Cape Town, South Africa is the perfect destination for those who love adventure and always want to explore the majestic mountains, spectacular scenery and wonders as well of nature. Coming here, you will enjoy the beautiful, breathtaking scenery on Table Mountain, stunning beaches, immerse yourself in the clear blue water at Hout Bay, watching penguins in Boulders beach, trekking, take a road trip along wine routes and enjoy premium South African wines right in the spot and tasting many savory dishes… And there are many other interesting things waiting for you to experience.
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So, is Cape Town worth visiting, what to do and how to plan a perfect budget trip to Cape Town for the first-time? Let’s check out our Cape Town travel blog (Cape Town blog) with the fullest Cape Town travel guide (Cape Town city guide, Cape Town guide, Cape Town visitor guide, Cape Town tourist guide, Cape Town South Africa travel guide) from how to get there, best time to come, where to stay, best places to visit and top things to do to find out the answer!
Thanks to a pleasant Mediterranean-like climate, Cape Town tourism industry has flourished in recent years. The beautiful mountains bordering the ocean separate Cape Town from all the cities of South Africa. The natural landscape with the sea, the endless stretching of vineyards and along with many worth visiting museums and historic neighborhoods help this place to satisfy all tastes of visitors from worldwide.
Cape Town travel blog: Overview of Cape Town
Cape Town is the legislative capital of South Africa and is also the largest, 2nd richest and most developed city in South Africa. Cape Town has an extremely favorable location when behind is the majestic Table Mountain range, in front is the Cape of Good Hope, surrounding the city is the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean. Not only that, Cape Town is also home to The Houses of Parliament of South Africa and many other important government departments and agencies.
Cape Town was once voted as one of the 100 best and most livable cities in the world. Traveling to Cape Town, you will have the opportunity to visit many famous tourist attractions as well as enjoy a variety of delectable food of its cuisine.
Cape Town is the capital of the Western Cape province, and also serves as the legislative capital of South Africa. The city has an area of 400.3 km2 with a population of about 3.8 million people (ranked 2nd in the country). Not only is the most beautiful city in South Africa, Cape Town is also once honored to be in the Top 100 most beautiful cities in the world. It possesses many majestic natural landscapes and famous harbor such as Table Mountain, Cape of Good Hope, Hout Bay, etc.
Cape town is known as the coolest city in South Africa. Here you can participate in activities such as climbing, trekking, windsurfing, swimming and sunbathing, shopping, diving… and especially you will have the opportunity to see the legendary Cape of Good Hope. The charming in both wild and modern beauty is the unique highlight that helps Cape Town attract millions of tourists every year. If you love the magnificent beauty but still wild, why don’t you once come to Cape Town!?
For architecture and art lovers, the neighborhoods of Constantia — an affluent suburb of Cape Town as well as the city center are must-visit places to admire the colonial-style buildings known as Cape Dutch. When wandering the main streets here, visitors often find Government Avenue, where the walkway is woven with hundreds of years old oak trees… Among Cape Town’s museums, The South African Cultural History Museum (Iziko South African Museum) is housed in the 2nd South Africa’s oldest building, second only to Castle of Good Hope also in Cape Town, the residence of the first governors during the second half of the 17th century.
Cape Town travel guide: How to get to Cape Town?
There are two major international airports in South Africa, Cape Town International Airport (IATA: CPT, ICAO: FACT) and O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg. In which O.R. Tambo Airport is the largest airport in South Africa. There are many airlines operating routes to Cape Town today such as Afriqiyah Airways, Air France, Arik Air, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines…
Cape Town travel blog: When is the best time to visit Cape Town?
Cape Town belongs to the Mediterranean climate zone, divided into two main seasons, winter and summer. Winter lasts from May to August, with a cool climate, high humidity and often has cool winds blowing from the Atlantic Ocean and causing cool breeze and heavy rain. In the winter months, the highest temperature is 18 degrees Celsius and the lowest is about 8.5 degrees Celsius. Summer lasts from November to February next year, the weather is dry and hot, with the average temperature fluctuating around 25 degrees Celsius and the lowest is 16 degrees Celsius.
