Cape Town

Cape Town Travel

Cape Town is one of the most beloved cities on the African continent, rich with adventure, natural beauty, and vibrant cultures. The city is the top vacation destination in South Africa and typically features as part of the safari, tour, or honeymoon itineraries offered by African Sky. Those who travel to Cape Town are rarely disappointed.

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Top Attractions in and around Cape Town

Cape Town and its surrounding region offer a variety of attractions. These include sites of natural beauty, historical significance, and various entertainment venues.

Table Mountain is one of the most iconic natural features on the continent. The massif also comprises Lion's Head and Devil's Peak. Visitors typically journey to the top of the storied mountain via rotating cable car. More adventurous spirits can choose from several hiking routes to the top, the most direct being Platteklip Gorge.

The Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens flower across 528 hectares of Table Mountain's eastern flanks, conserving five of South Africa's unique biomes. Highlights of a visit to the gardens include seeing spectacular proteas – the country's national flower – and the elevated perspective from the Boomslang Tree Canopy Walkway.

Cape Point is the extreme southwestern tip of the African continent - located in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. The reserve is home to fascinating fauna and flora and offers spectacular ocean and mountain views. A trip to Cape Point usually includes visiting Boulders Beach en route.

The historic Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Table Bay Harbor comprises 123 hectares of fine hotels, world-class restaurants, numerous designer stores, craft markets, beer breweries, and attractions like the Two Oceans Aquarium. Various vessels depart from the waterfront for leisurely cruises, including the Robben Island Ferry.

The Cape Winelands is some 40 minutes drive from the city. The most significant towns in the beguiling Boland region are Franschhoek, Stellenbosch, and Paarl, each offering its unique selection of award-winning wines and historical intrigue. The Winelands are replete with striking natural scenery and gastronomic delights.

Boulders Beach lies on the Cape Peninsula. It is home to a colony of African Penguins. The beach derives its name from the granite boulders which characterize this part of the coastline. These offer excellent vantage points from which to enjoy the antics of the penguin colony. Penguins occur only in the Southern Hemisphere.

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Cape Town Travel Overview

Its iconic setting, the mix of cultures, diverse attractions, and activities make Cape Town a desirable vacation destination.

Cape Town is South Africa's oldest city. It is a cosmopolitan hub with something to complement every visitor's desires to its shores.

South Africa
Western Cape
2,444.97 km²
English, Afrikaans, Xhosa
Year founded

Popular Activities

The city of Cape Town and its surrounding areas offer a multitude of different activities.

Reasons to Visit Cape Town



From the top of Table Mountain to the penguin-populated shores of Boulders Beach, the natural bounties of Cape Town are plentiful. In addition to these iconic features, highlights include the rugged allure of the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens' bewitching indigenous blooms, and the wild waters of the Atlantic with its captivating collection of sea creatures. Whale watching and shark cage diving offer unforgettable encounters.



Cape Town has a well-established and revered food culture, which is diverse enough to include award-winning fine dining restaurants, trendy weekend markets with experimental fare, and generous, wholesome traditional meals served in various settings. The complaint is more often than not that there is just so much to choose from and not enough days in a lifetime to try everything. You are sure to leave the city with a satisfied palate.



Settled in 1652, Cape Town is South Africa's oldest city, which means that it teems with historical intrigue. Points of interest include the Castle of Good Hope - the country's oldest structure - and Robben Island. This notorious isle housed lepers, exiles, and South Africa's most famous political prisoners. The Company's Gardens and the District Six Museum also offer a fascinating insight into the city's checkered past.



Cape Town is a diverse cultural melting pot. Numerous festivals, concerts, and cultural events are hosted throughout the city, drawing crowds from all walks of life. Get your cultural fix at one of the numerous art galleries, jazz cafes, craft markets, and literary or poetry festivals. The Kaapse Klopse (or "Minstrel Carnival"), one of the most uniquely Capetonian events, takes place on 2nd January annually as a vibrant 'Second New Year's.'

