Cape Town Holidays

The Mother City is probably the most popular starting point for any visit to South Africa and so it should be! Regularly voted as one of the world's most beautiful cities Cape Town has it all – a fascinating mix of up-to-the-minute vibrancy, memorable history and culture along with spectacular natural beauty.

Brimming with diversity and history, the City Bowl is the heart of city and nestles between Table Mountain, Devil's Peak and Lion's Head. It's here that you'll find the Central Business District with its numerous shops and bars along with some residential suburbs, including Bo-Kaap, the picturesque area at Signal Hill known for its colourful houses and cobbled streets. To the west lies the Atlantic Seaboard which stretches from the V&A Waterfront to Llandudno with some of the hottest beaches in between, including trendy Camps Bay. Further south on the Cape Peninsula you'll find the leafy, affluent suburbs of Constantia and Newlands.

If you haven't hired a car, the city centre itself is compact enough to explore on foot or alternatively open-top bus tours are available, allowing you to hop on and off at various stops, allowing you to choose which attractions you want to explore.

The city's most famous attraction, Table Mountain, is also one of the world's most recognisable landmarks and no visit to Cape Town would be complete without a trip up the 360º rotating cable car to the top. Be warned that cloud cover can affect visibility and may even cause the cable car to be closed. During peak times, queues can be long, so be sure to make an early start! The V&A Waterfront is also a great place to spend time. Once a working port, it has been redeveloped into an exciting shopping and leisure hub with a comprehensive array of retail outlets from international brands to exclusive local boutiques, entertainment venues, world-class hotels and restaurants galore. It's also the main departure point for Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela, amongst others, was imprisoned for 18 years. Tours of the jail buildings are conducted by former political prisoners who tell stories of their experiences and lives since their release. Tours do fill up quickly, so we do recommend booking before you leave home to avoid missing out.

Other notable city sights include City Hall, built in 1905 it is one of the last Victorian-style sandstone structures and it was from the balcony of City Hall that Nelson Mandela addressed the world, following his release from prison. For a respite from city life, head for Company Gardens a public park, which contains a rose garden, Japanese garden, fish pond, aviary and tea garden. Alternatively, Kirstenbosch National Botanic Garden is a heavenly national treasure set on the gentle slopes of Table Mountain and home to around 7,000 plant species. The city also has numerous fascinating museums including District Six Museum, Bo-Kaap Museum, Iziko Slave Lodge, The Springbok Experience and Cape Town Diamond Museum.

The Cape Peninsula is a superb day trip from Cape Town with stunning scenic drives over mountains and along the coast. Be sure to stop at Boulders Beach to visit the penguin colony as well as the naval town of Simon's Town, drop by the Constantia wine growing region and climb to the top of the cliff above the Cape of Good Hope at the southern-most tip to admire the Atlantic vistas.

Aside from the wonderful array of shops at the V&A Waterfront, other key shopping areas include Long Street and nearby Church Street in the Central Business District. There are also lots of different markets such as the City Bowl Market and Hout Bay's weekend market, while popular malls included Canal Walk, Cavendish Square and Lifestle on Kloof.

The city certainly comes alive at night offering a cosmopolitan atmosphere and mix of world-rated restaurants, vibrant music venues, impressive clubs, cutting-edge theatres, bars and township shebeens that promise a party that goes on and on! The cuisine on offer is as diverse as the people who make up this great city. There are numerous restaurants to try in the V&A Waterfront as well as Heritage Square, Greenmarket Square and St George's Mall.

However you spend your time in this wonderful city, you'll discover there are few places on earth as enchanting as Cape Town.

    Why visit Cape Town?
  • World-renowned landmarks
  • Historically fascinating
  • Vibrant neighbourhoods
  • Picturesque beach communities
  • Fantastic climate


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Wide choice of tours and hotels in South Africa. Also includes Namibia, Botswana, Victoria Falls, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Uganda, Mozambique and Madagascar.

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Essential facts about Cape Town
Local Time

GMT +2 hours

Currency

South African Rand

Travel information

Cape Town is approximately 12 hours flight (non-stop) from the UK.

Best time to go

Cape Town enjoys long, warm and dry summers from around October to April. From late April to August its cooler and rain can be expected, particularly around June and July, but there are still many perfect sunny days to be enjoyed.

Travelling with children

Parents travelling with children into or out of South Africa may be asked to show the child’s unabridged full birth certificate, and where only one parent is accompanying, parental or legal consent for the child to travel (eg an affidavit from the other parent, a court order or – if applicable – a death certificate). You should travel with these documents in case you’re asked to provide them. There are other requirements for children travelling unaccompanied or with adults who are not their parents. For more information, contact the South African High Commission www.southafricahouseuk.com or the South African Department of Home Affairs www.dha.gov.za.

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