A whole host of experiences await – take a cable car up Table Mountain, scenic drives along the Cape of Good Hope, trips to Robben island and historical buildings and museums, the glorious Kirstenbosch Gardens, sandy beaches, fine wines and world class dining, the city’s lively art and music scene, shopping at the V&A Waterfront, its welcoming and friendly people, a wonderful choice of 5 star hotels and stylish guest houses and not least it is graced with a Mediterranean climate.
In fact, the whole Western Cape region abounds with unmissable attractions and new experiences at every turn. Take an easy drive along one of the many wine routes to see rolling vineyards and sample world class wines, be charmed by Cape Dutch architecture, exhilarated by coastlines of immense beauty, go whale watching and marvel at San bushman rock paintings in the mountains and the vivid banks of wild flowers. With exchange rates heavily in our favour, there has never been a better opportunity to spend time at the Cape.
Dutch traders landed at the southern tip of modern day South Africa in 1652 and established a stopover point on the spice route between the Netherlands and the East, founding the city of Cape Town. After the British seized the Cape of Good Hope area in 1806, many of the Dutch settlers (the Boers) trekked north to found their own republics. The discovery of diamonds (1867) and gold (1886) spurred wealth and immigration and intensified the subjugation of the native inhabitants. The Boers resisted British encroachments but were defeated in the Boer War (1899-1902); however, the British and the Afrikaners, as the Boers became known, ruled together under the Union of South Africa. In 1948, the National Party was voted into power and instituted a policy of apartheid – the separate development of the races. The first multi-racial elections in 1994 brought an end to apartheid and ushered in black majority rule.
Out on a limb, at the tip of Africa, Cape Town is one of the world’s most beautiful cities. With Table Mountain as a backdrop, and the Cape of Good Hope along the peninsula, few fail to be captivated. Relaxed and picturesque, much of its splendour comes from that backdrop: the 1,000m Table Mountain. Above, its flat top is often covered by a ‘tablecloth’ of cloud. The ocean is always blue, the sky always crystal clear. Or at least that’s how it seems – for Cape Town is naturally enchanting!
The Western Cape lies on the southern tip of Africa. The most-southern point is Cape Agulhas, about 200km east of Cape Town. The rocky Cape Peninsula juts out into the Atlantic Ocean at the south-western extremity of the African continent. At the southern end of the peninsula are Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. Table Mountain lies to the north of the promontory where Cape Town nestles on its lower slopes. The Western Cape is topographically and climatically varied. It has a temperate southern coastline fringed with mountains; here the typical vegetation, especially in the western section, is the famed fynbos. To the north it stretches deep into the Karoo plateau, while the west coast is extremely dry.
The climate of the Peninsula and the mountainous region beyond it is ideal for grape cultivation, with a number of vineyards producing excellent wines. The Western Cape’s unmatched natural beauty, famous hospitality, cultural diversity, excellent wine and rich cuisine make it one of the world’s greatest tourist attractions.
Cape Town is a vibrant cosmopolitan city with a demographic profile quite unlike the national pattern. Centuries of trade and immigration have created a population with genetic and linguistic links to different parts of Europe, southeast Asia, India and Africa. Afrikaans is spoken by the majority, with isiXhosa and English being the other main languages.
You can visit Cape Town pretty much any time of year. Summer is the most popular, with peak season falling between mid-December and early January.
Another surge of visitors descends during the hot months of February and March. In April, the temperatures are balmy, the light is softer, the Cape Doctor (the South-easterly wind that howls through the city) is dormant and the sunsets are spectacular.
The temperate winter sometimes starts in May, more often June/July. Sunny days alternate with downpours that bring verdant relief, the mountain streams gushing into rocky gullies and watering the winter-flowering fynbos, including proteas, lilies and aloes. This is the most exhilarating time of year to explore the slopes of Table Mountain on foot.
July to November is the time when the southern right whales migrate to calve and nurse, providing the best land-based whale-watching in the world – but be warned, July and August can be wet. October to November is when the Cape floral kingdom again wows with a new cycle of flowering species, while the beaches, still relatively empty, sparkle in the temperate sun. This is when some of the best deals of the summer season are to be had – especially if you book early.
The best views of Cape Town are from the Table Mountain Cableway, a unique and 87-year- old method ...read more
The best views of Cape Town are from the Table Mountain Cableway, a unique and 87-year- old method of seeing the wonders of the city. From the summit of the majestic flat-topped mountain you will be astounded by vistas of the Mother City, Robben Island and the Peninsula.
