Table Mountain

Holidays to cosmopolitan Cape Town

The Western Cape is one of South Africa’s most visited regions, and with good reason. This is where the Atlantic meets the Indian Ocean, and along its wild and beautiful coast you’ll find the city of Cape Town. With its spectacular geography, life here revolves around the great outdoors – you can hike to Table Mountain in the morning, lounge on the beach in the afternoon, and as the sun sets find yourself a rooftop perch for sundowners or a barbecue.

Table Bay is home to notorious Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was once held captive, while along the coast you can feast your eyes on the glorious Garden Route trail, which winds its way from Mossel Bay to Plettenberg – an ideal addition to a holiday to Cape Town.

Many of South Africa's vineyards can be found close by too, sprawled across sunny hillsides around the historical towns of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek.

The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront clusters around Cape Town’s bustling harbour area. It’s still a busy working harbour – trawlers and cargo ships cross the waters here along with pleasure boats heading up and down the coast – but also now boasts hundreds of shops, restaurants, bars and cafes. You could easily lose a day pottering around here, sipping coffee, shopping for souvenirs and perhaps ducking into the superb Maritime Museum for a look into the country’s shipping heritage.

A fantastic day trip from Cape Town is out to the Cape Peninsula, where you’ll visit the world-famous Cape of Good Hope. The cape was described by Francis Drake’s chronicler as ‘the fairest cape we saw in the whole circumference of the earth.’ At Cape Point you can take a funicular ride to the old lighthouse then continue to Jubilee Square in Simon’s Town. Afterwards, visit the sheltered Boulders Beach to see the colony of African Penguins which have established themselves in this area.

The flight time from the UK to Cape Town is around 12 hours 15 minutes.

South Africa has nearly a dozen official languages. Afrikaans, Xhosa and English are the most widely spoken languages in Cape Town.

Cape Town has a Mediterranean-style climate, so expect warm summers and mild, wet winters. Summer temperatures tend to average in the high 20s, but this time of year (particularly January and February) can bring strong south-easterly breezes off the ocean, which makes things feel considerably cooler. July and August are the peak months for whale watching off the coast.

Currently, British Citizens don’t need a visa for stays of less than 90 days. Entry requirements are subject to change, though – visit GOV UK or CIBT visas for more advice on passports and visas.

Cape Town is two hours ahead of GMT.

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