The period from March to May and from September to November are considered the best time to visit Cape Town. These are shoulder seasons, enviable weather, the weather is usually cool, the sky is clear, so it is very suitable for sightseeing and participating in outdoor activities such as picnicking, trekking, swimming, paragliding… with fewer crowds, and lower prices as well.
If you want to admire the romantic, gentle, beautiful scenery of nature in Cape Town, you should go in the spring (September – October).
Tip: You should bring a scarf, warm outfits, wool hat because the climate here is sometimes erratic.
Cape Town blog: Transportation in Cape Town
Bus: This is the most popular means of transportation in Cape Town. There are many popular bus companies for you to choose from such as: City Sightseeing Bus, Greyhouse, Intercape, Baz Bus, etc. In which, City Sightseeing is a bus line exclusively for tourists. With this vast bus network, you can go to famous attractions very easily and conveniently.
Taxi: Traveling by taxi will be more expensive, but in return, you will be able to move according to your own timetable. Usually, the taxi price in Cape Town will be aroud 12 zar/km (~USD0.8/km).
On foot: With tourist attractions within the city center, you can walk to both admire the scenery and take pictures comfortably.
Besides, if you go in a large group and are proactive about your time, you can rent a self-driving car.
Cape Town travel blog: What to do and where to go in Cape Town
The first destination you must visit is Table Mountain. This peak is about 3500 feet from the sea level, to getting here you can take a cable car ride to the top of the mountain to admire the panoramic view of Cape Town city, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Parliament building… Cable car ticket price is $20/round-trip, if you want to experience many places along the way without spending much, you should take a hiking trip. There are several trails to the top of the mountain with a hiking time of about 2 hours, when you reach the cable car station you will be able to relax at a cafe. Here you can order pizza, drink coffee, get a full meal to prepare for the next journey of discovery.
In addition, coming here, visitors can also freely explore the diverse ecosystem with over 1,470 species of flowers and many other species of wildlife. With majestic natural beauty, Table Mountain is always in the top 10 world’s most attractive places to visit and is considered a symbol of Cape Town in particular and South Africa in general.
You can conquer the Table Mountain by taking a cable car ride or hiking. If you choose the cable car, you need to pay about 20 USD for a round trip ticket. And the traveling time to reach the top of the mountain only takes 5-7 minutes. If you choose to hiking, you will need spend about 2-4 hours to climb to the top of the mountain, depending on the departure point. Currently, to reach the peak of Table Mountain has more than 5 different trekking routes. But the most popular is the route through the Platteklip Gorge.
Hout Bay is a town near Cape Town located in a valley on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula, 20 km from the center of Cape Town. Dubbed the heart of the Cape of Good Hope, Hout Bay has captivated millions of visitors by its pristine and magnificent scenery of blue sea and white sand beaches.
Not only being immersed in the beautiful natural scenery, visiting Hout Bay, you can also experience many interesting activities such as: Playing water sports, visiting Mariner’s Wharf Fish Market, shopping for handicrafts at Bay Harbour Market, watching South African Fur Seals on Duiker Island (Seal Island)…
Surfing at Muizenberg beach
Muizenberg is a small beach-side town, located in the southern suburbs of Cape Town and is a popular surfing destination. This place is about 30 minutes from the city center by car, here you will learn to surf by joining a surfing class and you can rent a surfing board for around EUR 240 and a wetsuit from EUR 120 or rent a board and wetsuit for about EUR 12 each per day with many interesting experiences. Coming to Muizenberg, if you don’t want to surf, you can join a yoga class or participate in many other unique cultural events.
Meet the penguins at Boulders Beach
One of the interesting experiences while in Cape Town that you should not miss is watching and interacting with penguins at Boulders Beach. It’s still a romantic beach with white sand, golden sunshine, but Boulders impresses visitors with the presence of more than 3,000 African penguins. To see the penguins firsthand in the wild, you will need to pay for about USD 6/person for the entrance ticket. When visiting, note that you should not get too close because it can cause the birds to be agitated and bite.
