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Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town is the second largest city in South Africa and is the capital of the Western Cape Province, as well as being the legislative capital of South Africa (the Houses of Parliament are here). It is located in the south-west corner of the country near the Cape of Good Hope, and is the most southern city in Africa. It is a stone's throw from South Africa's world-famous Cape Winelands around Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek.

Cape Town is also known as the Mother City in South Africa. It is also one of the most iconic cities in the world.


The Cape Town metropolitan area covers a large area, from Durbanville and Somerset West in the east to Cape Point in the south and Atlantis in the north. The city centre is located in a relatively small area between

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Cape Town, South Africa


Cape Town is the second largest city in South Africa and is the capital of the Western Cape Province, as well as being the legislative capital of South Africa (the Houses of Parliament are here). It is located in the south-west corner of the country near the Cape of Good Hope, and is the most southern city in Africa. It is a stone's throw from South Africa's world-famous Cape Winelands around Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek.

Cape Town is also known as the Mother City in South Africa. It is also one of the most iconic cities in the world.


The Cape Town metropolitan area covers a large area, from Durbanville and Somerset West in the east to Cape Point in the south and Atlantis in the north. The city centre is located in a relatively small area between

Table Mountain

and Table Bay.


For thousands of years, Cape Town was inhabited by the Strandloper (ancestors of Kalahari Bushmen). Cape Town's European history began in 1652, when Jan van Riebeeck established a trading post there on behalf of the VOC (Dutch East Indies Company). The first European settlers were mainly Dutch, with some French Huguenots that had to flee from religious persecution in their home country. The first settlers soon explored the adjacent hinterland and founded the cities of Stellenbosch and Paarl in today's Cape Winelands. The Voortrekkers (Pioneers of European descent) started from here to explore and settle the rest of South Africa.
Today Cape Town is the legislative capital of South Africa. It is a world-class cosmopolitan city with numerous sites of historical significance, and a lively night-life, as well as a large gay community.


  • The summer months are from December to February. Days are usually hot, but the humidity is low, so it is not uncomfortable. You should stay inside or in the shade during the midday heat and use sufficient sun block. You will fight for space on the beach around New Year's with all the local tourists but it is still a great time to visit as there are a lot of events happening.
  • The winter months of June to August tend to be rather wet, which does not mean rain every day although it can rain for two weeks straight on occasion. It can also get very cold at night, with temperatures as low as 2 or 3°C (this is the temperature of the ocean so it will not get colder unless you go far inland) but 5-7°C normal. It will become warmer during the day, with temperatures between 9-15°C typical. It is often very cloudy with far fewer hours of sunshine.
  • Best times to visit are:
    • October and November: The weather is getting warmer. Spring is in the air, but it is not as hot as mid-summer yet. These months can be windy months. The South-Easter is known as the Cape Doctor as it blows away a great deal of pollution!
    • December to February: These are the prime summer months of long hot days. The sun sets late in the evening (it stays light up until about 8:30PM in December) and there is generally a lot going on. February is the most reliable month for weather, with week after week of hot days.
    • March to May: This can change from year to year, but generally it starts raining and the temperature begins to become cooler. There are far fewer visitors around, and you can get excellent deals on accommodation, food and most tourism services.

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Cape Town, South Africa: Port Information

Your cruise ship will dock at the Duncan Dock. Free shuttle buses are available. Also, you can catch a cub near the pier. The city center is around 10-minutes drive. 

Get around Cape Town, South Africa

By foot

Unless you are staying within walking distance of the beach in Camps Bay (or some other area where everything you want is close by) then you will find it very frustrating not to have your own transport. Even short distance walks (like from V&A Harbour to the Castle of Good Hope) are problematic by foot, in a city with dividing motorways, and little or no signage or facilities for pedestrians away from the shopping precincts.

By metered taxi

Metered taxis are controlled by the city council and can be considered safe and reliable. The price per kilometer is around R8-R10 and can often be read at the taxis side door. You can also set a fixed price with the driver, especially when going to a far away destination such as the airport which is about 21 km from city center and the fare can be bargained down to R180.
Please note that there is only one official taxi company at the airport: Touchdown Taxis and to avoid the touts walk through the terminal until you find their specific desk. You can also ask your hotel to pick you up, as pick up service are provided by many hotels, guest houses and so on.
Elsewhere look for the specific taxi ranks which usually have a marshall who will ask where you want to go and then instruct one of the taxis for you - always ask up front how much and they will either indicate that it is on the meter or advise a fixed amount on which you can haggle. Compared with European and American prices they are cheap even if you also include a tip.

  • Sainte Marie Taxis ((English/French Speaking), Cape Town Central, ☎ +27 84 745-0312, e-mail:
  • Christo's Car Service (English/Dutch Speaking), ☎ +27 83 877-2334. Small, family run car service based in Cape Town's city center. Very popular with tourists as they are known as an efficient and honest company. Safe for women traveling alone.

By minibus taxi

Minibus taxis are used widely by locals but tourists are usually discouraged from using them, except for the Green Point - Sea Point - Clifton - Camps Bay route that is frequently used by tourists. They cover most of the Cape Town Metropolitan Area and are very cheap, however they can get very crowded and are definitely less safe than metered taxis due to their dangerous driver behavior.
Some minibus taxi operators have seen the value in the tourist market and are starting to provide safe and legal alternatives to the traditional minibus taxis. They are more expensive than the traditional minibus taxis, but still far cheaper than metered taxis. No guarantee you'll get to your destination directly, but it is safe, fun, and all the drivers are characters. You may even meet supermodels going to their photo shoots or artists going to their studios. During busy times of day (or year) you may have to wait a while and unfortunately, they do not take reservations.

By bus

Recently a brand new, international standard rapid transit service has started in Cape Town, known as MyCiTi, that runs from Cape Town Airport to the Cape Town CBD (City Bowl) and the Atlantic coastal suburbs.

  • MyCiTi. 04:30 to 22:00. This is the recommended service for tourists to the City and is comparable with the London Transport system in England.
  • Golden Arrow Bus Services. This is a network of public buses that offers cheap connections (e.g. from the city centre to the Cape Flats). They run mostly during the day. It is better to ask the driver where the bus is going to make sure you don’t end up somewhere else.

By scooter or cycle

You can also hire a scooter or a small motorbike. A number of places in the city offer this service and it is a great way to be mobile and save over hiring a car; however, unless you love the pain of cycling up and down mountains while dodging city traffic on narrow streets, cycling for transportation is not recommended.

  • LDV Biking, 13D Kloof Nek Road, ☎ +27 83 528-0897, e-mail: The recommended place to rent a scooter or motorbike. From about R100 to R170 per day depending on how many days you are renting for and the time of year.
  • Cape Sidecar Adventures, 2 Glengariff Road, Three Anchor Bay, ☎ +27 21 434-9855, fax: +27 21 434-9860, e-mail: Open 9AM-5PM weekdays and 9AM-1PM on Sat. Explore Cape Town in a vintage World War II side-car.
  • Harley Davidson Cape Town, ☎ +27 21 424-3990, e-mail: Explore the Cape on the back of a Harley. 

