A Guest Post by Ishita Arora
Cape Town is one of the most historic cities and the busiest seaports of South Africa. It has constantly been voted as the best tourist place in South Africa. The city lies in the northern part of the Cape Peninsula, situated in the table bay. Most CAPE TOWN TOURS include beautiful scenic views, attractive sightseeing, diverse community interactions and some amazing activities.
Cape Town’s weather is quite soothing throughout the year which was a great relief for me as I easily get irritated in case I experience adverse weather conditions. However, if you want to experience most of the mother city, the best time to visit Cape Town is from March to May or between September to November. This time you can experience Cape Town’s best weather, less crowd, and budget travels.
Is safe to go to South Africa?
Quite a lot of people have asked me whether it is safe to go to South Africa or not. What I can say from my personal experience is that Cape Town is pretty much safe. It’s completely safe to walk around the streets during the daytime. However, roaming around during the night can be a risky affair. I suggest you walk in groups during the day time and use taxis for hanging out at night.
(Top Tip: Use Uber, it’s way cheaper than the other overrated local taxis.)
TOP THINGS TO DO IN CAPE TOWN
VISIT THE FAMOUS TABLE MOUNTAINS
This place is one of the most famous places to visit Cape Town. Table Mountain is also known to be a natural wonder of the world. It is a flat-topped mountain overseeing Cape Town and is an enormous tourist attraction and it is frequently roofed in clouds which are known as the Table cloth. The highest peak of this huge mountain is about 1,086 meters (3,563 ft.) above sea level. This is one of the best experiences I have ever gained and I consider it as a must-visit place in Cape Town. You will also find other mountains like the devil’s peak, twelve apostles and a lion’s head in this region.
How to reach the top of Table Mountains?
If you want to reach the top of the mountains: there are two ways. The first way is hiking, it takes approximately 3 hours to reach the top. The second way is by using the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway, the cable car’s bottom ground rotates 360 degrees. This offers people to see some spectacular aerial views of cape town. Each car carries a total of 65 passengers to the top at the same time. I will suggest the cable car for safety purpose as hiking can be dangerous for those that have never done it before.
The ticket price (international):
R290 ($19.92) per adult
R145 ($9.96) per child
Best time to visit: Between November and February
KIRSTENBOSCH BOTANICAL GARDENS
Located on the slopes of Table Mountain, 13 kilometres away from the city Centre. The Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens offer an amazing tourist experience all year round. Kirstenbosch has a fragrant garden, a medicinal garden, 2,500 plants species originated on the Cape Peninsula, a Protea garden (great time to view in spring), a Braille trail, the Water-wise garden, the oldest part of the garden situated in the Dell, the Restio garden, Van Riebeeck’s Hedge and a cycad Amphitheatre.
As summer has its own magic, gardens will be your favourite picnic spot. In case you haven’t packed lunch and are looking for a decent dining place, visit the African theme based Moyo restaurant. If you are looking for a quick bite, head towards the Kirstenbosch Tea Room. They serve excellent cakes, pies and refreshing cucumber sandwiches. Moreover, you also have the advantage to take away freshly packed picnic hampers from the above restaurants.
The entrance fee (international):
R70 ($4.79) for an adult
R20 ($1.37) for children aged between 6- 17 years.
Children aged below 6 years are free.
Best time to visit: early summer or in summer (August- November)
(Top Tip: The locals know their places inside out. I suggest you pre-book all your tours through a tour and travel company. They offer transportation and a local travel guide to offer quality information on tourist attractions of South Africa)
THE CAPE OF GOOD HOPE
A rocky headland is located at the southern end of Cape Peninsula touching the Atlantic coast. The cape of good hope is known as the meeting point of the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. The marvellous north of the cape is 50 kilometres away from Cape Town. This is something that you can’t miss out on. You can have a closer look at one of the highest sea cliffs with the freshest air. It’s got a captivating scenery. You can do specific types of land and water activities. Do not miss out on the animal watching. There are about 1200 species of home-grown plants and animals.
