Overlooked by the spectacular heights of Table Mountain and surrounded by stunning beaches, lush farmland and superb vineyards, Cape Town has established itself as South Africa’s cultural capital and as one of the most vibrant city destinations on the continent. This is a city where African, European and Asian cultures meet in a multi-ethnic rainbow reflected in its music, architecture and visual arts, as well as in its amazing choice of cuisines. Cape Town is great for partying as well, with a year-round calendar of festivals, parades and world-class sporting events.
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Visitor Information Centre - City Centre
Pinnacle Building, corner of Burg Street and Castle Street, Cape Town
+27 21 487 6800
You cannot help but be impressed by the splendour of Cape Town’s location, with the cloud-capped crag of Table Mountain overlooking the skyscrapers and historic buildings of the compact city centre.
For many visitors, the cable-car trip to the top and the view from the summit is the high point of a Cape Town holiday. For others, the focal point of the city is the V&A Waterfront, a rejuvenated area of docklands that is now home to some of Cape Town’s best hotels, restaurants, bars and shopping. Here you can see families of seals sunbathe within a few feet of smart café terraces.
The city rises from the waterfront to the slopes of Table Mountain, with posh residential suburbs – including the ultra-exclusive enclave of Constantia – overlooking the downtown area.
Cape Town has much more to offer than city life. There are excellent beaches just a short distance from the city centre, at spots such as Clifton, Camps Bay and Hout Bay south of the centre and Milnerton and Sunset Beach to the north.
Only a short distance to the south lie the wilds of the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve – home to a range of wildlife – culminating in the dramatic scenery of Cape Point. Meanwhile, just a short drive from the city and its airport lie the lush vineyards and pretty colonial-era towns of the Winelands region, where some of South Africa’s finest vintages are produced.
Cape Town also has a mellow climate that makes it attractive all year, with plenty of sunshine during the winter months making it particularly attractive to visitors from the Northern Hemisphere.
Cape Town has an amazing array of things to do and see, from historic buildings, museums and art galleries to nature reserves, wine tastings, boat trips and horseback riding. Discover the different quarters of the city, and be sure to take some time to explore the beautiful natural surroundings, as well.
Cape of Good Hope & Cape Point
Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
Table Mountain Aerial Cableway
Two Oceans Aquarium
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
Gold of Africa Museum
District Six Museum
Koopmans-De Wet House
Slave Lodge Museum
Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa
Old Biscuit Mill
Places to eat and drink range from excellent seafood restaurants to grills that serve wild and farmed game such as eland, antelope and gazelle. There are also several good restaurants serving authentic African dishes, as well as eateries serving Asian-influenced Cape Malay food. For outdoor dining, head for the V&A Waterfront.
The Famous Butcher’s Grill
Savoy Cabbage Restaurant
Quay 4 Tavern
Shimmy Beach Club
Diemersdal Farm Eatery
Kloof Street House
With its clement climate, which makes sitting outdoors pleasant for much of the year, Cape Town has a lively café scene. Most cafés are in fact also bar-restaurants, serving full meals and alcohol as well as tea, coffee, soft drinks and snacks.
Bean There Coffee Company
Truth Coffee Roasting
Bootlegger Sea Point
Cape Town has the most exciting nightlife in South Africa. Long Street, in the city centre, is the city’s main nightlife strip and is packed with music bars, late night cafés and dance clubs. The V&A Waterfront also boasts several excellent dining, entertainment and live jazz venues.
Grand West Casino
Shimmy Beach Club
Cape Town Comedy Club
Whether you are looking for high fashion, designer brands, casual clothes, colonial-era antiques or original arts and crafts, Cape Town is a shopper’s delight. Different streets and districts offer diverse items and shopping experiences, so be sure to read on to discover the best shopping around the city.
Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
Kloof Street and Long Street
Pan African Market
African Arts and Crafts
Victoria Wharf Shopping Mall
Willowbridge Shopping Centre
Tyger Valley Centre
The Woodstock Gin Company
Passport / Visa
Citizens of multiple world countries do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days. These include: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Mozambique, Namibia, Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, Russia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Citizens of a further 28 countries do not require a visa for stays of up to 30 days: Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Gabon, Guyana, Hong Kong, Hungary, Jordan, Lesotho, Macau, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Peru, Poland, Seychelles, South Korea, Swaziland, Thailand, Turkey.
For nationals of countries not listed above, visa requirements apply. Please contact your local consulate for further details on required documentation.
Travellers aged less than 18 years old must provide a birth certificate complete with both parents' details and, if flying with only one of the parents, a parental consent statement signed by the other parent.
Best Time to Visit
Seasons are reversed in Cape Town as opposed to the Northern Hemisphere (i.e. Europe & the USA).
The most popular time to visit is summer, from December to February, when prices are the highest and it's advisable to book in advance. These months are perfect for a beach holiday, and offer the hottest weather (around 22 °C).
For lower prices, the shoulder seasons are also good: in March-May it's autumn, the wine season, when you can seize the opportunity to try out the best from Cape Town's wineries; in September-November it's spring, which is the perfect season for a hiking holiday, with flowers in bloom everywhere.
Winter comes between June and August and is the low season, with colder temperatures (around 15 °C), but it still has something special to offer: from July to September, it is possible to admire migratory whales on the coastline.
Cape Town International Airport
Cape Town International Airport is located 20 kilometres (13 miles) from the city centre and is easily accessible from all parts of the city. Shuttle buses connect the airport with the city centre and the trip takes about 45 minutes. Tickets are sold at kiosks inside the terminal.
Licensed taxis operate from a rank outside the terminal and take 25-30 minutes to central Cape Town. Luxury hotels also offer chauffeur-driven transfers to and from the airport, bookable through the hotel. Airport shuttle bus tickets are also available from the Cape Town Tourism Visitor Centre in the arrivals hall.
Address: Private Bag X9002, Cape Town International Airport, Cape Town
Phone: +27 21 937 1200
The safest and easiest way to get around town by public transport is the Cape Town Explorer, the city’s official sightseeing bus services, which stop at all the city’s main attractions. You can get on and off as often as you wish, and tickets can be bought on board or at the Cape Town Tourism Visitor Centres in the city centre and the V&A Waterfront. First bus leaves the V&A Waterfront at 9.30 and buses then leave every 45 minutes until 15.00.
Public buses, privately-run minibuses and commuter trains operate in and around Cape Town but if you value your comfort, safety and security using them is not a good idea. Minibus safety standards are poor, petty theft is common on buses and trains and violent crime is not uncommon on trains.
Cape Town Explorer:
Phone: +27 21 511 6000
Taxis are plentiful and affordable. They cannot be flagged down on the street, but operate from ranks at the V&A Waterfront and elsewhere in the city centre or can be booked by phone from any hotel, café, restaurant or bar. A list of recommended companies is available from all Cape Town Tourism Visitor Information Centres. Find one at:
Phone: +27 21 448 4444
Postal services within and from South Africa are cheap and efficient. Valuables or important documents should be sent by registered post.
Find one at:
Address: 154 Loop Street, Cape Town
Phone: +27 21 424 7477
Address: Shop 6, Central Building, 6 Central Square, Pinelands, Cape Town
Phone: +27 21 531 3819
Country code: + 27
Area code: 021