Photograph by SL Photography, Getty Images

 

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Early morning light falls on a vineyard just outside of Cape Town.

Photograph by SL Photography, Getty Images

 

Everything to Know About Cape Town

Cape Town is a city of mind-boggling cultural diversity, complexity, and intense natural beauty.

A laid-back city where people have mastered the art of enjoying long, languid meals while admiring one of the many magnificent views.

When to Go

Summer is high-season for Cape Town, getting quite busy between November and March. If you don't mind crowds, this is an excellent time to experience the array of beautiful beaches and enjoy outdoor activities. If, however, you prefer milder weather and fewer people, autumn (March to May) is the perfect time to visit Cape Town, especially in the winelands areas where the vineyards start changing from green to red, yellow and orange.

Celebrate

Cape Town knows how to throw a party and there is no shortage of festivals to choose from throughout the year. A favorite local event is MCQP (Mother City Queer Project). First held in December 1994, each year a new spectacular theme is chosen as inspiration for the cult following of fun-loving creatures to express themselves, making it South Africa's biggest dress-up party. Another much loved event—the Cape Town Carnival (held in March)—is a glamorous celebration of African identity and creativity, given expression through a colorful parade of floats, musicians, costumes and performers along Green Point's two kilometer Fan Walk.

What to Eat

You simply cannot leave Cape Town without having sampled some of the traditional Cape Malay cuisine. While you'll find dishes like bobotie and desserts like koesisters at a range of local restaurants, local ladies in the Bo-Kaap offer the most authentic cooking experiences. Visitors can book a traditional Cape Malay cooking safari and return home with new skills in the kitchen to impress friends back home.

Souvenir to Take Home

A copy of "Long Walk to Freedom," Nelson Mandela's autobiography. The country's first black president and anti-apartheid revolutionary spent 18 of his 27 years in prison on Robben Island in Table Bay. Visiting the island and its prison museum is a popular and informative outing for locals and visitors alike.

Sustainable Travel Tip

Use water sparingly. Cape Town is currently going through a severe drought and intense water restrictions are in place. Locals have been limited to using less than 50 litres a day. While the city is not likely to run out of water soon, luxuries like long showers and deep baths are out of the question.

Instagram-Worthy View

Capture the most iconic view of Table Mountain from Bloubergstrand. This beautiful West Coast beach is located about 17 kilometers from Cape Town's CBD. Other magnificent views include a panorama of the city from the summit of Lion's Head, the rugged coastline along Cape Point, and for some color, the houses in the Bo-Kaap and the beach huts on St James Beach in Muizenberg.