Cape Town Travel Tips. An article sharing travel tips about visiting Cape Town. How to get there and more…
On South Africa’s southern point where the water of the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic meets sits Cape Town. Spectacular mountains tumble towards the sea. For centuries Cape Town was synonymous with danger as european ships bravely rounded the city en route to Asia. To resupply those passing ships the dutch created a tiny outpost in 1652, a settlement that would blossom into one of the most beautiful cities in one of the most breathtaking settings on earth.
Travel the world and you’ll find few cities as beautiful, as breathtaking, as true to your imagination as Cape Town. Blessed with a perfect climate, spectacular views and some of the most magical cultures on earth. Cape Town at first glance appears to be the most salubrious place on earth. And truly is.
Dig a little deeper than the postcard images and you will also find a buzzing, urban, decidingly multicultural city. Let’s be clear. This is a complex city. This is a contrasting city. This is a city that despite its challenges stands for hope, smiles and looks forward to a brighter future. This is Cape Town.
How To Get To Cape Town From The Airport
For a long time it was weirdly difficult to get to Cape Town from outside of Africa. But in recent years more and more international flights have started serving the city.
All flights land at Cape Town International Airport, located about 20 kilometers from the city center. It’s a modern, compact airport that received a major overhaul for the 2010 World Cup.
When you land, go through immigration, grab your bags and are finally breathing in that beautiful Cape Town air there’s a few ways to set off on your adventures.
If your hotel doesn’t have its own airport shuttle, the best way to get to and from the airport is Uber. UberX will cost you around 200-250 rand ($13-16) and takes about 25 minutes to most locations in the city.
Be warned though that during rush hour the traffic to and from the airport is gnarly. So plan ahead.
A slightly cheaper option is to ride the MyCity Bus. A one way ticket to the city costs 88 rand ($6) and isn’t much slower than a car, around 30-35 minutes. The buses are clean, safe and reliable and depart every 30 minutes.
Best Ways To Get Around in Cape Town
Cape Town’s public transportation system is very good, but it won’t give you the freedom that a rental car would. It allows you to explore the greater Cape region and it means you can do things in your own time. Highly recommended because the city is big and the views from the roads are so stunning that you just don’t want to miss out on it.
Uber is definitely the most popular way of getting around Cape Town and frankly the easiest. There are cars available all the time at all hours of the day and it’s a lot cheaper than most big cities.
And finally, if you’re not a fan of adventure sports and near death experiences do not take a minibus taxi. They are unregulated and unsafe.
Best Places To Stay In Cape Town
There are plenty of great options to stay in downtown Cape Town, and AirBnb is operating in the city. Be aware that Cape Town is very diverse and some areas aren’t as nice as the next. So stick within the city center and look for places no less than $40 per night and you’ll do fine. Generally speaking Cape Town is safe and the people are very friendly, but like any other major city don’t walk in dark alleys alone at night.
Victoria and Alfred Waterfront
This area is highly recommended to stay. There are many restaurants, shops, markets and great hotels around here. A bit more expensive and exclusive, and well worth the price. You’ll experience great scenery with huge boats near the harbour, beautiful buildings and sportscars. It’s a very safe and comfortable area.
Where To Get The Best Food And Drinks In Cape Town
The food culture of Cape Town is very diverse and rich. There’s an abundance of great restaurants serving traditional south african food and there’s just as many great places that serve western, mexican and asian food. Highly recommended to try out the local south african dishes that, cooked with love and passion.
Try the Gatsby, a deli sandwich stuffed with french fries, meat and other tasty fillings.
Bobotie is a meatloaf with raisins and often served with rice, banana slices and curry. They also do a vegetarian version and it’s easy to get vegetarian/vegan food in Cape Town.
The Bunny Chow is a half loaf of bread stuffed with curry, beans, rice and vegetables. Often enjoyed both during lunch or dinner.
Cape Town is known for its great steaks and most of the fruits and vegetables are locally grown. Near the Waterfront is a strip of great restaurants that I highly recommend you check out. Here you can experience the south african culture when choir singers suddenly show up near the restaurants and start performing their beautiful songs. It’s unlike anywhere else in the world.
South Africa is well known for producing some of the best wines in the world. With its rich landscape, perfect climate and passion for wine, you will find local wines all around the city’s restaurants. A must is to visit one of Cape Town’s many vineyards, just outside town. With miles wide views you enjoy tasting some of the finest wines that Cape Town has to offer.
Top 6 Things You MUST See When Visiting Cape Town
- The Breathtaking View From Table Mountain
Nelson Mandela once said that it was the presence of Table Mountain across those four miles of water that inspired him throughout his long imprisonment years on Robben Island. Wherever you are in Cape Town, Table mountain is there. A beloved landmark that helps locals and visitors to find their way. The closer you get to the mysts of Table mountain the more its spirit can be felt. At Kirstenbosch botanical gardens you can gaze up at the mountains eastern face.
Then explore Cape Town’s many biomes and the Boomslang walkway that snakes its way through the incredible scenery. From the gardens take one of the walking trails up the mountain or climb aboard the cable way for the spectacular ride to the viewpoint area. From the top of Table mountain take in the views of Signal hill, Devil’s peak and Lion’s head. All the way out to Robben Island and beyond.
- Explore the many beaches in Cape Town
Cape Town is one of the world’s great beach cities with countless beaches, bays and seaside communities. Each with its own unique vibe. From Greenpoint, the site of Cape Town’s futuristic stadium, head down the western coast of the Cape Peninsula to one incredible beach after another. Starting at the city center the wide promenade of Milton Beach is a great place to stretch your legs. A little further south in Clifton, some of the country’s most expensive homes spill down from the peninsula to the four beaches below. Each one is separated by falls of granite boulders which offer great shelter on windy days. While the houses here set you back millions, the stunning views are free.
- Walk down Long Street
Post apphartaid South Africa is often called the ‘rainbow nation’ and like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow diversity, transformation and creativity shines out from the cities downtown streets. From its businesses, statues and from its very walls. Wonder along Long Street where elegant victorian architecture, fashion and food collide. Creating one of the mother city’s busiest streets. Grab a coffee in one of the local coffee shops and end the stroll on a balcony with a cold south african beer.
- Visit Company’s garden
Visit Company’s garden, a beautiful park who’s rich soils were cultivated to provide fresh produce for early merchant ships way back when Cape Town was founded. All around the gardens some of the cities most important institutions sprang up, such as a parliament building and the national library. On the parks southern end in the South African Museum you can experience the wonders of Africa from the power of precolonial rock art to the giants of the cape’s natural world. Nearby is the National Gallery which displays centuries of incredible creativity.
- District Six Museum
A few blocks away from Company’s garden is the District Six Museum and cultural center gives voice to the 60.000 non-white resitendts who were forcibly removed from the city and saw their vibrant multiracial neighborhood flattened during the darkest days of the appharteid era. Thankfully one neighborhood that was spared appharteids wrecking ball is Bo-Kaap. Despite decades of racial segregation, traditional cape-malay culture proudly contines admit the row houses and cobbled streets in this incredibly colorfull hillsite suburb.
- Explore an amazing Safari
There are plenty of incredible wildlife safaris near Cape Town, where you can experience lions, rhinos, elephants, giraffes, zebras, exotic birds and many more fantastic animals. A truly magical breathtaking experience that is exclusive to Africa, you simply won’t get it in a zoo. A safari trip starts at around $150.
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