Perched between the ocean and the mountain, with a national park as its heart, there is nowhere like Cape Town. The “Mother City” is the oldest city in South Africa and has a cultural heritage spanning more than 300 years. Visitors can expect beautiful Cape Dutch homesteads, traditional dancers with painted faces performing in the streets, the smell of spicy Malay cooking and the taste of a well-made wine when delving into this exciting city. It has the top five national attractions in South Africa, all of which should appear on every visitor’s itinerary all year round. These include: V&A Waterfront, Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, Robben Island, Table Mountain and Cape point.
Beyond the City
The Western Cape is home to the world’s longest wine route, found along Route 62, a scenic tourist route that runs from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, 850 km up the eastern coast. If you don’t have time to complete the whole route, consider visiting the wine-growing areas of Stellenbosch, Paarl, Wellington, Franschhoek, Ceres, Worcester, Bonnievale and Robertson. The Garden Route, from Cape Town to Knysna, is gorgeous, passing through many a quirky town, complete with welcoming locals and fresh produce stalls. Stop over in Swellendam, a town where the jailer once doubled as the postmaster, to experience Cape Dutch architecture at its best.
Getting to Cape Town
Cape Town International Airport (CTIA) is Africa’s most award-winning airport. As Africa’s 3rd largest airport, it processes over 8 million passengers annually, with over 50% of the country’s air passengers passing through the airport. It is the primary airport serving the city of Cape Town. Located approximately 20 km (12 mi) from the city centre, the airport has domestic and international terminals, linked by a common central terminal.
The airport offers direct flights from South Africa’s other two main urban areas, Johannesburg and Durban, as well as flights to smaller centres in South Africa. Internationally, it offers direct flights to several destinations in Africa, Asia and Europe and many more via Johannesburg. Departing passengers should allow at least two and a half hours check in time for all international flights. An hour and a half is normally adequate for domestic check-in and this will allow for sufficient time for parking and check processes.
Getting around in Cape Town
Cape Town is one of the most well-connected cities in South Africa when it comes to transport options. While travellers often choose to walk around the Downtown or Central Business District area because distances are short, you have the option to use Uber, Taxify, metered taxis and the MyCiti bus system, which can also connect you to points within the central district of Cape Town and surrounding tourism must-sees like Camps Bay, Sea Point and Hout Bay.
The MyCiti bus also connects you directly to Cape Town International Airport through a direct shuttle. There is also a City Sightseeing hop-on-hop-off red bus service with a variety of tourist routes on offer. Safe travels and see you in Cape Town. There is truly nowhere better!
Cape Town is a major, modern cosmopolitan South African city. As such, we would advise travellers to exercise the same level of vigilance they would exercise when visiting any major city in the world. This includes ensuring you follow basic safety tips such as keeping emergency numbers on hand, avoiding carrying large sums of cash and keeping your valuables safe at all times. The destination is frequently cited as among the world’s best holiday destinations and has a high return visitor rate, proving that those who visit our destination once, fall in love with it, and want to discover it again.
Cape Town and the Western Cape is a popular solo-travel destination, with a variety of activities and experiences on offer for the solo adventurer. Solo travellers are encouraged to exercise the same vigilance and safety measures to ensure they are not soft targets as they would anywhere else in the world.
Cape Town is one of the most well-connected cities in South Africa when it comes to transport options. While travellers often choose to walk around the Downtown or Central Business District area because distances are short, you have the option to use Uber, Taxify, metered taxis and the MyCiti bus system, which can also connect you to points within the central district of Cape Town and surrounding tourism must-sees like Camps Bay, Sea Point and Hout Bay. The MyCiti bus also connects you directly to Cape Town International Airport through a direct shuttle. There is also a City Sightseeing hop-on-hop-off red bus service with a variety of tourist routes on offer. Safe travels and see you in Cape Town. There is truly nowhere better!
Here are our top tips for keeping safe in the city.
- Avoid carrying large sums of cash, don’t carry cameras in plain sight and do not leave belongings unattended.
- Heed the advice of your hosts, Cape Town Tourism Visitor Centre staff, or locals on where to go after dusk. Avoid walking in deserted and dark places at night. Park in a secure, well-lit area with street guards.
- Never allow strangers to assist you in any way at ATMs or cash points.
- Street children and beggars may approach you for a handout. If you wish to help, consider giving food, donating to a registered charity or contact Cape Town Tourism for advice.
- Keep copies of all valuable documents in a safe place.
- When exploring Table Mountain National Park, take a map, comfortable walking shoes, a few friends and a charged mobile phone.
- When hiking, be prepared for weather that can change rapidly, even in summer. Bring along enough water and sunblock, as well as something warm to wear. Start heading back well before dark and don’t venture away from the demarcated paths. Tell a friend or your host where you are going and when you expect to be back.
- Load the Table Mountain National Park emergency number +27(0)861 106 417 into your mobile phone before departing on a hike. Cape Town Tourism and Protection and Emergency Services run a Visitor Support Programme to assist you, should you be involved in any incident during your stay.
- Emergencies from a mobile: 112
- Emergencies from a landline: 107
- South African Police Service: 10111
- Medical & Fire Emergencies: 021 535 1100
- Table Mountain NP Emergencies: 021 480 7700
- Sea & Mountain Rescue: 021 948 9900
- National Sea Rescue Institute: 082 911
- Baboon Monitors: 071 588 6540
- Shark Spotters: 078 174 4244
- Ambulance: 10177
High-quality tap (faucet) water is available across the city and it is both palatable and safe to drink straight from the tap. The quality of the food is excellent, and Cape Town has some of the top restaurants in the world. We have a warm sunny climate and you should wear sunscreen and a hat whenever you are out of doors during the day, particularly between 10am and 4pm.
Medical facilities in Cape Town are world-class. There is an excellent network of both state and private hospitals.If you’re an adult, you won’t need any inoculations unless you’re travelling from a yellow-fever endemic area (the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America), in which case you will need certification to prove your inoculation status when you arrive in the country. However, travellers going to or coming from Zambia, Tanzania, Eritrea, Somalia, Sao Tome and Principe as well as Rwanda will no longer be required to produce a yellow fever vaccination certificate when in South Africa as these countries have been included on the World Health Organization list of countries with low potential for exposure to yellow fever virus.
Hepatitis B inoculations are recommended for children up to the age of 12 who have not completed the series of injections as infants. Cape Town is a malaria-free area.