Cape Town Travel and Accommodation Guide
Table of Contents
Whether you are backpacking across the rugged scenery or travelling in luxury while staying in one of Cape Town's top-notch holiday villas, there is much to explore in our Mother City for everyone.
With the majestic Table Mountain in the background, pristine beaches, gourmet restaurants and a relaxed atmosphere, it is not surprising that Cape Town is a preferred travel destination the world over. Discover the charm of our Mother City that makes it a top pick for the most discerning travellers.
Cape Town is the provincial capital of Western Cape. It is one of the most beautiful and attractive areas for tourists in the country. Packed with breathtaking scenery and exhilarating adventures, visitors can spend weeks exploring the fun things to do in Cape Town—a cosmopolitan city that is a melting pot of global cultures.
From world-class wines, exquisite landscapes and adrenaline-pumping adventure thrills, read our travel guide to unravel the magic of the historic city of Cape Town and discover luxury accommodation catering to discerning travellers, like yourself.
What to See and Do in Cape Town
No travel guide about Cape Town can do justice to this exotic city that recently featured in Fodor's Go List of 2017. Cape Town, with its medley of culture and breathtaking natural beauty, is one of the top tourist destinations in the world.
It has much to offer to every kind of traveller that embarks on a holiday to discover this gem. Let us start with the common must-visit sights in the city that no traveller should miss:
Towering majestically over Cape Town, Table Mountain beckons every traveller to pay a visit to the most iconic landmark in South Africa, offering panoramic views of the city from a height of 3,500 feet above sea level.
The flat top mountain forms a part of the Table Mountain National Park that is known for its diversity of plant and animal life. The park has open access except for a few points—Cape of Good Hope, Boulders Beach, and Silvermine—where one needs to pay a small entry fee.
There are several hiking trails that venture up Table Mountain. You could also take the famous cableway up the mountain to enjoy an unparalleled view of the city with a cold beverage from the restaurant at the top.
The hike up Lion's Head is also popular tourists and locals alike, offering spectacular views of the city as you walk up the peak.
Another attraction, the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, covers 36 hectares of protected land. Visitors can stroll through the gardens bursting with vibrant flora and fauna, enjoy a picnic in the sprawling greenery with their family or simply soak up the sunshine.
The Table Mountain National Park, which also encompasses Boulders Beach where one can spot African Penguins, stretches to the Cape Point in the South that offers unique bird watching, whale watching and hiking opportunities.
Wine and Dine
What could be more romantic than a drive through the charming scenery fringed with exotic vineyards known for producing some of the best wines in the world?
South Africa has plenty of wine routes. The popular expanse known as the Cape Winelands lies within 60 kilometres of Cape Town. The area boasts lush vineyards, oak-lined pathways, some of the best restaurants in the country and superior wines.
Visit the Cape Winelands to enjoy the lush greenery, breathtaking landscape, traditional Cape Dutch architecture and some of the best tasting food served in beautiful up-market restaurants.
The historic towns of Paarl, Franschhoek, Stellenbosch, Somerset West and the Constantia Valley will surely mesmerise you. You could also experience the picturesque valley from a unique perspective by ballooning over the Winelands early in the morning.
Sand and Surf
South Africa is known for its pristine blue flag beaches that maintain the highest standards of environmental management, water quality and safety. Popular beaches in Cape Town include Camps Bay, Clifton, Noordhoek and Muizenberg.
Camps Bay Beach
A long sandy beach, popular for its golden sands, gorgeous visitors and the luxury mansions dotting the scenic coastline. Thronged by celebrities and affluent families from across the world, Camps Bay is set at the foot of the Twelve Apostles. It is lined with trendy cafés and stylish sundowner venues overlooking the sea.
While at Camps Bay, make a reservation to dine at The Roundhouse & Rumbullion, serving expertly crafted food in a historic building in a splendid natural setting.
The four beaches of Clifton, naturally separated by granite boulders, are arguably some of the most scenic and glamorous beaches in the world.
