OUR NR.3 FAVOURITE DESTINATION - CAPE TOWN
Cape Town, the pearl of Africa, is definitely one of our top 3 favorite destinations and today we'll tell you why....
Cape Town is often mentioned in one breath as Rio de Janeiro, Sydney and San Francisco, because the interaction of big city flair, the wonderful location in the middle of two oceans, the climate and the diverse nature makes this city extraordinary. 2 years ago, Tayler and I visited Cape Town for the first time and were delighted by it. In November 2018 I (Anika) showed my mum the city and she was totally impressed. Continue reading if you want to know the best travel tips and learn about the MUST Dos for Cape Town.
Although I made this trip without Tayler, I still want to tell you about it and share the ultimate travel tips with you.
BEST TRAVEL TIME
Cape Town is probably the perfect destination for those who don't like the German winter too much, because when the mostly cold and rainy winter starts at home, the beautiful summer begins in South Africa.
The perfect time to travel is between November and April. At this time the temperatures during the day are between 21 and 27 degrees Celsius and rainy days are seldom. At night it cools down to temperatures between 14 and 16 degrees Celsius, just make sure you take the right clothes with you.
My mum and I made the trip in November and therefore I can recommend November as the perfect travel time, as the weather is fantastic, the prices are still reasonable and the city is not overcrowded yet (the main season is between December and February).
FLIGHT & ACCOMMODATION
From Germany, the South African city is perfectly accessible by direct route (with Lufthansa or Condor) or with Emirates with a stopover in Dubai (flight time is approx. 12 hours).
In regard to accommodation, I can only recommend that you look for a suitable AirBnB apartment, as it’s much cheaper than most hotels. There are countless beautiful and well- located Airbnb Plus apartments that are super cheap.
We found a really great and big apartment directly at the Greenmarket, a perfect location in my opinion, because from there most spots are less than 20 minutes away and many restaurants and cafés are nearby.
If you are willing to pay a little more I can recommend you to look for an AirBnB in Camps Bay, you will never forget this view again! :)
TRANSPORTATION ON SITE
It’s best to download the app UNICAB, the South African UBER, before you arrive.
There is also UBER there, but we were advised against it several times, because it is probably the least safe method of transportation in Cape Town (most UBER drivers don't even seem to have the necessary licenses).
We have moved almost exclusively with UNICAB, because it is super simple and more than 50% cheaper than normal taxis.
TIP: If you should nevertheless take a normal taxi, never agree for a fixed price.
The taxi drivers there likely quote fixed prices in advance, which are far above the price per meter. We left the taxi two times, because the drivers were not willing to turn on the taximeter , so then we ordered a UNICAB again. Well, tough luck!
Okay, let's move on to the exciting topics. What should you do on your Cape Town trip? One thing is for sure, you won't get bored there! From great viewpoints to wonderful beaches to wine regions, everything is there.
If you’re a little adventurous and want a breathtaking view you, should definitely go up the Lions Head. The Lions Head is the specially shaped rock right next to Table Mountain. The ascent takes a maximum of 1.5 hours. At the top you won't believe your eyes. With this 360 degree view we were at awe.
On one side you see Table Mountain and the 12 Apostles in their full splendor, next to it are Camps Bay and Clifton Bay, two really breathtaking beaches. On the other side you have a perfect view of Robben Island, Signal Hill and the whole city. It’s just WOW!
If you want to avoid a lot of people, it's best to leave around 1pm at lunchtime. When we went up around that time, we met a lot of people who were up there since the morning (when it is not so hot). When we went down, just as many people came towards us, who went up for the sunset.
Despite the heat we got the perfect time, because we were completely alone up there and could enjoy the view to the fullest.
TIP: The ascent really only makes sense when the sky is clear and you should take enough water with you.
Next to Lions Head you will find a smaller hill, Signal Hill, which is one of the best sunset spots. Take a picnic blanket and plenty of wine with you and enjoy a breathtaking South African sunset.
Of course, you shouldn't miss the Table Mountain. While Lions Head is the quieter and less touristy place for incredible views, Table Mountain is a bit crowded and you should prepare yourself for a long waiting time (approx. 1 hour) for the cable car (TIP: buy your CableCar ticket online in advance). But don't worry, when you get to the top of the mountain, the masses of people disband immediately, as the area is really huge. So, don't stay near the cable car station, but walk a few hundred meters to really enjoy the panorama.
Despite the many people I can only recommend you to go up for the sunset, because the sun goes down over the sea and you can watch the sunset perfectly from there. Definitely one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen in my life.
