Cape Town Destination Guide
Cape Town is Africa's most visited tourist destination and the city beguiles visitors with its resplendent natural beauty. Set against a backdrop of the breathtaking Table Mountain and boasting a stunning natural harbour, Cape Town tourism is a celebration of sun, sand and surf. As the place where the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean converge at Cape Point, the city boasts a unique beach scene famed throughout South Africa. However it's more than just natural beauty which entices millions of visitors to its shores, with Cape Town also the home of some of the country's best dining and entertainment.
The most obvious of the city's many tourist attractions is the imposing Table Mountain, which looms over the downtown district below it. Taking a cable car to the top is one of the most popular things to do in Cape Town, although more adventurous visitors can hire a guide and climb to the summit via Platteklip Gorge. A short drive up the coast, the beach of Boulders on the Cape Peninsula is famous for its sizeable contingent of African penguins, who seem oblivious to tourists as they splash gleefully in the warm waters. Colourful Bo-Kaap is one of the most visited parts of the city, owing in part to the brightly coloured houses in the historic multicultural neighbourhood. Nearby Robben Island was the prison home of former South African President Nelson Mandela for 27 years of his life.
Drenched in sunshine and surrounded by some of the country's finest vineyards, the city is one of the culinary capitals of South Africa. Cape Town restaurants are a celebration of fine food and wine and the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is one of the most scenic settings from which to enjoy it. Enjoy some of South Africa's freshest seafood overlooking the working harbour or head over to cosmopolitan Long Street for an eclectic range of restaurants and bars. De Waterkant is another of the city's fine dining precincts and like Long Street it enjoys a vibrant nightlife, particularly in its trendy, youth-oriented bars.
Where to Stay
Cape Town hotels are abundant thanks to the city's reptuation as one of Africa's most vibrant tourist destinations. Centrally located Long Street houses some of the best options, including the boutique Daddy Long Legs hotel, which boasts rooms decorated by local artists. The nearby Grand Daddy Hotel is another popular hotspot but for some quieter options, you'll need to head out of the city. Trendy Kloof Street in Gardens is an inner-city oasis and if you're looking for a luxurious 5-star experience, you'll find it in the suburb's historic Mount Nelson Hotel. Cape Town accommodation extends to the popular Cape Winelands region and there are plenty of chances to stay just a stone's throw from some of South Africa's finest vineyards.
From hand-made arts and crafts to boutique fashion and world renowned wines, shopping in Cape Town is a popular pastime for locals and tourists alike. The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront boasts numerous shopping outlets but its prices tend to reflect its tourist-friendly location. For a more authentic Cape Town shopping experience, head out to the markets in front of Green Point Stadium, where you can bargain your way to a suitcase full of souvenirs. Fashionable Kloof Street in Gardens is another shopping haven, so don't be afraid to head outside the city centre if you're determined to come home bearing gifts.
Cape Town like a Local
With so much surf and sunshine to enjoy, Cape Town is understandably an 'experience' town. Cape Town weather beckons you to the beach and the stretch between Muizenberg and Kalk Bay offers some picturesque choices, including the pretty beach of St James. The waters on the eastern side of the Cape Peninsula are much warmer than their Atlantic Ocean counterparts, making the coastline the perfect place to swim and surf. It's an also an ideal location to indulge in some kite surfing, with the adventure sport enthusiastically practiced up and down the sheltered False Bay coastline.