How to have the ultimate holiday in Cape Town, South Africa
Let me show you how to have the Ultimate holiday in Cape Town. Cape Town in South Africa is the southern-most city on the African continent. It also has the second largest population of any city in South Africa behind Johannesburg. Nearly 4 million people live and work in or around Cape Town. It also ranks as the most visited city in South Africa, with an estimated 3 million tourists in 2019. Cape Town also has the record for the most expensive suburb in South Africa (Clifton) and the most expensive house EVER sold in the country is in Cape Town. Cape Town is a metropolitan city, a modern city and it is full of things to see and do. You can start to see why this city attracts so many.
Cape Town is a big but beautiful city. It lies at the foot of one of the most impressive mountains in the world and for that reason, Cape Town has one of the most stunning city landscapes found anywhere in the world. Table Mountain is a UNESCO World Heritage site and national park. It dominates the city of Cape Town (I have a much more detailed look at Table Mountain and the park further down). There are 2 world class beaches minutes away from the city centre (more on them below as well during my visit). The city also has hundreds of restaurants, hotels and shops for all kinds of budget.
General Trip Information:
I would be staying for 10 nights in Cape Town on this epic trip. I was keen to see and do all that I could while visiting the city. It would be my first time in Cape Town. I wanted to learn about the history and culture. Taste some tradional food and I wanted to explore some of the city’s top attractions.
As always, I have split the blog post into five different sections (things to do, food and drink, transport, budget/costs and Summary).
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THINGS TO DO
Victoria & Albert Waterfront
Make sure your holiday in Cape Town starts the right way. The Victoria and Albert Waterfront Complex is a 300 acre development. Its jam packed with shops, restaurants, tours, boats, street performers and hotels. The V&A Waterfront is also a residential and commercial real estate complex in Cape Town.
The V&A waterfront is situated on the Atlantic Sea in Table Bay Harbour. It is the oldest working harbour in South Africa. If you get there early enough in the mornings you can see the local fisherman bringing in the days catch. Today the V&A waterfront sees an estimated 23 million visitors a year. Mostly South Africans enjoying the local hospitality and scenery of the area.
I really enjoyed my time at the V&A Waterfront. It was a great place to visit and hang out. There was so much going on. Most tour boats leave from the V&A Waterfront each day. There are also many great street performers here. I saw group singing, musical instruments playing and even a young guy doing tricks with a football. It really is a brilliant place to grab some tasty food and the enjoy some shopping. There are 450 retail outlets at the V&A waterfront so I grantee you will find something to bring back home. I certainly did.
- Make sure you leave plenty of time to enjoy the entire complex. It is a huge area and so much to see, grab a drink and some food and really take the time to enjoy the scenery.
- You will get approached by venders trying to sell you stuff, just polity tell them NO and they will move on quickly to someone else.
- Many of the retail outlets in the V&A waterfront are more expensive than elsewhere in the city. If you are looking to save some cash and you need to buy something, make sure it is away from the V&A Waterfront it will more than likely be a few Rand cheaper.
- If you are up to it, there is a lovely walk right along the seacoast from the V&A waterfront to the sea point. It is approx. 4km (one way) and took me about 50 mins to walk. It is a lovely walk with beautiful views out to the Atlantic Ocean.
Maybe the most famous tourist attractions in the entire city. Arguably, the most visited tourist attraction in South Africa. A must visit place for your holiday in Cape Town.
Robben Island is a stretch of land situated approx. 7km (4.3 miles) north of the city of Cape Town. It is a flat island and not much above sea level and gets its name from the Dutch word for seals, which is “robben”. Nelson Mandela who was a political activist was imprisoned on Robben Island for 18 years of his 27-year sentence for opposing the apartheid regime. Later Mr Mandela was released and then became the first democratic president of South Africa in 1994.
There is so much history on this island and so much to learn about I had a brilliant day.
What to expect?
First, you need to catch the only ferries that transport visitors from the V&A waterfront. The ferry ride takes about 20 minutes. There is seating inside and outside on the boat and toilets if needed. Once you get onto the island, guests are separated into small groups. You are then taken on a bus tour of the island. You are taken to the residential areas (where the staff lived), the local medical centre, school and post office on the island. We were then taken to the lime quarry where all the prisoners were put to work for hours a day in the intense African sunshine.