Table Mountain Cableway opened in 1929 as a vertigo-inducing way to rise from Cape Town to the 1,084-meter (3,558-foot) summit of the giant, flat-topped peak.
From the top of the mountain, visitors get breathtaking panoramas of central Cape Town, the beach towns along the western edge of the peninsula, the Cape of Good Hope stretching off to the south and the old prison on Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years.
Photo credit: Dana Allen
From May to December, the Southern Right Whale graces Walker Bay with its massive presence and ...read more
From May to December, the Southern Right Whale graces Walker Bay with its massive presence and Hermanus has a reputation of being the best place on earth for land based whale watching.
Embark on an awe-inspiring tour to the towering headland known as Cape Point. This tour takes in ...read more
Embark on an awe-inspiring tour to the towering headland known as Cape Point. This tour takes in magnificent beaches, breathtaking coastal drives to the top of the Peninsular where you will witness the symbolic meeting of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans and much more.
Wine estate tours and tastings is an utterly charming way to pass a day or two. When paired with ...read more
Wine estate tours and tastings is an utterly charming way to pass a day or two. When paired with some of the most beautiful landscapes on earth, century old architecture and awe-inspiring food, it becomes one of Cape Town’s most beloved activities. Day trips from Cape Town are just a 40 minute drive to Stellenbosch and 20 minutes further to Franschhoek.
Photo credit: Dana Allen
At Boulder’s beach, you can take your time to observe the behavior of a protected colony of ...read more
At Boulder’s beach, you can take your time to observe the behavior of a protected colony of jackass penguins, with good views from the walkway above their coves and nesting sites. If you can bear the chilly waters, it’s even possible to swim with the penguins.
Shark Breaching is one of the hunting techniques that great white sharks use to surprise and kill ...read more
Shark Breaching is one of the hunting techniques that great white sharks use to surprise and kill its prey, the cape fur seal. It is seen nowhere on the planet as regularly as in False Bay at Seal Island with best times of year being June to September to witness these seal hunts on a guided trip.
Guests can expect personal and attentive service, a dedicated butler, sumptuous accommodation, ...read more
Guests can expect personal and attentive service, a dedicated butler, sumptuous accommodation, fine-dining and exquisite wines on the ultra modern Blue Train on its route between Pretoria and Cape Town. It is one of the most luxurious train journeys in the world travelling through huge swathes of spectacular scenery.
From the trendy shores of Clifton's four beaches and Camps Bay to the warmer swimming waters of ...read more
From the trendy shores of Clifton’s four beaches and Camps Bay to the warmer swimming waters of False Bay – if you love surf and sand, Cape Town will have a beach that’s just right for you. On Cape Town’s Atlantic seaboard, wide sandy stretches, dramatic views and blazing sunsets make up for the bracing sea temperatures that these beaches of Cape Town are known for. While the water might be chilly, Clifton’s 4 beaches are among Cape Town’s most popular. The warmer Indian Ocean waters of the False Bay seaboard are better suited to swimming. Best known among these beaches is Muizenberg, where multi-coloured Victorian-style beach boxes hark back to a more genteel time.
Kirstenbosch is world-renowned for being the first Botanical Garden in the world built on the ethos ...read more
Kirstenbosch is world-renowned for being the first Botanical Garden in the world built on the ethos to protect natural flora and is a must-see for anyone visiting Cape Town. With spectacular views of nearby Table Mountain, the garden is a splendid showcase for South Africa’s indigenous flora.
Acorn House is an intimate guest house located in the residential suburb of Oranjezicht in Cape Town. A national monument, the house is over 100 ... Read More
Auberge Clermont is an historic guest house, wine and fruit farm located just a few kilometers from the centre of the picturesque winelands town of ... Read More
Avondrood Guest House is an historic Cape Dutch homestead, located in the Wineland’s village of Franschhoek. Built in 1870, the house retains its ... Read More
Babylonstoren is a 200 hectare working wine and fruit Cape Dutch farm with a glorious historical heritage dating back to 1692. The guest suites echo ... Read More
The Belmond Mount Nelson is one of the most iconic luxury hotels in South Africa. This elegant pink hotel offers pure sophistication in an unmatched ... Read More
Birkenhead House in Hermanus offers beautifully furnished suites which offer vistas of either Walker Bay or the towering Kleinrivier Mountain range. ... Read More
The Big 5 Safari company is a supporter of the The Zambezi Society and support its vital conservation work and anti-poaching patrols.Discover