Best Private Tours and Safari Packages

10 Days From: ZAR 69,270 pp Personal & National Park Camps Code: T08

This tour focuses on the three top destinations in Southern Africa. The cosmopolitan city of Cape Town, the wild safari areas of Kruger Park, and the magnificent Victoria Falls.

10 Days From: ZAR 69,270 pp Luxury Code: T17

After a thorough exploration of the highlights of Cape Town, this tour visits the scenic Garden Route before a safari adventure in Addo Elephant Park.

5 Days From: ZAR 69,270 pp Personal & National Park Camps Code: CT02C

Five days devoted to experiencing the natural and cultural highlights in and around Cape Town in the company of an experienced African Sky guide.

Experiences to be Savored when traveling in Cape Town

The finest experiences in Cape Town are focused on savoring the enchanting natural beauty of the peninsula, from the top of iconic Table Mountain to the ridges of Chapman's Peak and the shivery waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Sunset over the Atlantic

The city boasts so many spots where spectacular sunsets may be enjoyed - from the plush seat of a trendy cafe in Camps Bay, cocktail in hand, to the tranquil lull of a catamaran cruising across the bay. Summer is the best time to enjoy this.

View from Table Mountain

The views from Cape Town's most iconic landmark are legendary and abundant. Whether you reach the top via a rotating cable car or trek up via a leisurely hike through Platteklip Gorge, the experience is one you will not soon forget.

Driving along Chappan's Peak Drive

Carved into a section of a sheer cliff face on the Cape Peninsula near Hout Bay, Chapman's Peak Drive is one of the country's most scenic stretches of road. Keep an eye out for the bronze leopard - a memorial to animals that used to inhabit the area.


Your transportation between Cape Town's various attractions will always be in a comfortable, private, air-conditioned vehicle operated by your reliable African Sky guide. All vehicles are serviced regularly, adhere to all local safety requirements, and are legally licensed to carry passengers.

The vehicle size typically depends on the size of your traveling party. In periods of high demand (particularly over the festive season), we often hire vehicles from a reputable rental agency that adheres to the same high standards. Your safety and comfort while enjoying a Vacation in Cape Town are paramount to us.

Foods to try in Cape Town

Cape Town is known to be the culinary jewel in South Africa, with a mix of local, international, and innovative dishes served.

Snoek Braai

The Cape snoek is a long, thin species of mackerel sourced from the icy waters of the Atlantic. During a West Coast snoekbraai, this juicy fish is grilled on open fires on the beach in a festive celebration of delectable seafood. Enjoy it with korrelkonfyt.

Cape Malay

Cape Malay cuisine comprises fragrant, mildly curried dishes combined with traditional Dutch staples. Bobotie (sweet & spicy mince with rice), bredies (lamb & vegetable stew), and Malay chicken curries are all inherently South African.


Also known as Cape rock lobster or sea crayfish, kreef is a much-favored seafood staple. The tail's almost sweet, soft, white meat is the seafood lover's coup de grâce. It is best cooked on an open fire (or braai) with lemon butter.


In addition to our already world-famous wines, uniquely Capetonian spirits like Inverroche's fynbos-infused gin and Bain's Single Grain Cape Mountain Whiskey are steadily gaining ground as acclaimed local specialties.


