Cape Town is an impressive city in its own right and with a plethora of things to see and do. If you aren’t into things like museums and history, the sheer physical beauty of the scenery in the area will be enough for you, if not more. Table Mountain is one of the top attractions for visitors, the more fit ones choosing to climb the mountain themselves rather than opting to take the cable car. If heading up to the mountain either way, be sure to take a sweater as weather at the top can change in an instant, being sunny and warm to cloudy and cool. The passage up and down the mountain is popular, but steep, and you’re assured to meet many interesting people doing the climb. Guides can be arranged.
Travelling to the Cape Peninsula is another fantastic activity that shouldn’t be passed up while in the area. Checking out the penguins at Boulders. Cape Point in Table Mountain National Park is a great place to have a break and maybe some lunch before heading off and exploring the reserve, where many different types of wild game find their homes.
Cape Town is one of the best places in the country for a number of outdoor water based activities such as kitesurfing, swimming and general beach going. Learn to surf at Muizenberg. Check out the beautiful beaches and scenery at St James, Kalk Bay and Clovelly. Fish Hoek beaches are ideal for beach going with their sheltered bay and white sands. If you’re brave you can check out the nudist beach at Llandudno.
The Cape region isn’t complete without a trip to its winelands, and a wine tasting tour goes down a treat with almost everyone who comes to this area with a taste for wines. Check out some of the vineyards, some of which have package tours that include accommodation at the winery itself as well as behind the scenes tours to see how your favourite South African wines are produced.
The Cape Town summer is from December to February when the temperatures are high and the humidity is low. It’s a great time to hit the beaches and wander the vineyards or perhaps explore some of the other regions along the Cape. That being said, the sun is relentless, so adequate protection is recommended and required. Sunblock, long sleeved clothing and the like would not go afoul in Cape Town summers. If visiting around Christmas and New Year, check out the beaches – they will be positively heaving with people, but there are a lot of cool events to enjoy.
The winter in June to August is typically fairly mild however it is quite wet. While this doesn’t mean constant, continual rain, raining for two weeks straight has been known to happen. Daily highs in the winter are usually around 15C, with lows more around 5C or even less.
The best times to go are October and November (spring time). A lot of the regions around Cape Town and other inland areas will be lush and in bloom with wildflowers, making for pleasant drives around the countryside. These can be fairly windy months, but the wind blows away a lot of the pollution from the area, so it will seem more fresh and refreshing. December to February are the height of summer months and there are numerous activities to partake in throughout the city. February is the best month as the weather is most reliable. March to May are good months as the temperatures dip a bit but will remain fairly comfortable. This is one of the best times as there are fewer visitors around and you can get some pretty fantastic deals on things like food and accommodation.
Cape Town is the most southerly city on the African continent and is the capital city of South Africa. It’s nestled along the south western coast of the country.
Cape Town has a varied and deep history. Having been originally inhabited by the Strandloper peoples, descendants of Kalahari bushmen. There was no written evidence of Cape Town or the peoples of the area until the first Portuguese explorers in 1488, when Bartholomeu Dias first sighted the region. Ten years later, Vasco da Gama sighted the area again when he was looking for a direct route from Europe to India. The Europeans first settled around 1652, when the Dutch came to the region and Jan van Riebeeck established a trading post in the area, on behalf of the Dutch East Indies Trading Company. Therefore, the first settlers to the area were primarily Dutch, with some French. Eventually the Dutch branched out into the neighbouring regions and established the Cape Winelands of Stellenbosch and Paarl.
Through parts of the 1700s Britain and France were at war and the Dutch became involved in support of the French. This prompted France to send troops to the colony of Cape Town to protect it from possible British invasion, but the troops left a few years later. However developments through the war resulted in France invading the Netherlands and the Prince of Orange sent a letter to Cape Town requesting that they allow the British to occupy the settlement as protection from the French. When the war ceased, under the peace terms between Britain and France, Cape Town was returned to the Dutch in 1802, but a few years later the war resumed and Britain returned to Cape Town to lay its claim to the colony. In this regard, the British drew up a treaty between themselves and the Netherlands in that the Netherlands would be given a large sum of money in exchange for Cape Town. The British then used their hold on the region to maintain their presence in India at the time.
Nonetheless, the British treated the area well and began to install some modern day infrastructure such as pipes. This was the start of Cape Town as a city in its own right. Sadly the region saw widespread issues during the apartheid years, and today is considered a fantastic tourist hot spot due to its proximity to nature reserves, boating and sailing options as well as its wineries.