The most popular of the four, Clifton's Fourth Beach, is Ideal for sunbathing, relaxing or people watching. It presents a charming view of the Atlantic Ocean as well as the global high-society.
This long sandy stretch is one of the best-protected beaches on the Atlantic Seaboard. Noordhoek beach is set against Chapman's Peak at one end and the Kommetjie lighthouse on the other.
Protected wetlands at the back of the beach and white unspoilt sands make it the perfect place for some quaint soul-searching. Spend an exciting day here, with a horse ride on the coast followed by a nature walk or a meal at one of the family-friendly cafés.
This beach has been popular with South African families for years. It is perfect for taking surfing lessons, thanks to the more placid waters due to its location in the Indian Ocean.
The colourful Victorian bathing boxes lining this blue flag beach are iconic and reminiscent of another era. This beach also includes a recreational area with water slides and other activities for kids.
Popular Holiday Destinations in Cape Town
As the sun sets splendidly in the direction of the Atlantic Seaboard each evening, it douses the skyline in lovely shades of pink, orange, red and purple. Then the stretch along the Atlantic Seaboard turns into a popular venue for enjoying sundowners in at the popular beachfront restaurants and cafés.
The most trendy area of Cape Town, the Atlantic Seaboard, also known as Cape Town's 'Riviera', stretches from the V&A Waterfront on the north shore of Table Mountain all the way down to Hout Bay.
House to Cape Town's most expensive real estate, the area comprises upmarket suburbs with stunning sea views. It is set against a background of the Twelve Apostles, running along the scenic Victoria Road throughout the stretch.
The Atlantic Seaboard includes the posh residential suburbs of Clifton, Camps Bay, Green Point, Llandudno, Sea Point, Noordhoek and Hout Bay. Each of these areas offer upmarket hotels, guesthouses and luxury villas and apartments in Cape Town for a comfortable stay.
The V&A Waterfront offers an eclectic mix of culture, history and entertainment in the heart of a busy harbour. With the Atlantic Sea and mountains peaks on the one hand and several museums, shops, pubs and an aquarium on the other, the V&A Waterfront bustles with energy all day long.
Ladies, while at V&A Waterfront, do pay a visit to the Cape Town Diamond Museum to get to know your 'best friends' even better. South Africa is known for its diamonds - the perfect souvenir to take back home from your holiday. Just remember to buy a certified stone!
Majestically located at the base of the Twelve Apostles, Camps Bay is one of South Africa's hottest destinations that affluent tourists flock to in Cape Town. The trendy suburb offers panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean all along its coast lined with stylish cafés and bars.
There's plenty to do in Camps Bay, which is only a few minutes drive from the city centre as well as several hiking trails. The beachfront here is one of the largest and the suburb is popular for its lively nightlife.
Clifton is known for its four beaches, with Clifton's Fourth Beach being the most popular of all. The beaches are separated from each other by big granite boulders, and they are naturally sheltered from the wind.
While Clifton's First Beach offers some peace and seclusion, Fourth Beach is the busiest. It is thronged by people enjoying the sun and the sand.
The water here is cool and tourists flock to Clifton mainly to tan, people-watch, play volleyball and have fun in the sun.
Llandudno is a lesser-known suburb. The area has some of the most expensive properties in South Africa, while it is free of any shops and commercial activity, making it ideal for families looking escape the city's buzz.
Large granite boulders surround Llandudno beach, making it extremely secluded and private. The pristine beach holds blue flag status and offers the perfect setting for catching a dramatic sunset.
This affluent and densely populated suburb is one of the few areas fringed with high-rise buildings along the coastline.
The small beaches at Sea Point are popular for sunbathing and family picnics. There are a few tidal pools where kids can play and explore the marine life. Joggers, skaters and dog owners can be spotted on the beachfront promenade that leads to the busy main road lined with shops, restaurants, nightclubs and bars.
Green Point is one of the hip residential areas in Cape Town with an old-world charm to it. Located near the village of De Waterkant with colourful houses, sidewalk cafés and cobbled streets, the suburb is popular with the young and trendy.
