediterranean cuisines, so you can line your stomach before you hit the dance floor
Blushlounge, 43 Somerset Road, Greenpoint. Blush Lounge is a bar lounge and nightclub that caters for the young professional. Quality service by well trained bar staff and efficient and stylish door and security staff, patrons can relax into an evening of wellness brought on by a socially accessible environment.
Caveau Wine Bar & Deli, 92 Bree Street, Heritage Square. Has over 300 wines by the glass and an award-winning wine list at that. In Heritage Square, city centre.
Club Georgia, 30 Georgia Street (offside the Buitensingel). Popular with over 25-year olds. Music from all over Africa is played, especially Kwassa-kwassa, Kwaito, Ndombolo and Rai.
Rafiki's, 13 Kloof Nek Rd, Tamboerskloof. Popular with locals living in the area, cheap drinks and a very laid-back environment. Great bar food and pizza aswell.
Sandy B, 69 Victoria Road, Camps Bay, Cape Town. Open to the public at The Bay Hotel over summer, Sandy B is a unique cocktail venue, accentuated by its glorious views of Camps Bay beachfront.
The Nose Wine Bar, Cape Quarter, 72 Waterkant Street, Green Point. Has many wines by the glass, but pricey.
Zanzi-Bar, 255 Long Street (above Long Street Café.). 5PM-2AM. Good meeting place for other travelers visiting Cape Town. Live Jazz on Sundays, DJ's on Friday & Saturday nights. Free entry most nights.
Kloof Street is a short walk up Long Street. But crossing in to Kloof is more than a walk in terms of style and vibe, the Kloof Street Park Road area is the home of Cape Town's uber cool. There is a vibrant nightlife with restaurants, bars and all manner of hipster drinking spots. The area is also home to UCT's art school and Varsity College art school, this area always has something going on.
A popular destination with locals is Camps Bay, which offers a vibrant night-life and many bars, restaurants and clubs.
Fiction Bar, 226 Long Street. renown club with weekly indie-, drum'n'bass- and minimal-electro-nights mostly around R30 admission.
Mercury Live & Lounge, 43 De Villiers Street (Zonnebloem). World Class Live Music, with students nights R20-40.
Accommodation in Cape Town ranges from hostels (of which there are many) to luxury accommodation. Actually, there are so many hotels, B&Bs and guest houses that it can be difficult to decide where to stay!
Staying in city centre can often work out cheaper as obviously all the attractions are to hand, but stick to one of the neighbourhoods next to the central area for better prices and a quieter nights sleep. The area around vibey Kloof Street in Gardens/Tamboerskloof with its young cafe culture and hip shopping is a good choice. You could consider sleeping in one of the suburbs. It is normally quieter and there is less traffic than in Central Cape Town. The suburbs in the south, like Muizenberg, Fish Hoek or Simon's Town, or near the winelands (see Cape Winelands)are ones to try. Areas along the western seaboard of the peninsula (such as Camps Bay) will be more expensive.
33 South Backpackers, 48 Trill Road, Observatory. A Boutique style hostel, Join them every Tuesday for the already legendary "creative evening." From R120 per person including a fresh Muffin breakfast.
A Sunflower Stop Backpackers, 179 Main Road, Green Point. Sleep in tastefully decorated and extremely clean dorms, doubles, and twins. En-suite rooms available too. From R100 per person.
Ashanti Lodge, 11 Hof Street, Gardens. A perennial favourite amongst travellers ; camping also permitted. Has a large travel centre as well. From R110 per person, or R60 per person for camping.
Atlantic Point Backpackers, 2 Cavalcade Road, Green Point. Come meet Tim and his friendly staff. Be prepared for the most relaxed and enjoyable hospitality in the heart of Cape Town. From R130 per person in a 8 Bed Mix, or R450 per night in a Double Room with free cable TV. Always free Breakfast and Wifi included.
Cape Town Backpackers, 81 new church street. Cape Town Backpackers has a fantastic atmosphere and plenty of style.Listed by the British newspaper The Independent as one of only 3 places to stay in Cape Town (the other 2 being 5 star hotels!) the review described the place as "...spotless and stylish.." Just off Park Road and Kloof Street, the area they are in is renowned for delicious restaurants, busy cafés and trendy drinking spots. This place is fun, friendly,clean, it's gay friendly and they have regular theme nights in the funky bar. There are options for sleeping from dorms if you want to save money for more beer, to ensuites with table mountain views if you want to spoil yourself. From R110 per person.
Carnival Court Backpackers, 255 Long Street. 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.