With a stop near Betty’s Bay, the world of penguins will greet you before heading to Boulders and Jackass beaches, the “kingdom” of African penguins with about 3,000 individuals. Although it’s close to a residential area, it’s the only place to see penguins up close.
Swimming with great white sharks
If your time is abundant, go to False Bay to photograph the great white sharks here. This is one of those adventure activities, not for the faint of heart. After buying a tour, visitors will be put in a large iron cage and hundreds of ferocious white sharks showing sharp jagged teeth swim around. However, you should not worry too much because this activity has been tested for safety. The thing to do is that visitors should learn well and choose services from reputable tour operators.
Visiting breweries & wineries
Cape Town is home to many of the world’s major beer and wine producers such as the South African Breweries, Woodstock Inn Brewery, Devil’s Peak Beer Company… Visitors can choose various tours to visiting beer breweries and wineries to see first-hand the production process and enjoy beer right in spot are also interesting experiences visitors should try.
Cape Town is world-renowned for producing many famous wines of high quality as well as well-known wine brands. Visitors can book tours to visit ineyards, hand-harvest ripe grapes and see how wine is made at the wineries and tasting premium wines on the tour. Some vineyards and wineries you can visit such as Groot Constantia Wine Farm, Eagles’ Nest Wines, Beau Constantia…
Admire the street arts in Woodstock
Cape Town has a vibrant and daring creative culture, and nowhere is it more prominent than in Woodstock – a vibrant suburb full of vitality and brilliant. Here, you have an opportunity to admire more than 100 colorful street art works appear almost everywhere in every corner. Extremely sophisticated artistic achievements also hidden significant political or environmental messages.
Visiting Cape Town you cannot miss the political prison on Robben Island and listen to the stories about this prison. Nearly 400 years ago, this place was used as a political prison, as well as a place to isolate leprosy, infectious, mental, and incurable patients. In 1997, the prison on the island had turned to a museum. Two years later, Robben Island was recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site. You can buy a tour to visit the prison for around $25 by ferry, but you need to pay attention to ask the departure time to buy tickets in advance to avoid the case of running out of seats.
About 10km from the south coast of the city, Robben is a world-famous small island for having imprisoned Nelson Mandela, the national hero of South Africa. And now, Robben Island has become a national memorial and historical museum of apartheid. Coming to Robben, you also have the opportunity to meet the lovely penguins, frolicking seals and majestic Table Mountain from the sea…
Long Street is the busiest and most bustling and hustling street in Cape Town. This street is located right in the central area of the city. Along the street are many important architectural works, buildings. The most prominent must be the South African Parliament building and Town Hall. In addition, on this street, there are many shopping malls, fashion stores… for you to drop by.
Bay Harbour Market
Address: 31 Harbour Rd, Hout Bay, Cape Town, 7872, South Africa
Hours: Friday: 5–9PM; Saturday, Sunday: 9:30AM–4PM
Bay Harbour Market attracts merchants and tourists to shop for jewelry, all kinds of goods, souvenirs and super delicious drinks. The market is open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. When going to Bay Harbour Market, you should go to the eastern edge of Hout Bay Harbour to enjoy the lively atmosphere with live music.
A very famous, fascinating neighborhood in Cape Town that you should not miss is Bo-Kaap neighborhood. This neighborhood is also known as the “chameleon” neighborhood in South Africa. The reason it has such a name is because the houses here are painted in very vivid, brilliant and colorful colors. The houses with all colors such as orange, red, yellow, pink… capture all the eyes of visitors and make them feel extremely excited.
It can be said that any trip to Cape Town is incomplete without a stroll through the Bo-Kaap neighborhood. The neighborhood with colorfully painted houses sits under a beautiful backdrop of Table Mountain. The people of Bo-Kaap are descendants of slaves from Malaysia, Indonesia and other African countries brought to South Africa by the Dutch a few centuries ago. Today, the neighborhood is famous for its cultural and culinary diversity.