It is known for its quaint cafés, gay-friendly bars and lively nightclubs. The popular Cape Quarter Lifestyle Village on the Somerset Road offers a unique shopping experience. The Sunday morning market at the Cape Town Stadium, which served as one of the hosts for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, also makes for an interesting visit.
Noordhoek offers a pristine beach with splendid views of the sea and protected wetlands at its back. This family-friendly area is famous for the Kakapo shipwreck and horse riding along the seashore.
Noordhoek is also a foodie paradise with many gourmet restaurants serving delectable food and exotic wines.
Golf-enthusiasts would be glad to know that the suburb is near some of Cape Town's leading golf courses—the Clovelly Country Club, the Westlake Golf Club and the Steenberg Golf Estate.
Known for its quaint ambience, the busy harbour town of Hout Bay is about half an hour's drive from Cape Town. It is a tourist hotspot offering various outdoor activities, sightseeing options, and some great grub.
The Mariner's Wharf is the place to sample the best fish and chips in town coupled with outstanding views of the bay. Close by, the Bay Harbour Market is a great place to scout for some African art and craft pieces at special prices.
Hout Bay is also the place to visit the informal settlement of Imizamo Yethu, a distinct township of previously disadvantaged people. Many tourists visit the settlement to experience the unique lifestyle of this community, which is a stark contrast to the posh suburbs of the Atlantic Seaboard and the affluent parts of Hout Bay.
Apart from these well-heeled suburbs of the Atlantic Seaboard, there are a few more suburbs people prefer when they travel to Cape Town.
City Centre (CBD)
The Cape Town CBD in the City Bowl is the financial centre of the city. It is a major business district and the gateway to all the tourist attractions in our Mother City.
Cape Town CBD comprises the Houses of Parliament, several museums, concept-based restaurants, pubs, bars, unique cafés, thriving nightlife and many entertainment and shopping options.
It provides easy access to Camps Bay, Clifton and other popular beaches in Cape Town. The Table Mountain Cableway is also located in the City Bowl.
For those who like to be in the centre of the action, the CBD offers the perfect base for a thrilling holiday with access to public transportation as well as private taxi services. It also offers accommodation options to fit all budgets.
Life slows down a little as you step into Kalk Bay. Nestled between the sea and the mountains, Kalk Bay is known for stunning views, unique restaurants and interesting shops selling curios.
Tourists can enjoy a long walk along the harbour to see the local fishermen going out in their colourful boats to catch fish or experience deep sea fishing, angling, surfing and cave explorations in Kalk Bay.
The Boomslang cave that goes straight through a mountain is an attractive option for novice hikers to explore. The hike takes around two hours to complete. In return, it offers stunning views, making it a great adventure for large groups and families. Guided tours of the cave are also available.
Simon's Town is located towards the end of the False Bay. It is home to the South African Navy and the South African Navy Museum. Steeped in history and culture, and blessed with some of the best views of the Cape Peninsula, Simon's Town offers much more than simply a beach vacation to travellers.
The penguins at the Boulder Beach, colourful street markets, warm and friendly people, interesting cafés and shops selling unique baubles and craft items await you at the picturesque town that will enchant you with its culture and energy.
Vacationers would also enjoy swimming in the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean.
Muizenberg, a southern suburb of Cape Town, is known for its sandy blue flag beach with colourful Victorian bath boxes and interesting shops and kiosks lining a Victorian promenade. The child-friendly, calm and warmer waters make this beach popular with tourists and locals alike.
The Muizenberg Pavilion has several activities to keep the kids engaged, including Putt-Putt and the super-tube. You can also visit the historical buildings such as the Rhodes Cottage, the site of the Battle of Muizenberg and Het Posthuys (the Post House).
Muizenberg Beach is perfect to learn how to ride the waves. There are several surf schools giving lessons to eager holidaymakers in the area. Other activities include whale watching between August and early November, bird watching, sailing, hiking and watersports at Zandvlei.
An affluent suburb around 15 kilometres from Cape Town, Constantia is famed for its centuries-old wine estates. It is one of the oldest suburbs in Cape Town.