By train

There is a system of public train transport, although it is mainly used by locals. Operator Metrorail has done a lot to increase safety and comfort on board the trains, but they still do not live up to European standards. So make sure to buy a first-class ticket. Cape Town station is situated in the city centre on the corner of Adderley Street and Strand Street and there is a reasonable suburban network of lines with more than 80 stations. A nice scenic ride can be done south to Simon's Town, all along the east coast of the Cape Peninsula. Stick to the Simon's Town line and make sure you are not on the train after 6:30PM or when it is dark.
Make sure you do not carry anything expensive on the train as this is an invitation to thieves. If you must carry a camera, make sure it is well out of sight (preferably a small wallet sized camera). Ear rings, necklaces and any form of visible jewellery are not recommended as these can be ripped (rather painfully) from one's person by an enterprising thief. Keep your wits about you and it will make for a pleasant and safe journey.

What to see in Cape Town, South Africa

  • Bo-Kaap. This neighbourhood, located on a hill south-west of downtown, is the area historically inhabited by mainly Muslim descendants of slaves from South-East Asia (hence an older term for the area - 'Malay Quarter'. It's a common location for film shoots, as there are some very colourful buildings, quaint streets, mosques. views over Cape Town and some great food sold on the side of the street. It's well worth wandering around for an hour or so, as well as visiting the Bo-Kaap Museum (a view of a prosperous Muslim family from the 19th Century).
Atlas Trading is an old fashioned shop where you can buy spices for any dish. Ask the proprieter to mix you the necessary spices for the meal you intend on making.
Approximately 1km from the Bo-Kaap, is the Noon Gun which is fired every day at noon - from Monday to Saturday. You can go and view the short ceremony that takes place before the actual shooting, as well as the shooting itself.
  • The Castle of Good Hope

    , Buitenkant Street, ☎ +27 21 787-1260. The Castle of Good Hope is South Africa's oldest surviving building. It was built between 1666 and 1679. It is popularly called 'The Castle' by locals. It has extensive displays of historical military paraphernalia, a history of the castle, an art collection and the William Fehr Collection (including old Cape Dutch furniture).You can eat and buy wine inside the Castle at the restaurant or café.
Tours are offered Monday through Saturday at 11AM, 12PM, and 2PM.
Horse and carriage rides are offered daily at 10:30AM, 12:45PM and 2:45PM. Booking is necessary. 
  • Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

    , Rhodes Drive, Newlands, ☎ +27 21 799-8899, +27 21 799-8783. Open daily 8AM-6PM (7PM September to March). View the hugely diverse and beautiful plants and flowers of the Cape flora in one of the most stunning botanical gardens in the world. Plants from all of the regions of South Africa are on display, including rare succulents from the Richtersveld, a giant baobab tree, and interesting medicinal plants. Numerous paths wander through the grounds situated on the back side of Table Mountain. Several restaurants, a gift shop and indigenous nursery are also available. At various times of the year concerts are performed in the open air amphitheatre. Art is frequently on display, including large Shona stone sculptures from Zimbabwe. The gardens are also home to the National Biodiversity Institute.
What makes the garden so special, is that every season gives you something new to see - new flowers, different birds, etc.
During the summer months, sunset concerts feature excellent local and international music acts in diverse genres. Get there early to get a good spot on the grass amphitheatre. Bring a picnic, and enjoy the sounds of the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, local rock bands, and popular artists like Freshlyground and Goldfish.
  • Robben Island, ☎ +27 21 413-4200. Robben Island is located just off the coast from Cape Town, this was the location used during the apartheid days to hold political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela and the late Walter Sisulu. The tour consists of a guided bus tour around the island, before meeting a former political prisoner for a tour of the prison area. The island itself is quite scenic, with African penguins usually seen on the tour. The bus tour stops to allow you to take in the view, and buy a snack. Tours run several times per day, seven days a week from the Nelson Mandela Gateway near the clock tower at the V&A Waterfront. Tickets can be purchased online or by phone. There are three trips a day at 9:00, 11:00, and 13:00. The tour takes 3.5 hours including the ferry ride to and from the island. 
  • Rhodes Memorial, ☎ +27 21 689-9151, e-mail: The memorial is situated in recognition of Cecil John Rhodes. It's built in his favorite spot on the lower slopes of Devil's Peak. Rhodes's own wooden bench is still located below the memorial. The memorial is part of the Table Mountain National Park which is a great spot for picnicking. The memorial is also a start for the hiking along Devil's Peak. Rhodes Memorial and the surrounding bike and hiking trails have become a very popular spot for muggers in recent months. If you just have to explore the nature in this area as it is very beautiful, make sure you are never alone and never carry valuables with you.
  • South African Parliament, ☎ +27 21 403-2266. Cape Town is the legislative seat of South Africa (the Presidential seat is in Pretoria and the Supreme Court is at Bloemfontein). A tour of this compound will acquaint you with South Africa's recent history and its political system. The tour includes visits to the National Assembly, the National Council of Provinces and the old apartheid-era assembly which is now only used for caucus and committee meetings. Tours are offered a few times per day in various languages. Free entrance and tours.
  • Two Oceans Aquarium, V&A Waterfront, ☎ +27 21 418-3823, e-mail: Open 9:30AM-6PM. You can come and watch the sharks be fed every Sunday at 3PM. There is an extensive series of events calendar for each month. Scuba diving with the sharks is also offered. A walk around the aquarium takes about an hour. 
  • Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, ☎ +27 21 408-7600. A huge shopping and entertainment area in the harbour. It is very popular with tourists, because of the high density of shops, restaurants and amusement possibilities, like the Aquarium or the Marine Museum. Harbour tours and trips to Robben Island start from here, as well as helicopter flights to the Cape Peninsula. The V&A Waterfront has more or less full wheelchair access.
  • Cape Town Science Centre, 370B Main Road, Observatory, ☎ +27 21 300-3200, e-mail: A world of discovery under one roof! Expect a wide variety of interactive displays and exciting activities for your enjoyment. Build a house in the exclusive 'kids only' Building Site, challenge your mind with Puzzling Things, experience weightlessness similar to that of space with a spin on the Human Gyroscope, play Mindball - the game where you control the ball with your brain waves and see and hear science in the Audio Kinetic Sculpture. R40 for adults and chldren. Students, pensioners and group discounts.

