Cape Town Holidays
Cape Town is recognised as one of the most stunningly beautiful places on earth. It offers a range of attractions including world class beaches, wine regions and is a year round destination with a temperate climate. The City is a rare cultural gem, from the amalgamation of Indonesian, French, Dutch, British and German settlers, the local Bushman and Hottentot tribes and the Bantu tribes from the north.
The impressive presence of Table Mountain, flanked by the legendary Devil's Peak and historical Signal Hill, which stands proudly above the city. Beautiful white sandy beaches along a peaceful coastline frame the Cape Peninsula, which is famed for its unique floral kingdom, bountiful rivers and a magnificent countryside. The surrounding area extends into Cape Town's wine lands, green in summer and red-gold in autumn.
The city has a reputation for being the most welcoming city in South Africa - Capetonians are proud of their easygoing and laid-back nature. On the streets, a great variety of languages are spoken, while stalls selling all manner of clothing, food and crafts are squashed among American-style malls, European fashion boutiques, art galleries, luxury hotels, backpacker lodges and ubiquitous chain stores.
Everyone from families to couples will love Cape Town and its surrounding areas. Kids will love whale watching in the Cape Point area and climbing up Table Mountain. Couples will also enjoy wining, dining and shopping on the V & A Waterfront. Set between Robben Island and Table Mountain the V & A Waterfront is not only a fully working harbour but one of South Africa's premier tourist attractions.
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Things to do
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Cape Town Weather
Cape Town is most popular during the peak summer months (December to February) but it is attractive place to go all year round. Summer brings long, hot beach days and balmy outdoor evenings, but there is the chance of the legendary strong 'southeasterly' wind. Spring (September to November) brings blooms of wild flowers, while autumn (March to May) promises a golden haze of warm days.
Winter (June to August), although wet and often cold, are spread out with weeks that are both mild and clear. The city is free of tourists and amazingly green; dolphins and whales stop in the many small bays along the coastline around Cape Town, and the waterfalls streak white paths down the mountain sides.
Neither season provides extremes of temperature, thanks to the prevailing winds. Be ultimately prepared for four seasons in one day. The peninsula's shape can create a microclimate, so you can be sun bathing on one side of the mountain and sheltering from cold rain and strong winds on the other! It is no accident that Newlands is so green and lush compared to the Cape Point itself it receives four times as much rain as Cape Point.
Things To Do on Cape Town Holidays
Table Mountain (1000m high) forms the centre of Cape Town, so if you are travelling in or around the peninsula and you lose sight of the magnificent mountain, it is either cloudy or you are in Johannesburg! Cape Town doesn't just have beaches; it has a veritable portfolio of sandy gems to suit every mood and moment. From the high intensity of the high-fashion city beaches to the wind-swept solitude and loneliness of the more remote peninsula stretches, you're sure to find one that works for you.
Beaches in Cape Town are as beautiful as they are unique. On any given summer's day you can experience two completely different oceans, secluded coves or long stretches of white sand filled with colourful umbrellas and sporty sunbathers. An African sun melting into the purple, darkening horizon, warm sand between your toes and the gentle, candle-lit laughter of happy people celebrating ... it sounds too good to be true but it happens on some of Cape Town's best and centrally located beaches.
Go to the city beaches of Camps Bay and Clifton for an intimate sunset experience and then shrug on a T-shirt for the local cocktail bars and let the nightlife immerse you. If you have transport, then the tongue-twisting beach of Llandudno is the locals' favourite.
For the more photographically minded try the ridiculously stupendous views from the northern beaches – Blouberg Beach is the best – and watch the full expanse of Table Mountain glow with the dying embers of the sun.
Not everyone wants to sit sizzling in the sun; beaches are ever-changing environments waiting to be explored. Stranded jellyfish, foraging seabirds, shells and shipwrecks – these are the kinds of treasures to be found on the incredibly huge, sweeping expanses of Muizenberg and Noordhoek. These beaches are best for long walks to walk off that big lunch on a Sunday.
When juggernauts get very windy; the cosy little cove of Hout Bay is more sheltered and popular with energetic families and dog walkers. Similar conditions do exist at the western end of Muizenberg, where (if there is no wind) the sandcastle-strewn beach is a riot of happy families and junior surfers.
The Southern coastline, known as the 'Whale Coast', is a safe haven for the many whales - mostly Southern Right whales and a few humpbacked - that migrate from the icy Antarctic to breed and play in the relatively warmer waters of the Cape in South Africa. The Whale Coast is a popular weekend destination for Capetonians (it's less than two hours drive from Cape Town to the heart of the Whale Coast and Overberg region) and during 'whale season' - June to November - the coast positively hums with activity. Whale season in the Cape brings Southern Right and Humpback whales to the waters of the Overberg's coastline to mate and calve every year.