Once the morning part of the tour is over, it was onto the main prison itself. A former inmate and prisoner guides you around the prison and that was fascinating. Being shown around by someone who was imprisoned on the island. Worked there and lived that life for 14 years. Thank you for showing me around and spending the time with us. You are taken to the cells and you get to see the cell that Nelson Mandela called home for 18 years. It was then onto the courtyard and garden before getting back on the ferry and another 20 minute boat ride back.
- Booking in advance is essential. This is one of the biggest attractions in Cape Town so it can get extremely busy.
- Your guides are there to help, if you have any questions at all or want a little more information all you have to do is ask.
- The only ferry to Robben Island is from the V&A Waterfront. Ferry times are printed on your tickets. It’s your responsibility to make sure you are there on time. The boat will leave without you.
- There is a small shop on the island that you stop at for some lunch. If you are not brining your own food (which I do recommend) you will need cash for the shop. Debit cards are not accepted. They sell a small selection of sandwiches, crisps, chocolate bars and soft drinks.
The most hiked/walked trail in Cape Town.
Three peaks dominate the city landscape. (Devils Peek, Table Mountain and Lions Head) Lions Head is the most popular hiking trail of them all as it is one of the most fun and delivers some of the most outstanding views of the city of Cape Town once you reach the summit. The summit is an impressive 669m (2,195ft) above sea level and is part of the Table Mountain National Park.
I booked a guided tour up Lions Head. Our guide (Tauriq) was excellent and I cannot recommend him enough. He is a local guide living in Cape Town all his life; he is able to give some amazing accounts and information about the city while you hike up. We hiked up for sunset and believe me, IT IS A MUST! (I will leave a link to his TripAdvisor Page so you can check him out).
The hike up took us about 1hr to complete. It is a good hiking route, there are times when you will need to scramble (use your hands) to grab and pull you along, there is also a section that uses ladders and chains but I am sure anyone can achieve this hike. As we went to the summit for sunset we had to come down in the dark, it was great. Head torches were provided and we saw about 7 scorpions coming out for their evening dinner. A hike up Lions head is a must to complete your holiday in Cape Town.
- It is not 100% necessary to book a tour. You can get up and down without a guide but if you were a novice hiker, I would recommend, as part of the trail can be difficult to navigate.
- You will need water and bug repellent.
- If you are going up for sunset as many people do. Make sure you have torches for the way down and look out for scorpions, do not stand on them.
District Six Museum
District Six is a former inner city residential area in Cape Town.
It is famous and well known because during the 1970’s just over 60,000 residents were forcibly removed from their homes in the area during the apartheid regime.
The museum was set up and opened to the public in 1994. It serves as a way to remember the events of the apartheid and what district six was before the early 1970’s when residents were forced out. The museum has personal accounts of what it was like to live in district six during the 1970’s by some of its residents and shows pictures and videos of the struggles many people had at the time. The museum also houses many items from district six like street signs, Barbour shop and a real life bedroom of a typical house in the district.
For me, it was a necessary visit while I was in Cape Town. I wanted to immerse myself in the history of Cape Town and really try to understand what times were like back during the apartheid regime. This place really does do a great job at transporting back to the 1970’s. I was fascinated reading the real life accounts of the residents forcibly removed but also what life was like before.
I really enjoyed the talk with a resident. Within the museum, you can opt for a special tour with a resident who lived and worked within district six during the apartheid regime and was one of the 60,000 removed from the area. Although at times his account was harrowing to hear, he told a captivating story that I did not want to end.
If you want to understand some history about Cape Town I really recommend a visit to the district six museum. If you wanted to take in some culture and history on your holiday in Cape Town this is certainly the place.
- The museum is situated in the heart of the city centre so can be accessed on foot (if in the city centre), bus or UBER.
- I highly recommend the tour with a former resident. It only costs a few extra Rand but it will be worth it.
- The museum is not very big. I would certainly make sure you have something else planned that day. I was finished in 2.5hrs. It is worth a visit for sure.
- There are toilets and a small tearoom onsite.
Camps Bay Beach
The most popular beach in Cape Town. An absolute must for your holiday in Cape Town.