Museums and Galleries

  • Bo-Kaap Museum, 71 Wale Street, Bo-Kaap, ☎ +27 21 481-3939, e-mail: Open 9:30AM-4:30PM Monday to Saturday. Located in a home dating from the 1760s, the museum offers an insight into the cultural life of the Muslim community of the Bo-Kaap area in Cape Town. 
  • District Six Museum, 25A Buitenkant St, ☎ +27 21 466-7200, e-mail: Open 9AM-4PM Monday to Saturday. District Six is an area near downtown Cape Town which remained multiracial well into the 1960s against all attempts by the government to declare it a "white only" area. Eventually the residents were all evicted and the buildings were bulldozed. The area remains uninhabited. The museum provides information about the area, the eviction, the Group Areas Act, and the people who used to live there. The director of the museum is a former resident. There is a small bookstore with an excellent selection of books on South Africa's history, District Six and apartheid.
  • Groot Constantia, Groot Constantia Estate, Constantia, ☎ +27 21 795-5140, e-mail: Open daily 10AM-5PM. One of the oldest wine estates in South Africa and well worth the fee for the internal tour and wine tasting. 
  • Slave Lodge, cnr Adderley and Wale Streets, ☎ +27 21 460-8240, e-mail: open 8:30AM-4:30PM Monday to Friday and 9AM-1PM on Sunday. One of the oldest buildings in Cape Town. 
  • South African Jewish Museum, 88 Hatfield Street, ☎ +27 21 464-1267, e-mail: Open Sunday-Thursday 10AM-5PM and Friday 10AM-2PM. Closed Saturday. The Museum about this small community that has made large contributions in South African society and bringing down Apartheid. The museum is about Jews but Non-Jews will find it very interesting and informative. 
  • South African Maritime Museum, Union Castle Building, V&A Waterfront, ☎ +27 21 465-1546, e-mail: This Museum displays include evidence of the early seafarers round the Cape Of Good Hope. Small craft, locally made and a wide variety of maritime artifacts displays are also offered.
  • South African National Gallery, Government Avenue, Gardens, ☎ +27 21 467-4660, e-mail: 10AM-5PM Tuesday to Sunday. Located in the Gardens area of Cape Town off Government Ave (about a 20 minute walk from downtown). Contains extensive displays of South African art, as well as information on the history of censorship of art during apartheid. 
  • Galleria Gibello, 67 Rose Street, Bo Kaap, ☎ +27 21 422-1144, e-mail: caro@carolinegibello. Open 10AM-5PM Monday to Friday. Galleria Gibello is a photo gallery that is filled with visually captivating moments of life on the African continent. 

Performing arts

  • Richard's Supper Stage, 229A Main Road, Sea Point, Cape Town, ☎ +27 21 434-6738, e-mail: A Dinner Theatre set in Sea Point. The show "Kaapse Stories" is a must-see show for any visitor to the Cape.
  • Armchair Theatre, 135 Lower Main Road, Observatory, ☎ +27 21 447-1514.
  • Artscape Theatre, D F Malan Street, Foreshore, Cape Town, ☎ +27 21 421-7695, e-mail:
  • Baxter Theatre, Baxter Theatre Centre, Main Road, Rondebosch, ☎ +27 21 685-7880, e-mail: Theatre performances, comedy, jazz and others.
  • Labia Screen, 68 Orange Street, Gardens, ☎ +27 21 424-5927, e-mail: Has an African Screen showing African-made and African-oriented films all year round.
  • Masque Theatre, 37 Main Road, Muizenberg (adjacent to False Bay train station), ☎ +27 21 788-1898, e-mail: Amateur plays and performances. The whole theatre is run by unpaid volunteers.
  • On Broadway, 88 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town, ☎ +27 21 424-1194, e-mail:

What to do in Cape Town, South Africa

Almost everything is possible in Cape Town, from a nice guided city tour through an adrenaline kick in an old fighter jet. The easiest way to get an overview on things to do, nice restaurants, clubs, tours etc. is to walk into one of the visitors centres which are in several areas. (V&A Waterfront, City Bowl, Green Point etc.).

  • Cable Car to the top of Table Mountain, Lower Cable Station, Tafelberg Road, ☎ +27 21 424-8181. Open between 8AM-10PM (usually 8:30), last car down is at 9PM. Both the cable car and the pathways on top of the mountain are wheelchair accessible. Always take something warm to wear when going up the mountain, even if it is a nice toasty 30C at the bottom of the mountain. Weather conditions at the top of the mountain are not the same as at the bottom. There is a cafe with a limited range of snacks, coffee, beer and wine at the top. Table Mountain is the home of a small animal, the rock rabbit (known locally as the 'Dassie') whose closest relative, DNA-wise, is the elephant, and you can see them running around on the rocks at the top of the mountain. 
  • Climbing Table Mountain - Platteklip Gorge is the most accessible and therefore the most popular route for climbing up Table Mountain. You start from Tafelberg Road and proceed up a steep gully to the top of Table Mountain. It's a steep 2 hours but well worth the effort and you can jump in the cable car back down to spare your knees. Be cautioned that the cable car does not operate in strong winds so you need to check before departing. Take water, sun block, hat and jacket. The cloud comes down unannounced and the temperature could plummet. Poorly equipped hikers often have to be rescued. Although it is very steep this route is extremely popular and you are guaranteed to meet many people on the way up and down. The gorge is shaded in the afternoon but earlier in the day it can be extremely hot with very little shade. Most of the route involves rock steps which can be challenging and many people find coming down even harder than going up. Don't underestimate the time and energy required for the downward section of this hike. Remember to take lots of water - this climb can be hot! Wear appropriate hiking shoes. Leave plenty of time to get down before dark. As this is a well known route and easy accessible, many inexperienced hikers attempt the climb. Take care, or consider a guide. Meridian Hiking Club welcomes visitors on its organized hikes led by experienced climbers. There's a R20 daily charge per person.
  • Cape Peninsula— Go to the Cape of Good Hope via Simon's Town and the African penguin colony at Boulders. Visit Cape Point in the Table Mountain National Park, maybe have lunch there before taking a hike in a quieter part of the reserve to immerse yourself in the essence of the landscape. Then take Chapman's Peak Drive (if it is open) through Hout Bay and along the Atlantic seaboard via Llandudno and Camps Bay, stopping off at one of Clifton's famous four beaches.
  • Ratanga Junction, ☎ +27 21 550-8504, e-mail: Open 10AM-5PM, but not open all year round. Usually open during summer, Easter and winter holiday periods. Enjoy a day with your kids at this theme park.
  • Swimming. Beaches on the False Bay side of the peninsula are the most popular with swimmers as the water is warmer. St James has the most picturesque tidal pool on the stretch between Muizenberg and Kalk Bay, while Clovelly and Fish Hoek beaches wrap around a sheltered bay with soft, white sands. Fishing boats, hobie cats and kayaks launch from here too. Brave hearts can sun-worship and swim naked in the freezing water of the isolated and breathtaking nudist beach Sandy Bay near Llandudno. Major spot for gay tourists as well. There's a 1.5 km walk down from the parking lot. Camps Bay and Clifton also have great beaches to visit if you want to try the chillier waters of the west coast.
  • Surfing— Cape Town is one of the best places to surf. Muizenberg is a good place for beginners to learn to surf, Gary offers reasonably priced lessons from a shop facing the beach. Don't forget that the False Bay area (where Muizenberg is located in addition to Kalk Bay and Fish Hoek) is known for its sharks! If you're an experienced surfer, try the reef break at Kalk Bay, Outer Kom near Kommetjie or Misty Cliffs on the coast road near Scarborough. You could head up the west coast and sample Milnerton, Table View or Big Bay, although Big Bay is often crowded with people kitesurfing due to the windy conditions. When the swell is really cranking, the big wave surfers gather at Dungeons, near Hout Bay, for some of the biggest surfable waves in the world.
  • Kite Surfing— Cape Town is one of the most favourite Kite Surfing destinations in the world. The two oceans combined with the windy conditions make for a great Kite Surfing experience. Some of the most popular Kite surfing hot spots are Dolphin Beach in Blouberg Strand, Muizenberg and Langebaan Lagoon.
  • Winelands— Tour the beautiful Constantia Valley wine estates Groot Constantia, Buitenverwagting, Klein Constantia and Constantia Uitsig before checking out the Cape Winelands around Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek. Stellenbosch has the added attraction of being an historical university town and Franschhoek, well established as the food capital of the Cape, is home to three of the country's top ten restaurants. The views are extraordinary. Have a drink and a snack at Dieu Donne estate for an unsurpassable vista of the entire valley, or take your own picnic to the top of a little hill they have by the parking area. Most wineries charge for a tasting session, but usually refund it on a purchase. It's right next to the botanical garden.
  • Sunset cruise. On visiting Cape Town take the opportunity for a sunset cruise from one of the services lined up along the V&A dockside. Well worth seeing the sunset but also the view back towards the town and Table Mountain from the sea. Some tours include free wine and drinks, so you can get your sun-downer in as well. If you're lucky you may also see dolphins.

