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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.

Cape Town Travel Guide Video

Where to stay in Cape Town

President Hotel
President Hotel
4 out of 5
4 Alexander Road, Bantry Bay, Cape Town, Western Cape
The price is $57 per night from May 8 to May 8
Located in Sea Point, this beach hotel is 0.6 mi (0.9 km) from Sea Point Swimming Pool and within 3 mi (5 km) of Camps Bay Beach and Cape Town Stadium. Sea Point ...
4/5Very Good! (403 reviews)
"I must say the location of this hotel is fantastic. Beautiful views of the ocean from certain rooms and the most lovely views of Table Top Mountain. Amazing happy hour with one of the best breakfast buffets. The restaurant manager is extremely professional and was helping all staff from the very ..."

Reviewed on Apr 9, 2021

President Hotel
One&Only Cape Town
One&Only Cape Town
5 out of 5
Dock Road, V & A Waterfront, Cape Town, Western Cape
Get Rates
This family-friendly Cape Town hotel is located on the waterfront, within a 15-minute walk of Two Oceans Aquarium and V&A Waterfront. Cape Town International ...
4.8/5Exceptional! (287 reviews)
Our best hotel experience
"Simply the best hotel experience we've ever enjoyed (and we've enjoyed a lot). Everything from when you pull-up, check-in, breakfast (seriously - best hotel breakfast we've enjoyed) and the service and amenities throughout the stay. Kids club is superb, pool is superb, food is superb, location is ..."

Reviewed on Mar 18, 2020

One&Only Cape Town
Taj Cape Town
Taj Cape Town
5 out of 5
1 Wale Street, corner St Georges Mall, Cape Town, Western Cape
The price is $91 per night from May 18 to May 18
This family-friendly Cape Town hotel is located near the airport, just steps from St. Georges Mall and Long Street. Kloof Street and Castle of Good Hope are ...
4.7/5Exceptional! (991 reviews)
"Great location, friendly staff, large rooms"

Reviewed on Apr 4, 2021

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.

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.

Popular places to visit in Cape Town

Top things to do in Cape Town

Reviews of Cape Town

4.6

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
469
5 - Excellent 67.0958512160229%
4 - Good
204
4 - Good 29.184549356223176%
3 - Okay
22
3 - Okay 3.1473533619456364%
2 - Disappointing
1
2 - Disappointing 0.1430615164520744%
1 - Terrible
3
1 - Terrible 0.4291845493562232%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

May 12, 2020

Cape Town is the most beautiful place in the World

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Apr 1, 2020

Beautiful city with outstanding landscape and very friendly people.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Mar 23, 2020

We always enjoy Cape Town and the lovely hotel Cape Grace. Walking distance to many shopping/restaurants.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Mar 23, 2020

One of my favorite places in this world.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Mar 22, 2020

Greatest city in the world

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Mar 17, 2020

Beautiful location with tonnes of things to do within easy driving distance! Really enjoyed it!

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