Is Cape Town a safe city?
Cape Town is as safe as most major cities. Petty crime is common but largely avoidable. Stay alert and follow the advice of your guide. It is essential to avoid the Cape Flats, where violent crime is common.
What happens to activities if the weather is bad?
Our innate flexibility means that activities can be shuffled around due to inclement weather.
Can I swim in the ocean?
The waters of the Atlantic are typically frigid, but there are many beaches where it is safe to swim.
Do I need to make restaurant reservations?
Only when dining at Cape Town's more famous establishments, like The Test Kitchen, or when visiting over December. We would be happy to secure these bookings for you.
Can I go on a safari near Cape Town?
Yes, but these are not very authentic wilderness areas, and it is worth traveling further afield.
Can I fly directly to Cape Town?
Yes - many international airlines offer flights directly to Cape Town.
Will I have Internet access?
Cape Town is a modern city, and most hotels (and numerous restaurants) will offer complimentary WiFi.
Is the shopping any good?
Yes - Cape Town boasts many local and international designer stores and boutiques. If you have leisure time available, your guide will take you.
When can I go shark cage diving?
Shark cage diving in nearby False Bay is seasonal. Therefore we use an operator further afield in Gansbaai, where great white sharks occur year-round.
In which area will I be staying?
Most of the hotels and guest houses we use are located either in Camps Bay, in the City Bowl (Gardens), or at the V&A Waterfront, ensuring that you are close to all Cape Town's major attractions.

Useful Travel Info

Getting There

Cape Town International Airport welcomes flights from all around the world every day. Domestically, flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town operate on an almost hourly basis, with more infrequent flights between Cape Town and the Garden Route and once daily flights between Cape Town and airports near or in Kruger. The only time that you would travel to Cape Town by road with African Sky is if you are visiting the Garden Route or Port Elizabeth prior to Cape Town. The distance between Cape Town and Johannesburg is a vast one, and we recommend flying to ensure that your limited amount of time in South Africa is well spent.

Weather & Best Time To Visit

In the words of the Capetonians, Cape Town may pass through all four seasons in a single day. However, the weather is more often than not entirely pleasant, and the area provides a variety of activities to suit every condition. The summer months (December - February) are dry and average a maximum temperature of 26°C (79°F) and a minimum of 16°C (61°F). The strong South-Easter wind (nicknamed the Cape Doctor for blowing the smog away from the city) is most active during this period, infamous among Capetonians for its wicked hat thievery and sunbathing interruptions.

Cape Town is a winter rainfall region. Temperatures rarely fall below 7°C (44.6°F), with an average maximum of 18°C (64°F). However, the further inland you travel, the cooler conditions will get. Though initially called the Cape of Storms, Cape Town's misty drizzles can hardly rival the pyrotechnic thunderstorms that occur in the northern regions of South Africa. The light showers can be wonderful and pleasant, allowing for various outdoor activities (if you do not mind a bit of dampness). Rainfall in the winter (June - August) averages between 70 - 90mm.

The passages of spring and autumn are hardly noticed in the Cape, serving more as mild appendages to the other seasons. Thus, depending on your desired itinerary, any time is an excellent time to visit the Mother City. The cold Benguela influences the Cape's waters. This northward flowing current maintains temperatures of around 13°C on the Atlantic seaboard side of the peninsula and 17°C in the warmer False Bay area.

Medical Considerations

Cape Town is not in a malaria area. The only medical considerations are to ensure that you are up to date with all your routine vaccinations. Tap water is of a very high standard in metro areas but not in rural areas. If you suffer from allergies, note that late August to early October is flower season, so pack the necessary medication if you visit during this period.

Health & Safety

As is typically the case in most major cities, petty crime is common. Be alert when exploring, avoid unsavory areas, or wander around alone at night. When in the care of African Sky, you will never venture into areas that pose obvious potential threats. Our guides are vigilant, and we pride ourselves on our unblemished safety record.

A Brief History

First European Seafarer

The earliest mention of the Cape is in the accounts of Bartolomeu Diaz. In 1488, Diaz became the first European seafarer to circumnavigate the Southernmost tip of Africa; Cabo das Agulhas (Cape Agulhas), the dividing line between the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. Preceding his coast past Agulhas, Diaz encountered a treacherous bay he christened, Cabo das Tormentas (Cape of Storms). King John II of Portugal, though having never set foot in this freshly discovered Cape, was more enthusiastic about the possibility of opening a new route to the East. He renamed it Cabo da Boa Esperanza - The Cape of Good Hope- a name the headland of the peninsula retains to this day.