Wine Tasting

Cape Town has some of the worlds best wine producing vineyards and arguably the worlds most scenically stunning on its doorstep. The wine regions of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl are all with in an easy hours drive, these historic and lush regions offer stunning views and world class wine tastings. You can self-drive but this come with limitations, often the best farms are closed to the public and then there is the drinking and driving issue. The best value and safest way to see the winelands is to trust your day to a dedicated wine tour company.

Deep Sea Fishing

  • Ama Feesh Charters, ☎ +27 21 788-9689, e-mail: At the time of writing, the telephone number and web site were not available. 
  • Cape Charters, 31 Antigua, The Water Club, Granger Bay, ☎ +27 21 418-0782, e-mail:
  • Hooked on Africa, ☎ +27 21 790-5332, e-mail:
  • Millers Point & Simonstown - on the way to Cape Point, ☎ +27 83 235 9550, e-mail: contact Rob Naysmith.

Shark cage diving

  • SABP Tours, ☎ +27 21 426-2838, fax: +27 21 426-0201, e-mail: SABP Tours offers a diving opportunity to witness the great white shark.
  • UnrealDive Expeditions, ☎ +27 71 684-7136, fax: +27 86 617-8334, e-mail: Get up close and personal with the Great White Shark.


Cape Town is located near two oceans, the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean. Because of the Benguela Current the Atlantic Ocean is relatively cold (about 8°C to 14°C). The Indian Ocean is warmer (12°C to 17°C), and here you can see the more colourful fish. The official border between the two oceans is at Cape Agulhas, but currents and eddies take the warmer water further west and these waters can reach the eastern side of the Cape Peninsula in False Bay, so from a diving point of view, the Cape Peninsula may be considered the interface between the two marine biological regions, and there is a notable difference in character between the waters of the two coasts of the peninsula. This manifests itself in the different range of marine life found on the two coasts. These regions are the South Western Cape inshore bioregion and the Agulhas inshore bioregion.


The waters around the Cape Peninsula have been declared a Marine Protected Area (MPA). Permits are required to Scuba dive in any Marine Protected Area. This is a politically controversial issue due to disputes on whether due process was followed and whether the government department exceeded its authority, but the consequence is that a tax is imposed on all Scuba divers who dive in an MPA. The permit (valid for 1 year) may be purchased for R75 (2009) at a some branches of the Post Office, or a temporary permit valid for 1 month may be purchased at most dive shops. Failure to present this permit when requested by an official of MCM may lead to harassment and possible arrest.

Dive Sites:

Detailed information and suggestions on local conditions, service providers and more than 100 local dive sites is provided in the guide to Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay.

If the open ocean does not appeal to you, the Two Oceans Aquarium also offer diving opportunities in their 2.2 million liter tank.

  • Diving at Two Oceans Aquarium, ☎ +27 21 418-3823, e-mail: 9AM, 11AM and 1PM daily. You need to be in possession of a valid diving license (PADI, CMAS, NAUI, BSAC etc.). Swim along with the Ragged tooth sharks, Yellow tail, Kob, Musselcracker, Bull rays and a lonely turtle. The dive master Iain, a barrel shaped bearded little man with a distinct Scottish accent, is both nice and knowledgeable and accompanies you into the aquarium ready to fend off the sharks with his broomstick should they become cuddly. Dive time is around 30 minutes. For advanced divers, the Kelp forest tank puts you into the water with more and bigger local reef fish than you will see in the sea. 


There are many organized events in Cape Town throughout the year. An official calendar of events is available from Cape Town Tourism.

  • Cape Argus Cycle Tour, ☎ +27 21 685-6551, e-mail: March every year. Total distance is 109 km. Start in downtown, cycle down the eastern side of the peninsula, past Simon's Town and back up the western side of the peninsula. Entrance fee is R250 for entrants on the African continent or the equivalent of 50 Euro's everyone else. If you are not involved in or interested in cycling, avoid Cape Town on this weekend, as it is almost impossible to go anywhere as so many roads are closed.
  • Two Oceans Marathon, ☎ +27 21 671-9407, e-mail: On Easter Saturday each year. An Ultra marathon (56 km), a half marathon (21 km) and a number of fun runs ranging from a 56m Nappy Dash to a 8 km walk or run. Maximum 10 000 entrance accepted per year per race distance (fun runs excluded). There is a pricing scale for each of the runs. If you are not involved in or interested in the runs, avoid Cape Town on this weekend, as it is almost impossible to go anywhere as so many roads are closed.
  • Cape Town Jazz Festival, Cape Town International Convention Centre, ☎ +27 21 422-5651. Normally held during late March.
  • Cape Town Minstrel Carnival, Marches throughout the city ending at Green Point Stadium. Usually New Years day and a couple of days later during January. Also known as the Kaapse Klopse, these brightly dressed singers and dancers spend months preparing for this annual event.
  • Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, ☎ +27 21 799-8783. 5:30PM-6:30PM every Sun, late Nov to early April. R50.
  • Mother City Queer Project, e-mail: Sometime during December each year. Biggest gay and lesbian party of the year. R100 to R350. The sooner you buy a ticket the cheaper it is.
  • Spiers Summer Arts Festival, ☎ +27 21 809-1111, e-mail: From October to March. At the time of writing, the web site was not available.
  • City Harvest Festival, ☎ +27 21 422-1418, e-mail: April 20th 12PM-10PM and 21st 9AM-6PM. The City Harvest Festival exhibits the Cape’s finest wines, food, with live entertainment including bands. Talks by Cape winemakers on the winemaking process. Chocolate feature planned. Host venues include Signal Hill Winery, Café Mao, Riboville, WineSense and Sundance Café.


Big Five Cape Town safaris are becoming increasingly popular. There are numerous safari game reserves with in 2 hours drive from Cape Town which is a great option if you don’t want to venture too far from the city.


There are many hiking trails in and around the city, from short walks to multi day hikes.