Camps Bay Beach is the perfect place to enjoy sun, sand and sea. The beach is massive and during the peak summer months (DEC/JAN/FEB) lifeguards patrol the beach here.
The area of Camps Bay is very affluent and it is one of the most expensive suburbs in Cape Town. Along the beachfront, there are Braai areas, benches, showers, toilets, shops and cafes. It is the most popular; therefore, it can get extremely busy. I spent the day at this beach and by early morning (11am), it was busy. There are sun lounges and umbrellas to rent, just ask for one or two. I did some surfing (I was rubbish) but it was so much fun. relaxed on the beach. I went for a walk right along the beachfront. Grabbed a coffee and took a packed lunch with me. It was a lovely day to be at the beach.
The surroundings are beautiful; you have Lions Head, Table Mountain and the 12 Apostils dominating the skyline around you. It was wonderful and if beach days are your idea of fun then I highly recommend a visit to Camps Bay Beach.
All public transport will stop at Camps Bay, including the intercity bus links, the hop on hop off city tour bus and UBERs will stop here. There are is also plenty of parking if driving but remember if driving, the area can get extremely busy in peak times.
- If you were driving to Camps Bay Beach, I would always get there early. There is plenty of parking but it does get full on busy days (weekends). Remember to carry some cash to give to parking attendants.
- I recommend renting sun lounges and umbrellas. The sun can be extremely intense on the beach, with an umbrella you can get some shade and get out the sun.
- Enjoy the beach! Swim, Surf, paddle and relax. It is the perfect place for that. Remember your sun cream. I took factor 50 and still got burnt!
- Lifeguards do patrol in summer months with shark spotters on hand as well. Just make sure you listen to advice and stay safe at the beach.
Cape Point/Cape of Good Hope
Technically, not actually in Cape Town I know. However, it is an extremely popular day visit from Cape Town. I loved it so much I had to include it!
Cape Point is s stretch of land on the Southeastern corner of the Cape peninsula and runs along to the most southwestern tip of the African continent. Cape Point is part of the Cape of Good Hope, which is the most southwestern tip of the African continent, which is about 30KM away. This area of outstanding natural beauty is a protected area and forms part of the Table Mountain National Park.
Many people, including myself believe that this is the southernmost tip of the African continent but that is NOT true. However, Cape Point is the meeting place for 2 huge strong currents that dominate life in the oceans around the coast of South Africa. The Benguela current, a cold Atlantic ocean Current meets with the warm Agulhas current (Indian Ocean Current). This in turn brings the area alive with so much aquatic wildlife.
What to expect?
To reach Cape Point from Cape Town takes about 1hr, 20mins and as you enter the national park, you will need to pay an entrance fee. The main focal point is the lighthouse that sits on top of the mountain overlooking both ocean currents. Although I could not see with the naked eye the oceans meeting, you can certainly feel and sea the power of the ocean in this area.
There is a train service running from the lighthouse on top of the ridge to the visitor car park. You can also walk/hike up to the lighthouse with a pathway leading all the way to the top. It does get steep in places but there are plenty of resting places.
Toilets, visitor centre and shops are all onsite if you need them. The city hop on, hop off tour bus service always visits Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope if you wanted to get the bus.
It is a stunning natural beautiful area to visit. Many people report-seeing whales out to sea from the lighthouse. If you have the time and in the area, make sure, it is part of your itinerary during your holiday in Cape Town.
- Parking is available but will cost you a small amount for the parking attendants.
- An entrance fee is also required for self-driving in and around the Cape of Good Hope. Cash or Card are accepted.
- I highly recommend a walk up to the lighthouse. The views looking out over the Atlantic ocean are truly stunning
- Remember, Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope are two separate places. There is only 2.3km between them so make sure you visit both. Missing one of these stunning places would be a criminal offence!
Another very popular beach in the Cape Town area, but not for humans.
Boulder Beach is not technically in Cape Town. Boulder Beach is approx. 42KM South from Cape Town city centre but again it is an extremely popular day visit from Cape Town.
As I mentioned above, this beach is popular with visitors and tourists but humans are NOT allowed on the beach. Approx. 3000 African Penguins call Boulder Beach their home. These critically endangered birds found along a few stretches of beaches in South Africa and Namibia and found no-where else in the world. It is a big tourist attraction as it offers only one of few places in the world to get as close to these birds as you can.
