Cape Town

Travel Guide
Victoria and Alfred Waterfront which includes a lake or waterhole

From the heights of Table Mountain to the unique “Cape Dutch” architecture and sparkling blue waterfront, Cape Town is known for its natural and cultural attractions.

Wherever you are in Cape Town the iconic Table Mountain adds one of the world’s most impressive backdrops to your view. No trip to this South African port city is complete without a hike or leisurely cable car ride to the top, where the breathtaking vistas are known as some of the best in Africa.

Cape Town, known as “Kaapstad” in Afrikaans, is the seat of the National Parliament and the second most-populated city after Johannesburg. More tourists visit Cape Town than anywhere else in South Africa.

The story of the city’s past is written in its architecture. The colonizing Dutch left their mark with their unique “Cape Dutch” style. Look for houses with decorative front gables. See Malaysian influences in the colorful houses and periodic minarets of the Bo-Kaap district.

The mix of nationalities makes for a rich cultural scene and some of the best food in the country. Eat local dishes from the street carts in the Bo-Kaap district, including Babotie, a spicy-meat dish. Try freshly caught seafood in fine-dining restaurants at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront.

Low humidity makes the summer heat bearable, while winters can be quite wet. Escape the rain and learn about the city’s history at the Jewish Museum, Slave Lodge and the South African Maritime Museum. Hear stories from former prisoners at nearby Robben Island, where former president Nelson Mandela was held before the abolishment of apartheid.

A wild coastline surrounds the city and peninsula. Unwind at picturesque St. James, admire the Twelve Apostles mountain range from Camps Bay Beach and enjoy scenic drives around Hout Bay. Table Mountain National Park covers 75 percent of the peninsula. Get face-to-face with African penguins at Boulders Beach or spot baboons, antelopes and whales as you hike the trails at the Cape of Good Hope.

Cape Town lies on the southwest coast of South Africa. The city and surrounding countryside is best explored by car. Note that due to extreme poverty in some townships, safety is a concern. The city is relatively safe by South African standards but take necessary precautions: don’t carry valuables, lock your doors while driving and stick to tourist areas that are generally well guarded.

Where to stay in Cape Town

AC Hotel by Marriott Cape Town Waterfront
AC Hotel by Marriott Cape Town Waterfront
4 out of 5
Dockrail Road, Foreshore, Cape Town, Western Cape, 8001
Fully refundable
The price is $89 per night from May 27 to May 28
Stay at this 4-star business-friendly hotel in Cape Town. Enjoy free WiFi, an outdoor pool, and a restaurant. Our guests praise the breakfast and the helpful ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (176 reviews)
Cape Town cycle tour
"Amazing but not well marked to get to the hotel"

Reviewed on Mar 10, 2020

AC Hotel by Marriott Cape Town Waterfront
The Table Bay Hotel
The Table Bay Hotel
5 out of 5
Quay 6 Victoria & Alfred, Cape Town, Western Cape, 8001
The price is $220 per night from Jun 5 to Jun 6
Stay at this 5-star luxury hotel in Cape Town. Enjoy free breakfast, free WiFi, and free parking. Our guests praise the breakfast and the helpful staff in our ...
4.6/5 Wonderful! (532 reviews)
"The service was amazing"

Reviewed on May 3, 2022

The Table Bay Hotel
Taj Cape Town
Taj Cape Town
5 out of 5
1 Wale Street, corner St Georges Mall, Cape Town, Western Cape, 8001
The price is $96 per night from May 21 to May 22
Stay at this 5-star luxury hotel in Cape Town. Enjoy free WiFi, 2 restaurants, and a full-service spa. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the comfy rooms ...
4.7/5 Exceptional! (978 reviews)
"Service was fantastic. Rooms clean, comfortable. Treated like royalty."

Reviewed on May 13, 2022

Taj Cape Town
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
The Rockwell Luxury Suites
The Rockwell Luxury Suites
4 out of 5
32 Prestwich Street, Green Point, Cape Town, Western Cape, 8001
The price is $63 per night from May 24 to May 25
Stay at this 4-star spa aparthotel in Cape Town. Enjoy free WiFi, an attached winery, and breakfast. Our guests praise the breakfast and the helpful staff in ...
4.1/5 Very Good! (118 reviews)
"Overall the room is beautiful, the service was a little poor. One night only had one towel per room, and ordered room service one night and never got it. Ordered breakfast and they missed an item and half of our order."

Reviewed on Feb 14, 2020

The Rockwell Luxury Suites
Blue Views Villas and Apartments
Blue Views Villas and Apartments
5 out of 5
5 Victoria Road, Bakoven, Cape Town, Western Cape, 8005
Stay at this 5-star luxury villa in Cape Town. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and 5 outdoor pools. Our guests praise the helpful staff in our reviews. Popular ...
4.8/5 Exceptional! (16 reviews)
"Amazing villa (the place) great staff beautiful house really clean"

Reviewed on Feb 17, 2020

Blue Views Villas and Apartments
Petit & Grande Plaisir
Petit & Grande Plaisir
4 out of 5
9 Nerina St, Franschhoek, Western Cape, 7690
The price is $80 per night from May 21 to May 22
Stay at this 4-star vacation home in Franschhoek. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and 2 outdoor pools. Our guests praise the bathrooms in our reviews. Popular ...
5/5 Exceptional! (8 reviews)
"We had a wonderful stay. Marlicia was the ultimate host and made us feel very welcome. The accommodation was lovely and had everything we needed. We will be looking to book again next time we go."

Reviewed on Feb 3, 2022

Petit & Grande Plaisir
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Getting around Cape Town

The best way to get around in Cape Town is to rent your own car, as this will help you get to outlying natural attractions such as Table Mountain and the Cape of Good Hope. There is a public train system, although this is generally of more use to commuters, connecting the city center with the suburbs. Taxis are plentiful, but be sure to take one which is running on a meter or arrange a price beforehand. Visit the Department of Transport website.Browse Cape Town rental cars.

Best time to visit

Summers in Cape Town are warm and dry, with average highs in January in the low 80s F (high 20s C). This is a great time of year to visit, but is also the busiest and most expensive period. Between June and August, it’s chillier and it rains a lot more, but the weather is by no means extreme, and it’s quieter and prices are lower at this time; this is also the time of year to go whale watching.

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