The lead up to the staging of the FIFA Football World Cup in 2010 is also leading to a boom in construction and a successful tournament should boost business and tourism. Raising the city's standards of hotels, restaurants and public transport it can offer to the potential tourist visiting Cape Town.
Indulge in great accommodation, button-popping good food and wine, sweeping beaches and eye catching views with a trip down South Africa's Garden Route. The Garden Route is a montage of quiet back roads and forested mountains, sleepy unspoilt villages and bustling resort towns. Swing through the trees of the Tsitsikamma Forest or experience the world's highest bungee jump from a bridge and finish the day dolphin-spotting from the beach.
The Cape's wine lands are one thing worth visiting, referring mostly to the wine growing valleys around the old towns of Stellenbosch, Franschosk and Paarl, about 45 minutes drive from Cape Town. If you want to stay nearer to Cape Town, the original wine estates of Constantia are conveniently in Cape Town's southern suburbs or you take a scenic trip along Route 62, visiting wine estates as you go.
From Malaysian slaves, Dutch, English and French explorers to indigenous Khoisan people, the origins of Cape Town's three million inhabitants are extremely diverse. Since Cape Town's humble beginnings as a halfway stopping point on the 'Spice Route' to India in the 1600's, the centuries that followed saw an influx of explorers, settlers and colonists arriving in the 'fairest Cape' to live among the indigenous tribes already there.
Together with South Africa's recent colourful and often painful history during the apartheid years, it's small wonder that the city has emerged as a vibrant, edgy and eclectic place with a rich and textured cultural heritage. In Cape Town, the arts are alive and well - and there’s a lot to see and do.
Cape Town is a massive party town, especially in summer, when tens of thousands of tourists (foreign and local) come to the city, even during the winter the action never stops. The city has also become an international mecca for DJs, running huge rave, trance and ambient parties - often held in stunning locations on beaches, stately homes or in forests. The city is also firmly entrenched on the international rock music touring circuit. From the sweaty chic of bump-and-grind clubs to the late morning licences of rock 'n roll venues it's all full jets ahead in Cape Town's clubs.
Much of the nightlife activity is concentrated on a few of the popular city streets and suburbs. Long Street and Kloof Street in the city centre are alive with restaurants, live music clubs, bars, coffee shops and the occasional strip club. On the outskirts of the city centre, the De Waterkant/Green Point area has a string of fantastically alternative clubs and restaurants. Green Point is famous for its party-all-night gay clubs, thumping house music, late morning licences and is probably the most happening place to be seen until late in Cape Town.
The Camps Bay beachfront brings LA-style outfits, trendy restaurants and some stunning sunsets over the ocean. Trendy bars along the Camps Bay strip offer cocktails and sundowners and a place to be 'seen' - try Caprice or Sandbar for a sundowner drink or Baraza for a drink listening to a local DJ's spin some great music especially during the summer months.
Heading towards the southern suburbs, Lower Main Road in the suburb of Observatory is another gay-friendly area and the territory of Cape Town's students, offering up a more Bohemian and laid-back style of entertainment. This is the place for local alternative music, seedy pool halls, philosophy, poetry, stand-up comedy and vegetarian food.
The seaside enclaves of Kalk Bay, Fish Hoek and Simon's Town, although traditionally mostly family orientated and 'dry', are becoming increasingly trendy for nightlife beyond the city limits - although this is largely centred upon restaurants and bars on the beach front.
There are no strict licensing hours in Cape Town and most clubs stay open until the small hours and even sunrise. The dress code is pretty much always as casual as you wish, although shorts and trainers are not appreciated in some venues and a 'no effort no entry' rule is sometimes enforced. Admission prices to clubs and raves range from R20 to R200 - many are free before 2300. The legal drinking age is 18 years, although some pubs demand a 21- or even 25-year age limit for entrance. Alcohol is usually cheap for visitors.
The Friday editions of the Cape Times and The Cape Argus newspapers, as well as the weekly Mail & Guardian, all have arts and entertainment sections. Information on Cape Town's club scene is available online. Due to the lack of efficient and safe public transport, many visitors decide to drive.
Be aware: Tourists are advised to keep a watchful eye on their possessions, as pick-pocketing is rife, beware travelling after dark.
Book a Cape Town Holiday now!
For a varied holiday full of wine tasting, whale watching and fantastic seafood, you can't beat Cape Town. Rest and relaxation by the bucket load in simply stunning surroundings. Just imagine how jealous your friends will be when you tell them you’ve booked!
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