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Africa, every time we think about Africa, our vacaymood rises and we start planning our next trip. The most beautiful city in Africa - and also the most beautiful city we know - is Cape Town. No other city gets us like the pearl at the Cape.
We had our first encounter with Cape Town as part of our trip through southern Africa. Cape Town was a successful conclusion after safari and adventure in Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mauritius. Here, you can find our travel report about southern Africa.
We put our second trip to the Cape at the end of a three-month trip around the world and were thrilled again. The city simply surprises again and again and has so much to offer. Hiking in the mountains, surfing or swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, wine and steaks for the connoisseurs and the wonderful city full of street art, handcraft and cool vibes. That is why we have put together a few of our Cape Town travel tips for you.
You will find information about South Africa in general in our South Africa travel tips.
Cape Town has an international airport. Fly in to CPT directly from Germany or with a stopover in Johannesburg (Lufthansa, South African Airlines), Adis Ababa (Ethiopian Airlines) or Istanbul (Turkish Airlines). You can also get good flight deals with a small detour via the Middle East.
For citizens of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, entry is very straightforward. You do not need a visa or fill out an arrival card. You simply queue for "Foreign Passports" at Immigration and have a your passport stamped for 90 days. That’s it.
Then you get your luggage, go through customs and the adventure begins.
The rental car station for all providers is about a five-minute walk from the airport exit. You have to go through a small underpass. There is also a free golf cart shuttle service.
We chose several modes of transport during our time in Cape Town. The hop on hop off buses are a really good alternative in Cape Town. The buses stop at 26 different stops in and around Cape Town. Four different theme routes are offered. For relatively little money you can get to all interesting places in Cape Town. The buses also run in the hinterland, in the wine regions, at Chapman's Peak and the best beaches in the region.
After visiting the highlights of the city and the surrounding area by bus for the first few days, we used the Hop on Hop off bus in Cape Town as public transport for the next few days. Inexpensive, reliable, well-positioned stops - what more could you want? The buses run between 8:20 a.m. and 5:15 p.m. every 15 or 20 minutes (it can vary in summer). We have used these hop on hop off buses in many cities around the world, but we have never seen the bus system so well thought out, geared to the needs of visitors and, above all, inexpensive.
In the evening shortly before closing time, the buses often do not run a whole lap, so be careful and read the schedule carefully.
The hop on hop off bus is definitely one of our Cape Town travel tips. In the following we have uploaded the Hop on Hop Off Cape Town card.
The heart of downtown Cape Town. This should be your first point of visit in Cape Town. Be part of the hussle and bussle and enjoy the shopping and food in Alfred Mall, in Water Shed or in Food Hall. Watch daily life with a glass of wine or a cocktail in one of the many bars and listen to the African sounds of street musicians.
One of the most famous and beautiful botanical gardens in the world. Never crowded and idyllically situated in the shadow of the majestic Table Mountain. One of the most beautiful hiking trails on Table Mountain starts from here.
We love that beach in Hout Bay so much. The spacious bay with the cold, clear water invites to take long walks. Every time we are there we treat ourselves to delicious seafood and a bottle of white wine in the Wharfside Grill (Cape Town travel tip: Calaprawnia on the balcony of the Wharfside Grill).
Enjoy the beautiful beach, the nice restaurants and bars in Camps Bay.
If we decided to have dinner in Camps Bay or visit V&A Waterfront after 5 p.m., we also took a taxi. Just like from or to the airport. Driving a taxi in Cape Town is relatively cheap compared to prices in other major cities around the world. You can really find taxis on every corner. All drivers turned on the taximeter without prompting and billed fairly at the end.
The taxi driver who drove us from the airport to our accommodation offered us to hire him on his day off as a private driver. For about 100 € he showed us all the sights on the entire Cape Island. We were on the road for about eight hours and visited Cape of Good Hope and the penguins of Boulders Beach. We do not know exactly whether the price was reasonable. The excursion was definitely awesome and our driver was a great guide. He took all our wishes into account and showed us corners that we would not have found on our own. For dinner, for example, we were in a seafood bar in Kalk Bay harbor, which was only visited by locals. The food was of course excellent and incredibly cheap - even by Cape Town standards. Fresh fish, great seafood and no other tourists. What more do you want?
In contrast to our stay in 2016, we did not use taxis during our second trip in 2020. We had a rental car that we used for trips to and from the airport and for trips outside Cape Town. In the city we only used Uber.
If you park your car in the city, then it is common to just park in the lot and pay when you leave. The official fee collector will come and tell your fee. At least that's how we understood it.
At the airport, you will find some ATMs at the exit of the baggage hall. Take some cash.