Even though you can already enjoy incredible views from Table Mountain and Lions Head, there is one thing that topped everything: a helicopter flight over Cape Town. There are several providers in Cape Town; we booked our flight with Cape Town Helicopter and were very pleased with its service. There are various flights offered between 130,- and 350,- Euro. We booked the so-called “Atlantico Scenic Flight” and can recommend it absolutely. The view from up there will amaze you, that's for sure!
V & A Waterfront
The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is the harbor and downtown of Cape Town. For some years now, this place has been one of the No. 1 tourist attractions. Despite the tourist masses, the Waterfront is worth a visit. Countless stores, souvenir shops, restaurants, bars and museums invite you for a relaxed day with shopping and a lot of food. Everywhere there are locals who enchant people with their African gospel singing.
Camps Bay & Clifton Bay
In my opinion a relaxing beach day should not be missed during a Cape Town vacation. We definitely recommend Camps Bay, which is located below the 2 Apostles.
Although the beach is relatively touristy and really well visited while nice weather, it is really worthwhile and if you like it a little more quiet, you should look for a place at the more hidden Clifton Bay. Clifton Bay is best reached from Camps Bay. Behind the huge rocks on the right side of the beach there is a small passage leading directly to the beautiful surfer beach.
For around 150 South African Rand (= 10,- Euro) you get two sun beds and a parasol at Camps Bay. You can just relax there and with a little luck you can even see an African dance show right on the beach in the late afternoon!
One thing that we really noticed, there are all the local beach sellers who want to sell you something all the time.
Camps Bay is not just the beach itself, but one of Cape Town's hippest areas with a beach promenade and many great restaurants and cafes. That's why I recommend you to start the day with a delicious breakfast in the morning with a sea view. Later you can enjoy the phenomenal sunset with a cocktail in one of the bars.
DAY TRIP TO CAPE POINT, CAPE OF GOOD HOPE AND BOULDERS BEACH
Even if we were really unlucky with the weather during this trip, as suddenly a complete change of weather occurred and we couldn't enjoy the actually wonderful view from Cape Point, I would still like to recommend it to you.
You can book a tour online, but you will be traveling with several people in one bus.
The best option is to book the trip with one of your UNICAB drivers.
Most drivers organize private tours and offer really good prices.
However, some also try to cheat on you, so ask various drivers about their prices and negotiate the best price (we paid 1400,- Rand plus a 200,- Rand tip).
The advantage of a private tour is, that you decide when to start, how much time you want to spend at each location and where you want to stop.
The usual stops are: Chapmans Point, Cape of Good Hope, Cape Point, Simons Town and Boulders Beach.
Alone the drive to the Cape of Good Hope over Chapmans Peak Drive is an absolute spectacle. This coastal road is by far the most spectacular road with the most breathtaking views. Arriving at the Cape of Good Hope the sky got totally overcast and we were standing in the middle of a huge cloud. Unfortunately, we could not really enjoy the apparently great views of Cape Point and the historically known Cape of Good Hope. Therefore, I can't tell you too much about it, but normally it should be really beautiful.
On the way back, you can make a lunch stop in Simons Town, a small historic fishing village, where you can also experience an animalistic highlight ... 2500 African penguins directly on the beach (Boulders Beach).
Insider tip: There are two entrances to the beach. One is the tourist entrance, which only allows you to watch the animals from a wooden walkway. And second there is another ticket booth on the right side. From there you can climb over some rocks and have direct access to the beach and the animals. However, you should leave the penguins alone and never pet them.
What do you immediately associate with Africa? Of course, a safari!
And that's exactly why you shouldn't miss it on your trip. From Cape Town there are a lot of safari offers. We have booked a 2-day safari with overnight stay at the Garden Route Game Lodge via Getyourguide. Altogether it was about 220 Euro and was worth every cent. We were picked up in Cape Town and then we drove with a small group to the reserve 4 hours away. There we did a sundowner safari, spent one night in a lodge and went on another safari the next morning.
Seeing the BIG FIVE (elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo and rhino) and many other animals (giraffes, zebras, gazelles, ostriches, etc.) in the wild is definitely an unforgettable experience. Most of the reserves are huge and therefore there is no guarantee to see all the animals, but the rangers are very well trained and know exactly where, when and which animals can be seen.
Get ready for an unforgettable adventure. :)
A South Africa holiday also includes a wine tasting in one of the many beautiful wine regions. We haven't been able to do it anymore, but it's definitely on Taylers and my list for the next Cape Town visit. Stellenbosch should be the most beautiful wine region in the proximity of Cape Town. If you have a little time and love wine, you should visit Stellenbosch.
We didn't have time for this either, but this botanical garden is considered one of the most beautiful in the world. On Wednesdays there is even an open-air cinema. As you can see, there are really countless things to experience and all kinds of places to visit. It will be definitely not boring in Cape Town and I promise you, that this trip will be an absolutely unforgettable one.