Castle Inn Backpackers, 76b Darling Street (corner of Harrington Road). Directly opposite the Castle of Good Hope and 5 minutes walk from the train station. Cheapest Internet cafe in the area. From R75 per person.
Cat and Moose Backpackers, 305 Long Street. From R75 in the dorm to R230 for a double.
Formula 1 Hotel, 17 Jan Smuts Street (corner of Martin Hammerschlag Way). Part of the international chain of budget hotels - each room can sleep up to three people. A few minutes walk from the train station. R369 per room.
Green Elephant Backpackers, 57 Milton Road, Observatory. From R50 for camping to R350 for a double ensuite.
Long Street Backpackers, 209 Long Street. Offers dorms as well as private accommodation and a good range of travel-services. R90 in a dorm to R140 for a private room.
Cape Town Holiday Accommodation, Harbour Heights Simonstown. Verified holiday accommodation in Cape Town for the holiday maker who want to unhassle the slep of finding accommodation in Cape Town. From R250 to R1000 per accommodation.
Muir Cottage Self-catering, Muir Road, Rondebosch (Southern Suburbs, Cape Town). checkin: 2 pm; checkout: 11 am. Upmarket self-catering accommodation in the heart of leafy Rondebosch. Sleeps 2. Secure off-street parking. Free internet. DSTV. Fully fitted kitchenette. R440 double self-catering.
Aloe House, 16 Wesley Street, Observatory. Tastefully restored Victorian cottage with polished wood floors, stained glass windows and period furniture. Garden with epic view of Table Mountain at the back. Superb breakfasts. Free wifi. Near the restaurants on Observatory's Lower Main Street. R500 per room.
Tafelberg Inn, 17 Pinetree Crescent, Vredehoek. Situated high on the slopes of Table Mountain with stunning views over the City and Table Bay while bordering Table Mountain National Park. Lounge and dining room open up to a beautiful garden and solar heated swimming pool with the mountain as a backdrop. Comfortable rooms have en-suite bathrooms, private balconies, satellite television, a safe and complimentary WIFI access. From ZAR 600.00.
The Camps Bay Guesthouse, 31 Geneva Drive, Camps Bay, Cape Town. Exclusive use of 180sqm private self-catering stand alone luxury accommodation set in the grounds of the owners Camps Bay Villa, private and secure with onsite gated parking, full kitchen, teak floors, living and dining room with underfloor heating throughout, widescreen LCD television with Apple TV entertainment system and stereo surround, complimentary hi-speed WIFI access, private deck and garden area opens into the grounds with access to the Villa swimming pool, porcelain tiled bathroom has separate bath and shower, WC and bidet. From ZAR 750.00.
Dark Chocolate Guest House Durbanville, 1 Mountain View Crescent Durbanville. Standard rooms, all equipped with Air-conditioning, TV with cable and High-speed Internet connection. Facilities and services are Garden, Outdoor swimming pool and Conference. From ZAR 810.00.
Cape Diamond Boutique Hotel, Longmarket and Parliament Street. All rooms equipped with Air-conditioning, Private toilet and bath, Safe deposit box, Side lamp table and Wired Internet connection (extra charges apply). Some of its facilities and services are Meeting/ banquet facilities, Business centre, Restaurant, Theatre Cafe, 24-hour front desk, Room service and Laundry service. From ZAR 1080.00.
Lorraine’s on Lincoln, 12 Lincoln Street, Boston. All rooms equipped with English breakfast, Spacious dining area, Hair dryer, TV with satellite channels, Work desk and Fan. Outdoor swimming pool, Garden, Banquet hall, Car rental, Wi-Fi Internet connection, Fax and photocopying services. From ZAR 670.00.
26 on Aandbloem, 26 Aandbloem Street, Devil's Peak. Views of Table Mountain and the Cape Town City Bowl. R500 single, R375pps (includes breakfast, en-suit bathroom with shower & WC.
Abbey Manor Luxury Guesthouse, 3 Montrose Avenue, Oranjezicht. Luxury guesthouse set high on Table Mountain overlooking Cape Town city. Dramatic views from individually decorated rooms. Built in 1905 in the Arts-and-Crafts style, and has been recently remodelled. An easy hop from the city centre and the V&A Waterfront. Rated 5 stars by TGCSA. Provides free wi-fi to guests. From R800.
Afton Grove Country Retreat, Afton Grove, Chapman's Peak Road (M6), Noordhoek (Midway between Cape Town and Cape Point). Four star hotel. B&B and self-catered accommodation is offered in charming cottages in a garden. Provides free wi-fi to guests. From R720.