(Top Tip: If you are visiting with children, please be extra careful of the slippery rocks.)
Cape Point is the little cape extending outwards Cape of Good Hope, located at the southern part of the peninsula. There is a lighthouse right ahead of the cape point. It’s a 10 -15 minutes walk to the cape point. You can also hop on a train and reach there in 3-5 minutes.
BOULDERS BEACH- BEST PLACE IN CAPE TOWN FOR WILDLIFE
Penguins are way too adorable, right!
Boulders Penguin Colony is located in Simons Town and is home to a remarkable state of South African Penguins. These penguins are rare in the world and this site is one of the most famous tourist places in Cape Town. The Boulders comprises of 3 perfect beaches, 3 walkways and 1 penguin viewing region. I can’t really say it is a must-visit place in South Africa but if you love penguins just like I do, then you should definitely visit the Boulders Beach.
(TOP TIP: you can visit the cape of good hope and boulders beach on the same day because the boulders come along the way to cape point. Please do not touch or feed the penguins, their cuteness can be irresistible but don’t forget that they are wild animals, they can be harmful).
I consider it as the best place for shopping in Cape Town. The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront has got everything: incredible shopping experience with a variety of brands to choose from, a high-class venue with ocean and mountain sights, games and fun activities for kids and some of the finest restaurants for the ultimate dining experience. Here is a list of top activities to do at the V&A Waterfront:
- Zeitz MOCAA: It is an architectural phenomenon and is also one of the world’s leading museum devoted precisely to African contemporary art.
Ticket cost: Adult: R180 ($12.33)
Free for children under 18
- Enjoy watching the sunset at Cape Wheel: It offers a 360-degree view of Cape Town from the lively V&A Waterfront.
Ticket cost: Adult: R130 ($8.90)
Child: R60 ($4.11)
VIP ride: R900 ($61.63)
- Seal & Harbour Cruise: You can have an amazing 25 minutes ride and experience one of the best sightseeing tours in Cape Town.
- Pop into the V&A Waterfront Food Market: Foodies this place is for you! Get in there and explore the popular street food and artisan trade market.
- Diamond tour: If diamonds are not your interest, here is the opportunity to fall for them. This place is simply out of this world. Diamonds worth billions are on exhibition here!
- Cycle tour with AWOL tours: Dutch cycles are used for exploring cape town. (P.S, these cycles have got no brakes. You need to pedal backwards to slow down or stop).
Tour cost is R300 ($20.55) per person.
- Enjoy your evening tea at The One and Only, while gazing upon the stunning scenic beauty of the Mother City.
STELLENBOSCH WINE ROUTE: WINE TASTING IN CAPE TOWN
There are over 150 wine estates were specialists and learners come to enjoy the finest wines of South Africa. This region is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Cape Town. It is difficult to see all of the vineyards at the same time. Here are my top picks:.
After visiting Delaire-Graaf, I can say with no doubts that they offer a wonderful vineyard experience like no one else! This place has got a glorious hotel and a restaurant too. The main charm is the beautiful view of the cape town’s mountains and greenery, which you can witness while sipping your wine. Moreover, they have a splendid collection of art pieces to look at in and around the estate. I was given 1 Rosé, 2 red wines and 3 white wines to try with some tasty snacks to munch.
La Petite Ferme
The Franschhoek Valley caught my eyes with its breathtaking view, they have created magic in the atmosphere. It’s a luxurious hotel restaurant that serves exclusive cuisines as well as boutique wine. I tasted 3 white wines and 3 red wines with health breadsticks served with olive oil dips.
Best time to visit: March-May or August-October.
BEST PLACE TO EAT IN CAPE TOWN
Eastern Food Bazaar
My Personal Favourite! You can find a range of various Local Turkish, Indian and Chinese street food which caters to both vegetarian and halal. They have got food stalls all in a row, with a lively atmosphere and a spacious seating area. I always ate my dinner from here throughout my trip. It is near to most of the hotels, the quality of the food is excellent and the prices are affordable to all.