People are banned from getting onto the beach but you can get extremely close to the penguins here. When I visited, they certainly did not disappoint. There were noisy, active and just being extremely cute as penguins do.
Boulder Beach is set in a residential area, so do not be alarmed or think you are in the wrong place. There is on the road parking around the beach area and the parking attendants will help you find a space and park the car. You can pay your entrance fee with cash or card to witness these very special animals. I totally recommend for your holiday in Cape Town.
- Parking is available but will cost you a small amount for the parking attendants.
- An entrance fee is also required to enter the beach area. Cash or Card are accepted.
- Make sure you check out all the little walks and boardwalks around the beach area. You never know what you might stumble upon.
- There are toilets and a small gift shop onsite.
Paragliding (Signal Hill)
This was something I was trying for the very first time.
For a truly unforgettable and breath taking views of Cape Town, there was only one thing to do, take to the sky. Paragliding in Cape Town is extremely popular. They have the best weather and climate for paragliding and due to rugged mountains surrounding the city; they have the perfect take off spots.
Most of the paragliding teams use two locations in Cape Town, Lions Head and Signal Hill. My take off point would be Signal Hill and the company I chose was Sky Wings Cape Town. I have linked their TripAdvisor Page so you can check them out.
The day before the flight, they messaged me to say the flight would be taking place. They also messaged me the location details (as I mentioned there are two depending on weather conditions). I got an UBER up to signal hill from my accommodation and meet with my pilot. He was great, friendly, and super cool and explained how the flight was going to work. Before I knew it, I was strapped in and we were running toward the edge of the cliff.
It was an awesome flight over Cape Town. You get some great views and it is so quiet up there. We even had time to do some turns and tricks. It felt like I was on a rollercoaster. The flight was soon ending and it was time to land, we landed at sea point right on the beachfront. If you want to try something amazing during your holiday in Cape Town. This is certainly it.
I highly recommend this activity. Remember my mantra, “when was the last time you did something for the first time?”
- Pre-booking is essential. I would always book this activity in advance before travel to Cape Town.
- I highly recommend getting an UBER or driving up to signal hill/Lions Head for the take off. You can walk it, but it is a fair distance and all up hill in intense heat.
- I paid R300 for the photos and video package. This is an added extra and not included in the price at booking.
Cage Diving with Sharks
This is something that never EVER gets old. Whenever I am in South Africa and get the opportunity, I just have to take it.
Cage diving with sharks is something that I love to do whenever I can. Seeing as I was going to be in South Africa for 10 nights, I had the time to do it again.
The coast of South Africa is one of the best shark diving locations in the world. It has one of the highest density of sharks anywhere in the world and even has a nickname, called “shark ally”. We would be heading to the largest cape fur seal colony in the world and it is these seals the sharks hunt.
For this dive, I choose Apex Shark Expeditions. They are based in Simons Town. This is in False Bay and about 45mins from city centre of Cape Town. As part of my package I booked, I was picked up from my accommodation and taken right to the boat. I meet the captain and his crew. We signed the paperwork and it was time to set sail on the open sea.
It took around 20mins to reach Seal Island. It was so smelly. Cape Fur Seals stink!
What to Expect?
We hang around a little and watched the seals and then we headed out into the ocean to anchor and see if we could attract any sharks. The crew baited the water and got things set up. We got our health and safety briefing and then we got our wetsuits, googles and weight belts. We got spilt into 2 different groups meaning 4 people each would be in the cage at the same time. After literally less then 5mins our first bronze whaler shark or Copper Shark as they are known appeared.
It was a big one. About 3m long and a little nervous at first. It circled the boat checking us out. We got into the cage and the water was cold at first, but once you were in it was OK. Our copper shark came close but was still a little nervous, then a second shark appeared and now both sharks started to compete for the food on offer. They began putting on an excellent show for us. They started thrashing about, bumping into the cage and banging into each other. All this activity started to attract other sharks.
Our group had to then get out the cage and allow the other four to get in. We got out, had a little break, some food, a drink, and got a little warmer up on deck watching the sharks in the water. I counted seven copper sharks now around the boat all competing for the food on offer.