Tourists flock from all over the world to tour the wine farms in the area and sample the classic wines produced here. Follow up your wine tour with a leisurely stroll in the lush gardens or enjoy a meal at one of the classy hotels with superb views of the valley.
You could also book a private picnic spot in the Silvermine Nature Reserve in the Table Mountain National Park for a pleasant day out.
The charming villages and towns surrounding our Mother City are full of adventure and natural beauty waiting to be explored.
Honeymooners, vino-lovers and couples must head to the leafy gardens and oak-lined driveways of the Cape Winelands. You will find several well-known wine estates offering many award-winning wines, delectable food and romantic accommodation for those who decide to stay put.
You can book private half-day sightseeing tours with one of the reputed travel agencies in Cape Town. Alternately, take a road trip on Route 62, one of the popular routes that start in Cape Town.
Another recommended drive is along the scenic vistas of the Helshoogte Pass, between the picturesque towns of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. So pick up your ride and experience the picturesque countryside of the Cape Winelands.
The Cape's West Coast includes within its ambit unspoilt beaches, panoramic views of the sea and the Cederberg Mountains, known for centuries-old rock art.
The town of Darling, with its lovely bloom of flowers, the West Coast National Park and the Fossil Park are some of the attractions that are especially interesting for children.
The coastline on this stretch is dotted with quaint towns and charming fishing villages with beach restaurants offering fresh seafood all along Route 27.
To the east of Cape Town, between the Garden Route and the Cape Peninsula, lies the Overberg region. It is often called the breadbasket of the Cape. Here, watch the whales at the Walker Bay Whale Sanctuary or take a ride on the whale-viewing boat for a closer view.
Another point of attraction is the lighthouse at Cape Agulhas, where the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans meet.
If you can, spend a couple of days (or more) exploring the beaches, lagoons and forests of the Garden Route on the south-eastern Cape Coast. This stretch is also called the adventure sports capital of South Africa. Whether it is sea kayaking, bungee jumping or simply relaxing and golfing on your mind; the Garden Route will keep you entertained for weeks.
Everyone is Welcome in Cape Town
Anyone is welcome in Cape Town. Our Mother City will take good care of you!
After months of exhaustive planning for your wedding, you and your partner deserve the perfect honeymoon in South Africa's most beautiful city, Cape Town.
From sumptuous meals paired with exotic wines under oak-lined avenues to hot balloon rides over the city, our Mother City lines up several experiences that you will cherish forever.
Spend your time at the beach or exclude yourself from the world in a luxurious private villa with a sea view. Or, if you happen to be one of those couples that thrive on adventure, you could always go scuba diving, shark cage diving, paragliding or even hiking. Here's a list of our top adventure activities near Cape Town.
Cape Town is safe and kid-friendly with a casual vibe. Be it watching the penguins at the Boulder Beach, enjoying a cable car ride up the Table Mountain, whale watching, scouting the local markets or enjoying the pristine beaches; a trip to Cape Town is ideal for families with children.
Providing a mixed bag of activities, socialites would be hooked to the hip and active beach clubs and restaurants, while kids would enjoy the Cheetah and Raptor Centre at Spier and the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden with over 7,000 thriving plant species.
The Noordhoek Farm Village is another interesting place to spend a day with children. Comprising two pubs, a café, a restaurant, some shops and a large playground, enjoy a hearty meal and spend some time shopping at Noordhoek as the children run free in the large open grounds.
Make the most out of your holidays with your friends in Cape Town. Explore the many hiking trails, bronze at the several blue flag beaches thronging with celebrities or wander through Kalk Bay after breakfast. Of course, you could choose to swim with the sharks or zip across canyons to get the adrenaline pumping.
Best Time to Visit Cape Town
Cape Town has several activities to keep the visitors engaged all year round. Summer months from December to February see most tourists flocking to enjoy South Africa’s beaches and enviable nightlife. It is recommended to book your beachfront accommodation in Cape Town in advance if you plan to visit during this time.