The Bay Atlantic Guest House, 3 Berkley Road, Camps Bay, . Beautiful four star Guest House situated in Camps Bay with exhausting view on the beach of Camps Bay and the Lionshead, only 10 minutes away from the V&A Waterfront. Provides free wi-fi to guests. From R350.
Bayflowers Guest House, 5 Scholtz Road, Green Point. Very central, walk to Waterfront, beach and city centre, helpful staff, rooms clean and tastefully equipped. R650 for a single room, R425 pps for a double.
Birkenhead Manor Boutique Guest House, 23 Birkenhead Road, Blouberg. checkin: 1PM; checkout: 11SM. Lovely warm guest house boasting excellent service and beautifully clean rooms. Close to the beach with stunning views of Table Mountain. Rates include breakfast. Free wi-fi. R450 for a single room, R300 pps for a double.
Cape Coast Views (Cape Coast Views), 95 High Level Road, Green Point, Cape Town. Eco friendly guest house located in trendy Green Point. Central to most attractions. Walking distance to bars, cafes, shops and taxi rank. Includes secure parking, wifi, continental breakfast, solar heated pool, bar fridge, tea/coffee making facilities and more. Starting price - R550 per room. Self catering - R750 for the unit. From R550 per room.
Cape Edge Hotel and Self Catering, 12 Solomans Road,Sea Point. From R600.
Cape Paradise Lodge, 48 Leeuwenhof Rd, Higgovale. Cape Paradise awaits you! Has Table Mountain as a backdrop and fantastic views. From R300pps.
Cactusberry Lodge, 30 Breda Street, Gardens. 3 star. 200 metres from the Gardens Shopping Centre, is comfortable, central and quiet, very good value for money, excellent breakfast, very helpful in all itinerary planning. R500.
City Lodge V&A Waterfront, Corner Dock and Alfred Roads. 3 star. From R480 per person sharing.
Daddy Long Legs Boutique Hotel & Self-Catering Apartments, 134 & 263 Long Street. Located in the heart of the city centre on one of Cape Town's most celebrated streets - a hotel with a difference, focusing on good value accommodation and a hotel experience you'll never forget. From R450 a double/twin (Hotel) & R550 a one bedroomed apartment.
De Waterkant Village, 137 Waterkant street, De Waterkant. De Waterkant is often described as being arty, charismatic and quaint and is a truly special place decorated with gorgeous al fresco restaurants, sidewalk café's, boutiques and bars and is often compared with Greenwich Village. R580 for single room, R850 for a double.
Don Beach Road Hotel, 249 Beach Road, Sea Point. The Don Beach Road is located in Sea Point spectacularly overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Grande Kloof Boutique Hotel, 69 Kloof Road, Fresnaye (corner of Kloof Road & Avenue La Croix). checkin: 14:00pm; checkout: 11:00am. Good Sea Views, Fantastic Lions head view and views of famous Robben Island. from ZAR600 (includes light continental breakfast, free WIFI, open plan top floor sea view rooms or executive petite garden level rooms, swimming pool, jacuzzi area, steam area, sauna.
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. Very central, helpful staff, nice rooms. R480 for a single room to R850 for a triple.
Protea Hotel Sea Point, Arthur's Road, Sea Point. Protea has a whole bunch of hotels in Cape Town and surrounding areas. It is well worth checking their web site for last-minute bargains, which can reduce the price by 50%. R350 pppn.
Rhonda's Manor, 35 Clarens Street, Fresnaye. Upper Sea Point, near the Waterfront,campsbay and clifton beaches. R800 double room.
Camps Bay Village, 32 Camps Bay Drive. Service Apartments in Camps Bay Village From ZAR 750/Single & ZAR 1300 /double.
Shambala Guest Lodge, 7 Little Lions Head Road, Hout Bay. Set in a lush and tranquil garden on the sunny slopes of Little Lion’s Head mountain, overlooking the valley of Hout Bay. Offers a selection of one and two bedroom self-catering suites. Breathtaking views and beach access close by. From R250pppn.
Southern Light Country House, 24 Hohenort Avenue, Constantia. Southern Light Country House is an accommodation in Constantia set in the beautiful surround of Upper Constantia. R850 - R1300 Season Dependant.
Sitara Country Lodge, 10 Guinea Fowl Way, Noordhoek. In the south of the Cape Peninsula. Ideal base for exploring the natural beauty of the Cape Town area. Own transport required. From R325 for single room, from R450 for a double.
