The magnificent South African city of Cape Town has a superb location right in the south of the country, rugged slopes leading to the golden beaches of the Cape of Good Hope, vineyards nestling in the valleys and majestic wildlife, all set against the iconic backdrop of Table Mountain – when it comes to natural beauty then Cape Town has been truly blessed.
A city of contradictions and home to some of the world’s most affordable fine dining, Cape Town embraces the future whilst accepting the turmoil of its history, the struggles of the past creating a city with true grit and determination, a city where differences are now celebrated rather than segregated – for a truly unique experience there is nowhere quite like this South African jewel.
Cape Town has a wide variety of accommodation ranging from hostels for backpackers to grand luxury hotels, the prices do rise during peak periods, although a little research prior to booking can bring the pricing down, that said, Cape Town is not a particularly expensive city when compared to many others.
The Dutch Manor Antique Hotel is almost perfectly explained by its rather grand name, each room is individual with handpicked antiques, whilst the whole style of the hotel is that of Dutch colonial mansion – a highly recommended hotel. A more modest budget will provide a stay at The Backpack, an award winning hostel with a great ethnic feel, a lively place to stay with ethics that support the local community, private rooms are available but do become booked up quite quickly.
Cape Town has a reputation for extraordinary food at ordinary prices, fast emerging as a centre of gastronomy there are plenty of great places to eat throughout the city, Hemelhuijs is centrally located and serves fresh flavoured food with a zing, well known for their fresh fruit juices this is a great place for a relaxed lunch.
Kalky’s on Kalk Bay Harbour is the ultimate in comfort food, giant portions of fish and chips served from a traditional shack, this is the where you will see every element of Cape Town life as Kalky’s is something of a local legend – one not to miss.
You absolutely have to take a cable car to the top of Table Mountain, this may be the ultimate tourist experience, but it is popular for a reason, the view on the way up is almost as spectacular as the view from the top, although be warned that no matter how warm it may be in Cape Town, it will be shockingly cold at the summit.
Another great day out away from the buzz of the city is the opportunity to take a wine tour around one of the excellent estates that lie in the region; many of the tours include lunch at a rather fine restaurant, wine tasting and the opportunity to purchase one of many award winning wines at preferential rates.
The climate in Cape Town makes it a great city to visit any time of year, the diversity of the area ensures that there is something special whenever you visit; nature lovers may want to visit between May and November as this is when Whale watching is at its peak, due to the annual migration; June, July and August can be quite rainy although some say that this adds to the natural beauty of the region.
The peak months of December and January (high summer) can be busy, as the annual descent of holidaymakers make their way to this attractive city, prices rise and the heat can be quite intense (although less so than February and March), making this time of year not necessarily the best time to travel.