  • The Cape of Good Hope Trail, Cape Town, ☎ +27 21 780-9204, e-mail: Cape of Good Hope in the Table Mountain National Park, 34 km, 2 Days. 
  • Hoerikwaggo Table Mountain Trail, Cape Town, ☎ +27 21 465-8515, e-mail: 3 Day, non-strenuous, luxury trail through the city, botanical gardens and Table Mountain National Park. 
  • The Orangekloof Hiking Trail, Cape Town, ☎ +27 21 465-8515, e-mail: 6 Days, Cape Point to Table Mountain. 
  • Table Mountain (Starting point is 1.5 km past the Lower Cable Station on Tafelberg Road). Always open, but you might want to start early enough to catch the last cable car down. 3 km (all uphill), 1 to 3 hours, Platteklip Gorge to the Upper Cable Station. No fees are charged.
  • Chapman's Peak. 2–3 hours, non-strenuous with breathtaking views of Hout Bay and Noordhoek and rich flora, especially proteas. The trail begins on the Hout Bay side of the peak about 750 m from the main view-point on scenic Chapman's Peak Drive. Park by the trail head and follow the path out of the picnic area. It soon forks but both routes take you to the same place. Turn right at the next junction, from where the path is clear. Return same route. No permit required.
  • The Amphitheatre in the Kalk Bay mountains. 3 hours. Start at the sign on scenic Boyes Drive and climb up towards the rocks above which are peppered with scores of caves, many of which are not recommended for novice cavers so be careful. Take a torch. Follow the right forks in the trail and you'll be rewarded with increasingly spectacular views of False Bay. Head straight up through Echo Valley and through an ancient milkwood grove. Come back the same way if you don't have detailed directions. No permit required.
  • Cape Town has a very good network of trails to suit every level of fitness. Many of these trace the contours of the mountain and wander through the protea bushes and fynbos, often with breathtaking views. Many require no permit, although most of Cape Town's reserves have entrance fees. Hiking in a group is strongly recommended. The outdoor store Cape Union Mart has a hiking club with organized group hikes most weekends. Pick up a programme at one of their stores. You must phone the hike-leader first and pay 
  • Paradise Touring, ☎ +27 21 713-1020, e-mail: For guided walks up the mountain with a botanical guide.
  • Cape Eco-Tours, ☎ +27 82 460-4847, e-mail: A good one for twitchers to use and is a member of Bird Life South Africa.
  • Trax Tours, ☎ +27 73 495-6115, e-mail: Guided hiking and cycle tours in Franschoek and Stellenbosch, including wine tasting.
  • Meridian Hiking Club, ☎ +27 82 498-0361, e-mail: This club organizes hikes ranging from easy day walks to strenuous rock scrambles on the mountain and multi-day hikes. Look up the calendar on the web site for details of current hikes. It is very popular with tourists. 

In the air

  • Heli, Cape Town International Airport and V&A Waterfront, ☎ +27 21 935-1619, e-mail: Go on an exciting charter, or fly with an instructor and take control on an intro flight. Heli offers the premium helicopter experience in Cape Town. Scenic flights, airport transfers, wine tours, flight training
  • Cape Town Helicopter Tours, V&A Waterfront, ☎ +27 72 327-2840, e-mail: Helicopter Wine Tours Western Cape, visit, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and or Paarl from Cape Town.
  • See the cape from above with a scenic helicopter flight, East Pier Road, V&A Waterfront, ☎ +27 21 425-3868, e-mail:
  • Sport Helicopters, ☎ +27 21 434-4444, e-mail: For scenic flights or the quick way to get to Robben Island.
  • ThunderCity, Cape Town international Airport, ☎ +27 21 934-8007, e-mail: Go supersonic in a fighter jet. You need endless pockets.
  • Skydive Cape Town, Cape Town, ☎ +27 82 800-6290, e-mail: One of the most scenic dropzones in the world.
  • Para Taxi (Tandem Paraglide), 16 Pebbles Crescent, Coral Grove, Royal Ascott, Milnerton, ☎ +27 82 966-2047, e-mail:


  • Gravity Adventure Group, ☎ +27 21 683-3698, e-mail: Provides training (African Paddling Association approved) as well sea kayaking in the West Coast National Park.

Sunset cruises

  • Waterfront Boat Company, Quay 4, V&A Waterfront, ☎ +27 21 418-5806, e-mail: Take a relaxing sunset cruise on the Condor to Greenpoint and back or do the champagne cruise. One to one and a half hours.
  • Tigger 2 Charters, ☎ +27 21 418-0241, e-mail:

Townships tours

The townships are the places where people were forced to live (based on race) under the apartheid regime. To some extent townships continue to retain their apartheid-era racial make-up, for a variety of reasons. Townships have also grown to cover far larger areas of land than in the apartheid days. This is a result of urbanization, especially over the past 10–15 years. Touring a township may seem strange, even inappropriate, but it is a good way to learn about South Africa's history, and the poverty that many people continue to live in. People in the townships are friendly and the children love visitors. Some townships however can be dangerous (see the warning on the South Africa page) so don't go alone unless you know what you're doing. The townships tours are safe. If you want to bring sweets or gifts for the children, it is best not to give it directly to them, but to give it to the tour guide who will distribute them later.
Tours can be booked directly or through one of Cape Town's many booking agencies. Tours run once or twice per day. Be aware that if you're given the chance to try some township food, that a 'walkie-talkie' is often made from the feet and beaks of poultry. The very best way to see a township is by foot and to stay overnight at one of the many township B&Bs.

There are several tour companies which offer tours.

  • African Experience, 70 Loyolo Street, Kayamandi, ☎ +27 21 889-5562, e-mail:
  • Andulela Tours, ☎ +27 21-790-2592, e-mail: Offers a variety of different tours, including jazz, soccer, poetry, and culinary tours. Their emphasis is on meeting people, not looking at them.
  • Cape Fusion Tours, Oranjezicht Cape Town, ☎ +27 21 461-2437, e-mail: Offers hands-on African cooking experiences in Langa at a local cooking school. This gives you an insight into the culture, the people and their cuisine.
  • Kwathabeng Tours, 1 Mocke St Dieprivier, ☎ +27 21 829-6166, e-mail: Township Tavern Tours
  • Langa Heritage Walk, Lenotholi Avenue, Langa, ☎ +27 21 695-0093, e-mail:
  • Luhambo Tours, Cape Town, Milnerton, ☎ +27 21 551-0467, e-mail: Specialised in township tours (Gugulethu and Khayelitsha) and wine tours
  • Sam's Cultural Tours, 45 Mshumpela Way, Langa, ☎ +27 21 694-6370, e-mail:
  • Sipunzi's Black Cultural Township Tours, 1818 Makhaza Khayelitsha, ☎ +27 82 769-7072, e-mail:
  • Daytrippers, cape town, ☎ +27 21 511-4766, e-mail:


There are a number of small nature reserves in and around Cape Town.