The Malay Bo-Kaap neighborhood located on the slopes of Signal Hill is one of Cape Town’s highlights. The colorful houses sparkling in the golden sunlight have helped Bo-Kaap become an fascinating tourist attraction. The ancestors of the neighborhood’s inhabitants were Muslim slaves from Malaysia, India and Indonesia.
If before, Greenmarket Square was built to be used for many purposes, now it is the location for flea markets which specializing in art, clothing, souvenirs and jewelry products. According to many reviews, this is one of the most famous places to come in Cape Town, but because of that, the shop owners always say overcharging about the price. If you find something interesting and want to buy it, try to bargain as much as possible to avoid being get rid off.
Surrounded by two oceans, Cape Town is full of beaches of different shades. Adjacent to the city center are the beaches of Clifton Bay and Camps Bay beaches, where the lively atmosphere goes on throughout the day. In particular, Camps Bay with white sand beach just few steps away from the city in the cover of coconut palm trees and cliffs nearly 1,000m high, dubbed the “12 apostles”, is often flooded with tourists.
Is an affluent suburb of Cape Town. In the summer, it attracts a large number of foreign tourists as well as South Africans. Camps Bay beach is extremely beautiful with blue sea water along with the long stretch of fine white sand beach.
Traveling to Cape Town without exploring the Camps Bay beach here is a pity. The beach once voted as one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Next to the beach is the famous Camps Bay. There are dozens of cafes, bars and restaurants located close together, ready when you find a perfect spot to rest and relax and enjoy cool sea breeze.
This is one of the most beautiful beaches in South Africa with white sand and clear blue which is perfect spot for swimming, sunbathing, paddling… It is located on the Atlantic coast, surrounded by palm trees. Thanks to the freshness, the lush scenery of palm trees, and the crystal clear water that have put the name Clifton on the list of the most recommended places to visit in South Africa.
Enjoy sundowners at the top of Lion’s Head
The time to conquer the top of Lion’s Head is less than to the top of Table Mountain with only 45 minutes of travel. Standing on the top of Lion’s Head, you will admire the panoramic view of the city, the coast settings, Table Mountain and freely taking the beautiful virtual photos. In particular, the most interesting experience at the top of Lion’s Head is enjoying “sundowners”.
Dinner and wine tasting in Stellenbosch
Stellenbosch is a famous wine-producing region in the world, which takes about 50 minutes drive from Cape Town city center. Visiting this place you will admire the beautiful fog-covered valley, majestic mountains and immense green vineyards. In particular, when coming to Stellenbosch, you can also enjoy a cozy diner with the best wine in the world.
Known as one of Cape Town’s most lavish resorts, it is known for its peaceful setting and vast flooded beaches. Noordhoek is also famous for being home to animals including whales, otters, seals and birds… Traveling to South Africa, one of the best things to do is still take a horse ride on pristine beaches, watching the vast and mysterious ocean.
Although it is not as iconic as Table Mountain, Signal Hill is equally popular, because the view from Signal Hill is also great, it doesn’t cost you anything to go up there, and you don’t have to wait in long lines. The best thing is to drive up there by your car, watching the cute animals while wait for the sunset.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
Address: Rhodes Dr, Newlands, Cape Town, 7735, South Africa
Located right on the eastern side of Table Mountain, is the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, which will be a destination for flower and plants lovers. Coming here, you will surely be overwhelmed by the “angel” beauty of this place, the fresh scenery with thousands of colorful flowers blooming. And what is special, the garden also seems to be the gathering place for most of the plants in Africa, with more than 7000 species. Therefore, in 2004, this place was recognized by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage site and became one of the most beautiful attractions on the planet.
Explore Kirstenbosch to admire the most beautiful garden in Africa. The Kirstenbosch Garden is located on the slopes of Table Mountain and grows all kinds of flowers across Africa. The entrance fee is $5, in addition, there are restaurants and cafes, but the price is quite expensive.