Tudor Hotel, 153 Longmarket Street, Greenmarket Square. In the city centre, near the Waterfront, Parliament, Gardens or the Malay Quarter Boo-Kap. R520 for single room, R740 for a double.
The Charles Guesthouse, 137 Waterkant Street, De Waterkant. Trendy and fashionable today, it is compared to New York's Greenwich Village and London's Soho with its tree lined streets, restored cottages, spectacular views and village atmosphere. R650 for single room, R850 for a double.
NH The Lord Charles, Corner of Stellenbosch and Faure Roads. 7130 Capetown. Located in an area with beautiful surroundings, this 4* hotel offers meeting rooms, a fitness centre and some fantastic views.
The One 8, 18 Antrim Road, Three Anchor Bay. Modern and intimate Four star accommodation in Cape Town. The One 8 Hotel is located in Green Point and close to Clifton Beach, Camps Bay, V&A Waterfront, De Waterkant gay village, and Table Mountain. This gay and lesbian friendly Guest House offers bed and breakfast and contemporary rooms for your South African Holiday. From R550 per room.
Villa Sunshine Guesthouse, 1 Rochester Road, Bantry Bay. The Villa Sunshine guesthouse is a classic Mediterranean Villa which is ideally situated along the prestigious Atlantic Seaboard. In close proximity to several of Cape Town’s most revered tourist attractions, it is still able to provide its guests with a peaceful setting – within walking distance of restaurants and shops to meet your every need. From R 950 per room.
Villa Zest Boutique Hotel, 2 Braemar Rd, Greenpoint. The Villa Zest is in the Green Point suburb. From ZAR 990/Single & ZAR 1190.00 /double.
Mouille Point Village, 93 Beach Road. Service Apartments in Mouille Point Village From ZAR 750/Single & ZAR 1300 /double.
Cape Grace, West Quay Road, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. Situated on its own private quay on Cape Town’s vibrant Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, the Cape Grace has 121 rooms all with views of the V&A harbour or yacht marina with a Table Mountain backdrop. From R16000 to R55000 for 5 nights, 2 people.
Radisson Hotel. 5 star hotel stunningly overlooking its own private marina and the famous Robben Island. Staff are warm and friendly and cater to every request. R2745 pppn.
Mandela Rhodes Place. Old school charm and hospitality meets modern amenities and features. It also boasts a gymnasium, swimming pool, wireless internet, undercover parking, 24 hour concierge and business centre, optional breakfast service, pre-delivery grocery shopping, airport and city transfers, car hire, house keeping and laundry and day tours From R815pps.
The Cape Milner. Stylish, beautifully decorated, with large comfortable bathrooms. Filling breakfasts are provided each morning. On Inquiry.
Lagoon Beach Hotel. Ideally located for business, tourist and leisure travellers. Excellent facilities at the on-site Camelot Spa so be sure to indulge yourself in some pampering. On Inquiry.
Westin Grand Cape Town Arabella Quays. Beautiful hotel, within walking distance to most tourist attractions. Located at the entrance to the Albert and Victoria waterfront. On Inquiry.
The Bay Hotel. The Bay Hotel is superbly designed with 78 rooms and suites offering 5-star luxury in an unsurpassed setting. No less than four hotel pools with expansive sun decks offer superlative views of the Atlantic Ocean and majestic Lion’s Head. On Inquiry.
Camps Bay Retreat. Camps Bay Retreat Luxury Boutique Hotel is a sanctuary for the soul, set on four acres of lush green nature reserve. On Inquiry.
The Three Boutique Hotel, 3 Flower Street, Oranjezicht, Cape Town. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 10:00-11:00. Brand New renovation of a historic building to the highest standard. The 4 star (TGCSA) Three Boutique Hotel can accommodate a maximum of 40 people. There are 18 bedrooms, all with en-suite bathrooms, king size beds (twins on request), 100% fine cotton linens and towels. Modern bathrooms with walk in shower, some with a bath as well. Complimentary breakfast is served in the dining room and lounge and light meals are available upon request.
Our licensed bar is stocked at all times, with guests able to serve themselves after hours on an honesty basis. The roof deck provides panoramic views of the three iconic mountains in Cape Town, Table Mountain, Lions Head and Devils Peak. Beautiful city views can also be seen. Our central courtyard with pergola has a 7-meter swimming pool for guests to enjoy. There is also a private courtyard at the back. Secure, gated, off-street parking can accommodate up to 10 cars. Each guest receives a remote to operate the gate. R1375 per person sharing.
If you have a cell phone get one of the cheap prepaid sim cards from either Vodacom, MTN, Cell C or Virgin Mobile and save money on local calls.