It was our turn again to get into the cage, out of the four of us only two of us got back in. There were sharks everywhere. It was fantastic, I loved it. It was time to start packing up as the day was ending.
I know this activity is not for everyone. Some people I talk to think I am crazy, others agree it would be awesome. However, what I can say is that I love this activity when visiting South Africa.
The water is cold. It can be a challenge to stay under the water to view the sharks. You really have to hold on and it can be tiring. I was knackered by the time I got back to my accommodation. It can also be a long day, I got picked up at 7AM that morning but I have been picked up at 5AM and 6AM before depending on weather conditions and locations of the dive.
I did plan to make a video to share of the experience so I could prove it is not as bad as people think. I did record a video. As I was getting out the cage in the final dive, the clip on my GoPro broke with the clip and camera falling into the ocean! I was gutted. Nevertheless, these things do happen.
Despite all of that, I loved it. I will still do it repeatedly. I must also shout out the crew. They were fantastic. So passionate about shark conservation and the protection of the species. They were thoughtful, helpful and fun. If you wanted to make it part of your holiday in Cape Town follow this link.
- Pre-booking is essential. I would always book this activity in advance before travel to Cape Town.
- I recommend taking food and drink with you. They do offer small snacks and drinks on board during the activity.
- DO NOT LOOSE YOUR CAMERA!
Possibly the No.1 thing to do on your holiday in Cape Town . Reach the summit of Table Mountain.
Table Mountain dominates the city skyline. It does not matter where in the city you are, you can see Table Mountain. The mountain is flat topped and has an elevation of 1084m (3,558ft). It is approx. the same height as Mount Snowdon in the Wales, United Kingdom. The flat top of the mountain gave early settlers the idea it looked like a table, hence its name today.
Table Mountain is part of the Table Mountain National Park and its main feature is the flat plateau at the top, nearly 2 miles wide and flanked by impressive cliffs. These cliffs are used for abseiling and rock climbing, another great activity while in Cape Town.
There are a few different ways to reach the summit of Table Mountain.
The most popular are the many hiking trails surrounding the mountain. The most popular is Platteklip Gorge. It is an easy accessible route and gives direct access to the summit. It takes around 1 – 3 hours depending on fitness levels. Be careful in peak summer, there is no shade on this trail.
There is also the famous Table Mountain Cable Way. A cable car that takes visitors to the summit and back. Most people hike up the mountain and get the cable car back down. Of course, the cable car will cost and a return journey cost R320 for one adult. Hiking costs your time and energy.
reaching the summit
I wanted to hike up the mountain. I did some research and found a local guide who was offering something a little different. A route that many people miss as it is a route not to be completed if you do not know the area. This means, it is mostly done by the locals. It also meant it was a very quiet route with not many people.
I booked it before I left for Cape Town. If you want to do the same for your holiday in Cape Town.
I met with my guide early one morning (he picked me up from my accommodation). It was a 7AM start to hike the mountain and it was a cloudy, overcast start to the day. I was hoping the cloud would break up as we hiked. We started the hike on the trail known as “India Vestra”.
It was loads of fun. It was challenging in places. You had to use your hands, knees and feet to pull yourself up. At times, I would even say we were scrambling to get to the top. I am glad I had a guide who knew the route, it can be disorientating. There were times when I needed to use ladders and literally jump from rock to rock. It was a real great route and I enjoyed my morning. It was a shame the entire hike was under cloud cover we did not get the views I had hoped. Once at the summit, I was wet, knackered and chilly. Therefore, had a coffee and little rest then got the cable car back down. However, I knew this would not be the last time I would be at the summit of Table Mountain that week.
reaching the summit, second time lucky?
As I mentioned, the first time I reached the summit of Table Mountain the weather was not on my side. It remained cloudy and overcast the entire hike up and down.
Travel sometimes is all about taking opportunities when they arise and being able to change and adapt. On my last day in Cape Town I woke up to an overcast morning. However, still hot. I went out for my final day, on the way back to my accommodation there was a few breaks in the cloud and it seemed the sun was burning the clouds back a little. Around 6pm I was looking for somewhere to eat, my last meal in Cape Town. Should I visit a favourite restaurant? Should I visit somewhere new? On my way out to find some food, I looked up at Table Mountain and there was not a cloud in the sky. I knew this was my last opportunity.