  • Koeberg Nuclear Power Station and Nature Reserve, ☎ +27 21 550-4667. The 3000 hectare buffer zone around the power station has been converted to a nature reserve with Bontebok, Genet, Steenbok and many other antelope.
  • Table Mountain National Park, ☎ +27 21 701-8692, e-mail: Table Mountain National Park forms part of the Cape Floristic Region UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park covers a large area of the Cape and incorporates a number of park areas. Most of it is free access; the only places you need to pay are at the Cape of Good Hope, Silvermine and Boulders.

Wine tours

With South African wines becoming more and more popular worldwide, the number of tourists who visit Cape Town to learn more about the local wines is growing. The impressive variety of vineyards in Cape Town and the surrounding Cape Winelands make the choice which one to visit and which wine to taste very difficult. It is always a good idea to rely on one of the established wine tour operators. Guests should insist on a specialised guide with a thorough knowledge of South African wines.

  • Taste the Cape Travel and Tours cc, Kirstenhof,Cape Town, ☎ +27 798 120 220, e-mail: A tour company specialising in wine and food tours with a registered tour guide.

Whale watching

Mostly you will see Southern right whales, but on occasion you might also spot humpback and killer whales. Bottlenose and dusky dolphins also frequent False Bay. The Southern Right wales visit each year between June & November to mate and calve.

From viewpoints next to the coastal road between Fishhoek - Sunny Cove railway station through Glen Cairn to Simon's Town one can often spot whales less than 100m from shore. At Cape Point whales can often be seen passing below.

A number of operators also offer Whale Watching Cruises.

  • Simon's Town Boat Company (from the town pier), ☎ +27 83 257-7760. The sole permit holder for boat based whale watching in False Bay (Permit No. 0806336). R750 per adult ( 2012 prices).
  • Waterfront Boat Company, Shop 5 Quay, V&A Waterfront, ☎ +27 21 418-5806, e-mail: 3 to 4 hour cruise in the bay and you are almost guaranteed to spot whales. R350.
  • Dyer Island Cruises, Gansbaai, ☎ +27 28 384-0406, e-mail:

What to eat and drink in Cape Town, South Africa


Food in Cape Town is generally of high quality. The wines are much celebrated, but the surrounding region is also a major fruit producer, and the Karoo lamb is widely regarded. Seafood caught locally is superlative, but ironically much of it goes internationally (e.g., tuna for sushi) because of the prices that can be achieved. Ask about the local linefish—yellowtail, cape salmon, kingklip, kabeljou and others are great eating. Oysters in season are also exceptional, farmed and wild from Knysna or wild flown in from Namibia.
As one of the main tourist spots is the V&A Waterfront, you will find a broad range of restaurants, but they are often crowded and expensive. The area around Kloof St has many cafés and restaurants, as well as Long Street (frequented by a multi-ethnic clientèle), while the trendy area of De Waterkant between Bo Kaap and Green Point above Somerset Road also boasts good food and a great vibe. Dine with supermodels and other beautiful people in Camps Bay, which has many hip eateries and nightspots overlooking the beach along Victoria Road.
Farther afield, Hout Bay on the west side of the Cape Peninsula is very good for fresh crayfish (lobsters - they have become quite expensive, around R300, though). Kalk Bay on the east side of the peninsula offers a big variety of fresh fish, do check out The Brass Bell. The restaurants in nearby Simon's Town are also good.
Do not neglect the Cape Winelands for food if you have a car. In Stellenbosch, Spier has several restaurants, including the fun, afro-chic Moyo, and many wine estates offer food of different types and quality. The village of Franschhoek is the culinary navel of the wine region, with Le Quartier Francais a perennial five-star winner, but only one of many excellent restaurants. In the Constantia Valley there are number of great restaurants including Pastis Brasserie, Wasabi, The River Cafe, La Colombe and the Constantia Uitsig Restaurant.
NB: Make sure you know what the price is before you order rare delicacies in restaurants as there have been a few rare but high-profile cases of heinous overcharging where the price is not on the menu, particularly for perlemoen (abalone) and crayfish (similar to lobster).


Long Street, which can be easily reached from St. George's Cathedral and the Greenmarket Square, is famous for its bars, restaurants and clubs. This is the ideal place if you want to end the day with a drink. It is also one of the few truly multi-ethnic, multi-racial nightspots in the city. See the new South Africa, not just other tourists.
You will have live entertainment (normally something like jazz or kwaito music) in many bars and sometimes you will have to pay to get in.
Observatory or better known as Obz is just north of Rondebosch (Southern Suburbs). There are several student residences of the UCT and Obz main street (Lower Main Road) has a vibrant nightlife with restaurants, bar, pool halls and pubs. Almost daily there is something going on.
A popular destination with locals is Camps Bay, which offers a vibrant night-life and many bars, restaurants and clubs.

  • 169 on Long, 169 Long Street, ☎ +27 21 426-1107. This place is a local legend, pumping out a range of jazzy retro beats between Wednesday and Saturday nights. There's also a nice restaurant attached that serves Mediterranean cuisines, so you can line your stomach before you hit the dance floor
  • Blushlounge, 43 Somerset Road, Greenpoint. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 5PM to late. Blush Lounge is a bar lounge and nightclub that caters for the young professional. Quality service by well trained bar staff and efficient and stylish door and security staff, patrons can relax into an evening of wellness brought on by a socially accessible environment.
  • Caveau Wine Bar & Deli, 92 Bree Street, Heritage Square, ☎ +27 21 422-1367, e-mail: Has over 300 wines by the glass and an award-winning wine list at that. In Heritage Square, city centre.
  • Club Georgia, 30 Georgia Street (offside the Buitensingel), ☎ +27 21 422-0261. 9:30PM till late. Popular with over 25-year olds. Music from all over Africa is played, especially Kwassa-kwassa, Kwaito, Ndombolo and Rai.
  • Mannenbergs Jazz Café, Shop 102, Clock Tower Centre, Clock Tower Precinct, V&A Waterfront, ☎ +27 21 421-5639, e-mail: Popular jazz café specializing in distinctive Cape Jazz. Snacks and coffee during the day and live jazz every evening. Bookings/reservations essential. Many famous jazz musicians have already played here.
  • Marco's African Place, 15 Rose Street, Bo Kaap, ☎ +27 21 423-5412. Popular gay bar which serves up specialities such as Ulwimi (steamed ox tongue with mustard sauce) along with live African music.
  • Sandy B, 69 Victoria Road, Camps Bay, Cape Town, ☎ +27 21 437-9701, e-mail: Open to the public at The Bay Hotel over summer, Sandy B is a unique cocktail venue, accentuated by its glorious views of Camps Bay beachfront.
  • The Green Dolphin, Shop 2A, Alfred Mall, Pierhead, V&A Waterfront, ☎ +27 21 421-7471, e-mail: Locals tout it as the best jazz club in the city, with soothing beats playing every night.
  • The Nose Wine Bar, Cape Quarter, 72 Waterkant Street, Green Point, ☎ +27 21 425-2200, e-mail: Has many wines by the glass, but pricey.
  • Zanzi-Bar, 255 Long Street (above Long Street Café.), ☎ +27 21 4232-9003. 5PM-2AM. Good meeting place for other travelers visiting Cape Town. Live jazz on Sundays, DJ's on Friday & Saturday nights. Free entry most nights.
  • Mitchells Ale House (Mitchells Brewery), Cnr East Pier & Dock Road V&A Waterfront, ☎ +27 21 419-5074, e-mail: Great location, fun atmosphere, friendly staff and famous craft beers, amazing views of the Cape Town harbour and Table Mountain, and karaoke.
  • Foresters Arms (Forries), 52 Newlands Ave, Newlands, ☎ +21 21 689-5949, e-mail: Nestled at the foot of our majestic mountains, in the leafy suburb of Newlands, Cape Town, Foresters Arms Restaurant and Pub (fondly referred to by the locals as Forries), is one of the oldest pubs in South Africa and provides a retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life. They have a good selection of draught beers.
  • The Royal Oak, Marine Circle, Table View, ☎ +27 21 557-0354. A friendly traditional British pub, frequented by British expatriates.
  • Bobs Bar, 187 Long street, ☎ 021-4243584NOCC. 7.30AM-4AM. 