Overseas calls at local rates via the Celldial service. Call 087 940 6966 and follow the voice prompts.
Internet is available throughout Cape Town, and the inner city cafes are always hubs of activity. Charges per hour range from R5 (in town) to R50 (V&A waterfront).
m@in internet cafe, Kloof street. They have private booths, and offer wifi access for laptops.
Other internet cafes can be found all over the city and suburbs, with many coffee shops offering internet access.
Many Guesthouses in Cape Town provide WiFi free for their guests.
Always-On, 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.
Cafe Neo, located opposite the lighthouse in Mouille Point, offers an open hotspot in addition to their excellent Greek food.
Although Cape Town has its share of violent crime, you are safe if you keep your wits about you as you should in every large city around the world. As a visitor, you are less likely to encounter problems while visiting the townships if you are escorted by a township resident—though you should not really venture into the townships without a fairly large group of accompaniment.
Official township tours are your safest bet; revealing a very interesting lifestyle to the more curious tourists. The CBD (Central Business District) has been cleaned up over the years, but some con men and cholos do still exist, 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.
The area at the bottom of Main Road near Prestwitch Memorial, has become notorious for robberies and assaults, day and night.
Be very careful on Long Street and surrounding roads at night, especially the further North along the road you go. Do not, under any circumstances, play games with the street kids like comparing shoes. They are most likely to steal your phone and wallet. They will not get violent, but they are talented pickpockets that even catch the locals on occasion.
Foreigners should avoid hitchhiking and be aware of automated teller machine (ATM) con artists. Under no circumstances allow a stranger to assist you in your transactions. Should your card become stuck in the ATM, call the helpline number on display at the teller machine for assistance and to cancel your card.
During day time it is quite safe to walk around the city center. People and beggars are in general quite respectful and accept a "no". During the evening , you must take a taxi to and from your destination, rather than walking. Make sure you take a taxi card with you, so that you can have the driver meet you outside the bar or restaurant.
Watch out for the mini bus taxis. They often drive like hell disobeying many traffic rules. Watch out for pickpocketing.
At night, make sure you stay on well-lit and crowded streets. Crime is especially high in 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.
While driving in a car be more aware of people approaching the car at traffic lights for smash-and-grab theft. So don't leave valuables on the seats or your lap.
If you go to the mountains, go in a group of at least 4 people.
You should try not to appear to be a tourist, but keep in mind anyone can be targeted. Targeted tourists are generally spotted wearing cameras, shorts, jewellery and golf hats—try not to do this. Do what you can to blend in, and if anything happens—do not try to be a hero: rather, give them what they want.
Important telephone numbers
From a fixed line
107 - Emergency.
10111 - Police.
10177 - Ambulance.
082911 - Netcare911
Take A Walk
Cape Town is positively located for many day or two day trips, offering a variety in landscapes and cultures. Choose self drive or guided tours.
Boulders beach is famous for its penguin colony and you can watch penguins in their natural habitat. September is the breeding season and if you are very lucky you can see penguins hatching out of their eggs.
Visit the 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 bay on the Atlantic coast. The bay is protected from the north westerly and south easterly winds, but is open to the south westerly wind and prevailing swell which can produce some of the worlds biggest surf at "Dungeons" and "Tafelberg reef". It has a quaint fishing harbour, which provides protection from the south westerly swell. Boat trips to Seal Island (more accurately Duiker Island) operate from here. 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 stunning.
Along the south coast
Only two hours from Cape Town are the Bontebok National Park and the De Hoop Nature Reserve, perfect for spotting bontebok and whales.
The southern tip of Africa, Cape Agulhas is not far away.
The Overberg region offers whale spotting and quiet towns to relax.
Garden Route and further on
The world-famous Garden Route ranges from about Mossel Bay, via George and Knysna to the Tsitsikamma National Park and the Addo Elephant National Park. Bloukrans Bridge offers the highest commercial bridge-based bungee jump (216m) in the world. This road will take you further on to Port Elizabeth, Durban. Do not forget to visit the Karoo and visit an ostrich farm and the Cango Caves in Oudtshoorn.
Go up north along the West Coast to Saldanha Bay and all the other hidden spots. Further on are Namaqualand and finally Namibia.
West Coast Fossil Park, Langebaan (120 km north of Cape Town on the R27). 10AM to 4PM on weekdays, 9AM to 12PM on weekends. R25 entrance fee.
Visit Melkbos to surf, windsurf, kitesurf and sunbathe on its wide sandy beach and also see the only working Nuclear Power Station in Africa.