Come March, the temperature drops, and it is time for the annual wine harvest. Vino lovers would enjoy gathering and juicing of the grapes as the temperature falls in anticipation of winters, the low season, from June to August.
Chilly winds and sporadic showers characterise the weather during winter months. This is also the time for colourful indoor markets, lesser tourists and cheap accommodation in Cape Town. July and August also happen to be good months for whale watching.
The spring months of September to November offer a veritable feast of colourful blooms to nature lovers and hikers. Expect lesser tourists and better deals on accommodation than the oncoming peak season.
Accommodation rates vary according to seasons. Summers are usually the harshest on the pocket, especially for starred beachfront hotels. Find exclusive and affordable accommodation in Cape Town for groups by booking a self-catering villa where the entire group could bond over some drinks and home-cooked food after a hectic day.
Did you know that you can save over 50% of your travel budget by staying in self-catering accommodation? Vacation rentals in Cape Town are on average 60% less expensive than equivalent hotel accommodation, according to the Western Cape Tourism Barometer.
Affordable Accommodation in Cape Town
One of the biggest challenges while planning a holiday is choosing appropriate accommodation. In the past, the choice was limited to hotels and guest houses.
Today, however, tourists can enjoy exclusive holidays at affordable prices by booking guesthouses or ensconce themselves in luxury by choosing independent self-catering holiday rentals in Cape Town.
Cape Town, the most visited city in Africa, offers several accommodation options ranging from backpackers, starred hotels, Airbnb and self-catering vacation rentals to suit every budget, taste and traveller.
The choice, ultimately, depends on your style, liking, and of course, budget. Here are a few options for a comfortable stay in Cape Town:
A guesthouse is a private home that has been converted to be used as guest accommodation. The owner or the property manager usually lives on the property and guests share the common areas.
For budget travellers in search of some peace and personalised service, a guest house could be a better option than a pricey hotel in the city. With fewer people staying in a guesthouse, as compared to a hotel or even a hostel, the check-in and check-outs are faster. The service is mostly much more personalised.
Guesthouses are often family run, cost less and offer a bit more privacy than a hotel. Charming, cosy and bursting with local flavour, guesthouses or bed and breakfasts are subject to certain minimum standards and licensing requirements.
Another popular option for travellers in Cape Town is renting game lodges that provide eco-friendly accommodation for nature lovers. Such accommodation is close to nature, but often, far from the centre.
In recent years, Airbnb has taken the world of travel by storm. It allows people to let out a part of their house or even a free couch to travellers, often at very reasonable prices. The portal provides genuine reviews of the listings and verifies both the host and the guests, making the entire process quite safe.
Yet, the discerning traveller, might not be satisfied. When booking through Airbnb, the comfort of your stay is entirely in the hands of your host, who might be staying on-site or off-site.
You cannot expect the general standards of service, which are a norm for starred establishments.
So, if the bed is too hard or the linen is dirty, not much can be done about it if you are renting a place through Airbnb. Most travellers report inconsistent experience, ranging from great to poor when booking through the portal.
Offering four, six or eight-bed dorms to be shared between the occupants, hostels or backpackers provide cheap accommodation in tourist hotspots around the globe. Many hostels offer free breakfast, feature a fully equipped kitchen, an Internet centre and a bar.
Preferred by backpackers the world over, hostels provide inexpensive accommodation and the opportunity to mingle with travellers from across the globe.
Colourful, quirky and full of energy, hostel accommodation is ideal for groups and solo travellers who are on a tight budget. However, before you book one, be mindful that most hostels are situated in run-down locations.
Furthermore, hostels offer shared accommodation with no en-suite facilities. Some hostels might also have a curfew and you might not be allowed to bring guests over.
Luxury Accommodation in Cape Town
If you prefer to unwind in the lap of luxury, you have a choice between hotel, villa, or apartment accommodation.
Luxury hotel chains are popular for a reason—attention to detail. Yes, for the discerning traveller, every detail matters, which is why opulent hotels are preferred over other types of accommodation.
