A Travel Guide To: Cape Town

Cape Town is the capital of South Africa, located at the base of Table Mountain in the Western Cape province. It’s renowned for its beautiful mountainous landscape, diverse & delicious cuisine and its extensive range of activities & attractions. Continue reading our guide to discover the best times to visit, the top hotels to stay in and the must-see sights in this magnificent city.

The best time to go to Cape Town if you’re after some heat is our winter season, so travelling between December – February will give you temperatures from 25°C – 32°C. You will also have more daylight averaging around 10 hours of sunshine a day.  Alternatively, if you travel between September- October you will be able to witness the blankets of blooming flowers that cover the province. When travelling in Springtime, be sure to visit Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens (also known as Tree Canopy Walkway or Boomslang). The Tree Canopy Walkway is a scenic bridge that takes visitors from the forest floor up through the trees giving picturesque panoramic views. There’s no additional fee to walk on the Boomslang other than the Garden entry fee of 60rand per adult, and the bridge is wheelchair friendly.

Hiring a car when staying in Cape Town is recommended as it gives you the freedom to see all the sights, ranging from £25 a day. They also drive on the left, so that’s one less thing to worry about! If you wanted to be a bit more adventurous, you can also hire scooters and vespas. If you’d rather leave the driving up to someone else, Ubers are available around Cape Town and are reasonably priced.

South Africa doesn’t have its own cuisine as they’ve grabbed inspiration from many cultures including Dutch, Indian, French and Malaysian. If you want to get a feel for the variety of food that Africa has to offer then visit The Africa Café in Cape Town, where the menu consists of 16 dishes from each country in Africa. They also have live entertainment in the evenings to keep the night alive.

tOP places to go:

1) table mountain

Table Mountain is a spectacular sight all year-round, whether it’s a clear blue day or covered with a blanket of cloud, there’s never a bad time to see one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature and the most iconic landmark of South Africa. Table Mountain is accessible for all with the cable car from 180 rand per adult return ticket. For a richer experience of the mountain, there are a few hiking routes available with varying levels of difficulty, depending on how fit you’re feeling! From the peak of Table Mountain there are a number of things to do, from paragliding to abseiling or simply enjoying a nice lunch at Table Mountain Café.

2) Robben island

Robben Island famed for the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela, and is a must do in Cape Town. With its colony of African Penguins and variety of birds, the island is well looked after and is a highlight of any Cape Town trip. Make sure you get this trip pre-booked for your first day in Cape Town due to weather restrictions and availability. Departures from Victoria & Alfred Waterfront depart most days at 09:00am, 10:00am and 13:00pm. The tour starts along the Leper graveyard and Lime quarry where the prisoners were forced to work, then takes you to the army and navy bunkers and the maximum-security prison. The tour ends with a visit Nelson Mandela’s cell. All the tour guides were once political prisoners, so you’ll also be treated to personal and first-hand stories. Prices for the tour start from £43 an adult.

3) Gainsbaai - shark cage diving

For the thrill seekers staying in Cape Town, you can take a 2hour 30-minute scenic trip to Gainsbaai where you can go shark cage diving! No diving experience is required. Equipment and snacks are provided, as well as 99.9% guaranteed sight of at least one great white shark. Transfers from your hotel can be included at an additional price starting from 1,700 rand per adult self-drive. Make sure you get this pre-booked as availability can get low. If swimming with the sharks is a bit too extreme for your liking, you can do a day trip to Hermanus and experience whale watching from the coast. Cape Town to Hermanus is around a 2-hour journey and well worth the drive. The best times to see the Humpback whales are between June – December, and again this can be done by self-drive or with a tour guide picking you up from your hotel. A private full day tour with transfers from Cape Town is around £300 per group, get booking before you go to avoid disappointment!

4) Boulders Beach

Boulders Beach has a lot going for it with its ancient granite boulders protecting the beach from the wind and large waves making it the ideal swimming spot for kids. The soft sandy beach is well kept and can be quiet, however the colony of penguins tend to bring in the crowds. You can do a lot more than just see the penguins, you can even swim with them! If you find that Boulders Beach is too crowded, then head down to Foxy Beach to get the best view of these beautiful animals. The best time to see the penguins is during breeding season – February to August (peaking from March to May) –  however they are visible all year round. There is a small conservation fee to access Boulders Beach from around 76 rand per adult and 41 rand per child.

top hotels

  • One&Only, Cape Town

  • Victoria & Alfred Hotel

  • The Table Bay V&A Waterfront Hotel

  • Taj, Cape Town

  • The Commodore Hotel, V&A Waterfront


The currency unit in Cape town, as in the rest of South Africa, is the Rand. You can get these at a local foreign exchange bureau, however most retailers accept debit/credit cards and travel money cards.

South Africa has eleven different languages – the most common language in Cape town is English followed by Afrikaans.

If you are visiting South Africa for less than 90 days you do not require a visa. However, if you are travelling with children under the age of 18 years old, you will have to show the child’s full unabridged birth certificate. For more information, give us a call on 0800 167 0232. 

You may not need to take malaria tablets when travelling to South Africa, however you will need to contact your GP for the most up to date information on any vaccinations you may require. For health advice before travelling to South Africa click here

11 hours 30 minutes. Direct flights are available from London Heathrow with British Airways.

The time difference between the UK and South Africa is 1 hour (South Africa is an hour ahead).