The city of Cape Town first came into being in 1652. Jan van Riebeek set up a half-way station for sailors heading east. Like any country in South Africa, Cape Town was never immune to the segregation. Today, however, its population is a unique blend of African heritage with a dash of European influence and Western modernisation. In no place is this more evident than the city centre. Cape Town’s towering skyscrapers are contrasted with the walls of old historic buildings.
Cape Town’s restaurants offer a range of African, Indian and international cuisine. The roots of the uniquely Capetonian culture go deep. Traces are seen in the culture, humour and hospitality of it’s locals. Afrikaans is the most spoken language in the Western Cape, followed by IsiXhosa and English.
Cape Town is the second largest city in the country after Johannesburg. It is a popular destination for holiday-makers over the December holidays because of its pristine beaches and summer festivals.
People flock to Cape Town from all nine provinces within South Africa. Visitors travel thousands of kilometres from cities such as Durban, Johannesburg and Bloemfontein.
Cape Town is a favourite destination not just amongst South Africans, but in the international travelling community as well. Its many international awards are a testimony to that.
Flights arrive at Cape Town International Airport from London, New York, Dubai, Paris, Amsterdam and many other cities across the globe.
Getting around in Cape Town
Shuttle services, taxi services and Uber taxis are all available from Cape Town International Airport.
Mini-bus taxis are the most commonly used mode of transport for locals and can be hailed from any location.
Private taxis have to be arranged beforehand. They are more expensive but they are certainly more reliable. Tourists can also hire cars from the many rental car agencies located at the airport. Car rental is certainly the recommended option if you want to travel to places further out of the city such as the stunning Cape Winelands.
Events in the Mother City
Come winter or summer, there are always exciting things to do in Cape Town. Join in the fun at the minstrel parade that happens annually shortly after new year. For music lovers, look out for the Rocking the Daisies festival on the West Coast. The festival features local and international artists. Cape Town is one of the places in South Africa that international musicians visit. Be on the lookout for concerts at Grand West Casino. Or you can take a picnic and enjoy summer vibes at the outdoor concerts in Kirstenbosch gardens.
Road-tripping beyond the city
See a spectacular display of the diverse Cape Floral Kingdom in August/September. Take a drive up the west coast to see the breath-taking daisies in full bloom. They rarely disappoint.
The normally tranquil city of Hermanus is a hive of activity during the whale festival in September. Visitors can enjoy the panoramic views of the Indian Ocean while whale-spotting.
For those with a creative flair who are looking for a unique experience, join the annual Afrika Burn festival. It is usually held in the Karoo, a vast semi-desert located a just few hours out of Cape Town.
Explore the colourful culture of Cape Town
Take a stroll through the Company’s Garden in Cape Town. This popular route that will take you to the Planetarium, Iziko South African Museum and National Art Gallery.
The National Art Gallery is an especially popular hang-out on the first Thursday of every month. It grants visitors free access, free wine and a special cultural programme that has the potential to blow minds.
On first Thursdays, selected restaurants are open later than normal. And, if you look in the least expected places, you might find an intimate gathering of artists doing extraordinary things.
Be drawn into the magical art of story-telling with the Story Club that meets once a month. A Touch of Madness in Observatory hosts a weekly poetry night.
Historical Cape Town
The city centre is the place to be if you want to look deep into history. The Castle of Good Hope is one of the oldest colonial structures in the country. Explore the castle and learn about the turbulent history of the Cape.
Visit it, the District 6 Museum and the Holocaust Museum when you take a ride on the hop-on-hop-off bus. The bus tour will take you to many other attractions like the World of Birds in Hout Bay, and Camp’s Bay. It gives tourists a taste of Cape Town, in comfort.
Visit Robben Island for a tour around the prison where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years of his life as a result of his struggle against Apartheid.
The big blue: water sports in Cape Town
Table Mountain isn’t the only natural feature to attract visitors from far and wide. The chiselled Cape coastline sees more than seals, whales and sharks in its pristine waters. The area is a paradise for surfers and stand-up paddlers.
With the Cape Doctor (the strong SE wind) working its magic hundreds of kite-surfers can be seen along Blouberg beach.
Other popular attractions amongst tourists include cruising through the harbour, or scuba diving. In summer, Blue Rock in Somerset West is a great spot for wake-boarding and swimming.
Travelling to Cape Town
Three of South Africa’s most popular airlines offering internal flights include South African Airways, Mango and FlySafair.
South African Airways is the country’s national flag-carrier. Mango (one of South Africa’s favourite low-cost carriers) is a subsidiary of SAA.
Travelling to Cape Town? Use one of these reliable airlines to fly from Johannesburg (O.R. Tambo International Airport and Lanseria) to Cape Town or from Durban to Cape Town. You could alternatively take a long distance bus such as the Greyhound.
The best time to visit this part of the country is from September to March. Following the cooler and wetter weather of June and July, there is a vibrant atmosphere in the post-winter months. Not to mention that it’s whale and flower season. During December and January, tourists have much longer days in which they can explore this beautiful city.