Hotel accommodation in starred or boutique hotels is expensive but exceptionally comfortable. Simple luxuries such as a Nespresso machine in the room for your morning cuppa, skin-friendly branded toiletries, plush bedding to ensure a good night's sleep, attentive staff, a gourmet food menu, well-maintained swimming pools, manicured lawns and well-appointed fitness centres provide a refreshing break from the quotidian to travellers.
Most hotels offer sea facing suites or exclusive beachfront villas with swanky bars and restaurants offering superb sundowners and delectable food. Hotel staffers are also known to go the extra mile to take care of the personal needs of their guests such as providing a child cot, offering rooms with wheelchair access or creating a romantic décor in your room and private plunge pool or Jacuzzi.
Business travellers and those looking for thorough pampering would find luxury hotel accommodation to be ideal for their holiday. However, couples in search of some privacy, retirees looking for exclusivity and peace, and groups of friends who want to frolic freely might find a large number of guests in a hotel impeding their enjoyment.
Self-Catering Villas and Apartments
Self-catering holidays are becoming popular with affluent travellers seeking a relaxing time in a home away from home. Seaside cottages, holiday homes, exclusive penthouses and lavish villas—holidaymakers looking for luxury self-catering accommodation would find themselves spoilt for choice with expansive beachfront properties available in posh locales for rent.
Depending on the need, taste and budget, you could choose an apartment with the requisite number of rooms in a residential block or a luxurious independent villa with spacious rooms and eclectic décor to relax in complete privacy and style.
Most of our luxury properties feature pools and jacuzzis, high-end décor, fully equipped kitchens and are serviced daily.
Honeymooners will appreciate the exclusivity of such accommodation. Groups can enjoy themselves without interference or the fear of disturbing other occupants in a hotel. One or more families with children can stay together in a single unit in different rooms—ensuring privacy as well as quality family time.
For extra comfort, some luxury vacation villas are serviced with a 24-hr concierge facility. You can also book a butler or caretaker to cater to your needs during the stay.
Concerning budget, Cape Town's self-catering accommodation turns out to be cheaper than a hotel of the same calibre, considering you pay for a single house and not for the number of rooms that you check in.
The popularity of self-catering accommodation is on the rise. Upmarket villas and apartments in Cape Town allow holidaymakers to live independently in the city, and be themselves, without worrying about safety or sharing their space with strangers. Most of our high-end properties for rent are located in upmarket areas that are extremely secure.
For an exclusive vacation, choose a beachfront villa in one of the trendy Cape Town suburbs such as Camps Bay or Clifton and find yourself in the midst of hip restaurants and bars with easy access to top attractions in our Mother City.
Already Planning to Travel to Cape Town?
Cape Town—the African city with a global outlook—has been chosen as one of the top 10 cities in the world for travellers in 2017 by Lonely Planet. The city offers breathtaking natural vistas, exhilarating adventures and plush accommodation to match.
Being a popular holiday destination, the hospitality industry in the area is well developed with plenty of accommodation options to choose from. Additionally, all Cape Town accommodation complies with strict quality assurance standards.
Travellers to the city will find themselves spoilt for choice between premier five-star hotels, elegant boutique hotels, comfortable yet affordable guesthouses.
Best of all, holidaymakers can also choose a luxury self-catering villa or apartment for their vacation for a superior holiday experience. Unmatched space and privacy, panoramic sea views, fully-equipped kitchens, private swimming pools and open-air jacuzzis, located in affluent neighbourhoods close to the best beaches and restaurants with first-rate add-on services, are only a few of the features that have made self-catering holidays a trend for the wealthy, judicious and tasteful traveller.
If a trip to Cape Town is on your mind, ensure an incredible time by planning your Cape Town itinerary and booking an exclusive holiday home to return to each day for an unforgettable holiday experience. With Classic Villas you can find spacious homes in the Western Cape's top holiday destinations.
Be sure to book your holiday accommodation with Classic Villas for an unforgettable vacation. And feel free to call our friendly villa experts on +27 21 201 1218 if you need assistance.