Country: South Africa
Currency: Rand (ZAR)
Peak Season: August-September, December
Shoulder Season: April-May, October-November
Median Temperature: 16.60 C / 61.88 F
Main Languages: Afrikaans, Xhosa, English
Primary Modes of Transportation: Bus, minibus taxi, rikki taxi, train
Recommended Duration of Stay: 7 days
Recommended Pocket Money: $70.00/day
Tourist Passes: Cape Town Pass
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The beauty of Cape Town has, for a long time, quelled any generalizations about life in Africa. The once overworked trading settlement of the Dutch East India Company has paid off its sweat and became a thriving cosmopolis. And, while the rest of the motherland is toasting in the heat, Cape Town enjoys a pleasant climate complemented by a suite of massive natural attractions like Table Mountain and pristine beaches in False Bay and Clifton, where one might see a squadron of seals and penguins. Another reason to stay in Cape Town’s is the relatively low crime rate evoked by the finer quality of living and the National Parliament’s intervention. The entire city is one of the largest, most populous cities in the world—and one of the most profitable too. Key industries include agriculture, mineral mining and small- to large-scale manufacturing. The favorable living conditions have often enticed people, particularly Europeans to make this city off the Western Cape their second home due to relatively affordable real estate. The city isn’t really in stark contrast with the rest of Europe: the favorite sport is football, the architecture is Dutch, and most products sold in both the western and eastern hemisphere are always made available here. Cape Town is an attestation to the effective governance laid out by the British empire; Cape Town is now enjoying continued progress Singapore, Hong Kong and Indonesia are reaping.

The mother city of the motherland sends everyone greetings and invites to visit its auspicious soil.

Packing List

  • Decent, breathable clothing with your choice of accessories; there aren’t many restrictions on the dress code, although keep in mind that you have to be considerate when visiting impoverished regions
  • Extra shopping bags for clothes and handicraft—the city is also a popular for its upholstered furniture; using freight forwarders (which are many there) saves a lot of money getting purchases delivered home
  • Essential medication and toiletries—most groceries carry international brands, meaning you can just purchase there; sunscreen is recommended for prolonged beach sunbathing and mountain treks
  • A decent camera, plenty of film and batteries—a panoramic, high-res camera is highly advisable for the breathtaking views atop Table Mountain and other coastal locations outside the city proper
  • Portable media, a laptop, books and accessories to keep you company; the broadband services are so-so, so it’s likely to encounter problems video conferencing with people back from home

Things to Do

  • Dominating Table Mountain, the Cape’s most imposing natural attraction at nearly 3,600 feet, with its plateau stretching at 2 miles; it got its name from the mountaintop clouds that resemble a table cloth
  • Visiting former South African President Nelson Mandela’s former penitentiary—Robben Island; the island is 4.3 km off the coast of the city and was chiefly used as a political prison for democratic rebels
  • Shopping and dining at Victoria & Alfred (V&A) Waterfront, the Cape’s most popular tourist destination; a full suite of amenities are offered here, with occasional sightings of fur seal colonies at the breakwater
  • Enjoying the lush, diverse flora at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden—testimony to South African biodiversity; the century-old garden is nested on foot of Table Mountain, making it easy to locate
  • Visiting Boulders Beach at the Cape Peninsula, where a great colony of African penguins resides; the beach got its name from the massive granite boulders that border the shores at the sides

DON'T

  • Explore the island’s fringes alone, particularly Table Mountain; have a tour guide or a few seasoned hikers accompany you—weather in Cape Town can turn from good to bad in a matter of minutes
  • Leave your belongings and valuables out in the open—the locals, while most of them being friendly, are also prone to being tempted to take advantage of one person’s irresponsibility with items
  • Mention the anti-apartheid movement or anything in relation with the government—especially if you’re a dissenter of democracy; the colored locals do not take lightly attempts at humor on this sensitive issue
  • Hesitate to rent a car or hire a private chauffeur to drive you around the city; tourists who are going in and out of impoverished areas like Cape Flats are advised to take extra precautions for carjacking
  • Hesitate to donate or volunteer with charitable institutions; a catalyst of the anti-apartheid movement, locals and expats in Cape Town have long been providing relief to impoverished families in South Africa