If you come to the Kirstenbosch garden on a Sunday afternoon in summertime, you will have the opportunity to enjoy musical performances by famous South African bands or international music stars. It is also one of the world’s most famous botanical gardens. Many visitors wander for hours in the green space of more than 7,000 species of plants in various themed areas in Kirstenbosch. In spring, when the flower beds are in full bloom, Kirstenbosch is filled with tourists and locals alike to enjoy.
Cape of Good Hope – the end destination of Africa.
Voted many times as the most worthy conquering place in the world, the Cape of Good Hope is the intersection of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. With such a special meaning, your trip to South Africa will be meaningless if you have not set foot in the Cape of Good Hope. It is known that the Cape of Good Hope is not the southernmost tip of Africa but is Cape Agulhas, but it is likened to a marine soldier, standing guard at an important position between the two oceans. In the past, it was the only sea route to Asia until the appearance of the Suez Canal.
Cape of Good Hope (the end point of Africa, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Indian Ocean) is where the first Portuguese — Bartolomeu Dias stopped in 1488 on his journey to find a sea route to trade with Asia. Later, the famous explorer Vasco da Gama successfully conquered and find the way around Africa to land in India.
Any visitor traveling to Cape Town also want to go to the Cape of Good Hope. The road to the Cape of Good Hope go through many beaches is considered one of the most beautiful coastal roads in the world. To get to the place that separates the Atlantic and Indian oceans, you have to travel more than 150km southeast to the tip of Agulhas. Standing at the Cape of Good Hope overlooking the ocean will make you feel like you are at the ends of the earth.
The Neighbourgoods Market
Address: 373 Albert Rd, Woodstock, Cape Town, 7925, South Africa
Hours: Saturday: 9AM–4PM/Sunday: 10AM–4PM
For tourists, discovering the local market culture is one of the tourist pleasures. And the Neighborgoods food market located in the Old Biscuit Mill complex, open every Saturday and Sunday morning, is a typical example when all shopping transactions take place warmly and intimately like a family with all customers.
The market is a blend of cultures and showcases cuisines from all over the world. In addition, visitors can also easily shop for fashion clothes and handmade items at the shops around the market.
Whale Trail in Overberg
From Cape Town to Hermanus, you will spend a lot of time capturing images of mother whales taking care of their babies at sea or whale dancing. Especially from July to November, when whales are in the breeding season.
Many young people used to joke that, on a 10-day trip to Cape Town, every day must visit V&A Waterfront. It is not only a place to watch the brilliant sunset, but also an ideal viewing spot for Table Mountain, in the distance is the bay that is always crowded with boats coming in and out of the harbor. Moreover, many visitors also know that V&A Waterfront is a busy shopping destination, bustling with exciting entertainment venues. So much so, you can stay here for a week without getting bored.
Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is where you can enjoy the best of Cape Town. This place is a familiar place for tourists. You can sip a cool drink, enjoy fresh seafood in the beachside restaurant, enjoy the cool breeze and watch Table Mountain in the distance.
Coming to Cape Town, you cannot miss the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront located between the mountains and the sea. You can wander “shopping through the window” at the countless crowded shops or join the entertainment activities by the sea, or simply enjoy a variety of specialties at the hospitable restaurants here.
Cape Winelands Wine-Tasting Road Trip
In just an hour of traveling on the “Wine Road” Cape Winelands about 40km from the center of Cape Town, you can discover a completely different world. The vineyards stretching endlessly at the foot of the mountains and valleys always create endless refreshment, helping visitors forget the long way. And the destination of this route is the unique vineyards with excellent cellars of wineries, enough for visitors to remember the sweet taste of South Africa forever…
Cape Town blog: What to eat
Not only impressed by the beautiful, magnificent, majestic natural scenery, Cape Town also has an extremely rich cuisine. Here are a few delicious food suggestions for you to easily choose while in Cape Town:
Biltong is a shredded or sliced dried meat. To make this dish, they can use meat such as kudu antelope, goat, sheep, ostrich… but the most popular are beef and chicken. This is a very popular snack in South Africa, so you can easily buy Biltong at most grocery stores and supermarkets in Cape Town. The price of Biltong will usually be around $2.2 — $3.5.