I scrapped plans for food, jumped in an UBER and headed for the Table Mountain. It was already 18:20 so I could not hike up as it would be getting dark and the last cable car down was 21:00hrs. So, I grabbed a return ticket, queued for my spot on the cable car and finally headed up to the summit of Table Mountain for the second time.
The views were spectacular. The clouds were forming the famous “table cloth” over the mountain as well. It could not have been better. At the summit, there are pathways for visitors. Toilets and a small café. That was where I had my last meal in Cape Town and what a place and view it was. On my final night, I got to see the sunset from the summit of Table Mountain.
- You do not have to hike up Table Mountain as I mentioned. There is a cable car system. However, always remember. It is only open when the weather allows. In addition, you will need to remember what time the last car down will be, you would not want to be stuck at the top.
- The cable car can get extremely busy in peak times. Pre-booking a ticket is advised.
- The most popular way to the summit is to hike the many routes up and down table Mountain. Do your research. Some routes are harder than others are.
- Many guides and tours will add a hike up Table Mountain. If you are unsure and want to make friends (as I did), then booking a guided tour is always better and safer. It will allow you to make the most of your holiday in Cape Town.
FOOD & DRINK
South Africa is a nation that like their meat. Most dishes are meat based, however that does not rule out vegetation or vegan options. In fact, I saw many veggie and vegan substitutes on many menus, which took me by surprise.
I think the thing to remember is South Africa has some of the world’s best game and they certainly make use of it in their restaurants. It is common to see Ostrich, Kudu, Springbok and Buffalo on a menu. I certainly tried some while I was in Cape Town. That said, they also have common meat like Pork and Chicken.
Cape Town certainly caters for any foodie. I found cuisine from all over the world. Italian, Japanese, Turkish, Chinese and Thai to name but a few. The choices are endless.
Drinks are the same. You can find the same drinks from all over the world in South Africa. As you know, I love nothing better than a good cup of tea and thankfully South Africa make one of my favourites. Rooibos tea. They also have the best fruit smoothies and shakes.
Here is a little snapshot of some of the dishes and drinks I had while in Cape Town.
If you are looking for something a little more traditional then I do recommend these tasty little treats.
I do not like this food. This means unfortunately I do not have a picture to show. I did not buy any but many South Africans love Biltong. Biltong is dried, cured meat. It ranges from all different cuts and animals. It also comes in ranges of flavours from spicy to original. You will find this stuff everywhere.
This is a type of sausage. The main source of meat is beef, but they can contain a mixture of beef, lamb and chicken. A boerewors must contain at least 90% meat, which is why they are more expensive than normal sausages.
One of my favourite desserts. I had it a few times while in Cape Town. Malva pudding is a sweet dessert, often served after a main meal. It is a cake sponge texture and commonly made with apricot jam. You have it hot and it served with custard or ice cream.
If you do not try anything while in South Africa, I urge you to grab some koeksisters. You will not regret it. Koeksisters is normally served for breakfast on a Sunday. Made from fried dough (much like a dounut), infused with honey or syrup, and coated with coconut shavings.
Getting around Cape Town is very easy. Driving is easy. It is worth noting that South African’s drive on the same side of the road as we do in UK. That makes things straightforward.
However, if you are a little worried about driving and do not want the hassle of driving a car then I highly recommend using UBER. It is wide spread in Cape Town and the App is super simple to use. I used UBER for the entire time I was in Cape Town and it never let me down. The price was also reasonable, drivers always on time and nearby. I liked using the App as taxi drivers are well known for trying to rip off tourists by asking much more for rides. With UBER it already agrees the price of the fair before your driver even turns up so you can be ripped off.
Most of the tours and day trips included pick up and drop off which was arranged before travel online. So these prices were included on the tours. It just makes things easier and quicker. It meant I could really relax and take things a little easy on this trip.
The Transport network in Cape Town is good. Buses, taxis and even the train network are OK. However, that cannot be said for all of South Africa so please make sure you do your homework. If you want a cheaper transport option around Cape Town, I would recommend the hop on/hop off tour buses. These buses drive around the city, stopping at all the well-known places. You can buy day tickets, which allow travel on any route all day. It is perfectly safe and a cheaper option then UBER if you would prefer. Check out the tickets here.
