Cape Town Regional Info
It might sound like the age-old official tourism office cliché, but we're sticking our neck on the line here and using it again: there really is something for everyone in Cape Town. And, we're very pleased to tell you, that a trip here will only leave you yearning for more.
Whether you're looking to spend your time in the great outdoors, either on Table Mountain or at the beach; eat your way through Cape Town restaurants; travel to Stellenbosch, Constantia, Franschhoek or Paarl to taste our world-famous wines at various Cape Winelands; explore the region's fascinating cultural and political history through guided tours, or quietly sip cocktails from your hotel balcony, overlooking the sparkling blue ocean. Still not convinced? Take a few minutes to read this introduction, and then browse this online travel guide, and you'll see we're not exaggerating. Of course, it's impossible to summarise a city as spectacular as Cape Town in a single overview, but we've done our best. Keep checking back as we find new places, routes and sights we feel are worthy of sharing.
Many people start their trip to this south western tip of South Africa with a visit to one of its iconic man-made or natural landmarks - the centrally located and world-famous V&A Waterfront, the statuesque Table Mountain that overlooks the bustling city, the hugely historically significant Robben Island, or one of its world-class, Blue Flag beaches. And we wouldn't recommend you do it any differently. The geography, location and magnetic pull of the city are enough to ignite your soon-to-be inescapable passion for the city.
In terms of natural attractions, Cape Town sits atop of most tourist locations. Table Mountain alone can occupy an entire weekend, with its dozens of taxing and leisurely strolls and various access points, including an aerial cableway for almost instant access. Even better, hike up the mountain after a visit to the celebrated Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, or screech along the abundance of mountain biking trails on the foothills of the mountain, from the more sedate jeep tracks of Deer Park, to the adrenaline pumping single tracks of Tokai forest.
Then there are the beaches washed by currents from two different oceans - some with powerful, curling waves dotted with world champion surfers, some with beautiful crisp white sand and equally beautiful bodies, and others that reach as far as the eye can see, with just the occasional horse-back rider streaking towards the horizon to break your vision. Each beach has its own charm, frigidity of water, and local regulars. And the only way to find out which one's for you is to visit them all. Or try your best to, anyway.
Canal Walk, in Century City, offers one of the country's best selections of shops, and with long trading hours and the attractions attached, including the popular Ratanga Junction theme park, it's an obvious choice for the shopaholics. And then there's the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. As touristy as it might be, there are enough V&A shops and restaurants at this working harbour to get lost in for an entire morning, and there are usually a fair-share of dancers, singers and buskers to please most first-time visitors to South Africa. Accordingly, the food, drinks and shops aren't cheap, and there are often better deals, restaurants and shops to be found in other parts of the city, but for a one-stop Cape Town Tourist experience, you simply can't miss a morning at the V&A.
After you've shopped your credit cards dry, you can drop into the seat of the Robben Island Ferry, to visit one of the world's most famous political prisons. Despite reports of poor upkeep and deteriorating standards over the years, this World Heritage Site is starting to see improvements of late, and is a must-visit for all tourists and locals alike.
The good news, or bad (depending on your schedule) is that once you've ticked these off your list, you're only just getting started. The Cape Winelands, including those in Stellenbosch, Paarl, Francschhoek and Durbanville, as well as the numerous Constantia wine estates, offer an idyllic and peaceful way to spend an afternoon, and cannot be missed, be it warm and sunny, or cold and raining. Whether you choose to sip some of the world's greatest chardonnays, quaff a full-bodied pinotage, or savour delectable meals in some of the most serene wine estate restaurants in the world, you can't go wrong with an afternoon, day, or weekend at one or more of Cape Town's wine estates.
If you're a fan of cities and urban attractions, spend a day wandering the Cape Town City Bowl, stopping in at restaurants and stores that pique your interest along the way. Read our guide for walking Cape Town's Inner City for inspiration. As one of the country's most populated and well-run city centres, there's a thriving number of locals, business people and tourists all fighting for space on its various roads, sidewalks and charming alleyways, and enough restaurants, shops and activities to cater for all. Stop in at Greenmarket Square and drive a hard bargain with traders for great deals on souvenirs. Grab a beer at a Long Street bar and pub, and make mental notes of which to return to later that evening. Running parallel to Long Street, on Bree and Loop streets, are a number of quieter restaurants, bars and shops typically guarded as insider secrets, and a leisurely stroll down these will almost always yield rewarding results. The nearby BoKaap, with its famously vibrant houses and rich Cape Malay culture is also worth getting lost in, and there are a number of great restaurants and coffee shops nearby to rest your feet at.
When the city gets a bit much, hop in your rental car, or take a train from Cape Town Station, early the next morning out to the southern peninsula of Cape Town. Pop in and out of the seaside towns of surfer-ville Muizenberg, quaint Fish Hoek and Kalk Bay, and very-naval Simons Town, and if you're doing it by car, carry on towards the spectacular Cape Point.
Once there, take the recently refurbished funicular, or better yet, stretch your legs on steep walk up the hill, and marvel at the 360 degree panorama. There, you won't be the first person to attempt to locate the meeting points of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. But if that's what you're after, you'll have to travel a little further along the coast to Cape Agulhus - the geographically accurate place where they come together. There is a small selection of wildlife roaming inside this nature reserve, and the beaches there are some of the region's most unspoilt. Although most are not suitable for swimming, they're perfect for long, isolated walks and, when the wind's right, some high-adrenaline kite and wind surfing.
If you've still got some energy (and fuel) left in the tank, return to the city the other way around, via the isolated towns of Kommetjie and Noordhoek, before driving the engineering masterpiece of a road, Chapman's Peak towards Hout Bay, (where you could always stop in for sundowners and calamari at the spectacular Chapmans Peak Hotel), and then continue snaking along the road flanked by the deep blue ocean on your left and the sheer cliffs of the 12 Apostles on your right, until you reach the glitz and glamour of Camps Bay and Clifton.
Of course you are! In a city as diverse, enthralling and engaging as Cape Town, it's totally understandable. Just ask the thousands of foreigners who've relocated here after realising that two weeks simply isn't enough to take it all in. Don't say we didn't warn you. So whether you're visiting Cape Town for the first time, or you're a born and bread Capetonian, My Guide Cape Town is the only website you will need to discover the very best of what Cape Town, and its surrounds, has to offer, and we hope that you will leave this website, and the city, as passionate about everything it has to offer as we are.