Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town, or as the locals affectionately call her, the ‘Mother City’, is a port city on South Africa’s southwest coast and the capital of the Western Cape province. Situated on a peninsula beneath the Table Mountain, Cape Town is an incredibly unique and beautiful coming-together of culture and nature.
Whether you’re riding the cable car to the top of Table Mountain to take in the beautiful views of the bustling city and showstopping national park, taking a boat ride to Robben Island – notorious former prison and UNESCO World Heritage Site, or exploring the 52,800 sq-kms of natural beauty at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Cape Town is guaranteed to provide you with an experience you will never forget.
It is your responsibility to determine whether you require a visitor’s visa to enter South Africa. Please visit the Department of Home Affairs, Republic of South Africa website by clicking here.
In May, the average temperature is 16°C/60°F with daily temperatures averaging a high of 20°C/68°F and a low of 10°C/50°F.
Cape Town is currently experiencing severe water shortages, and strict water usage restrictions are in place. The conference venue, the Westin, has a desalinisation plant – details can be seen in this video.
With Cape Town International Airport being approximately 20km from the city centre, there are a number of ways to get to and from the airport.
Taxis: Metered taxis are widely available at the airport. A trip to the city centre will cost approximately R300-R400 although fees vary. Some taxis charge flat rates while others charge by the kilometre. It is best to agree up front with what the fee will be.
MyCiti: A reliable, cost-effective, and safe transport system, MyCiti buses allow you to commute from the airport, outer suburbs, and the city centre. It is best to have a travel card. These cost a once-off fee of R35 and are available from appointed kiosks and participating retailers. Visit https://myciti.org.za/en/home/
Car rentals: Most big car rental companies can be found just outside the terminal.
Shuttle: Shuttle services are available from the airport and operate 24/7, 365 days of the year. Visit www.airportshuttlecapetown.co.za to pre-book.
The currency of South Africa is the South Africa Rand (ZAR). The symbol is R and cents is c.
Top experiences in Cape Town
Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
Attracting approximately 24 million visitors every year, the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is the most visited destination in all of South Africa. With five shopping districts housing over 450 retail outlets, an abundance of food and drink options, and what can only be described as a small theme park, there’s no wonder people flock here in the millions. It is situated on the Atlantic shore of Table Bay Harbour and is such a myriad of activity and size (123 hectares to be precise), that we struggled to find a photo that captured it all!
Visit www.waterfront.co.za for information.
Table Mountain is one of the New7Wonders of Nature and an incredibly popular destination for tourists visiting Cape Town. You can take the 5-minute cable car ride to the top of the mountain and take in the sweeping view of the city, have a bite to eat at the self-service restaurant, and even have a bit of retail therapy at the gift store. In 2013, to celebrate Table Mountain’s successful inclusion in the New7Wonders of Nature list, a series of giant yellow frames were set up in various locations around Cape Town. Each frame offers a unique perspective of the mountain so make sure you find a frame and have your very own custom photo with Table Mountain!
Visit www.tablemountain.net for information on how to get there, rates, and opening hours.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
Considered to be one of the greatest botanical gardens in the world – and it’s not hard to see why – Kirstenbosch falls under the Cape Floristic Region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is home to 7,000 of South Africa’s 22,000 species of plants. It is situated on the slopes of Table Mountain and includes a broad variety of gardens (fragrance, medical and protea to name a few) and a glasshouse. Let the child within you run free and explore the sculpture exhibition ‘Extinction! Dinosaurs and Cycads’.
Visit www.sanbi.org/gardens/kirstenbosch for information on how to get there, rates, and opening hours.
Robben Island is an island in Table Bay and not only is it a South African National Heritage Site, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The island’s episodic history of being a prison, hospital, and military base, and its symbolic value to the people of South Africa, have contributed to the importance of its preservation by way of an island museum. Its use as a prison ended in the 1990s when the Apartheid regime was rejected by the South African people. Of note, Former President Nelson Mandela was a political prisoner on Robben Island. This island holds significant universal value and for this reason, is a popular choice among visitors.
Visit www.robben-island.org.za for information on how to book trips, rates, and tour times
District Six Museum
District Six Museum is a memorial museum in honour of the 60,000 inhabitants of various race that were forced to leave District Six during the Apartheid regime in the 1970s. Preserving the people of the district, the museum houses handwritten notes, photographs, recordings, old traffic signs, historical declarations, and exhibits about the forced movement. The museum floor is covered with a large map of the district on which former residents have labelled where their homes once stood.
Visit www.districtsix.co.za for information on how to get there, rates, and opening hours.
Cape of Good Hope (Cape Point)
Cape Point is many things; a Natural World Heritage site, a nature reserve within the Table Mountain National Park, and 7,750 hectares of abundant plants and wildlife. It was first sighted by Portugese explorer, Bartolomeu Dias in 1488 and was used as a navigational landmark by sailors. Unfortunately, due to the treacherous nature of the rough waters and rocks, the lighthouse was built in 1859 on Da Gama Peak, Cape Point’s summit, to provide safety to travellers. As the lighthouse was ineffective in the mist, a second lighthouse was built in 1914 at a lower height above sea level. Keep an eye out – it emits three flashes in a group every 30 seconds and revolves. There are two travel options to get to the top – either a long, uphill walk from the car park or a ride on The Flying Duthcman Funicular!
Visit www.capepoint.co.za for information on how to get there, rates, and opening hours.
What’s on in Cape Town – May 2019
Information will be added soon.