South Africa’s city by the sea is a vibrant mix of history, culture and stunning scenery. It offers visitors the chance to combine relaxing sightseeing and adventurous activities in a warm and sunny climate.
The words Cape Town conjures up images of the flat-topped Table Mountain, Robben Island and a bustling home-grown culture. These days the city has a lot to offer travellers keen to explore its history and enjoy the warm weather, beaches and natural beauty. It’s also recently been gaining a reputation as a destination for those looking for a more active and adventurous break.
The city’s all year round mild climate means there’s always something for you to do in the rugged landscape. Its selection of Blue Flag beaches on the shores of the merging Atlantic and Indian Oceans are especially popular with tourists. Each beach is distinctly different due to the dual waters and have a range of child friendly golden sands, fashionable waterfront housing, gourmet restaurants and windy bays favoured by surfers and kite flyers. If you’re looking for a once in a lifetime activity why not consider some of these options:
- Shark Cage Diving – you’ll find yourself submerged in the sea in a cage allowing you a scary but safe close encounter with some Great White Sharks. A number of professional companies offer organised day trips (a scenic 2 hour trip from the city centre) which guarantee sightings.
- Table Mountain Abseil – with its flat top and steep vertical cliff sides, the mountain is a spectacular sight and offer amazing views of the city and harbour. If you want an even more unique view why not try the abseil route on offer – it’s the highest commercial abseil in the world and you’ll step off the top of Table Mountain, 1000 metres above sea level, and drop down over 100 metres.
- River Rafting – there’s a range of beautiful scenic rivers nearby with rapids to suit all abilities. Staying in Cape Town gives you access to the best white water rafting sites all within one hour’s driving distance.
Relax and Explore
The city has an interesting mixture of Dutch, French and British historical buildings which reflect the nationalities that first settled in the Cape. Spend time strolling through bustling street markets selling fruit, local farm produce and arts and crafts (the Pan African Market is particularly good) or discovering one of the gourmet restaurants specialising in all types of meat. If abseiling down Table Mountain fills you with dread, you can still enjoy the views by taking the cable car to the summit and be ideally placed to visit these popular spots:
- Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens – set against the backdrop of Table Mountain this is regarded as one of South Africa’s most spectacular gardens due to its location in the Cape Floral Kingdom. The stunning and diverse selection of flowers and plants has earned this attraction World Heritage Site status, the first botanical gardens to receive this.
- V&A Waterfront – established in 1988 and situated in the heart of Cape Town’s harbour, this development offers an eclectic mix of activities and entertainment facilities. Here you’ll find the Diamond Museum, an art gallery, historic ship tours, restaurants and shops. It’s a great place to find boat tour operators including the ferry to Robben Island.
With a long summer season running from November to March and mild winters, Cape Town is an all year round holiday destination. Will you be enjoying the views from Table Mountain this year?