Dutch East India Company

The Dutch East India Company commissioned the first settlers in the Cape Colony to operate a supply depot. This halfway house would serve to restock and repair ships that passed the area. On 6th April 1652, a group of 90 Calvinists, headed by Jan van Riebeeck, arrived on the shores of the Cape in a trio of ships; the Reijger, the Goede Hoop, and the Drommedaris. The overloaded Oliphant and the Walvisch arrived sometime later after suffering 130 burials at sea. After eventually erecting a clay and timber fort and purchasing arable land from the indigenous Khoi-Khoi, Cape Town as we know it today began to take form.

British Rule

After years of on-and-off British occupation during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, the Cape was relinquished to the British in the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814. Cape Town became the capital of the now British Cape Colony, ceding extensive expansion during the 1800s. Today, Cape Town is the seat of the National Parliament and a world-class international destination.

City Life

Cape Town has an activity (or inactivity) to suit every holiday maker's yen. The city hosts many local and international designer stores, esteemed restaurants, and great drinking holes. The historic Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is a hub that entertains everything from a German-style Brauhaus that brews its beer, revered seafood utopias, and the biggest names in fashion to the Two Oceans Aquarium and sunrise or sunset cruises from Table Bay Harbor.

For history buffs or travelers seeking a more cultural experience, the city is rife with museums and tokens of bygone years. A pentagonal fortress built in the 17th century, the Castle of Good Hope is the oldest standing structure in colonial South Africa. Attractions in the historic building include - cannon demonstrations, tours of the old cells and living quarters, and artwork and artifacts on display in the museum spaces.

One of the most famous historical attractions is the infamous Robben Island. Several political prisoners were confined during the struggle, including South Africa's first democratically-elected president, Nelson Mandela. With a former political prisoner as a guide, gain insight into the 27 years Mandela spent in a cell, along with stories of other freedom fighters and the island's history as a leper colony. Ferries depart to this UNESCO World Heritage site three times a day from beneath the clock tower at the V&A Waterfront.

The Great Outdoors

No wildlife encounter comes close to diving with the formidable great white shark for the adventurous type. False Bay is famous for predatory breaches, one of the few places in the world where you can be bowled over by the spectacle of a 5m long, 1000kg strong sea monster airborne in its pursuit of a Cape fur seal. For an overland nature experience, take Noordhoek's wild stretch of beach on horseback or hike the rugged trails of Cape Point amongst ostriches, Cape zebra, red hartebeest, and baboons.

If ascending to the top of Table Mountain via foot and rope or the established cableway (a mere 5-minute trip in a 65-passenger rotating car that offers scenic views of the city and beyond) fails to satisfy your inner adventurer, do not forget that the sky is your limit. Explore the peninsula from the fringe of the heavens - in a paraglider or hang glider - the views are some of the most exceptional in Africa. Table Mountain National Park is also ideal for abseiling, mountain biking, caving, and rock climbing.

The South-Easter wind also makes Cape Town a prime kite surfing destination. On a windy day, hundreds of kite surfers can be spotted bouncing on the swells of Bloubergstrand. Muizenberg, stretching south from the crest of False Bay, is a surfing hotspot, while the best swimming beaches include Llandudno and (clothing-optional) Sandy Bay on the Atlantic seaboard side. St James, Kalk Bay, and Fish Hoek in False Bay have fractionally warmer tidal pools ideal for swimming. Boulders Beach is a popular swimming hole for nature lovers - scattered with striking granite boulders; this protected area has become a settlement for a large colony of African penguins. For a small fee, visitors can sunbathe and float in the surf with these charming tuxedoed birds.


View of the Drakensberg in South Africa. South Africa
Elephants in the sunset in Botswana. Botswana
A desert landscape in Namibia. Namibia
People swimming in the clear waters of Mozambique. Mozambique
View of the Victoria Falls in Zambia. Zambia
Antelope standing on a river bank in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe