Cape Town City Guides

Cape Town

South Africa is a country of many surprises and Cape Town may be the biggest and best surprise of them all. Cape Town has a marked European influence and provides and ideal base to experience the colour and excitement of South Africa.

Cape Town has a variety of climates, awe-inspiring safari parks, a vibrant nightlife, stunning coastline, fertile vineyards and a colorful variety of wild flowers which can be enjoyed along the fabled Garden Route.

Cape Town Holidays: Cape Town makes a perfect destination for a relaxing holiday break or as a base for discovering the wonders of South Africa's beautiful coastline. Cape Town has a cultural heritage spanning more than 300 years and is known as the "Mother City" (the oldest city and mother of modern South Africa) and lies at the foot of the majestic flat-topped Table Mountain.

The city is perched between the ocean and the mountains with a national park as its heart, to start your adventure and to appreciate Cape Town's unique coastal location, simply take a five-minute ride to the top of Table Mountain on the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway.

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Visitor information

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Introduction to Cape Town's top Attractions:

Cape Town

Victoria and Alfred Waterfront: The place to be seen is the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront - a unique shopping and holiday experience on a scenic working harbour. Here you will find free entertainment, shops, museums, an aquarium, trendy bars and restaurants, with more than 70 eateries ranging from pubs and fast food outlets to five star restaurants. There are also luxury hotels and a variety of boat trips, harbour cruises and helicopter charters.

Popular Beaches:
Cape Town’s stunning rugged coastline is studded with great beaches, with the best being off the Atlantic Ocean where the sea water can be staggeringly cold.

The most popular beach is Camps Bay, one of the world’s most famous and glitzy beaches, Camps Bay has a long and wide stretch of yellow and golden sand backed by trendy bars and restaurants. Muizenberg Beach has become a surfing hotspot due to it's warmer waters and big waves, it's also regarded as one of Cape Town's main family beaches. Alternatively head to Clifton for more family friendly beaches. Cape Town’s longest beach is called 'Long Beach' and is popular with beach walkers, wind surfers and other water sport enthusiasts.

Cape Town Beach

Main Attractions:
Cape Town's most popular tourist attraction is a ride to the summit of Table Top mountain, where the views are quite spectacular. At the top of the mountain you'll find a restaurant, small gift shop, numerous walking routes, pathways and vantage points. The top is reached by a Swiss-built rotating cable car that carries visitors smoothly up the mountain and back again.

Other top attractions include the seven mile boat trip to Robben Island, which departs from the V&A Waterfront. Robben Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is where Nelson Mandela (anti-apartheid activist and former president of South Africa) was held captive. The island has also been home to a mental institution, a prison and home to a leper colony, the trip includes a guided tour of the island.

Other Attractions
The Cape Town International Jazz Festival. Cape Town comes alive to the beat of Jazz music and is regarded as being one of the best Jazz festivals in the live music calendar, it takes place over several days in March/April.

The J&B Met is South Africa's oldest and most prestigious horse racing event, taking place every year in early February at the Kenilworth Racecourse in Cape Town. The day is full of great racing as well as being a day of glamorous fashion, great entertainment with partying into the small hours.

Hermanus Whale Festival lasts from July to September, the Southern Right Whales travel thousands of miles to the southern coast of South Africa to mate and calve. To celebrate this event the annual Hermanus Whale Festival takes place in September. Lots of fun is to be had in Cape Town including theatre, concerts, arts and crafts along with some of the best land based whale watching opportunities in the world.

Cape Times Waterfront Wine Affair, taste and buy some of the best Cape wine, with over 75 Western Cape wine estates all under one roof. Takes place early May, pace yourself as there are over 300 different wines to taste.

Shopping: There's a great choice of shops in which to spend your money, head to the V&A Waterfront, Cavendish and Canal Walk which are great for fashion and chic boutiques, bars and restaurants. Stalls along paved Church street sell art nouveau jewellery, rare books and other nick-knacks and Greenmarket Square has a great flea market.

Public Transport:
Meter taxi services are available 24 hours a day and can be booked via phone or can be found at one of the city’s taxi ranks or bays. Metered taxis are administered by the City of Cape Town and offer a reasonable way to get around the city.

The city's attractions and sightseeing bus is a good way to explore the city at your own pace, you can jump on and off at your leisure. Local bus services are cheap but can be unreliable at times, local bus services include Golden Arrow bus network and MyCiTi integrated rapid transport network. As with any city it's always good practice to remain vigilant when using public transport.

The roads are generally excellent and traffic is reasonably light outside the main cities, Cape Town can be very congested especially during commuting time.

In general, public roads in South Africa are well developed and well sign-posted with driving done on the left hand side of the road. Speed limits are usually 60 km/h in built-up areas, 100 km/h on the open road, and 120 km/h on highways. Toll roads operate on major routes, it is generally unwise to assume that everyone on the road will drive safely.

Eating Out:
Cape Town has a large selection on international cuisine, from Thai to Japanese, Mediterranean to Southern African. Seafood is especially popular. The V&A Waterfront has the best choice of restaurants.

Clubs & Bars:
Cape Town has an exciting nightlife, with Long Street being the cities main nightlife strip and is packed with fashionable music bars, late-night cafes, pubs and dance clubs. The V&A Waterfront also boasts several excellent dining, entertainment and live jazz venues with some venues having either stunning views of either beach or mountain – in which to sip fine wines, cocktails or craft beers.

Most of the "touristy" club action in Cape Town can be found at Long Street with the majority of clubs, pubs and bars being in close proximity to each other. As with any touristy nightlife scene, be aware of pick pickpocketers and keep your belongings safe.

Cape Town Airport (CPT). The airport is located in Matroosfontein, approximately 12 miles (20 km) south-east of Cape Town city centre.

Cape town Airport serves as a base for the following airlines: Mango, FlySafair and South African Airways. The airport handles flights to and from Europe, Asia and several destinations in Africa with direct flights to Johannesburg and Durban. Both British Airways and Virgin Airlines operate direct flights to cape Town from London Heathrow airport.

Airport Transport and Shuttle Services:
Bus Transfers. MyCiti bus rapid transit offers direct connections from CPT Airport to Civic Centre Bus Station in central Cape Town. Airport Taxis. Taxis at Cape Town Airport CPT can be found at ground level outside Arrivals, Touch Down Taxis are the official authorised taxi service at the airport.

Car Hire. The best option is to pre-book your car rental for pick-up at CPT on arrival. All major car rental companies are represented at Cape Town apt, Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt.

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