Cape Town is a port city on the southwest coast of South Africa. We visited Cape Town for the first time at the start of our Round the World Trip and it was an incredible experience.
In recent years, more and more people are visiting Cape Town. We couldn’t agree more that it is an excellent destination and we realized why people like to visit and live in Cape Town so much.
During our 4 days visit to Cape Town, we realized that the city has a lot to offer, both culturally and gastronomically and that it is a very safe city.
10 reasons to visit Cape Town
Easy access to Cape Town
Cape Town is served by Cape Town International Airport, which is the second-largest in South Africa. It serves as a hub for South African Airways, but most major international airlines have scheduled flights, allowing easy access to the city. It can also serve as an entry into the country for those wishing to explore more areas of South Africa.
We opted for a TAAG route from Lisbon, with a stopover in Luanda and the final destination in Cape Town. Our option was based on the promotional price we found for the dates we wanted, but we do not recommend the choice unless the price is really low. The quality of the service, the attention to the customer, the poor state of conservation of the interior of the aircraft and the low quality of the Luanda airport are negative points that will make us ponder in the future.
Connections between the airport and Cape Town can be made by bus, taxi or Uber. We opted for Uber, as it gives us more security. Upon arrival at the airport, there are dozens of taxi drivers and drivers who will offer you their services. In our opinion, you should refuse these offers and use the Uber app. These services are well organized and there are specific areas for picking up passengers. You just have to follow the instructions that the app gives you.
Uber in South Africa is affordable. The trip to the city takes 20 minutes and costs about 200 ZAR.
If you don’t plan to use roaming in South Africa, you can buy a sim card for your mobile phone or hotspot right after baggage claim. There are two kiosks from two different operators. Prices may vary according to existing promotions and your needs. We opted for Vodacom as they have greater 4G coverage and after visiting Cape Town, we were going to continue our trip to other areas of South Africa.
The friendliness, the art of hospitality and the security
During our trip to Cape Town, we realized how friendly the South Africans are. In all the places we visited, we were well received with friendliness and with the dedication of a people who like to receive and make sure that we feel good.
In addition to friendliness, we demystified the idea that Cape Town could be an unsafe city for travelers. We never felt threatened nor were we approached by anyone with malicious intent. The only precaution we had was not to travel on foot at night to more dangerous areas of the city or with less movement. In this case, we used Uber to get around, as it is a very economical means of transport. Like other cities, it is only necessary to comply with general safety precautions when traveling.
Social change and sustainability projects
When visiting Cape Town we had the opportunity to stay at The Backpack. This hostel is an accredited fair trade establishment that invests in people and communities, providing relaxed and meaningful travel experiences.
At a time when many places in the world are experiencing excessive tourism, it is important that sustainable and responsible initiatives are applied to accommodation. The Backpack is no exception. In addition to projects with the community and fair trade, this hostel has a Green Traveler policy and the Pack for a Purpose. These initiatives help to reduce the impact on the environment and contribute to local communities.
The Backpack offers private or shared accommodation. This hostel offers comfort and a relaxed atmosphere, ideal for enjoying your visit to Cape Town. The decor is modern and has several pleasant outdoor spaces, including a swimming pool for warmer days.
Continental breakfast is served at the bar and can be enjoyed on the terrace.
As usual in hostels, The Backpack is ideal for increasing your network, interacting with locals or with other travelers. Free walking tours are also available.
Book your stay in The Backpack here
The gastronomy in Cape Town
During our visit to Cape Town, we found that the best way to get to know the gastronomy of a city is to do a walking food tour. In addition to getting to know the best places and the best dishes, we also get to know the history of the city and some of its areas.
In Cape Town, we made this walking food tour with Eat Like a Local Cape Town.
Rupesh was our guide, who for 3 hours took us to several hidden gems of Cape Town to experience the best of local cuisine. In an informal and relaxed atmosphere, we had the opportunity to taste from the best Pastel de Nata (Portuguese custard tart) in the City, meet a lady who teaches cooking classes at her home and even do a tasting of gins produced in the city. All while strolling through some of the most fantastic places.
The Eat Like a Local Cape Town itinerary is focused on gastronomy, but we also learned a lot about the history of Cape Town and South Africa, as well as receiving many tips from other places and restaurants to visit.
If you are thinking of visiting Cape Town, we recommend doing this tour with Eat Like a Local Cape Town.
Book your tour with Eat Like a Local Cape Town here
South African cuisine is very rich, and the food in Cape Town, with all its historical influences, is very interesting. There are many places in the city where you can find and try local products.
One of the places we visited was the V&A Water Front. It is a complex next to the marina, which in addition to shopping and entertainment has the V&A Food Market. Here, you can have a meal or buy local products.
Bo-Kaap is the famous colorful house neighborhood in Cape Town, which was once where the Cape-Malays lived. Over the years the gastronomic culture has grown and today it is much more than a neighborhood with colorful houses. It is a wonderful place that exudes the city’s culture.
The mountains around Cape Town
Cape Town is surrounded by mountains that create a special atmosphere in the city. They also allow for wonderful views.