When talking about Cape Town’s cuisine, it is definitely impossible not to mention Bobotie. The dish is a combination of minced meat, eggs and dried fruits. After baking evenly, Bobotie will be served with traditional spicy sauce — sambal.
Malva pudding is a South African traditional baked dessert. The ingredients include: flour, eggs, milk, unsalted butter and apricot jam. Before serving, Malva pudding will be topped with a creamy sauce or a rich butter sugar sauce. In addition, in some restaurants, the cake is also served with cold cream or fresh fruit to help balance the taste. In Cape Town, Malva pudding is usually sold for $2.2 – $4.5.
Mavrou Beef Curry
Topping this list is Mavrou – Cape Town beef curry. Not commenting on the taste, just looking at the beef curry rice plate alone makes diners melting in their mouth because of craving. Chef will marinate meat with ginger, garlic, and pepper before processing to make the curry is more attractive.
Not only popular in Cape Town but also popular in many households in South Africa. Like its name suggests, the main ingredient of this dish is rice cooked with various condiments such as ginger, onion and garlic, bay leaves… This rice dish is popular in family meals or major festivals of South Africa.
It can be said that this is a version that bearing bold style of Italian cuisine. This dish is loved by many tourists and locals alike because of the harmony between spices and ingredients. Simple to prepare but exudes a unique flavor. It is made of vegetables, pasta or rice, sometimes both. The ingredients include parmesan cheese and tomatoes, beans, onions, celery, carrots, leaf vegetables, stock creating a savory taste.
Cape Town travel blog: Where to stay
Below we recommend more best budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.
- South Beach Camps Bay Boutique Hotel (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- The President Hotel (Booking.com)
- Victoria & Alfred Hotel (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront, Cape Town (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- DoubleTree by Hilton Cape Town Upper Eastside (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- The Table Bay (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Cape Heritage Hotel (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
Cape Town travel guide: Some useful notes to remember before you go
According to the latest updates, the crime rate in South Africa is on the rise, the country is famous for murder, robbery, drug trafficking… It is also because of these that many people are concerned about their South African trip. However, if you have a little knowledge and good defense, it won’t matter.
- Don’t tell someone you’re a tourist: Do not equate all but it seems that in South Africa, if you say that you are a tourist, not only do you not receive help, but you are also very vulnerable to exploitation, even got rip-off. The crime rate in this country is also among the top in the world, so you better be careful about greetings, invitations or proactively helping. If you have any trouble, instead of asking a passerby, it is safest to go to the police and finding help from a hotel staff.
- Do not wear expensive jewelry: This is something that you need to pay special attention to, or else you will accidentally become the noticed characters, and none other than the bandits. Instead, you should leave it at the front desk or keep it in your bag, if you don’t want to encounter bad things.
- Don’t go to attractions alone: Some people, you don’t know who they are and they want to take you somewhere, and suggest that you share with the needy. At this point, you should find a way to politely refuse, avoiding the attention of people around. Then, try to move to crowded areas such as shopping malls, police stations.
- Be careful when standing in crowded places: Standing in a crowded area, if not paying attention, it is very easy to be pickpocketed by professional thieves. A South African travel tip for you, is absolutely not to put money in the back pocket, and also should not bring too much cash, you can still use the card.
Cape Town travel blog: Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Cape Town you can refer to
- The Official Cape Town City Pass (2, 3, or 5 Days)
- Scenic Helicopter Flights in Cape Town
- Cape Town Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Pass
- Cape Peninsula Half Day Tour
- Cape Town City with Table Mountain Day Tour
- Cape Agulhas Full Day Tour from Cape Town
Read more South Africa guide here.