Always an interesting subject and like always I will be up front and honest with all my costs for this trip in Cape Town.
South Africa is a relatively cheap country to visit from the UK. Cape Town is not the cheapest city in South Africa due to its popularity. However, there are a few things you can do make sure your money goes further. I have a few tips below.
Here is a full breakdown of all my costs on this trip:
The total cost of this trip £2,157. That was all costs including spending money, flights, all activities, food and drink and accommodation for one adult for 10 nights.
The cheapest items in Cape Town is food and drink, IF you stay away from the built-up tourist areas like Camps Bay and V&A Waterfront. I would also recommend buying and cooking your own food in half board accommodation like I did.
MONEY SAVING TIPS:
- As I mentioned, the biggest money saving tip would be. If you are watching the pennies. DO NOT BUY STUFF from the tourist areas. Like Camps Bay, Table Mountain or V&A Waterfront. For example, I brought a fridge magnet as a gift for my mum (I always buy a magnet on my travels for her). At the V&A Waterfront, it was ZAR150. I know that does not seem a lot. However, I found a little shop not far from my accommodation that sold all kinds of stuff, I got the same magnet in their for ZAR75.
- I would recommend buying a day pass on the hop on/hop off tour bus. It stops at all the major tourist destinations along four different routes from as little as £12 per day. If buses were not really your thing, the next best thing would be using UBER. GET YOUR BUS TICKETS HERE.
- Food and Drink are some of the cheapest items in South Africa. If you looking at low costs then I would highly recommend booking a half board accommodation or even somewhere, you do all the cooking. I know it takes away the holiday feel a little but it will save you a ton of money. An average meal in a restaurant will cost anywhere between ZAR100 (£4.80) to ZAR350 (£17).
- One of the most expensive aspects of travel is getting to and from your destination. Flights can be a lot of money. There can also be huge differences between costs depending on who you book with. DO YOUR RESEARCH! Make sure you check one or two different websites. NEVER go with the first deal or site you see no matter how good the deal might look. Shopping around is always better. Here are a few different websites I use: Check them out for the best deals.
Like I have mentioned before. This was NOT my first time in South Africa. However, it was my first time in Cape Town.
Cape Town is a stunning city. With history and culture. Some of the friendliest people I have had the pleasure of meeting. Great food and amazing weather. What is there NOT to love? I can’t recommend adding a holiday in Cape Town to your travel plans next time around.
What made this trip special was the people of Cape Town and the people of South Africa. I know you would have heard how violent the country is and how unsafe it is and you would be right, in certain areas. However, is this not true about most massive cities in the world? There are certainly places in London or New York I would NOT dream about walking through on my own. Cape Town is no different in this way. I spent a lot of time on this trip walking around the city. It was never a problem the entire time. I would also like to mention how friendly people are in South Africa in general. A stranger may ask how you are, or (How’s it) as you walk past each other and make eye contact. This is perfectly normal.
Of course, do your homework. Make sure you know the areas that are safe and not safe and make sure, if you are on your own. Someone knows where you are and what you might be doing. But surely you do it even in your own home town.
Nothing is ever a rush or no one seemed to be in a rush for anything. It is OK to be Gay, it is OK to be White, and it is OK to be YOU in Cape Town. (Again, this is not the case for all of South Africa).
I thought it might be a good idea to post all the places I visited and mentioned above so you can get the idea on how big this city and country is.
Cape Town is a special place. It appears different to the other places I have been in South Africa, not that those other places were bad. Just different. It feels modern, charming and inviting. Cape Town also retains its culture and history. Cape Town has been effected hard by the apartheid regime and it is evident no matter where in the city you go. From the Port of Cape Town to Bo-Kaap, apartheid has a lingering hold on the city.
One thing is clear, Cape Town is a joyful city. A friendly city with people that want to show their city off. Local people are proud of their city and it’s history and that is why I fell in love with Cape Town. During this trip I felt like a local, I was treated like a local. I wasn’t treated as a tourist and for that Cape Town will never be forgotten.
During this epic trip I climbed 2 mountains, travelled to the end of Africa, saw the endangered African Penguins and swam with sharks. I ate stunning food and met some amazing people. What could be better then that?
Until next time…