The best-known mountain is Table Mountain. You can climb the mountain by taking a hike to the top or using the cable car.
The cable car price is 200 ZAR (one way) or 360 ZAR (return).
The cable car gives access to Table Mountain National Park through the arrival tower, where there is a store. The views from the top of the mountain to both the city and the sea are fantastic. When we visited, we chose to go at the end of the day to watch the sunset.
Access times vary throughout the year, so before planning your visit, be sure to check them here
The only place in the world with Atlantic and Indian beaches
Being the only place in the world where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet, you can bathe in the Atlantic beaches in the morning and surf in the Indian beaches in the afternoon.
In Camps Bay (beach on the Atlantic side) the views are breathtaking, with the 12 apostles and the mountains as a backdrop. Here, the atmosphere and scenery are incredible. The extensive white sand is the ideal place for those who like the beach. For those who like travel photography, like us, it is an excellent opportunity to take good photos.
When we visited Camps Bay, we took the opportunity to do a photo session with Monica from FlipFlopTree. With many years of experience, Monica focuses on travel photoshoots, helping you to record your travel moments in professional photos. In addition to that, she is also a lover of travel.
It was our first professional photoshoot and it couldn’t have gone any better. The relaxed and informal atmosphere allowed us to be ourselves and record our moments together. We loved the final result and it was great to have the opportunity to do it with a professional.
Book your photoshoot with FlipFlopTree here
On the Indian side, Muizenberg is a famous beach with colorful wooden houses. It is also a great center for surf lovers and is well worth a visit.
Visiting a protected African Penguin colony
In Simon’s town, about 25km from Cape Town, there is a beach (Boulders Beach) that has something special. A few years ago, a colony of African penguins moved there.
This endangered species is now protected by the national parks and can be visited by anyone who passes by. The visit allows you to be very close to the penguins, but also to contribute to the conservation project.
Cultural Events in the City
Cape Town is a place with a very visible cultural and artistic movement. Throughout the city, there are cultural events and art galleries.
On the first Thursday of each month, First Thursdays are on. This cultural event brings together artists and makes everyone in the city come to the street, visit the galleries, eat street food and listen to music.
Visit the Cape of Good Hope, the place where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Indian Ocean
For us who are Portuguese, since the days of school that Cape of Good Hope has been much talked about, due to the history of Portuguese colonization and discoveries. Having the opportunity to visit it was almost like confirming that it did exist.
Apart from that, the place is imposing and the views around are breathtaking. It is worth the climb to the viewpoint. This place is inside a natural park with other points of interest.
Explore the region’s wine culture
Near Cape Town, there are two of South Africa’s main wine districts: Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. This region is considered one of the largest wine producers in the country and is just a 40-minute drive from Cape Town.
The areas are close, and it is possible to visit both areas in one day, but we recommend that you stay at least one night. That area has a relaxing atmosphere and being able to wake up in the middle of the vineyards is a unique experience.
We visited the city of Stellenbosch and the surrounding vineyards. It is a pleasant city to take a walk through the center and choose one of the modern places to dine.
Around the city, you will find wineries. The city is surrounded by mountainous formations, creating landscapes of the vineyards with the mountains as a backdrop. There are farms that are dedicated only to wine production, but there are others that already have accommodations and restaurants.
We chose Mont Angelis to stay for two nights. This establishment is a small complex with a few individual houses surrounded by vineyards and fantastic landscapes in the middle of the mountains. The decoration is great and each of the rooms has a fully equipped kitchen and a fireplace for the coldest nights. Each of the units is spacious and has a balcony to enjoy the views or even to enjoy the barbecue (braai), so typical of South Africa.
Book your stay in Mont Angelis here
There is also a swimming pool and an outdoor area to enjoy the warm days in that peaceful environment.
To do a wine tasting we went to Dornier Wines. The venue is a bar in the modern cellar building. The service and the location are very well maintained and the service is excellent. With each tasting, an explanation of each wine is given, which allowed us to learn more about South African wine culture.
Cape Town Tips
- Public transport may not be the best way to get around and to visit the areas around the city we recommend that you rent a car. Driving in South Africa is easy, traffic is smooth and safe. Driving is done on the right side. If you’re not used to it, Cape Town can be a good place to try it out (that’s what we did).
- Within the city, there are areas where you can walk without problems, even at night. If you are in any doubt that the place where you will be passing is safe, you can always use Uber which is a safe and economical option for traveling within Cape Town.
During our visit to Cape Town (and indeed, all of South Africa) we were always surprised by what we were discovering. The safety, conservation, and care in each place we visited, the gastronomic and natural diversity, were undoubtedly reasons that positively surprised us and make us want to return to visit this city that has so much to offer.
- Order your Revolut card - the only card we use while traveling
- Book your flight to Cape Town with Momondo or with Skyscanner
- Rent your car with RentalCars
- Book your hotel in Cape Town with Booking
- We recommend Lonely Planet Cape Town and the Garden Route guide
- Chose your travel insurance with Iati (with 5% off) or with World Nomads