  • Fiction Bar, 226 Long Street, ☎ +27 21 424-5709. Renowned club with weekly indie-, drum'n'bass- and minimal-electro-nights.
  • Mercury Live & Lounge, 43 De Villiers Street (Zonnebloem). World-class live music, with students nights.

Shopping in Cape Town, South Africa

The V&A Waterfront is the prime tourist destination for souvenirs, though these tend to be typically touristy (i.e. expensive and not necessarily authentic). More authentic curios for better prices can be found every Sunday at the Green Point market outside the Green Point Stadium on Sundays, in walking distance from the V & A Waterfront. Many of these same curios can be purchased during the week in the several multi-story shops at the lower end of Long Street. For the real deal with authentic artifacts complete with provenance and ethnographic background, go to Church Street where there are a couple of shops but be prepared for sticker shock. When buying African Curio, the price at open markets are almost always very negotiable and seldom does the item have a price sticker attached. People with foreign accents are often quoted twice to three times the price they sell to locals, so do negotiate.

  • Green Market Square, 54 Shortmarket Street. Originally a Farmers' Market dating back to 1710, Green Market is today one of the city's best flea markets. There's a range of local arts, craft and curios on offer and the vendors expect to bargain for their wares.


  • Labia Theatre, 65 Orange street Gardens, ☎ 021-4245927NOCC. a old school cinema which has been open for more than 65 years.


If you like South African wine, buy it here (or anywhere in South Africa) before you leave, because it is much cheaper and there is more availability than overseas. Top guide to wines is the John Platter's Guide, with a few others around too, and with thousands of wines available from the region, you will need a guide (see below for shops that have knowledgeable staff). Read Wine magazine (or the iconoclastic Grape) for the latest information.

  • Caroline's Fine Wines, V&A Waterfront and 15 Long Street in the City Centre, ☎ +27 21 419-8984. Better selection and more knowledgeable staff. City Centre location recommended, but both are excellent. Foam inserts and boxes for international shipping or for checking with your luggage (safe!). Not cheap though, compared to supermarkets and wineries.
  • Vaughan Johnson's Wine Shop, Dock Road, V&A Waterfront, ☎ +27 21 419-2121, e-mail: Quality selection but not exhaustive. Knowledgeable staff. Generally substantial (10-20%) markup over winery prices but of course more convenient.
  • Wine Concepts, Cardiff Castle Building, cnr Main Street & Kildare Road, Newlands (Southern Suburbs), ☎ +27 21 671-9030, e-mail: Another great wine shop, certainly the best outside the City Bowl. A franchised location is on Kloof Street in the Lifestyle Centre.
  • Ultra. A large South African liquor chain. Several locations around the city, the one in Green Point is the most accessible to tourists. A warehouse bottle store but with a remarkable wine selection across all price ranges. Case discount (even on mixed cases). Good if you want to stock up for a road trip. Stash a bottle of Amarula Cream in your backpack while you're at it. Great prices -- in fact, often cheaper than at the wine farms themselves.

Arts and Crafts

Distinctively Capetonian in character—are everywhere, from chickens made of plastic bags to bead and wire work to pottery, glass and embroidery. If you don't buy a chicken from a Rastafarian at a street corner (the authentic experience—about 30 rand depending on the size), then try Heartworks (Kloof Street or in Gardens Centre mall) or the Red Shed at the V & A Waterfront. There is also a high-end craft boutique in the Cape Quarter in De Waterkant.
Contemporary South African art has been riding a big wave in the international art world. It is on par with the best in the world and undervalued (unless you buy a William Kentridge). If you like real art as opposed to curios, crafts or posters, and you have the budget for it, there are several serious galleries in town. Try Michael Stevenson Gallery first, then Joao Ferreira Gallery, AVA Gallery or Bell-Roberts Gallery, and there are several others worth seeing. Art South Africa is the art magazine to read if you want to know about the artists, and the adverts list the shows and the galleries.

Shopping malls

As in any large city you will find a number of major shopping malls with the requisite department sized stores and chain labels:

  • Bayside Centre, cnr Blaauwberg Road and Otto Du Plessis Drive, Tableview, ☎ +27 21 557-4350, e-mail: Shops are open 9AM-7PM Monday to Friday, 10AM-5PM on Saturday and 10AM-2PM on Sunday.
  • Blue Route Mall, cnr Tokai and Keyser River Roads, Tokai, ☎ +27 21 713-2360, e-mail:
  • Canal Walk, Century Boulevard, Century City, ☎ +27 21 555-3600, e-mail: Open 10AM-9PM Monday to Friday, 9AM-9PM on Saturday and 10AM-9PM on Sunday.
  • Cavendish Square, Vineyard Road, Claremont, ☎ +27 21 657-5620, e-mail: Open 9AM-7PM Monday to Saturday and 10AM-5PM on Sunday.
  • Constantia Village, cnr Constantia Main and Spaanschemacht River Roads, Constantia, ☎ +27 21 794-5065, e-mail:
  • Kenilworth Centre, cnr Doncaster and Chichester Roads, Kenilworth, ☎ +27 21 671-5054.
  • Longbeach Mall, cnr Buller Louw Drive and Sunnydale Road, Noordhoek, ☎ +27 21 785-5955, e-mail:
  • Maynard Mall, cnr Main and Wetton Roads, Wynberg, ☎ +27 21 797-1714.
  • Mainstream Centre, cnr Main Road and Pricess Beach, Hout Bay. Shops are open 9AM-5PM Monday to Friday, 9AM-5PM on Saturday and 10AM-2PM on Sunday.
  • N1 City, Louwtjie Rothman Drive (off Monte Vista Boulevard), Goodwood, ☎ +27 21 595-1170.
  • Tyger Valley, cnr Bill Bezuidenhout and Willie van Schoor Avenues, Bellville, ☎ +27 21 914-1822. Open 9AM-7PM Monday to Saturday and 9AM-5PM on Sunday.
  • Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Breakwater Road, Cape Town, ☎ +27 21 408-7600. Open 10AM-9PM every day.
  • Golden Acre shopping Centre, 11 Adderley Street. 9am-6pm. many low prices shops and places to eat right in down town cape town. has a Pep Clothing/shoe Store


  • Pick N Pay, 58 Strand street, ☎ 021-4181118NOCC. 8am-8pm.
  • Shoprite, 11 Adderley Street, ☎ 021-4647160NOCC. 8am-6pm.
  • Spar, 27 Somerset Road Green Point, ☎ 021-4180360NOCC. 8am-8pm.
  • Checkers, Kloof Steet Gardens, ☎ 021-4805680NOCC. 8am-8pm.

