Cape Town Travel Guide

Located at the southern tip of Africa, Cape Town is an eclectic blend of cultures and traditions, and one of the world's most beautiful cities. Its many attractions include picture-perfect beaches, excellent restaurants and a lively nightlife that attracts many celebrities.

Visitors can sample local life by enjoying traditional South African braai or shisa nyama (barbecue) at township restaurants such as Mzoli's, or catching a rugby match at the historic Newlands Stadium. They can also go on a pub crawl down Long Street, or browse the wares at one of the city's delightful craft and food markets.

The nearby Cape Winelands have much to offer wine lovers and gastronomes.

Best time to visit Cape Town

December to February (summer) is peak season for Cape Town, although the weather can be lovely in spring and autumn, when days are often crisp, clear and ideal for sunbathing and sightseeing. The December holiday season can be uncomfortably hot at times and tends to be crowded with local tourists. Winters in Cape Town can be cold and rainy and are usually avoided by travellers.

What to see in Cape Town

-Visit the District Six Museum for a peek into Cape Town's tumultuous history.

-Tour the infamous Robben Island prison, where Nelson Mandela was held for nearly 30 years.

-Say hello to the marine life at the Two Oceans Aquarium.

-Take a township tour through Gugulethu or Khayelitsha.

What to do in Cape Town

-Take a cable car to the top of the iconic Table Mountain for a spectacular view of the city.

-Encounter penguins at Boulders Beach.

-Have a picnic and listen to a concert in the stunning Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.

Beyond Cape Town

Cape Town is well-situated to be part of a larger holiday in South Africa. Tourists can take a trip through the Cape Winelands, drive along the Garden Route, explore the beaches on South Africa's West Coast, or fly up to Johannesburg for a safari in Kruger National Park. Popular weekend getaways include wine-tasting in Stellenbosch, whale-watching in Hermanus, bird-watching in Knysna and shark cage-diving in Gansbaai.

Getting there

Cape Town International Airport is located 13 miles (20km) east of Cape Town, and there are buses and taxis available into the city. Flights to Cape Town are available from a number of major international airports, including Amsterdam, London, Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, and Dubai. Many airlines offer flights with layovers in Johannesburg. However, travellers should make sure they have plenty of time to clear customs.

Did you know?

-Cape Town's two nicknames, the 'Cape of Storms' and the 'Cape of Good Hope', were given to it by Bartolomeu Dias, who 'discovered' it in 1486.

-Every day except Sunday, the Noon Day Gun booms across the city to signal 12pm. The cannon is located on Signal Hill, and tourists can attend the ceremony.

-The world's first heart transplant was performed by Dr Christiaan Barnard at Cape Town's Groote Schuur Hospital in 1967.