With its incredible scenery and wildlife, there are a multitude of reasons to take a trip to Cape Town. South Africa’s second largest city and the southernmost city in the continent of Africa offers myriad sights and experiences that won’t fail to delight the beholder.
With a colourful history, Cape Town today is the result of occupation from various cultures. Four centuries of settlers from Indonesia, France, Holland, Britain and Germany have heavily impacted on cultures and traditions, whilst the influence of Bushman, Hottentot and Bantu tribes gives the city its true beauty. South Africa has had a turbulent past and, on your trip to Cape Town, you cannot fail to notice the juxtaposition between the wealth and beauty of manmade and natural monuments alongside its raw, sometimes brutal, history. The best way to reconcile these contradictions is with optimism; embrace the true roots of this stunning country, while looking forward to the infinite possibilities for South Africa and its inhabitants. Direct Flights to Cape Town will bring you to Cape Town International Airport (CPT), just 20 km from the city centre.
Due to its proximity to the equator, Cape Town is warm throughout the year, and the best time to visit really depends on what you want to do. Summer (November – January) typically sees temperatures in the high-twenties to mid-thirties, whereas in winter they can drop to just below 20°C, with occasional downpours. Peak season is from mid-December to March. However, in April, the South-easterly wind, known as the Cape Doctor, drops, the temperatures remain warm, and you will be rewarded with spectacular sunsets. For wildlife watching, plan your trip to Cape town in the winter, when the downpours fill the mountain streams, bringing Table Mountain and its magnificent flora and fauna to life. From July until November, the Southern Right Whales migrate to calve and nurse their calves; if you can tolerate the wet weather, this is the best time for whale-watching from land. For cheap flights to Cape Town, plan your trip for October or November. This time of year may be slightly cooler, but it is cheaper and you will see the city’s flowers in full glory.
It is literally impossible to visit Cape Town without seeing Table Mountain, the huge, flat-topped mountain which presides majestically over the city. However, there is no experience to match the view from the summit, where you can take in the incredible spectacle of the city and suburbs at your feet, surrounded by ocean. You can reach the top of Table Mountain by cable car, or by foot via a series of breath taking (but tiring) pathways. If you are feeling adventurous, why not abseil down! At 112 metres high, Table Mountain is the world’s longest commercial abseil; alongside the incredible views it really is an experience for the bucket list. Alternatively, if you have plenty of time on your trip to Cape Town, there are a variety of excursions that involve hiking and camping up the mountain.
For many, a trip to Cape Town would not be complete without encountering sea life. From Cape Point, you can partake in a spot of whale watching – if you are lucky, you will catch sight of Humpbacks, Southern Right Whales and even Killer Whales, an experience that is truly unforgettable. Swimming with sharks is, perhaps, the ultimate adrenaline rush and there are few places in the world that offer an experience on par with Cape Town’s. Cape Town’s coast boasts a vast shark population, with 40 species living in the waters around the city. Several companies offer shark diving experiences, so make sure you check their credentials to ensure that they are safe and shark-friendly before you book (this is one instance when cheaper definitely isn’t better!). If shark diving is too much of a close encounter for you, why not visit the Two Oceans Aquarium, where, you can see most of the species from the safety of terra firma? You will witness, up close, glorious sea creatures swimming peacefully among each other, until feeding time at 3pm when the competition for survival begins!
Cape Town is such a beautiful city, in every way, that it is easy to forget its uncomfortable and, frankly, ugly history, which is remembered by a host of museums and monuments that pay homage to those who have fought for freedom, and which document South Africa’s turbulent past. Robben Island gives an incredible insight into the plights of significant members of South Africa’s history, including Nelson Mandela, who spent 18 of his 27 years in prison incarcerated on the island. Robben Island is accessible via boat, a journey which is, in itself, stunningly beautiful. Once there, you can learn about some of the political prisoners who were kept on the island, and gain a greater insight into their fight for freedom. Midway between Robben Island and Table Mountain, you will find the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. One of Cape Town’s tourist hotspots, the V & A Waterfront welcomes in excess of twenty million visitors every year. Don’t worry, there is plenty to go around! Here, there are a vast collection of museums, galleries and historic buildings to choose from. You can take a break from your cultural and historical tour of the V & A Waterfront with a spot of shopping, or sit and enjoy delicious food and drink, with a spectacular view of Table Mountain.
Unsurprisingly, Cape Town’s food sources influence from a range of sources, including Indonesian, European and traditional dishes from South African tribes. You can indulge in the delicious Cape Malay cuisine, or experience rich broths, soups and grilled meats such as springbok, ostrich and chicken, beautifully spiced and served with pap (a form of dried corn, crushed and made into a paste; it looks like mashed potato but certainly doesn’t taste like it!). Of course, on your trip to Cape Town, you ought to have a braai (barbecue); many restaurants offer braai dishes, which are laden with fresh meat and fish, perfectly cooked so it just falls apart. The fish is likely to be freshly line-caught and the flavour is miles away from the farmed, mass-caught and imported varieties we are used to. Be aware, though, that whilst Capetonians are slowly becoming aware of the ecological impact of fishing, it is a good idea to know what you should and shouldn’t eat on your trip to Cape Town. Order prawns until you can eat no more; likewise, tuna, cob and yellowtail are excellent choices, but avoid kingklip which, although served in many restaurants, is approaching the endangered list. Whatever you eat, make sure you wash it down with a good glass of South African wine, grown less than an hour away from Cape Town. Wine lovers should squeeze in a tour of some of the famous wine regions, an experience which is sure to be as much a pleasure on the eye as it is on the taste buds. On your trip to Cape Town, the possibilities of what to see, do, eat and drink are limited only by your time, your sense of adventure, and your budget! It is impossible to visit this wonderful city without leaving full of joy for what you have experienced, tinged with a regret for what you haven’t. One thing is certain: once you have visited Cape Town once, you will be desperate to return! Planning the trip of a lifetime? Let Travangelo help you to find cheap flights to Cape Town.