Cape Town travel guide tips and myths explained!
Planning to discover the beautiful mountain ranges, wild-life safari, vineyards and amazing food spots by the sea? it’s all there in Cape Town, one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Before sharing all the details, I’d like to write about how there were so many misleading opinions from people about South Africa, regarding the safety and people. When I actually went there I found (specifically Capetown) a lot friendlier than I thought and was told about.
People & culture
Like every city has it’s safe and unsafe areas, Capetown does have the same however most of the city is very safe for a first time tourist. the people of Capetown are generally very friendly towards the tourists too. If you stay and roam around the good (not so shady) areas, you’ll face no problems. People in restaurants, shops, uber drivers and almost everyone you’ll meet will be friendly and helpful. Yes, the rate of crime is considered high in South Africa but cape town itself is quite safe and tourist friendly.
The food and wine culture in Capetown is big! It’s common for people to go out in the evenings to neighborhood restaurants and bars. The overall atmosphere of the city is very lively but not chaotic (unless you are in a chaotic city center)
Food & wine
Food and wine culture in Capetown is huge. You’ll have some of the best meals here. Make sure you look up some of the nice restaurants before you go. V&A waterfront has a couple of nice restaurants by the walk and you will not go wrong with either of these restaurants. ‘Ginja’ at V&A waterfront had amazing service and delicious food (loved duck with pasta and their fresh juices).
South Africans are big about their vineyards and making some of the best wines. Some of the wines that you’ll find in South Africa are the ones you’ll not find elsewhere. One of their signature labels is the Pinotage that combines the best qualities of the robust Hermitage with Pinot noir (hence the name Pino-tage) a grape that makes great wine but can be difficult to grow. Other famous ones like a Merlot that you’ll try there will be completely different than any other Merlot you’ve had anywhere else.
Safari, Game reserves & other activities
Pre-book but not too much in advance. The weather fluctuates in Cape town on an hourly basis. Make sure you check the weather of the specific day when you wish to go for a safari. From Capetown, there are not too many Safari options (as opposed to Johannesburg) but one of the closest ones to cape town is Aquilla game reserve. Most of the game reserves do morning, afternoon and evening safari. In my personal preference morning-safari is the best, firstly because of the early morning sunlight (amazing for photography) and secondly, the animals are out in the morning.
If you are visiting in the winter season, one of the most important things to keep in consideration is the cold weather. Especially during safari, it can get pretty cold out there. So if you’re not as cold in the city, there’s still a high chance that you’ll be freezing when you are out for safari. Pack and dress accordingly (for 6 to 8 degrees).
Besides safari, there are loads to do in the city. One of my favorites was to take a helicopter flight over the city. ‘Sports helicopters’ is one of the companies that offer many packages from 20 min to 1-hour flights and boat charters. We took the ‘2 oceans flight’ that gives you an aerial view of atlantic and Indian ocean (half peninsula). The flights take off from V&A waterfront and you can pre-book it online.
Make a list of your favorite restaurants (Instagram is your friend) and make sure you enjoy some of the best meals there.
Paragliding is another fun way to have aerial views of the city. There are many paragliding operators at Lion’s head and you can fly from the top of these mountains and have a full view of table mountain and the lion’s head at the sunset.
Prior to booking any of your outdoor activities, make sure you keep an eye on the weather app.
Weather & what to pack
It’s a very common saying in South Africa that it has 4 seasons in one day. It can be sunny in the morning and suddenly start raining in a few hours or vice versa. If you are visiting in winters (or close to winters) make sure you pack warm clothes. Evenings and nights can be pretty cold there. A rain jacket (which is also warm) is a must. At the same time keep some winter tees if you can as some days when it’s sunny, you’ll be able to enjoy a warm sunny day.
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Safety & security
It’s always good to take your safety precautions no matter where in the world you’re planning to travel, for example, do not go out in a dark alley, do not go out surfing on a remote beach by yourself and so on.