We always buy a local SIM card. There is always Wi-Fi in the accommodations, but we also rely on the Internet when on the go. We research about destinations, use Google Maps to navigate, book tickets or pass the time. You can buy SIM cards at the airport. There is a VODACOM stand in the luggage hall, but the tariffs are relatively expensive. Best not buy here yet. There is an MTN shop in the exit area of the airport. The tariffs are cheaper and we never had problems with network coverage. Just make sure that some tariffs are purely data tariffs and you cannot make calls. In some cases it is very useful. We paid 28 € (449 rand) for 10 gigabytes. There are small shops everywhere in the city, where you can buy SIM cards.
In the next few paragraphs, you will find our favorite places in and around Cape Town. This city is really dear to our hearts and always magically attracts us. Every time we are in South Africa , we try to spend a few days in Cape Town.
Let the sea air blow your nose at the Waterfront or Sea Point. Enjoy a glass of wine in Constantia or Stellenbosch. Take your breath away from the view of Table Mountain or Lions Head.
But above all, you are spot on in Cape Town if you are looking for culinary highlights.
In the wineries of the hinterland, indulge yourself for little money with the world-famous wines of the Cape Peninsula. Apart from Groot Constantia, we particularly like Simonsig and Lanzerac. The wineries offer excellent food at reasonable prices in their own restaurants.
A wonderful glass of wine in an incredible setting in the immediate vicinity of Cape Town. The Hop on Hop Off Bus takes you back and forth so that you can also drink a second or third glass.
The coastal town of Hout Bay is also on the route of the hop-on hop-off bus. There is a restaurant called The Wharfside Grill on the first floor of a fish auction hall. They serve incredibly delicious fish and seafood. The trip to Hout Bay is worthwhile for the Wharfside Grill alone. Do you like Calamaria and Prawns? Then try "Calaprawnia" - fantastic!
Three times a week, this Farmers Market takes place near V&A Waterfront. It ́s called Oranjezicht City Farmers Market. Every Saturday and Sunday morning and Wednesday afternoons, enjoy the colorful selection of the market. There, you can not only buy fresh food of the region in excellent quality, but you can also feed yourself with exceptional fruits, delicious desserts and savory delicacieson site.
You shouldn't miss Cape Town's landmark. The view of the city and the entire Cape region is magnificent. There are some great hiking routes up the mountain - one of the most beautiful starts in Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. You can also get to Kirstenbosch with Cape Town's Hop on Hop off Bus.
The valley station of the Table Mountain Cable Car is also a stop of the Hop on Hop Off bus in Cape Town. Make sure that you choose a cloudless day, otherwise you won't see anything. It is best to buy the tickets online to avoid queuing. The ascent and descent with the Table Mountain Railway to the legendary landmark of the city is about 20 €.
Once at the top, there are various hiking routes that offer a breathtaking view of the city and the Ocean. From the top, you get a good impression of the size and topography of Cape Town.
You are constantly accompanied by the cute little rock hyraxes - a type of marmot. They run around everywhere or just lie lazily on the sun-warmed rocky outcrops.
A hike to Lions Head is one of the absolute highlights of every Cape Town trip.
Take the first parking lot on the access road to Lions Head. Here you will also find a snack bar with food and drinks.
The climb begins quite steep, but then becomes more pleasant. The route is advertised with 90 minutes, but despite a few breaks and photo stops, we were significantly faster.
Many climb Lions Head at sunset. Then it gets pretty crowded. If you still want to do this, you should start the ascent at 6 p.m. or 6.30 p.m. depending on the season.
Please plan at least one and a half liters of water per person.
The view of Table Mountain and its cloudy tablecloth is gigantic. The view of Camps Bay and the other parts of the city are second to none.
The De Hoop Nature Reserve on the South African south coast is a pearl of nature. White dunes in the middle of the fynbos vegetation.
The journey from Cape Town takes around three and a half hours. The last 60 to 90 minutes are on a well-groomed gravel track, but it's definitely worth it.
De Hoop is home to many wild animals such as leopards, gazelles, antelopes, ostriches and turtles. The whale season runs from July to late August.
If you are more interested in South African wines, you should consider staying in the vineyards of Stellenbosch. In an hour by car, you will reach the capital of South African winery. Treat yourself to a night at the Lanzerac Hotel & Spa and taste the excellent wines.
The southern part of the city is quite unimpressive. The glamorous wine estates and restaurants are in the north.
Make a reservation for your dinner.
The hotels offer guided wine tours. If you want to visit the wineries on your own, Uber is a good and cheap alternative to driving yourself or taking a taxi. Wine is quite cheap everywhere.
On the way to Stellenbosch, visit the Route 44 Market. The market takes place on weekends and offers delicious food and great handicrafts.