Much like its culture, the food in Cape Town is incredibly diverse, so whatever cuisine or flavour you’re in the mood for, you can expect to find it here. Because of South Africa’s rich natural landscapes, foraging is quite popular, even in the bigger cities and you can pretty much guarantee that all ingredients will be locally sourced and impossibly fresh. Although game and fish are staples of the South African diet, Cape Town’s restaurant scene has evolved a lot over the last few decades to include a fantastic variety of vegan and vegetarian alternatives. Even if you don’t subscribe to the plant-based way of life, many of these dishes come highly recommended so it’s well worth sampling a few.
One of the world’s most diverse countries, South Africa is a place where multiculturalism is taken as standard, and Cape Town is no exception. Spend just a few hours in this beautiful capital city, and you’ll see people of all faiths, backgrounds and belief systems existing side by side. As well as being truly inspiring, this is also a testament to how far South Africa has developed over the last few decades, particularly when taking into account the country’s turbulent history.
When it comes to breath-taking scenery, a holiday to Cape Town has it in spades. Of course, the iconic Table Mountain is one of the main highlights, but it doesn’t stop there. Beautiful green spaces and epic flora and fauna abound all over the city, from Green Point Urban Park and Company’s Garden, to the picturesque Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. Spanning 5.28 km, Kirstenbosch boasts more than 7,000 different plant species, a sublime fragrance garden and a brail path, as well as a tree canopy walkway that was added in 2013 to mark the garden’s 100-year anniversary.
One of South Africa’s most iconic sights, Table Mountain is a must for any first time holiday to Cape Town. Having been around for more than 600 million years, it’s no surprise that the mount and its surrounding national park have developed an ever-increasing popularity and although climbing to the top is on a lot of visitors’ bucket-lists, you don’t have to climb all the way to the top to get the most out of the experience. One of the Natural New 7 Wonders of the World, the national park is the perfect place to stop for a picnic, especially during the warmer months.
When it comes to museums, Cape Town’s District Six is a must. Situated inside a former Methodist Mission Church, the museum is a fascinating tribute to the 60,000 people who lost their homes during the apartheid of the 1960s and 1970s. Inside, the rooms have been decorated to recreate several of the homes’ interiors, and all around, there are photographs that tell stories about the lives of the people who lived in the community.
When it first began back in 1982, Boulders Penguin Colony was home to just two breeding pairs of penguins, but today, the area is home to some 3,000 aquatic birds. Part of Table Mountain National Park, this protected natural space includes a Visitor Centre, and a boardwalk that takes you down to Boulders Beach at one end, and Foxy Beach at the other, where most of the penguins tend to congregate. At the Boulder Beach end, you can get right down on the sand to spend time up close with the penguins, but don’t try to stroke them as their beaks can be dangerous.
Dating back to 1860, Cape Town’s historic harbour should definitely feature on your holiday itinerary. Named after Queen Victoria and her son, the basins and surrounding harbour area are still in use today, although mainly by fishing boats as they’re not large enough to accommodate the more modern tankers. As well as being a working harbour, the area boasts an excellent array of shops, bars and restaurants, making it an ideal stop off after a morning of sightseeing. Visit during the evening to enjoy a cocktail or a bite to eat, and take advantage of the breath-taking views of Table Mountain.
The best time to visit Cape Town is during the dry season, which runs from May to September. During this time, wildlife viewing opportunities are excellent, and there is usually almost no rain fall.
If you’re visiting Cape Town as a tourist, you don’t need a visa, but you will need a valid passport. For full details, visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/south-africa/entry-requirements.
The currency in Cape Town is the South African Rand (ZAR).
English and Afrikaans are both widely spoken.