Safety in Cape Town, South Africa

Although Cape Town has its share of violent crime, you are safe if you keep your wits about you as you should in every large city around the world. As a visitor, you are less likely to encounter problems while visiting the townships if you are escorted by a township resident—though you should not really venture into the townships without a fairly large group of accompaniment. Official township tours are your safest bet; revealing a very interesting lifestyle to the more curious tourists. The CBD (Central Business District) has been cleaned up over the years, but some con men and cholos do still exist, although during daylight police make themselves known. Simply put, leave everything you value—especially your papers and tickets—in your hotel room safe if you plan to stroll through Cape Town.
Foreigners should avoid hitchhiking or using local commuter and metro trains. Be aware of automated teller machine (ATM) con artists. Under no circumstances allow a stranger to assist you in your transactions. Should your card become stuck in the ATM, call the helpline number on display at the teller machine for assistance and to cancel your card.
During day time it is quite safe to walk around the city center. People and beggars are in general quite respectful and accept a "no". During the evening it is worth taking a taxi to and from your destination, rather than walking. Make sure you take a taxi card with you, so that you can have the driver meet you outside the bar or restaurant.
Watch out for the mini bus taxis. They often drive like hell disobeying many traffic rules. Watch out for pickpocketing.
At night, make sure you stay on well-lit and crowded streets. Crime is especially high in Salt River, Observatory, Mowbray, and the Cape Flats.
Glue sniffing children and junkies are a minor problem, called 'strollers' by the locals: these ragamuffins will strip you bare if you do not stay alert.
While driving in a car be more aware of people approaching the car at traffic lights for smash-and-grab theft. So don't leave valuables on the seats or your lap.
If you go to the mountains, go in a group of at least 4 people.
You should try not to appear to be a tourist, and you will not be targeted. Targeted tourists are generally spotted wearing cameras, shorts, jewellery and golf hats—try not to do this. Do what you can to blend in, and if anything happens—do not try to be a hero: rather, give them what they want

Important telephone numbers

From a fixed line

  • 107 - Emergency.
  • 10111 - Police. 
  • 10177 - Ambulance.
  • 082911 - Netcare911

Language spoken in Cape Town, South Africa

South Africa has 11 official languages, namely Afrikaans, Southern Ndebele, Xhosa, Zulu, Swazi, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Tswana, Tsonga, Venda and English. Most people other than rural black South Africans speak English as a second language. Only about 8% of the population speak English as a first language, almost exclusively in the white population which is declining as a first language, while it is already a lingua franca among South Africans, and about 60% of the population can understand English. South African English is heavily influenced by Afrikaans. Afrikaans is also widely spoken, especially by the majority of the white and coloured population. Often Afrikaans is incorrectly called 'Afrikan' or 'African' by foreigners. This is very incorrect as 'African' for a South African corresponds with the native-African languages: Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, etc. (and, of course, there are thousands of languages in Africa so no single language can be called 'African') Afrikaans has roots in 17th century Dutch dialects, so it can be understood by Dutch speakers and sometimes deciphered by German speakers. Other widely spoken languages are Zulu (mainly in KwaZulu-Natal - South Africa's largest single linguistic group) and Xhosa (mainly in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape), Sotho and Venda. This changes, according to the region you are in.

A few words you may encounter are:

eish - as in, "eish, it's hot today", "eish, that's expensive" or "eish, that's too far to drive"
lekker - nice, enjoyable
howzit - how is it? (generally a rhetorical question)
yebo - yes
boet, bru, china or ou - brother or man (equivalent to dude or bro)
koppie - a small hill (can also mean a cup)
Madiba - Nelson Mandela
Molo - Hello (in Xhosa)
robot - traffic light
tannie - (auntie) respectful term for an older woman
oom - (uncle) respectful term for an older man
tinkle - phone call
just now - sometime soon (from Afrikaans "net-nou")
now now - sooner than just now! (from Afrikaans "nou-nou", pronounced no-no)
braai - barbecue.
cheers - used for saying good-bye, as well as saying thank you and for the occasional toast.
heita - hello
sharp - (usually pronounced quickly) OK
sure-sure more pronounced like sho-sho - Correct, Agreement, Thank you
ayoba - something cool
zebra crossing - a crosswalk. named for the white & black stripes that are generally painted on crosswalks.
bakkie - pick-up truck (from Afrikaans)


6:05 pm
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Hout Bay Museum is a province-aided museum on 4 Andrews Road in Hout Bay near Cape Town, South Africa. Opened on 5 April 1979. The museum has... ||| Creative Commons Zero, Public Domain Dedication Royal Observatory, Cape of Good Hope, Cape Town, South Africa
Average: 9.1 (10 votes)

The Royal Observatory, Cape of Good Hope, is the oldest continuously existing scientific institution in South Africa. It is located on a small...

Latest travel blogs about Cape Town, South Africa

Helicopter View Of Cape Town And The Cape of Good Hope. Continuation

This is a continuation of the review. The first part can be found here: Helicopter View Of Cape Town And The Cape of Good Hope Left: This is Cape of Good Hope Bottom right: There's Cape Point (a cable car runs on the top; although it was closed for renovation at that time). It is considered...

In this review, I want to tell you about my helicopter tour over Cape Town . The guidebooks are telling the truth - Cape Town is really an iconic city. In Cape Town, the visitors usually climb Table Mountain (it is really visible from any place of the city, and a cloud is really stuck...
Here are some pictures from my trip to South Africa. I decided to search the internet for one question I had in particular. It arose after a visit to one of the main attractions in  Cape Town - " Table Mountain ". I was twice on its top. And took many pictures from the city....
Cape Town is located at the foot of the mountains:  Table Mountain ,  Signal Hill , and Lion's Head. This photo was taken from Table Mountain. Number 2 is Signal Hill, from the top of which a cannon shoots every day at 12 o'clock for local people to...
It so happened that I arrived in South Africa with my friend a day earlier than the rest of the group and we had to pad down somewhere. Without hesitation, we reserved the coolest hotel in South Africa - 'One & Only'. I stayed at this hotel in the Maldives and had the most...
Table mountain  is an architectural landmark of  Cape Town , its silhouette is depicted on the city flag. The Table mountain's main feature is its top part which is flat like a table cover. Locals have a legend: When God was admiring the Earth he touched the mountain and there...
I saw whales in different places but I haven`t seen anywhere as many whales as in South Africa. Whales swim up directly to the coast here and jump out of water very often, and they do it by series of five-six jumps so you have time to pull out the camera. I saw how the whale...

Cape Town, South Africa shore excursions